My relationship with mobile gaming goes way back to the portable handheld Tiger games and devices like the Nintendo Gameboy or SEGA Game Gear. I’m only bringing up these devices because they are in my mind the equivalent of current era mobile (phone/tablet) games for my generation. As much as I loved my NES or SEGA Genesis, I still really enjoyed playing these handhelds and beat quite a few titles on offer. They were still limited in the sense that they weren’t able to present as complete of an experience as their hardwired counterparts. My meaning, is that a console game that came out for the SNES but was also released (in a modified fashion) for the Gameboy would be fairly different, this mainly being due to the limitations of portable hardware over more conventional models. As such, I think this correlation to modern gaming is true in the same way. While we have handheld devices like tablets and mobile phones along with newer portable console experiences with the Playstation Vita or the Nintendo Switch, generally speaking your experience playing the same game will likely be better on a gaming PC or next-gen console.
Generally speaking, most companies that offer a mainstream title on current generations of consoles and PC but also have a mobile platform version release different versions of the game for each. So your latest Call of Duty game on PC is not the same game as Call of Duty Mobile, though obvious comparisons can be made. Portable technology is much further along now than it was back in my youth, so the lines are beginning to blur.
Whatever the case, I started with the idea of portable gaming experiences back then. Later, I would play basic cellphone games prior to the invention of smart phones. Obviously these were very simplistic and not really worth the time. At some point my opinion of mobile gaming was the same as my opinion of browser games, probably because most of the early mobile titles even on smart phones were very similar in design. There was a multitude of people that fed into these trends so obviously I’m not the majority in thinking that sort of time wasting is pointless, but it was still my position for a number of years.
When smart phones were so mainstream that everyone had one, I started to experiment more with mobile games. Tiny Tower and its spin-offs ended up being one of the first titles that I really enjoyed and played for a longer period of time. It wasn’t until I discovered Clash Royale though, that I was truly swayed into believing that mobile gaming might have something to it. Being able to play games at work on breaks/down time or just when you’re out and about and have a few minutes was nice. The game’s design kept me wanting to log in to complete dailies, earn gold and upgrade my decks for a number of years. I started to branch out from there, and if you’ve been following this blog for the last few years I’ve touched on a couple dozen different games that I put nominal amounts of time into.
I didn’t think I’d stop playing Clash Royale. A few months ago they introduced a battle pass of sorts, and I was consistently buying in for $5 a month and enjoying myself. I’m not sure if it’s the subscription model that is a turn off (but that shouldn’t matter because it’s completely optional) but I noticed that since the pass was introduced, my play started to wane. I only completed one of them, while most of the time I was only hitting level 10-20 and not really getting my money’s worth. This past time the reset happened, I didn’t even get back to my normal level on the ladder, and instead found myself only logging in to participate in Clan War stuff (collection battles and war battles). I’m not exactly sure where the issue hit, but it seems to have come at a time where I should theoretically have more time than ever, as I’ve been quarantined for weeks. I think perhaps it’s because I have found that I would rather spend my time doing something else, whereas in prior living situations I was spending more time away from my PC/Consoles and as such played more on my phone. I do remember coming home from work and playing on my phone for a couple of hours, and now I’m spending that time in League of Legends, Apex Legends, a single player game, or playing MTG.
There have been some community posts on burnout and I guess after playing Clash Royale for over three years, maybe I finally hit that point. I know my clan was starting to play another game so perhaps I’m not the only one. Whatever the case is, I know that I’ve experienced this sort of burnout or disinterest with other genres in the past. At some point I was no longer interested in platformers and metroidvanias in favor of RPGs and shooters. I was obsessed with the MMO genre until I wasn’t. I played nothing but MOBAs for a time. I seem to always come back around, as I’ve invested in newer platformers more recently, I still play RPGs and shooters, I’ve given more time to MMOs over the years, and I’ve come back around to playing MOBAs again too. So perhaps its less of a parting of ways and more of a wave that I’m riding. Either way, I’ve not played Clash Royale for a couple of weeks now, and just the other night I uninstalled it altogether. I’ve uninstalled any other games I had as well. At this point, I’m honestly not missing it either. Other things have been filling my time and perhaps at another point in my life mobile gaming will make a resurgence, but for now, I’m content wiping one other obligation from my list.