Games that disappear


You can’t play Godfinger any more. It’s gone. ngmoco, the developer, removed the game (plus a couple of others) from app stores during February – and it’ll stop working all together at the end of this month. The raw economics of mobile gaming. But what happens to games that are packaged as apps when they’re discontinued? Looks like they disappear completely, as Jared Nelson points out on TouchArcade. No shoebox of carts under the bed, no stack of dusty DVDs, no folder of neglected binaries. Gone. Absent from the record.

The closed nature of mobile platforms means you can’t capture a binary for the archives and, unless the Library of Congress has an archiving scheme I don’t know about, this piece of intellectual labour will be removed from the record for good come April, leaving a tiny but perceptible hole in the timeline. This isn’t even a DRM story. It’s just about the mechanics of distributing entertainment in the app era. Is it important? Should we just accept it: the ruthless logic of 21st Century digital creation? Or are we going to be freaking out in fifty years when we realise we’ve built a one-way conveyor-belt to oblivion for digital work and we’re all going “what were they actually DOING back in the early twenty-first Century? They seem to have left no trace.”

Phones that go bling

Nokia are betting they can create a super-luxury mobile phone brand. It’s called Vertu. £15,000 buys you a pretty ordinary GSM phone (called an ‘instrument’) in a hand-tooled platinum, white gold or silver enclosure. They’re borrowing explicitly from the vocabulary of hand made mechanical watches and they come with a one-button concierge service for helpless billionaires.

I guess it’s logical to expect this kind of luxury segment to emerge as the market matures, in fact, Frank Nuovo, Nokia’s California-based head of design, tells the FT (subscription) that they’re now designing phones “…for six separate product categories: Premium at the top; Fashion (“stylishly provocative and creatively trend-conscious”); Classic; Expression; Active (“healthy active sports and leisure”); and Basic. He believes these categories will grow more diverse”.

Moore’s law doesn’t apply in the world of timepieces, though, so unless the Vertu ‘intruments’ can be upgraded continually into the future it’s hard to see them becoming heirlooms. The Vertu is more LA bling than Zurich swank. It’ll fit in nicely on the dash of that Escalade you’ve been thinking about.