When I got the iPad (s aapl) I decided to be good, to make an effort to stay away from games in the App Store. Now I like to play games as much as anyone, but I wanted to concentrate on checking out productivity boosters for the new slate. I knew that if I started picking up games in the store my bank account was going to get very thin, very fast. I did really well for a while, but in a moment of weakness I picked up my first game. Playing on that big, vivid screen was addictive, and my resistance was all but over. I have been trying a few games on the big screen, and so far have five favorites that I spend a fair bit of time playing.
Scrabble. I’m a fan of the word game, and admit I really miss Scrabulous on Facebook. When I saw all the good reviews for Scrabble on the iPad, it was the very first game I picked up. My effort to avoid games was over right then and there. Scrabble is a great way to kill some free time, and the developers have made great use of the iPad screen. I only play against the computer as I am determined to hold off on online gaming for as long as possible. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. $9.99.
Pinball HD. I picked up Pinball not expecting too much, to tell the truth. I like pinball, but playing it on a 9.7-inch screen couldn’t possibly give a real experience, right? Wrong. Playing Pinball HD is as close to playing real pinball as you can get on a computer. The game has three different tables to play, each with its own theme and special effects. The camera angle automatically changes fluidly during game play, and the view zooms in and out as needed. The controls are ingenious — the two lower corners of the screen are invisible flipper buttons. That’s it. Tap and the flipper works as expected. This game is more fun than a game should be. $2.99.
Moonlight Mahjong. I have long been a sucker of playing Mahjong on PDAs. The simple matching game is perfect for a quick fun session, and is a natural for a touch device. Moonlight Mahjong has been optimized for the big iPad screen, and is a full 3-D game of delightful complexity. There are many layouts available for the tiles, and you drag the table around in 3-D to allow the proper viewing angle to match tiles. It’s simple and addictive. 99 cents.
SpaceStation: Frontier HD. This game puts you in defense of a space station from a seemingly endless horde of attacking space ships. You gather needed resources by mining asteroids, and have to watch your power level continously to keep base defenses operative. The game can be played in either portrait or landscape orientation which makes it convenient no matter where you might be. $4.99.
Iron Man 2 for iPad. You can’t be a gamer and a comic fan and not get this game. It’s not the best game, but it’s Iron Man. Getting Tony Stark through levels of bad guys is fun no matter what. Game play is engaging if a bit simplistic, and the control system is well done to take advantage of the touch screen. Is it worth 10 bucks? Hey, it’s Iron Man. $9.99.
This list of my favorite games is sure to change over time. Heck, it will likely be constantly changing now that I’ve weakened and allowed games on my iPad. I try to be strong but playing on the iPad is just so much fun.
Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):