Saturday, July 05, 2008

iGame - Rolando & ng:moco

First, I just want to say that the series of "iGame" posts has nothing to do with the company of the same name (which I wonder if they didn't grab it and register that iSpot in case Apple would require it later on).

Secondly, we learned by the 30th of June, that Neil Young, ex head of EA’s Blueprint studio, started his own mobile game publishing business, mainly for the iPhone at the moment, called ng:moco.
Doesn’t it make sense? Well, I think it does. Now, we still have to consider that it’s ill advised to make hasty bets on the success of games on Apple’s pocket machines... yet.

However, to get an informed idea of how well it can bode, maybe we could look at the game Rolando, from Hand Circus. Is that about Futebol? Huh no.
Aside from being a heavily LocoRoco inspired game on about all levels (cheerful kiddie music, 2d vectored visuals – albeit uglier - and physics based gameplay of a company of small smiling primitive shapes), it also demonstrates what you can actually do on the iPhone.
It could be possible that people still miss that what made the success of Nintendo’s DS was, for a large part, the introduction of the touch screen on a cheaper device. It’s like the old days of the Gameboy versus GameGear. The second one had better graphics, but lacked efficiency and autonomy. It largely missed out important factors.

These factors today, relative to games, are new and intuitive ways to play them, and the iPhone is riff with those.
So I’m not saying that it’s a dream coming true, and the price could still be a barrier to an hypothetic large success, but the primordial soup is there. Now, of course, it has to deliver more than rehashes and sort of rip-offs.
But it’s only the beginning.

Besides, consider the price of Rolando, 9.99 dollars. How much did you pay for LocoRoco again?

Thirdly, count the new official and unofficial engines incorporating a wide ranges of physics, and other studios porting their respected franchises onto the iPhone, this device might be able to get Apple finally build up a segment in gaming which it never achieved with its other products. If proved successful, maybe they’d seriously consider the production a real hand held console.

EDIT: Level Up published some yatting with Young about his new venture.
Todd Hollenshead affirms that Apple has renewed his interest in games (in a more appropriate and serious manner than in the past), while we learn than Square Enix has developed an exclusive game for the iPod, a sort of RPG game using stored tracks to define in-game abilities and stats. Good stuff, eh?

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