One of the coolest things about the mobile gaming revolution we’ve experienced in the last five-to-ten years is the reemergence of classic gaming formats in digital form. While app developers are always looking to come up with something new, mobile gaming has also proven to be very accommodating to older, classic gaming formats. Sometimes, that means a board game turned into a digital experience, and other times, it means a vintage arcade game suddenly becoming available at our fingertips. Four types of classic games in particular stand out as having excelled in the world of mobile apps.
One way in which we’ve seen the fighter/brawler genre brought into the fold in the mobile app business is through the use of the format by new developers and modern characters. Most notably, both DC and Marvel have designed games that throw their recognizable comic characters into gaming environments reminiscent of Mortal Kombat and the like. However, it’s not all about rebooting the concept with new companies and characters. In fact, of the best arcade fighter games of all time, several have been adapted for app play with new versions. Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, and others all have modern mobile editions.
Vintage Board Games
The ability to revive vintage board games has proven to be one of the most charming aspects of the app gaming market. While a few all-time great games like Risk and Monopoly are probably among the first that come to mind, this has actually become a pretty extensive category. From old family classics like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit to cult favorites like Catan and Noir, the board game branch of app gaming is as engaging as it is nostalgic.
Tabletop Casino Games
We know that there are plenty of different slot machine arcades available in app stores, most of them offering fairly tame brands of escapism, with the bells and whistles of real casino slots but none of the risks or rewards. However, we’ve also seen a more authentic brand of casino gaming thrive through mobile platforms. Tabletop games like poker, blackjack, roulette, and others, traditionally popular in real-world environments, have become prevalent in mobile apps. In part, this is due to the efforts of a company wanting to provide multiple ways to access games for mobile users. There are still legal issues in some areas, including most of the U.S., with accessing real-money gambling online. However, in those areas in which this isn’t a problem, users can easily download apps and games. This bypasses some of the cheaper developers seeking to imitate casino gaming, and instead brings the real thing to the app market.
The fall and rise of interactive fiction through the years has been documented thoroughly. Popular in the ’80s and early-’90s, this text-based puzzle/adventure format initially spread about on computers largely thanks to its simplicity. At that time, a great game required only logic and an engaging setup, rather than any sort of graphics or visual quality. Of course, visuals were a plus when offered, but the games were built on text and riddles, not action or appearance. We’re seeing the format making a major comeback these days in app form. There hasn’t been a whole lot going on in terms of reboots of specific games, largely because the idea of a new story to type your way through is half the appeal. But the general concept of interactive fiction is ideally suited to mobile gaming. We’ve seen some games (Frotz comes to mind) offering up pretty traditional takes on the genre. However, other games like 80 Days (in which you address scenarios with choices rather than your own written responses) or The Sailor’s Dream (purely a point-and-click exploration) offer their own spins as well.