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iPads Everywhere: E3 Highlights Rising Success Of Mobile Gaming

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 13th, 2012

I went to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year for the first time. The event is a sprawling, industry-level spectacle with huge press conferences during the first couple of days and then a ton of booth appointments and special behind-closed-doors meetings for industry insiders and outsiders alike.

The surprising thing to me this year was the prevalence of mobile gaming across all strata of the gaming conference, from heavy hitter console makers like Microsoft to newcomers with tons of cash, like Korean-based WeMade Games. In addition to stalwart, veteran publishers like Disney, EA / Chillingo and Gree, there were iPad and iPhone games on offer from traditional console game companies like Majesco (Legends of Loot, Sci Fi Heroes), Ubisoft (Watch Dogs with cross-play to iPad, Assassin's Creed: Utopia), and Square-Enix (Final Fantasy Dimensions).

Even Microsoft got into the act with SmartGlass, a new initiative that will let users control their Xbox consoles from their iPads, with the potential to interact on a game by game level in the near future. I'm pretty excited about this concept, to be honest.

Similarly, Sony Online Entertainment demoed Planetside 2, a massively multiplayer online first person shooter for the PC, with a killer feature: the iPad app that comes along with it. This app will let users voice chat (!!) in real time (!!!) with other faction members, access maps that are synced with live servers, and see a ton of info about weapons, armor, etc. Pretty darn slick, if you ask me.

And don't get me started about the brobdingnagian and competing mobile publishing booths placed a small walkway apart from each other on the show floor. Juggernaut Gree had a booth bigger than many small countries, with Korean-based newcomer WeMade Games a tiny Angry Birds slingshot distance away. Ignoring the games for a moment, the two companies vied for attention with bright lights, attractively clad women, and - in Gree's case - drink coupons for an on-site bar.

All in all, E3 was a blast, and incredibly instructive. Console makers, PC game publishers, and the folks from Japan and Korea have it figured out: iOS gaming is here to stay.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Posted by Christine Morris on May 22nd, 2009
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: SEGA
Price: $5.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound [rating:5/5]
Game Controls [rating:4/5]
Gameplay [rating:4/5]

Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]


I was both excited and nervous about reviewing this application. I have played quite a few games that follow this trend: Take a successful game with an avid and loyal following from years ago, and bring it to the iPhone. Yeah, winning formula right? Well, plenty have gotten it wrong, and miss the mark by a mile. I can't put my finger on it, but Sonic delights me!

Here are some of the great things about Sonic:

When you click the icon to launch the game - it does exactly that! You pretty much go straight into the game play, you just need to click the screen. Really quick loading. I love that in a game, especially if you are just stealing a few moments to play it.

Also, the music is true to the original and just as cute & perky as always. Let me ask you, is there anything more satisfying than the little jingle ring sound that it makes as you collect them? I think not.

Although the controls of the game do not take into consideration the iPhones accelerometer I didn't mind that. It seemed really natural to play by using the control pad on the left and the jump button on the right. There is the option to play in arcade mode, which essentially gives the game the arcade look. However, this means a smaller screen and larger control area. I can not think why they have or who would use it. Apologies if you do but I don't want a smaller screen when I'm gaming.

The controls are very responsive, more so then what I have used in other games which makes this really playable and takes away the frustration of delayed moves / actions.

The game play is fast, as it should be. At times it did leave me wondering if I actually only moved my little sonic forwards and did nothing else, would I still succeed. It seems that you can. So don't try it.

The graphics are crisp and colourful and there is a nice range of monsters. There are ones you need to avoid on the ground, flying ones, ones that are still and drop down on you, shooting ones and bosses to name a few. There are also a great variety of loops, springs, spikes, platforms, bridges and other areas to negotiate to keep it interesting. (Oh and some totally fun swirly tunnel things where he really picks up speed!)

I played on it until I felt car sick (I wasn't driving) and in the end I did find a few things frustrating.

When all my lives were gone and I had to start again, I wasn't able to continue where I left off. I realize a lot of games are like this but I think maybe for the iPhone platform where game play seems to be more 'dipping in for a play', that this is becoming essential feature in a game. You can continue at the same place if you have to pause or come out of the game so that's good.

There are seven zones for you to play. You get green hill as your first and others include labyrinth. There are also bosses to fight, which I will admit I found a bit disproportionately difficult compared to the journey of getting to the boss.

The game is called Sonic 1 when you have the icon on your device. I am curious to find out if this means that we will be given several incarnations of the game. Will these be as updates, or as separate games to download & pay for? Note on the icon is that it is nice although I would like to see of a bit more iphone'd up. (I want a shiny Sonic.)

Be aware also of the amount of battery life this little cutie chews through. If you're going to be sneaking at work or meetings, be sure you have an extra source of charging with you.

I also feel like Mr Sega corporation should give us all a break and charge us a bit less for it. So many new & upcoming devs are giving us free or low cost apps and I wish the corporates would show us some love too.

Overall I really liked this but there's no one really hardcore selling point other than "Hey - it's Sonic". I guess this might be the true test of a games standing within the universe, that porting it to other platforms and other generations and it still works like magic. It's fast and fun. I like having it on my phone, and in some ways I feel it justifies my geekiness.

Twitterfon Pro

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Christine Morris on May 21st, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THE ONE
If you are a twitter user then this may finally be 'The One'. If you aren't a Twitter user, it's time you logged on. This app rocks them all.
Read The Full Review »

Count of App Store Offerings Tops 1000

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 29th, 2008

In less than a month, the number of items for sale in the iTunes App Store has nearly doubled from 550+ at launch to over 1000.

An interesting trend has been the number of free vs. paid apps.  At launch, free apps dominated the store, now with over 1,000 apps less than 30% of applications are free.