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What year has been the best for iOS gaming 2nd Edition

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12-20-2012, 02:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Posts: 282
What year has been the best for iOS gaming 2nd Edition

Now that 2012 is about to draw to a close I want to ask this question to the TA community again. What year has been the best for iOS gaming to date?

In 2008, games first started to appear on iDevices. While some of the early attempts at games were a little underwhelming, we did see a few early favorites such as Tap Tap Revenge, TouchGrind, Rolando, Hero of Sparta, Labyrinth, Dropship, and a few others. There were also some disappointments, as the hardware wasn't quite ready to handle the ways early developers pushed it, so as a result we got disappointments like Super Monkey Ball.

In 2009, the momentum began to pick up. Many of 08's games recieved sequels in 09. Titles such as Rolando 2, Tap Tap Revenge 2, and Labyrinth 2 gave the iPhone it's first true platform-exclusive franchises. Three of the most iconic iDevice games, Doodle Jump, Pocket God, and Angry Birds, were all released in 2009. Angry Birds, the latter of these games, was eventually ported to other major platforms, including consoles. These games are still receiving updates as we speak, which gives the platform a distinct edge compared to other handhelds because the games were updated to include new content. These games also made casual and some hardcore gamers take notice of the platform.

And speaking of hardcore gaming, the industry's AAA publishers, such as Square Enix, Activision, and EA, started to provide installments in their core franchises, such as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Call of Duty Zombies, and Rock Band, to the iPhone. By the end of 2009, the iPhone was now competing head-to-head with the DS and PSP.

Of course, not everything was peachy-keen in 2009.In the middle of the year, Apple introduced in-app purchases. While at first an app had to be paid in order to use in-app purchases, it didn’t take long for Apple to rescind that rule and allow free apps to have iAP, opening the floodgates for a highly criticized new business model: Freemium games. Early titles such as Eliminate and Touch Pets Dogs made players purchase upgrades if they wanted to continue playing. The trend continued into 2010, with titles such as We Rule, GodFinger, and Capcom Arcade.

In 2010, a brand new addition to the iDevice family was introduced: the iPad, essentially a large-screen version of the devices that had come before it. This increased the market for Applications, and developers could charge more for the iPad version if they wanted to, but also add new features that simply weren't possible on the smaller screens. More hardcore franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk, and Rayman, also made their way to the iDevices, ported from their respective consoles.

2010 saw some of the biggest original titles hit the iDevices. Chaos Rings, a title from Square Enix, officially broke the $9.99 price barrier and became a critical and commercial hit, proving that a market for premium productions was there as long as the developer brought their A-game along with them (and in the case of Chaos Rings, they did). Many other heavy original titles, such as Warpgate, Aralon Sword and Shadow, Real Racing 2, and Infinity Blade, also made their way to the iDevices.

2010 also saw the release of the iPhone 4, with its signature "Retina Display", allowing for higher resolution graphics than ever before. Many developers were forced to scramble and rebuild their assets so they looked even better on the display. In addition, Apple released their Game Center, which allowed deveolpers to once-and-for-all use a fully-integrated social networking and achievements system for their games.

2010 also added another new face to its league of Casual Evergreens- Cut the Rope, a simple but addicting physics puzzle game, debuted in October, and with it, its adorable green alien soon became another mascot for the iDevice platforms.

There were some disappointments in 2010. Tapulous’ Riddim Ribbon turned out to be a massive flop, and even it's "reboot" later in the year ultimately couldn't save it. The loss of Riddim Ribbon forced Tapulous, one of the early leading developers for the platform, to be bought out by Disney. Mirror's Edge, while a fun game, suffered an agonizing five-month delay in it's coming to the smaller iDevices compared to it's iPad version, despite being the first version announced. In addition, people were getting even more wary with the continuous separation of iOS capable devices. But overall, 2010 mostly continued where 2009 left off- bigger and better games, pushing the hardware even harder than before.

2011 continued the trend of bigger and better that had begun in 2010. More games started to use the Unreal Engine, first introduced at the end of 2010 with Infinity Blade. This game engine, a popular one on consoles and PC, brought iOS graphics closer to console quality than ever before. A few games that used this engine included Dream:scape, The Dark Meadow, Batman Arkham City, Infinity Blade II, and Epoch.

2011 also added three new mascot-worthy iOS games to the platform, all of which are still being imitated today. Jetpack Joyride was an endless game with a mission-based experience system that made it really addictive, and many, many titles that came afterwards still use it today, including Skylanders Cloud Patrol and Punch Quest. After several false starts, Where's My Water? finally allowed Disney to have it's own iOS star: a cute alligator named Swampy. Where's My Water was so popular that it led to both a web series and a “Phineas and Ferb”-themed spinoff, "Where's My Perry?". Last, but not least, Temple Run took the endless runner genre forward into 3-D, and it hasn't looked back since. In addition, it FINALLY got freemium game balance right, combining addictive gameplay that's fun right off the bat with realistically achievable power-ups without having to pay. Temple Run's popularity led to a Pixar-themed spinoff based on their recent film "Brave". Other popular iOS classics included Tiny Wings, Tiny Tower, and Superbrothers:Sword and Sworcery EP, though that last one was a bit too arty for some tastes.

As fun as these games were for both casual and core players, gamers looking for more console franchises certainly weren't left out. Before 2011 was out, Dead Space, Sonic CD, FIFA 12, Sid Meier's PIRATES! and many more big-name games made their way to iOS. With the power of these devices increasing by the year, all of these games came much closer to the console versions than was ever thought possible.

Two major events shook up the iOS world in 2011. First was the introduction of the iPhone 4S, arguably the least substantial upgrade between iOS generations to date. Apple finally broke their yearly release cycle and did not release the phone until October, a full four months after their traditional June launch. Many, many iOS owners, including myself were hoping for the iPhone 5 to arrive, but sadly that wouldn't happen.
In March of that year, the iPad 2 was also released. A bigger, badder, and better version of the original, the 2 added features such as a front-facing camera that made it a more attractive option for prospective buyers.

The second major event was the passing of Apple's founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, only a day after introducing the 4S. Jobs was a big part of Apple's culture and PR, and his presentations were always a joy to watch, even if the products themselves weren't always exciting. Jobs' passing sent shockwaves throughout the entire electronics industry, in perhaps the biggest public death since Michael Jackson's in 2009. Jobs will forever be missed by those who owned and loved any Apple products.

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