A counterpoint to Zach Miller's Brief Affair
I played a great game last week. On the top display was a retro-styled explorer, taking on monsters, finding loot and collecting resources to level up his castle. On the bottom display was a touch-screen based match-three puzzle game in the vein of Puzzle Quest, but faster. The music was deliciously retro, but heavily stylized. The entire package was fantastic, and it was dirt cheap as well. The leveling mechanic had me coming back for days trying to get a higher score and the next great weapon.
Unfortunately for Nintendo fans, this game is not available to them. The game I'm talking about is 10000000 (Ten Million), and it is available on the iOS App Store along with many other games of varying quality.
In his recent "Of Nerds & Men" article, Zach Miller discussed his brief love affair with an iPod Touch, which culminated in a Tiny Wings obsession but quickly evaporated when he was faced with the device's short battery life. He lamented that most of the games he played were akin to WarioWare mini-games, employing a single-touch interface to provide experiences with very little depth, holding your attention for minutes and little more.
Personally, I've put more time into Tiny Wings, 10000000, and Hero Academy on my various iOS devices than almost every 3DS or DS game I've owned not named “The Legend of Zelda”. While the gameplay mechanics of these games might not be super deep, iOS games use Game Center to encourage friends to have high score battles, or enables asynchronous multiplayer that allows players to take their turn at their leisure in a battle to the death. These are great features of modern mobile games that, for the most part, are completely missing on Nintendo’s signature mobile platform. Certainly there is a glut of shovelware on the iOS App Store as well, and no one should try to argue otherwise. Apple’s decision to allow games at a $.99 or $1.99 price point has encouraged a "race toward the bottom" mentality; still, there are many interesting gameplay experiences to be had, and Nintendo should be paying attention.
If I'm Nintendo, I'd have people dedicated to finding the best games and developers on these platforms and doing whatever is in my power to bringing these great games to the 3DS. 10000000 is too great of an example to ignore: a touch-screen powered puzzle game that lasts maybe two minutes per game, with an addictive grinding quality and an aesthetic that hearkens back to the NES days. There's no reason Nintendo shouldn't be doing everything possible to get that game on the eShop.
If downloadable platforms are meant to give the little guys a fighting chance at making a name for themselves in the gaming space, Nintendo needs to start reaping the rewards of Apple’s mobile success and award these guys some 3DS development kits. There are great games out there available today that should be on Nintendo's platform, and as we suffer for weeks at a time without substantial weekly content updates, there is absolutely no excuse for Nintendo to be sitting this one out.