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When, several years ago, I bought my first iPod, I bought a music player. It didn't do much else, but that was fine because what it did do - what I bought it to do - it did very well. Games didnít come into the equation.
Although having said that, it did have this thing that used your music library to create a sort of version of 'Name That Tune' and also Brick Out. And, to be fair, guiding that small, destructive ball about with the (at that point) pretty foreign feeling click wheel did amuse me for a few minutes the first time I played it. Then I saw how much battery this pointless trip down memory lane had used (and this was in the days when a full iPod battery lasted exactly half an hour less than whatever train journey you were on), and never bothered with it again.
It's difficult to tell to what extent running out of juice extra-early that day shaped my attitude, but when the iPod Touch and iPhone were launched and brought a whole new world of shiny, brightly coloured games to iPod screens everywhere, I remained fairly cynical about the whole thing. I basically classified the whole phenomenon as in the same league as the annoying, poor quality games that were available on my (non-'i') phone at the time.
Then, towards the end of last year, a gadget website that I read set the iPod Touch alongside the Nintendo DSi and the Sony PSP3000 in a lab test of the best portable gaming devices. My initial reaction was that this site had gone against Public Enemy's advice and believed the hype; surely an iPod didn't even deserve to be in the test? You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when they crowned the iPod the winner and, get this, labelled it 'the best portable gaming device you can buy'.
The factor that I had clearly under-acknowledged, but that this site had taken very seriously, was the uniqueness of the interface. With its well implemented multi-touch screen and accelerometer, the iPod has the potential, they pointed out, to be as revolutionary for casual, portable gaming as the Nintendo Wii's control system has been for casual gaming at home. When I realised that they were right, I began to see the iPod Touch in a completely new light.
I began looking into it further and quickly realised just how much potential the iPod has. Besides its unique interface, because it is relatively cheap to develop applications and the whole user-end process is handled through the very easy to use and well implemented iTunes Store, it is quickly establishing itself as a platform for small, independent studios (even lone programmers) to develop content which rivals the big publishing houses. Perhaps 'revolutionary' is not an overstatement.
Therefore, when, amid all these exciting revelations, Game People approached me and asked if I'd be up for getting a Touch with a view to writing regular reviews, I jumped at the chance. Now that I've had the Touch for a while and had an opportunity to get used to it and see what it can do, we're finally ready to launch the Touch Gamer section. I will be playing and reviewing a game each week with the aim of providing a regularly updated stream to help iPod and iPhone owners keep a handle on the best available games.
I'll be reviewing a mixture of established titles and new releases from across various genres. My reviews will be relaxed and focus on the experience of gaming, in the general style of Game People, but will also place particular emphasis on how each game makes use of the unique potential that the interface of the Touch offers.
One final, but essential, point is that the section not supposed to be a formal monologue, so do please use the comment area to interact, and I will do my best to shape things towards the dynamic that emerges.
So... without further ado, welcome to Touch Gamer!
Here are my game reviews.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: