Interview

10 years of Pocket Gamer: It all started with Java for Tag Games CEO Paul Farley

10 years of Pocket Gamer: It all started with Java for Tag Games CEO Paul Farley

As Pocket Gamer celebrates its tenth birthday, we're sharing the memories of those who have been in the mobile games industry for as long as we have.

That's back when the iPhone was but a futuristic fantasy, and the closest you could get to social mobile gaming was via WAP.

This time, we're talking to Paul Farley, CEO of Tag Games - a Dundee-based developer that celebrated its own 10th birthday in January.

PocketGamer.biz: What were you doing in mobile/games 10 years ago?

Paul Farley: 10 years ago we were starting to build our first mobile game at Tag.

It was built in J2ME and was called Dead Water.

The aim of the game was simple - escape a flooding ship. It went on to be a massive success in Sweden!

What was the hot mobile technology/hardware back then?

J2ME and BREW were the main technologies we were supporting at the time, but most of the excitement was around touch screens and the new control opportunities they would enable.

Can you remember any games you were playing?

My Dog from Iplay, the Playman Track and Field games from Sumea and Tower Bloxx from Digital Chocolate were big favourites.

Did you always think mobile games could/would become the widest global gaming sector?

Absolutely, no question whatsoever!

What do you think has been the most significant event in mobile gaming during the past 10 years

The launch of the iPhone.

The phone that changed everything

Not only did Apple redefine the mobile phone, they delivered a complete commerce ecosystem and single handed broke the power operators held over mobile content delivery - including games.

What have been your favourite mobile games over the past 10 years?

There have been so many titles that I wish we had made!

Standouts range from simple, arcade fun like Crossy Road, Angry Birds and Flight Control to deeper experiences like Clash of Clans, Game Dev Story and Fallout Shelter.

Looking to the future, what are you working on now?

We’ve just soft launched what is likely to be our biggest game ever - but, due to NDAs, we can’t talk about it just yet.

Not only did Apple redefine the mobile phone, they delivered a complete commerce ecosystem.
Paul Farley

We are, however, developing new original IP again and are looking forward to continuing development of that title through 2016 and beyond.

More generally, what games are you looking forward to?

I’m a huge fan of open world experiences so No Man’s Sky has to be up there.

In mobile I’m very interested to see what some of the big players deliver next.

We know mobile games are getting bigger, production values are increasing, but will that result in better gameplay experiences for the player?

How do you think the mobile games industry will change over the next 10 years?

[Pocket Gamer MD] Chris James will lose more hair, but will continue to wear shirts he should have thrown out years ago!

Finally, do you have a favourite Pocket Gamer memory you'd like to share?

The preview of our first game Dead Water back in 2006.

It was the moment that we felt we were a legitimate part of the industry for the first time. It all got very real from that point on!

[And indeed, Tag Games was one of the first mobile developers we wrote an indepth interview with. You can read that article - and check out Paul in a white hoodie moment over on Pocket Gamer.]

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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