Slide To Play is a premiere web source for iPhone game reviews, previews, news, and analysis. Our editorial staff has spent years immersed in the mobile games business as critics, analysts and developers. We are also Mac enthusiasts who have followed Apple Computer’s exploits since Steve Jobs’ original stint as CEO. We know mobile gaming, we know the Mac development community, and we know the iPhone.
Our main goals are to help consumers choose which games to buy, to get them hyped about upcoming titles, and to provide a venue to discuss all things related to iPhone gaming, from technical details to hints and tricks. There’s plenty of wisdom in the App Store’s crowds of user reviews and ratings, but it’s largely anonymous and presented in a somewhat scattershot fashion. We hope to supply focused information and expert opinion to supplement it.
We also want to help developers and publishers research the marketplace and refine their games. The traditional function of games journalism is to keep consumers from buying bad games–and we will certainly strive to follow that directive–but we also recognize that the App Store’s update mechanism allows developers to improve their products, if they are so inclined. We would like to become a useful source of feedback for this purpose.
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OATS – Organization of App Testing Standards
Slide To Play is a founding member of the Organization of App Testing Standards (we wrote the Oath and came up with the name of the group), and we take its mission very seriously. Visit www.gotoats.org for more details on how the Oath dictates our editorial policies.
Slide To Play grades games on a four-point scale. The scores and their associated meanings are as follows:
1: Avoid. This score is reserved for games that are broken from a technical standpoint or are otherwise unplayable due to poor design. Such games have no redeeming qualities and provide no enjoyment whatsoever. A game that gets this score should not be downloaded by anyone, even if they’re a fan of the theme or the genre. It’s a waste of your time and money.
2: Caution. These games are playable and occasionally even fun, but they come with major caveats that may make for a bad experience overall. Control problems, uneven gameplay, inferior production quality or an unreasonably high price can all land a game in “caution” territory. Games in this category should not be avoided in all cases. Some players will find value in them. However, we strongly recommend reading our full review (and playing the demo, if available) before purchasing, so you’ll know what you’re getting into.
3: Good. In order to earn a “good” rating, a game must fit three criteria. First, its gameplay must be entertaining, if not necessarily original. Second, it must have solid production values, meaning that its graphics and sound are up to industry standards, its controls are serviceable, and its level designs have had some thought put into them. Third, it has to be sold at a fair price, based on the price points of competing games in the App Store. This rating is our seal of approval. Although a “good” game isn’t perfect, we’re confident that you’re going to have a good experience with it, and there will be no nasty surprises waiting for you post-purchase.
4. Must Have. This category is self-explanatory. When we give a game this score, we’re saying that everyone who plays games on their iPhone or iTouch should buy it. To enter this elite club, a game must be truly extraordinary in one or several respects; for instance, it must have a mind-meltingly gorgeous presentation, or an amazing story, or make innovative use of the iPhone’s unique capabilities, or be built around a brilliant new gameplay mechanic. These games represent the very best the App Store has to offer, in our opinion.
Why are we grading games on an unusual four-point scale, rather than using the more common five-star or one-to-ten rating systems? We feel very strongly that the entire video games business–journalists, developers, publishers, and consumers–have fallen into the self-created trap of score-mongering. Numerical scores are a necessary part of the reviewing process, but over time, their importance has been overinflated at the expense of the actual content of the review. Basically, we think that the four-point scale conveys exactly enough information about a game to get you, our reader, to read and digest the whole review. This is especially true for the many games that will fall in the 2-3 range. Separating a high 2 from a low 3 is a very difficult responsibility, and we are taking it seriously. We won’t take the easy route of offering mediocre games three stars out of five; we will give them a 2, along with a detailed explanation. This site’s real value is in that text, not the number.
Besides, here on Slide To Play, those numbers can, and will, change. As alluded to above, we believe that the iPhone’s ability to seamlessly update applications should be factored into the review process, so we will use “Review Updates” to keep our information as current as possible. Substantive improvements to a game, as well as any price changes, will be noted in these updates. We will also revise a game’s score upward, if warranted.
We will concentrate our reviewing resources on paid games, for obvious reasons. However, we intend to cover free games in other ways–through blog posts and features, for instance.
If you notice a specific factual error in one of our reviews, please click on the author’s name and notify him or her. We will research the claim immediately and update the review as appropriate.
Andrew Podolsky, CEO
Andrew Podolsky was the Editor in Chief of Slide To Play for four years before becoming CEO. Before joining the team at Slide To Play in 2009, he wrote about videogames for the websites 1up.com, Game Revolution, and Ripten. Andrew graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in English in 2005. He is a mobile gaming industry expert with an extensive background in journalism and consumer reviews.
Steve Palley, Founder and General Manager
Before founding Slide To Play, Steve spent two years as Chief Editor of Wireless Gaming Review and GameSpot Mobile. During that time, he reviewed and previewed hundreds of mobile games from around the world, moderated many important panels at industry events, and administered The Mobies, the first international awards show for mobile games. After leaving GameSpot, he founded an independent consultancy, Foci Mobile, to work with mobile games publishers on design, marketing and localization issues. More recently, he served as Vivendi Games Mobile’s Editorial Guru, where he developed new concepts, conducted competitive research, produced several games, and wrote episodes for the award-winning Surviving Hollywood and Surviving High School franchises. Steve holds a BA in History from Dartmouth College, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago. His first computer was a Mac LCIII, and his all-time favorite computer game is Myth, followed closely by Marathon Infinity.
Chris Reed, Editor in Chief
Chris Reed has written for Slide To Play since 2009. His preferred video game genres are Western RPGs and platformers, and his favorite games include Skyrim and Super Mario World. Follow Chris on Twitter: @_chrislreed.
Nadia Oxford, Editor
Nadia began playing video games when she was four years old and far too young to understand the emotional conflict that kept Mario and Donkey Kong out of each others’ arms. She still doesn’t have all the answers, but she does understand why the Princess must be found in another castle. Nadia survives through freelance writing, somehow. Her work can be found at Nerve, 1UP, Edge, GamePro, Mania, About.com, What They Play, and The Daily Tube. She lives in Toronto.
Jeremy Wood, Co-Founder and Senior Producer
An experienced developer and systems administrator, Jeremy has a hands-on appreciation for good hardware and software– and what it takes to make and use both. At Slide To Play, he brings this perspective to bear on developments in the iPhone gaming world and at Apple, Inc. A long-time Mac specialist, Jeremy has a good sense of Apple’s history and corporate culture. He has a BA in History from Whitman College, with a minor in Economics. His first computer was a Mac Classic II, and his favorite game is Marathon Infinity, at which he routinely beat Steve in network games.
Adam Buchen, Co-Founder and CTO
After graduating from UCLA, Adam got his start as a lowly intern at GameSpot, where he learned the ins and outs of Web development. Years later, he became the site’s Lead Engineer, before moving onto Yahoo, where the experience he gained was surpassed only by his desire to work on a gaming site once more. That’s why he jumped on the opportunity to help found Slide To Play. He did much of the site’s initial architecture and engineering and continues to act as its principle engineer. When he’s not tinkering with code, Adam enjoys photography, political activism, and, yes, even gaming from time to time!
Conor Egan, Co-Founder and Senior Engineer
After pursuing a litany of interesting but financially useless fields of study, Conor wound up choosing a career in web development. He is a fan of almost every type of game be it a video game, table top game or game of death. Conor was a developer and occasional editorial contributor at GameSpot and has had a keen interest in the video games industry ever since. He was also born with a Mac by his side and thinks that we should get Marathon Infinity set up in the office to settle this once and for all.
Robert Downey, Video Editor
Robert (Bob) Downey is a video production geek from the LA area. When not straining his thumb tendons playing iPhone games, he is creating video content for Slide To Play. Bob has a background in documentary style filmmaking, and loves hitting the road with his gear to find a story to tell.
Shawn Leonard, Staff Reviewer
Shawn’s a typical guy with an atypical love for all things gaming. Growing up in an unpredictable neighborhood, Shawn fondly remembers how his folks placed a copy of “The Goonies II” (for the NES) in his hands to grab his attention before his at-risk peers did. Twenty-plus years later, with a fierce gamer’s thumb, Shawn has been taking on life one milestone at a time. With his recent B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University Long Beach, Shawn spent several years working in both print media and interactive marketing developing campaign strategies for companies like THQ, SCEA, Square Enix, and Playboy, amongst others. With the history of writing dozes of reviews for iPhone applications and games for a competing site to remain nameless… Shawn is humbled to work with an All-Star team of contributors and managing editors at Slide to Play.
Riordan Frost, Contributor
An Apple enthusiast since birth, the first computer that Riordan can remember playing on was an early PowerMac, but he has many more memories with his family’s purple iMac G3. He recently graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and he has a passion for writing and any type of story. It is the latter passion which founds his fondness for video games, especially role-playing games– making the Knights of the Old Republic series among his favorites. He plays across console systems and adding the iDevice to that list led him to his first reviewing position– here at Slide To Play.
Devin Wilson, Reviewer
Devin graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.A. in Media Study in 2011, and is still in Western New York studying towards an MFA in Media Arts Production. When he’s not playing or writing about other people’s games, you’ll probably find him working on his own, writing music, or eating Indian food. Devin’s all-time favorite game is Rez, but he also spends altogether too much time playing EA’s latest hockey game. He really loves Sonic the Hedgehog, but thinks the skinny, green-eyed version can’t be trusted.
David Oxford, Reviewer
As a young lad, David contracted a case of Pac-Man Fever, and it’s been driving him crazy ever since. However, it was only after playing Super Mario Bros. that he realized that his density– er, destiny– would forever be intertwined with video games. So far, that has largely led to jobs in freelance writing which see him review games of varying degrees of quality. From his secret HQ high above the city of Toronto, he also contributes to Nintendo Power magazine and RipTen, runs the Toronto Video Game Examiner and The Mega Man Network, and even wrote the book on Mega Man.
Chris Aylott, Reviewer
Chris Aylott is a writer, editor, and game designer who has worked on pen-and-paper roleplaying games, online CCGs, casino software, and Facebook games. His first computer was a Vic-20, and his favorite games include Civilization and go. Chris has two kids, two cats, a super spouse, and not nearly enough hours in the day.
Brittany Vincent, Reviewer
Brittany Vincent is a freelancer who routinely eviscerates virtual opponents and tempts fate by approaching wayward Zoloms. A connoisseur of all things bloody and bizarre, she’s available to chat via Twitter @MolotovCupcake, and is always ready to take on new projects. You can peruse her archived work at PfhortheWin.com.