Games on Android have been around since the days of the G1. However they haven't really started to take off until just the last year or two. 2013 was a huge year in particular for games on Android as we started to see some amazing stuff pop up on the Play Store, with equally amazing alternate ways to play your favorite games on Android. We saw some great games get released from big name developers and publishers, Android game consoles hit the scene, and plenty of gaming peripherals were released as well. We really started to see what Android devices were capable of in the games department, and the best part is, it will only get better. Lets take a look at some of the things that happened with Android games this year.
A True Call Of Duty Comes To Android
Sure, sure, Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies has been Android for well over a year or two. Im talking about a true Call of Duty Experience. Call of Duty Strike Team gives us a full game, and the ability to play Call of Duty in a way we've never really experienced it. It really just goes to show how far gaming has come, when one of the largest gaming franchises from consoles comes to mobile devices. In this full featured game, you can play in first person view or zoom out to third person tactical view to command your units. It really does have a fantastic storyline and gameplay as well as controls are actually amazingly fluid. And... It's on sale right now for just $2.99 down from $6.99. What a steal.
NVIDIA Releases The Shield
NVIDIA knows games. There's no arguing that fact. When we think of NVIDIA though we usually think gaming PC's and gaming laptops. Even the Tegra line of processors they have been releasing in phones and tablets for the last two years. No one probably would have imagined that NVIDIA would end up releasing their own handheld gaming console that runs on Android. After much hype and plenty of teasers, NVIDIA finally released their handheld Android gaming console on July 31st of this year, although we expected it to better than it has. The NVIDIA Shield is certainly a cool piece of hardware, but the fact remains that it just doesn't hit a price point that speaks to the average consumer and average gamer. Its really more focused on a niche market of extremely harcore gamers that can afford to drop $249.99 on a piece of gaming hardware that does exactly what there phone and tablets already do. Save the price point though, the NVIDIA Shield has a couple really amazing features.
First off it runs NVIDIAS Tegra 4 processor. This particular GPU has up to 72 dedicated graphics cores, compared to the 12 from the previous model, the Tegra 3 chip. That's some serious gaming power. The other really cool thing about the Shield, is that allows you the capability to play games from your Steam account. There's just one catch right now, it only supports a small handful of hardware(which doesn't include mobile NVIDIA GPU's at the moment), and currently you can only play those games when you're connected to the same local network as your connected Steam PC. Despite these factors, the Shield is one amazing gaming handheld, and we'd like to see NVIDIA do more with it, or at least tweak some things for the next version. Like say a better price and more support for the Steam games.
Android Game Consoles Hit The Scene
At least three Android game consoles made it to market this year, which means you now have the chance to play your favorite android games in a whole new way. The OUYA is of course the most notable of any of them, with the cheapest price point($99) and the biggest following of developers and publishers. We saw other Android game consoles get their release this year as well though, including the Gamestick, which also has a popular following and a niche claiming that it's more portable than the OUYA, even well known gaming peripherals manufacturer Mad Catz released their Android game console just this month called the M.O.J.O. With a few decent alternatives to playing Android games on your phone or tablet so far, Android game consoles are only going to get better.
Gamepads Galore: Plenty Of Controllers Make Their Way Into Our Hands
2013 isn't the first we've seen of mobile compatible gaming controllers, but it is when we've seen the best of the best come out to play. So far this year, the much anticipated follow up to the original MOGA line of controllers debuted, Enter the MOGA Power Series of Controllers: The Moga Hero Power and The Moga Power Pro. Both improve upon the designs of their predecessors, as well add the ability to charge your devices off of the built in battery so that you can keep playing no matter where you are. No having to hunt for an outlet to plug in. At least, not for a while longer. We also saw a couple really great controllers from Nyko, who have been making gaming accessories for consoles for quite some time. The Nyko Play Pad and Nyko Play Pad Pro had their big day earlier this year, although it was a challenge to release under the shadow of the New Moga Series Controllers. Still, they held their own and both are actually great little controllers. The Nyko Play Pad Pro in particular is the one that I use, and I absolutely love it. We also saw the kickstarter campaign begin for a very exciting looking gamepad called the Phonejoy. Pre-orders are actually going on right now for the little guy, and will be fulfilled Phonejoy says after they ship to their campaign backers. Availability for the phonejoy for pre-orders is expected to be in the first half of February. Its quite exciting to see more and more options come to market offering traditional ways to play games from our Android devices. What will the new year bring?
Journey Back To Los Santos: GTA San Andreas Comes To Android
Most gamers are familiar with the Grand Theft Auto series of games. And why they shouldn't they be? There amazing. Journey back to the largely open world sandbox, and make your name known in the city of Los Santos. Rockstar Games has already published Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City onto Android, and now we have the biggest of the three to add to our libraries. Updated graphics from the original console version of the game, with new tweaks specific to mobile, controller support so you can link up to the big screen and play just like old times, its all here. A full featured experience with San Andreas just the way you remember it, but now you can take it with you wherever you go. In a largely expansive city based on Los Angeles, there's plenty of missions to grab and massive amounts of things to explore. There are plenty of ways to get yourself killed as well. Be sure to stay out of rival gang territory. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas really displays just how far Android gaming has come.
As we look back at some of the amazing things and even more amazing games to come to Android, it serves as a window of whats to come. If you love games like we do, than you have probably had some great gaming moments on Android this year. What are some of the Android game milestones you have personally had in 2013? What is the absolute best game you saw released? Let us know what you think in the comments on our G+ post.