Infinity Blade II Helped Me Accept iOS Gaming
It started as little more than bleak clouds on the horizon and the distant rumble of thunder. “One day,” people would say, “we’ll play all our games on devices we’ll carry with us, things that will be our phones and organizers.” I’d point up at the brilliant sunshine over our heads and laugh. “What, like the N-gage? Right. Keep worrying, I’ll keep playing Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow on this fine piece of dedicated gaming hardware here.”
Then it started to rain. Just a little at first, spatterings of Plants vs. Zombies and light showers of Bejeweled, but nothing worth worrying over. Hell, I didn’t even grab a coat. It was nothing I hadn’t seen before. If I was going to go outside, I always had my DS to keep me dry, and it had real games on it. I would weather this storm just like I had weathered every storm before it, by digging in my feet and laughing with brazen abandon, safe with my sprites and shoulder buttons.
Days turned to weeks and the sky slowly shifted from a benign grey to a fearsome ebony. Up in the atmosphere, nestled in the angry heavens, I could see flashes of lightning, arcing heralds of the coming storm. Ports of Final Fantasy Tactics and Puzzle Quest 2, promotional titles like Mass Effect: Infiltrator and Dead Space, featuring 3D worlds and twin stick controls. The peals of thunder shook me to my very core, my casual upwards glances growing ever more furtive as the days went on.
I was on the street when it finally hit, the sudden deluge one of biblical proportions. Ridiculous Fishing, Year Walk, and Super Hexagon all poured down on me from the sky. Trapped, watching as people floated by on their iPhones and iPads, safe and dry, I desperately tried to climb aboard the only thing I had on me, my flimsy Android phone, recklessly trying to balance myself on its fragile offerings.
Before I knew it, I went under. Chaos engulfed me, frigid blackness swirling about my thrashing form and threatening to pull me down, down, down. I fought it, drawing on everything I had. Game Dev Story, Angry Birds, even Temple Run. Nothing could bring me to the surface. I had been a stubborn fool and was suffering the fate of my kind. If only I had been an early adopter, if only I had found something to force my adoption of the mobile platform as a legitimate venue for gaming. My eyes slid closed and the soothing warmth of resignation crept over me.
Then a noise. A splash. Something hit the side of my head, a vicious thump that sent me reeling.
It was Infinity Blade II.
I whirled around and grabbed hold of it, letting myself getting dragged upwards. With each moment the sky grew brighter, my fingers desperately seeking purchase on the game’s smooth surface.
Then, like a newborn, I burst into the world gasping for air. All around me stood my friends, clapping and waving, happy to finally see me above the waves. Behind them stood a litany of strange faces, all the articles and reviews I had once ignored, once spitefully declared as “totally not games.”
They were all there, arms open, welcoming me into a new world. Dripping wet and shivering, I turned to my savior, glistening in the pure sunlight that only comes immediately after a storm. It was everything I needed. Unreal Engine graphics, touch controls that didn’t feel like they were shoe-horned in after the fact, and unobtrusive monetization. There were even free content packs. Three of them! Right there, sitting next to me, was the real game I had been looking for.
I wanted that moment to last forever, just me and Infinity Blade II, basking in the warmth of salvation. That single treasured instant drifted on for what felt like ages when Infinity Blade II finally broke the silence, drawing in close as if it share something so secret and so pure.