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5 Reasons Why Mobile Gaming is Lame

I write about games on the Internet. More specifically, I write about games on a site centered around the mobile and tech industry. I’m a fan of both worlds, but I’m a gaming writer by trade. Being here means I get to hear all these mobile gamers yelling about how awesome their platform is. Well, guess what. It isn’t. Why?

I’ve come up with five reasons.

Ready the pitchforks. I’ll be in my bunker.

Where are the buttons?

Unless you’re rocking one of the significantly underselling Xperia Play models, your phone is devoid of physical buttons meant for gaming. This single hurdle is the one mobile gaming needs to overcome in order to even stand a chance at wooing the crowd of dedicated gamers.

Without physical buttons, we don’t care. The leading problem within that sentiment is the concept of virtual joysticks. These things are atrocious. Even the best designed virtual nubs are often shoddy examples of strong control.

If a game requires players to virtually move their character, it requires some iteration of a fake joystick or d-pad. Why do you think auto-runners and constantly moving titles are so popular? Because virtual joysticks are crap.

Knock-offs and clones.

The best-selling games in mobile marketplaces are knock-offs and clones of Angry Birds, Temple Run, Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja. It’s like wannabe developers see how successful these games are, and then they set out to make near-carbon copies of their own.

That’s lead to a platform rife with unoriginal experiences.

The sad part, of course, is that these clones rise to the top of the gaming pile for mobile users. That leaves the original or unique games at the bottom of the barrel, where they’ll sit until they’re tossed up on Free-App-A-Day for the world to see.

In-game currency.

You say your app is free? Great, let me step right up and take a look at what it has to offer!

Oh, by “free” you meant “download this, play it for five minutes and then encounter a gaming roadblock that requires the purchase of in-game currency to continue.”

Mobile games have ripped a page out of the social gaming model with this one, folks. Like any good drug dealer, they offer up the first taste for absolutely no money down. Once you want to get into the experience completely, you’ll be asked to shell out dough at a constant clip. You want more colors for your Draw Something canvas? Spend some money. You want to add another floor to your Tiny Tower right this second? Buy some in-game bucks.

Even better? It’s not like this problem is relegated to just the “free” games. It spreads to the $0.99 titles as well. You’re out of spin tokens; why not buy some more with you’re real money in order to take a shot of winning some of our fake money?

Senseless reviews.

We’ve all seen ’em. On every platform with a review system, you’ve got users who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing when they rate a product and provide a quick write-up.

You hear about mobile games, essentially, through a handful of channels: word of mouth, top selling lists, marketplace feature slots and user reviews. User reviews, unfortunately, are absolutely garbage.

This game doesn’t have an icon compatible with retina display? 1 star!

I played it for five minutes while waiting for a bus. 5 stars!

Want a real quote? Fine. From Leafy18bones on the App Store in regards to the actually successful Hide the Fart:

1 Star – Stupid – This is a verrrrrrry stupid game I think,because it only gives you one chance to get points! So I give this game a booooooo [thumbs-down:thumbs-down::thumbs-down::thumbs-down::thumbs-down::thumbs-down]

I can’t make this stuff up.

The scams.

Anyone can develop and release applications. Like, anyone. And the companies in charge of monitoring the apps and applying “vigorous” quality control standards are faced with a constant flood of work that they can’t keep up with.

What does that mean for gamers? Scams come constantly. Let’s look at one rather popular example that we actually wrote an article about earlier this year.

Do Not Download Pokémon Yellow from the App Store!

…Okay, here’s the thing: this application is a scam. It is not a legitimate copy of any version of Pokémon. In fact, this illegitimate “game” doesn’t even load beyond the opening title screen. It’s a fake, it’s a sham and, as our good Mon Calamari friend above frequently tells us, “it’s a trap!”

Buy it and you may as well have tossed 99 cents into a storm drain and walked away into the sunset…

These things get released into the world of mobile gaming daily.


There, I said it. Now let’s stop talking about mobile gaming like it’s bringing death to classic formats. It’s not. It’s a sideshow, a break, a tourist trap, a gimmick and a slap in the face.


Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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