The Eureka Moment
I just had a moment of realization while checking on the progress of Vault 816… I am not a mobile gamer. While I really enjoy the idea of playing Fallout Shelter, I always have the same thought I have with any mobile game. “Man I wish I could play this on my desktop or through a web browser.” There are games that I enjoy the idea of playing… like Fallout Shelter, Alphabear, Dragon Coins, or Final Fantasy Record Keeper. The problem is I get frustrated by the imprecise controls. Using your finger to move objects around the screen feels so much more cludgy than doing it with a nice tight mouse pointer. Granted if I were a smaller person I would probably not be having any of these issues.
I am 6’4” and have huge hands… I can palm a basketball. Attached to these huge hands are useless sausage-like fingers that have the fine motor skills of sleepy toddler. The more I think about it… this fact has gotten in the way of my enjoyment of almost every mobile game I have played. At first I thought the bulk of my problems would be resolved were I simply playing on a larger device. However as I graduated from my iPhone 3s to a Samsung Galaxy S2 to a Samsung Galaxy S5… each time the screen size increased sizably but the difficulty never went away. When I finally got my own iPad I still felt like throwing it across the room anytime I was asked to do anything that required a modicum of detailed movement.
I realize there is such a thing as a stylus, but then I am having to fiddle with an awkward device on top of an already awkward control scheme. The problem is… there really are games that I want to enjoy on mobile devices. Fallout Shelter for example takes two things that I have loved in the past… the Fallout Franchise, and Sim Tower like gameplay. During my pre-college and college years I spent silly amounts of my free time playing both of these games. I spent enough time playing Sim Tower to be able to build freaking airports at the top of my towers. I have played each of the Fallout franchise games multiple times, and even though I rarely play the original… I feel like I could pretty safely pick it right back up and meld into the nostalgia nicely. So I am the core demographic of this game… except for the whole control scheme problem.
I honestly have no clue why I felt like I needed to write this post, other than having my own little Eureka moment. For the longest time I thought my dislike of mobile gaming was more about the game experiences that you have on a mobile device. Now I realize that is wrong… there are plenty of “gamerly” experiences available. My problem is that I struggle to get any sense of control while playing a mobile game. Finger based movement against a slick screen always feels chaotic to me. It reminds me of how frustrated I get when trying to use a trackball. I guess I am just accustomed to the mouse, keyboard and controller… and when it finally comes down to relying on my own digits to make things work… I find the experience frustrating. I am wondering if anyone else out there with sausage-like fingers suffers from this same issue? We should totally form a support group or something.