PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Games

Ramblings About Rambling Across the Country with iPad Games

The bottom line is that the next time I'm bringing the DS along too.

I've been traveling the past week and will be traveling much more in the next couple months. While I love going new places, I do dislike being separated from my dearly beloved game consoles. For years now, my Nintendo DS has been my trusty travel companion and more than a few transcontinental and even trans-oceanic flights have been whiled away with the help of Tetris, Civilization: Revolutions, and Advanced Wars among others. This last trip though, I decided to leave the DS at home because now I've got a shiny new iPad, and it's chock full of games.

I love my iPad, I really do. It's replaced my Kindle and my netbook in much of my daily life (and they used to play a BIG part in my daily life), and it has mostly replaced my DS as well, at least around the house. I'm a tower defense fiend in all it's different incarnations, and I enjoy the little Angry Birds-style casual games as well. This is me at home: TV on, iPad in hand, playing some damned game or another. On the plane, replace the TV with an MP3 player full of podcasts. Either way, I hardly ever hear the soundtrack for the game that I'm playing. For some games, I'm not even sure what that soundtrack sounds like. At home, I do this because most TV seems to work just fine as radio and isn't often worth 100% of my attention. On the plane, I do it because I need Maximum Distraction from how uncomfortable I am crammed into that seat.

So, how did the iPad fair as my sole source of gaming-related distraction? Mixed. The bottom line is that the next time I'm bringing the DS along too, if only because Dragon Quest IX just came out. More significantly, the iPad isn't quite as comfortable to play. It's big, bright screen is nice for surfing the web or watching videos or reading books (I did all those things with it on this trip), but the device gets heavy in the hand and awkward to hold for prolonged bouts of escapism. The best solution is to rest it on your tray table and that ended up working fine for the simple tasks required of me by touch-based games like Angry Birds or Tower Madness, but for any kind of action or twitch-based play, holding the slab o' circuits and glass for long periods doesn't do the wrists any favors.

But here's the real tragedy for me: Civilization: Revolutions on the iPad is kind of terrible. Okay, terrible is way too strong a word, especially since the game is identical to the DS version in every respect except the graphics and the controls. The graphics are better of course but that usually just means that everything takes longer to happen. However, the touch-only controls are a nightmare, and I haven't played a game yet where I didn't move something somewhere I didn't want to. The fact is, touch can't replace a good d-pad and some real buttons, and that's why I don't think the iPad or the iPod or the iPhone are going to be portable console killers anytime soon, at least not for me.

And, of course, there's one final problem with the iPad and plane travel. Since I do 90% of my reading on the device these days, it sucks to have to turn the thing off during take off and landing. I bought magazines a couple times, but I really only found myself reading them during those two 10-minute intervals, which is -- even I must admit -- ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as the rule that says that I have to turn the device off in the first place though. Maybe someday the TSA or FAA or whoever will come to their senses about that as well. So, is it worth it for me to travel with a phone, an iPod, an iPad, and a DS? And a laptop and a digital camera? I guess it must be because that's what I'm going to keep doing. I leave again tomorrow, Dragon Quest IX cartridge loaded and ready.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.