Using the iPhone for Gaming?

I never expected my iPhone would be a gaming device.

Earlier this week, as I did my civic duty, I found myself bored to tears in a jury room, waiting to be called. It was actually a bit funny. The day started with a video about jury service, including interviews where jurors said they were excited when their names were called for a trial.

Sitting in that jury room with nothing to do, I began to understand the excitement.

Flight Control, 64 is my best, but I'm still new

I only had my phone with me. Note to self, next time prepare like you’re going on a plane: laptop, power, movies, headphones.

I managed to kill an hour playing Sudoku, but after that, I got restless. The jury room had wi-fi, a nice perk, and I remembered Paul mentioning Flight Control to me as awesome and totally addictive. I’d read that in a couple reviews, too.

So I decided to buy it, and happy day, it’s on sale right now.This blog isn’t an iPhone app review blog, and I’ve stopped talking about apps (other than the Oracle People app) because that’s not what we do. I only chatter about apps I enjoy.

I enjoy Flight Control.

The game is simple. Land the planes on the corresponding colored runways by tracing a path with your finger and don’t crash them. Easy peasy, until you have a bunch of planes, flying at different speeds all over the place.

It’s a phenomenal game for the iPhone platform, easy to learn and easy to play. It’s also easy to succeed right away, but it gets increasingly difficult, an attribute of all good games.

For me, this is the addictive part. I was able to play the game immediately, with success, and as it got harder, I kept playing, bolstered by that initial success. Plus, I was bored to tears with nothing else to do.

I enjoy the design aspects of the game. I wonder how that design meeting went. Was the idea universally praised, or did it require a few meetings and a prototype to get the green light?

A while back, Paul mentioned that his iPhone was more gaming console than anything else now, and I was skeptical. I’ve changed my mind. There are some very imaginative games out there that use the iPhone in creative ways, e.g. with the latest version of Flight Control, you can play with another person simultaneously and divert planes to their airports. Can’t wait to try that.

Plus, you never know when you’ll be stuck with nothing to do.

What do you think? Any iPhone games to recommend? Find the comments.

Update: I finally acted on recommendations from Rick and Paul that Fieldrunners was a great game. Aside from being one of Time’s top ten video games of 2008, the game is produced by Portland company, Subatomic Studios.  It has not disappointed; I’ve been playing it for the past hour or so, great fun.




  1. Wow, I'm late to the iPhone for games party. Those sound fun. See my update about Fieldrunners if you want another fun one.

  2. Looks tough, but the price is right 🙂 If only I'd done this research before I had jury duty. I guess I could stockpile for my next trip on a plane or to the DMV.

    Boredom. There's an app for that.

  3. Heh, yeah. Fieldrunners was one of my fave games. If you like it, you'll love StarDefense, a 3D tower defense game. See if you can beat my all-Twitter high score of 72 waves on Rydhon!

    You can enable the game to post your scores to Twitter, which serves as a rudimentary scoreboard on Twitter if you search for 'Rydhon.' The funny thing is that nothing stops you from manually post the score on TweetDeck as well. Heh, so for shits and giggles I posted an impossible score of 124 waves which showed up in the in-game challenge log.

  4. Interesting product decision. They knew you could game the “scoreboard” easily, but didn't care. That's probably why they went ahead with it, to encourage Twitter bragging about the game. Smart.

    Fieldrunners is turning out to be like Flight Control. Early success is difficult to achieve consistently. They must build in a softball round when you first start playing to get you hooked. Game design would be fun.

  5. That looks fun. I have to be careful to avoid buying a bunch of games I don't have time to play. Made that mistake years ago w/Playstation.

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