Home video gaming, in the broadest sense of the term, has gone through a varied, rapid and dramatic evolution over the past 40 years. The era began with the first home computers and pioneering 8-bit classics like Super Mario, Gauntlet and Pole Position. This was followed by the console era where SEGA was soon out-maneuvered by Sony and Microsoft. Over the past decade, of course, mobile has become bigger than all other gaming platforms put together, and has even led some to wonder if consoles will soon become obsolete.
Throughout all this, and regardless of the platform, the games we play have been provided by a mixture of giant multinational companies and small indie studios. In the early days, the USA, and Japan dominated, and some assume that this is still the case. On the one hand, the likes of Nintendo, Konami, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are among the biggest game developers in the industry and produce some of the most popular and famous titles.
On the other hand, the industry is much flatter than it was 20 years ago. Creating, testing, releasing and marketing a new game is a lot faster when it is a piece of software to be directly downloaded onto an Android or iOS device as opposed to being burned onto disc, placed into packaging that cost hundreds of hours and thousands of bucks to create and then stacked on shelves waiting for buyers. Smaller studios stand a better chance of having their games discovered and achieving success, and those studios can come from anywhere in the world.
Australia’s tech industry is bigger than you thought
Australia probably wouldn’t be the first place you’d think of as a hotbed of creation in the gaming world, but that would be a mistake. The Australian tech sector is growing rapidly, and is now the third highest contributor to GDP. Gaming represents a significant subset of that, and since the mobile age dawned, Australians have been responsible for some genuinely iconic games that will go down in history as classics of their era. Still not convinced? Let’s see a handful of examples.
Arguably the biggest mobile game to come out of Australia, this massively popular arcade-style endless runner has been downloaded more than 200 million times. The premise itself is simple enough, and follows the same basic principles as that eight bit classic, Frogger, so anyone can dive straight into the thick of the action. The part that hauls you in is the variety of challenges and the facility to take on family and friends to see who is the better hopper.
The game was the debut title to be released by Hipster Whale, just weeks after the company was formed in Melbourne in 2014. The company has gone on to make more retro-style games that put a new twist on 80s classics, including Pac Man 256 and Shooty Stars.
Queen of the Nile – a classic real money casino slot
Everyone knows how popular online video slots have become over recent years. But if you thought that all the casino game designers were based in igaming hotspots like Nevada and Malta, think again. Australians love their slots – or pokies as they are known down under, and Aristocrat Gaming is one of the most long-established companies in the business.
They were making slot games long before the internet came along, and Queen of the Nile is a classic that most casino goers have tried at least once. The Ancient Egypt theme never goes out of fashion, and the gameplay is uncomplicated, so anyone can try it. Today, it is as popular online as it is in physical casinos in Australia and across the world. You can click here to see some of the most popular real money sites where you can play this and other great Aristocrat slots like Game of Thrones and Timber Wolf.
Fruit Ninja is one of the most addictive mobile games ever
Here’s a game that involves swiping the screen with your finger to slice fruit. Granted, that doesn’t sound like an idea that would take the gaming world by storm, but go away and try it then come back – if you can put it down.
The simple idea is incredibly addictive and also strangely therapeutic. It was developed for the iPhone in 2010 – that’s right, no need to check your dates, this was one of the very first iPhone games, and was ported to Android within weeks.
Fruit Ninja was the first title from Brisbane-based Halfbrick studio to achieve mass appeal – and when we say mass appeal, we are not kidding. It has been downloaded more than a billion times and counting.
Jetpack Joyride proves Fruit Ninja was no fluke
Some indie game studios luck out with a simple idea that turns out to be a work of genius, but never achieve anything like the same success again – call them the Los del Rio of the gaming world. Halfbrick wasted no time proving they were not one hit wonders. With Fruit Ninja still flying out of the download stores, they followed it up less than a year later with Jetpack Joyride.
The game is as crazy as it sounds, and has almost as many downloads as Fruit Ninja. For keen gamers, this title actually has more going for it, with more variation and a fabulous choice of power ups and other customizations at your fingertips
Puzzle Retreat will make a puzzler of everyone
Never played Puzzle Retreat? If you love puzzle games, all we have to say is you can thank us later. If puzzle games are not usually your thing, there’s a fair chance this title from The Voxel Agents will make a convert of you.
The Melbourne-based studio took one of those old-fashioned wooden puzzles where you slide the pieces to make a pattern, placed in into cyberspace and created a game that is absolutely entrancing. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.