There was a huge storm in Perth last week. If you were a pansy office worker in the CBD(like me), then you would have been stuck in your office without power for most of the day. Chances are, if you were at a job where you regularly got to knock off at 5PM then you probably would have braved the storm to go home. Those of us working late into the evening had no incentive to brave the storm, for anything. So, we ended up effectively stranded in our offices without power for most of the night. The thing is, because there wasn’t any power we didn’t end up doing any work either. Instead, we turned to our iPads to brave the storm. Although even this strategy seemed somewhat flawed because it seemed like nobody actually had a decent game on their iPad.
Well, no real games anyway. Everybody had Angry Birds of course, or a free Angry Bird-ish clone, or a free Pong-ish clone, or some free trial version of a game combining the ‘best’ of Angry Birds and Pong(‘Angry Pong’, now THERE’s a concept!) and in the process somehow got a 5/5 rating from some random guy on iTunes.
In other words, everybody had games that their non-gamer friends had told them would be good. These games inevitably involved some variation of flicking one inanimate object against another inanimate object with ones fingers. All of these had been downloaded for a rainy day on the basis of these ‘reviews’, and then never accessed again. Well, here was a rainy day and you’d think such games would have proved useful, but they really didn’t. Angry Birds is not a game, it is the electronic equivalent of banging your head against a wall. Fine for five minutes, but it either gets really boring really fast, or really addictive really fast. In our case ‘Angry Pong’ seemed to get really boring really fast, especially with the lights out.
One person seemed to have had the foresight to have downloaded a slightly different game to the generic Apple ‘object-throwing games’ on offer: Dead Trigger. A game requiring you to shoot your way through hordes of zombies. So far so good right? Well even this, it turns out, is just another version of Angry Pong. At the end of the day the entire concept of the game involves you shooting zombies that come straight at you. For the purposes of variety, on one level they jump over hurdles at an athletics track. You know you’re in trouble when hurdles is about as exciting as a videogame gets.
And so, despite the immense processing power, and the myriad of gaming possibilities opened up by the iPad, the iPad seems to have hardly any decent games on it. Worse than that, I’d venture to say that the iPad is actually ruining videogames. Take a look at how conventional gaming companies are seeing their stock prices plunge. Not because of anything they’ve done, but because of the perception that everybody is abandoning hardcore gaming experiences to embrace these tiny repetitive cutesy games.
It seems to me the iPad is ripe for an adult gaming revolution, similar to the one Playstation launched on Nintendo back in the day. Till such a developer comes along though, it looks like iPad users will be stuck playing the same smelly bird game over and over again. Well, if you’re going to end up doing that, then you might as well do it with Zombies.