Preserving the history of games on iOS has been unlike any other platform out there. From even the earliest consoles and computers there’s always original hardware and original game cartridges that you can track down and play in physical form, and there’s also no shortage of emulators for basically any platform you can think of that allow you to play classic games digitally. So if a gamer who didn’t grow up in the ’70s or ’80s or ’90s wanted to go back and see the roots of the hobby they so enjoyed, it’s not especially difficult to do so. With iOS games that’s just not the case. Over the years Apple’s new hardware revisions and especially the new operating system revisions have wreaked havoc on developers, requiring near-constant maintenance to keep games and apps running properly through all those revisions.
With the race-to-the-bottom pricing of mobile software it often doesn’t make any sort of sense for a developer to go out of their way to make sometimes massive changes to an app they sold for a buck or two many years back just to keep it alive and kicking in today’s iOS landscape. And outside of hanging on to a bunch of older iOS devices running various old versions of software, or maintaining some sort of jailbreak device that can access a bunch of games that are no longer on the App Store, there’s no real easy or official way for your average person to be able to experience many of the great games that have launched on the App Store over the past decade, and that’s a crying shame.
We’ve bemoaned this fact many times over the years and wished that somebody would do something about it, and finally somebody is. It’s called GameClub and it’s a new company that’s hoping to find ways to bring back some of the App Store’s lost classics and reintroduce them to the world. And one of the first confirmed games to be making a comeback is one that’s an absolute all-time favorite around TouchArcade Towers, Rocketcat’s Hook Champ.
Hook Champ by @rocketcatgames first hit the App Store in late 2009, and has been unplayable on modern devices for years. It's one of the many classic mobile games that GameClub is bringing back to life. Play it now by joining our early access program at https://t.co/xa26bCYO0b pic.twitter.com/CtkPHPVnjH
— GameClub (@GameClub) March 5, 2019
GameClub has officially revealed itself to the world today, and if you head over to their website you can actually register with your email to sign up for their Early Access program and check out Hook Champ and some of the other game titles they’ve lined up to re-release to the world. In addition to just playing whatever titles are planned for the program, the site also mentions that Early Access members will help “shape its direction" which I’m guessing means that if there’s an old title you’d like GameClub to chase down and bring back then you’ll be able to voice that opinion to them as well. You can also follow along with GameClub on Twitter to see whatever it is they’ll be up to.
EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: So here’s where things get maybe a little bit weird. Those of you who listen to our podcast or follow our own Eli Hodapp on social media may already be aware that Eli is stepping down from his Editor in Chief role at TouchArcade, and this Friday is his last day. He will remain on in a freelance capacity so we can continue doing our podcast every week and will likely write the occasional review or opinion piece. So it’s not a 100% goodbye to Eli, but he’s definitely starting a new full time job after this week. And even though him and I are as thick as thieves, he has been extremely tight-lipped as to what that new job will be. Well, now we know. Eli will be joining GameClub as VP of Business Development and will be helping lead the fight to preserve the history of iOS gaming. I can’t think of a better person for the job.
So obviously it’s an odd time since Eli is still technically here at TouchArcade, but is announcing GameClub at the same time. I feel obligated to put this disclaimer because this could be perceived as a conflict of interest, but also I trust that our readers know we have nothing but good intentions behind talking about GameClub. I mean it’s a huge win for mobile gamers who miss playing so many of those awesome games we’ve lost over the years, and freaking Hook Champ!? That’s a game that’s so near and dear to the early days of TouchArcade and its community that hearing it’s coming back is like a dream come true. So yeah, GameClub is something we most definitely would be posting about anyway regardless of Eli’s involvement, but I just wanted to make sure that we’re clear on the intentions since transparency and the trust we’ve built up with our readers over the past decade means more to me than anything.
Eli will have a more in-depth article about what led up to his decision to join GameClub later today, and I’ll have more to say about my role and the future direction of TouchArcade at some point as well. For now though, let’s all just bask in the incredible news of Hook Champ’s return, and let’s speculate on what other games might become part of the GameClub initiative or any other oldies you’d love to see come back in the comments section below.