Tuesday, May 31, 2011

EDC Gaming

This is not a post for those of you that have your Range Rover stocked with spare water tanks, shotgun shells, and a generator.


Three years ago there was a terrible winter storm where I lived that knocked out power for about 5 days, in some places, two weeks. One of the days I was driving around looking for fire wood and I saw a guy with his family in a Land Rover Range Rover with a generator in the back, a rack for his shotgun (with the shot gun in it), tanks of water and/or gas on the roof rack, and a chain saw in its case mounted to the rear of his SUV. His family was inside and looking comfortable. All I could do was marvel. That guy was PREPARED. He also had a look on his face that said "See, honey, this is why I bought all of this stuff." She had a look on her face that said "Really, the shotgun, we need the shotgun?" I do live in Massachusetts, after all.


If you are that guy and like gear purely for the preparedness aspect, then this post is not for you. I like to be prepared too, but since I always carry my phone with me and it happens to play games, I thought I'd go down a quick list of games that are worth a peek if you carry your phone with you.

It is a glorious day if you are a gamer. Games have never been so accessible, so good, or so cheap. If you are a console gamer, you may be a little peeved what with all of the casual games and family games and the domination of mobile games, but if you like games and aren't wedded to your couch wearing a One Man Wolfpack T-Shirt, you'll realize that the explosion of gaming brought about by the iPhone and the Android OS have ushered in an era of not only great games for cheap, but games that you take with you and play anywhere without being embarassed when you bring out your massive, kiddie looking, portable console. For all that guy across the way knows your checking email.

I am going to skip the best known games. If you have a smartphone that plays games you already know about Angry Birds (all links to iTunes).

Gun Bros

This is a "twin stick" shooter game, in which the left thumb controls your character's movement direction and speed, and the right hand thumb controls the character's trigger and direction of fire. It is really intuitive when you finally see the controls and it plays like Geometry Wars on XBox 360. The big deal with Gun Bros is that it is totally free to download and play, but it is supported by in game purchases, such as weapons, armor, and power up upgrades. I have played this game for two weeks now and have yet to spend a dime. The upgrade system is really deep, with dozens of guns, suits of armor, and power ups. It also constantly rewards you for doing new things.

Field Runners

If there is any game out there on any system that I can honestly claim I played for more than 100 hours it is this game. It is a Tower Defense game. Basically enemy troops of various sorts start from one side of the screen and march to the other. Your job is to put non moving units in their way to slow them down and kill them. This game's simple, intuitive interface and incredible challenge makes it a great game to sink time into. It also plays well in bites as well as over longer stretches, making it a great waiting in line game.

Reckless Racing

One thing that I had to get used to on the iPhone, having grown up with a physical controller in my hand is the touch pad. I still don't think there is a great First Person Shooter (like Doom) on the iPhone, though Dead Space is great. This is because of the controls. I also think that driving games haven't been well represented because of the controls. This game nails them and it is beautiful as well with great particle effects for the tiny screen.

Infinity Blade

Speaking of beautiful, this game was developed using a console/PC graphics engine called Unreal 3. The result is a game that blows away graphics on even the best dedicated portable consoles. It is a "Punch Out" style fighting game, meaning you are standing in front of an opponent and have to dodge and land punches. Every time I boot it up I am shocked at how nice it looks. It is half off right now, and totally worth the $3.00.

There are just too many games out there to list. It is the best time ever, in my opinion to be a gamer or to be a regular person that wants a distraction on your phone. For a few bucks (or none at all) you can get an immersive experience that works well in bites. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone any of these above would make a good distraction for those down times or when you have to drop the Browns off at the Super Bowl.


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