Advance Wars: Mobile Game Blueprint?


So let's talk about Advance Wars, which I've been glued to all evening. There's two things about the game which are interesting. First and foremost, it's a cool game! It's a strategy game where you command an army of troops, tanks, planes, boats, etc. which you move around to fight in varying terrained battlefields, but in turns like a board game, not like a normal arcade game. Some of the features:

  • 114 battle maps
  • Extensive tutorial modes
  • Map creation modes
  • Single system and multisystem multiplayer
  • Support for four players (single and multicart)

That list is from a review on the IGN website which raved about the game. I agree, if you have a GBA, it's kick-ass and you should get it. Until you've played it for a bit you won't know what I'm talking about. Super-simple controls, yet mind-boggling options and challenges. I've played it quite a lot on a GBA emulator on my computer with a pirate ROM. It's quite good all around. Here's the glowing summary from that IGN article:

Advance Wars is as brilliant as they come on the Game Boy Advance. The game isn't this action-packed button-mashing thumb-buster on the system, but Advance Wars is incredibly intense and amazingly addictive...especially when you learn every little nuance of the game design. Single player mode is a challenge in itself, but when you get another player (or three) into the battlefield, that's when you see just how versatile the game design really is. The learning curve has been addressed with a well-designed and integrated tutorial mode that must be completed in order to gain access to the rest of the game.

So that, of course, brings me to Russell's Mobile Thought of the Day (TM) this would be an AMAZINGLY kick-ass and totally do-able mobile application. The game controls are simple and don't require anything complex - even a basic phone keypad could handle the controls, and playing your buddy - as it says in the review - is where it gets really cool. It's a perfect mobile app: Play by yourself or hook into the net and play a friend. If you need to go into the Metro or arrive at work, you can pause the game between turns to come back later. It'd be great!

Actually, I'm sure someone, somewhere is already implementing something similar, but still the thought is exciting. Personally, I think that most everything on Yahoo Games will make a nice transition to mobile phones. I mean, unless you're creating some sort of MMRPG online where everyone exists in the same space at all times, you're going to need an organized way to find other people to play with online, which is what Yahoo already has (in Java even!). Whether it's Advance Wars Mobile or Chess or Checkers, that sort of interface will go a long way.

Again, I'm sure someone's doing or done this for mobile games. It's all low-hanging fruit. The stuff that isn't easy is creating compelling games (or apps in general) which will attract mobile phone users to want to buy the phone that runs it and use the online service that hosts it: the proverbial killer app. This sort of game might be it. I mean, hey, it's just a board game with graphics and sound - but that's what's so fun about it. Being on a bus playing a neat game against competitors from somewhere else in the world is where its going go beyond fun to being totally new and desirable.

Back to the GBA for a moment, I wonder when someone's going to come out with a Bluetooth adapter or some sort of wireless attachment for the GBA. I mean, the link cables are cool - but not having to be withing 5 feet of your friend to play against them would be awesome.


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