When gaming is your hobby, it will naturally be your default choice for occupying life’s little patches of boredom. The advent of casual games has provided us all with a wealth of diversions for everyday lulls, whether it’s Bejeweled Blitz with your morning coffee, Desktop Tower Defense while the bank has you on hold, or maybe a few rounds of Angry Birds during that incredibly engaging PowerPoint presentation.
The commute is an oft-overlooked opportunity to sneak in some extra gaming time:
- It is repetitive. Often it involves little to no scenery, and even if it carries you through a lush, breathtaking landscape, you’re going to stop being impressed after the 20th time, craving some new distraction.
- It is predictable. Travel distances and transport schedules may fluctuate on occasion, but on most days, you will have a solid idea of how much time you can spare.
- It requires a bare minimum of your personal attention. If you are not the one at the wheel, all you’ve got to do is be sure not to miss your stop. (If you are the one at the wheel, please restrict your gaming to verbal challenges with fellow passengers or one-sided conversations with talk radio. We care about your safety.)
It would seem, then, that the commute is the perfect time to play your game of choice – but this is not always true. Not every game is commute-friendly, and not every commute is suitable for certain games. Luckily, TriplePoint is here to guide you through the tangled world of commuter gaming, and see you safely to your destination.
Commuting by Train/Subway
Traveling by rail is generally an ideal environment for most games. It generally provides a smooth ride, and one usually resorts to trains when there is a great deal of distance to cover, meaning you’ve usually got time to spare. However, it is generally best to avoid any game that involves any online components, as most commuter trains tend to go underground at some point. It’s annoying not to be able to make the next move in Words with Friends because nobody has built a cell tower underneath the city.
Solid choices: Angry Birds (iPhone), Super Monkey Ball (iPhone), Rolando 2 (iPhone), Pokémon Series (DS)
While bus riders are seldom separated from their precious above-ground internet signals, most city buses tend to be poorly maintained vehicles, piloted over poorly maintained roads by drivers with poorly maintained safety techniques. Bumps, jolts, shakes, and sharp turns are the norm, making titles with touch-screen precision an ill-advised choice, and motion-controlled games impossible. Stick to D-pads and buttons, or one-touch controls, and hold on tight.
Solid Choices: Phoenix Wright Series (DS), Canabalt (iPhone), Advance Wars Series (DS)
Commuting on Foot
Not everyone can walk and game at the same time – the earlier caveat about having to mind your surroundings certainly applies here, lest you brag about your new Flight Control high score from underneath a car. However, for the true multi-tasker, games are readily available that can be played between glances, one city block at a time. It is probably best to avoid anything with prolonged and involved action.
Solid Choices: Pocket God (iPhone), Words with Friends (iPhone), iMamono Sweeper (iPhone), Picross 3D (DS)
Commuting as its Own Game
In a world increasingly aware of gamification, why not turn your daily schlep into its own form of entertainment? When you’re playing on a device with its own GPS, a new realm of possibilities awaits you, with titles that will let you hunt for treasure or explore alternate realities within the real world, all based around your physical location. Let your carpool or public transport do the heavy lifting, while you rack up the achievements for the journey.
Solid Choices: Traveler’s Quest (iPhone), Parallel Kingdoms (iPhone), Dokobots (iPhone), TurfWars (iPhone)