Despite thousands of beloved and critically-acclaimed games essentially disappearing overnight as a result of what we dubbed the ’32-Bit Appocalypse’, it was a bit surprising how underwhelming the reaction was to the whole situation. Of course, the TouchArcade community fought ’til the end, but there seemed to be an atmosphere of apathy and resignation amongst many gamers and the wider industry press – it became increasingly clear that Apple weren’t going to do anything to help alleviate this issue. However, the reception to new development studio GameClub announcing their plans to resurrect a number of forgotten iOS classics has been overwhelming, and reinforces the need for preservation on a gaming platform that means a lot to so many. In the latest issue of UK-based games industry magazine Edge, GameClub provided interesting new details on the process behind their revival efforts, and revealed a number of cult favorites that are set to join the developer’s impressive library of titles soon.
The big announcement within GameClub’s Edge feature is undoubedtly the return of Incoboto, perhaps one of the most creative iOS exclusives from a time when so many indie developers were taking advantage of the freedom that the platform gave them. Intuitive touch controls and some really interesting physics puzzles ensured the game received an extremely positive TouchArcade review back in 2012, and resulted in Incoboto being one of the most requested titles to make a return during GameClub’s initial announcement. Space Miner: Space Ore Bust is another huge win for the developer, as the game was an incredibly worthy recipient of the TouchArcade Game of the Year award in 2010. Through combining compelling RPG aspects with incredibly tight shooting action, Space Miner was one iOS title that came out of absolutely nowhere to completely floor me at the time, and so it’s fitting that it is set to return to the App Store in a similar fashion.
Other games announced include cute cat-kicking simulator (yes, really) Hackycat, early App Store relic Chopper 2, and hectic castle brawler Legendary Wars – all which I’m sure will have people reminiscing of the good old days of pre-IAP mobile gaming. However, Gasketball is perhaps my most highly anticipated GameClub project yet. Made by the same people that were responsible for Solipskier and Threes ($5.99), Gasketball was an incredibly creative arcade game that required clever construction tactics to land a basketball within a hoop. With awesome level creation features and great asynchronous multiplayer (both of which I hope are still accessible within GameClub’s resurrected version of the title), Gasketball was a perfect demonstration of the strengths of the platform and, similar to the previously announced Zombie Match Defense, one that didn’t get the recognition it deserved as a result of the changing nature of the App Store.
Beyond these game announcements, the Edge feature also gave an interesting look on how GameClub actually brings these titles back to life. According to Kepa Auwae of Rocketcat Games, Hook Champ was believed to be beyond saving, as so much had changed from the 2009 iDevices it was originally created for. However, after handing over the source code to GameClub, the team had it ’90 per cent functional within a day-and-a-half’. This certainly gives us hope that even the most decrepit games could make a comeback, and these chances are only going to grow as the developer becomes more adept at declining with the problems of these broken games. Beyond all this, it’s really cool to see iOS gaming, as well as the role TouchArcade has played in championing the platform, in such a prominent and influential magazine as Edge. As a long-time subscriber, it’s been great to see the spotlight that the publication has repeatedly put onto mobile games on a long-term basis, and I’d definitely recommend giving the full article a read if you can. With Apple putting a greater focus on gaming with their Apple Arcade scheme, and the likes of GameClub ensuring the early days of the App Store are not forgotten, it’s certainly a good time to be into mobile gaming.