Videogaming isn't the reclusive stationary activity it used to be. With the introduction of powerful phones (and even more powerful wireless data networks), even the most basic cellphone can become a gaming powerhouse. Here's how to get the most game out of your phone.
Step 1: SearchMobile games are easy to find, but only if you know where to look. An ideal starting point is the phone's app store. These mobile storefronts are typically integrated into the phone and provide the tools to find and purchase games. Though they're not created equal (Android, Palm, Blackberry, and even wireless providers have their own stores), practically all of them feature a "Games" category and a quick-and-dirty search tool.
If the phone isn't high-falutin' enough to sport an app store, there are still options. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter offer their own take on mobile gaming. Also, Flash or Silverlight-capable handsets can navigate straight to sites like Kongregate and Gameloft, which specialize in providing games for various platforms. The best thing about these sites is that they have a little something for every type commitment level. Hardcore gamers with high-end phones can find mobile versions of popular console games, while casual gamers can find SMS-based trivia games or low-key mainstays akin to Bejeweled and Tetris.
TIP: Online game communities often also have social features. You can post your high scores and earn badges (or just bragging rights), chat with like-minded gamers and connect your account to Facebook or Twitter, where you can share your achievements.
TIP: Depending on the outlet, the game may be free, request a one-time fee, pay-per-play, or may even be ad-supported. It's best to shop around and find the best bang for your gaming buck.
Step 2: DownloadNow that you've found a title, it's time to get it onto the phone. If you've chosen a web-based Flash/Silverlight title then you're most likely ready to start playing. Since Flash/Silverlight games are made to run within the phone's browser, you shouldn't have to worry about downloading anything. Meanwhile, everyone else will likely have to dabble with a data transfer.
Faster networks winThanks to the rise of speedy data networks (1.4 Mbps downloads for 3G and now 3-6 Mbps for 4G), this process should be relatively quick and painless. However, mobile games are just like their desktop brethren; they eat up space, memory, processing power, and aren't guaranteed to work on all hardware. Check your phone's specs and make sure everything's compatible before diving in.
Step 3: Game on! And on, and on ...All that puzzle solving and alien zapping comes at a price. Since games simultaneously utilize the backlight, processor and speakers, they can drain a battery pretty quickly. Before kicking off a mobile Pong marathon, dial down some of the phone's other battery-killing features to extend your playtime.
Don't need to listen to the game's sound effects? Turn off the sound. Plan on playing indoors? Turn down the screen brightness. The goal is to get as much of your game fix without drastically shortening the phone's uptime.