In light of the rather impressive Tile Rack app (which will enable players of EA's Scrabble to view their letters on their iPhones, keeping them secret from opponents), we couldn’t help thinking about other potential uses for iPhone/iPad connectivity.
In the past, having a sub-device has created some brilliant gaming experiences.
The Dreamcast made early forays with its removable VMU units, which sat in the pad and displayed private player information. Zelda: Four Swords used Game Boys as controllers for games running on the GameCube. And the recently announced Batman: The Brave and the Bold will have Wii-DS interconnectivity.
Whilst the iPad may take a little while to feature commonly in homes, it’s a safe bet that you’ll easily find enough friends with iPhones to join in the fun. So with that in mind, here are ten types of game (in no particular order) we would like to see take advantage of the two devices.
Got another brilliant suggestion? Let us know in the comments below.Other boardgames
Okay, so Scrabble’s definitely on its way, but what other classics might benefit from similar treatment?
How about Monopoly, in which you can secretly manage your finances on the iPhone, or an epic game of Risk, where battles are played out by bringing two handsets close together?
Cluedo would also be brilliant – you could take notes, and draw weapon/perpetrator/location relationships directly onto the phone, all the while suspecting everyone in the room.
One of the first suggestions to be blurted out around Pocket Gamer towers when we heard about this was poker. It’s fairly easy to imagine viewing your hand on the iPhone, whilst the deck and chips sit on the iPad – you could even reach down and literally throw in your bet.
We’re almost certain that this happen, and when it does the only other thing we’ll need is a shootout game to settle disputes...
We’re sure that the odd air hockey game or 20 will make it onto the iPad, but why not take it one step further and allow players to use their iPhones as paddles? This would open the door to classics like Pong, Shufflepuck Cafe, and even the rare four-player arcade game Quadropong.
Perhaps if people are going to be hurling their precious phones around, though, someone should produce a strap to prevent house insurance premiums rising. Failing that, just wrap your hand and phone in parcel tape.
We’ve already seen the steering wheel peripheral for iPad, but what’s to stop the iPhone acting as helm? The addition of a screen in hand could mean the speedometer and other HUD items don’t have to take up precious screen acreage on the iPad. It could even display a rear view mirror.
With other players involved, the iPad could display a top down view of the track, or better still, a 'TV cam' style presentation of the occurring events. This could even become a spectator sport for friends unfortunate enough not to have their own iPhones.
We're not specifically suggesting a tie in with the TV series, you understand, but any kind of object finding or investigative game could make good use of iPhone and iPad interconnectivity.
For instance, objects or clues concealed in the scene on the iPad could be revealed by moving the iPhone over it, and notes could be recorded on the iPhone.
It could also be used for any number of other purposes related to the investigative arts: a gun, a camera, an infrared detector, or even - if you're feeling adventurous - a portable radar for an Aliens style mini-game where you have to avoid bumping into criminals in an abandoned building.
Or, of course, any kind of arena battling game. With control of your aggressive charge relegated to the handset (perhaps even including a bumper cam) the overall battle could be viewed on the large iPad screen below.
Whether Craig Charles would be available for commentary is another matter entirely.
The popularity of Buzz!, and its contemporaries has shown how successful the timeless gameshow format can be in the home.
The potential to translate this experience to the iPad/iPhone is clear, and the iPhone’s screen would provide much more flexibility than multicoloured buttons.
Let me explain.
Labyrinth was a natural fit for the iPhone, so with balls in mind we’d like to see this tilting brought to a Fuzion Frenzy style game. Trying to dislodge each other from a podium displayed on the iPad would be riotous fun and no doubt lead to plenty of unsporting shoulder barging.
But if you prefer co-operation, a multiplayer Archer Maclean’s Mercury would be fantastic, different players representing various colours, and each able to combine temporarily to create other shades.
All of the ideas so far have left the iPad in a rather sedentary role, but why should every player have to use an iPhone?
How about a party dungeon crawler in which four or more players attempt to reach a boss or treasure via their phones, whilst another mischievous player controls events happening in the dungeon via the iPad, wreaking havoc with every swipe?
This format could work equally well with a military shooter (a field commander issuing orders to troops) or a racing game (obstacles and events, like those seen in Split Second, triggered by the iPad player).
Okay, so it wouldn’t be online as such, nor particularly massive, but the aforementioned GameCube and Game Boy game Four Swords showed how great it is to have your very own inventory screen, and there's no reason that this type of RPG couldn’t be enjoyed on the iPad.
Perhaps Zenonia could step into Link’s rather large boots and show Apple’s audiences that role playing and loneliness really can be mutually exclusive.