Dave Neumann has approximately 400 board games in the basement of his Whitefish Bay home. But as editor of pockettactics.com, he’s had a nose-to-the-screen seat for the explosion of mobile gaming.
What device do you use?
My [iPhone 6S], and I have an iPad Air. There aren’t any games I know that are iPhone only, but there are games that are iPad only.
Is there any genre that mobile gaming has not yet conquered?
Real-time strategy games, like Starcraft and Warcraft. You can’t grab troops. It’s too hard to do without a mouse and keyboard.
Turn-based strategy is different?
That actually has boomed in mobile gaming because of asynchronous turns. You take your turn and hit send, and it goes off to the next player. And an hour or two later, you get a notification. You don’t have to sit there and stare at your phone.
Who are the giants?
The giants are the Clash of Clans, the Angry Birds. Those are the games everyone knows about, and they make a ton of money, just silly, sick amounts of money. There’s a huge chunk of mobile gaming where that’s the only reason it exists. The games are terrible, the worst. They’re basically Skinner boxes. Here’s a pellet. Now play the game a little more and pay us money.
There’s been some interesting independent development.
The big game last year was Card Crawl, and it was built by this husband and wife in Berlin, this little tiny game. And it’s awesome.
If you were shipwrecked, what three games would you bring?
Galaxy Trucker, a port of a board game. X-Com, which Firaxis ported over to iPad. And FTL [Faster Than Light]. It’s crazy hard. I’ve never actually won.