Since both screen size and processing power of smartphones are limited when compared with computers and consoles (handhelds excepted!), it's been fascinating to see some of the inspired creativity coming out of development studios.
App games hearken back to a simpler time when, due to the limitations imposed by the technology, games had to be creative and compelling, yet maintain individuality, in order to get any traction.
This connection has not gone unnoticed by developers and publishers, who have returned some of our best-loved favourites to the smartphone screen.
Note: Android and BlackBerry versions, or their closest equivalents, have been provided where possible.
Good things, in the Bubble Bobble universe, come in twos: two irresistibly adorable little dragons popping bubbles and avoiding foes and, in the case of Bubble Bobble Double, a part of the original 1986 Bubble Bobble game as well as an entirely new Bubble Bobble just for the iPhone! It's a win-win!
Pac-Man, originally launched in 1980, was a lone yellow disc with a mouth in a sea of space shooters. The little chatterbox has since become a legend, and you can avoid or chase Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde on any number of different platforms... and boast to your friends about your achievements into the bargain.
Dig Dug hails from 1982, when little men dressed in fancy blue-and-white outfits digging around in the dirt and destroying monsters was all the vogue. Dig Dug REMIX brings back that original game, along with an all-new remix, so you can play in the style you dig best.
There's a bunch of poor little frogs who just want to go home... but they're stymied by a busy highway filled with murderous traffic, followed by a treacherous rushing river navigable only by speeding logs. This version contains both the 1981 original and its snazzier-looking sequel.
The original ball-bouncing, brick-breaking game; forget Arkanoid, Breakout is where it's at. Originally released all the way back in 1976, it was right at the forefront of videogame history. This version doesn’t come with any of the original 8-bit game, but it does recall those halcyon days with some added twists just for the iPhone's functionality.
Those little aliens are one of the most iconic images ever to come out of videogames, and have spawned a rash of homages, from clothing to art, to ice cube trays, to home furnishing. Now you can carry the 1978 game around in your pocket, faithfully ported to iOS, with a few tweaks and extra features just for fun. And if you're looking for something a bit snazzier, there's Space Invaders Infinity Gene.
Ah, see, now we're getting right to the heart of matters. Pong was not the first video game — quite a few had been developed in the decades prior to Pong's 1972 release — but it was certainly among the first to become mainstream. There are a number of Pong ports available for smartphones, both paid and free, for that on-the-go nostalgia hit.
Chef Peter Pepper has a unique way of making burgers; instead of grilling, toasting and slicing, he runs around a maze. As he runs across all the essential burger fixin's, they drop down to build the tasty, tasty burgers. But he'll be thwarted along the way by nasty Vinnie Vinegar and henchmen Mr Hotdog and Mr Egg. This is a remake, but a delicious one.
More an interactive animated film than a full-on video game, Don Bluth's Space Ace, along with Dragon's Lair (iPad only), nevertheless blew gamers away in 1983 and 84 for how drop-dead gorgeous they looked. It's shortly to be ported across to the PSN, but you can get ahead of the curve now with this iPhone version that looks even better than the original arcade game.
Everyone had their favourite space shooter, and for some it was Galaxian and its 1981 sequel, Galaga. Galaga is a bit different from Space Invaders in that eventually the foes will fly at you, necessitating some ducking and weaving and so forth. Oh, and the "aliens" are bugs. Galaga REMIX includes a direct port and a new version that looks prettier.
How could anyone forget the very first Final Fantasy, the one upon which an empire was based? The inspiration for countless role-playing games, and almost single-handedly responsible for the genre's popularisation, Final Fantasy wowed gamers around the globe with its battle system, graphics, story and gameplay. Also available: Final Fantasy II.
Ah, Tetris, you magnificent mainstay of block-puzzling, you. So simple in concept, so difficult to master, so endlessly addicting. This 1984 game has a bunch of new modes for the iPhone version, with controls optimised for the touch screen.
What is Q*Bert, anyway? The foul-mouthed (presumably) little hoppy guy is back with his block-colour-changing antics. Both the original game and a newer, modern mode with updated graphics are on offer.
The final space shooter in our round-up is Asteroids. This time, you're navigating through space but it's not, as advertised, as spacious as you might think. Asteroids and UFOs threaten the stability of your hulls, so it's shoot them before they squash you flat in this 1979 classic.
Some would argue that perhaps Street Fighter IV is a better game, but since it was new only last year it gets trumped in this round-up by a vamped-just-for-the-iPhone version of 1987's smash hit Double Dragon.
It's the youngest game in this round-up, not getting a release until 1993, but Secret of Mana has long been a fan favourite for its RPG gameplay, real-time combat, Ring Command menu system, deep story and memorable characters. This iPhone port has tweaked graphics and dialogue, but will still deliver the Secret of Mana experience that you remember and love.