Mobile gaming has advanced since its start in the late 1990s, when Nokia introduced Snake. Ten years later, the iPhone and the App Store ignited the mobile gaming world. Today, the smartwatch is fueling gamers’ passions. Although the screens are small and lack the finesse offered by keyboards and other traditional controllers, game designers are already taking advantage of the possibilities with these new devices. Find out seven ways that mobile gaming is inspiring the latest developments in smartwatch entertainment.
Simple Interfaces Intended for Mobile
Image via Flickr by Micky.Roth
Developers are hoping that digital devices such as the Apple Watch will expand in capacity exponentially during the next few years and allow more advanced controls. For now, however, the best options are simple.
Games such as Trivia Crack don’t need fine manipulation and can be played in short bursts, such as while waiting in line at the supermarket checkout. Puzzle tile games challenge your brain without frustrating your fingers.
Quick Hits for Short-Burst Gaming
Holding up your wrist for long rounds of gaming is uncomfortable. Game developers understand your discomfort, which is why many games are designed to be played in short bursts.
Games such as Runeblade and Time Unit offer glance-based entertainment on the go. Runeblade is a well-designed game that offers an in-depth role-playing experience in bite-sized chunks. Players become absorbed in the tiny world on their wrists to the point of creating online wikis and an active subreddit.
Games for the Kids or Kids at Heart
If you use your phone to help entertain your child, you could hand them your watch or get them their own. Smartwatches for children are a hot trend that combines gaming, communication, and GPS tracking to offer entertainment and parental peace of mind.
Return of Retro Games
Vintage games are natural choices for the new technology thanks to the games’ simple graphics and easy controls. Asteroids and Skyscraper Jumper have both produced versions for smartwatch platforms. Pixel Miner, Sonic Dash 2, Birdie Wear (a Flappy Bird clone) and Tamagotchi Classic each serve up a blast from someone’s past. These games are still as addictive as ever once a player gets started.
Integrating Gaming With Your Phone
While some developers are looking back to simpler times to compensate for the tiny screen sizes, others are taking advantage of the new technology’s distinctive features. For now, smartwatches are largely an extension of smartphones, so why not exploit that relationship?
Tilt is a rolling ball type of game that you play by teaming up your watch and phone. Open the app on your phone’s screen, aim the camera at your watch, then control the rolling ball by tilting and shifting your wrist. Future games could likely exploit the watch and phone interaction further — at least until more smartwatches become standalone devices.
Virtual Reality On Your Wrist
The future of smartwatch gaming may lie in their sensors and their attachments to your body. Controlling games with your fingertips may become obsolete if a smartwatch can track your body’s movements through space. Gamers could theoretically interact with one another in real time, even when they are in different locations.
Imagine running a race against a real-life opponent in China or playing laser tag against holographically projected — but quite real — opponents. Online players who interact with remote friends in multiplayer environments can instantly understand and appreciate this potential.
The Future: Gamification of Life
Smartwatches have the potential to bring gamification to our daily lives in ways most of us can’t imagine yet. Augmented reality apps are still in their infancy, but the implications are enormous. The fitness and entertainment industries could be on the brink of a revolution, and we could find ourselves working out and moving through films or music videos at the same time.
Smartwatch gaming technology is an infant field with exciting possibilities. Today, you might be feeding your Tamigotchi or working in the pixel mines; tomorrow you could be battling Godzilla as your lunchtime workout. Indeed, mobile games are creating innovative and revolutionary opportunities for users of smartwatch devices.