In one of my recent posts I discussed the evolution of gaming, and how the fans compose and edit their own game play videos and post them on sites like YouTube. Now I want to discuss another evolved section of this ever growing industry. A long time ago consoles were sold with very basic accessories; these usually just included a controller, power cable and an AV lead. In our new age of gaming, extra’s are built in, such a Blu-Ray playing abilities, internet browsing, online multiplayer and co-op, external hard drives,  controllers in the shape of steering wheels and guns. We have our own personal profiles, we can share our experiences through videos, trophies and achievements, and we can create groups for particular games and compete in world championships. We have wireless controllers, HD and 3D visuals, and the all the while all of this is evolving towards what we hope, is the next advanced stage of gaming life style.

Now I can’t stress enough how important the games industry is. Millions of jobs, small and massive businesses, and good chunk of the world economy is all contributed to that little joy pad you’re holding in your hands, as you bash and mash away, screaming at the television because you just got killed. The Playstation 4, and the next Xbox will push towards something great, although they could have had the best specs in both machines, Microsoft and Sony have only added high end, not top of the line tech to the new consoles. Apparently this is due to keeping the costs down for the consumer, this I can understand, as for example, Alien Ware who are apart of Dell make gaming computers. Their most high end, top spec desktops can costs up to nearly £5000, enough to buy you a brand new car in some circumstances. But dare I say we don’t need the best graphics, hard disk and memory for an experience like no other, let me explain why.

I’m going to use the Mass Effect Trilogy as an example to help you understand what I’m talking about. I have it on good authority that new games for the next gen consoles will have longer game play and better scripts and stories. This I am glad for as ME 1, 2, and 3 were among the most in depth games I have ever played. Everything about the trilogy was immense, the universe, all the planets, the different races, the main fully customizable character and the main story line. Every character had their own arc and perspective, and you constantly have the option to help or hinder all of those on your team and the world around you. These games featured an array of colourful environments, deep game play, and every action has a consequence. The fact that you can import your character from game to game, and those choices and events will follow you through right to the end is indeed unique to say the least. There are very few games that don’t discriminate against race or sexuality either, for in the Mass Effect universe you can initiate hetro or homo sexual relationships as the female or male version of the main character.

The trilogy has multiple DLC’s; some free some for a price, which enhance game play. But what strikes me is the use of two IOS apps to assist your hero during the actual game.In the third and final instalment of Mass Effect, Earth comes under attack from the enigmatic and illusive Reapers. Your character Commander Sheppard must rally all the other advanced races to come to humanities aid. To win the game, or achieve one of the better endings (YES there are multiple endings based on your decisions) you must gather war assets and build your readiness rating. Now as for gathering ships and military units that’s the easy part. Your readiness rating decides how effective your war assets will be in the final battle. This is raised by partaking in the multiplayer mode, or by using one of the IOS apps.

The IOS apps link directly to your Origin account, which should be linked to your game and both have you completing various tasks to help raise that all important Effective military strength. The first of the two is the Data Pad which uses a Facebook Esq. Style of gaming by deploying fleets to various zones of the galaxy to complete tasks which earn you Credits and a small percentage towards your EMS. The app also includes lots of information on various planets and races, characters and weapons, and as you progress through the game various NPC’s will send you private messages. The credits you earn go towards upgrading your fleets and purchasing more units to deploy, a nice touch I believe. The other app is titled Infiltrator, and is much more exciting as it is more like the actual game in terms of action. Infiltrator has you swiping and tapping your smart phone as a way of attacking and defending, it has great graphics and was developed by the same people who built Dead Space for IOS.

The point I’m getting to, despite being a complete Mass Effect fan boy, is that other companies should take note from Bio ware, the makers of the ME universe. Gaming doesn’t just have to be confined to your console or computer, with the new ages of tablets and smart phones we use apps like this to keep us in the game whilst were away at work or travelling around.  Once again we prove that gaming is on the up and up, and with smart devices there to enhance our experience who knows what will be next….