Regular Macworld readers might be aware that I'm something of a part-time gamer. Traditionally this has been something of a sideline because gaming and Apple don't exactly go hand-in-hand, but I figure it gives me a tech interest outside of Cupertino and that has to be a good thing.
Until the iPhone and the App Store came along that is. The rise of the iPhone as a gaming platform, mostly I imagine due to its younger sibling the iPod touch, has been quite astonishing to watch. With unnerving ease Apple seems to have knocked the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP to the sideline and is on its way to becoming the dominant gaming platform.
To say this has come as a surprise to me is an understatement. If you'd have asked me even two years ago if I thought Apple was going to enter the handheld games market I'd have laughed in your face.
John Carmack, the creater of Doom has had plenty to say about Apple and gaming. This little gem sums up what a lot of people think (rightly, or wrongly).
"The truth is Steve Jobs doesn't care about games... He's not a gamer. It's difficult to ask somebody to get behind something they don't really believe in. I mean obviously he believes in the music and the iTunes and that whole side of things, and the media side of things, and he gets it and he pushes it and they do wonderful things with that, but he's not a gamer. That's just the bottom line about it."
You can't help but feel that the sneaking suspicion is that the iPhone's success as a gaming platform has taken Apple by surprise too. After all many developers think that the rapid growth of the App Store took even Apple by surprise (even though they always have confidence in their products). And the number of third-party gaming companies jumping on board has driven the iPhone and iPod touch as a games platform, rather than any specific effort on Apple's part.
There is just one problem. Most of the games on the iPhone are rubbish. I mean really rubbish. There's been a push towards making games that sell for a dollar and are played for a few minutes. Because they only cost 59p and there's no refund mechanism many game manufacturers are making games that are at best a novelty, rather than a real gaming experience.
Most games on the iPhone you really just play for around two minutes before going "meh!"
Even so. There comes a point when any keen gamer will shout "enough! I want a good game on my iPhone. One that I'll get into, and play, and devote time to. Not just something to pass the time when I've nothing better to do, but something I'll genuinely appreciate and play even when I should be doing something else."
So here's five I've found to start with...
This is a wonderful platform game which is a rare case of virtual buttons working on the iPhone. Mostly because the controls are just left, right, and jump. You control this blob on legs and have to run around a level picking up other blobs and find the exit. Where it gets interesting is that the platforms are circular and gravity is used to get from one level to another. This proves for a fiendishly clever set of challenges as you move up the levels.
NEXT: Chess and Racing