I was playing Super Mario Land 2 - the very old Gameboy game - on my Nokia 3650 via the amazing Goboy emulator today. It's great. I mean, really, really great. Better than just about any other game I've played on the phone, and I've played quite a few so far.
Here's the funny thing, it's completely handicapped. First, it's in black and white, since the ROM was created for the original Gameboy. Second, there's no sound - the emulator doesn't support it. And third, the keys aren't redefineable in Goboy, so the keys are insanely awkward to use.
Despite this, the game is really fun. Very simple compared to something like Yoshi's Island on the GBA, but neverless insanely engaging. Why haven't I seen anything of that quality yet written to the newer specs. One would think that it would be as possible to write a game in J2ME on a modern phone now that is as engaging as a game written for a 16 bit processor in 1992, over a decade ago.
First, before I rant too long - is there one out there that I don't know of? If you know of a Java game that's on the level of Mario, drop me a comment here.
From what I've seen, however, there's not anything out there yet like Mario. You can say that the small companies out there now aren't Nintendo, and I might agree with that. Except that it's been 11 years. Things that were cutting edge in computer technology a decade ago are usually taught in first year programming classes now. So why is the game industry any different?
Maybe its just too difficult to program "real" games in MIDP 1.0, and this is why Sun is pushing and everyone is screaming for MIDP 2.0, which has more game-specific features. Maybe we just need to give the game developers time since they only relatively recently got the devices that could run J2ME in their hands now...
I don't know, but I do know that the Goboy emulator is currently the #1 way to play games on my Phone. Neither native games (MGS Karting, Meltdown, Intersteller Flames) nor the Java games (Tiger Woods Golf, FIFA 2003, Com2us Dragon Fire, Siberian Strike, or Splinter Cell) can compare to Tetrix DX (in full color) and Mario Land 2.
It's just too damn bad it's illegal to play those games!!! Please someone, make a deal with Nintendo and get all those old GB games out there in downloadable form. It would rock.