Because I’m a sucker for alliteration, please give a standing ovation to the Wednesday Wonder. In this potentially regular feature, I’m going to take a look at one of the modern wonders of the smartphone gaming world.
It might be a game, it might be a developer, it might even just be a thing that happened to me once. That’s the wonder of the Wednesday Wonder. All you know for sure is it’s going to be wonderful.
Join me next week maybe for another look through the mobile gaming archive. But for now, here’s the first entry in the series. It’s an exciting one, I’m sure you’ll agree. Right? RIGHT!?!
That time I was the king of Snake
For this Wednesday Wonder, let me take you back to a time when I was a lot younger, probably a bit fatter, and had much worse hair. A time that I like to call, the past.
I was in my first year of college when I first got a mobile phone. It was a Nokia 5110. And I’ll be honest, it was probably the best phone I ever owned. It worked, it held its charge forever, and it came pre-installed with the greatest game ever made.
That game was Snake. A simple, addictive game of moving around a boxed in screen, endlessly gobbling up pills and growing ever bigger.
I say endlessly, but I don’t mean endlessly. The screen was boxed in, so eventually you’d have nowhere else to go and be forced to either smash your snakey face into the wall or into your own tail.
It was basically a metaphor for life. Eventually the walls will close in, no matter how many pills you eat, and you’ll die a horrible and ignoble death involving smashing your face into something.
Anyway, for a brief period, I was the king of Snake. On the bus back home I’d be given other people’s mobile phones so I could get them a new high score. I was cock of the walk, the real superstar of the 920 bus as it meandered back through a series of tiny villages.
Inevitably this stardom didn’t last long. Because not many people had phones with Snake on them, and once you’d got the high score there wasn’t really any point doing it again.
Looking back though I realise now that this gave me my first glimpse into the communality of mobile gaming. Because we have these devices in our pockets, because they’re with us everywhere we go, we can whip them out and let other people have a crack on them.
It’s far less awkward than inviting someone you barely know to come over to your house and play Sonic 2 (that happened as well). Because there’s no real intrusion. Unless they start looking at your photos.
Essentially I think mobile games are great at bringing people together. And not in a nauseating advertising kind of a way. In a way where we can share our experiences with one another on our own terms.
I’ve seen this happen at trade shows and other events. People showing other people new games on their phone, and not being shy about passing them over and letting someone else have a go.
So I guess this week’s wonder isn’t how good I am at Snake (real good mate), it’s how a pretty shoddy game managed to bring an entire bus of people together for a week. And how mobile gaming continues to do that to this day.