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The Rise of Casual and Mobile Gaming 208

HardcoreGamer writes "The New York Times has a lengthy article about the simple pleasures and growth of casual mobile gaming. Trends show that 'more and more people are playing simpler, quieter types of electronic games on the Web, cellphones and hand-helds.' The growth in lighter, less time- and resource-intensive games (like those by GameLoft, Jamdat, and WildTangent) is spurred by the ability to play anytime, anywhere, as much as the rising development costs and production times for a traditional game. A wireless game can cost $40,000 and take a few months to develop, while full-fledged PC and console games can cost $5 million to $10 million and take years to deliver."
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The Rise of Casual and Mobile Gaming

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  • Yeah I especially like what nintendo did with the GBA: They made it so you can play import games on your regular GBA with no mods. Great going nintendo!
    • yes, but they made a small problem with it. the old style GBA is unplayable by *most*(meaning, those with bad eyesight apparantly, I can see the screen just fine) with out some sort of Mod [].

  • too busy.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by itallushrt ( 148885 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:07PM (#6308343) Homepage
    Damn I was too busy playing Ms. Pacman on my phone to realize that I just missed first post.

    Maybe next time.
    • "Damn I was too busy playing Ms. Pacman on my phone to realize that I just missed first post."

      You are on a computer, and you are playing Ms. Pacman on your phone??!?!?!?!

      Egads man! I'd rather stare at paint drying than play any cell phone game, let alone when I have a perfectly usable machine in front of me?

      Are you using Linux son? There is always freeciv.
  • Casual Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sbszine ( 633428 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:09PM (#6308347) Homepage Journal
    I totally understand the move towards casual gaming. After working a long day I can't devote the hours to a time-intensive game (e.g. Resident Evil). Now I find myself playing retro shooters and suchlike, games that can be crammed in between work and endless bloody domestic chores.
    • Re:Casual Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:23PM (#6308405) Journal
      I prefer simpler, well done "retro" style games. Games don't have to be the biggest, most elaborate technical juggernaut to be good. Interesting gameplay, solid graphics, and polished sound has always been a sure thing. BTW, I love Frozen Bubble on Linux, and I'm considering Space Tripper []. Can anyone suggest other great games for Linux ?
      • Can anyone suggest other great games for Linux ?

        Mame :)
      • Re:Casual Gaming (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Heartz ( 562803 )
        BzFlag [] We've been having tonnes of fun with it in the department!
      • Re:Casual Gaming (Score:4, Informative)

        by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Friday June 27, 2003 @12:53AM (#6308770) Journal

        I know it is not quite the same level of not resource intesive but it runs on what now is a fairly old system. And can be found new in a tin on ebay for under 10.00 including shipping.

        I find that un modded, or on a server where you get insane reload rates etc. it is great for a pop in and play 5 minutes scenario. My biggest problem with it is that it takes about a minute to get started so unless I have 5 or ten minutes it's not worth the time.

        Of course I find I need about that much time to get into Frozen Bubble so it is really not that far off.

        Also Sim City 3000 is fun and sub 15.00 on ebay(including shipping). I find games like that an addiction though, and cannot just pop in for 5 - 10 minutes. I always end up for at least an hour but YMMV.

        I would say the QuakeIII was the best invetment I ever made in gaming. With the mods it covers a broad spectrum of feels (of FPS so a narrow spectrum overall). And it is great to jump in frag a few people, get fragged a few dozen times and then go to bed (I suck).
    • Re:Casual Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:49PM (#6308504) Homepage
      I have one problem with this: while the games are simple to learn, they tend to be designed as simple timewasters. Things like Tetris, or some level-uppage RPG games.

      Games can be simple and quick and episodic but still have depth in their play. I've been waiting for a handheld version of Z (yes, it is planned). Most often the "handheld fun" games are extremely repetitive and mind-numbing. I like a game to be simple and easy to grasp, but still mentally-challenging and preferably multiplayer. Yes, they do exist. C64, NES, and SNES are full of those. Remember Spy Vs. Spy? Star Control 1? Simple, easy, but deep games - and games you can challeng another player in - which is the true test of a game (IMHO) - its easy to make a game where you jump a single player through hoops - making it both fun and balance for two players is a real trick.
      • Re:Casual Gaming (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jagasian ( 129329 )
        Tetris lacks depth to its gameplay? Have you ever played the game? Have you ever seen good players play the game?
        • Tetris lacks depth to its gameplay? Have you ever played the game? Have you ever seen good players play the game?

          I agree...and also keep in mind that Tetris has just as much combinatorial depth as Chess or Go. It's unlikely (unlike in a level-up cheap RPG or sidescroller) that you'll be solving the exact same problems over and over again.

  • Simple Games are Fun (Score:4, Informative)

    by nickgrieve ( 87668 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:11PM (#6308355) Journal
    Just look at the popularity of Tetris.

    I have friends that only play simple puzzle/breakout style games, flash ones generally.

    They are perfect time killers, no in-depth tactics or plot to worry about. Beating a high score is about as deep as they get, and then you can just walkway from them when your bus arrives.
    • by fatalist23 ( 534463 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:18PM (#6308385)
      Absolutely. I find "classic" games some of the best out there, for a variety of reasons.

      They often have really addictive gameplay, as after even a few moment playing you can easily grasp the games premise and controls, and be happily playing along. That doesn't mean that they don't have strategy; I'm still getting better at puzzle games like Tetris to this day even.

      Some old classics: Frogger, Breakout, Space Invaders, Tetris, Pac Man...

      It's too bad that new games are often forced to have good graphics. From what I understand, console manufacturers are reluctant to carry 2-dimensional sort of games as they see each game as a way of presenting the console; thus, when they sell a 2-d game they think that every person who sees that game will think that 2-d graphics are all that console is capable of. It's really sad; we're probably missing out on some really quality games that way.
      • by nickgrieve ( 87668 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:25PM (#6308419) Journal
        You know the secret to space invaders?

        I was shown this by a guy that had a real life coin op machine. (you probably know this already, but its not often one gets to talk about classic game strategy)

        --Spoiler warning-- :-)

        Shoot them from the left to right in columns rather than rows. They have to move farther and farther across the screen and advance downwards slower.

  • by Da VinMan ( 7669 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:11PM (#6308357)
    Personally, I relish games produced on constrictive hardware by a bunch of rowdy upstarts! I think that is where the PDA game market is right now too. The hardware isn't good enough to support elaborate studio style software, so they have to innovate with the gameplay instead of the video and audio. IMO, the best game designs have come from this model. Yeah, I like UT/Q3/GTA:VC as much as the next geek, but I'm just as enamored with Tetris, SameGame, and Bejeweled.

    Can't wait to finally get a PDA+PCS cell phone device! I'm cooomming precious! :+)

  • Cheap Production (Score:1, Redundant)

    by SunPin ( 596554 )
    Maybe the games are so cheap to produce because they are ports of games from the PET, Trash 80 and Apple II et al.

    This looks like paid propaganda. Americans won't touch anything beyond voice mail. That is a pretty well established trend. Why am I supposed to believe that they will drain their batteries on nonsense like mobile gaming?

    Gameboy is a different story. But there's a crucial difference between Gameboy and mobile gaming:

    Gameboy was designed for mobile entertainment.

    Cell phones aren't.
    • Gameboy is a different story. But there's a crucial difference between Gameboy and mobile gaming:
      Gameboy was designed for mobile entertainment.
      Cell phones aren't.

      But both were designed for people constantly on the move. A lot of people enjoy whiling away long rides in the train to and from work with a bit of "snakes" or "pong". I know I do.

    • i have watched kids (highschool) play games on phones during football games. i doubt that mobile gaming is making much money for anybody at the moment, but the market will emerge. hell, i downloaded asteroids and such, and was entertained for hours (pc not phone, but the phone would be better). certainly much cheaper than the buckets of quarters the game removed from my pocket as a youth!
    • Maybe the games are so cheap to produce because they are ports of games from the PET, Trash 80 and Apple II et al.

      What I want to know is, what do they spend that $40k on?? I could write snake in about 30 minutes. Hell, I have made games about that complex in about that time.
      • Back in the days of ATARI, most games were constructed by a single person, or a very small team in a few months.

        The fact that nearly all of these games are ports of some nature only makes it easier, as most of the brainstorming portion of the project is unnecessary.

        Of course, most of ATARI's -HITS- grossed millions of dollars. That's what you get for being first.

        * Please note something folks. A lot of you talk about the appeal of "retro" gaming, but take a good look at what you're referring to.

        15 year
        • Your post is perfectly illustrated by some fine retro remakes like Mutant Storm [] and Ricochet Xtreme [].

          The first is a superb remake of Robotron, the second is exactly what Breakout would have been if the technology supported it.

          I prefer original equipment like the Devastator II from Treyonics and good arcade remakes.

        • The standard now is SNES / NEO-GEO quality 2D graphics. Try to tell me you'd enjoy your favorite "simple" game as much if you reduced the resolution and limited the pallette to 16 colors or grayscales.

          I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but I do very much enjoy snake/nibbles on 80x24 monochrome. And I play my NES more than 10 times as often as my SNES, N64, and Playstation combined. (I didn't own an Atari in my childhood so I never got hooked on those games) I go to the local retro arcade a c
    • Gameboy was designed for mobile entertainment.

      Cell phones aren't.

      And this is one of the great strengths of mobile phone gaming... the fact that it's a device which you carry round all the time to serve another purpose. Don't get me wrong, I carry round my GBA most of the time as well, but my boss might look suspicious if i put it on the table in a meeting, whereas with a mobile phone you've got all your options covered for that quick tetris break ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do they still arrest people for playing cell-phone games over there? Or did that crap stop after a few politicians were found hanging from the streetlights? Not that I had anything to do with that, I wasn't even in the counrty that weekend. Honest.
  • by agendi ( 684385 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:17PM (#6308378)
    It's interesting, at my last place of work (which hopefully is dying a painful death) you had the tech types coming in (about 10 a.m) hot brew in hand spending the next 15 minutes catching up on mail, slashdot, web comics and so on (maybe it's more like 40 mins after spam now) and shooting the breeze about counter strike. More often than not on my travels through the office, the admin staff would come in for the morning with juice in hand and settle into a session of bejewelled!

    Lunch time comes around and you can hear the happy tones of popcap games in the hallowed halls of the business world.

    Long live work-place recreation.

    • by rampant mac ( 561036 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @12:41AM (#6308715)
      You work for the government, don't you?

      Actually, I can't say a word. I work civil service where my career goal is to TOTALLY beat Freecell. *sigh* 26,341 more games to go before I can retire.

    • For some reason, I seem to keep ending up working at "tech jobs" where my co-workers aren't even into "geeking out" in the least bit.

      I usually got attacked for doing such things as reading Slashdot or ArsTechnica, and certainly poked fun at for ever attending a LAN party.

      Maybe part of it's just being stuck here in the rather drab midwest, but I still don't really see people playing any interesting computer games in the workplace. The secretaries still click away on Solitaire once in a while, but most hav
  • when you said simple and less intense games, i wasn't thinking of this. i was thinking like the stupid 1k games i have on my TI 82.

    those games look like straight out NES/Atari 2600 game clones (i think the old prince of persia itself is in there somewhere), and back then those were as complex and big budget as they get. maybe what we are seeing here is another generation of video games. in 15 years the mobile generation gamers will be remeniscing about the good old nokia 7250 games they used to play.
  • and... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cybercuzco ( 100904 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:17PM (#6308381) Homepage Journal
    And development of a TI-8x game can take several study halls to develop and cost six cans of mountain dew and a bag of skittles.
    • Ti-8x games (Score:2, Funny)

      by brilinux ( 255400 )
      Yeah, well, try writing one in RPN on your
      HP-48gx. That'll take at least 24 Dr. Peppers/
      Mountain Dews and 3 bags of Skittles. But, in
      the end it is rewarding, because no one else can
      play it and the best you can do is a stupid guess
      the number game without killing yourself. So you
      get bored and turn on the TV in the lecture hall
      with your IR port. Oh, well.
    • You develop them? I just download 'em! I have no desire to write a game in TI-8x assembler.
    • Bah, I can do it on a can of Dr. Pepper and no Skittles at all. I'm the Uber-Developer!

      Well, as soon as I can figure out how to send variables over the link port, I'm well on my way to a multiplayer CTF game coded entirely in class. Hooray! Maybe I can leverage some of these skills to pay for the extensive thumb reconstruction surgery I'll no doubt need.
      • You CAN -get- variables over the link port using a TI-BASIC call, you cannot send them.

        Take a word from wiser, older heads ( I was programming my TI-82 before you were in middle school :)

        You cannot do anything in real-time with the link cable. On top of the slow speed of the link itself, every time you 'get' a variable, the performance on both machines plummets.

        I know, I tried to program a simple 2-player linked snake clone, just to see if it was feasable. It worked, but it was damn slow. You might ha
    • Study halls? We didn't get those in my day. It was find a boring class like Physics or Math and get to work. You don't need to do work, just chill with a nice game of Nibbles after a few periods.
  • I am actually completing my first game for mobile devices and Nokia will be selling it in July :)

  • by Jad LaFields ( 607990 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:23PM (#6308399)
    I just finished playing an excellent game of Day of Defeat, and I can say that hardcore, intensive games aren't going away any time soon, and certainly not for me (I need my daily Nazi-killing fix =).

    But for many other people, I can see how these casual games would be so appealing. Many are simple, easy to grasp concepts*, like Tetris or card games the users already know. I knew a girl who was incredibly hooked on Snake. Or Nibbles, whatever its called. Anyway, I'm rambling, so umm... err... GRENADE! Run! =)

    * not that Nazi-killing is all that confusing of concept either
  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:24PM (#6308411)
    Just play games on your phone instead!
  • PDA + Retrogaming (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jungle guy ( 567570 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:25PM (#6308418) Journal
    Personally, my iPaq got a lot more fun after I came across Pocket Nester [], a Nintendo emulator licensed under the GPL. Now, whenever I am on the subway I can play Super Mario 3 and remember of simpler times.
    • You can do the same with PocketNES for the Gameboy Advance...

      In fact the only thing I "play" on my GBA is my ebook reader [stored 63 or so full length texts from project guttenberg in 20MB] and 8MB of NES games :-)
  • I built myself a nice 2ghz system - and bought myself a dell Axim - I find myself gaming more often with the free Missle command program than I do with all my other software.

    I DID spend a few hundred dollars when I was a kid playing the game - and this version is better than the atari's version of missle command.

    I hadn't noticed I was doing so till this article got posted. Thanks for pointing out my 260.00 Axim is entertaining me more than my thousand dollar computer ;/
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I saw N-Gage mentioned so many times, it made me want to puke. Damn, what is happening to the New York Times?

    Pretty obvious story: People want mobile timekiller = turn to simple games on mobile devices.

    I still don't see gaming becoming really big on cellphones, mostly because there aren't too many people who can afford to pay $299 for a cellphone that has pretty games. Give me Tetris and Snake and I'm good to go on my $40 cellphone.

    • No it is not product placement.
      It is about the power of being close.

      Just think about what the mainstream inhabitant of the developed world - be it female or male - carries in the pocket leaving home:
      - Keys
      - Money and ID card
      - mobile (cell phone)

      So mobiles are closer to the average population than PCs or Handhelds (that's why MSFT _has_ to enter the market of mobile phones).

      Plus: People grown up on Gameboy are likely to appreciate a gameboy rolled into a mobile and use it.

      N'Gage is definetely worth a try
  • From the wildtangent website when I try to play a game: "The Web Driver currently only supports Windows-based operating systems. If you would like to access our content," {sic} Woohoo fun. I can't play.
  • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:27PM (#6308431)
    The game I like to play didn't cost anybody a dime to develop, has been passed down from generation to generation, and when finished, provides ample amounts of satisfaction.

    It's called... Spank The Monkey

    "Son! Don't do that, you'll go blind!"
    "Dad...I'm over here..."
  • When things like JSR 184 [] "come of age". The "classic" games of 2006 could a quick game of network Quake while you wait for your bus.
  • by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:31PM (#6308446) Homepage
    Smaller scale games also provide a better platform for innovative games because they can be the product of a single person or a very close knit team. On huge budget games for PC's or Consoles, it's not uncommon for graphic artists and programmers to meet each other for the first time at the release party. On small budget games, a single person can closely watch over the game as it develops (or just do everything themselves) to make sure it turns out exactly like they wanted and not "Like Diablo, but in space!"

    This is similar to the innovation that occured back in the first few years of gaming (Atari, Nintendo, etc...), where the systems were simple enough that one or two people could make a game with a fairly limited budget and still have it be really good.
  • Pros and Cons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SmartGamer ( 631767 ) <{ten.llebws} {ta} {remags}> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:36PM (#6308459) Homepage
    Both forms of games- quick "coffee break" arcade-ish uncomplex games, and deep RPGs or involved, epic adventures- have their place, and neither is likely to go away.

    I'm a "Wario Ware" addict. It's a Game Boy Advance collection of no fewer than 210 (actually more) little tiny games with little tiny five-second time limits. The goal is to see how many you can get through before you lose four times, as the games get faster and faster.

    As you can imagine, they're not particularly complex. However, the fast pace of the game (a full set in Red Pig Mode only takes five minutes or so) and utter lack of depth make the game perfect for those little breaks between classes.

    When I actually have time, however, I prefer the more complex games. Advance Wars is one of my favorites; Golden Sun is also up there. But they take a time dedication I don't usually have.

    It's simple why the minigames are taking off: video games have become more accepted among the adult population. (Just ask my Dr. Mario addict mother.) But that adult population generally doesn't have time to get truly involved in a game- so the simple-but-still fun games, so perfect for coffee breaks, are getting played because that's what people have time for.

    I prefer the more complex games, but I rarely have time to actually play them.
    • Re:Pros and Cons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Babbster ( 107076 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `bbabnoraa'> on Friday June 27, 2003 @12:19AM (#6308619) Homepage
      It's simple why the minigames are taking off: video games have become more accepted among the adult population. (Just ask my Dr. Mario addict mother.) But that adult population generally doesn't have time to get truly involved in a game- so the simple-but-still fun games, so perfect for coffee breaks, are getting played because that's what people have time for.

      I think for many it's less a question of time and more one of inclination.

      For example, I'm 31 years old and cut my gaming teeth on the Atari 2600. Most of the games on that machine were simple, like the ones on cell phones. Over time, as systems advanced and I aged with them, games became more and more complex in gameplay [if not themes]. For adults who never got into videogaming while it was still for kids and "gamers," it's a lot harder to jump in and try out the hottest new games for the current consoles. There are not only more buttons (remember when we just had one?) but the designs of many modern games make assumptions about fundamental gaming skills that only a well-designed tutorial mode can overcome. These assumptions are either true in the case of long-time gamers or undaunting to a young person who still assumes that s/he can learn and be good at anything, including any video game.

      A perfect example of this is Neverwinter Nights. I can't imagine someone unfamiliar with RPGs trying to sit down and play that game without reading the manual at least a couple times and probably referring to it constantly while trying to play. On the other hand, people with RPG experience can [just about always] play it right out of the box and really only need to refer to the manual for specific character attributes/skills. While someone might indeed be interested in sitting down and playing NWN for an hour or two a couple times a week, the learning curve is such that busy non-gamers would probably quit rather quickly because their first 10 or more sessions would be spent just trying to get a handle on how to play the game.

      Pac-Man, on the other hand, is understood easily within the first five minutes of play.

      My mother, too, is a puzzle fan. I bought her a Gameboy way back in the day so that she could try Tetris. She loved it and I've been replacing/upgrading her Nintendo handheld ever since. She likes Dr. Mario, Columns Crown and the like but even Chu Chu Rocket is presenting her with some difficulty because it takes a little more time to learn and gain skill. On the Atari 2600, my grandmother liked to play...but only Casino because, again, the learning curve was small since she already knew about card games.

      I'm rambling now, so on to what I think might be my point: As the population that has been playing videogames for years continues to age, there will actually be a decline in the popularity of the more simple games. I think they're experiencing a surge now due simply to the fact that such a large percentage of the population has access to PCs and cell phones where playing videogames for most is a by-product of having equipment that is by and large being used for other purposes. In 20 years, I can envision nearly everyone waiting in an airport terminal playing the future equivalent of a Gameboy and playing all kinds of complex videogames due simply to the fact that those people will be more likely to have grown up with videogames...whether or not that's a good thing is another issue entirely. :)

  • by tenzig_112 ( 213387 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:37PM (#6308463) Homepage
    some of the funniest and most fun stuff I've played recently have been hacks of old SNES ROMS or flash ditties that take modern gaming sensibilities and apply them to arcade classics.

    This BREAKOUT [] clone is pretty funny. It's got a shot clock so if the game goes too slowly, weird things start happening.

    I know a guy working on something he calls "Grand Theft Wagon: Oregon Trail" complete with squirrel killing side missions.

  • Spaced Penguin (Score:3, Informative)

    by lamz ( 60321 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:42PM (#6308482) Homepage Journal
    It's actually meant for kids, but everyone at my work is hooked on Spaced Penguin [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    lets hope they can make a profit with phones instead of abusing other peoples computers with popups,installing more spyware,stealing email,config etc

    report on tangent here []

    can a leopard change its spots ? lets hope so
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:48PM (#6308502)
    Portable gamming is going downhill because of its unhip-ness. Can you picture a 25-year-old pulling out a Game Boy while waiting in line for something? Oh yeah, buy the N-Gage instead. It's cool.
  • by Zenex13 ( 584549 ) <[moc.yalernez] [ta] [xenez]> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:54PM (#6308525) Homepage

    I think you can compare this to non-interactive media, like TV and movies. Movies are expensive and time consuming to produce, but are long, in depth, and have generally have a polished look, while TV shows cost less time and money to produce, lack the polish of movies, and aren't as in depth.

    Compare this to video games. Half-Life 2 or Doom 3 (will) have considerable polish, cost millions (i think), and are longer and in depth. Tetris is cheap to produce, lacks polish, but is short and fun anyway.

    The point is, if TV and movies are any indication, complex and simple games will both become popular, just filling different niches.

  • This isn't directly related (though in many ways it is related on some levels), but I enjoy the fact that MMORPGs demand far less then most modern games when it comes to power. Hence, it is very comfortable to sit back on the couch or relax in the back yard and play a MMORPG on your low-powered $500 used laptop. A round of rousing FPS team killing ....errr...., competitive play, forces me back to my desktop in the bedroom.

    That said, with the advances in PDA power, It isn't out of the question that online

    • I take it you haven't played a modern MMORPG for a while. If you want your wookie to actually look like a wookie in Star Wars Galaxies you some of the newer hardware. I pay $15 a month so my wookies look like wookies. *Laments the fact his laptop can't play SWG.
    • HELLO!? You should clarify that statement, MOST MMORPGs are easy on most CPU systems. half a gig of ram for Everquest? Fuck that.
    • More directly related... in Magicosm we're planning to integrate with other services so we can be an MMORPG that allows casual play.

      For example, we will run an IRC server that you can contact to log into your guild or town chat group, let you accept /tells over ICQ/AIM/MSN/etc, get in-game letters as email, queue up crafting & merchanting over a web interface, etc. Much of this won't be available at release time due to limited resources, but some will, and it should all come quickly after we start mak
  • Needs to have at least a Super Nailgun to get me to try it..
  • Are there any chess applications available for mobile or pda/mobile combo that allow you to play a game of chess against someone on his or her own mobile? That is, with a visual representation of the current state of the game on an on-screen chess board, rather than just relaying the moves to one another.

    Allow no time play to have a game go over the course of the day. The opponent is dialed up and sent the move you've decided to make (e.g. Nc3).

    Allow a quick timed game to be played, for example, over brea
    • Hi!

      I'm from the Java-Chess opensource project, and one of our tasks is to port some of our software to J2ME. You can see some very early sources running in the screenshot, attached to this message: 10 []
      I guess, the best way to transmit the moves would be WMA, but this won't be available until MIDP 2 is more popular.
      BTW: any help is appreciated! Visit [] for more details.

      Ciao, Andreas
      • I guess, the best way to transmit the moves would be WMA, but this won't be available until MIDP 2 is more popular.

        I certainly wouldn't wait for MIDP2.0 to become popular, that's a fair while away still (Nokia's 6600 is the first MIDP2.0 phone, I'd give it about six months before the technology becomes more widely accepted, and a couple years before it becomes ubiquitous for Java phones).

        You could do it easily using a central server, making http connections to it when you make a move (passing the appr
  • Nice title (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2003 @12:15AM (#6308606)
    "The Rise of Casual and Mobile Gaming"

    Oh yes... I play casual games all the time. I play lots of different games as they're all the same to me. I get everything I want out of one, "finishing" it, then I move on to the next. Sometimes I play a couple games at once over a certain period of time, trying to get a feel of which one I want to play more.

    Not only that, but I just got into "group gaming," where I get to meet a bunch of other gamers like me and we play each other in groups of 3 or more. You should have seen this one time when we all played the same game, like 3 of us at once. We were logged in at different consoles but it was fun nonetheless.

    If I ever find the right game, I want to try tantric gaming, so I can get more of a lasting and satisfying and "close" experience when I play. But that demands I find the right game that I can trust and stay with for a longer time than I'm used to. I just don't know if I have that kind of time and patience.

    And to other casual gamers, make sure you are careful. Don't buy games that aren't shrink-wrapped or you might infect your system with a nasty virus!
  • I can completely relate to this. I don't have the time to play games at home. That time is reserved for homework and I know if i start playing a game I'm going to play a lot longer than 5 minutes. Plus I've never been a big fan of 3D shooters or roll playing games. But with my Zaurus I can play Super Mario Bros 3 to my hearts content any time I have to wait for something. I'd call Zfceu one of the killer apps for the Zaurus.
  • hardware reality (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mattite ( 526549 )

    Cellphone and PDA games are nice, but if you could play (insert favorite 3d game) on your handheld, wouldn't you? Of course people defer to simpler games on the go! It's not as if mobile phones have the computing power necessary to render Quake III, and most laptops do not come with top of the line video. At the current point in off-the-shelf technology, mobile devices simply aren't designed for demanding, 3d capable games. Maybe in the future. Who knows?

  • by dameron ( 307970 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @12:45AM (#6308737)

    Wizard, by S.A. Moore and Steven Luedders, and release (eventually) by EA in the mid 1980's is one of the best climbing games ever. It runs like a dream on my 300Mhz Axim with Pocket 64 from It's 171K in D64 format and the developers would probably -LOVE- getting a single dollar from this "property". In general C64 games run very well on modern mobile devices and fit the screen dimensions nicely too.

    To be honest, I'd rather play a well crafted C64 game (like Wizard's Crown or the abovementioned Wizard, or any text adventure) on my Axim than even think about a modern game that'd use a great deal more memory and resources to battle nicely rendered gorillas...

    It's just amazing, really, how much the C64 programmers got out of the hardware, and how effectively the emulator folk have translated that to the mobile market.

    Druid: 1

    Is a fantastic game.

    Trust me, if you can find a C64 emulator for your platform then by all means explore some of the forgotten gems of the past.

  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @01:05AM (#6308808) Homepage Journal
    Not that portable gaming is of a lower quality, but the lower expectations can allow for some low-budget, innovative titles. Apart from the Activision Anthology for the PS2, my last dozen mainstream retail video games purchases were all for the GBA. (Additionally I've purchased three "new" -- previously unreleased prototypes of -- Atari 2600 games) This is mostly because the limited development environment (more or less) forces the designers to include decent gameplay, or they have nothing.
  • by apetime ( 544206 ) < a i l . c om> on Friday June 27, 2003 @02:41AM (#6309043)
    It sort of surprises me that cell phone games are becoming popular in North America, but I suppose it all just comes down to how advanced cell phones are becoming.

    Here in Japan, games on cell phones have been around since before the first Java enabled phones came out two years ago, but they've really exploded since then. It used to be that before, when you saw a high school kid on the train mashing the buttons on their phone, they were entering a mail with their super fast thumb-typing . Now, it's more likely that their playing a game of Tetris. It never occurred to me that it would catch on in North America though, cos the average Tokyoite spends 2 hours a day on the train, sleeping or staring off into space, but Americans mostly commute by car, which requires both eyes and at least one hand to do safely. I think it'd be interesting to see how usage patterns differ between North Americans, Japanese, and Europeans.

  • The reason the games are cheap is that the space is limited so the complexity is reduced. This will not last for long. 12 months ago the max size was 30kb, its already 64kb and rising. With the addition of elements like SMS, Bluetooth ontop of network availability games will become more complex and therefore cost more to develop. 3D games will be on devices soon (they already are in Japan) and that brings more complexity.

    This is the biggest challenge to the Gameboy market as it represents real volume
  • Doom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cackmobile ( 182667 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @06:12AM (#6309554) Journal
    I remember a while ago someone ported doom to a phone. I think this would be the besst. Imagine sitting on a train/bus playing multiplayer doom with random people. Your phone could send out a broadcast via bluetooth or somesuch, asking people if they wanna play. Then wooshka fragging that guy in the pinstripe suit. Can't wait.
  • A wireless game can cost $40,000 and take a few months to develop, while full-fledged PC and console games can cost $5 million to $10 million and take years to deliver

    Does this mean I shouldn't hold my breath for the day when I can play "Duke Nukem Forever" on my mobile phone?

  • I agree that this phenomenon of simple gaming is increasing but I think it is only because of the constraints of the technology. The only games available on the bus are the ones in my phone (or previously in my Pilot PDA) and both are just timewasters because there is nothing better. I don't want to carry a book around with me all the time and I do not yet have a suitable "book" presence in my phone and so I can't read (which would probably be my preference) so I play a few minutes of tetris or the qix cl
  • Retro Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stapedium ( 228055 ) <sareyes&serous,med,buffalo,edu> on Friday June 27, 2003 @07:36AM (#6309754) Journal
    This is where all those classics will show up in the next two or three years. This is good and bad news. Good news: you may actually be able to find your old favorites and play them for a quarter on your cell phone. Bad news: these games are ecnimically viable again so there is no way you can make an argument that those ROMS you downloaded are for "historical preservation purposes". Worse yet, if comanies start making real money on these cell phone arcades with retro games, you can expect a crackdown on all those ROM sites.
    • Good news: you may actually be able to find your old favorites and play them for a quarter on your cell phone. Bad news: these games are ecnimically viable again so there is no way you can make an argument that those ROMS you downloaded are for "historical preservation purposes". Worse yet, if comanies start making real money on these cell phone arcades with retro games, you can expect a crackdown on all those ROM sites.

      In case you hadn't noticed, there's already been a big crackdown on ROM sites, and t

  • With excpetion of Video editing and dvd creation type jobs, the only thign about 95 percent of people do that even comes close to pushing the CPU on a modern machine is 3D Gaming types of games. Beyond that, you don't need much to get the job done (ok, almost forgot....complex program compiling needs a bit of power too....but if you don't have it, it just takes longer). Simple games run on a wider range of hardware and you don't have to have the 400 dollar Video Accellerator in order to get acceptable fra
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:33AM (#6310445)
    I much prefer smaller games that I can sit down and play, as opposed to extravagant time wasters in which most of the "play" time is spent wandering around a huge level and trying to figure what to do next (good examples are just about anything recent from Nintendo: Metroid, Star Fox Adventures, Mario Sunshine, Zelda). But just because large, modern games have failed in a number of ways isn't an excuse to rewind to the stale games of yesteryear.

    Go to or or any of these kind of sites and what do you see: worm eats things and gets longer games, click on the colored objects and have the items above them fall down games, retro scrolling shooters with the same batch of power-ups. Are we doomed to forever play endless rehashes of these same concepts?

    In short, there's a big gap between these uninspired retreads and the hardcore gamers' games, and that gap is largely empty and unexplored.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.