Mobile gaming is huge business. Whilst the iPhone has been the leader in this fast growing market, Android is fast gaining pace with games such as Galaxy On Fire 2, Need For Speed and Modern Combat 2 entering the scene, and with Android 3.1 bringing the option to install a variety of USB accessories and with companies like Sony and nVidia getting serious on gaming the future is surely bright for Android users.
Still, you can't argue that everyone has their own wish list of games that they wish to see on an Android and here are 10 chosen by me and some of the other staff members. In no particular order:
Infinity blade – When I first played this on a friends iPhone I thought Wow! Smooth graphics and great game play combined with a healthy level of customisation and online multiplayer this is a game I would definitely love to have on Android.
Chances? Even though in the past Epic have said that they would not release it on Android due to different levels of hardware I would not be to surprised if they jumped on board with someone like nVidia who could guarantee them that their game will be available for high level phones only through the Tegra zone.
Alternatives? No real alternatives although if you like a hack 'n' slash game and have a Tegra phone then give Samurai 2: Vengeance a go. It has a good art direction and is a lot of fun to play although does not have the customisation and multiplayer option like Infinity Blade.
Starcraft – I would love the Starcraft series to come to Android in some form. The tactics, gameplay and different factions are just the tip of what makes Starcraft great. Some may question this choice but I would see any possible Starcraft game as being aimed at tablets. With the option to plug in a USB mouse and in the case of the ASUS Transformer, a keyboard, you could enjoy the game to its full potential on the go.
Chances? Not sure on an actual Starcraft game (they are no doubt to busy creating the Starcraft 2 sequals) but Gameloft have created an iPhone very similar to it called Starfront: Collision.
Call Of Duty/Battlefield – An obvious choice for many people. Even though we already have Modern Combat 2 I have no doubt that many people would jump on a Call Of Duty game for Android, especially if it came with multiplayer gaming. While the touchscreen controls wouldn't quite give us the same experience, the chance to play a few rounds will be tempting for many, although hook up a ps3/Xbox gamepad to your tablet or buy yourself an icontrolpad and you have something that will give you a better experience.
Chances? Not very good at the moment since the market may not seem very tempting at the moment for both companies. Plus with an already established fan base that would jump aboard anytime they can afford to take a wait and see approach.
Alternatives? Yes as already stated Modern Combat 2 is the most similar game and it is made by Gameloft. It comes with online play for upto 10 players and 4 different modes with 12 battlefields for offline play with 15 different weapons. If your looking for a more futuristic set up like Halo then look no further than NOVA 2 also by Gameloft (although it can only be obtained through their website!). With 10 player mulitplayer over 10 maps and a story spanning 12 chapters this game should provide more than enough fun for on the go gaming.
Sonic The Hedgehog/Super Mario Brothers (Megadrive + SNES Era) – These two I picked for nostalgic reasons. I remember playing these games on my Sega Megadrive and SNES for hours on end in my childhood and even now I have the Sega Megadrive collection for Xbox 360. These two games updated for the touchscreen, with increased graphics and more addictive gameplay would make great additions to anyones mobile game collection.
Chances? A number of Sonic games are already on the iPhone so it makes sense that they will eventually come to Android as well. Nintendo meanwhile is probably a no-no since they don't want games on mobile phones that could be sold through their own Nintendo store on their handheld consoles.
Alternatives? Emulators provide the best alternatives to a native game. You can play the originals on your phone with on-screen controls providing the best alternative you can get until a proper phone version comes out.
Elder Scrolls – Ok this is more a wish than a request but I am a big fan of the Elder Scrolls series and would love to see it come to Android in some form. The level of detail and character creation as well as traveling through the world would create a great game with which to pass the time.
Chances? None at the present. Like I said this is more a wish than a request.
Alternatives? There are some role playing games out there that might satisfy gamers. Sacred Odyssey: Rise Of Ayden is a game by Gameloft (again in their website and not the Android market) which offers a range of customisation, a range of areas and many foes plus lots of gameplay. Another alternative would be a game called Spectral Souls which is a beast of a game, with it being a 1 GB download file! According to the market description it offers 84 characters, high resolution graphics and 100's of hours worth of gameplay.
Football Manager – There is no PC game quite as addictive or a tactical as a good football manager game. Getting your home team into the Premiership lifting the league trophy, winning the champions league and getting manager of the year in the year 2023 make those 6 months of solid gaming worth it.
Chances? Good since Football Manager Handheld is on the iPhone. With graphics not being intense the game could easily make its way to Android on a range of devices. The only problem on some handsets would be memory storage (lots of player/team/stadium/league data = big file).
Farmville – Apparently this game is quite popular so I thought I would add this game to the list. I have no doubt that people would love to tend to their field from the comfort of their handset whilst on the go.
Chances? High. The game itself is already on the iPhone and with Google having invested money into Zynga not long a go it would be strange if the game did not become available on the platform.
Alternatives? There are no real alternatives but if you are desperate to play it on the go and can run flash on the go there is always that option. While not perfect it is the best you can get so far.
Second Life – Again like Farmville this a pretty popular game so it makes sense to add this here as well. How this would work on a handheld phone remains to be seen but it could be playable on a tablet (especially one with a keyboard).
Chances? Not much since the controls and overall function may produce an unsatisfying result compared to what layers are used to on their computers.
Madden NFL – The other football game, this is one for the Americans. Who wouldn't want to play a bit of Madden while trying to kill time. Real players, real stats and great gameplay would make this an easy sale. Throw in multiplayer and a few different modes and watch the money role in.
Chances? The game is already on the iPhone so I don't see why not on Android either.
Good Games Need Great Hardware
Unless you have an Xperia Play it is obvious quite a few games can get frustrating with just touch controls. While a touch system can work and we can get used to it after using it for so long, years of gaming mean that control pads are better for us offering more options and more fluid gaming. At the moment the best choice is the iControlPad.
The problem there though is that it is mostly emulators that work. While that is good for playing PSXdroid its not so good for Modern Combat 2 or Galaxy On Fire 2. However Google have done two VERY good things recently. One is the ability to use a host of USB devices including gamepads that was released for tablets recently, number two is Google releasing an Android Development Kit for hardware. If we add the two together we could see mainstream gaming controllers that developers will make use of to provide a better gaming experience.