Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Return of the Grue

Let's try something. Fire up your trusty copy of iTunes, wander over to the iTunes Store, pop into Applications and search for "RPG." Surprised? Well over 100 titles readily pop up. A quick scan of the titles reveal such intriguing buzz words as "knight", "vampire", "racing", and "pets." Now, dig deeper. Click on a few, look at the screen shots, read the descriptions. Admire the Doom-ish graphics on this one, the interesting color palette on that one, the nice text-based game over there. Wait... text based? As in, text based RPG? As in, "You are likely to be eaten by a grue" style text based RPG? Indeed. Go ahead, check your calender. I'll wait.

Welcome to brave new world of mobile gaming. The runaway success of the iPhone and iPod Touch has spawned a new wave that nineties favorite, the text based RPG. Now it is far to early to say if any of these titles will achieve the success and happy memory quota of such classics as ZZT, Zork, or Mines of Moria. Regardless, I love this trend. In the modern gaming market, there is no such thing as an outdated genre. For every game there is a gamer, and for every gamer a game, even gamers who do not yet know they are gamers. Just as many of the current generation of avid players got their start lighting torches with slash commands, it is certainly possible that a new wave of gamers are about to get their first fix by means of the enormous array of titles and options available on the iPhone and Andriod. That means there will be more game companies, more places for talented developers to ply their trade, and more creativity to capture our dollars.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy either. That poor grue has probably been lonely all these long years, alone in those dark and abandoned dungeons. It is good to have him back in the spotlight where he belongs. Not literally, of course.

No comments: