Since this is a gaming blog I'm going to keep my "review" of the iPad 2 centered around what we all know and love.
I think it will help illustrate my points if you know a little bit about my gaming history. I've pretty much owned every single major system out there. I own all of the three consoles out now, Wii, Xbox360 and PS3. I love the 360 for its exclusive titles and xbox live, the PS3 for its exclusives as well and its ability to let me watch Netflix free-of-charge (unlike M$) and the Wii for its innovative controls and great Nintendo titles.
What do I think of portable gaming? I'm not a portable gamer at all. I owned a Gameboy when I was little and bought a DS about 10 years ago haha. So gaming on the go was never a priority for me. I hated buying cartridges, I hated the cost, I hated lugging around all the gear, charging the batteries and all the nonsense that comes with portable gaming. I never wanted a PSP or any other portable system that ever came along. The prices were too high, the games were crap ports and the whole experience left a very bad taste in my mouth.
What do I think of console gaming? Well here's the good...I think there are some really great AAA titles out there and a great lineup of smaller "indie" games available for the big 3. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all have great characters/games they have come up with through the years..which leads to some great 1st party titles. Ok so onto the bad (and there is a lot of bad)..the console gaming industry as a whole is far too expensive. $60 for a brand new game?! And even more for "special editions"?! Are we nuts?! After spending $199-$399 on a brand new shiny console, $30-$50 per controller, high def cables, headsets, speakers and high def tvs to run it all...they still insist on charging $60 per title. Oh and lets not forget xbox live at a cost per month to play. And I know what your going to say...wah wah wah the games cost soooo much to develop now a days. Sorry buddy...I'm not drinking your kool-aid this time. The console industry needs a real wake up call. When has it become acceptable for Microsoft to put out a gaming console only to have it break 6 months later and force us to buy a new one for another $300-$400?! Thats rubbish....but I'm going to get off my console rant and onto the iPad.
With that being said the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have completely changed the way I game.
I have so many points I want to make about these devices I don't think I will be able to fit them all in.
Lets start with price points... .99 cents - $9.99 for games? Excuse me?! Ummm really? Where the hell do I sign up?! What your telling me is all I have to do is buy a $199 ipod touch and im getting insanely good quality games for that price!? Wait hold on?...what else are you saying? You mean I could turn my piece of crap cell phone which has had Tetris and Pac Man on it for the last 5 years into a portable gaming device with a library of tens of thousands of awesome games? On top of that countless other cool apps to utilize as well? Hold on...you have a third point to make? Your saying I could now get an iPad 2 which only costs $500 and I've got a 9.7 inch gaming device/media viewer/internet/reading/whatever the hell else you wanna do device? And on top of that the games that are available across their other devices are already on this thing? What happened to waiting for ports to be made for years for the new portable console? What happened to the $29.99-$39.99 portable game prices? They don't exist you say? Wow...iDevices rock!
Like I said before I have way too many points to make...I'm going to be selective with this. Lets talk about the social aspect of gaming. We all know the feeling. Your buddies and you all spend $60 for that great new AAA title that just came out, you meet at your apartment, start up your controllers and your all in gaming nirvana. Or if you can't meet up at your homes/apartments your forced to game online...or gaming alone if it's a single player game. You can't wait to discuss the title with each other. "Did you see that boss? Did you get that achievement? How about that piece of armor or quest? Did you beat that part yet? That is if the $60 title you just bought is any good and the "reviews" you read about online were telling the truth. And that is if all your buddies had an $60 extra that month to blow on a game. If you meet all those requirements you might just have a game to talk about for the next few weeks.
Now lets look at the iDevice's scenario shall we? It's happening to all of us...more and more we are hopping on the iDevice bandwagon and being converted. So now we are all invested, as we are with home consoles and portable gaming devices. Since the games are only 1/5th the price of other games the social aspect is increased ten fold. Instead of having to spend $60 to possibly get a great title....hop on the app store and read thousands of real reviews from gamers just like us about a title you may want to buy for say hmmm...$2.99? Sounds a bit better then scouring online for non-bias reviews of games that cost upwards of $60 and sometimes more. I can't tell you how many times I've bought a game for .99 cents and just had to tell my friends all about it...so that they, for only .99 cents can join in on the fun with me. Wow...look at this...we are all discussing gaming again?! Sharing games we discovered, apps we found that we love and great titles all for the low price of like I said...anywhere from .99 cents - $9.99. And its only getting better folks. Indie developers, big name studios and even one man operations are creating games and apps constantly for these devices. Its making for a wealth of good quality content to experience. Now that's not to say that there are many, many bad apps on the app store. But that's besides the point.
I said before how these iDevices have changed the way I game. No longer do I have to pop in a DVD, wait for the system to load, download updates upon updates, wait for the game to launch and start playing...on top of that I'm now taking up the TV in the living room which my wife may want to use to watch television. Or I could instantly hop on my iPhone and start a game within seconds anywhere I am. I could be at home, waiting in line at a store, in the car traveling with friends, at a relatives house, friends house...anywhere I want I'm instantly ready to game. For however long I want or however short I want...my iPhone is ready for me to game. Since it's my primary phone in my home its constantly charged and ready to go. Oh portable gaming consoles how do I NOT miss thee. Let me count the ways! haha
Folks Apple is creating an ecosystem centered around portability, quality and cost. The choices they make, the products they debut are only here to benefit us in the long run. Sure they are guilty of the same crap as any other company is...I'm looking at you overpriced cables and magnetic ipad covers. What they are doing for the gaming industry is something revolutionary. Without Apple we would be stuck for a long, long time at the mercy of companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. They are changing the game as we know it. No longer is the norm going to be $60 titles that you need to go to the store to purchase. At a whim your downloading awesome games for cheap prices. I can only hope that one day Apple releases a home console that comes with a physical controller and keyboard/mouse that is plugged into the app store. All so that I can download great games for cheap prices. Something the consoles were never going to give to us. I ask you this...why would you want to turn your back on Apple and what they are doing for us? Why are you siding with an industry that wants nothing more then to take as much of your money as possible. I can tell you that from a believer the grass is definitely greener on the other side. With these devices your now sharing your experiences with friends and family like never before. They are bringing us together in a way that consoles never could. And most importantly we are now doing something together that we have all loved since childhood...gaming.
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