10 Potential iPad Games and Concepts to Build (Plus Bubble Ghost)

With the unveiling of the iPad, the cottage iPad speculation industry that had grown up around it has… kept going. Having seen and, in some cases, actually used the iPad, blogs and magazines are continuing a non-stop torrent of ideas and predictions for the upcoming Apple slate.

A particularly popular subject so far has been games. So we’ve taken some of the better lists out there and combined them — not to pick out specific games (for the most part), but to point out the concepts and game mechanics that are getting the most attention ahead of the iPad’s launch.

For this list, we looked at CNET’s top 30 picks, TechRadar’s top 20, Touch Arcade’s iPhone games to port, and Techland’s 5 games to make ASAP. Here’s what we came up with after melding them all together:

Civilization — This game is a top pick for pretty much everyone. Sid Meier’s classic has always been at least partially about seeing the sprawling extent of your empire, and smaller screens like the iPhone haven’t quite done it justice. Along the same lines, SimCity; and, for the real-time fans, Command & Conquer is a popular choice.

Board games — Another no-brainer, perhaps due to the close resemblance of the iPad to a real-life board. You you can take your pick: Scrabble, Settlers of Catan, Chutes & Ladders or pretty much anything else would work. Several of the lists pick Monopoly, but we’d have to disagree, unless there’s a major breakthrough in battery life.

FarmVille — Maybe it’s just this game’s unending popularity on Facebook, but FarmVille seems to be a consistent pick for any iPad wish-list. There’s certainly a synergy between the intended audiences, although the gameplay might have to be modified for longer play-times.

Line-drawing — CNET wants DrawRace, in which you draw out your car’s intended course, while Touch Arcade wants Boom Brigade, which is a bit like real-time, directed tower defense. The idea is the same in either case: lots of contact between your finger and the screen.

Nintendo games — Techland’s top two picks are both Nintendo games: Scribblenauts and Boom Blox. The latter seems like a good pick; a potential mechanic could involve first touching your target on the screen, then twitching the iPad for an accelerometer “throw”.

Point n’ click adventure — TechRadar suggests Beneath a Steel Sky; our own vote goes to King’s Quest. It’s the ability to tap the screen to achieve any action (this style of game interprets your click to perform the action on its own) that would make these games work.

Physics games — Draw objects with your finger, tilt the iPad to move them around. Crayon Physics, for example, was excellent on the computer, and would probably do even better on an iPad. There’s also World of Goo to consider.

Tower defense — The only question is which tower defense games will do best on the iPad. Fieldrunners would probably do well, as would Plants vs Zombies, which we reviewed earlier tonight. Our own vote is for a graphically amped-up version of Gemcraft, which blends in RPG concepts.

Bright lights, flashing colors — This isn’t a genre, exactly, but extremely visual games seem to be a thematic undercurrent in many of the lists. Pinball, Missile Defense, Geometry Wars — the idea is that the iPad will be bright, beautiful and perfect for some hand-twitching, seizure-inducing action.

Wooden labyrinth — Props to CNET for coming up with this one. This isn’t a computer game, of course. It’s an actual wooden labyrinth in which you guide a stainless-steel ball bearing with physical knobs. The iPad’s accelerometer and flat shape could pull it off perfectly.