219: An Arcade in Your Pocket

An Arcade in Your Pocket

Beyond keeping a vintage machine in museum quality, what's the best way to offer older games to new players? For many developers, the answer is literally in the palm of their hands: the iPhone. Les Chappell looks at how developers are using the sleek portable device to keep retro games alive.

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Am I the only one who thinks 3D Realms' priority should be getting Duke Nukem Forever finished, as opposed to making an iPhone follow-up to Duke 3D? I realise that iPhone games are a lot easier to make, but, at the risk of beating a dead horse, they've been working on DNF for twelve years now.

Anachronism:
Am I the only one who thinks 3D Realms' priority should be getting Duke Nukem Forever finished, as opposed to making an iPhone follow-up to Duke 3D? I realise that iPhone games are a lot easier to make, but, at the risk of beating a dead horse, they've been working on DNF for twelve years now.

They aren't working on DNF anymore, so they say. But I wouldnt be surprised to see elements of what they did manage to complete put into a just for iPhone Duke game.
As for the C64 emulator for the iPhone, I thought one of the coolest elements in a demo I saw was being able to do some Basic programming. Now they are taking it away. See if I ever get an iPhone now. Dicks.

I think there should be at least a mention of Zodttd in this article. That guy has done a lot for retrogaming on the iPhone, creating or porting emulators for almost every system the iphone could run.

If they tried really damn hard, made newer, more interesting games, I think they could pull it off. Remember, in Japan the arcades are still very very popular. Think of the possibilities in America. We could bring back the golden age of gaming again!

Anything that keeps the classics alive is always good in my book. However, as an anti-Apple-stuff guy I'm continually disappointed when iPhone apps don't get ported to other platforms like, say, Android. I'd love to play Space Ace or Dragon's Lair on my G1! Until then, there's still MAME and DAPHNE.

Oddly they keep it to a small segment of the population instead of branching it out to other devices/systems. Bravo, arcades are still dead.

Maybe when I get a bundle on my console, sort of like what Sega did, maybe I'll grab it. Until then, sorry. My phone is for making calls, not playing video games.

I'd buy into iphone/ipod-touch if they released a proper controller "sleeve" or "snap-on" that has at least nub controls or something as tilt and touch screen alone just don't cut it for many games.

I know that defeats the whole purpose of the iphone but what appeals to me is small-low development cost games at REASONABLE PRICES. I mean over here in ole' blighty DS games cost 30-35 new, that's $50 to $58 for a game with the equivalent graphics of a game from 1995, some are even direct ports of games from pre-1995.

This is the one thing I agree with Apple on, sell software cheap, minimal distribution costs and LOTS OF IT.

DS games, IMHO best of all the portable consoles but:

Treblaine:
I'd buy into iphone/ipod-touch if they released a proper controller "sleeve" or "snap-on" that has at least nub controls or something as tilt and touch screen alone just don't cut it for many games.

This.

People can talk as much as they want about how the iPhone 3GS is a powerful platform, capable of pushing polygons, and perfect for porting old games, but the vast majority of games designed with buttons and a D-Pad in mind won't work without. Touchscreen Sonic just ain't capable of being a people pleaser.

P.S. Thanks

The question I'd like to ask is, "what makes the iPhone a better choice than any other phone for porting arcade games over, and what makes it a desirable choice at all?" Apart from the recent domination of the iPhone in the smartphone market, which I believe says more about the advertising of Apple than the quality of the phone, many of the distinctive features of the iPhone could actually be considered disadvantages of the platform.

The touch screen, which is a capacitative design and not backed up by any buttons, is a distinctive feature of the iPhone platform which works against it when it comes to game design. Without the tactile feedback that a button can provide, or even any haptic feedback to compensate, playing games on the iPhone can soon become awkward and frustrating. The language which the iPhone uses, Objective-C, which dates back to Steve Jobs' time at NeXTSTEP, is execrable. The App Store is restrictive, and the battery life is weak even among some other touch-screen smartphones, despite improvements made in the 3GS model.

At this point, it might be worth considering why developers put up with the platform at all, when it has such visible flaws. It boils down to customers, as it always does. The consumer doesn't typically concern himself with the difficulties of the developer, and only sees the end-result. It's why the PlayStation 2 managed to have such success, despite having an esoteric hardware layout.

My thoughts on the matter? It may be popular, but that sure doesn't make it a good phone.

 

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