It’s World Gaming Day! Whether you’re a seasoned gamer who’s had every single console from the original Nintendo NES up to today’s PS4, or someone who just enjoys a game round a friend’s house, practically everyone’s had fun with video games at some point or another. So they’re definitely an entertainment form that’s worth celebrating.
Gaming is also a serious business. It’s currently estimated that the gaming industry will generate $159.3 billion in global revenue this year, and with next gen consoles like Sony’s PS5 around the corner, it’s not going to be slowing down anytime soon either. Forecasts have the gaming industry surpassing $200 billion in revenue by 2023.
Gaming isn’t just for big screen action though. Handheld games have been hugely popular for decades, with Nintendo’s Game Boy long holding a spot in the Tech Icons Hall of Fame since it’s debut way back in 1989. Which brings us to the fun world of mobile gaming.
Smartphones have revolutionised our tech lives in loads of ways. They’re essentially pocket computers after all. The dawn of app stores birthed a whole new arena where global tech giants and indie developers alike battle it out to grab your attention with fun and addictive mobile games.
With thousands of mobile games ready to be downloaded - 500 new games are submitted to app stores every day - whatever style of gamer you are there’s bound to be something you’ll like. But which mobile games have captivated people the most? Let’s take a look at some of the most playable, iconic and best of the best phone games of all time that have kept people glued to their smartphone screens.
Angry Birds is one of the original big hits of mobile gaming, launching back in 2009, and it’s a brilliant showcase of the type of game that’s perfect for mobiles. Pleasingly simple controls and fast paced gaming that’s just as good for five mins when you’re on the loo or half an hour when you’re on the train.
And while it might be easy to learn, it's enough of a challenge to have you coming back for more with its fiendishly addictive fling-your-birds-at-the-enemies action-puzzle format. The developer Rovio created this game and it went on to become a global phenomena, with over 500 million downloads, sequels, spinoffs, plush toys and even a movie.
Words With Friends
Words With Friends brings one of the world’s most popular ever board games (Scrabble) to your smartphone screen. Words With Friends is another bonafide global hit, evidenced by the legions of players around the world who you can pick up your phone and challenge to a game within moments.
From random players to your friends and family, or even the computer, you can test your word power against all kinds of challengers, with stats showing your win/loss records, best scores and game streaks adding a fun element of ongoing competition. This is a game that’s perfect for a quick pick-up-and-play. And it might even boost your vocabulary so it’s a good one to introduce youngsters to.
Pokémon GO took the mobile gaming world by storm when it hit app stores in summer 2016. This augmented-reality game brought the thrill of hunting for new Pokémon into our everyday world - with excited players seeking out Pokémon in train stations, shops, parks to collect more characters - essentially all around our cities.
Transcending mere gaming, Pokémon GO was a full-on pop culture explosion. In its heyday you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing men, women, children and adults alike with their phones out stalking the city for Pokemon. Gotta catch ‘em all.
One of the most popular all-ages games in the world, Minecraft PE brought the much adored block-building game from your monitor down to your smartphone. The joy of Minecraft is that the only thing that’s hindering you is your imagination. You can build pretty much anything your mind can think up across all sorts of maps. It’s creative, educational, and loads of fun.
This was a landmark moment. One of the original icons of gaming made his debut in a mobile game, Super Mario Run was Nintendo’s first ever mobile game and it brought the fun of Mario’s revered, genre-defining, platform games to smartphone screens.
Super Mario Run is easy to play and brings the classic Mario gameplay to the small screen - jump over obstacles, collect coins, squash enemies. Once you get through the familiar levels you’ll reach Bowser’s Castle where you face off against the evil boss himself. Let’s go!
Candy Crush is another gaming app that dominated the app charts on its release. According to reports it amassed 93 million players and made its developer, King, £493 million in just three months.
This life-taking-overly addictive game is a classic match three puzzler, in that you get through levels by lining up three matching pieces of colorful candy to crush them down and drop the next row. King is always updating Candy Crush with new levels and is famed for its engagement with fans, adding to the fun and competition.
Heads Up digitises a classic and incredibly fun game you may remember as the Post It Note Game. You hold the phone up to your head and guess what it says before the timer runs out- could be a celeb, an animal, a show and plenty more topics - as your friends shout clues at you.
Ideal for families and groups of friends - you can easily play even if you're on the other side of the room so it’s a good game for today’s socially distanced days.
No top mobile phone game list would be complete without Snake, the original classic from the old school days of the Nokia 3210. Long before smartphones, Nokia mobiles were the phones that most people had, and every Nokia phone came with Snake. There’s no fancy graphics, no exciting controls, no touch screen - just a snake zipping around the screen eating a dot and getting bigger and bigger.