It was two years ago this week that I started a blog called Pocket Tactics. Just a blog like any other. An excuse to get me to practice writing every day, more than anything else. I figured I would write about the iOS and Android games that existing sites weren’t writing about; hobby games that you sat down to play for an hour and really get stuck into. Doodle Jump was great but could you really squeeze a thousand words out about it?
I clearly wasn’t the only person who wanted to see a site like that, because PT has taken off in a way that I never predicted. Last month PT was viewed almost a million times by six figures of unique visitors, and besides my stuff there’s regular contributions from Neumann, Kelsey, Clancy, and Dave Lane. We’ve even spun off Phil to do his own thing over at RDBK. I’m still surprised that you people enjoy our awful pun headlines. Or at least tolerate them.
If you’re reading this, you’re the reason that PT is still going. I’m sure I would have moved on to something else if this place hadn’t found an audience so quickly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. There’s big plans for Pocket Tactics, and I hope you’ll stick around to see them come to fruition.
To celebrate our second birthday, I invited developers like X-Com creator Julian Gollop, Ascension designers Justin Gary and Brian Kibler, and Canabalt developer Adam Saltsman to come by and tell us what their favorite iOS or Android game is. We’ll have their posts mixed in with our usual fare all week long. Wait until you see who all’s coming — there’s some big surprises.
Hard at work at the Pocket Tactics Aircraft Assembly Facility and DNS Propagation Center high atop Mount Hexmap.
Hey folks — due to a DNS hiccup that occurred at an inconvenient moment Tuesday evening, post comments and the Pocket Tactics Forums are down. With any luck we should be back in business Wednesday morning Eastern time, but DNS problems have a way sticking around so please bear with us.
Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.
There’s a new update to one of our favourite games from this year, the territory control iOS board game Totems: there’s now multiplayer chat in the game. No longer will you have to infer how much your opponent hates you after you pull that completely sick reversal to end the match, as your opponent can now tell you directly.
To celebrate this, Totems developers Timecode has utterly inundated us with promo codes for the game. Having learned long ago that I can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) eat these codes, I’ve decided to give them to you lot.
As usual, my benevolence comes with a price. This time, my toll is science-fiction novels. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately and it would be good to unplug my brain with some pulp space opera, so recommend me a good sci-fi read in the comments. You have until Monday morning at 9am Eastern, where upon I will choose ten (!) winners — one which I deem to be the funniest or most insightful contribution, and nine others selected at random by the Pocket Tactics Magic 8-Ball.
Our sister site Red Door Blue Key is coming Monday, ladies and gentlemen. We’re going mark the occasion around here with some amazing content we’ve been hoarding for a little while.
Phil and I sat down to play Chaos Reborn with Julian Gollop himself a couple of weeks ago. This is the first game from the X-Com creator’s new studio Gollop Games. Chaos Reborn is a multiplayer tactical game coming to mobile devices and PCs, and it’s one of our most anxiously-awaited games. We’re the first media-type people to play it, and we’re going to tell you all about that on Red Door Blue Key on Monday.
Now surely that would be enough to tentpole the launch of a new site, but that’s not all: Phil’s also got a cracking interview with Janet & Dave Gilbert, the husband-and-wife duo at the head of Wadjet Eye Games, who brought us such gems as Gemini Rue.
But we’re doing it big-style here on PT, too: I’ve got a hands-on preview of Panzer Corps for iPad (I am not joking) and a big interview with Shenandoah Studio, the makers of Battle of the Bulge. All that is coming Monday, provided I don’t keel over dead of a heart attack when RDBK goes live.
I know you’ve heard the rumours that I’ve been spending all the money paid into Pocket Tactics by our lovely, munificent advertisers on crushed velvet smoking jackets and vintage walrus ivory tobacco pipes owned by noted Arctic explorers. I’m here to tell you that those rumours are not true. I have spent at least some of that ad money on this newly redesigned site. And velvet isn’t as expensive as you think.
The old Pocket Tactics was a site that I cobbled together myself with my meagre web design skills and wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Geocities web ring. This new site (built by the extraordinary Jack McConnell at Voltronik and featuring logos and other design elements by the very talented Joe White) is not only better-looking but is faster to load and full of nifty functions like those drop-down menus up at the top of the screen and a brand new review format. You also must see the absolutely stonking new phone layout. The great irony of Pocket Tactics was that reading it on a phone was like playing Cataracts Simulator 2000 — no longer.
We’ll be working the kinks out of it for a while to come yet, so please be sure to drop a note in this thread if you spot any bugs or have any suggestions for tweaks.
Thank you very much for reading Pocket Tactics and making it the fastest-growing mobile games site on the web. None of this would have been possible without you, and I hope you enjoy the new site as much as I do.
Tomorrow there won’t be any new content on the front page of Pocket Tactics, friends. We’ve got to freeze the site for a day while we transfer a year’s worth of yammering over to a brand new, professionally-designed Pocket Tactics. It will be the same site you love/like/grudgingly tolerate but much, much prettier and faster — and it will be up on Wednesday.
But that’s not the only thing I’ve got for you, no sir. We’ve got a new site that we’ve been working on, one that I think you’re going to love.
Red Door Blue Key is going to be Pocket Tactics‘ sister site covering PC games. It’s coming next Monday. The man running the show over at RDBK is going to no one less than former Gamers With Jobs scribe and current PT reviewer Phil Scuderi, though I’ll be popping in there myself quite regularly. RDBK will bring PT‘s same general editorial bent (older, more skeptical, more Wire references) to the PC, a gaming platform that’s bigger and more relevant than ever.
In the past year-and-a-half, this site has grown from just a guy’s blog into something kinda big. Over a hundred thousand people come here every month and view the site almost three-quarters of a million times in that span. And we’re still growing every week. It must be the image caption jokes (which Phil has strict instructions to continue doing over at RDBK).
That mustache must have been a lot of work to keep up.
Hey ladies and gents — can I have three minutes of your time to do this Pocket Tactics Reader Survey? There’s something in it for you, too: I’ve got some promo codes for recent games like Ancient Battle: Rome to hand out. If you want (totally optional) put in your email address on the last page of the survey and if the Pocket Tactics Magic 8-Ball chooses you, you’ll win one.