This year, 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. (See 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.)
We’re moving into modern times now with 2013, which was an extraordinarily strong year across the entire spectrum of pocket gaming platforms.
What were we playing?
What a year to be a pocket gamer. On iOS we had the Zelda-like trappings of Oceanhorn, the beautiful weirdness of Year Walk, a stonking sequel in The Room 2, and one of the finest physics puzzlers ever in Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage.
Android took another big step towards iOS parity in 2013, with the likes of Ridiculous Fishing and Blackbar making their way to both platforms. Android also received two Kingdom Rush games this year, which meant that it got two of the best tower defence games ever made. The Android conversion of ace shooter Ikaruga, meanwhile, gave the platform bragging rights over iOS.
The traditional handhelds also upped their game in 2013. The 3DS received Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a sequel to the beloved SNES entry, as well as ace Square Enix RPG Bravely Default.
Over on the PS Vita, meanwhile, there was plenty of platformer magic on display in the form of Tearaway (below) and the ever-wonderful Spelunky.
What were we playing on?
For the first time ever, Apple launched two smartphones in 2013. The iPhone 5S may have looked a lot like the iPhone 5, but it added a couple of firsts in its Touch ID fingerprint sensor and 64-bit CPU.
Meanwhile the iPhone 5C was Apple’s attempt to crack a wider, younger market with its colourful plastic design. There was just one slight hitch: it wasn’t particularly affordable. Apple also announced the iPad Air in 2013 – a significantly slimmer and more attractive redesign of its original tablet concept.
There were some excellent Android phones in 2013, too. The HTC One was arguably the first Android phone to match Apple’s efforts with its distinctive metal unibody design. The Nexus 5 was a much loved pure Android handset, and the Motorola Moto G showed Apple how to make a phone that was both classy and cheap.
What else was going on in mobile?
There were some major shifts to the mobile market in 2013. This was the year that the UK went properly 4G, with Vodafone and O2 joining EE in offering access to the new faster network.
Over in the US, Microsoft finally did what everyone had been expecting it to do and bought Nokia – or at least the part of it that makes mobile phones.
This was also the year that Apple launched iOS 7, its biggest smartphone software overhaul since iOS 1, complete with a divisive new ‘flat’ design.
More broadly, by 2013 there was no question mobile games were big business. And big business meant big brands. Machine Zone may have launched its Kate Upton-fronted Game of War ad campaign a year later, but already there were signs that the industry was moving in that direction, with impressive tie-ins such as Temple Run 2's Usain Bolt and Top Eleven's Jose Mourinho associations, and Rovio extending one of the biggest brand mashups of its time with a sequel to Angry Birds Star Wars.
What else was PG doing?
With the production of the Pocket Gamer Game Guides in full swing, May saw Steel Media broadening the roster by launching the pretty iTips Magazine, a dedicated tips guide covering the latest and greatest iPad games.
Later in the year, our very own swipe won Technology and Gadget Magazine of the Year at the Digital Magazine Awards 2013 against some pretty stiff competition. Booyah.
What else was happening?
It turned out that 2012’s good vibes were merely the calm before the storm, as 2013 was packed full of shocks and revelations.
It was the year of the Edward Snowden leaks, where the young American whistleblower exposed a range of mass surveillance programmes undertaken by US and UK intelligence agencies.
Elsewhere, legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted in an Oprah Winfrey interview that he had been involved in doping for all of his Tour de France wins.