As part of our 10th anniversary celebration we’ve asked ten former key members of the PG team to share their memories and thoughts. Let’s dive in…
Who are you?
Damien McFerran. [Clue: he’s the one that isn’t Miyamoto in the pic.]
When did you work in the Pocket Gamer empire, and what did you do?
I started reviewing mostly horrendous mobile phone games in the years before smartphones were a thing, before moving onto covering DS and retro features. When smartphones DID become a thing, I covered various Android and iOS releases.
What are you up to nowadays?
I’m still freelancing a lot, but my main job is being the editorial director of Nintendo Life, the world’s biggest independent Nintendo-centric news, reviews and features site.
Do you have any fond/happy/mad/secret memories of your time on PG you’d like to share?
I recall one year an internal vote decreed that my series of “hardware classics” retro features was one of the best on Pocket Gamer, and I even won a small prize. Just like anyone else I like winning prizes of any size, but it was really nice to get the approval of your peers, especially for a series of features that I’d really enjoyed putting together.
What key moments or developments stick out for you from the last 10 years of the mobile games industry?
Smartphones have truly changed everything – I remember when I started out on Pocket Gamer the divide between JAVA games and “proper” handhelds like the PSP and DS was massive.
As soon as iOS and Android took off however, the balance of power shifted. I think that’s a really significant moment as it opened up the whole indie gaming thing again, with small-scale developers able to create profitable titles, just like the Spectrum and C64 days.
Which was your favourite mobile gaming platform(s) or hardware?
The original Game Boy. I have such a nostalgic connection with that system – the size, the limitations of the screen, and primitive music… but most of all, the games were perfect. With such crude technology, the gameplay had to be bang on the money.
Do you still play mobile games? What are you playing now and on what device?
I still play games on my Android phone a lot. At the moment I’m playing Crack Attack, a puzzle title by Crash Lab – a studio formed by ex-Rare staffers. Smartphone games are perfect for filling time, as the device is always in your pocket – unlike dedicated consoles like the 3DS and Vita.
Anything else you’d like to add?
It’s been an absolute honour to have helped get Pocket Gamer to 10 years. The site was one of the first that I freelanced for on a regular basis, and I’ve met and befriended some true industry legends along the way – some of which considered (and still consider) to be my heroes. It’s been emotional, and here’s to another 10 years!
What’s all this, then?
The Pocket Gamer 10th anniversary is a month-long celebration of the last decade of mobile games running March 10th – April 10th and featuring a stream of retrospective articles and fun stuff, supported by our friends at Gram Games, Gamevil, JoyCity, Rovio, and Nordeus. Head over to the PG 10th anniversary homepage for more information.