The first time I ever got a smart phone, and I’m sure the experience must be the same for everyone to a certain extent, it was a shiny new toy capable of doing so much more than sending out text messages or making phone calls. You can surf the Internet with it. You can carry it around as your own personal MP3 player without needing an iPod anymore. You can take photos instantly and share them on your social media accounts in seconds. Or you can download and play games on your phone for free. Owning a smart phone has become a device with the convenience and functionality to carry your entire life around in your pocket. As someone who has owned and gone through different smart phones in the last few years, the one thing I’m wanting less on my phone are the mobile app games.
Angry Birds. Candy Crush. Fruit Ninja. These were some of the mobile app games that have become popular with the public at large when smart phones became the mainstream way we stay connected to each other. The mobile gaming market was still in its infancy and it was the perfect time to test out what our devices were capable of when you create a simple, fun, and mindless game people can play and download without any additional cost to them.
I remember being one of those smart phone owners who became obsessed with scrolling through the app marketplace to see what free app I wanted to have on my phone for practical use and fun. I played and downloaded the games I mentioned above with the exception of Candy Crush. I just wasn’t really interested in crushing candies into bits like other people were. I often found myself playing Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja during breaks I had at work or at home when I really didn’t feel like doing much else. The app games served its purpose well, which was to waste time and have fun playing games which often didn’t require a lot of critical thinking to play. It was mindless fun and I think this ended up being a big reason why my interest diminished in keeping most of these apps on my phone.
There’s a repetition that goes on when you play app games. The backgrounds and levels change as you progress, but the actions remain the same. Swipe the bird this way and hope it hits all the intended targets to crush their pig enemies and get a high score. Swipe the screen furiously to get bonus points and dodge the bombs in the process of slicing and dicing a mango with a katana sword. They’re entertaining for a while until the repetition and the fact that these games don’t really have an end to them, like video games do, will eventually get boring. I got bored and have since stopped playing them in the last two or three years.
Nowadays, when I want to pass the time waiting on line or sitting at a doctor’s office, I tend to read news articles on my phone or listen to my music. The thrill of high scores and overcoming a level to get to the next one faded with time. I prefer playing video games over app games because I simply don’t want the games I experience to be mindless. I want to be engaged and feel like I’m taking the time to play through something that will be memorable. While it may be great to play a game with no real ending, sometimes I prefer to have my games actually end. There’s something satisfying about placing a game on a shelf or moving onto a new game that feels right to me. I have my memories with that game and I can make new ones with a new game. App games just don’t have the same kind of feeling and they’re very forgettable experiences after a while.
When I recently purchased a new phone, I decided to do a little digital maintenance by going through and uninstalling apps and games I barely use or play anymore. Some still remain on my phone, like the first Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja for nostalgia purposes I guess, but I feel my phone is a whole lot lighter without the unnecessary clutter. We shared some fun times, apps, but the time came to finally let some of you go.
Do you still find some joy playing mobile app games or have they been evicted from sharing space on your phone?