All right, this is it: No more iPhone app review shows. You hear that, guys? It’s done. For as much a boom industry as it might be, devoting many many series to covering emerging new programs and technologies for the mobile device is just, frankly, unnecessary.
My final review is of the most recent show to hit the streets, iPWN, produced by Portal A Ltd. and hosted by video game and entertainment site IGN. Launched yesterday, the series features a variety of techniques for covering the world of mobile gaming — from lightning-fast reviews to opinion pieces to profiles of game creators. This varied approach distinguishes iPWN from other iPhone-reviewing series like iPhun and AppJudgment, but possibly the biggest difference can be found in iPWN’s relative lack of human touch. While other series derive a fair amount of credibility from their hosts, iPWN takes a different approach.
Sure, animated avatars standing in for human commentators aren’t terribly new — GOOD News being only one example that comes to mind — but the floating man-sized iPhone known as “TJ” brings a slightly fouler mouth to the proceedings than you’d expect. Most of the profanity he spews over the course of these reviews is bleeped out, leading one to wonder why IGN bothers to put age restrictions on the clips. Perhaps it’s due to some of the more sexually-oriented jokes that trickle into the writing, and to be sure, bleeping only does so much.
However, that edgy quality is a good fit for the young male audience of IGN, and while the Mass Debate segment (say that out loud and fast and you’ll get the joke) lacks focus, I thought the super-brief reviews of games from every category of the iPhone store were potentially quite helpful for anyone looking for a good puzzle or kids game. Production values are also solid, with the tight pace of episodes lending itself well to online distribution.
Really, the only major fault of iPWN is that while it’d be great content for a more tech-oriented web site, it doesn’t seem like a perfect fit for IGN, where previous video successes have been much more in the fake trailer for a Legend of Zelda film model. Profanity, alas, does not equal entertainment.
On balance iPWN does enough interesting stuff to keep around — but seriously web series creators, I mean it. That’s it. No more.