Confession: I Can’t Stand Mobile Games

If you’ve been around this site for long–or follow me on Twitter–you know that I write for Geek & Sundry, which means I spend a lot of time talking about one of the staples of that site, gaming. I loooove gaming, both tabletop and video games, and I love writing about it, too. It’s the best! So it’s been a bit hard for me to fully accept this reality about myself. I’ll talk about gaming all day long, but whenever the conversation gets to mobile gaming…

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You guys, I cannot stand most mobile games. If you were to grab my phone from me right now (please don’t do that), you’d find that I have loads of apps on my phone. Twitter, Insta, Facebook, credit card apps, IMDB, Duolingo…but I hardly have any games on my phone. Here are the games I have downloaded:

That’s all I’ve got, game-wise–and my “games” aren’t actually all games!!! Before you get judgey, let me say that my lack of mobile app gaming doesn’t come from a lack of trying. I’ve played Minecraft on my phone, I’ve tried Clash of Clans, I played the Walking Dead game with Daryl in it, I’ve tried puzzlers, I’ve tried it all. I just can’t get into it. At all.

Take Fallout Shelter, for instance. That’s the latest game that I’ve added to my phone (and, if I’m honest, I might take it off my phone soon). What makes Fallout 4 awesome is what an expansive, intricate world it is. Sure, I’m well aware that when I play Fallout I’m going to lose hours–maybe even the better part of a day–exploring the Wasteland. It’s inevitable.

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I love it, and I’m fully in control (mostly anyway) of how long I spend in-game. But so many mobile games that are popular are such a constant time commitment. Clash of Clans felt like a stupid, part-time job that I’d have to pay to get good at, and Fallout Shelter is slowly driving me insane as I try to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to build a viable vault when I don’t have enough power and my dwellers keep boinking and getting pregnant in the living quarters. Then, to top it all off, sometimes Radroaches or Raiders attack and I have to drop whatever I’m doing to try to protect my dweller babies. I got a notification at midnight last night that I forgot about one of my dwellers as he was exploring the Wasteland, and I felt like I had to start up the app to get him back to the vault. It’s turning me into that horrible millennial cliche of being that chick who’s just glued to her phone 24/7.

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That’s the reason games like COD: Zombies, Plaugue, Inc, and Cow have stuck around on my phone. They’re games that stop when I close the app. They don’t ping me in the middle of the night, they don’t require care, feeding, and protection in the wee hours of the morning, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting them in a cruel, post-apocalyptic wilderness. It also doesn’t force me to solve some brain-bending puzzler when all I’m trying to do is calm myself down in the waiting room of a doctor or forget how hungry I am when I’m waiting for a table to open up at a restaurant. I like mobile games that are easy–FPS zombie game, a game where you find an invisible cow, or a game where you can infect the world with a killer virus, bacteria, or fungus as you have time. If I want to play an actual game that requires my full attention, I’m going to play it where I’m comfy on my couch, at home, looking at a big screen, where I can pour as long as I want into the game without zapping my iPhone 5c’s feeble little battery or worrying about getting interrupted when I’m smack in the middle of trying to save my vault from Raiders when I still don’t have any weapons or a firm grasp on how the game works…hypothetically, of course.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I prefer my gaming on a table or console–heck, even a tablet is better than a phone. I like using my phone for stuff that I can use when I want and leave it when I’m over it without having worry about the well being of some animated humans in a fictitious vault. Ultimately, I think that’s why most mobile games aren’t for me. It’s too small of a playing area, I hate wasting my battery on a game, and ultimately it requires that I be far more invested in the game than I’m capable of being. Just let me find a damn invisible cow. That’s more my mobile gaming speed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go because another group of raiders attacked my vault as I was writing this. I’m not even kidding.

What do you think of mobile gaming? Do you think it’s fun or too much? If you like it, what are some of your favorite games? Tell me about them in the comments! 

12 thoughts on “Confession: I Can’t Stand Mobile Games

  1. Mobile games have always been purely a method for distraction while at work or having a shi…, “bowel movement”. Even then I only ever really play sudoku or perhaps Subway Surfers. It’s hard to get stuck into mobile games that don’t actually have much in the way of gameplay.

  2. If I’m mobile gaming, I like the mindless stuff that ends up just eating time when I shouldn’t be eating my data. Dots 2, Wordfeud (instead of words with friends), and I keep coming back to Tap Titans. Candy crush, while a ridiculously guilty pleasure, has burned me by having me connect facebook and incessantly message *everyone* on my list, which was a super embarrassing moment. I like to download and cycle through other randoms, all of the Nimblebit studio games are adorable and fun so I get hooked on those every now and again – but it does end up eating away at your daily life so I drop them pretty quickly too.

    I will say though, I bought Final Fantasy 9 because it recently became available on mobile, and that was a great opportunity for me to play on the train and have something I could dig into a bit. The controls are super easy and I don’t feel like I’m missing my controller or large screen too much because the graphics are a little older.

    1. lol! Candy Crush confessions. I think that game sucked everyone in, at least for a season. 🙂 I might have to try FF9 on mobile–or at least on my iPad. I might like it better with a larger play area.

  3. Actually, mobile games have never interested me at all. I do really enjoying playing games on the PS4, like Bloodborne, or Uncharted ect, but playing games on a phone doesn’t appeal to me one bit.

  4. I go back and forth on having games on my phone. I love games like Sim City BuildIt, and the mobile version of Settlers of Catan (although the computer cheats, heh), but I find myself with a focus issue when I play them too much. I used to have a bunch of games on my phone and eventually deleted them because I was thinking about them too much, or I’d pick up my phone to play in the middle of doing something else.

  5. I 100% agree with you. I have one game on my phone which is Disco Zoo, and it’s there as a treat for my five year old (though it can get addicting haha). I just do not enjoy mobile gaming at all, despite loving both table top and video gaming. I think it’s because I just don’t enjoy a time suck without a story. I mean, I love getting caught up in a good video game and whiling away the hours…but it’s because I’m obsessed with the story or characters. Timewasters just don’t do it for me. If I want to waste time, I much prefer to hop on Instagram or YouTube and browse art hours!

  6. I actually agree with you on a lot of this, despite considering myself a fan of mobile games. They just have to be the ‘right’ mobile games. Stuff like Device 6 or Lifeline that are pick up and play, but also tell interesting stories and push our understand of what a mobile game is.

    1. Yeah, if I can find the right kind, I’m all on board. I mean, I do have a couple games that I LOVE, and I love them because they’re pick up and play. I think I just need to keep experimenting to find the games that are right for me. I’ll have to check out Device 6 and Lifeline.

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