iPod Touch offers video-game fun

Feb 25, 2009 By Dennis McCauley
iPod Touch 8GB or 16GB
iPod Touch 8GB or 16GB

My video-game addiction took on a new, smaller footprint after the holidays. Resigning myself to the fact that my four-year-old iPod was never going to die of its own accord, I proactively put the clunky, white model with the ugly monochrome screen out to pasture and treated myself to a 32-gigabyte iPod Touch ($399). Just doing my bit to jump-start the economy, you know.

My old, circa 2004 iPod played only audio files, so naturally I'm digging the music, video and Wi-Fi capabilities of the iPod Touch. But I'm especially impressed with the system's ability to play video games. I'll confess this is partly a generational consideration; iPods and iPhones are so mainstream these days that I don't feel self-conscious using my iPod Touch in public. On the other hand, I'd be a bit uncomfortable pulling out a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP on a train or at a fast-food joint.

Although the games available for the iPod Touch and the iPhone aren't nearly as sophisticated as those on the DS or PSP, neither are they as expensive. Titles for the Nintendo and Sony handhelds typically run in the $20-$40 range. So far, the most that I've paid for an iPod game was $7.99 for "SimCity" from Electronic Arts.

In addition to SimCity, I've toyed with a number of iPod/ iPhone game apps in recent days, including Apple versions of World War II shooter "Brothers in Arms," PlayStation 3 hit "Time Crisis" and Sega classic "Super Monkey Ball."

While the major game publishers are beginning to tap into the iPod/iPhone market, many indie developers are offering games as well, which makes for an eclectic mix of choices on Apple's App Store. And that's part of the beauty of gaming on the iPod/iPhone platform. At this point, it's still something of a wide-open platform where freeware and indie games are found alongside pricier offerings from the major publishers.

As Det Ansinn, chief gaming officer of Doylestown, Pa.-based iPhone development studio 1337pwn.com told me recently, "The iPhone platform is in its infancy and has enabled something of a renaissance in independent game development. It's exciting to see some very creative applications on the AppStore."

Among the more polished commercial offerings, "SimCity" was a fun play, although the small screen of the iPod Touch made the game more challenging than its PC cousin. Arcade shooter "Time Crisis Strike" ($5.99), from Bandai Namco, was a total - pardon the pun - blast. Even on the small iPod screen, the game captured the fast-paced fun and excitement of the "Time Crisis" series. "Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes" ($5.99), from GameLoft, is a terrific small-screen version of the popular World War II combat game, complete with cut scenes. I'll confess to being somewhat disappointed with "Touchmaster Volume One" ($3.99), from Midway. Its five mini-games suffer from a distinct lack of personality and are poorly documented as well.

Although from a lesser-known developer, one of my favorite games on the App Store is "Fieldrunners," a superbly designed tower-defense affair from Subatomic Studios.

___

(c) 2009, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer's World Wide Web site, at www.philly.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Seattle Sounders score with SQL Server and fitness-tracking technology

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Review: Nintendo Wii U enhances experience with GamePad

Nov 25, 2012

Nintendo's Wii felt like a gaming revolution. Unlike its increasingly complex, button-riddled competitors, the Wii's controller was a magic wand. Simply stand and point, it seemed to be saying, and leave ...

Nokia strikes back against 'smart' rivals

Sep 06, 2009

Faced with increased competition from up-and-coming rivals, Finnish telecom giant Nokia plans to launch a slew of new products this year but analysts say it faces a tough battle to hold on to its position ...

Recommended for you

Amazon offers Washington Post app on Kindle

Nov 20, 2014

Amazon said Thursday it will offer a free Washington Post app to Kindle users for six months, a move highlighting the digital strategy for the newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos.

Gift Guide: Help your selfie with some add-on gear

Nov 20, 2014

Not all selfies are created equal. Some are blurry, are poorly framed or miss the action entirely because you might be scrubbing your thumb fishing for a virtual shutter button as the moment passes you by.

Nokia plots comeback with Android tablet (Update)

Nov 18, 2014

Nokia is back in the fray. Just months after selling its ailing handsets business to Microsoft, the Finnish company is planning to go back into the consumer market with a new tablet.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
not rated yet Feb 25, 2009
The biggest downer for the iPod and iPhone is that they don't support Java. My company wanted to use them to act as controllers for our products, but they had to be ruled out because of that.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.