As the year draws to a close we thought it was time to take a look at Apple’s iTunes Rewind 2011 which reveals the best iPhone and iPad apps, podcasts, TV shows, music and movies categories – according to Apple themselves. We focus on the paid and free iPhone/iPad apps and games, presenting the main results below.

I was one of the sceptics when tablet computers were first released, because I couldn’t see too many buying a pricey device that was neither a mobile phone nor a fully-fledged computer. I was underestimating the power of the “mobile” element of tablets – the fact that some of them can fit in an inside jacket pocket or in a handbag or school satchel – which seems to be more important than the limitations I was considering.

Dec

13

With this week’s release of Monkeybin’s classic side scroller game Jumpship Thrust Control 2 – for the iPhone, iPad and iPod – we thought it would be good to take a look at side scrollers in general and why they remain popular….then give you our thoughts on the genre.

Dec

9

The folks at Monkeybin have been very busy chimps over the past months; you may have seen some of the things that have been going on round here with the release of a new app or two and the pending release of a couple more…but this week we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when our “baby” finally got the release it deserved. It’s taken blood, sweat, tears and not a small amount of time but we’re proud to announce the release of Jumpship Thrust Control 2 – now available in the App store.

You can’t really have a great mobile game without great mobile graphics, though the old fans of Tetris may disagree! As mobile gaming continues to boom, the demand for more sophisticated graphics for mobile devices also advances; it presents many challenges because of the obvious size, memory, processor power and battery restrictions of the mobile devices like smart phones and tablets; we take a look at that below.

El Dorado – the “Lost City of Gold” - eluded the conquistadors and everybody since; many people seem to be searching mobile gaming in the belief that it may actually reside within the sleek confines of an iPad or on a Facebook Wall! What are we talking about you ask? We’re referring to the developers and businesses flocking to mobile gaming because of the opportunities of making a mint quickly.

Such is the glamorous life of app and game developers that we used to have to spend ages playing around with Photoshop, resizing and reformatting images to create the right icons to include in iPads, iPhones and Android-based apps and games. It‘s at times like that you sometimes wonder about getting a real job :-) No more! The Iconimator application does it all for you in a flash.

Global financial turmoil and austerity measures? Rubbish! If people can spend $3 billion worldwide on things like clothing for their in-game avatars then either there’s something seriously imbalanced out there or there is more spare income available than we’re being led to believe. Hang on a second…I just need to harvest some more zombies on my Zombie Farm…brb. Damn – where’s my credit card?

Bored with the same old marketing methods? Website and social media sites not delivering the results you expected? Current campaigns nothing more than a damp squib? Times are changing quickly and any marketers who haven’t yet considered mobile game marketing might be interested in paying close attention to what their audience is doing, because advertising and branding tends to follow where the crowds go. A compelling case is building for businesses to shift focus towards mobile applications and we look at some of the key drivers here.

There might be a tasty new sandwich on the menu soon that has mobile gamers salivating, because it can make mobile gaming more like a full console experience. The high uptake of smartphones has spawned a whole new band of people who enjoy playing games in short bursts on the go – as we can see every day as we walk down the street, wait for a train, sit in the doctor’s waiting room or take a breather in the shopping mall. Well, some like to play games at home too – and that’s where Ice Cream Sandwich comes in.

Seems like ways to make smart phones even smarter are back on the agenda as the subject of phones with bendable screens is being talked about again; especially as the much over-hyped subject of what the iPhone 5 will look like is raised again. Will this technology be a game changer? What effects would bendable screens have on the mobile gaming industry as a whole? We check out the story below.

Mobile apps and gaming have become vehicles not only for people to get a more enjoyable, entertaining and informative experience from their handsets, but also for companies to market their products and services to their audiences.

Mobile gaming has certainly become big business, with sales reaching $5.6 billion last year, but the question remains whether mobile game marketing represents a good return on investment for companies developing games in the hope of increasing sales.

Here we look at a few positive examples that may help us answer that question.

With the release of the iPhone 4S, which we reviewed for you a couple of weeks ago, we are starting to wonder whether mobile gaming is going back to the future.

The upcoming release of the latest iPhone and the expected impact it is going to have on its users – turning more and more unsuspecting, innocent phone/camera/chat users into mobile gamers – is occupying a lot of blog post inches.

Here we ask whether we are seeing an effect not seen since the 1990s, when mobile gaming devices burst on to the market?

Show us the moneyyyyyy!

As you know we chimps at Monkeybin create what we create for the love of it and the occasional moldy banana thrown our way, but we thought you’d be interested in some stats that were recently released by the Streaming Colour company; they conducted a survey last month with around 250 developers about revenues yielded from apps listed on Apple’s App Store.

With the sad passing away of Steve Jobs, what else could we talk about this week other than two of his “babies” - the latest release and the next release from Apple?

Below we will look at the key features and benefits of the iPhone 4S, from a mobile gaming point of view and then look ahead to the release of the iPhone 5 which is occupying a lot of screen-space amongst mobile gamers right now.

Our earlier post this week covered the impending release of the Amazon Kindle Fire in November; here we look at it from the game developers’ angle and see what the Fire will spark in gaming circles.

As we mentioned, the Kindle Fire seems on first glance…and second glance, actually… to be a “turbo-charged reader” rather than a gaming device, so despite its great price of $199 ($300 less than the iPad), is it about to offer up more opportunities for mobile gamers, and therefore developers?

Oct

6

The tech world is wearing black today, as the announcement of the passing away of Steve Jobs spread around the globe.

Ironically, the speed with which the news spread is part of the legacy that Steve Jobs leaves, as many people logged on to the news on their iMacs, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones this morning, upon waking and pouring their first coffee.

Unless you’ve been locked in your mother’s basement with nothing more than a cup of tea and a copy of Jumpship Thrust Control to keep you company, you probably heard that Amazon announced the release of the Kindle Fire this week; that’s their version of the tablet computer first pioneered by Apple with the iPad, and it’s coming out in the US on Nov 15th.

Below we look at how the new tablet shapes up against the iPad and explore their key differences to see if they are really operating in exactly the same area.

In the second post later this week we will look at effects of the Kindle Fire release on the tablet/handset/gaming/apps industry as a whole and specifically on game developers.

We hear a LOT of chatter about how gaming on our mobile handsets is going to replace handheld gaming entirely, but is the sound of the death knell for consoles a bit premature?

After all, Sony don’t think that’s the case, as they get ready to launch their Vita portable PlayStation later this year.

As gaming on our phones and tablets takes off and ever-more graphic intensive apps appear on our phones, spare a thought for your poor old battery.

Do you expect it to chug happily along while having the life strangled out of it by sensational new gaming graphics?

Here we look at the battery issue and even give you a few power saving tips for your phone battery.

Do you wish that you could play Monkeybin’s Jumpship Thrust Control game as a multiplayer mobile game?

Don’t tell me you’re still playing Angry Birds instead! Well, even if that’s the case, you have to queue up and take turns on the same device: it doesn’t have a true multiplayer set up yet.

The Tokyo Game Show was from Thursday to Sunday last week and one of the traditional homes of gaming is having to come to terms with some fundamental shake ups to the gaming industry.

Far be it from anyone to tell the Japanese that small is beautiful – they practically invented the phrase – but as far as gaming goes there are shifts happening that mean it’s going mobile - more towards small handsets and tablets and away from home-based consoles.

You would have had to be asleep for the past year to not notice the rise of mobile gaming on handsets.

That kid next to you on the bus frantically pressing his iPhone; the guy over in the corner of the café moving his iPad around at funny angles; the girl in the train station looking in disgust at her Android. They’re all a part of the mobile gamer clan and it’s on the rise.

There is a growing storm amongst developers about device fragmentation with the Android handset, so we threw a monkey’s tea party here at Monkeybin and posed the question - is it really just a storm in a teacup?

There has been a lot of heated talk in developer circles in the past 12 months or so about coders having to support "thousands of different android phone hardware and screen sizes"; it is often compared to working with the iOS platform, which is generally seen as child’s play in terms of coding compatibility.

As app and game developers we’re watching developments on the rich side of town very closely. We mean over at Google, where you may have noticed that Google+ released the first wave of games on 11th August. This was met with a lot of expectation and excitement amongst game coders and users alike. It turns out the release included 16 games from 10 of the Big Boys (mainly flash games) and it’s left us little independent developers a tad restless, wondering whether we are going to get cut out of the Google+ equation in favour of the established gaming companies.

Jun

16

Gnarballs

Kim Ruben Vatnehagen

We might be silent from time to time, but that is just a sign that we are hard at work. And I thought now was a good time to share a little something about a title we're working on. It's not our main focus and you could call it a spare time game, if we had any of that! Keep on reading to learn more about the featured critters, and also get a glimps of some of the awesome artwork.

May

12

All your Icon are belong to us!

Haakon Langaas Lageng

We were dead tired of resizing images in Photoshop, and decided to write a little Ruby Magick to do the dirty job for us. But then we thought "Hey! This is useful for all iOS designers and developers out there, let's create a public service instead". And so be it. Today, we are proud to present to you the all new, shiny icon resizing service - Iconimator.

While working on the Nyhetene app, an app that gathers more than 100 different rss feeds, we faced a few challenges that needed to be solved. Our biggest issues were related to loading external data, like rss feeds and json data, loading remote images, and displaying the results in a proper manner. We have solved problems related to parsing non US characters and the app crashing when asynch image loading returns. Monkeybin believes in clean, readable code, where logic is separated from display, so this series will follow some trusted OOP patterns to achieve that.

Apr

24

YASG

Haakon Langaas Lageng

We love games that are full of action and frantic gameplay. This is another one of those. We have planned to include both multiplayer and singleplayer modes. That calls for coding some AI, and we are so looking forward to see how smart we can get those machine controlled players.

Mar

30

Corona SDK to the Rescue

Haakon Langaas Lageng

This blog post is all about our experiences on putting together a game title, Including why we had to start twice, the choices to make, time spent, anger and frustration and finally the discovery of Corona SDK. So, fresh off the keyboard, here’s a little something about the process of developing our first title as a newly formed indie company.