The Most Generic iOS Games That Don’t Exist (Yet!)

Some call it originality. I call it being the first loser.

The iOS gaming space is crowded. Metacritic lists 10,934. Doing a word frequency analysis on their titles, we can come up with the ultimate must-hit games. I’m expecting a 20% cut when these become reality, on top of whatever Apple’s charging.

War Game Man — It is only a game, isn’t it? Man?

These are the first three nouns on our list. In order. War (349), Game (332), and Man (308), have almost a thousand hits between them, when you exclude two-letter combinations and common hyphen-ation frag-ments. More importantly, they’re three things hardcore gamers crave: Wars, games and men. So I’m told. Felch out literally anything with a tank, a guy in a helmet, and this title, and sit back until you hear the backup beep of the money truck.

Ace Ball Age: Bat Hero — The fate of Baseballalandia teeters on the edge, in this exciting sports/RPG hybrid!

Next up–still in order, without skipping any words–is a guaranteed money spigot. Ace (246) Ball (212) Age (210) Bat (207) Hero (198). “Oh gee, we don’t have any assets for a baseball title or an RPG,” SAID NO ONE EVER! You’ll launch the project Tuesday and be on the app store by Friday. Buy some Sponsored Content (“This Baseball RPG Will Make You Blot Out the Sun With Jizz–Especially If You’re a Woman!”) and start looking like a hoarder’s house but with money stacks.

Tar/Ash Ant Art — Navigate your half-poisoned ants through a ruined canvas factory–then sell your canvases on the fickle, tasteless modern art speculation market!

Sure, Tar (198) Ash (197) Ant (193) Art (188) is probably 90% pieces of other words, but it’s also in order, and also (while a little dark) the sort of strange-sounding, boring-to-play game that smartphone gamers love to hype. Start the train early, with forum posts, concept art, and “first looks.” Maybe put out an unplayable alpha to presale backers (basically the game with a broken start button), an almost-playable beta (a working start button, no levels, and a “crash app after 80 seconds” timer), and finally–finally–the big release (the alpha, with a better splash screen). Go Free to Play after three months. Charge $10 to stop the app from filling your Notification Center with achievement trophies and dead ants.

Maybe not a sure hit now, but they’ll clamor for a VR remake in 12 years.

You want longer words? How about this:

King Venture Adventure — The game that we reskinned with baseball assets to make Ace Ball Age: Bat Hero.

Two for one! King (187) doesn’t even come up in that many other words, and while Venture (184) technically is included in every instance of Adventure (179), they’re still the next three nouns on our list–and still in order, with no gaps. Adventure ho, Your Majesty! Ho I say!

Don’t want to use any more three-letter words at all? Fine. We can still play:

Star Zombie — Star. Zombie. It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We just gave it a name.

You got chocolate in my edible body paint, peanut! Star (177) Zombie (170) finally brings together two things the market isn’t at all sick of: Zombies, zombies, zombies, and games with vague generic sci-fi backdrops. Oh no please. Keep some of your money. I have so much…

Battle World: Super Land — Only one can dominate something, somewhere. Presumably!

They said it couldn’t be done in an iPhone game, but we made a game about war! And we made it with the next few words, in order, with no gaps. In Battle (165) World (152) Super (149) Land (147) you decide how to wage peace across the ill-fitting board, in the only game to include square, hexagonal, pentagonal, and rhomboid tiles in the same otherwise largely undifferentiated levels.

Aw hell, just give me $1MM now and I’ll throw in the next 21 (in-order, four or more letter, without gaps, guaranteed hit titles) for 10% off the top:

Word Puzzle Monster — (146, 139, 133) More puzzles! More monsters! Less attention span! HEYYY-AAAH!

Space Quest: Drag Night — (128, 123, 116, 113) Not all space heroes wear capes, but when they do, they’re velour.

Dragon Cape — (108, 104) Not all dragons wear velour, but…

Edition Edit — (97, 97) It’s 1933. You’re William Allan Neilson and Thomas A. Knott. Can you finish the Webster’s New International Dictionary?

Dead Escape Time: Episode Legend — (95, 94, 90, 88, 88) Not only is this probably edgy in some way, but say “episode” and your DLC levels become full-priced sequels.

Last Rush Defense — (87, 87, 80) Tower defense has never been this towery, or defensive!

Fight Racing: Tiny Story (Mini) — (80, 78, 77, 74, 74) Kart man, do!

Dark Jump — (74, 74) You’ll fall. A lot. The paincore hit of the month of Maying.

Light Race Soccer — (68, 68, 68) All Soccer Players Matter.

Pocket Craft Fish — (67, 63, 62) Maybe crafting has nothing to do with fishing, but maybe shut the hell up.

Rock Rain Tale — (61, 61, 61) “Sit here by the fire, promising indigenous youth, and I’ll tell you the tale of the day the rocks rained down…”

Dash Knight Ventures — (61, 60, 58) Sadly, nostalgia-buying an even worse knockoff of Rocket Knight Adventures probably won’t be the worst life decision your customers will have made.

Little Plan: Lost Robot Adventures — (58, 58, 58, 58, 57) So cute it won’t matter that the game is 90% walking across different backdrops.

Kingdom Port — (56, 56) Build your… port! In the kingdom! Kingdom Port!

Fantasy Magic: Kill Less — (55, 55, 55, 54) Really, you’ve been going a bit mad with power lately. We’re all concerned about you.

Part — (54) Spread things and stick other things into places in this puzzling–and completely non-erotic–puzzle game.

Ever Fall — (54, 54) Messianic sci-fi, surreal action puzzler, or primetime WB drama? Yes!

Block Tower Island — (53, 53, 51) The sequel to Last Rush Defense! Virtually indistinguishable.

Bird Ride: Blast Legends — (51, 51, 51, 50) I’ll give you something to be angry about.

Road Shoot — (50, 50) Finally! Mayhem involving roads.

Sword Pixel Runner: Monsters Down! — (50, 50, 50, 49, 49) Save the things from the other things, in the ultimate pulse-pounding ironic hipster 8-bit whatever.

Make cheques payable to the management.

The New iPhone Doesn’t Have a Floppy Drive

Let me tell you a story. It begins with a confession.

I can’t wear earbuds. It feels like my ears are being sexually violated. I tried to make myself get used to them  when I moved to LA, because I had them, and my headphones broke, and I was broke, and moving to LA has a lot to do with putting up with the feeling of sexual violation. It didn’t take.

After that sad chapter in my life, I settled on a range of small over-the-ear phones that were a thing at the time from a few manufacturers–speakers that clipped over the ears, with an under the chin cord but no band between them, and a nifty little spring-loaded reel that retracted the cord into the right-hand earphone when not in use. I wore a pair until the cord worked loose from the headphone jack (as usual), then another manufacturer’s pair until the same happened.

By then the world had moved on. Over-the-ear separates were out. They couldn’t be found. Not even on closeout.

I ended up sinking $65 into a set of Japanese imports from an Amazon shop. They came in a surprisingly garish Japanese white, in a garishly Japanese box.

Within a week of arriving, the cord snagged on a door handle in the Harvard CoOp and snapped right off the headphone jack. Have you ever tried to disassemble a stereo mini jack in hopes of re-soldering five hair-thin wires (stereo R +-, L +- and ground, I assume)? I have.

After that, I determined never to go back to wires. I got a cheap pair of behind-the-head Bluetooth headphones and wore them until the left speaker died–a good three years. With some research, I chose to drop some cash on a decent pair, and now live in a pair of Marshall Major II Bluetooth headphones.

Are there tradeoffs to going wireless? Sure. I have to recharge my headphones–once a week with the Marshalls, every day or two with the cheap pair. SUVs and their particularly overpowered Bluetooth systems tend to make the audio drop out now and then. That’s… honestly it. Any but the lowest-end pairs even let you plug a mini jack in and use them as wired headphones when you want.

So yes, Apple dropped the mini jack from the new iPhone, to free up space for an optically-stabilized camera and a better antenna, and make the phone waterproof down to about a meter beneath the surface. (Not to bury the lede.)

I’m never sure how much is really behind a large surge of indignation on the internet. Being basically an attention sucking machine, the public mouths and faces of those we encounter here are not only constructed, but constructed as economically as possible. (Economically from the standpoint of the internet’s real currency: Attention. Again, not to bury the lede.) Everyone is Dilbert in his underwear holding a business-suited puppet of himself up to the webcam for a teleconference.

I’m old enough to remember when Genesis did and Nintendo didn’t, when Facebook was MySpace for college students right down to the dorm room whiteboard skeuomorph, when the MCP was just a chess program, and when Apple released the original iMac–without a floppy drive.

I remember the gnashing, the whining, even from people who should have known better. USB flash drives barely existed and cost way too much–small hard drives ruled their niche then. Everyone doing serious work still had a Zip Drive (or even a Jaz Drive). Yes, the floppy was old, but it was venerable! It still Just Worked. It was cheap. It was standard. It was backward-compatible. It was 1.2MB a disk and not even that formatted, and that was shit even back then.

The headphone jack is on its way out, and we–all of us–are going to be fine.