Remember back when mobile games were fun guys?
I do. I still remember one of the first times I played a “mobile game”. I was in a freshman Gen Ed class with about 400 other students, probably bored out of my mind. So I pulled out my iPod Touch (yep, back then even I didn’t have an iPhone), and downloaded the #1 app on the App Store: Angry Birds. Fast forward to the end of that first semester of college, and I had logged probably 40 hours in various mobile games, with a 1.3 GPA to show for it. That is true, that is not a lie. I had to get a 3.9 GPA the next semester to keep all my grants and scholarships. And I did.
But let’s take a nostalgia trip, shall we? Remember these?
What a collection right? And there are many others that I didn’t include in the GIF collage that are incredible like Monument Valley, Clash of Clans, Infinity Blade, Peggle, Bloons Tower Defense, Words With Friends, and Trivia Crack. The list of these early mobile titles goes on and on. But over the years, I think everyone can agree that the mobile game market is a shell of its former self. I used to be able to load up the App Store every week and see some new innovative and addicting game. I even remember getting chewed out mid-class by an engineering professor because I was playing Flappy Bird in the 2nd row of a senior engineering course and 5-6 students behind me were watching the game instead of paying attention. Well, Dr. Stevens, maybe if you didn’t ramble on and on like a fucking textbook for an hour and a half about something that won’t even be on the exam then they wouldn’t be watching me crush it at the most popular game of the month.
Now, I download the most popular game of the week and I’m like:
It really sucks. All those simple free games with a 60-second gameplay loop are being bogged down by overadvertising. I literally just downloaded today’s top free game, Off the Rails 3D, and in 5 minutes of playing the game, I spent 3 minutes and 38 seconds watching ads. I get that you are releasing a game to make money, but like Justin Timberlake said when he founded Facebook “[your game] is cool. That’s what it’s got going for it. You don’t want to ruin it with ads because ads aren’t cool.“
Then, you have the games that charge you upfront to play them. Back when I was a kid (lol), these games would cost anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99 to play, and the big selling point was they were without ads. Now, they’re about $4.99 on average and THEY STILL HAVE ADS. WHAT IN THE FUCK.
Then you have some games with almost no advertising…sort of. I had a friend recently tell me to review this game called Raid: Shadow Legends. He said that a lot of people on Runescape talk about this game and say it’s a ton of fun. So, naturally, I tried it out. And yea, Raid: Shadow Legends is kinda fun…for the first 10 minutes you play it. Then, you realize that it’s really just a freemium turn-based RPG that you’ve seen a million times already with different franchises like Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes and Marvel Strike Force. I mean, look at these gameplay snapshots. They’re literally the same game.
(Side note: All 3 games are made by different developers. There are 3 different mobile game studios that are creating and managing the exact same fucking game. Isn’t that nuts?)
You may be asking “what is a freemium game?” Well, it’s like Clash of Clans where you can technically play the game for free but they also offer in-game microtransactions that you can use to buy loot boxes, upgrades for your characters, and currency that allows you to skip through hard battles. You don’t have to use these upgrades, but you’ll end up waiting days and days for your daily bonuses to add up so you have a CHANCE to win that battle you’ve been struggling with for weeks.
Oh, and in case you forgot, the game has in-game microtransactions. When you load the game you’ll be spammed with about 8 straight ads for their “special offers”, and after each battle attempt, you’ll get spammed with at least 2. And they make these almost walls in the game where these ads start to fuck with you psychologically. “I mean, it’s only $5 and they do give you 3 free spins…ok fuck it let’s just do it this one time.” And then before you know it you have to eat ramen for a month because you spent $200 on loot boxes with a 3.4% chance of hitting that legendary edition of Darth Vader.
Look, I’m not saying all mobile games are bad. More recent games like Clash Royale, Florence, GRIS, and Pokemon GO are perfect examples that this platform is still a place for great works of art. I guess what I’m trying to say is I wish I could go back to the days where mobile developers weren’t all a bunch of greedy fucks who only give a shit about making a buck instead of giving me something of quality to play in work meetings.
*end rant*. *deep breath*. Thank god console games don’t struggle with the same thing.