The good old days…

I admit it… I miss the good old days.

Way, way back when… when mobile games and utilities were novelties that cost as much — and sometimes even more — than similar desktop applications. Heady days, I tell you. Finding that special application could make or break your mobile experience.

Back then, Palm and WinMo were the platforms to contend with, and the mobile apps available were slick pieces of engineering. Remember Datebk and Agendus (by Pimlico Software and Iambic respectively)? Well, you were not — could not — be organized without them. Calendar, to-do and everything in-between for the mobile professional. Owning one or the other was a sign of seriousness. Owning both? Hello.

And then, what about TomTom Navigator? Yo, $150 got you the best GPS software at the time (before adding a bluetooth puck, by the way). SplashMoney was king when it came to managing financial accounts. Think about it… checkbook balancing with every Hotsync.

And there were games too. A whole lot of games. Bejeweled found a mobile home early on, as did fantastic entries like Chuzzle, Platypus and more. Look, if you didn’t have an Astraware game, you didn’t know games. Seriously, that studio had my free time on lock. I still think that Hellfire: Apache vs Hind is one of the best games to ever make it to mobile, but I am sentimental like that.

The Broken Sword series (from Revolution). SimCity. You name it, and I probably had it. Owning games meant spending money.

It is a different day now. Back then, freeware was probably unique, so much so that they were cataloged separately (prior to the proliferation of app stores). Now, free-to-play is pretty much the standard.

On the surface, it’s all good. Kudos to developers reacting to the market, and figuring that creating experiences that give the user the option to go for more (or using ads) was the way to go. Everyone wins, no?

Still, I miss the old days, when buying a full-fledged application was the way things were done. I am not against IAPs, but I do wish I had an opportunity to procure some games outright. Developer, name your price. I decide if I want to pick it up. May the best app win.

That’s my perfect world.

But the app market has spoken, and I do have to respect it. Now, instead of the semi-functional demo version that leads one to get the full version, we have it all in one package. Micro-transactions are the law of the mobile gaming land. More downloads, potentially more money for the developer willing to put out a great game AND put in the work to keep said hit game maintained.

But I am allowed to reminisce I think. I will look back at the good old days, where I spent a lot and got a whole lot more… I think. there was a whole lot less available, numerically speaking, but I do feel like I was a better supporter of those who made the apps.

Tre Lawrence
Tech fiend that isn't too cool for ramen noodles...
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