While the folks at the iTunes gaming division might have trouble rooting out copycat games, what they excel at is making lists. In creating a list of ten games that can take a mobile gamer from casual to hardcore, those Apple list-builders have created a mini history of gaming in portable form.
The Apple list almost reads like a history of gaming as a whole. We start with Letterpress, a text-based game (so-to-speak). We move on to a puzzle game in Bejeweled Blitz. We begin to experiment with the space with Zen Bound 2. Cut the Rope adds an element of physics to the puzzle game.
Ski Safari represents mobile gaming's 2D platformer. Pitfall!, a game based on the original 2D platformer, ironically represents the move to 3D. Lili takes us off the rails a'la Mario 64. Infinity Blade applies this 3D movement to a more mature setting. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy gives us the flying freedom of a Descent-type game. Finally, Shadowgun gives us the modern first-person shooter.
As a journey from casual to hardcore, Apple's list works quite well. More importantly, however, it serves as a much-needed reminder that all of gaming was casual at some point. Everybody had to start somewhere, right?