The iPhone Changed Video Gaming Forever


As Apple’s runaway success of a mobile phone (and more) marks its 10th anniversary, let’s talk about its impact on how and what we play.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I’ve never owned an iOS device but I played a LOT of mobile games in 2016 when I was sad and out of work. I genuinely think Granblue Fantasy is an exceptional video game.


I fell in LOVE with Solitairica recently. It’s an excellent and goofy little rogue-lite-lite-lite that’s class-based and solitaire-based. It’s great.


I have a one year old child so I pretty much haven’t touched my PC in a year. Recently my iPhone has become a revelation in gaming for me. I was surprised by how many great games have been ported or simply developed simultaneously for iOS and It’s become a way I can actually get stuck into some pretty deep games while the TV is on or in the last half hour in bed before sleep.


I’ve recently gotten really into Fire Emblem Heroes, since its combination of turn-based strategy gameplay and character collecting is really easy to whip out whenever, and it’s close enough to actual Fire Emblem(not actually super close) to grab me more than say, Super Mario Run(if I wanted to play an endless runner, I’d play something like Canabalt). It’s also a live game from Nintendo that actually feels like it’s gotten post-launch support.


You know what’s a helluva video game? Spaceteam.

I love matching-3 as much as the next guy, but my favorite mobile games are the ones that only work because everybody you know has a weirdly capable computer within arms reach at all times. I adore GBA-era system link games like Crystal Chronicles and Pac-Man Vs, but getting 4 working GBAs and a GameCube together often required a cosmic alignment of circumstances, even in 2003. Now, the relative ease of instigating a game of Drawful or Spaceteam makes my heart sing. It’s surprising to me that-- 10 years on-- there still aren’t many great, original local multiplayer games for phones. But maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough (or have boring friends).

Or, for that matter, where are all the folk-style games a la 1-2 Switch that use your phone as an object instead of just a touch screen? I think Head Up! (the guessing game from the Ellen show) is brilliant in that respect. Sometimes I say that Send Me To Heaven is my all-time favorite mobile game, and not (just) to wind people up. There’s never been a scene in any horror game that’s as scary as that moment playing S.M.T.H. when you hurl your phone into the air.

If we’re talking about how the iPhone has changed us, I think that moment speaks volumes.


Oh man, not to mention all of the great smartphone-specific details in Spaceteam, like the way you can use your thumb to smear grease off of an obscured dial, or swing up a loose panel with one hand while tapping the button with the other. The first time that you try that motion by instinct and it actually works is sooo goood.

Very few PC/console games (outside of VR) have that same 1:1 feeling of immediacy. Angry Birds just isn’t as fun when you’re not pulling the slingshot back with your finger.