Phone Games


I hate phone games. Phone games are the worst thing you can do with your time, and they’re even worse than regular games. What do I mean by regular games? Games where you sit down, you have the controller, or the keyboard, or the joystick, or the zapper, or the trackball, or the forehead suction cups, or the codpiece, or whatever—you’ve sat down with the intention to play something. You’re—I dare use this filthy vernacular—gaming. When you play phone games, you’re not gaming, goddammit. You’re on your phone. At least with regular games, you accept that you’re going to have your time wasted in a well-constructed manner. Phone games are a chaotic evil. They waste your time without precedent, and for no discernible reason. They are designed to keep you glued to them, a slave to their bland, gruel, gutter-scraped entertainment.

Phone games have no shame. Even the most insidious, dollar-sucking, wallet-burning non-phone games usually have some kind of fiscal humility to them—you’re going in knowing you may spend a little money, and if you have to, it’ll be on more varied gameplay, or a wider breadth of experiences. Regular games (usually on consoles or PC) are more complete experiences, with better graphics and actual narratives: You’ll be happily taken to an imaginary world of action, emotion, or maybe even immersion. And if these regular games have microtransactions, they likely won’t be too intrusive.

Phone games, on the other hand, cheat you out of this assurance. They wield the blind eye of a predator luring a child with candy (which is, in a way, what they do in a literal sense.) They promise a game you’ll enjoy, and at zero cost: This is a proverbial free lunch, a dupe presented, and if you take a bite, you’ve sold your soul to the devil. Immediately they push the dollar-a-piece costumes on you (Crossy Road comes to mind). Then they make you buy credits that shorten the waiting periods (Clash Royale), or give you extra lives (Jetpack Joyride), or God forbid let you advance through the game immediately. That’s right, you little sheep: Your hard-earned money is a gameplay mechanic, and they’re going to wear that sucker out of you until you’re broke.

Everything you see is soulless, the design of which is perfected so you’ll download it and make them money. We’ve come full circle, back to the quarter-stealing arcade machines of the 1980s. God, phone games are so bad. I’d rather play Wii Sports with my racist uncle for eternity than drag my finger lethargically across a glass screen with dark, brooding thoughts, as I torment myself with Game of War: Fire Age.

Despite all this, I cannot resist temptation. I still play games on my phone. Rather, I am the one who is played, and for a fool, no less.