Pocket Gamer celebrates its tenth birthday.
In internet terms, that’s pretty ancient.
To mark the occasion, and to illustrate just how old and wise we are, we’ll be taking a look back at the games, trends, and general happenings for each of the years we’ve been around. (Here's 2006.)
The second year of PG’s existence, 2007, was a year of consolidation for the website. But it was also a year of great quality on the pocket gaming front, and of the beginning of a certain fruit-themed smartphone dynasty that rules to this day.
What were we playing?
Looking back at some of the comments we made toward the end of the year, there seemed to be a unanimous decision that 2007 was one of the best years ever for pocket gaming (up to that point, of course).
It’s easy to see why. Java games reached their high point with SolaRola (below), a LocoRoco-like platformer that we gave a rare ‘perfect’ 10 to. And Digital Chocolate's Cafe Solitaire and Pyramid Bloxx (which continued Tower's rise), Urban Attack from Vivendi, and, erm, PopCap's Chuzzle Mobile were among the many titles that also impressed.
(Mobile football also scored, with too many titles to mention – everything from all-out, on-the-pitch action to proper sim-heavy management candidates – getting top-of-the-league reviews.)
Meanwhile, the Nintendo DS had its own Platinum Award champ in 2007. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was a beautiful cel-shaded original that made brilliant use of the console’s unique hardware. Pokemon Diamond & Pearl did pretty well for Nintendo’s handheld, too.
But when it came to top class pocket gaming kicks, 2007 undoubtedly belonged to the Sony PSP. Not only did we hand out two Platinum Awards for tactical RPG duo Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Final Fantasy Tactics, but we also had such triple-A treats as Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and WipEout Pulse to enjoy.
What were we playing on?
The mobile gaming star device of 2007 was undoubtedly the Nokia N95. It was powerful, attractive, and it had a cool set of slide-out media keys that would pay off (sort of) with the launch of the N-Gage platform in 2008.
It also featured a notably sharp-for-its-time 5-megapixel camera and a large bright screen. This was one of a breed of early smartphones back before that term took on its modern meaning.
Elsewhere, in keeping with the fact that this was one of the platform’s strongest ever years, the PSP saw a new model released. The PSP Slim & Lite, aka the PSP 2000, was a significantly more wieldy version of Sony’s handheld, with more storage and a brighter display.
What else was going on in mobile?
Not much fresh happened in 2007 on the mobile ecosystem front. Oh, apart from the launch of the original iPhone in June, that is.
Of course, the App Store itself (and with it iOS gaming) wouldn’t arrive until 2008, so at this point PG was merely watching with interest. We won’t pretend like we knew it would be the future at this early stage - Apple’s phone was mighty expensive, and it lacked some pretty fundamental features such as 3G.
But this was clearly a first crack at something altogether new, and the UI and multi-touch display were unlike anything we’d seen up to that point.
What else was PG doing?
Remember when people used to get their information from mushed up and flattened slices of wood, all bound together with metal staples? We do. In fact, much of the early Pocket Gamer team used to make a living out of this archaic practice.
Away from the bright lights of the internet (by this point the PG team kept growing both in size and momentum), 2007 saw Steel Media putting its vast amount of publishing expertise to practical use.
This was the year that we started publishing a physical version of the website, repurposing some of the online review and feature content into a compact-but-perfectly-formed glossy magazine format. These were then distributed on a bi-monthly basis in a number of UK phone shops across the country to educate the great unwashed on the awesomeness of mobile.
We like to think someone, somewhere got converted.
What else was happening?
On June 27, as large parts of southern Europe sweltered in a heat wave, Tony Blair ended his ten-year reign as UK Prime Minister. Blair handed over to his erstwhile number two Gordon Brown through gritted teeth. Though that might just have been the way he smiled - it’s hard to tell.
Even hotter news came in July, when the final book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was released. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 11 million copies in its first 24 hours on sale. Only an utter moogle would be caught without a copy (I think that’s the correct terminology).
November saw the start of the three-month Writers Guild of America strike, which was responsible for a huge amount of disruption in the US TV business and some terribly stilted dialogue.
Well, even more than usual.