Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7 just came out on the App Store. A whole generation of gamers has been clamoring for FF7 to be remade/remastered for years. It's a game they grew up with, that showed them the potential of what games could be. It was one of the first CD-ROM games that really used the technology in a new way. They could show gorgeous pre-rendered movies, create beautiful environments, and even though the 3D characters were simplistic by today's standards, there was a complexity and epic-ness that had really never been seen before in games. So I understand why people want to recapture that magic.

But the problem (to me) is that this is simply the wrong platform for it.

I love games that are aware of where & how they're being played. If you want to create an immersive world, put it on my TV, while I'm on my couch with minimal disturbances. Make it as big and as rich and as lush as possible. Give me a Mass Effect Trilogy and 150 hours of free time.

If I'm on a portable device, though, give me something that's aware it's on a portable device. It has to be designed, from the start, to be interruptible. I have to be able to make progress in as little as a few minutes, because there's a good chance the bus I'm waiting for is going to arrive, whatever little break I'm taking (possibly in the bathroom) is going to be over, and it's time to get back to doing whatever.

Give me a game that understands the control scheme of the thing I'm playing it on. If I want an FPS, I don't want a touchscreen, I want joysticks. Or a mouse & keyboard. But oh god, don't give me virtual controls.

A game like 80 Days may not be as big or ambitious as FF7, but it's designed for the platform from the ground up. It's interruptible. It's beautiful and elegant and legible. It has replay value. It's about travel, which is a nice approach for a device that's in your pocket as you go about your day.

Something like Pac-Man 256 takes the nostalgia factor of the original game, and adds a lot to it. It changes the business model of the game, from $0.25/life to something modern, suited to smartphones. It provides an endlessly replayable experience (something the OG Pac-Man actually didn't do, because it wasn't until Ms. Pac-Man where ghost behaviour wasn't pre-scripted!). I'm not personally a fan of the swipe controls of P-M256, which is a shame, because it's incredibly charming and definitely scratches the nostalgia itch. But I digress...

There's nothing wrong with loving FF7. But strangely, "FF7 on iOS" is not the same as "The FF7 of iOS games". Like when people talk about the Citizen Kane of (whatever), it's not about Citizen Kane - it's about capturing that spirit of innovation and daring and just being genre-defining. Being genre-defining isn't something you can do be transplanting a thing from one place to another. The "Final Fantasy 7 of iOS games" isn't Final Fantasy.

It'll be a game that uses the technology to the limit in a new way, that provides an experience that can move someone, and that will capture the attention and imagination of everyone who enjoys playing games on the platform.

It'll be something new.