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Which is the best gaming PDA? Page 2: PalmOS

3Comís Palm series is currently the best selling PDA on the market, and HandSpringís new Visor is quickly gaining support. The overall hardware has changed very little over the years. The screen is still 160x160 with 4 shades of gray, although the new PalmIIIc supports 256 colors. At first glance this might seem like a poor gaming system, but keep in mind that the specs are similar to the original GameBoy. The obvious benefit with Palm is that as the market leader, it has an overwhelming number of developers mass-producing 3rd party software to ensure that the platform will remain a success for a long time. The processor is a bit slow for CPU intensive tasks, and the small screen might be constraining, but already some excellent games have been produced.

There are literally hundreds of simple games to choose from, everything from solitaire to chess to action games. This will appeal to the casual game player, but there are also some high-end games that are pushing the envelope of what the Palm can do.

Palm Creation's Dragon Bane shows off some nice graphics in their first person role-playing game. The game is similar to the early D&D computer games, where the playerís team must explore the map, battle monsters, and solve puzzles.

The immensely popular Kyleís Quest by Kyle Poole has almost a cult following. It follows in the console style of role-playing games, where the character walks around on the overhead map. The best feature of this game is that players can create their own complete adventures using the win95 level editor. Over 25 different levels are currently available, each with their own graphics, monsters, and storyline. The high replayability of Kyleís Quest makes it a classic.  

SkeneSoft recently released a game called Ancient Red, with impressive graphics and gameplay like the PC game Diablo. This game truly showcases the capabilities of the Palm.

WhiteHorse Games recently released Tiger Woods PGA Golf, licensed from EA Sports. This is a top quality commercial game, with great graphics and gameplay. With a big PC gaming company like Electronic Arts backing game development for PalmOS, perhaps we will soon see more high quality games begin to appear.  

With the limitations of the screen size and slow processor, there is only so much that game developers can do. However, the Palmís main strength is the popularity of the device and strong developer support. The hardware design also has several advantages over other systems. The Palm has both keys and a touch screen to use as input, allowing the developer and often the player the choice of which to use. Sophisticated games have only just begun to appear on this platform, and we are sure to see more in the near future.

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