in an article about mobile gaming, a screenshot from Genshin Impact
Twenty-five years ago, the best game on your phone was Tetris. Now, you can play expansive, detailed games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact. (Image via Google Images)

From Snake to Genshin Impact, Mobile Gaming Is All Grown Up

It used to be that the games on your smartphone paled in comparison to PC and console games. Lately, however, they’ve been catching up.

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in an article about mobile gaming, a screenshot from Genshin Impact
Twenty-five years ago, the best game on your phone was Tetris. Now, you can play expansive, detailed games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact. (Image via Google Images)

It used to be that the games on your smartphone paled in comparison to PC and console games. Lately, however, they’ve been catching up.

Do you remember the time before smartphones? A time before Candy Crush and Clash of Clans? When the only game available on your cellphone was Bejeweled? With the advancement of cellphones also came the advancement of entertainment; now games are readily available at our fingertips — and not just a few, but more than we can count, for all genres and age groups. No longer do we have to purchase portable gaming systems like the Game Boy, DS, Switch or PSP. Gaming on the go has never been easier and games available on our home consoles are either now available on mobile or have a mobile version that is not very different. When it comes to mobile gaming, learning how to play or what to play comes easy.

Mobile gaming started with a pre-downloaded version of Tetris on the Hagenuk MT-2000 and later a pre-downloaded game of Snake on a Nokia in 1997. In 2008, Apple launched the App Store, followed by Google’s Google Play in 2012. Since Tetris and Snake, mobile gaming has moved forward at an incredible pace. A new phone is released every year, and with it, features are updated. Even between releases, phones receive regular updates, and amid all this, apps come and go as they rise to fame and eventually die out. So, what games should you look for as you take your gaming from a fixed point in your home to someplace a little less stationary?

If we enter the open world of role-playing games and MMOs, then Genshin Impact is the route to go. Genshin Impact’s rise to fame took the gaming world by surprise. While many have critiques about the game and what it tries to do, it is just those aspects that make the game so good to play on the go. Genshin Impact came out in 2020 on multiple platforms, and much of its popularity stems from the ability to link accounts —  if done right that is. Developed by Chinese developer miHoYo, this gacha game is free to play and its open-world design sometimes draws comparisons to Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Some other notable games from miHoYo are the Honkai game series, the most recent being Honkai Impact 3rd. The game was released in 2016 and, unlike Genshin Impact, is only available for Android, iOS and Windows. And while the game was released some years ago, it is still heavily advertised. A global bubble tea shop brand by the name of Kung Fu Tea even displays an advertisement with a code to receive free in-game currency.

Another role-playing game, Mobile Legends: Adventure, was released in 2019. The game is, however, not an MMO, and is considered an idle RPG instead. The game takes place in the same universe as Moonton’s famous Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is the predecessor of Mobile Legends: Adventure, but unlike its successor, is a battle arena game. Those who have played Smite and/or League of Legends are not unfamiliar with the way this game works. Class roles such as tank or healer can still be assigned to your teammates along with new skins as more events come out.

If Mobile Legends: Bang Bang wasn’t close enough to League of Legends, then fear not: In 2020, Riot Games released a mobile version of the PC battle arena game under the name of League of Legends: Wild Rift. Although the game has drawn comparisons to Mobile Legends, there are differences, such as double the number of skills found in Mobile Legends, which can unfortunately lead to a more crowded screen on smaller phones.

From MOBA games, one can then shift to battle royale games. Games like Fortnite and PUBG overcame their competitors and were quickly made available on all platforms. However, the games aren’t always to everyone’s liking, likely either because of the art style or the younger player base, but alternatives are out there. Apex Legends is a battle royale game available on all platforms and will soon be released on mobile. The game uses unique futuristic weapons to separate it from other games like PUBG. The game is also considered easier to play because it is less focused on the realism of the guns, making the game controls much simpler.

Most battle royale games are also considered first-person shooters, and when it comes to first-person shooters, Call of Duty has been the “it” game on consoles since 2003. Now, Call of Duty: Mobile, released in 2019, joins the ranks of its mobile counterparts. With iconic characters and multiplayer mode, gamers can now take their favorite game on the go. As of September 2021, more than 6 million players load the game daily.

Some people may be concerned with how well their phone can handle gaming, though on recently released phones like the iPhone 13, it is possible to game longer without the phone overheating. But, if like many others, you have been unable to get your hands on a new phone, then there are ways to help improve your mobile gaming experience. Sites like Amazon sell cooling fans that attach to the back of the phone to help with overheating, and some phone controllers make sure to leave space behind the phone for those who need to play with their cooling fan.

Controllers are the next advance in mobile gaming. As one might expect with games on touch screen phones, button are no longer used, and this makes playing just a little bit harder. Controllers for the PS4 or Xbox can connect to the phone through Bluetooth, but for those without consoles, more universal controllers are available. Alexa, thanks to its Amazon connection, has been taking over the market with its products for a few years now, and now the Alexa Luna has joined the gaming world and made mobile games more accessible. If a big bulky controller isn’t what you’re looking for, though, then the Razer Kishi is an alternative. The Kishi folds and unfolds to connect directly to the phones charging port and doesn’t need to be charged separately, making for an easier mobile gaming experience. Similar to the Backbone One, many users have now traded in their Backbone for the Kishi because of its superior technology.

Mobile gaming has a long way before it can truly compete with consoles, but it has improved significantly over the years. Things like servers, bug fixes and Wi-Fi issues may always be an issue for gaming, be it mobile or not. However, from gaming phones, mobile controllers and console games-turned-mobile, the world of mobile games has advanced far and wide.

Writer Profile

Illusion Ventura

Whittier College
English and Psychology

I am an adventurous person trying to find my way in the world. I love reading and writing and try to do as much as I can in my free time.

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