Little Screen:Big Screen

card_200.jpgIf you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, you may be a bit con­cerned about adding an iPad to your hard­ware arsen­al. I know I was. Espe­cially since I was dread­ing pur­chas­ing new HD ver­sions of some of the games I’d already had run­ning on my Touch. But I made the leap and have a few obser­va­tions to share.

Sure, Apple prom­ised you’d be able to ‘upsize’ the visu­als — and yes, this is pos­sible. And actu­ally, the upscaled image in most of my games isn’t really all that bad.

Basic­ally you hit a 2x but­ton in the corner of your iPad and the unit zooms in to fill the screen with what was oth­er­wise a very tiny (iPhone sized) dis­play area in the centre of your iPad screen.

Since the iPad was released, some developers went back and made hybrid ver­sions of the games, able to run on both the smal­ler Touch screen, and also able to recog­nize the lar­ger iPad screen and select high­er-res­ol­u­tion graph­ics when appro­pri­ate.

Now, what’s really cool is that some of those iPhone games actu­ally play bet­ter on a lar­ger iPad screen.

Car­cas­sonne — an awe­some board game and a pretty cool app. Play­ing this on the iPad is much closer to play­ing the board game than on a tiny iPod Touch screen. Hav­ing spent many hours play­ing it on the Touch, and a few more recently on the iPad, I won’t be going back to the smal­ler screen.

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Angry Birds & Plants VS Zom­bies — also great games when played on a lar­ger screen. With Angry Birds I find I have much bet­ter con­trol over the sling­shot dir­ec­tion and angle than I did with the smal­ler screen. In PvZ, the advant­age is that the subtlties of the anim­a­tion and ren­der­ing are much more appar­ent. On the smal­ler screen, I’d not seen the Elvis Zombie’s clas­sic moves.

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Of course, not all games scale appro­pri­ately. I found that driv­ing or flying/space games that required you to hold and man­euver with the device the most prob­lem­at­ic. The key prob­lem being the weight of the iPad vs the iPhone or iPod Touch. Crank­ing through a bank­ing space shoot­er with a 1.whatever pound steer­ing wheel quickly gets tir­ing. And place­ment of the con­trols, while great for a smal­ler screen, require very large hands to seem nat­ur­al on the iPad.

So, your mileage may vary, depend­ing on the app and how the developers have (or haven’t) anti­cip­ated it appear­ing on dif­fer­ent sized devices. Just be aware, that the games you’ve already bought may just work fine, or even bet­ter, on the lar­ger screen.

Or, you could always just pick up the enhanced HD ver­sion for the lar­ger device, if the upsampling really bugs you.


This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.

Published by Brad Grier

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