Evening Reading: Game Padding

So the iPad is real and as expected games got part of the spotlight during its mediarific unveiling. (iPad News and Discussion thread) Not much surprise given the success -- both real and perceived -- of game apps for the iPhone/Touch. But, much like the device itself, what looked like a slam dunk before the show has become the subject of some uncertainty now that the details are out.

Before the show-and-tell even ended I was questioning all the hype given games in the run-up to the announcement. Back when we did the John's iPhone game of the week segment on the podcast it would seriously divide the audience because the cool games on the platform often fell outside the conventional expectations. It was what made them intriguing and one of the main reasons I was wanted a Touch just for games. At the iPad announcement, only two games, a shooter and racing game, were shown. It doesn't get much more traditional in video games than that.

That's not to say the other games won't be part of it all. The iPad runs all the existing apps so that's not an issue. The decision to show these off, though, points to the trap posed by the larger screen. It's going to be easy to get caught up in making games to "take advantage" of it. But traditional games and high fidelity multimedia gaming haven't been the strength of handheld gaming, just ask the PSP.

For that matter, the iPad isn't exactly a handheld as we usually think of it in the game world anyway. I mean, it's not like you're going to jam it in your pocket. I'm looking forward to playing around with one but for the moment I don't think I need or want the cool iPhone/Touch games blown up. I don't see myself sitting around the house where I have real HD consoles set up wanting to play more ordinary games either. And I wonder whether developers can justify dedicated iPad versions of games when the installed base is so strong already for the smaller size. We've seen divided platforms before; it's not pretty.

We did have some other eye-catching stories on Shack today:

In case you haven't already seen it, MadTV predicted iPad a while ago

If you like that Bayonetta ad, here's the addictive music from it

Oh, and we're giving away 10 copies of some game called Mass Effect 2 -- 5 PC and 5 Xbox 360. You know the drill, in the comments.

UPDATE: To be specific, this is the Mass Effect 2 contest thread. The rest will be nuked and who wants to make the mods have to spend all night nuking?