A major shift in handheld games recently hasn't been the quality. In fact, blocky 8-bit graphics are making a comeback. Most village-building games are only a repainting of the original Warcraft: Orcs & Humans from 1994. The tossing of cars, pigs or grumpy avians at obstacles is much like Human Cannonball for the Atari 2600. Tetris has never gone away, only changed from block to jewels or fruit.
What has changed a lot has been the definition of “free." Sure, you can download a silly game and play it free on your phone or tablet, but in order to speed your progress or unlock the cool stuff, you need to pay. That's how free games make money, 99 cents or five bucks at a time.
With Apple's launch of SaruTobi, the genre is ready for the next step. Tobi is a vine-swinging monkey flying through an 8-bit jungle collecting bitcoins and power-ups. In its infant stages, the game uses fake bitcoins for in-game purchases, but developer Christian Moss plans for players to earn real ones.
“I'm hoping by working bitcoin into popular games, it can help raise public awareness and get people to start looking into the crypto-currency," he told Bitcoin Magazine. “Hopefully before Christmas we will implement some kind of real bitcoin transacting with the game."
Many bitcoin arcade games cost a tiny bit to play with the promise of a possible big payout. Handheld games are ready to be the next scratch ticket. When you're bored, grab your device and take your chances at turning a Satoshi into some real money.