I hate cellphones. This is common knowledge amongst my peers, as they see me visibly tense whenever someone’s damn phone goes off in public. It’s worse when I’m having dinner somewhere, and a patron behind me starts yammering into their phone. I come dangerously close to snapping when those f*cks start talking louder into their phones if their signal starts to crap out…like yelling is going to make any goddamn difference! But I digress.
The main point of this article is to focus on cellphone games. Specifically, all of the cool ones they get over in Japan, and that US consumers get the shaft on. The latest is Rockman Pinball, another exclusive title featuring the one and only Mega Man. It doesn’t stop there, though…since the Japanese have a fairly standardized cellphone system (whereas in the US, we have conflicts up the proverbial yin-yang), cool games with classic characters are all over the place. We’re just starting to get that stuff stateside, but it’s nowhere near the amount of saturation they’ve got across the Pacific.
The multiple operating systems of US cellphones is a major hurdle to overcome. Sure, you could compare it to the multiple home consoles, but when consumers buy cellphones, nine times out of ten they’re just buying the damn phone rather than looking at the features. Or, in many cases, the phone comes with whatever service plan they’ve ordered. As a result, when new games come out, a lot of people may be disenfranchised. Java games are generally a cinch, as most phones support them. But then you’ve got Symbian OS, BREW, etc. Confusing, yes?
In Japan, there’s iMode, where all the good stuff comes out. Capcom loves it, hence the obscene amount of cool titles they’re getting. Why some of the titles haven’t been ported to other cellphone platforms is beyond me; it can’t be all that difficult. Phones in the US are slowly starting to catch up; disregarding hybrid platforms like the N-Gage, we’ve still got developers cranking out interesting titles (like Dragonfire, a full-on RPG for cellphones). Time will tell if developers can really sink their teeth into this growing market; as it stands right now, it’s nothing more than a niche. Seeing our favorite video game heroes in multiple titles all over cellphones in America for the time being remains…well…a Pipe Dream. (ba-dum-PSSH!)