Gaming is one of the earliest forms of social interaction and dates all the way back to the first signs of ancient life. To this day playing games is popular amongst people of all ages. Even though there are many ways to play games, the most common form seen today is through technology. Video gaming – in particular – dates back to the 1950s when a game of tic-tac toe was monitored on a giant screen. Also, the first video game called “tennis for two” was released in 1958 (Bellis). Since the start of these technologies with video gaming there has been a huge advancement in gaming overall. Today, games are now available through mobile technologies, which has helped shape gaming overall and vice versa where gaming has helped mobile technologies.
Gaming has helped shape mobile technologies since the start of video games. In 1997, Nokia introduced the game “Snake” on their mobile devices and shortly after – due to popularity – more games were provided on cell phones. The reason behind this success was due to the fact that “snake” was a popular game before it was released on cell phones. Katz argues, “mobile games seem to have initially followed the model of PC and Internet games” (Katz 406). This still happens today where games start out available on the computer and then they turn into a mobile application game. For example, The Sims was a popular computer game and is now available on different platforms such as video game consoles and mobile technologies. Even though Katz feels that Nokia was the start of mobile gaming, Consalvo feels differently.
Mobile technologies have been providing games since the late 1990s. Even though games were popular on mobile devices such as cell phones, Consalvo argues that iPhones are the reasons that mobile gaming became popular. She agrees that before 2002 only simple games such as Tetris were available on cell phones; however, shortly after the iPhone was released mobile gaming skyrocketed to the point where “one-third of applications downloaded by a user were from gaming” (188). Even though originally only Apple product apps were available to be downloaded, that is still a very large portion to what people are using their phones for. This shows how much of an impact gaming has had on other devices outside of consoles. People are no longer just using cellphones to communicate with one another; they are buying smartphones to also play games.
Mobile technology has also impacted gaming because it has created a whole new category to playing games: “mobile gaming”. In the past decade, mobile gaming has changed the norms of playing virtual games. One reason is that “women are more likely to play mobile games’ (Katz 404). In the past , a typical video gamer was a young male and now mobile gaming has helped to increase the numbers of female gamers. Another way that mobile technology has shaped gaming is because “mobile games are for mobile lifestyles”. Users no longer have to buy an entire console just to play a game. They can now find similar – if not the same – games for a much lower price. This is beneficial to gamers who are not as serious about gaming but would still like to enjoy the act of playing a video game.
Mobile gaming has also shaped gaming overall because it is now a threat to other forms of video games. Mobile games are no longer just popular games that were around previously on other platforms. They are now new gaming applications that were never seen before. Consalvo argues that Angry Birds is one of the greatest successes of mobile gaming. (Consalvo 193). She feels that even though people did not know what Angry birds was it was a huge success because people of all ages were playing it. Angry Birds was intended to reach users who were not as serious about gaming as those who regularly play. Not only was this game being downloaded but there were also many toys and product made because of how successful this game became. This game available on mobile devices – along with many others – shows that mobile gaming can compete at the same level as other video games and consoles.
Gaming is still very popular to this day and available on many different platforms. Gaming has shaped mobile technologies because overtime the games originally available on cell phones were designed from games previously on computers. The iPhone has also been a huge success in the popularity of mobile gaming because now a large portion of storage from phones is being used towards mobile games. On the other hand, mobile technologies have shaped gaming because women are now playing more video games than before. Also, mobile gaming is now seen at the same eye level as other forms of video games because of games like Angry Birds, which has had great success. Overall, gaming and mobile technologies will continue to advance and contribute to one another’s success.
Bellis, M. (2014, March 5). The History of Computer and Video Games. Retrieved April 3, 2015, from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcomputer_videogames.htm
Consalvo, M. (2012). Slingshot to Victory. In Moving data: The iphone and the future of media (pp. 187 – 189, 190-193). New York, New York: Columbia University Press.
Katz, J. (2008). Mobile Games and Entertainment. In Handbook of mobile communication studies (pp. 404 – 408). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.