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Games have been with humanity since the beginning. It is found that the different games that we play now are evolved from the games played in ancient days. Board game like Mancala was unearthed in the Sahara, Backgammon evolved from games such as Tabula and Nard talked about in ancient Roman scripts, and even in the Bible, Bicycle playing cards evolved form Tarot decks which was initially used to help predict the future. These games then turned into professional sports. Some of the games were even played for heavy money, some for competition and most of them were just for fun. With the introduction of computers, games entered a new era. The main reasons many people buying computers into their homes were games. Computer games became more popular and acceptable with introduction of best selling games such as Doom, Quake and Tomb Raider which had ultra-realistic 3D worlds. In late 90s and early 2000s, Multiplayer gaming became popular for playing games such as Ultima Online, Everquest, and Age of Empires 2. According Bidgoli (2004), by the end of 2003 over a billion people around the world will own a mobile phone and however in 2008 the number of mobile phone users worldwide soared to over 3.3 billion. With this statics games were available to be played in these devices. Mobile phones does not provide a rich and meaningful immersion on a tiny 100x100 pixel screen (on average), there's one thing mobile phone benefits for playing games that they are always with you, and can be used anywhere you go.
3.2 TYPES OF MOBILE GAMES
According to Fox and Verhosek (2002), the following incomplete list of mobile games genre can be produced.
1. Action games
These types of games are usually played by adolescent males and involve fast reflexes. Moreover the graphics are as realistic as possible and the audio is usually rich and loud. Example of such action games include quake, missile command and pac man.
2. Combat games
These types of games involve two characters playing against each other and trying to beat each other up. Example includes virtual fighter, street fighter and mortal kombat.
3. Adventure games
These games require the player to discover the new worlds and play according to the plot of the game. Example includes zork, adventure island, Mario etc.
4. Puzzle games
These kinds of games are usually played by audience of intelligence and cunning adults. The game requires players to use logic. Examples include tetris, Sudoku etc.
5. Strategy games
These games also involve the player on thinking ahead and involves lots of pieces and possibilities. These games involve more tactics than long term strategy. Examples include warcraft, age of empire, empire earth etc.
6. Role playing games (RPG)
These games are generally played by intelligent, male adolescents who read science fiction. The player has a role and the attributes changes over time and the degree of exploration. Examples include Diablo 3, Everquiest, Ultima online etc.
7. Trivia games
These games are played to test the knowledge of the player. These are usually straightforward question-answer format. Examples include who wants to be a millionaire, quiz, buzzer etc
8. Word games
These games involve the user to find out a word, based on some hints given. The more words the players know the better the player does. Examples include hangaroo, scrabble, hangman etc
9. Card games
These games are played normally as the cards are played. The rules are the same as the rules in the physical cards game played. These may involve bluffing and betting. Examples include hearts, poker, spades, flush etc.
10. Games of chance
These games are usually casino games where the game is based upon random result. Examples include roulette, slot machines etc.
11. Sports games
These games involve games that we play as sports. Games such as football, basketball, hockey, cricket etc are the most famous sports
3.3 GAMING FEATURES AND TECHNOLOGIES
Most mobile games are single player games where a user plays with an artificially intelligent opponent. The major success of single player games is interesting storylines, impressive graphics, and realistic non player characters and opponents. Some of the mobile games that run in single player mode are Tetris, Sudoku, and Fifa 09 etc. Most of these games can be played as multiplayer mode hence the user has a choice to make to play in single player mode or multiplayer mode.
A multiplayer game is a game which is played be several players. The players of a multiplayer game might be independent opponents, formed into teams or be just a single team. These kinds of games can be played in mobile phones as they are connected devices. Multiplayer functionality is achieved in mobile phones through connectivity such as:
1. Infrared connectivity
8. Wireless LAN
One of the main issues faced by multiplayer mobile games is latency. Most networks that exist now have latency at the minimum of 1-2 seconds, with averages more like 3-5 seconds. This stat hasn't stopped the developers on making multiplayer mobile games but teaches that the latency has to be considered with smart game design.
These games include speedway and adrenalin which are both car racing games where players can play with other ghost cars.
Community games are a step further than the multiplayer games. In these types of games the players use their cell phones to access a community website where they can play games with many other players. The players may form a group or team and communicate with each other while playing the game. These games typically have limited graphical content and focuses on the interaction between a large number of participants. Monopoly world is one of the best known community mobile games where any player can play the game just for fun or wheel and deal real money.
While most of the consoles are taking the advantages of 3D technologies it is obvious that mobile can take advantage of the same rich environment. Hence a number of handsets having surprising capabilities can cope with this feature of new games. The mobile game developers can use java for 3D implementation since writing 3D is similar to writing 2D games. Java makes it easier with the introduction of M3G, the mobile 3D Graphics API. Some of the most popular 3D games that are available today are World Snooker 09 3D, 3D The Fast and The Furious etc.
This kind of games uses localization technology like GPS. In most of the mobile games the games are played on mobile hardware where as in location based games the elements that matters is the location of the player and the coordinate and the movement of the player. The best example of location based mobile game is treasure hunt game called Geocaching.
3.4 LIMITATIONS OF MOBILE GAMES
Mobile games are small in scope and often have many limitations. Some of the mobile games limitations listed by Marvin (2007) are as follows:
There are basic two types of constraints: the first covers the overall size of the application and the second is the memory space required in the memory for the application to run.
Most of the mobile games are distributed to the end user by limiting the memory available. Some of the mobile phone games come on a memory card which limits the size of the application. There are many popular means of delivery such as installation Over-The-Air (OTA), where user selects a game to download on their mobile device from a list of mobile games. Even these games have limits (64 K or 128 K are typical) defined by the operators.
Application Memory Space
This is the memory space required when the application is running. More memory is required when the application is running than the actual application file this is due to the storage of objects at runtime, graphics storage etc.
Games are one among the mobile applications that uses most processor time. The calculations needed for the game takes a lot of processor cycles to perform the calculations. Mobile device manufacturers rarely state the processing power of the mobile chips but however they are much lower than those of a PC.
Mobile games use a spontaneous network rather than planned and are often used to fill spare moments resulting in short game sessions. These spontaneous are unreliable in cases the connectivity is lost or deliberately disconnected. For mobile devices even the network available has high latency which is the amount of time it takes to respond. The latency for a mobile network can be as high as few seconds which is too long for majority of fast action multiplayer games.