Sonic 4

I know a lot of you folks out there like games. I like them, too, and it's a big part of the reason I'm a fan of what NVIDIA has brought to Android with their Tegra chipsets. When you build the hardware and help developers optimize their software for it, you get something that works great, looks great, and is a load of fun. It's the reason that companies like Apple can have games and apps that perform so well without having great hardware specs. 

NVIDIA powered devices, especially ones with the new Tegra 3 chip, have great specs. They also have optimized software available for them, through the Market or places like the Tegra Zone. When you mix the two together, they really shine. 

Tonight, NVIDIA has set the bar a bit higher and is bringing a new set of Tegra optimized games to Market -- Sonic 4: Episode II, Golden Arrow THD, Dark Kingdom THD, Eden to GREEEEN THD, and Hamilton's Great Adventure THD. Hit the break to have a preview of each of them.


Sonic 4: Episode II

Sonic 4

Everyone loves Sonic. He's back, and the folks at Sega say that the Tegra 3 version runs every bit as good as it ever did on a Sega Genesis. Run through all new levels, collect all those rings, and beat Dr. Eggman in 720p. Check out the video clip:

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Golden Arrow THD

Golden Arrow THD

This combat game will be free to play, and there's co-operative as well as head-to-head gaming. The graphics look beautiful, the environment is rich, and it looks like a really exciting time for all. Expect it sometime this year, with a special version for Tegra 3 devices.

Dark Kingdom THD

Android Central

Dark Kingdom THD uses the NVIDIA PhysX engine to provide realistic physics and particle effects. It's a very high quality RPG with over 450 player skills, destructible objects and a great plot.  Check the video:

Youtube link for mobile viewing


Android Central

In this freemium game, alien machines have come to destroy what's left of the planet Eden. Fight back with flowers and other plants to recapture the planet. There's 20 different high resolution maps, and more will be available as app purchases.  Here's a video:

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Hamilton’s Great Adventure THD

Android Central

In this puzzle game, adapted from from Bitsquid’s DirectX 11 engine, you and your sidekick Sasha the bird have to solve puzzles and challenges to work your way through over 60 levels.  Tegra 3 scaling optimizations and the engine conversion make this one rival the experience you'd get from the PC version.

Youtube link for mobile viewing


Reader comments

Nvidia announces new Tegra 3 optimized titles, redefines mobile gaming


Not good for the Android community. More fragmentation like symptoms. If you want a certain game, you can't get this or that phone. If I get this phone, I can't play that? Really, is that where Android is headed. Imagine all the chip manufactures doing this, and two are already. No wonder people like the iPhone. Updates and all apps work with all versions except for the old stuff.
I love my android, but this direction sucks.

What are you talking about? If your phone doesn't have the hardware power needed to play the game, then what can you do about it? The 3GS cannot play iPad games, right? So what's the difference from Android?


If it were powerful enough to play the game well without using the multimedia extension set provided by NVIDIA, it could play them just fine. It's not. 

TI could help write applications that wouldn't play on the T3, for the same reason. The T7 could probably play them one day, but the current version doesn't have the comptutational horsepower to do it the hard way.

But this isn't fragmentation. There are still 599,994 apps in the Market not designed for the T3. This is just a small perk NVIDIA gives to people who have bought one, like HTC gives Sense widgets. Difference is, everybody wants NVIDIA's perks.

But don't worry, it's easy enough to write an interface layer to convert things away from NVIDIA specific extensions. Chainfire works well enough.

Jerry, I don't understand how you can feel this way.

It's perplexing that you could think that this is a matter of hardware performance (or lack thereof). I doubt very much that these games could be so demanding as to be incapable of being run on current hardware.

Sure, my Nexus S isn't going to get the job done. But outside of the proprietary T3 software it's difficult to imagine a high end Exynos or even an OMAP not being capable of running this. And if Chainfire is capable of porting/converting the game(s) (admittedly, I do not kow much about this process, so correct me if I am incorrect), then shouldn't that itself be evidence that whichever alternate hardware IS capable of running this, negating the "lack of harware performance" arguement?

If that is true, this leads me to think that it is simply to corner the market by producing games which can only be run on "X" hardware. And it's hard for me to see you getting behind a notion such as that, as I know you're a champion of the open nature of Android, and this seems to go very much against that.

While I am hesitant to label this as "fragmentation," my understanding is that a large number of developers are attracted to iOS for this very reason, that they need not worry about hardware incompatibilities. And this is encouraging that.

Sorry for the rant, but this is something that I very strongly feel is a key issue with the progression of Android as a whole.

I competently agree, most Fragmentation FUD exploiters get it wrong. However this is true fragmentation.

Dual Core has barely been on the market, and Nvidia is basically skipping the Dual Core phones/tablets and going straight into producing games that seems to only work on Tegra3. I own a GNex, and I really hope that Nvidia/developers can open high quality games that I can actually install, because I know the hardware is capable, but since it is not a Tegra chip, I can't play the game...pretty ridiculous.

I wouldn't worry, that was always the issue people had with Tegra 2 and most games are out for all phones now. Same will happen here, I would say just consider them exclusive to Tegra 3 for a short while or if you're impatient, Chainfire them, but especially a GNex, you won't be out the loop almost for sure.

New games should be optimized for dual core Snapdragon, Tegra and Exenos processors. Nvidia is contributing to Android fragmentation. You have to use a scorescard to keep track of which apps will be compatible with which tablets and phones. Android users will become frustrated when new games won't run on their shiny new phones and tablets.

I get what you are saying with fragmentation, but i totally disagree. A better way to look at it is that this hardware is pushing the envelope. Ask yourself this... if these games are not capable of being played on anything but a Tegra 3 chip or a new Snapdragon processor should we not make them available because someone with a certain phone can't play it? Quality games push the hardware environment. Nvidia is working to open up games that were not available on any mobile device. If we can now play these on only certain systems then so be it. I can play some games on my Transformer prime that can;t be played on my regular Transformer or on my Samsung galaxy S2 soooo what! Boo hoo. I also couldn't play a new game on my old Pentium2 computer. This is how advancements are made. One company makes a new chip that does things that the last chip doesn't. Then choose one of the other 900 games to play instead and stop crying.

This is fragmentation plain and simple. Nvidia fan boys obviously aren't gunna admit it. I could throw a million reasons out there how its fragmentation. Like, if blizzard made chip specific do you think that would fly for a second with the community? Sure your gunna have hardware compatibility problems but the games sure aren't developed intentionally to exclude anyone.

No u can't play games on systems that are 10 years apart. But the innovation of console gaming and mobile devices are completely different. If mobile devices hope to take the part of desktops and laptops the plan of attack needs to be the same. Nothing should ever be hardware specific.

Loads of software is hardware specific on personal computers. Try to easily load FFVII for PC on a winxp-win7 machine. Not an easy task, AND the hardware is completely capable. People want subpar hardware to be capable of pushing new software but the unfortunate reality is that you CAN run new software on old hardware... but it will run like crap. THEN will you be happy that you spent money on a game that runs like crap on your old phone or tablet?

"Does it run Crysis" became popular for a reason... clearly not everything runs it well.

The games vs. mobile is actually a better comparison that I had originally thought. Nvidia did exactly what Sony and Microsoft does for their hardware except Nvidia does it for any device with their CPU in it... They got exclusive games. Apple has exclusive titles, the Amazon app store has exclusives. Why this has anything to do with fragmentation in android is beyond me. Exclusive content and old hardware incapable of running new software has been around since consumer technology itself.

I think it's absurd that manufacturers are making hardware-specific games. We get it. You want to lure potential customers to your platform. But where does that get android as a whole?

Of course you could argue that they have every right to offer whatever games they're willing to write on whatever hardware they choose. But lets be real, this was done with a financial agenda. As I doubt (very much in fact) that the current Gen high end hardware would be utterly incapable of running these games in a respectable manner, save for the T3 specific coding. Which of course was put there to maintain exclusivity, and not because of hardware limitations.

I'm sure many games will be written (or perhaps already have been) which will at least match these in necessary processing power. Thus, I'm calling bullshit on the hardware limitation, again when that is quantified as pure processing muscle of course.

This practice goes against the nature of android as a whole, and should not be supported. Fuck exclusivity, especially when it's motivated by profit. It only drags the community down, and a strong and open community is what has gotten android where it is, and why it WILL eventually overtake the competition.

I love my Galaxy tab 10.1, but I still rather play Sonic 4: ep. 2 on my Xbox 360 but I do love what they are doing for mobile gaming.

I think that the fact that the Tegra2 chips are not able to play these games does in fact show that there is some real hardware capabilities that are in the T3 chip that just does more than a standard high end dual core chip.