As I walked (well, jostled) my way around the show floor at this year's PAX East, I couldn't help but smile to myself.
You see, the last time I'd been to this convention was four years ago.
As I recall, mobile games were woefully under-represented. I can only remember seeing a handful of mobile titles, tucked away in a corner - presumably so they couldn't get their "casual" cooties on all them real games.
This year was totally different. This year, it seemed like everywhere I turned there were mobile games or smartphones spin-offs. So many, in fact, that I knew I wouldn't be able to check out all of them.
It made me proud of the mobile industry to see so many great-looking smartphone and tablet games on display at PAX East.
So, it only seems fair to compile a list of them, right? Which is why you're about to read some well-written summaries of five intriguing discoveries from PAX East. Yes. Yes, you are.
A Druid's Duel
By Thoughtshelter Games - heading to iOS
One of the biggest surprises for me to come out of PAX East this year was definitely A Druid's Duel.
The basic idea here is that players are fighting over territory. Every time one of your druids moves over a tile, you lay claim to it - this generates mana on your next turn. You need this mana to summon more druids and to use special abilities.
It's the interplay of all these elements - and the constant push and pull between players - that makes this game so interesting. It's kind of like chess... if all the pieces could transform into animals and cast magic spells.
So, not like chess at all, then. (148Apps)
By Andy Wallace - heading to iOS
Particle Mace is basically a top-down shooter - not unlike Asteroids in many ways - but without the shooting.
Instead of shooting, you drag a mass of particles behind your ship. You can then fling this mass towards floating debris and enemies like the universe's most deadly tetherball.
It's that sort of interstellar weirdness that makes me think this is definitely one to watch out for.
Particle Mace should be popping up on the App Store within the next few months. (148Apps)
The Phantom P.I. Mission Apparition
By Rocket 5 Studios - heading to iOS, Android, and Windows 8
The Phantom P.I. Mission Apparition involves a jumpy goofball ghost hunter sporting one humdinger of a moustache.
The navigation and puzzle solving (of which there seems to be plenty) here is akin to the gameplay you find in point-and-click adventure games. And, well, that's okay by me.
In among all that navigating around, you have to catch ghosts. You do so by tapping and dragging the little spooks around the screen in different patterns.
Put simply, you'll be exploring each of the levels and solving puzzles while watching ghost hunter Cecil jump at shadows along the way. This is definitely the sort of thing I can get behind.
The Phantom P.I. Mission Apparition will be available later this spring. (148Apps)
By Giant Spacekat - heading to iOS
So, it turns out Revolution 60 is still very much alive and well. The game dropped off the radar for a bit there, but it's back... and still looking pretty darn cool.
The hands-on demo I played contained a smattering of quick-time events, some dialogue choices, and a combat system (that involves tapping different parts of the screen to move and dodge, and involves tapping buttons to attack enemies and trigger special attacks).
There aren't any random encounters and there isn't an open world to explore - though there will be opportunities to wander around some areas. Instead, everything is tied into your level of performance in combat.
If this sounds too restrictive, don't worry too much. Your main character Holiday will be able to gain access to a number of different skills as she levels-up. Plus, you'll be able to tailor her abilities to suit your preferred style of play.
Revolution 60 will be heading to iOS within the next two to three months as a premium release. (148Apps)
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon
By Tiger Style - heading to iOS and Android
Tiger Style has really upped the ante for the sequel to Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.
The visuals look great, there's a new house to explore, a new backstory to uncover, more types of bugs, and a bug collection for you to admire.
Though I think the most interesting change is the way Rite of the Shrouded Moon will track the local weather and time of day, using the data to generate similar conditions in your game.
That in itself is all well and good, but these weather conditions actually affect what you'll be able to reach in some areas - a detail that I thought was extremely cool.
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon will be creeping onto the App Store and Google Play this spring. (148Apps)