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(Warning: Some of this is mostly ranting on the sorry state of the world and how things were better Back Then. But that's the way things sometimes are...)

"Mobile gaming" is one of the big buzzwords and concepts and paradigms and whatnot that seemed to come up in 2000.

Mobile gaming, as the recent hype suggests, is computer/console gaming that works in mobile area. In other words, games that are portable, and often combined with cell phones or PDAs.

What everyone seems to forget, however, is that this phenomenon is not new!

Mobile gaming and mobile entertainment is a very old idea. Nintendo GameBoy has been, since the early 1990s, the leading name on the mobile gaming market that has since become even more advanced (with recent releases of Gameboy Color and Game Boy Advance).

Even "mobile entertainment" isn't a new idea. Portable TVs have just become smaller and cheaper. MP3 players were preceded by Walkmen and portable CD players.

Now, in early 2000s, the cellphone providers (at least here in Finland, and apparently also elsewhere where GSM network is around) are pushing SMS and WAP-based games and market them like they would be the second coming of Jesus. The cellphone makers, then, are marketing the new models with the games that the phones come with.

And in many ways, the games that the current cellphone networks can provide are much, much, much worse than what "old" systems could do. So, most Nokia cellphones come with worm game... one Siemens model, apparently, had a platformer game and one new Nokia model had a pinball game. Oh please. My GameBoy could do all that ages ago with much better screen resolution and (gasp) stereo sound! And who is buying a cellphone for games? I thought those things were primarily used to make telephone calls...

And the SMS games, then? *cough* Basically, some games based highly on imagination and guessing, not to even mention the costs! Or what can you say about a game with this sort of plot: "Fishing game: Send a SMS message to xxxxxx (5 mk), and you might get some 'fishes' back via SMS." I never thoght I would find games that sound so stupid. =)

SMS is not a good format for games. WAP, as a technology, sucks and is much worse than WWW.

In summary: In some cases, the mobile gaming (and mobile entertainment in general) is getting better, and in some cases, some growth pain can clearly be seen.

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