Yesterday I looked at the iPad's eBook reader prowess and came away impressed by the results. Today I am going to focus on the iPad's ability to play games. One of the things I like most about my iPhone is the gaming capability of the device. I was excited to hear Apple claim that all the iPhone games I had already purchased would work with the iPad.
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The good news there is that the games can be transferred over to your iPad with a simple sync if you own an iPhone. That means you don’t have to pay again for the titles to get them on your iPad. The downside to putting games you already own on the iPad is that if they were designed for the iPhone, most of them have very small screen sizes.
Fire up Plants vs. Zombies for the iPhone for instance and you get the same screen size on the iPad by default that you get on the iPhone (Plants vs. Zombies is also available as iPad version). This isn’t a problem with the iPad honestly. It's more of an issue with game developers making the game specifically coded to the dimensions of the iPhone screen. The iPad does include a zoom function that you can tap to make the game take up the full screen, but the graphics in most titles are simply horrible when you do that.
What this means is if you really want to get the graphics you are used to on most of your iPhone games, but you want them to take up the full iPad screen is that you will be looking for new iPad versions of the titles. There is a Plants vs. Zombies HD for instance that is specifically designed for the iPad for instance.
The real gaming magic in the iPad lies in the purpose built iPad HD quality game titles like Mirrors Edge. The graphics in the game are great, though jaggies are very noticeable in the graphics. The game has fantastic controls and looks very good. I will be back later with a full review of Mirror's Edge for the iPad.
The other big thing that bothers me about the iPad and games is that there are just aren't that many iPad specific games right now. That will change as time goes by for sure, but I expected many more at launch to be honest. I am also very bothered by the fact that there are no free iPad specific HD games on the App Store right now. The games are also much more expensive on average than they are for the iPhone.
I hardly see where it could cost more to develop for the iPad compared to the iPhone, so why are the game so much more expensive? Apple was telling app developers to design their games to take advantage of multiple screen resolutions a while back so presumably that would mean one game can work on both platforms and give the iPad user the resolution and graphics we expect. The cheapest games on for the iPad are around $1.99, but the majority of good games are $9.99 or more, which is a rare price range on the iPhone.
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Quibbles about price and availability aside, the iPad is a fantastic gaming platform. The device has much better battery life than the iPhone. I can game for hours on the iPad and still have plenty of battery life for surfing the web or watching video. A good hour of gaming on my iPhone and the thing is nearly out of power. Overall, the iPad is a fantastic gaming platform that is much better than the PSP or Nintendo DS graphically.
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