Many of the games I've been playing on the iPad are not the games I actually want to play on the iPad. The games I want to play don't actually exist. Mainly because they're paper-and-dice games that haven't yet made the transition to digital.
My best example? Car Wars. I cannot stress this enough -- I absolutely LOVED Car Wars. When it first came out, the original game and the few expansion packs came in these little black boxes that snapped closed. I still have all my Cars Wars stuff, including many issues of AutoDuel Quarterly and the Uncle Albert catalogs.
If you're not familiar with Car Wars, it's not complicated. In the future, gas is gone and a Road Warrior mentality exists. You basically designed your car using a pre-defined budget (or selected a pre-configured one) that has armor, weapons, tires, etc... a piece of paper was used to track the damage done to tires, armor, driver by simply blackening small grid squares to indicate how much of a tire was left, for example. Your actual car was represented by a small, 2D color image of a futuristic car, about a 1" x 0.5" paper chit. Battles were done on long stretches of rubble-strewn road that were laid down using these 6" long gridded piece of paper that had lanes drawn on them. Later expansions offered up these large fold out gridded maps of small towns and arenas so you could have games going in all sorts of directions, not just forward.
It was a dice game at heart -- weapons had a chance to hit, roll for hit, roll for damage. Certain critical conditions could cause major events such your car rolling end over end or catching fire. I remember targeting one players front tire during a game, getting a direct hit, and causing enough damage to force him into an immediate roll that put a ton of damage on all sides of the car's armor until it came to rest upside down and the remaining players spent the majority of the game ramming it and shooting it up... fun stuff!
Car Wars had later upgrades to the rules and such, but at its heart it always remained the same style of play. Updates brought in gasoline powered vehicles, helicopters, big rigs (my favorite) and much more. Catalogs of additional weapons, accessories, defensive items, and all sorts of strange add-ons were offered up in Uncle Albert's catalogs that were sold separately.
As I said... I absolutely loved Car Wars, and I hope to one day introduce it to my sons. But in they're quite young, and I don't have a lot of folks around who want to play Car Wars, let alone even know what it is.
So that's why I'm appealing to Steve Jackson Games here -- please, PLEASE... how about a multiplayer app for the iPad that will handle all the behind-the-scenes stuff such as tracking vehicle locations, inventory, etc... and allow players to fight along stretches of highway like in the original game? Just give me that old school capability of designing my own car, selecting the right tires, the right turret, the right armor plating, and let me drop that car on the highway and take on a few of my friends... or complete strangers.
Other games I'd love to see ported to iPad? Starfleet Battles. Oh yeah! And what about Cosmic Encounters? I'm showing my age here, obviously, because I'm sure there are a LOT of geek dads reading this who are going Huh? What?
Trust me... these are games that aren't around today but they should be... they're awesome. And the iPad offers up just enough of a taste of paper and pencil (with its touchpad) to make some of those old games enjoyable once again.
What about you? Any games you'd like to see ported to the iPad?