Just joined the ranks of the iPad-toting elites, and the first few hours so far have been pretty cool.
I’m looking forward to reading a ton on this thing, writing the occasional post, and of course, playing lots and lots of games.
Nate and I have chatted on multiple occasions about the future of the portable game console, and the role of the Nintendo DSes and Sony PSPs in a world where Angry Birds is the most popular mobile game. Nate maintains that there will always be a place in the market (and his heart) for a dedicated gaming handheld, even if he spends most of the time playing it on the couch in front of his PS3.
Far be it from me to sing the mourning song for the handheld console (I do own a 3DS), if for no other reason than the economics involved in a video game hardware company trying to make a serious play in the smartphone/tablet market. But playing Words With Friends for 20 minutes on the iPad has been remarkably pleasant in a way few games have been lately.
Part of it is probably the novelty of playing on an iPad, dragging tiles and shaking the thing to scramble my titles, and so on. There’s also the Facebook Friend Finder features that are new to my last WWF play sesh (which was about 200 days ago, apparently), which means I can challenge my good buddies from Back in the Day (hi Evan) with just a slide and a tap.
But both of these are part of the overall charm of non-dedicated games machines, which is that non-dedicated gamers might still be playing games every now and then on them, and now I can play with them. Even if it means ruining WWF for my lovely girlfriend because I take my games, even casual games, seriously.
I was plenty vigilant about keeping my 3DS with me at E3 last week. However, the amount of time I spent actually playing games was negligible compared to the time I spent sorting through StreetPass data. I don’t even care about the stuff you get from playing the StreetPass games. I have my cat ears already! But the weird unsolicited-yet-unthreatening exchange of personal data was charming, even if the actual game that fueled it was comparable to Nintendo’s Wii U “experiences”.
I look forward to plumbing the depths (and heights) of the iPad gaming library, starting with Swords & Sworcery. But while I love me some Street Fighter, I’m particularly intrigued to see how a device as social and connected as this iPad can create such a compelling game experience without the exhaustive, meticulous attention to quality game design that a major console game would get. What happens when a mobile, social game gets its first Miyamoto, Wright, Spector, etc.?