As part of our 10th anniversary celebration we've asked ten former key members of the PG team to share their memories and thoughts (as well as their all-time top 10). Mobile game journalist legend Stu was here before PG was even live. Seems appropriate to end this series of articles with him. Let's dive in…
Who are you?
When did you work in the Pocket Gamer empire, and what did you do?
I was on board from just before the launch, and did various jobs in my time working with the company: from writing news and reviews to editing PocketGamer.biz and the magazines we made for mobile operators in the pre-iPhone days.
What are you up to nowadays?
I'm a freelance journalist, but with two main jobs: contributing editor for the Guardian's technology desk writing about anything from games and digital music to virtual reality and children's tech.
And I'm also contributing editor to Music Ally, a music-industry publication that focuses on all things digital. I also run (when time allows) a children's apps website called Apps Playground, which I co-founded with my other half.
Do you have any fond/happy/mad/secret memories of your time on PG you'd like to share?
Work-wise, I remember the launch of the App Store, and it going live a day earlier than we expected in UK hours, leaving me to basically write up every launch game (that's still preserved here).
I remember [Steel Media MD] Chris being FURIOUS at one of the German trade shows because all of us PG journalists wanted to get back to our hotel for midnight every night and get some sleep, rather than painting Leipzig red. The fact that we were a 60-mile cab ride (I may be exaggerating but not by much) was an influence, but he was outraged at our lack of boozing spirit :)
There were some fun press-trip moments too, many of them Nokia-related. Almost getting blown off a Roman castle with the entire mobile games industry plus Dave Stewart Out Of The Eurythmics was one; getting shouted at on an N-Gage trip by an irate 'Russian border guard' at a fake border checkpoint set up by Finns to troll tourists was another.
What key moments or developments stick out for you from the last 10 years of the mobile games industry?
I think just seeing it go from something dominated by mobile operators and branded games to the free-to-play giant it is now is the most surreal: whenever I meet people I used to talk to in the Java mobile game days, we boggle at how things have changed.
Seeing people like Ilkka Paananen end up at the top of the industry has also been nice to watch: I remember meeting him when he was CEO of indie studio Sumea on his first ever press trip, when they made lovely games that sometimes struggled to get operators to back them. Now he's at the top of the pile with Supercell.
Which was your favourite mobile gaming platform(s) or hardware?
I think it has to be iOS / Android: the difference to what had gone before was so big, once the games started flowing.
Do you still play mobile games? What are you playing now and on what device?
Yes: still FMH 2012 on the Vita; and still New Star Soccer on my phone. But I'm still reviewing new games for the Guardian/Observer, so there tend to be eight or nine that I'm playing with on my phone at any one time.
Where do you see mobile games and the industry going in the next 10 years?
More new ideas (hopefully) – people continuing to play with the technology to break out of big established formats. More learning from the good and bad lessons of free-to-play models. Even more diversity in the kinds of people making games and the subjects they're making games about. I think there'll be a lot of rubbish virtual-reality games, but I'm hoping for some amazing ones too.