One of the first things things that was shown off during the razzle and dazzle of the Apple iPad launch (all you need to know) were the games. Many of the successful developers of the the App Store were there showing off how their games looked and played on the iPhone’s big brother. The fact that the iPad will be able to run the vast majority of the existing App Store games is a huge boost to potential iPad purchasers because as soon as the un-box their sparkling new iPad they’ll be able to fill their new toy with their favorite apps and games from the App Store, and more importantly for free!
But while many of the existing games will continue to be a success on the iPad it will be the games that are built specifically for the larger interface of the iPad that will push handheld gaming forward. But will these games just be re-workings of the same old games or can we expect a plethora of new and unique titles?
One of the major challenges for the iPhone games running on the iPad will be the controls especially the titles that utilize virtual controls in the form of a d-pad and virtual buttons. Even with the game blown up to full screen reaching the buttons in the bottom corners with your thumbs on a bigger screen is not going to feel as comfortable and as natural as it does on an iPhone or iPod Touch. The other option would be to place the iPad on your lap or a table top while playing and that won’t feel as ergonomic and will certainly remove the option to play using the accelerometer.
I know that the existing range of games will still be fun to play on an iPad but for me, I’m excited about the titles that are built specifically for the iPad, utilizing it’s major unique selling point the size of it’s touch screen. So what titles and types of game will sell for the iPad?
Some of the existing genre’s that the iPhone has brought life to will thrive on the iPad and one of these will be the line drawing style games. Games like Flight Control, Harbor Master and Fare City could be huge on the iPad, both literally and metaphorically. Just think of the size of the airport and the number of planes you’d could be in control of in Flight Control and the same could be said for Harbor Master. Even multiple airports and harbors to look after at the same time. And as for Fare City, playing that in a city that could fill the whole of an iPad screen would be a real challenge and a lot of fun.
Games like Rock Band and Tap Tap Revenge 3 could also be big winners on the iPad. With the added real estate that the iPad offers all sorts of information, instruments and options could be added. Both titles would certainly benefit in the two player mode on a single device as would any other game offering that option.
Personally I’m excited to see what game developers can do with sports sims and sports management games. Madded or and American Football game could provide a unique game style on the iPad, control individual players may not be so easy but having more detailed control of all of your players routes by drawing them directly on the screen would be great or how about having a split screen or picture in picture option so you can see the game from multiple angles.
For any sports management game where the premise is more on stats, options and preparing your team before sending them out could benefit massively from the amount of space that all these options could be placed in and being able to change the options by directly touching the screen could provide a deep management simulation with great functionality. And talking of sims, what about a title along the lines of the classic Microsoft Flight Simulator. On the iPad it could still provide the depth of options, the great looking environments but also benefit from the accelerometer too.
The final type of game that I think could benefit from the iPad’s interface are RPG’s and MMORPG’s, again games like this could look even better on the iPad’s large screen and yet also benefit from being able to provide easy and direct access to all of the multitude of options that these types of games need too have. In fact perhaps the biggest tittle on an iPad could be a version of World of Warcraft. Technically that maybe a lot to ask but a MMORPG like that could be the must have application on the new Apple iPad.
The iPhone and iPod Touch have pushed mobile gaming to a whole new level and I’m now very excited to see how far developers can push the limits of the iPad, I for one am looking forward to the ride.
By: Craig Willis