An iPod click wheel game or iPod game is a video game playable on the various versions of the Apple portable media player, the iPod. The original iPod had the game Brick (originally invented by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak) included as an easter egg hidden feature; later firmware versions added it as a menu option. Later revisions of the iPod added three more games in addition to Brick: Parachute, Solitaire, and Music Quiz. These games should not be confused with games for the iPod Touch, which require iOS and are only available on Apple's App Store on iTunes.
In September 2006, the iTunes Store began to offer nine additional games for purchase with the launch of iTunes 7, compatible with the fifth generation iPod with iPod software 1.2 or later. Those games were: Bejeweled, Cubis 2, Mahjong, Mini Golf, Pac-Man, Tetris, Texas Hold 'Em, Vortex, and Zuma. These games were made available for purchase from the iTunes Store for US$4.99 each. In December 2006 two more games were released by EA Mobile at the same price: Royal Solitaire and Sudoku. In February 2007, Ms. Pac-Man was released followed in April 2007 by iQuiz. Until this time, all the available games could be purchased in a package, with no discount.
In May 2007 Apple released Lost: The Video Game based on the television show, which is made by Gameloft. In June 2007 "SAT Prep 2008" by Kaplan. This was introduced as 3 separate educational games based on the subjects writing, reading, and mathematics. In December 2007, Apple released Sega's classic game; Sonic the Hedgehog, which was originally packaged with the Sega Genesis system in the early 1990s.
With third parties like Namco, Square Enix, EA, Sega, and Hudson Soft all making games for the iPod, Apple's MP3 player has taken great steps towards entering the video game handheld console market. Even video game magazines like GamePro & EGM have reviewed and rated most of their games as of late.
The games are in the form of .ipg files (iPod game), which are actually .zip archives in disguise. When unzipped, they reveal executable files along with common audio and image files, leading to the possibility of third party games. Currently, Apple has no publicly available software development kit (SDK) for iPod-specific development. The iOS SDK covers only iOS on the iPhone and iPod Touch, not traditional iPods.
As of October 2011, Apple has removed all the click-wheel operated games from its store.
This is a list of games available for the newest iPods, excluding the iPod Touch. Each game (other than Reversi and Chinese Checkers) costs US$7.49 to buy.
Title Publisher Release date Game ID
Texas Hold'Em Apple Inc. 2006-09-12 33333
Zuma Astraware 2006-09-12 44444
Pac-Man Namco 2006-09-12 AAAAA
Tetris Electronic Arts 2006-09-12 66666
Mini Golf Electronic Arts 2006-09-12 88888
Cubis 2 Fresh Games 2006-09-12 99999
Sudoku Electronic Arts 2006-12-19 50513
Ms. Pac-Man Namco 2007-02-27 14004
SAT Prep 2008 (Math) Kaplan 2007-06-22 11052
SAT Prep 2008 (Reading) Kaplan 2007-06-22 11050
SAT Prep 2008 (Writing) Kaplan 2007-06-22 11051
The Sims Bowling Electronic Arts 2007-07-17 1500C
The Sims Pool Electronic Arts 2007-07-31 1500E
Musika (Released Only in UK) NanaOn-Sha, Ltd./Sony BMG 2007-08-07 1C300
Brain Challenge Gameloft/Apple Inc. 2007-09-05
Phase Harmonix 2007-11-06
Sonic the Hedgehog Sega 2007-12-18
Peggle PopCap Games 2007-12-18
Bomberman Hudson Soft 2007-12-18
Block Breaker Deluxe Gameloft/Apple Inc. 2008-01-15
Pole Position Remix Namco 2008-01-21
Naval Battle Gameloft 2008-02-04
Chess & Backgammon Gameloft 2008-02-04
Yahtzee Hasbro 2008-02-11
Pirates of the Caribbean: Aegir's Fire Disney 2008-02-20
Bubble Bash Gameloft 2008-02-25
Scrabble Electronic Arts/Hasbro 2008-03-03
Bejeweled PopCap Games 2008-04-15
Mahjong Electronic Arts 2008-04-22
Monopoly Electronic Arts/Hasbro 2008-06-03
The Sims DJ Electronic Arts 2008-06-09
Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes Square Enix 2008-07-08 24000
Uno Gameloft 2008-07
Mystery Mansion Pinball Gameloft 2008-08
Chalkboard Sports Baseball D2C 2008-08
Spore Origins Electronic Arts 2008-08-25
Star Trigon Namco 2008-09
CSI: Miami Gameloft 2008-09
Tamagotchi: 'Round the World Namco 2008-11
Asphalt 4: Elite Racing Gameloft 2008-12
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Electronic Arts 2008-12
Real Soccer '09 Gameloft 2008-12
Slyder Adventures Sandlot Games 2008-12
Reversi Apple Inc. 2008-12
Wonder Blocks Gameloft 2008-12
Lode Runner Hudson Soft 2008-12
Crystal Defenders Square Enix 2008-12
Chinese Checkers Apple Inc. 2008-12
Trivial Pursuit Electronic Arts/Hasbro 2008-12
Cake Mania 3 Sandlot Games 2009-02
Project: Fun with Children Happy Funsoft TBA
These are the games that originally came with an iPod.
iPod version Titles Publishers
iPod 1G, 2G Brick (also called Game) Apple Inc.
iPod 3G, 4G, 5G, and 5.5G; iPod Nano 1G and 2G; iPod Mini 1G and 2G Brick, Music Quiz, Parachute, Solitaire Apple Inc.
iPod Nano 3G; iPod Classic 6G iQuiz, Klondike, Vortex Apple Inc.
iPod Nano 4G; iPod Nano 5G Maze, Klondike, Vortex Apple Inc.
iTunes has come under much criticism due to the UK price of iPod games, GB£3.99 (about US$7.40). Many people from the UK have given the games 1* ratings, stating that Apple is "ripping off" Britain.
A similar situation occurred in Australia, where the price is A$7.49, while the regular exchange rate ranges between A$5.00 and A$6.00.
Developers have criticized Apple for not creating a software development kit (SDK) for software developers to create new iPod games. This is likely to keep the digital rights management of iPod games closed. Although technically speaking this does not prevent the running an alternative OS on the iPod such as Linux, whereby for example there are ports of Doom that will run on fifth-generation iPods. Interestingly, running Linux on an iPod retains the music playing functionality of the device, while adding features such as the ability to create voice memos through the headphones.
When the iPod Classic and iPod Nano third generation were released, games which were bought formerly could not be synced to the new iPods. This made many consumers angry due to losing their investment.
It is also notable that after a download has been made for a game, it cannot be downloaded again unless a separate purchase is made for the same item. This is different behavior than applications downloaded on the App Store, which can be downloaded multiple times.
Some older iPod units are capable of using replacement firmware such as iPod Linux and Rockbox. These firmware projects can play many other games including a native port of Doom, and via a native port of the Game Boy emulator Gnuboy many other games including Super Mario, Tomb Raider, Mega Man, Kirby, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter, and hundreds more.