I can vividly remember the first time I ever played a game on iOS. I was going to see my oldest brother at Durham University, in the coldest and wettest corner of England. It was the Winter of 2008 - I was only twelve years old - and my dad had recently bought the new iPhone 3G. In the evening, and after endless persuasion, I finally convinced him to download a couple of applications - namely Cube Runner [Free] and Tap Tap Revenge - from the recently released store, and managed to snare the device off him for a few minutes. I know it is horrendously cliché, but I instantly fell in love with the iPhone. While the Wii had given me a brief impression of gyroscopic controls, this was my first exposure to a truly capacitive touchscreen, and being able to access these games from nothing other than the hotel WiFi was incomprehensible to my young and highly impressionable gaming mind. However, while Cube Runner is inexplicably still available to play on the App Store today, the original Tap Tap Revenge is not. Like it or not, without some questionable tinkering to my device, I can never relive those first moments of playing that game.

After this brief encounter with mobile games, I managed to persuade my parents to let me borrow their redundant original iPod Touch, and followed the many releases as an avid reader on TouchArcade. However, I was still so young that I didn’t even have a bank card at the time, so had to rely on the generosity of my family as well as iTunes gift cards at my birthday and other holidays. One game that was forever on my watch list was the original Rolando - the unique use of the iPhone’s assets coupled with the universal critical acclaim and Loco Roco-esque graphics made it seem like the first true ‘game’ on the App Store, and I was desperate to try it out. Fast forward to Christmas 2009 - I was lucky enough to receive a third generation iPod Touch of my own, as well as an iTunes gift card that I put straight to work in downloading the first Rolando game. Similarly to my first impression, I was immediately stunned by how impressive the game was to actually play. Whether it was the hype and expectation around it, or merely the context of when I was able to play it, Rolando will always hold a special place in my memory not only in mobile gaming, but the whole medium as a whole. However, Rolando is no longer on the App Store, and I can no longer play the game again and remind myself about those formative years of my youth.

Those two nostalgic tales of my fondest App Store memories may seem self-indulgent (and you’re probably right) but I’m sure everyone reading this article can recall their own memories that are similar to mine, whether that’s on the iPhone or reaching all the way back to the early days of the NES and beyond. However, while one might go up to the attic, bring down a SNES, and fire up Super Mario World to show their children the joys of their childhood, someone who started with something such as Rolando or Tap Tap Revenge cannot do the same on the App Store. This is a problem that is intrinsic in an entirely digital platform, but nonetheless a problem that is severely affecting iOS gaming as a whole. Apps and games disappear for a whole host of reasons - in some cases, developers may go bust or merely not have the money to continue to front Apple’s fee to publish games on the App Store. Games may be rendered unplayable by Apple’s successive and relentless iterative iOS updates. In rare cases, they may just disappear from the App Store completely for no reason whatsoever. Of course, with enough time, effort, money, and controversial tinkering you may be able to resurrect certain games through jailbreaking, but for the majority of people who own one iDevice that they depend on on an everyday basis this is unpractical, if not impossible.

As a result, the history of mobile gaming is slowly dying as these games fade from the consciousness of mobile gamers and as massively popular free-to-play games such as Clash Royale [Free] and Pokemon GO [Free] cannibalise the discussion. I mean no disrespect to either title - Pokemon GO was my favorite game of 2016, and both will certainly be remembered for many years to come. However, the extreme success of games such as these, coupled with the dynamic and unforgiving nature of the App Store swallowing up developers, companies, and applications on an unprecedented scale means the early years of iOS’s life are constantly becoming an ever smaller footnote in the broader tale of iPhone and iPad gaming, and this is sad. Furthermore, while some of the larger games such as Rolando may be preserved by Wikipedia pages, smaller ones may only be remembered by dedicated mobile gaming websites such as this very site, and a number of other ones. In that, however, lies another problem - the alteration in the App Store environment is making websites such as TouchArcade struggle to make enough money to stay alive, and many have fallen victim to this change in circumstances. God forbid TouchArcade ever cease to exist, but hypothetically if we vanished from the internet today, a huge number of smaller games - that many hold extremely dear in a similar way to how I remember Rolando - will suddenly vanish from the face of the earth, and will be forgotten in history.

iOS games disappearing from the App Store present not only a sentimental issue, but also a trust one. The story of Bioshock is appalling, with the game being rendered broken after a paltry eight months, potentially days after many mobile gamers bought the title originally. Cases such as Bioshock shouldn’t be happening on iOS, and believe me when I say that myself, my colleagues at TouchArcade, and the community as a whole will strive to use our respective platforms to try and make such practices end as soon as humanly possible. However, I’d like to stray from this narrative for this article, as I truly believe that the case of Bioshock doesn’t really matter in the long term for iOS gaming. I hope everyone affected got their well-deserved refunds, but I highly doubt that, with the game an undeniably better and more accessible experience on a seemingly infinite number of alternative platforms, Bioshock for iOS will go down as much more than a speed bump in the history of mobile gaming, let alone a title that will be as fondly remembered as some of the aforementioned releases (if I’m wrong, please do let me know). Ultimately, there isn’t that much that we can do about many of the causes of games disappearing from the App Store - some developers may not be able to afford the iTunes fee anymore, which is completely understandable even if it is sad. I can’t stop developers such as Ngmoco and Tapulous from being bought and absorbed into far larger corporations. I also can’t prevent Apple from accidentally including game-destroying tweaks to their iOS firmware, especially when they are reluctant to take gaming on the iPhone truly seriously.

Many of these issues are new ones that are faced by the age of digital downloads in gaming, but a few are unique to how, unlike the mainstream console devices, the iPhone and its firmware are constantly evolving, all the while trying to keep games that were created on archaic architecture still relevant. Sony have had extensive problems in terms of backwards compatibility, and the unforgiving nature of the App Store means that some games will eventually become unplayable. This may feel overwhelming - it sure did for me, I can assure you - but there are still ways of preserving the history of mobile gaming, and only you, the mobile gaming enthusiast, can save it. Firstly, supporting sites such as TouchArcade and communities like the TouchArcade Forums is vital in keeping the history of many of the smaller events in the timeline of mobile gaming alive long after they fade into obscurity. I say this as a genuine fan - I was reading TouchArcade long before I could even imagine the possibility of writing an article such as this for the very website I idolised, and I can’t stress enough the part that it has played in helping me discover the most valuable gems in the App Store; I’m certain this is an experience that is shared amongst many. Whether it’s Shaun’s quite literally epic RPG Reload articles that serve as the sole in-depth look to many iOS titles; whether it’s Carter’s intricate and classically controversial analysis of many of the major events in the iPhone’s lifespan; whether it’s any of the other brilliant work my fellow writers do, or any of the excellent posts that forum members share with us on a daily basis. As much as this is a plug, I’d passionately suggest anyone who wants to secure the history of iOS gaming to either consider donating to our Patreon, or simply keep up the excellent community work on our forums.

That being said, the pivotal point I want to emphasise to everyone reading is to enjoy these excellent, eccentric, and extraordinary gaming experiences while you still can. Don’t leave games lying around for years unplayed, and don’t be put off that premium game because there’s a possibility that in ten years you might no longer be able to dive back into it. It’s highly likely that in a decade many of your favourite iOS games may no longer work - it took Rolando less than that to become unplayable, and that is an unfortunate reality that, for now, the mobile gaming community will have to deal with. While I may no longer be able to fire Rolando up on my phone, at the very least I have those fond memories to remember it by, and the epithet at the beginning of this article will only further strengthen its memory - and history - on the App Store. Only you can save the history of mobile gaming, by writing about the apps you've enjoyed playing, talking about those obscure titles that are prominent in your memory, and immortalising games on the iPhone that you love to ensure they live on long after that fateful day when they cease to exist. As a result, I’ve created a thread on our forums dedicated to everyone’s fondest recollections of mobile gaming - I’d love to hear what was that first wow moment that captivated you in regards to the iPhone, whether that’s something as old as Cube Runner, or even a release as recent as RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic [$5.99] or Red’s Kingdom [$2.99], with a view to compiling them to share with the world as a front page article in the near future. Let’s celebrate the App Store as its own video game platform that is both equal with those classic consoles of our youth, but also one that is unparalleled in size, scope, and variety. The history of mobile gaming may be slowly evaporating before our eyes, but I’ll be damned if we let it disappear without a fight.

  • Joshua Woodward

    Too many games coming out at once, I can imagine the bandwidth of the App store must be getting tight, and expensive to maintain. Dozens of games out every week, back when mobile gaming started, the number was much smaller. It also depends on the dev company too. So long as the app makes them money, it won't get shut down. Quite a few apps have closed I thought of putting money into, but very glad to say I didn't do it! Disney games I'm leary of making purchases as Disney is merciless. No money, shut it down! Where as Blizzard Entertainment still invests in their games that have been out for decades. I could see them doing this in the mobile space too.

    • wingzero0

      I agree.

      There are way too many games on the App Store. And many, if not most, are simply the same type of game. Being able to discover new games is hard, and really, only Apple can fix that.

      They need to add restrictions to who is allowed to publish games. I'd rather have fewer games, than having to continually trudge through so many terrible titles in the App Store.

      • HelperMonkey

        Apple benefits from sites like TA that direct interested gamers to interesting games.
        But Apple won't let TA or AppShopper update their apps (which are my primary access point to their content) due to their restrictive controls.
        Of course Apple is hardcore about control, because that ensures that their hardware works in its ecosystem. But it limits what might grow there as well.
        And after reading Rob's spotlighting of TA's role in not only the promotion of iOS gaming, but in its preservation, it's a sad thing to consider that someday one of Apple's updates will break the TA app.

  • terryterryd

    Preserving early 'editions' of classic titles count too : eg the Plants vs Zombies with the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' zombie. Also, pre in-app-purchase re-releases when solid titles disappeared to then return with the in-app purchase model embedded.

  • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

    Rob, how can I save mobile gaming? I think I need it spelled out for me.

    I wish Apple would make a little virtual machine environment, perhaps even without network support, so we can run some of our older iOS purchases in a safe way on modern hardware.

    Yeah, I want DOSbox for mobile games.

    • Intendro

      Yes. Backwards compatibility mode. This should be a thing.

    • nav1

      I guess one could perhaps use the simulators in Xcode as a starting point for such a thing. The problem is that to properly enjoy those games, you need a device to run them in, in a PC you can't really _play_ them properly.

    • HelperMonkey

      It's the history that he's talking about here.
      Preservation of memories.
      "Only you can save the history of mobile gaming, by writing about the apps you've enjoyed playing, talking about those obscure titles that are prominent in your memory, and immortalizing games on the iPhone that you love to ensure they live on long after that fateful day when they cease to exist. As a result, I’ve created a thread on our forums dedicated to everyone’s fondest recollections of mobile gaming..."

      • Tallgeese

        We could demand some sort of change in compatibility though... I don't agree with the sentiment of us being powerless to effect the change we want here... Memories are great but so is the actual content...

  • ineptidude

    Money talks. The public doesn't want innovation and creativity. They want gambling disguised as F2P gatcha games. The ones that are being advertised hard. Fucking Kate Upton.

    • Far_Out

      wow, you're fucking kate upton? cool

      • exskypixy


      • Chowderbatter


        He is fucking Kate Upton?

        Or he IS fucking Kate Upton?

  • exskypixy

    AMEN! I can't believe some of these games disappear only months, sometimes weeks, after release! I long for the slower moving early days of ios gaming. Not to mention the war, violence & distasteful games the app store seems to be riddled with now.

  • http://aggromagnetgames.com/ Aggro Magnet Games

    First preventing forest fires, and now saving mobile gaming's history! So much responsibility!

    On a more serious note, I agree that the closed and all-digital natures of the iOS platform make for a pretty poor environment for preserving classic titles.

    My own game, Vigil RPG, doesn't make enough money currently to pay the $99/year for itself to be on the App Store, and it's a bummer that if and when I stop paying, the game will become unplayable for anyone who doesn't already have a copy of it.

    • nav1

      The main problem is neither the closed environment nor the all-digital software. Consoles for instance are pretty much closed (disregarding hacks or homebrew development), and even if the games are digital, is fairly easy to keep a safe copy of every app version if one desires. The issue is keeping a device in a way that can run those apps, that is, not updating or replacing the device unless you make sure every single game runs on the new model or OS version. That to me is the real problem.

    • Stormourner of the Nature

      if your game didn't make enough money then don't ever give up your hope and keep your game in the app store forever

    • David Choi

      When Rob mentionned Apple's fee being overwhelming, I wonder how many of us are impacted by that. Players could think not many, but considering the high fee and the high number of apps on the market, I believe in the 20/80 rule... meaning 80% don't earn enough to pay the fee. I mean my game Tentis is not even close to the $99/year. Did Apple ever released such information?

      Related to the topic too, we're seeing so many remakes nowadays, HD or else, in the gaming industry. It's like another cash cow that is not encouraging devs to keep their oldies playable.

  • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

    It's fun checking out some old favorites on YouTube, at least! I was just inspired to watch some iDracula and Snail Mail and the appropriately-named Qix-alike DR. AWESOME! (Sometimes you have to include "game" in the search to filter out irrelevant clips.)

    And I will never update my old iPhone—it's of little resale value, and runs some old stuff.

  • wingzero0

    Nice read. My first mobile phone game of the modern generation would be Zenonia.

    As you stated though, until Apple takes gaming seriously, the situation will never improve.

    This is why for me, the Nintendo Switch is such a godsend. You can avoid all the unpleasantness of digital downloads and such because the games are physical copies you can keep with you.

    Apple could fix this issue, but it would require time and money. They would need to hire a large team to curate the titles. Stop letting every single person with a laptop create 'games', while incentiving the middle to large developers to come aboard in a stronger fashion....I could go on and on.

    The bottom line is this: While mobile gaming is great on our phones, the companies behind them (Apple and Google) simply don't care enough to give us a great experience from beginning to end.

    • OrangutanKungfu

      Is the Switch a godsend? Decent handheld gaming devices with variable software have been around since the GameBoy. The Switch looks great - but it's an additional device. I'll always have my phone on me, but can't say the same for a 3DS, PSP or Switch. Can't overlook the difference in software pricing, either. And, for all its gacha mechanics, energy timers and pay-to-win foulness, the App Store is also awash with some brilliant and truly original games.

      But yes, I agree that Apple and Google also do a great job of ignoring or outright shafting the gamers.

      • wingzero0

        I've played my share of great iOS titles. Implosion. Galaxy on Fire 2 (not that crap they call part 3). Infinity Blade 1-3. And many others.

        But where they tend to fall down is on sheer content. Many of the games are relatively short; especially compared to console titles.

        And I will always take quality over quantity. The App Store and Play Store are brimming and overflowing with crappy titles. The sheer number of bubble games and simple puzzles is mind numbing. You would imagine that Apple/Google would re-evaluate this, but they don't.

      • onebigdoor

        what is apple or google's incentive to do this? anyone can make music on their computer, but are your ears awash with shitty music? no, because if it's not to your taste, or recommended to you by a friend or website or whatever, you don't bother with it. the onus for curating quality should not be on the distributor. it belongs to the consumer, and thankfully you have a lot of help with sites like this, and the people you know. making it easier to make and publish games is good for gaming in general. anyone with $99 can publish a game. this is a good thing. are there more shitty games? yes. but there are so many more gems than there would be otherwise. complaining about being spoiled for choice is silly.

      • wingzero0

        Apple and Google have little to no incentive to do so.

        As for complaining about the so called wealth of games...it's very warranted. In fact, it's a part of the reason this article was written.

        With every developer jocking to be seen, it envitably means some devs won't get the spotlight. And if you can't be seen or standout amongst the crowd, you simply won't generate enough income to stay on the market.

        Once a dev loses income, they then have no incentive to update and upkeep their games in the market.

        Finally, the last time I checked, it is indeed on the distributor to curate. If you've ever worked in sales, you'd know this. Consider grocery stores:

        If I'm a company like Kraft, I pay for shelf space from the local distributor. I fully expect them to make sure my items are placed in a way that I can generate sales so that they in turn earn income as well.

        The more a company like Kraft is willing to pay for premium shelf space, ensures they are seen and in turn purchased by the consumer.

        Apply this apology to the App Store and you'll understand why Apple not being a bit more restrictive can be a hindrance.

        Apple could potentially make more money if certain games were more prominently displayed and for longer amounts of time.

        No grocery store carries every single brand in existence. Why? Because too much choice is actually a bad thing. No company can be sustained if you have unlimited choices. The only one who wins is the distributor. In this case, Apple.

      • onebigdoor

        i appreciate your points. i guess ultimately it seems futile to complain about the only winner in the situation not changing a situation in which they're winning. also, i'm not sure why letting a "Kraft-like" game company elbow their way to premium app store shelf space helps the consumer.

      • wingzero0

        ...."i'm not sure why letting a "Kraft-like" game company elbow their way to premium app store shelf space helps the consumer."....

        Well, I think about the company behind Galaxy on Fire 2. They claimed that selling their game at a premium priced still wasn't enough to sustain them. As great a game as that was in my and many others opinion, I feel as though they should've continued being displayed prominently and just maybe this could have ensure they generated the income to keep making non freemium games.

        Granted this is just my opinion and it may not have even likely worked.

        My issue with mobile gaming in the past couple of years is the push to freemium and countless IAP.

        Many (most) of these games are heavily schewed to ensure you pay to make any real progress. While I'm not against spending, I don't like being nickeled and dimed along the way.

        RPGs being the worst offenders of doing this.

      • onebigdoor

        i have the same criticism of the current state of mobile gaming. limiting the field to the major players doesn't seem like it would help much, though, as it's the major players that have the most problematic IAP/freemium systems. hopefully we'll hear more premium success stories, and they'll buoy the field a bit. for now i don't think we can do much but vote with our wallets.

      • Lightjolly

        You should look up GPD Win, it's a tiny PC , smaller than the switch that runs windows 10 thus can play steam games. It can play all 2d indies easily and with some tweaking you can play Skyrim and Fallout 4 on it lol

  • Myles

    I lost hope on mobile gaming long ago. That's why i sold iPhone and bought android. Thanks to emulators. No always internet connection needed. No IAP. no daily annoying updates. No bugs. Instant save instant load. Just pure gaming. Even some emulators have multiplayer features you can play locally with your friends.

    • wingzero0

      I miss that from my Nexus. Playing PSP games was so much nicer than the vast majority of games found on the App Store. Fortunately, Nintendo is stepping up to further fill that void with the Switch.

      • Myles

        Exactly. psp and ps1 has enough games to keep u engaged all time. And yeah i am keeping my eyes on switch too.

    • chinito77

      I miss the PSP emulator on the iPhone, I got a chance to play many games that were not available for purchase in the North American market. Yes you had to jailbreak but it was never a difficult thing to do.

  • Paul J

    One issue are the cheapskates. A game comes out for just $2 and still people want 30 opinions or wait for a dollar sale before they'll buy it. If a premium games 4 dollars people seem to faint. Promo code beggars everywhere for a 1 dollar game

    Freemium is now everywhere on iOS. I wish games had a minimum price of $5 with no sales so devs could make money

    • Rothgarr

      I read on a forum today, someone said they bought Resident Evil 7 ($60 just came out last week), finished it and then returned it for a full refund. This is the world we live in today...

      • Paul J

        Crazy ! Back in the 80's games were mostly quite expensive ($15 each) but you used to play them for days on end. Think the difficulty setting was also quite high.

        Thing is if we don't support the devs then iOS gaming is doomed. Waiting for a sale or begging over and over for promo codes doesn't help. We need to buy the (still cheap) games when they launch

    • InTheAir

      Would a restriction such as having to use up $5 on the App Store before making reviews help? At least people work at bare minimum formwhat they're expecting to spend. Seems to work well enough for Steam, but that is a predominately gaming platform.

  • vectorarchitekt

    Apple needs to revise their removal criteria. If I buy a game, and the dev doesn't pay the fee, if it is removed for sale, it should still be in my purchase history.
    I don't own a PC so I can't back up to iTunes. I've lost Darkin, Super Drop Jam, Pixel Burger, Ziggurat, and a few other favorites because of this.
    I mean, I paid for it and should own it separately from the "Store".
    I keep hoping this will happen before, as this article says, more and more apps and games are lost forever.

    • Intendro

      They aren't taking their backup systems seriously... It's just ridiculous what they've done.
      Past purchases don't necessarily include all past purchases.
      iOS 9 removed the ability to transfer apps from device to PC.
      Why? App thinning for device-specific data... They were too lazy to make an option to transfer apps into a folder marked [insert device here] if you want to make backups that way.
      Now the only way to have a backup is to download the app with your PC, instead of maybe with your phone you carry everywhere...
      After all this time, they removed a convenient backup method.
      It's unbelievable.
      You can't use a PC to keep separate app save data, it's all in one backup file. So delete an app and its data is gone from your backup.
      And iCloud has all those "it automatically overwrote the newer save with the older one" horror stories proving that some things should never be automatic. (At least some games have a manual option...)
      How can they do this?

  • Alexythimia23

    Reading this made me sad, i too have had these awesome gaming experiences so its a shame to think i wont able to relive a lot of those games, some which were stuck in my ever growing backlog only to get taken off the app store or broken with an update. Some of my best experiences early on came from prisoner 84 and nyz zombies, zenonia 4 and many others. Fortunately some still work, but all too many flushed away into the abyss. After this many years, i truly believe that gaming on ios will not improve unless apple make some decisions on how to improve this situation, i mean a serious look at this. Its 2017 and iphones and tablets have still not had their potential realised, of course their are exceptions to this, but the bad far far out weighs the good. Sadly ios lost its magic fir well over a year and a half for me, and now im hoping the Nintendo switch will change that. Its sad to think like that but i think its not going to be saved regardless of us doing what was mentioned in the article. Unless those changes I mentioned come to fruition..

  • Mike T4

    At some point after 2013 it went downhill. Even the lists of new releases nowadays are all the same boring cheapish puzzle/clicker IAP-laden stuff. I miss Rolando/Warpgate days

    • OrangutanKungfu

      I'll take the 2016 list of games of the year on iOS over the 2013 list, please. Not saying those games weren't good, but I believe it has only gotten better.

      • HelperMonkey

        I'm with you on that one.
        Sure, the weekly release threads are more crowded with freemium games now. But there are some great games out for iOS now that I could never have imagined just a few years ago.

  • reverand79

    Really great article. Issues like this along with sketchy new titles like prevail, make the App Store a veritable crapshoot when buying games.

  • gleeclub

    2K ripped me off with pulling Bioshock, out $15

  • Adam Kennedy

    I tried to get a refund for Bioshock on iOS. Contacted 2K and they told me they couldn't do anything about it; try contacting Apple. Contacted Apple and they said thank you for contacting the developer, but they couldn't do anything, either; try contacting my bank to dispute the charge. So because of their fuckup I have to go to war with my own financial institution over $15 bucks. Yeah. Sure. I'll get right on that.

  • islesfan

    You know,this really sucks, but as a gamer from the beginning (Atari 2600), I have gone through this so many times. I have thrown away shelves of disks between Windows 3.1, 95, 98, XP, 7, 8, 10... I even re-purchased the exact same games (Command and Conquer) just to have new OS compatibility. Of course, now I'm on a MacBook so none of them work. It's just live with gaming.

    Then there are all the VHS cassettes I've thrown away...

    • HelperMonkey

      But that hardware still exists somewhere in someone's collection. And the games for whatever given system are out there, too.
      That won't be the case with games that only exist in the digital realm, subject to the whims of obsolescence or the need for persistent hosting.

      • HelperMonkey

        (And see Nav1's comment up above.)

      • islesfan

        With the exception of games that require server verification (and PC gaming has had their share of those too), you could do the same right now. You can keep your current iPhone with all the game currently on it, and take it out of service, using it only as a gaming device and archive. Ten years from now, it will work just the same (having been offline and unable to update iOS), and you will still be able to play those games. Most people are unwilling to do this, but at least it would take up less space than keeping around my old IBM Aptiva that ran Windows 95!

  • Fangbone

    I know I'm in the minority but I feel like the App Store's hay day has come and gone. I've had an I device for about 6 years now and used to download all kinds of free games and spent countless amounts of money on premium games every week. Now I'm to the point where I haven't bought a new game in like 3 months. Sure there are a few games on the horizon that I am looking forward to but for the most part gaming on an idevice just doesn't do anything for me anymore. I bought an Xbox One S this past October and got back into console games and they are just so much deeper and more fulfilling than anything available on the App Store. I used to have around 20 games on my phone and have gotten rid of 75% of those. I haven't even opened a game on my phone in 2-3 weeks. I do still play Vainglory on my iPad but no where near as much as I used to. Seems like all the games now are clones of other games or sequels. This is not a slight on the App Store or an attack on anyone here, just my 2 cents.

  • Jinxtah

    I really hate how Apple goes about updating. It's deplorable how likely it is that a new update will break the game and force the developer to update it. We've seen many times that developers won't keep doing that, and any premium games you buy just feels like a risk. Right now I'm still running iOS version 9.3.5 and won't update because I have quite a few premium games on my iPad Pro that I'm afraid will outright break if I update, and I'd very much like to play them before they stop working.

    The ones I have left are: Final Fantasy 4-5-6, Avadon 2, Avernum 1-2, Dust: AET, NecroDancer, Invisible Inc, Radiation Island, Oceanhorn, Steamworks Heist, Marshals 2, Crashlands, Sid Meier's Starships, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, This War of Mine, Xcom: EW.

    Now I'm not exactly sure updating will break all of them, but I know at least some of them haven't been updated in ages, and I'm almost positive the Final Fantasy games would break upon updating.

    Until a few days ago I kept all the previous apps I've bought on the App store, but I realize it's just pointless for by far most of them, because updates just break the hell out of them, and what's the point of just having them there forever without being able to play them again.

    I guess I can live with the single player games not working in the future, because odds are I'll never replay them again, however it's annoying with games like for example Rollercoaster Tycoon, or Crypt of the Necrodancer and that sort, as I might very well come back to them since they're not the sort of game you really complete.

    If it wasn't for this, I'd be happy to spend quite a bit more on iOS games than I do (though I already spend a lot). I think we have to be able to pay for quality games in order to help the platform become viable for quality developers, so it's not all just a bunch of free to play shitty games where you end up paying through the nose after hitting that brick wall a little while in, however until Apple changes their tune and start taking it seriously themselves, I can't see it happening.

  • Touchmint

    Yea it's really too bad how the App Store has become. It's full of clones and ripoffs and apple does nothing about it. Take a look at the role playing top 150.

    About 25 are spawn minecraft clones that pretend to be pixelmon or something with shiny screenshots that are not from the game. The apps are really they are just a crappy block shooters all the same one. Nothing to do with the title or screenshots. Reviews are clearly purchased everything is either 5 or 1 star. One stars ask for refunds.

    It's like how hard is it to sort by apps that have either 5 or 1 star as a majority or even just look at reviews that ask for refunds and remove those from the App Store as scam apps?

  • chinito77

    So I may be the spoiled type but I kept an old iPhone with iOS 7 and iPad with iOS 8. It's the only way I am still able to play old games today. I believe Square Enix's Blood Masque was the first time I felt the shock of a company rendering a game useless. It was then I realized that cloud based games are not the kind of games I would spend money on going further. They would be games that I play knowing that one day it will cease to work so no point in spending money on these types of games.

    Sadly, most of today's games are cloud based due to IAP. Developers want to ensure people keep spending money on gems or coins by taking advantage of impulse spending and addiction versus offering IAP for things to enhance but not cheat the game.

  • fabell

    We are looking at this through the wrong lens - in the 80s and 90s (heck even the early 2000s), people could focus on console games and computer games because there were so few developers. Technology was either expensive or required an inordinate about of self-training to use and as a result there was only ever a handful of companies that made any mark and a plethora of smaller candle companies (lit and then snuffed out) that contributed to third party games. Today, any kid and his grandma can develop games and publish from their basement. If we want to preserve mobile gaming, it must be a concerted effort to document and memorialize games that have come and gone, and it must be an effort. On the other hand, so many mobile games are basically just tech demos, and I'll be honest - I'd rather they didn't publish so quickly and took a bit more time with them. Such is the market though.

  • nkx

    Shadow run doesn't work the sound :/ no support

  • heyday72

    All with you on this subject. You said it perfectly!

  • NickyNichols

    This Bud's for you Aurora Feint.

  • DarkScience

    Anyone else actually get a refund? I'm told purchase was too long ago, unfair I think when we were promised a fix. Waiting for that fix that never came means no refund. Pretty pissed about this.

  • kickypants

    Man I loved Bruce Lee dragon warrior. Gone for years now. Fighting games on mobile are just sad.

  • WaywardSoul

    Rob, you've got great writing for a 20 year-old. Regardless of the subject matter the article is very well put-together, definitely stick with it and this will be your career.

    • http://www.twitter.com/robfunnell3 Rob Funnell

      Thank you, I'm glad you liked it 🙂

  • Scape211

    I actually thought it wasnt so bad when you could go into your previously downloaded games list. However, even that seems like it doesnt show all the results like it used to as newer devices wont play them and newer OSes dont keep them listed.

    One i remembered when reading this article was a game I think was called blademaster. I wish i could remember or find it online now, but i cant. It never got much play and i used to play it on an ipod touch second gen so its old. Basically it a was a side scrolling beat em up in a fantasy setting (felt similar to dungeon fighter online; in the palm of your hand). Very rare style of game you wont typically find today so its annoying i cant remember it or find it now...those were good times though.

    If anybody can tell what the name of the game is from what i said, id love to find screenshots or videos online somewhere - it was a fun one.

  • italodance

    Great article i hope more premium games come to iOS this year. I can't play neither freemium or internet games and no money for those slot machine games.

  • DotComCTO

    Just wait to see how many games go bye-bye when Apple eliminates 32-bit iOS app support. Keep in mind that when that happens, it will 100% be Apple's fault. There's no reason those games can't run (just look at 32-bit apps that run perfectly fine in 64-bit Windows - or even iOS now). It's just that Apple wants to force the issue (and generate more hardware sales).

  • marksapolloa

    Ahh Bioshock.. how much money did I utterly waste on that again? Yeah theirs one reason it's dying, no AAA titles that you can actually buy for one price, no you now have to compete with hundreds of new games a week all vying the 'freemium' IAP rip you off business model.. people get fed up with the crap and play simple games like Infectious etc.
    The games industry only has itself and greed to blame, Real Racing 3 could even be that stellar AAA game, just like Asphalt could, if neither of them charges you MORE then an entire AAA console game costs for one fecking in game car!!!

  • islesfan

    In principle I'd love to agree with you, but indie games, like indie movies, are generally much weaker than the studio counterparts. We can rail against 2K all day here, but NBA 2K17 and WW2k eat more of my battery daily than just about anything else (except for maybe a Pinball Arcade). The indie games get boring quickly, and I'm so sick of "pixel" and "hand drawn" as synonyms for "looks like crap."

  • Greg Beatty

    One idea for those really interested in preserving games in a playable state is to "archive" your hardware with games and current iOS loaded when you get a new device. This preserves the games and iOS. Just don't update. Suggest doing this soon since Apple says the next version of iOS (vague) won't support any 32-bit games (!).

    Agree all of this should be doable in some purely digital/cloud way, but "archiving" your old hardware is akin to putting your retired NES in the attic. Just a thought.

  • twixomatic

    On the upside, Apple is acting with full respect for their AppStore customers on this matter. I recently contacted their support regarding Bioshock, which I purchased for my iPad three whole years ago (with the normal App Store refund being within 90 days). Despite me being long overdue they happily tended to the matter as best they could, with no questions asked. For technical reasons they couldn't refund the app, but they spent half an hour happily trying to find a workaround and ended up in apologising and compensating me in other ways by pure goodwill. They deserve all respect on the matter.

  • Heinz da Baron Krauss von Espy

    yawn. in other news, apple is going to kill all 32-bits apps for ios 11. yaay!

    • Intendro

      What. *bangs head on wall* ...Now I need a new wall. It's too stupid.

      • Intendro

        Things people bought that still function? Let's break em all for absolutely no reason! That won't make them angry! Nope! It'll make them furious!

  • Aaron C

    To be fair to apple.. a lot of games DO work out of the box on the latest hardware and software, it's only a relatively small proportion of games that do break. And if you consider the pace of development of both hardware and OS, that's pretty good. If you had a new Playstation every year I'm sure there'd be a lot of games from the PS1 that didn't work on the PS10.

    Plus I've seen some of the reasons these games break, and it's usually (not always) because they're doing something Apple purposely told developers not to do (addressing hardcoded file locations for example, which was a big no-no in the SDK documentation and broke a bunch of high profile games around iOS 7 and 8).

  • LordShad0wz

    Truthfully I do love touch arcade. It's the only iOS gaming site I visit. I use the app mainly to interact with the site. I found this place using a link one day when I first migrated from Android. I can't ever imagine not having Touch arcade to go to.

  • boogadyd

    why would i want to save it. if anything i want mobile to die quicker.