Game Development Reference
Writing for Mobile Phone Games
As a gaming platform, mobile phones have a number of similarities with handheld
gaming devices: screens are usually small, controls are limited, and memory and
processor power can impose severe constraints. Therefore, the reader will find it
useful to review Chapter 17 on writing for handheld games, which contains a great
deal of information that is also applicable to phone games.
Because gaming is very much a secondary function of mobile phones, they are
not optimal platforms for high-end, “core” games—and, of course, the market for
mobile phones is much broader than the market for any dedicated gaming device. As
a result, the overwhelming majority of mobile phone games are casual games, aimed
at the notional “average” mobile phone user—in other words, just about anyone. So
Chapter 16 on writing for casual games is also very useful.
This chapter addresses the unique aspects of mobile phones as a gaming platform
and the specific challenges of writing for mobile phone games.
18.2 The Platform
Mobile phones have several features that are unique and others that they may share
with other devices but that have a more significant impact on the game writer.
With a few exceptions, mobile phones offer a smaller screen size than any other
gaming platform—a screen can be little more than one inch square. More expensive
and function-rich phones can have larger screens, but they also have a much smaller
offer phones for the North American market with screen sizes ranging from 800
pixels—comparable to an early-90s PC—to a mere 96