True King Bombness.
"iCame, iSaw, iPod
-By Harold "Hbomb" Price-
-Posted 08/12/2007-

For this who don't know me, I'm a fan of gadgets, from game systems, to accessories, or other gizmos. In the category of "Other Gizmos", would include my iPod.

I have a 30GB 5G iPod Video, which I've had for about a year and a half. It holds a crapload of music, videos, and TV shows (but the movies are too darn expensive). It also plays games. (Which is why I'm talking about it here. Games (with the occasional exception) are $4.99 (about the cost of an NES game on Wii). Publishers range from the small (PopCap and Gameloft) to the large (EA, Namco, and Sega).

What I want in an iPod game is something quick and easy to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. Also, the game needs to work within the iPod's control features. Anyway, here are some of the highlights of my collection (reviews will be coming soon):

Bejeweled (PopCap)- The touch wheel controls are a little more awkward than mouse control on the PC or stylus on the DS, but Bejewled is a good solid diversion.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)- The graphics and sound are true to the original, but the controls are awkward.

Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Monopoly (all EA)- I love board games, and it's good to be able to take one out of your pocket and save and resume progress.

Pulse (Harmonix)- Not quite Guitar Hero for iPod, but it's a pretty solid rhythm game- plus, you set the playlist!

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man (both Namco) and Tetris (EA)- Solid classics that adapt well to the iPod controls.

Royal Solitaire (EA)- More variety than the built-in Solitaire by Apple. Good for short diversions.

Musika (Sony BMG)- Pulse is clearly the better music based game.

iQuiz (Apple)- Originally a 99-cent download, iQuiz is a vast improvement over the pre installed "Music Quiz" game. It's now included in the new generation iPods.

Brain Challenge (Gameloft)- Not quite "Brain Age", but it gets the job done. Plus, the iPod version is only a fourth of the cost of the DS version.

Other notable titles available: Mahjong (EA), Zuma (PopCap), Sudoku (EA), Cubis2 (FreshGames), Bomberman (Hudson), Pole Position Remix (Namco), and Texas Hold'em (Apple), along with a couple SAT prep programs.

It is abundantly clear that the iPod is not a gaming system. It doesn't need to be. It is awesome as a music and video player, and it's small size makes it much more portable than DS or PSP. The fact that it plays games at all is a bonus. Unlike a DS, Gameboy, or PSP game, the games are limited by the space available on the iPod. You couldn't do a DS or PSP-caliber game on the iPod. I do see the downloadable gaming as a potential distribution mode for future handheld systems, and Nintendo and Sony need to keep their eyes on what Apple does with iPod gaming (such as an accelerometer controlled Super Monkey Ball for iPhone). Apple is not a direct competitor to Sony and Nintendo yet, but with the right focus, they could be.

-Hbomb is property of DMG Ice, which would explain the layer of dust.-
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