As a kid of the early nineties, I naturally grew up with my trusty Nintendo Game Boy. I spent countless hours helping Mario rescue the princess, getting the highest score in Tetris, and racing my friends in RC Pro-Am via link cable. I took this awesome piece of hardware with me everywhere and every time I could. My passion for games made me want to create my own worlds and share them with my friends. I started programming on the PC but soon found out that I couldn't transfer my little masterpieces to the Game Boy. I continued being an enthusiastic programmer, but over time my interest in actually playing video games faded. Also, my Game Boy broke . . .
Fast forward to 2010. Smartphones are becoming the new mobile gaming platforms of the era, competing with classic dedicated handheld systems such as the Nintendo DS or the Playstation Portable. That caught my interest again, and I started investigating which mobile platforms would be suitable for my development needs. Apple's iOS seemed like a good candidate to start coding games for. However, I quickly realized that the system was not open, that I'd be able to share my work with others only if Apple allowed it, and that I'd need a Mac to develop for the iOS. And then I found Android.
I immediately fell in love with Android. Its development environment works on all the major platforms, no strings attached. It has a vibrant developer community happy to help you with any problem you encounter as well as comprehensive documentation. I can share my games with anyone without having to pay a fee to do so, and if I want to monetize my work, I can easily publish my latest and greatest innovation to a global market with millions of users in a matter of minutes.
The only thing I was left with was actually figuring out how to write games for Android and how to transfer my PC game development knowledge to this new system. In the following chapters, I want to share my experience with you and get you started with Android game development. This is of course a rather selfish plan: I want to have more games to play on the go!
Let's start by getting to know our new friend: Android.
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