Letterpress, Spelltower, Hearthstone, Tiny Wings, Ticket to Ride, Strategery, GD Swarm, Ridiculous Fishing, Monument Valley...I could go on and on. These games were all priced probably too low for what they offered in time played.
This is almost a fluff piece to promote a developer coming up with 'something new for mobile'.
It could be weekly or monthly, with a mix of new games and classic gems that maybe aren't so well known. I'd tolerate a fair amount of advertising or sponsored content in the newsletter as long as it was clearly labeled.
The key thing for me is quality. I think that's true for many (extremely) casual phone gamers. I'd much rather get 1 outstanding recommendation per week/month than 10 of varying quality. And I know game enjoyment can be somewhat subjective, but there are still some games that are generally well-done and broadly appealing to fans of a genre. If the top recommendation is a racing game, I might skip it. That's okay. I don't need a new game every week or even every month. I just don't want to waste my time sifting through bad games or games that start fun but quickly ramp up the IAP pressure.
HumbleBundle kind of fits this niche, but I found their volume to be too high. And frankly, I don't want to buy a bunch of games at once. I think I'm less of a gamer than their target audience.
I wanted to say that I developed Rocket Renegade  for iOS. It's an 80s-inspired arcade shooter, with elements reminiscent of Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaga... and, of course, it contains bosses.
I wrote all of the code, and I composed the soundtrack as well. The bitmap graphics were done by game designer Daniel Cook, who released them under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
I believe that it fits all of your requirements: the quality is high, the gameplay is fun, it runs rock-solid at 60 frames per second, the music is awesome, and it's a POP game (Pay Once to Play); no IAP, no ads.
It's essentially a straight-up, gun-for-your-highest-score-classic-arcade-shooter.
I was kind of hoping for some power-ups, like a faster shot rate or scattershot. Those might be present, and I just didn't get to them yet, only made it to stage 3-x on first attempts. I also wish the stages had more variation, might feel too repetitive after a while – though that might happen later also.
Anyway, for $0.99, I'm definitely not complaining. It's a fun game and definitely an example of what I'm looking for. I'd personally be willing to pay more, in the $4.99 range, for a game like this, especially if it had some the variation features I mentioned above – but I might be unusual.
Unfortunately, there are no power-ups, and the levels do repeat after the boss level (although the game does become progressively more difficult). Those are definitely great ideas for the next iteration of the game.
Thank you, again. It means a lot to me.
I play(ed) a game called Sky Force 2014 that would have benefitted from a prestige mechanic.
As for your game-play issue, try off-setting your finger on the screen, away from the actual ship. That is to say, I made it so that you can actually have your finger anywhere on the screen to control the ship (i.e., you don't have to have your finger directly on the ship to control it). That will help you as you're trying to navigate through the asteroid field (and the other levels as well)!
Could you please take a look at my game:
Powerups are there. :)
The reason IAP became so big is because there was a huge race to the bottom in pricing in mobile, $1 isnt sustainable, so everyone was forced to find alternate revenue streams. If apple got rid of free and <$5, the average quality of the app store could be so much higher
I spent 3 months building Hipster CEO and its made me approx $40-45k (as well as leading to other projects). Not a bad return for 3 months work.
Each version improves existing games in the arcade and/or adds new ones... you can play your 20 coins/day first, then buy extra if you choose... there's no reason that model couldn't work quite well.
We didn't even make the development cost back. We actively fought against the idea of IAPs and trying to hook whales, even though it would have been easy to introduce mechanisms to do it (on the hardest level it's almost impossible to beat).
 iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/za/app/fleet-of-one/id580453079?mt=...
Again, thank you for taking the time to play and provide feedback. This was my first game, and it's clear that I have a lot to learn!
Most of what they cover is buy-once. IAP in their covered games usually takes the form of optional DLC or as a way to buy the game outright after trying the initial levels. When they occasionally review a F2P game, they take the side of the average consumer and discuss how intrusive (or not) the IAP is.
Please check it out, you're precisely the type of audience we are aiming for: http://playellipsis.com
Regarding curation, aside from places like TouchArcade, there are occasionally nicely curated video lists of best new premium games like these from Gameranx:
- January: https://youtu.be/Nuaj_ti5MtA
- February: https://youtu.be/aTQO0_bhuUI (disclaimer: we're in this list)
- March: https://youtu.be/oreE8YX5jQI
They stopped making those videos sometime last year.
Here's a compiled list of their featured apps: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cnARmaoMH-ZzAHCmaqkBus3r...
If I could:
* Filter out any apps or games with microtransactions.
* Filter out any apps or games with ads.
* Filter down to apps with at least x downloads or ratings.
* Choose how the content is sorted.
I feel I could find things that I'm actually interested in. As it is at the moment it feels random whether I'll find something I'd actually want to download.
I guess one would monetize that by soliciting advertisements and featuring particular games?
The guy who made Braid has similar talks, comparing mobile games, arcade games and 90s syndicated sitcoms. They only keep you entertained long enough to insert another coin or make it through a commercial break.
The good mobile games, like you've mentioned, focus on creating a good engaging game without micro-transactions. They earn less. Games with micro-transactions have like a 70% ~ 80% drop rate when you get to the point where you need to pay to make the progress non-painful. That remaining little group is their revenue. Occasionally you get a "whale" that will drop $500 ~ $1000 or more on a game!
I knew game developers who talked about this. It kinda makes me feel sick. Either they have a lot of money, or they're just compulsive. In the later, you're taking advantage of people in the same way casinos take advantage of gamblers. "Whale" is a term used by both industries.
Fuck in-game purchases.
He actually sounds like someone you'd meet on HN, he was lonely after moving to SF for a job, that's how be got into the game:
Clearly you do not know who is Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Kay Bushnell (born February 5, 1943) is an American engineer and entrepreneur who founded both Atari, Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters chain. Bushnell has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame, received the BAFTA Fellowship and the Nations Restaurant News “Innovator of the Year” award, and was named one of Newsweek's "50 Men Who Changed America." Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is one of the founding fathers of the video game industry.
I would argue that he knows who Bushnell is better than you do. What you posted in no way invalidates what you quoted from the parent post. Yes, Bushnell started Atari. Since he sold, he's done...golly, I'd have to go look it up because all I remember is a string of forgettable (duh) games that he put his name on because "founder of Atari".
Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is one of the founding fathers of the video game industry.
Okay, sure. How many are still going, and how many didn't completely sink the money of the respective investors?
I get that Bushnell is a smart game guy, but IMO Atari was a lightning strike he's been trying to replicate ever since.
On the lighting only striking once though you are certainly off base. Chuck E Cheese was big in it's own right and I'm sure you have heard of at least one of the other companies he started; it's called Pixar.
Yes, Bushnell created what probably became a part of Pixar, but calling him a founder is pushing it.
No doubt though he is a smart business man with multiple ventures under his belt. I do believe he really has a passion for what he does as well; the fact that he is still doing this in his 70s when he surely has plenty of F-You money says something about his passion for this industry.
And, no, Bushnell had nothing to do with Pixar, which had been around for 4-5 years at LucasFilm before CEC sold off Kadabrascope to Lucas in a fire sale. Pixar started with Ray and Catmull.
The Atari 8-bit series (400/800) had a significant chunk of market share in the early 80's. Not among the top three, but there were so many incompatible platforms in those days, and Atari 400/800 was one of the more common and well-supported ones for sure. http://arstechnica.com/features/2005/12/total-share/4/
Then, the ST didn't do so hot in the US, but here in Europe it was a well-known platform, nearly as popular as the Amiga. Roughly 75% of sold Atari ST's were sold in Europe.
Most famously, nearly every recording studio you'd care to name would have ST's in the control room well into the 90's and in some cases early 00's, due to their built-in MIDI capabilities.
Edit: hey Ross, if you're out there, it's been 20 years, I still remember the good times!
The problem I've had with mobile games has been discoverability. The app store's recommendations have been useless and the featured/top grossing/most popular games are just the ones that make the most money via in app purchases.
And for some crazy reason, fewer and fewer games have actual screenshots in the screenshot section of their store page. Instead they opt to use that space for simple adverts ("best game ever!", "build 30 kinds of city!") and pictures of cartoon scantily clad women in armour. I'm sure there are many great games that I've just refused to play because of that crap
The frustrating thing is that I'm more than willing to pay $30+ for a game (up front, not in IAP to keep playing), but games that are worth that are rare and other players willing to pay it are rarer.
Some great games I've found (I mostly like RTS): Auralux, Mechcom, God of Light, Castle Raid, Anthill (so good!), Galcon, Plants vs Zombies (1, not 2), Swords and Soldiers, geoDefense.
I also recommend Solarmax2.
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
Both play really well on small screens and the IAP for expansion packs have been worth it.
Ascension multiplayer can also be played over several days and you can multiple games going. So take a few turns, come back later when your opponent responds.
I believe NS hex is the same but I'm not very good yet and have not tried.
Orbital, Spelltower and 80 Days are other favorites of mine.
You can't because the discoverability is terrible and the various app stores just care about raw sales, not quality. So that means that devs who want to make quality games never get noticed and that's a major disincentive to produce such games. Mobile gaming doesn't have the tech press, steam-like reviews, etc other gaming has. Its a lot of impulsive buyers feeding a market that delivers crap because crap is good enough for them.
This is like asking where the chess table at a casino is. The casino and the people who go there have no interest in chess. They just want you to toss your money into a skinner box, which is what freemium games are.
Google and Apple could fix this, but prefer to lean towards the 'popular' discoverability than the 'quality' discoverability. I think they're wrong and have turned mobile into a ghetto in so many ways - its not just games, but obviously they prefer this method, which I imagine is more profitable. See the recent reports on how freemium games are powered by 'unicorns' who pay vast sums of money for in-game purchasing, all of which Google and Apple get 20-30% of.
> Mobile gaming doesn't have the tech press, steam-like reviews, etc other gaming has.
I was going to say , but then I just literally googled "mobile game reviews" and hit two matches at the very top: http://www.polygon.com/games/mobile/reviewed and http://toucharcade.com/
> This is like asking where the chess table at a casino is.
Ballrooms A through C: http://www.vegaschessfestival.com/schedule/
The reality is that app store discoverability is terrible and p2w and other freemium games dominate sales. These types of sales demotivate devs and publishers from treating the mobile world like consoles or PC, where very good games exist and are easily found. This is a solved problem almost everywhere else? Why is it such a massive problem on mobile? When HN-level people are asking "Geez where are the good games," then you have a problem. If they're struggling then Joe User absolutely is.
You're right that there's a problem there, but while it's a problem that ideally needs solving, solutions do exist, and so do quality games.
Their weekly roundup of new releases, including trailers for each, is another avenue for being able to quickly peek through what's out there - any that pique my interest, I'll open in a new tab, and see what further screenshots or user sentiments are to be found.
I've mostly discovered them over time by recommendations from people, or from discussion boards or sites that cover games, or even when they get featured by Apple in the app store.
It's amazing that app discovery is so difficult to solve for the big app stores.
The marketplace has pushed prices down so low (sub $5), in-game purchases or advertisements are the only way they can make a living.
If Google/Apple cared about their developers, they would force a minimum price. This way, it wasn't a race to the bottom. The end result is either large companies using the games as a loss leader, hobbyists that are releasing games and not getting compensated, or what we see now: games slapped with tons of advertising and in-game purchases. Personally, I would rather just see a higher priced game so I don't have to deal with the spammy tactics used now.
Now these platforms monetize from selling users to developers. Acquisition rates are as shady as they are exacting- you compete for the same users as the top 10 games, who have advertising budgets the size of small countries GDP.
Besides, if they put a minimum price in, they would have to start real curation of the platform. That goes against profiting off developers spending for users, and their percentage for users paying for the game.
I would not mind seeing a common micro transaction model that all such games could subscribe to so as to remove touch points to a persons credit but also give some assurance of trust and security.
Last week I spent 20 minutes on the google app store and at the end almost everything was "free" games with p2w
As a side note, I actually did throw my phone because of a F2P game. Expensive bad decision.
Of course the founder of Arcade games should remember that most arcade games were designed to take the maximum number of quarters from the users. There is nothing wron with designing around market conditions.
More than most other mobile games with good touch controls, the Zen Bound games really took advantage of the tactile nature of current mobile devices and their touch interfaces.
Aside from the mechanics, they were also pretty relaxing, while some of the levels managed to be simultaneously challenging while remaining completely passive. A very gentle and non-frustrating form of challenging that not many games manage to achieve.
I don't think Zen Bound gets enough praise as a game that is unique both from a gameplay perspective and how well it relies on the interface of the underlying device.
However, IMO many people are simply have different expectations. Mobile has plenty of processing power, but poor controls which is a real limitation preventing a wide swath of what people think of as video games.
The lack of dedicated controls is only a negative for games that require precise inputs (like classic arcade games). There are so many fantastic games that don't require that at all. Strategy, turn-based RPGs, puzzles, adventure games, etc. For certain games, a touchscreen can blow dedicated controls out of the water if the interface is designed well.
Not sure what the issue is. I've used tons of old-school arcade games in the 80s. They had horrible precision joysticks, guns ("operation wolf"), etc.
(With a Wiimote you can actually develop muscle memory... ah, I need to aim here so I put the remote here, blammo. Trudging a massive hunk of plastic bolted to the cabinet, thus having a restricted range of motion, is just nothing like freely moving a Wiimote. Seriously, if you've got a Wii and you've never tried a "light-gun game" (ironically still called that despite the term being decades obsolete now), pick one up sometime. They're cheap.)
So, at least in my case, my experience directly contradicts your claim that accuracy isn't important for that genre. Also would have to say that when the joystick is not really working correctly, I immediately leave, and when they are working correctly, I don't know what you mean by them being imprecise.
You have to put all the information of your game on the same layer as the controls- meaning your number one concern will be optimizing your interface and controlling the flow of information. It also means that the games you'll be making should be unique to touchscreen- games ported from other platforms are almost always inferior, in part because their design is optimized for a different platform.
That's only one example, but I think the issue is that so many games try to adapt touchscreen to old control methods, rather than create new control methods for touchscreens.
Touch-screen joysticks are appalling - it's very hard to interact with a game when you've got a good deal of the game obscured by your fingers. That being said, I can't think of a better way to do it - those games probably don't belong on phones as phones are seemingly the wrong tool for the job.
I simply uninstall ad rich games, but controls? I've frequently felt the desire to throw my phone against the wall.
Isn't gaming precisely a time diversion?
For many people, gaming is much more of a hobby that you explicitly set aside time for. I was using "time diversion" in the sense that you are just bored and looking for something to do. That's when I do most of my gaming on my smartphone. If I'm in the mood to specifically do some gaming (as opposed to just killing some time), my smartphone is literally the last device I would use for that purpose.
One of the benefits of games is that the subtitles of the interaction can also be part of the story. A touch screen, unfortunately, offers only a small set of possible interactions, and thus it has a limited toolset for telling interactive stories.
This is important, because we are just learning how to use interaction as a expressive tool. I highly recommend watching Innuendo Studios' "Story Beats". The first 3 clips are examples, and the last (4th) has the main essay. The thesis is that games offer the storyteller a different set of tools. Video (movies), for example, can generally only access your sympathetic emotions (you feel excited/sad/etc for the character), while interaction allows other emotions to be experience first-hand.
Phone games surely have the potential to do that, and probably some of them do, but if you look at Bushnell's other works, the restaurants, the Atarti C-380, he was trying to improve social activities via graphics/gaming.
The Nintendo CEO guy has said the same thing with respect to controller design facilitating other people to see how your hands move.
* Shared experiences
* Role play
* A way to socialize
"Relaxing Fun" is basically what the GP post was talking about -- a diversion, something you do to pass the time, which is typically not completely passive but mostly so. A lot of sandbox-type games do this well, where you're mostly just sort of looking at the scenery and derping around and having a good time without being particularly threatened or challenged.
"Hard Fun" is nearly the opposite -- it's competition and challenges and stuff that gets your heart rate up. It's "play to 20, win by 2" and you end up finishing 25-23 in a high-stakes match to improve your global rating . It's beating a level in a single life when it used to take you 5 or 10 lives. It's shaving 3 seconds off of your speedrun by perfecting a tricky maneuver.
"Easy Fun" is things like shiny in-game treasure, achievements, even satisfying sounds like the Mario coin pickup sound. It's stuff that makes you smile just for playing and making ordinary progress.
"Social fun" is, of course, anything that connects you with other people -- playing cooperatively or competitively, or even talking about the game outside of the game itself. (I met my wife on a video game BBS 18 years ago.)
 A Descent match between two of my friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mq6hyfFAo4&index=2&list=PLo...
My cousin's mother gave her a glossy magazine to read a while back, and she tried swiping the pages to turn them.
Second of all, that metaphor is not true at all. Great works are often improved by working within the limitations of their medium. To claim otherwise is utterly absurd.
Just like for classes of games where fast but also precise motions are required, a mouse will beat a controller thumbstick.
Pretty straightforward matters of bandwidth, latency.
(My favorite kind of mobile games are the ones where the game stops until you complete your input: Stickman Golf, Score Hero)
Part of it's because despite Apple's pretty spectacular accelerometer, detecting fine motion is very difficult, and so the amount of "resolution" available to you as a dev is pretty limited. Variation in fine motor control between players also means that you can't necessarily rely on players being able to affect small, precise movements. Motion controls ultimately ended up being low resolution and relied on substantial/large movements of the device.
This is worse on Android, where the quality of the accelerometer varies widely depending on hardware, and getting consistent experiences across a range of devices is nearly impossible.
Add to environmental factors (say, playing the game on a bus, train, or airplane) massively screwing with your accelerometer readings, and the propensity for mobile games to be played in those exact places, and the situation gets worse.
In any case, this leads to fatigue. Turns out holding your phone up and tilting it every which way is a bit tiring.
tl;dr: Because of individual biological variation, hardware limitations, and environmental noise, fine motion control for mobile games didn't work out, at all.
I played my first videogames on an Atari 2600. I remember Defender, Space Invaders, Night Driver, Pac Man, Adventure and River Raid. Then Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Battle City, and a multitude of titles on those '1000 games' Japanese cartridges with physical switches on NES and later SNES, many of these in [black and white]!
The SNES was my last console. My parents gave me a 386 PC-XT where I played a [version of Space War], Sopwith, Rogue, Falcon 1.0, Double Dragon 2, Sim City 2000 and Doom. On later computers I played Daggerfall, XCOM, TIE Fighter, System Shock, Thief, Subspace, Grand Theft Auto, Jagged Alliance, Far Cry 2.
Presently I'm enjoying Elite: Dangerous and Metal Gear Solid V on a Macbook Pro.
(Edited for formatting.)
Here full episode in HD (you can switch to English): http://www.southpark.de/alle-episoden/s18e06-freemium-gibts-...
On a funny side note, Nolan has eagerly started to follow mobile game devs on Twitter. The day he started following me I just wrote "I can quit now, my life is complete" :) Now I know what he's up to.
Agreed! This is why I love the GearVR, pushing mobile gaming to new bounds.
And for that legacy, I for one, am grateful.
This aggressive dilution of the monetary value of software is what I think contributed the most to the loss of gameplay quality and the near-criminal, constantly-nagging-for-payments-and-ad-views behavior of app publishers today.
Mobile software should have been sold more like shareware used to be sold - free demos with limited functionality -$5 onwards for complete versions.
But now it is too late, the dilution of value of mobile software has only benefited app store owners.
Software development outside of the desktop and enterprise space is only sustainable via services/books/consulting, because no one is paying for software if they can get it for free.
He's had his own streak of noncompelling products over the last 4 decades. Sente. Catalyst. Aristo. uWink. I wouldn't expect anything different.
But that's just my opinion.
But I just can't do it. I hate the touch screen. It is a horrible input device for gaming. It makes every game as frustrating as typing a sms full of auto-corrects. I can't imagine any game I would make would be fun.
You'd be surprised at how many touch events you can register before your device has the ability to switch to your browser. After I closed all 10 or so tabs, I uninstalled it immediately.
But it's not the IAP that's the cause. It's the skewed matchmaking and the mysterious loosing streaks that occur very frequently. You'd be playing and winning some and loosing some and then all of a sudden you hit a losing streak of 6-12 losses or more.
One thing for sure is my friends and I are not spending a penny on this game because of that regular frustration. We've spent a little on the other two games to get past a point of tedium but that gave us something concrete.
In Clash Royal spending money just gives you a chance to get the cards you need. No thank you. If the game mechanic wasn't so addictive we'd have stopped playing it long ago.
Also, good luck if you want to switch decks, or decide one of your cards is worthless; or if they nerf your favorite card.
* There are usually 3 currencies. Usually a "f2p" currency, a "p2p" currency and a "social" currency.
* There are at least 3 distinct ways to progress a unit, for example "level", "stars/quality", "gear/items" and each way requires a different activity or minigame to progress.
* Playing the game requires "energy" or something similar which recharges slowly over time but can be refilled by paying p2p currency
* There are "ratings" on your performance which usually are measured as 1, 2, or 3 stars.
* The number three comes up a LOT in the game design. Like 3 stages per level, 3 abilities per character, 3 milestones per achievement, etc.
* Bring the player to the store as often as possible to pick up little freebies and force them to look at the paid offerings
It's like every big mobile game studio is designing off the same playbook.
They, in fact, are.
Every one of those trends serve a specific purpose or were highly studied to provided the "best" outcome.
I.E - Energy forbids you to explore the whole game in a couple of days (unless you pay) and plays with your min-maxing head to return to the game several times a day (you energy usually takes 4 to 6 hours to fully replenish)
I did, but I try to do games that I like to play, trying to minimize obstacles for the players.
This doesn't mean that the book should be burned; it has some great articles on how to improve usability or minimize friction.
Queue up chests to unlock
Earn "keys" when you win and your chest slots are full: Silver chests take 10 keys, etc. Still enables whales to spend their money, but makes it feel like you can earn *something* by playing.
1. Extra content (eg extra decks in Agricola, more levels, etc)
2. Pay-to-win purchases.
And there's really no way to distinguish between (1) and (2). I loathe (2) but (1) is where all the money is. The market has (sadly) spoken on this one. :(
Ya know, it just occurred to me that paying to win has precedent. The old arcade machines used to let you keep playing by inserting more money. Or some of them did anyway. This is analogous.
I've stopped even looking at new games. I just keep playing Bejeweled HD (Diamond Mine).
I create html5 puzzles and I am truly interested in what kind of games people are interested (in puzzle genre). When it comes to monetization, I'm trying with rewarded-donation with patreon, but it seems there is no good solution, even with free to play games!
> some mobile games
Cutting a sentence in half is pretty silly.
His actual point is there are a lot of Games with poor game design. This is probably related to the barrier of entry of Mobile games. It costs very little to put together a App and launch it on Google Play or Apple's Store. Compared with building actual arcade machines (or paying someone else to build them) and shipping them to Arcades.
Clickbait title: "mobile games make me want to throw my phone."
If you have a few pixels to animate and want to build something fun, you think about what makes a game fun.. When you have HD video, textures, etc., you think about implementation details.
The games that remain truly fun to this day (for me) are two-players-at-once games, where the challenge is beating your friend.
I mean really, you can play Tiny Wings with one finger and your eyes closed.
Look to those games for inspiration, but the games made need to first and foremost embrace the touchscreen, rather than attempt to emulate traditional controls.
Hoplite springs to mind, and some of the ones pushed in the Humble Mobile bundles (some anyway).
Shit game everyone plays: clash of clans.
Basically, there's more non gamers than gamers, and more mkney in skinner box candy crush than good old school games. So the game makers sold out.
It's like how people think dark souls or Bloodborne is "too hard" to be fun. It's exactly fun because you have to try and not just do endless todo list quests!
If you're into startups and Pay Once and Play games then Hipster CEO is probably up your alley:
I still play games on the old 8 and 16 bit consoles, where gameplay always shone. No matter how many times you complete R-Type, you still come back for more.
Yeah, that's something I find really odd about most mobile games. They seem designed as a way to basically put the brain into a low energy state or something, rather than actually being interesting.
My personal experience of games like Candy Crush is that people play them on the subway or whatever when there's nothing else to do. If they had a book with them they'd read that, if someone handed them a Nintendo DS with zero effort they'd probably do that (if they could get over the ego thing).
I can't really imagine anyone setting themselves up for a marathon casual gaming session. They seem marketed to be one level above 'watching paint dry' and used in circumstances where that's the only alternative.
It's a remarkably elaborate ruse to disguise the fact that there really is no "game" underneath all the chrome.
But hey the governments love the mindless entertained drones and if someone desires to be one, it has the human right. But let's call it like it is.
You can fit lots of books on a phone!
They are still fun! But the bar for creating games has been lowered. On net, that's a good thing -- we get more games to choose from overall. But one bad consequence has been that people have created lots of games that aren't fun, and especially lots of pay-for-play games that exploit people's weaknesses.
On a related note: Here's a shameless plug for the Trese brothers. They make mobile games with no ads, and minimal in-app purchases. For what it's worth, I have no affiliation with them other than backing their Star Traders 2 kickstarter.
This is more visible on consoles, where the overall gaming experience is simply terrible, but mobile isn't that much better.