iPhone Gaming Through The Years
Peter Donnell / 3 years ago
In 2007, Tony Blair and John Howard, the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Australia respectively, left their positions of power and bought their rule to an end. Also coming to end, was JK Rowling’s vastly successful series of Books about a young wizard as Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows was released to critical acclaim. Just starting out in the world however, was a momentous industry shifting, device that would turn life, and the tech world in particular, upside down on itself.
Remarkably, the iPhone is nine years old this year. Having made its revolutionary debut back in 2007, time has flown by and with every constantly updating evolution, this personal little device keeps improving year upon year.
Back when we first met the iPhone as a newly born, Androids hadn’t even been invented yet, leaving BlackBerrys as THE phones to have. How distant that all seems now, a device that gives up over half of it face space for real buttons. At the same time in 2007, the newly released Wii, was also blowing minds with something as simple as tennis being played with an entirely disconnected remote whose sensors could follow its user’s actions, making it seem like futuristic visions were at last being realised.
While the Wii didn’t quite hail in the new age of interactivity we might have expected, it did reintroduce proper family friendly gaming as its legacy. However, the legacy left behind by the year’s other huge technical release did change its landscape forever. With its then unique multi touch interface, the iPhone ushered in the smooth pinch-to-zoom era of smartphones and smartphone gaming.
In August that year, the first native iPhone game, Lights Off, was released, preceding the then unreleased App Store. It was basically a clone of the old electronic version of itself and the only way to access it was to install the game on to your iPhone. What it achieved, however, was to provide a premonition of things to come for using the iPhone as a gaming device.
Of course, despite the game mentioned above, it was the launch of the App Store that really brought about a boom in mobile gaming. Games like Sega’s Super Monkey Ball which today costs around 69 pence but, on release in 2008, would cost its user £5.99. Here was Sega, having withdrawn from the console market, leaving behind Microsoft and Sony to scrap it out, being the first big developer to really recognise, and then dedicate their product to, the uniquely emerging smartphone features, in this particular case, tilting controls.
Nowadays of course, the gameplay on an iPhone is truly slick and amazing and can be enjoyed anywhere. The sheer power of the engine allows for a sleek and smooth game speed, while its graphics, high resolution screen and beautifully sleek design all allow for gaming that is both beautiful and easy and a genuine rival market to video games.
We couldn’t do this without mentioning Angry Birds which, while it might now seem like one of the most annoying inventions ever but was, in its day, truly glorious and really capitalised on touchscreen gaming. Particularly the sweet slingshot movement that propels the birds across the screen, powered by a simple finger pull back motion.
These new capabilities, have allowed other industries to claim their slice of the iPhone market and utilise its (and now Android’s) key features. For instance, recognising that people like to play casino and poker games whenever they get the chance, the online casino industry, as well as the poker and bookmaking websites, were all quick to recognise that there was a niche in the market for people who wanted to gamble immediately and not have to wait until they get back home and login.
When they first started out, gambling apps were pretty basic, offering only a very limited number of functions. For example, to make a more complicated bet, other than a straight forward single on an outcome, the user would be expected to navigate their way back to their host’s main website. Now though, thankfully, that has all changed significantly.
Now, by default, and largely thanks to the iPhone, apps routinely offer live scores and results as well as news and betting tips, casino games and poker tournaments. In an example of how big mobile gaming has become, the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars, have recently announced Duel, a poker game especially designed for smartphones, where users can play long distance, one-on-one poker without time restraints.
Then there’s Roulette, playable on various iPhone gaming apps, which employs touchscreen functions to play the game, as does slots. Use your touch screen controls to tap spin, take your turn or spin the reel. For anyone that worries that important details may be lost on such a small screen, app developers take such things into consideration when developing the app and, despite Android having the larger market share, gambling operators often prioritise iOS devices in development stages such is their brilliance for their business models.
It’s funny to think how far we’ve come in these past nine years, but we can surely all appreciate the turning point that was the heralding of that first generation iPhone. Without its success, iPads, Android tablets or phones, in fact touch screen game systems at all, wouldn’t be here now. And it’s funnier still, how things that once amazed us are things we now take for granted, which leaves us wondering – what next?