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iPhone Snubbed in Many Best of 2009 Gaming Lists

Although the iPhone and iPod Touch are penetrating the handheld gaming market at astounding rate, Spike TV’s annual Video Game Awards show failed to include any of the iPhone’s offerings.  Even though Game of the Year went to the very worthy PS3 title Uncharted 2: Honor Among Thieves, it is surprising that there wasn’t a single nomination from the App Store in any category, not even among the handheld titles.  Surely games like Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor or Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid can compete with other handheld nominees like Scribblenauts or Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.

This lack of appreciation towards the iPhone isn’t exclusive to Spike.  In GameSpot’s latest “Best of” promo, they don’t even mention the iPhone as a gaming platform.  Yahoo’s list of nominees also fails to mention any iPhone offerings (although Sims 3 was nominated, it is listed as a PC game and there’s no mention of the iPhone variant).  Even the gold standard in gaming news, G4, forgot all about Apple’s little phone that could.

In the industry’s defense, there may be a formal submission process required by organizations like Spike TV before any game can be considered eligible for nomination.  If developers failed in filing this appropriate paperwork, then they have no one to blame but themselves.  However, if Spike and others choose their nominees more casually, it’s something of a surprise that the games industry is continuing to ignore the iPhone’s impact.

There is a bright spot, though.  Not all industry magazines have released their year-end lists yet.  Will one of these news organizations surprise us by including a title or two from the app store?  We’ll see.  If that’s not enough to bring us fanboys some sense of hope, Gamasutra has named the iPhone the hottest business gaming trend of 2009, commenting that this year the platform grew into more than the gaming wasteland many industry insiders predicted it would become.  Even though this isn’t exactly a gaming award, it is nice to see someone in the industry acknowledging the phone that “does everything.”  Sorry, Sony.

Apple–in its never-ending act of self-promotion–has released its own Best of 2009 which can be found on iTunes.  Also, the team here at No DPad will be releasing our own “Best of” list just after the new year.  Until then, happy holidays!



  1. Matt on Monday 14, 2009

    Bollocks, especially being that Scribblenauts is a festering pile of broken crap. Whomever nominated it as one of them year’s best ought to have their heads scrubbed with acidic soap and flaming porcupines. I would gladly give it a nomination for Most Over-Hyped and Ultimately Disappointing Game of the Year, though. Wretched.

    Rolando 2 should have rolled all over it. I think the iPhone is neglected solely upon the premise of being a phone, rather than a “gaming device”, though the lines blur so much these days. The Nintendo DS played games before the iPhone, but the iPhone took photos and had Facebook before the DSi. Now you can do either on both. With gaming consoles venturing deeper into smart phone territory, and smart phones beginning to release software that rivals the gaming devices, I think the iPhone isn’t getting the recognition it deserves.

  2. Nick on Monday 14, 2009

    I think we may still need another year before it starts to gain more recognition for game of the year nominations. Gaming outlets are used to the status quo, and adding another platform was probably not even considered. Any website that does include the iPhone is probably a website that is worth watching, since the writers are aware of the shift in the industry.

    You’re right Matt, Rolando 2 was the iPhone’s biggest contender to place against other platforms. That game was well-crafted, balanced, and does everything right.

    That gets me thinking now. Where’s Rolando 3? It was due out in November.

  3. Christopher on Monday 14, 2009

    I think the industry is waiting to see what Apple does with the iTouch as a gaming device. At the moment, Apple seems to treat it like all of their other iPod lines, issuing a new edition every six months or so. When Sony and Nintendo release a new handheld system, they do so with a three to five year outlook; these systems will be supported by new gaming software for a span if three to five years. If older generation iTouch users feel their gaming devices are only supported for six months or so, then the iTouch would be seen like the personal computer; in order to stay on top of the very best in iTouch gaming, you’ll need the latest version of the iTouch. The industry could see advances like this as a sign that Apple isn’t all that interested in the gaming world as a whole. The explosion of the app store is great, but as the market for this mighty machine saturates, resentment could grow against the device if– a year out– gamers can’t buy the best the app store has to offer without upgrading their devices. If Apple continues to make stronger commitments to their gamers, the industry will return in kind by giving the device a more favorable opinion. Make sense?

  4. Jonathan on Monday 14, 2009

    Good article but you miss one very important point: no matter what you may think, the iPhone and iPod Touch are NOT gaming consoles. They were NOT designed exclusively for games. That’s apparent from their respective names. simply being able to play games on an iDevice doesn’t make it anywhere close to a viable gaming platform.

    Also, consider this: given the amount of games released on the XBox, PS3, Wii, PSP, and DS, can you realistically expect games on the app store to be included as well? As abysmal as IGN’s iphone best of is, that’s where any iphone games belong.

  5. Nick on Monday 14, 2009

    I don’t think that first argument holds Jonathan. The PS3 was not designed exclusively for games, and the 360 wasn’t designed exclusively for games. The PS3 even boasts about being able to “do everything”. It’s a Blu-Ray player, media player, web browser, etc. I don’t think having a dedicated purpose makes or breaks whether an item is a gaming platform.

    I think the app store is a viable gaming platform, and an even better one than PS3 or 360 in the “platform” sense. Any game you want to play on your iPhone can be downloaded from the app store, for a relatively low price, at any time you want. There’s no hassle of going to stores looking for the copy you want. Where else can you do that?