Polygon has a great post up about the unstoppable black hole that pulverizes mobile games out of existence (aka iTunes) that’s told from the unexpectedly hopeful perspective of developer HandCircus. Rolando was one of the earliest iPhone games I can remember but with Apple’s mandate to update older titles to 64-bit architecture, the entirety of the Rolando series has been unavailable since 2017.
HandCircus has since gone back and updated the original game in the form of a new iOS release, Rolando: Royal Edition. CEO Simon Oliver explains some of the woes of seeing their game get delisted.
”It’s been really difficult that nobody’s really been able to play it for years. It’s heartbreaking that it’s a big part of our history that hasn’t been available in the store. It’s been in the back of our minds, something that we’d really like to bring back, but it kind of got a little bit lost in the excitement of the early days of mobile.”
He also talks about the changes in game design from the early days of mobile to today and assures us that Rolando: Royal Edition is not going to be shoehorned into a free-to-play experience. On the subject of game preservation, he likens their efforts at bringing Rolando back from the dead to those of GameClub, a publisher created to help update and relaunch older mobile games.
”It is a really important thing [the work of GameClub], and I think on iOS and mobile in general, it’s been very difficult to have those experiences again. Those early games, those early iOS classics that disappeared — it’s been a real shame that I can’t play games like Flight Control or Incoboto, classic games that I remember being really inspired by. With Rolando, we felt very much the same mission of hoping to restore something that is a piece of our history, but obviously is a little bit of a piece of history of the App Store, as well.”
Although we don’t usually cover mobile games on the site the full article is a great little read with more tidbits I didn’t want to pull out.