Welcome to the hundred and thirteenth edition of RPGamer's Currents Column: iPhone RPG Edition!
Like it or not, Apple has created a viable contender in the handheld gaming space. The Currents column is branching out a bit to make sure you all don't miss out on some great RPG experiences. To kick off this weeks iPhone/iPod Touch RPG focused column, I wanted to go over two stories in particular.
The obvious story this week is the Apple tablet. Now you might be wondering why I'm even bothering to talk about an unconfirmed product from Apple. Why? Well, because Apple is apparently going to push gaming hard on this device in order to replicate the success story the iPod Touch/iPhone has been at increasing the company's game-related revenues. Hey, it sounds good to me. The other big story of the week is Final Fantasy
on the iPhone, which I'm sure many people are excited about. With stories like that, how can you go wrong.
So enough talk, it's time for the NEWS!
This is going to be a great week for Apple fans. Tomorrow, on the 27th, Apple is holding a major event in San Francisco where it is supposedly going to unveil a tablet device. So what is so special about this tablet? Well, we are going to have to wait until Wednesday to find out. Right now, your guess is as good as mine. The rabid speculation over the device is already out of hand, and I am just going to report what reputable sources are claiming rather than spread my own fuel over the fire. Although, I do want to go over a few things briefly to highlight why gamers should even care about a tablet announcement from Apple.
First off, it's interesting to note that several big gaming sites like Kotaku and IGN were invited to the event. The fact that Kotaku was invited to such an exclusive tech event says a lot about the content of the presentation. The iPod Touch is already being pushed hard as a gaming platform by Apple, and it goes without saying that it is having great success with that endeavor. It seems that Apple wants to do the same thing with the tablet. The Wallstreet Journal is even reporting that EA is teaming up with Apple to show off the tablet's gaming capabilities at tomorrow's event. Whatever happens, it is sure to be interesting.
Good news for iPhone/iPod Touch owning Final Fantasy fans, Final Fantasy 1 & 2 are heading to the App Store. You may have already seen this story elsewhere on RPGamer, but being the iPhone gaming evangelist that I am, I thought I'd throw in my two cents along with a few screen shots. In a strange way, I'm probably more excited about this pair of twenty-year-old RPGs than I should be. Why, you ask? For the simple reason that I never leave the house without my iPod Touch/iPhone.
The thing that really gets me excited is that the release of these games on the iPod Touch/iPhone is just the beginning. IF these games perform well, it won't be long before we see Final Fantasy 3-6
on the iPhone, or better yet, a whole roster of classic SE RPGs, like my personal favorite Front Mission
. There are a lot of RPGs on the iPhone, but not many of them come with the production value and history associated with Square Enix.
Below are some pictures of the ports, courtesy of Square Enix DlG's Facebook page.
Final Fantasy 1:
As you can tell from the screen shots, these ports appear to be refined versions of the PSP Anniversary editions of FF1 and FF2. The sprites and backgrounds seem to have fairly high resolutions and should look great on the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen. The touch interface for the menus look fairly intuitive as well. Since this is a primarily menu-driven game, the touch screen controls shouldn't get in the way of having fun.
Final Fantasy 2:
Aside from the five posted screen shots, not much else is known about the ports. It would be great if both games were bundled together like they were for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, but somehow I doubt that will be the case. SE DLG states that the games should be coming out soon and has even opened an official site for both games. There has been no word on a price point, but let's just hope they come in well below the $10 mark.
I kept this column short on purpose. I started writing a lot about what a tablet could mean for gaming and about Apple's push to make App Store compatible devices respected contenders in the handheld race. I did all that and thought to myself, what use is all of that idle speculation? It makes more sense to just wait a couple of days and really see for myself what kind of impact this will have on gaming and the App Store. So expect a report on the Apple event in the future.
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