Cell Phone Games

Cell phones get more complex with each new generation that gets released. Mobile makers are packing an incredible amount of technology into these devices. The latest generation is poised to destroy the PDA market, as all of the calendaring and address book features that PDA users need are now available on the phone. Mobiles have integrated cameras for the quick snapshot. One feature that I find particularly interesting is the game feature. Most mobiles come packed with at least a couple of simple games to help you pass the time. Lately, wireless service providers are attempting to cash in by providing downloadable games. The games are getting a graphical upgrade with increased colors, improved speed, and better controls. Is this all a good thing though?

When I consider games on a cell phone, I have to think about when, where, and why I would play. If I know I'm going to be in a position to play games for a long time, I'll pack my GameBoy, some batteries, and a couple of games to keep me busy. If I'm at home, I've got plenty of consoles and a PC to keep me busy. So where and when would a cell phone game be appropriate? I certainly couldn't play them in a meeting, as I would need to give my attention to the speaker. Same goes for class. I do play games on my cell phone though.

I've found that my time on the loo is a perfect opportunity to get in some quality solitaire play. Jenn has caught me on a couple of occassions snatching my cell prior to going to the head. My phone (a Sony Ericsson t68i) has a selection of solitaire variants to keep things interesting. This "personal time" is just right for getting in a game. It only takes one hand to play, which leaves my other arm free for support as I bear down. Plus, if I'm in for an unusually long delivery, it keeps me from getting bored or frustrated. This is not an area where you want to try to rush anything, as that can lead to total disaster.

Not too long ago, AT&T Wireless sent me a new phone (Sony Ericsson t226). I tried the phone for a couple of weeks, but it just didn't cut it "in the game room". It only had three games: black jack, a side scrolling action game, and an othello / go strategy game. I've never found blackjack to be a game that you can just sit down and play for fun. The side scrolling action game was simply too difficult to play in that setting. Timing, coordination, and accurate control were all necessary to play it well. A quick move to jump in the game just might lead to an embarassing oops, so I didn't play that one for too long. The strategy game required entirely too much of my concentration. I quickly abandoned that phone and returned to my trusty t68i.

I'm very satisfied with the games on my phone. I find that they are perfect for the situations where I use them. I don't think 3-D graphics, more colors, or increased speed would add anything. I certainly don't need a camera. I'm currently selling the t226 on eBay. I've refrained from including the details about the "brief usage" of the phone. Hopefully the buyer won't mind. And if you ask to borrow my phone, well, consider yourself warned.


Jade Mason