iPod & iPhone reviews

Discussion in 'Site Feedback and News' started by Midnight Status, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    I felt it was pretty unfair for Alpine Racer to be soley reviewed on an iPhone 3G. While it was nice to mention that it may be faster on a 2nd Gen iPod the reviewer should have actually tested the game on both devices. As a developer I have to spend countless hours optimizing for the slower devices. Still the framerates are typically half of what they are on the new iPod. You said the game doesn't flow and to a large extent that will be based on frame rate. At the end of the day it would be better for all parties involved if TouchArcade reviews were based on both devices. Perhaps some games aren't worth playing on an iPhone (I actually don't use the iPhone for playing anymore because the experience is so much worse) but you might find the experience to be just fine on the iPod 2G. With reviews based on both devices you can let developers put their best foot forward and you can also forwarn players if something's not worth playing on a particular device or just period.
     
  2. arn

    arn Administrator
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    Apr 19, 2008
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    I don't think I'd call it unfair. They said their game was compatible with the iPhone 3G. If they don't want it played on an iPhone 3G, they can check off the box that says "iPhone compatible". If you, as a developer, don't want your game played on an iPhone, you shouldn't sell it to iPhone customers.

    Still, if the framerate was the only problem with the game, then I might agree more... but the game was not that good irrespective of the framerate.

    arn
     
  3. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    A game can be compatible with the 3G but it may not be at it's best. Years ago I played Doom3 on a modest PC. The game worked but my personal experience with the game was a far cry from the intended experience although my hardware met the minimum requirements and was compatible. Reviewers played the game on a range of hardware to let their readers know what to expect depending on their particular setup. However when it came down to reporting on the actual gameplay they played the game on the best hardware they had. In a way they compartmentalized the technical review from the gameplay review. Gameplay though was rated based on the best hardware available not the worst. This sort of reporting benefits all parties and is simply more thorough. There's no reason not to do it.
     
  4. Kamazar

    Kamazar Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2008
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    Look, iPhone obviously comes, first, Touch second. If you write a game intended for the appstore, it should run on the iPhone. That's always gonna be your first priority. Besides, game should be optimized (or at least have the options for it) for the system that it's going to be played on the most. In this case, still the iPhone.

    There are much heavier games in terms of graphics and computing that run flawless on the iPhone (i.e HoS, BiA, Zen Bound, Sway, Fastlane). The devs were just lazy and didn't port and streamline this title as well as they could've.

    Plus, reviewing a game on both an iPhone and Touch is gonna increase the time necessary to play it. Not really worth it.
     
  5. The problem is, not every reviewer has both an iPhone and a 2G Touch. I do, but I'm the exception, not the rule, and I have a purpose for both devices other than reviewing. Not every reviewer here can be expected to have both -- I'd be surprised if more than one or two did. (Unless TA staffers get paid well enough to afford both.)

    Mentioning that it may be faster on a 2G Touch was likely just a function of the reviewer not having one to test it on. Besides, if you optimize for the lowest common denominator, isn't it a given that it will likely be faster on a Touch? Personally I've only ever run into one situation where a game that should have run fine on an iPhone didn't, but worked fine on my Touch, and the developer still isn't sure why. (He only has a Touch to test on.)

    Moreover, I think, your largest customer base is going to come from the iPhone, the very device you're optimizing for, so it would probably be fair to say that this is what you'd want the bulk of a review to focus on. FWIW, I do the vast majority of my reviews on my iPhone, as the last poll I ran on device ownership indicated that the majority of readers (by a ratio of greater than 3:1) were iPhone owners. This was before the 2G Touch, mind you, but I don't expect that the numbers have changed significantly, especially because the fact that it's faster isn't an advertised feature.
     
  6. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    I played BIA (not the others) on both devices and I wouln't call my experience on the iPhone flawless. As compared to playing it on the 2G Touch it was terrible. If I had developed that title I would have preferred its gameplay to be evaluated on the faster device where the intracacies could be fully appreciated. On the same token I would like reviewers to set potental iPhone customer expectations appropriately. I suppose though if the benchmark remains static that it's somewhat moot.

    Still, if a title is called out for not "flowing" on the phone perhaps there could be some redemption by letting the other third of the player base know that they're safe.

    Excuses like the reviews taking too long or the cost being prohibitive are obviously ridiculous. If anyone is going to professionally review games as they do here then they should pony up a tiny fraction of the developers' responsibility before shredding months of development time with 15 minutes of typing. TouchArcade can significantly alter a game's sales, the least they can do is offer thorough reviews that respect the fact that there are 2 devices and that a game might be worth it on one if not both.
     
  7. arn

    arn Administrator
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    Apr 19, 2008
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    I agree cost is a non-issue. We don't review apps on iPod Touch 2Gs, not because of cost, or even time... but felt that the iPhone 3G represented the majority platform and an appropriate "baseline".

    And I said before, if your game can't stand up to review on an iPhone 3G, then it should not be listed as iPhone 3G compatible, or you should say in the description that an iPod Touch 2G is strongly recommended. In those cases, you can be sure that we'll review it on an iPod Touch 2G.

    You can't have it both ways, though. You can't sell the game equally on the iPod Touch and iPhone and yet only want reviews on the iPod Touch.

    arn
     
  8. Hell_Gamer98

    Hell_Gamer98 Well-Known Member

    Apple is very customer friendly!:mad: First they released iPhone 1g at 999$, ipod touch 1g at 299$ (I own one). Now, the iPhone 3g costs like 600-700$ and the ipod touch 2g 200-250 dollars, and, they wanted us( the ipod 1g owners) to buy the january-update for 20$. Now, they want us 1g owners to buy the july update for 7.99$ with the january update included!!!!!! And now, if they would release games which wouldn't be compatible with ipod 1g, we would be screwed up! Apple, you suck!!!!!! Curse you!!!!!

    (hope my english isn't that worse!!!:mad:)
     
  9. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    I see that you have no interest in improving your product. This isn't about my work, it's about your reviews which carry a lot of weight yet offer a narrow perspective. You are supposed to be the objectve third party offering the full and unbiased story on the games people play. There are differences not only in graphics, but sound and tactile feedback and you offer no perspective on that. Stating that Namco's video looks better is speculative reporting. Is the game actually better on the iPod? Who knows!

    I guess according to you developers should be responsible for providing their own unbiased review of their games too. If that was possible then TouchArcade would be unnecessary. Take some responsibility for what you've created. Reporting on games is easy work how about meeting at least the minimum requirements that other game reviewers have set throughout the years, i.e. acknowledging and reporting differences caused by hardware variations.
     
  10. ibelongintheforums

    ibelongintheforums Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2009
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    i must say, alpine had no issues on my ipod......
     
  11. arn

    arn Administrator
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    Apr 19, 2008
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    And are you recommending the game to other people for $5.99?

    I think you are missing the point and yes, you do have a personal stake in this.

    1) If the only reason Alpine Racer got a negative review was because of its framerate, I'd agree with you. But it's not, and the review should have been clearer in that regard.

    2) We will, of course, keep hardware differences in mind for our reviews.

    3) Reporting on games is not "easy work" :)

    arn
     
  12. ibelongintheforums

    ibelongintheforums Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2009
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    No. I don't like it. Bit no framerate problems.
     
  13. arn

    arn Administrator
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    thank you.

    arn
     
  14. ibelongintheforums

    ibelongintheforums Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2009
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    But

    The game is so bad it wouldn't make a difference if he tested on a iPod. But there are alot of iPod users. Here's a few ideas.
    Find someone who does have an iPod to help test.
    Buy one
    Ask forum members

    Think of PSP. They don't test games on the original PSP. They test it on the fastest one. Or on PC. They normally include a warning saying it may be slow if your computer is such and such.
     
  15. RedStaR

    RedStaR Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2009
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    nor on my iphone 3g
     
  16. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    I didn't make any of the games you reviewed so I don't see how I have a personal stake in this currently. I shouldn't have made mention of my effort to optimize for the iPhone. That statement created some entropy and masked the real issue at hand.

    Every other review source in the history of electronic games has tested the games with multiple hardware variations and has reviewed the gameplay itself based on the best hardware available.

    My point about Alpine Racer, Brothers in Arms, or any other title is that the resolution of experience is halved by playing it on the iPhone so the gameplay is not being appreciated at the highest level currently available. Following that logic it would simply be a nice gesture to all developers who you rely on for your content to review their titles based on the much more fluid experience provided by the 2G iPod Touch (which is after all the advertised gaming platform).

    Now on the flipside you have the gamers and it would be nice to let all of them know how they stand. If a game is solid on both then great, maybe report the minor differences and then move on. If a game is terrible on the iPhone then let people know that the hardware isn't up to snuff for such and such a title. As time marches on some hardware is going to get left behind. First the 2G iPod gets an additional 121 MHz but the next piece of hardware is going to get even more.

    At some point you will have to attribute the disparity in "flow" to Apple's decision to split the hardware. Some games just won't be as good on the older hardware but developers (publishers) will continue to peddle them off because they run however poorly. Also, though it would be good to help move a good game on the faster device even if it performs poorly in a technical sense on the slower device.

    I really didn't care specifically about Alpine Racer. The review merely brought to my attention the fact that you weren't reviewing titles on multiple devices which is like sacrilegious game reviewing. Every game review source I've ever read covers titles based on the multiple hardware configurations out there.

    I hope that means we'll all get a first hand account of the experience on both devices.

    Oh, and something else that would be nice would be a comparison chart to other titles. This way people would have a relative comparison to understand how a game will perform compared to such and such other game in the same genre.

    Thanks for providing a great site for iPlatform gaming. I hope this feedback hasn't been taken offensively, it just happened to be one thing that I thought could be better.
     
  17. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 2008
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    See. we're still not seeing eye to eye.

    Here's a "revised" review to stress my point:
    "The game's flow/framerate is fine, the game just sucks in every other regard."

    Bottom line: I agree with you we should take into account differences in hardware where it might actually influence the conclusion of the review. We will not however detail hardware differences when the outcome makes no difference in the review's conclusion.

    arn
     
  18. Ok my brother has an ipod 1G, my sister and her hubby both have iphone 3G each, my other brother-in-law has a ipod 2G, my 13 yr old niece has ipod 1G and I have two ipod 2G one for me and one for the wife. Now each one of them is pretty clueless as to what games/apps are good and what not. To be honest they really could give a flying hoot about review sites and they never look at my site either. But that's just the nature of it. To me I consider them the masses and ones with the buying power. What I predict will happen is those experiencing slow framerates in arcade / action style games will have enough of it and simply ignore those types and refrain from future purchases. None of my family has a clue that the ipod 2G has a more powerful CPU than their iphone 3G/ipod 1G and if I did tell them only my brother-in-law would have a clue what I was talking about. I finally am getting my sister to buy maybe $10 to $15 worth of apps/games a month which is still pulling her teeth even though her two iphones cost her $260/month.

    I will say this though I trust appstore itunes reviews more than a review on a forum. Many people just jailbreak and post about how horrific so and so game is. Any post about how a game crashed in a forum I completely ignore and pay zero attention to. Ok I read it but give zero credence to their experience being a typical one. Most likely totally different than someone not running tons of crap in the background in addition to all the crud by default idevice already does with their 128MB of RAM.

    Anyway I think it's impossible to ask review sites to mention so and so game plays smoothly on ipod 2G but lags on iphone3G. Apple is the one to blame for the current state of affairs. My intel duo core macbook pro I bought for $2,000 I think is the biggest piece of crap ever and reason is I bought it within 2 or 3 days of it being released. Had I waited for a few iterations I'm sure it wouldn't sound so loud and obnoxious but I gave it to my son since it irritates me to no end. We all know apple does this with their computer / laptop lines, etc. revision a,b,c,d,e,f but now they wanna mess around with psp and ds territory and that's a huge no no if they keep doing it. Imagine an ipod 3G is even faster with 256MB of RAM....oh the horror.
     
  19. Midnight Status

    Midnight Status Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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    #19 Midnight Status, Mar 4, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
    Yeah, I mean it really stinks that Apple hasn't increased the clock speed of the iPhone or at least given users the option to increase the clock speed (it's controlled via the firmware). Perhaps it's more my shock that the iPod is so much faster. Knowing what I know now I cannot play games on the iPhone, it's just too slow. As a gaming device the iPod is actually a significant improvement over the phone. Every game plays twice as good and it's actually really frustrating for me to play any game on the iPhone. Everything from frame rate to input polling crawls in comparison to the 2G iPod. Even a simple game like Zombie Invasion is wrecked (demonstrating the slow input polling) on the iPhone.

    I personally think devices like the iPhone/iPod will eventually replace our traditional gaming consoles. Being as hardcore as I am about the iPlatform, I just want it to be as well represented as possible. I think it's a shame to focus on the slowest device. If anything the hardcore gamers should be pushing the better hardware and asking for even more from Apple. If you're a fan of the platform then no doubt you want to see it trample the PSP and DS (or if you just like 99 cent games). The iPhone currently isn't up to the task, but the 2G iPod runs fast to make a believer out of me.

    Had you TouchArcade guys even experienced the difference between the iPhone and 2G iPod before I brought this up?
     
  20. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 2008
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