The Simple Messaging System (SMS) is a simple way of sending instant text messages from cell phone to cell phone. The latest specifications enable graphics as well as text, along with more advanced interaction. See Chapter 4 for additional information on SMS.
There are many SMS games. All of them are equally simple: You send a special message to particular number, and you will get another message in return.
The Finnish company Sonera Zed, in conjunction with Small Planet Ltd., has created a game similar to Turibaka Kibun called Fisupeli. The game is available only in Finland.
To play, you simply send a text message FISU to the number 400. You will then get a text message back describing your fishing environment. Over time, you will get text message alerts containing one to three different types and sizes of fishes.
You can log into the accompanying Web site at any time to see your fishing history.
In addition to WAP games, Blue Factory specializes in games for SMS. Currently the games are focused on European carriers Europolitan-Vodafone, Telia, Mviva, Halebop, and Sonera Zed.
Their collection of games includes the following:
Hunters & CollectorsThis is an advanced multiplayer game that uses global positioning technology. The characters are cuddly but dangerous rabbits, beavers, and other fuzzy animals.
The way it works is ingenious. Sign up and pick an animal to be your avatar. When two players are close to each other (based on their actual position in the real world) a duel is initiated. They will get an SMS message indicating that the battle is ready to begin.
Each player sends an SMS message with the amount of ammunition they want to use and their choice of weapon. The results of the duel will be shown, as in Figure 3.20.
Players can log into the Hunters & Collectors Web page to buy new weapons, check their stats, or look at the game map.
Cool VibesAnother dueling game using real positioning, this game is similar to Hunters & Collectors, but based in a psychedelic, tripped-out 60s world.
FlirtylizerNot exactly a game, but extremely cool! Sign up and you can flirt anonymously with anyone you choose. Using mobile positioning, the Flirtylizer will point out where your secret admirer is located.
Get Nessie!A game where you try to "fish" for the Loch Ness monster. It also includes dial-in elements with actual voices.
Banana BattleEstimate the distance to an opponent and then fling a banana at them. All game messages are exchanged via SMS.
ExtremeQuiz, FootBallQuiz, SciFiQuiz, and CelebriQuizAll variations on an SMS trivia game with questions about extreme sports, football, sci-fi, or celebrities.
Figure 3.20 Hunters and Collectors.
BotFighters by It's Alive
One of Sweden's most popular cell phone games is called BotFighters. Players create robots and can select elements like shield, weapon, eyes, and armor.
Using mobile positioning, you are notified when you are in the vicinity of another robot. You can issue SMS attack messages to the number 6688 to try to defeat other robots. Unlike other dueling games, BotFighters is literally about being quickest on the drawwhoever sends the attack message first will win. Damage depends on the weapon used and the amount of armor the target bot is wearing.
If you log into the BotFighters Web site, as shown in Figure 3.21, you can upgrade your robot and buy new weapons. More importantly, you can sign contracts to find and destroy other robots, and earn lots of virtual money in the process. You can retrieve information about the top assassins and view their actual known positions on a map of the city. This allows you to literally track down your target in the real world, getting close enough to their location to zap them.
It works like a virtual paintball game, and it has become somewhat of a craze in Stockholm. Some players have gone so far as to engage in car chases and ambushes. The game costs $5 to $10 a month on top of regular cell phone charges, depending on usage.
Figure 3.21 BotFighters.
Vizzavi Footie and Trivia
Sign up for one of these gamescurrently only available through the Vodaphone systemand you can star in your own game show. You can opt to answer football (soccer) trivia or general trivia questions. The questions arrive via SMS, and you must send an SMS answer back. The faster you answer them, the more points you'll get. After each weekly competition, a list of the top ranking players will be sent to all opponents.