Mobile Games – The 10 Most Innovative Titles of 2008

The most innovative mobile games are rarely the best-selling, and technical innovation often comes at the expense of great gameplay. Yet innovation is what drives gaming forward. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most innovative mobile games that were released in 2008, including iPhone, N-Gage, Java and iPod titles.

1. Reset Generation (Nokia)

Platform: N-Gage

Reset Generation scored a perfect 10 when reviewed on Pocket Gamer. The spin-off Facebook version was one aspect, but it was the wider Web 2.0 aspects around that which truly impressed, with players able to embed their profile in blogs and social networking profiles and view replays of any game played online via a widget.

2. Spore Origins (EA Mobile)

Platform: Java / iPhone

Sensibly opting against trying to cram the entire Spore PC game into mobile form, EA Mobile focused on the relatively simple cell stage of the game. The innovation came with the connectivity in the Java version, allowing players to customise their spore throughout the game, then upload it to EA’s server and fight asynchronous battles against those of other players – complete with a website tracking their stats.

3. Super Boom Boom 2: Space Adventure (Gamevil)

Platform: Java

Super Boom Boom 2 let players purchase virtual ‘G-Points’ which could then be spent on extra levels, items and mini-games. It’s not the only Gamevil game to use this feature in Korea, but in the west it’s a marker of what may be to come in 2009.

4. Rally Master Pro (Fishlabs)

Platform: Java

Rally Master Pro is probably the best looking mobile racing game yet. But its innovation was as much about connectivity and some of the distribution models behind it. For example, publisher Fishlabs seeded the game on various pirate websites, allowing people to download and install it for free in an effort to rapidly build a community of players. That went hand-in-hand with the way players paid to download extra tracks for the game, through a system of credits on the myFishlabs community.

5. Chess with Friends (Newtoy)

Platform: iPhone

Chess with Friends is an important game in showing what’s possible with iPhone (and, indeed, connected mobile games on any platform). Gameplay is entirely asynchronous, so you make your move and then wait for your opponent to make theirs at their leisure – which could take seconds, hours or days. But you can have several games going at once, ensuring there’s likely a move to play whenever you fire up the game.

6. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (THQ Wireless)

Platform: Java / N-Gage

The Force Unleashed makes it into this list for Universomo’s imaginative approach to the controls, based on tracing symbols on the keypad to perform attacks. Not all gamers warmed to the idea, but it’s praiseworthy for seeking a control mechanic that’s not a poor relation to console controls and which fits well with the game’s subject material. In case you’re wondering, yes, the game itself was really good, too.

7. TV Show King Online (Gameloft)

Platform: iPhone

The concept behind TV Show King Online isn’t innovative – it’s essentially PlayStation quiz franchise Buzz!. It’s the connected features that make this so interesting, with the ability to play real-time quizzes over the network, as well as uploading scores.

8. Scene It? (Namco Bandai)

Platform: Java

Here the innovation came in the weekly question packs that players could download to keep their interest up. By September, more than 26 million questions had been downloaded in this way – and since this is the US, the publisher is reaping the rewards of that in longer subscriptions. Namco Bandai launched four new puzzle categories for the game in September, to further freshen up the experience for players.

9. Tap Tap Revenge (Tapulous)

Platform: iPhone

What started as a free music game for jailbroken iPhones has now become the premier iPhone music game brand. The ability to ‘download’ songs from within the game – a clever technical workaround, since Apple doesn’t officially allow it – was one feature. Persuading major labels like EMI to make songs available for the game was another. Plus there’s multiplayer and community features being built around the core game.

10. UEFA Euro 2008 (EA Mobile)

Platform: Java

You could see EA’s licence to make a football game based on the Euro 2008 tournament as an obvious cash-in. Instead, they took the opportunity to enhance the gameplay, introducing skill bars used when players want to shoot, cross, tackle or perform skill moves. The idea was to test a control mechanic that would be more accessible than traditional fiddly button-pressing. It worked well, with some elements making it into the next FIFA game.

Should You Buy Mobile Games?

The mobile has changed rapidly from being just a communicating device to send and receive calls to being a complete entertainment, information and communication device. Of course, this is possible because of the several features, products and software that can be installed on a cell phone, like the mobile games. If you are wondering whether you should buy them or not, keep these aspects in mind:

You May Not Like Mobile Gaming:

Gaming on the go is unlike other features and services on the mobile. Unless you have a large screen mobile with great intuitive controls, you may not like it as compared to the actual desktop or console gaming. Like everything else, you can upgrade your  gaming experience by investing in a higher end phone, which brings us to the next point.

Would You Invest in a Mobile Gaming Device?

If you remember the NGAGE, which arguably the first mobile  that was made with gaming in mind, you would also remember that it was quite expensive when it was first released. Not only was the device expensive, it even has specific software and services which needed to be installed and activated. All this may work out quite expensive for anybody – so you should decide whether you would like to invest in a high end mobile that allows you to play good  games.

Do You Have Time for Mobile Gaming?

Another important aspect to remember is whether you have time for it.  It’s another thing to listen to music or even browse the net on your phone, but when it comes to playing games on the mobile, you need single, dedicated attention to the game – which might be possible for all of us all the time while we are traveling. Therefore, depending on the amount of time that you will have to spend on mobile gaming, you should decide whether you wish to spend money on mobile games.

Mobile Games are Expensive:

There are several games for mobiles that are free, but they are nothing compared games made by the bigger companies which offer complete user experiences – and those are quite expensive. Once you get hooked onto these mobile games, you will find it very difficult to like or even play the other free games that are available. So, make sure that you are willing to spend a considerable amount of money per if you wish to be a part of the mobile gaming scenario.

The Rising Mobile Gaming Fever

When you have a lot of time to kill or you are waiting in a long queue or you need a break from the work, the best option is to play a nice entertaining game on your mobile. These days, you’ll find more adults than teens interacting with mobile games. Consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 not only download more games than any other age group, but also play and purchase them more. Female gamers are also starting to become a part of the mobile gaming community.

Mobile gaming is so popular that people have actually become addicted to them. One of the primary reasons why mobile games are in high demand is the casual, comfortable and interactive gaming engagement they provide. The gaming industry is constantly working on creating innovative games with intricate and enhanced gaming features. They are constantly struggling to make this addiction a complete burning passion for people.

There are variety of mobile games found in different categories of racing games, puzzle/logic/skill games, action games, arcade games, role playing games, card and casino games, adventure games, strategy games and lifestyle games. To match different people’s needs, developers design single player or multi player games based on various technologies that include (eg. Embedded games, SMS/MMS games, browsing games, J2ME games, BREW games and native OS games.

One major problem faced by the publishers and developers of mobile game is describing a game in such a way that it attracts the customer to make the purchasing decision. They are mainly sold through network carriers / operator’s portal/ distributors by attracting user by their text descriptions and appealing screenshots. There are some well known and established play patterns that decrease the perceived level of risk for the buyer which includes (game play mechanics that are instantly recognizable) such as Tetris, Space Invaders or Poker.

On the other hand, platforms and technologies for mobile gaming have significantly improved. The available memory size, processor capacity, display size and resolution on mobile phones have all improved with time thus enhancing the overall gaming experience for the user. Nowadays users find latest interesting java games already fitted in mobile phones at the time of manufacturing. Many websites provide mobile games along with their free/trial options, allowing end users to play it for some time and if they like it they easily can purchase it. Apart from these mobile games can be also downloaded by using infrared and Bluetooth.

Juniper Research indicates that end user generated revenues for both one-time downloads and subscription/rentals of mobile games give a substantial market of $5bn in 2007 and it is expected to grow nearly to $16bn by the end of 2012 . Mobile gaming industry is not only creating numerous opportunities for game publishers and game developers but also opening new doors of great entertainment for users.