I enjoyed a lovely week off last week without a phone or a computer. But I did have my iPad, and shared it with the kids. As I watched them, I realized that the 9.7-inch screen, which can detect 11 finger touches at the same time, is great for multiple players using the same iPad to play a game. Call it three-handed gaming. One of the games we played together was PopCap Games‘ iPad version of Plants vs. Zombies, which has been huge hit.
The iPad allows for a much more social environment — sort of like playing the Nintendo Wii — because you can divide the tasks up among multiple players sharing the same screen. In Plants vs. Zombies, one player can tap the screen to pick up the little falling suns — which give you energy — while the other concentrates on fighting the zombies.
I caught up with John Vechey, co-founder of PopCap, to talk about this phenomenon. Vechey and I played a round of survival mode in the game, which is a fast and frenzied experience where you can actually play much better with two players instead of one. This is one of the features that makes iPad gaming unique from other experiences such as the Nintendo DSi or the Sony PlayStation Portable. I think it’s a winning feature that explains why the iPad can lead to fundamentally different social gaming experiences. There are already lots of games that are playable with two players on the iPad, and we’ll be talking more about those later.
Companies: Popcap Games