I. Warming up

1. Are you a fan of computer games? Which devices do you use to play games – you desktop computer, your portable computer, your mobile phone etc.?

2. Do you subscribe to paid game services?

3. Have you ever played networked games?

II. Reading

Read the text and consider the questions below.

iPhone Games

By C. Holgate

I declared quite publically around a year ago that I was refusing to select an iPhone as my next contract phone, not due to the fact that I consider it a poor piece of technology but rather that it would have immediately made me ‘one of those’ people.

You know the type; you’re busy minding your own business but they’ll sit next to you and force you to endure a daily demonstration of the latest app that they’ve downloaded. They do this with such a self assured smugness that you’d swear that they’d invented the iPhone, not had it handed to them by their mobile phone provider.

I am starting to get a little envious however…

It seems there are more to these apps than initially meet the eye; after years of dominance, both the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS portable games consoles are starting to lose ground to, bizarrely enough, a phone.

After just a few years in the industry, the Apple iPhone boasts over 21,000 game apps compared to the Nintendo DS which has over 3,500 titles or the Sony PSP which has just over 600. In defence of the Sony PSP, the majority of those 600 titles are large games created by recognised software houses whereas the majority of the 21,000 iPhone games are ‘bite-sized’ two quid offerings.

Personally I have always been of the disposition that if you are going to play a game on a mobile device then you probably want it bite sized anyway as you’re unlikely to get enough uninterrupted time to get immersed in a monster sized game. That having been said, with the latest iPhone boasting a faster processor and third generation Operating System there are already some fairly staggering games coming to market and some serious money is being pumped in to future game development.

The method of game distribution is also one of the primary advantages the iPhone has over the competition. The Sony PSP for example uses mini optical discs that not only do users have to carry around with them but additionally distributors have to worry about the costs involved in producing and distributing the software to the gamer. The iPhone by comparison stores games in the internal memory of the phone and users simply download games directly from the Apple website rather than buying them in a more cumbersome physical format.

It will be interesting to see how the turning fortunes of Sony and Nintendo will affect any planned successors to the DS or PSP and it is becoming apparent that dedicated portable gaming systems may have their days numbered. Unfortunately for Nintendo this is a market that they have relied on heavily since they released the GameBoy back in 1989 and they are ill positioned to launch a competing product to the iPhone. Sony Ericsson however remains a formidable force in the mobile phone market it can surely only be a matter of time before they retaliate with their own hybrid device.


1. What do you personally think of people who enjoy demonstrating the latest apps on their mobiles and other portable devices?

2. Compare games for portable consoles and iPhone games.

3. What are the advantages of distributing games for iPhone?

III. Focus on the language

Think of a device or gadget that you are no longer satisfied with and would like to replace/upgrade. Complain about its drawbacks and explain why it is necessary to change it using the following words and expressions.

A poor piece of technology, to endure (a daily demonstration), a self assured smugness, to get a little envious, to lose ground to, to be of the disposition that, to worry about the costs, to become apparent, to have one’s days numbered.

IV. Problem solving

1. Dwell on the issue: The future of iPhone game development.

2. Agree or disagree: Dedicated portable gaming systems may have their days numbered.

V. Useful tips for your presentations

> To learn to argue effectively, read the following tips.

> Arguments don’t have to be hurtful, but they can easily turn that way if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are several techniques and tricks you can try, which will allow you to get your point across without turning the discussion into a full-on fight. The ability to argue effectively is actually a great skill to learn, and can come in handy in a wide variety of situations, giving you the confidence to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Remember to pick your battles though – some things just aren’t worth arguing over!


1. Play fair. Odds are you know exactly how to push the other person’s buttons, but it’s important to resist if you want to have a civil argument. Resolve that no matter how upset he or she makes you, you will not say the one thing you know would push the argument over the edge.

This is easier said than done, especially when your emotions are running high in the moment. Resolve before the argument begins that you will not cross certain boundaries, and try to stick to those rules no matter how you feel.

Don’t rub it in. Part of playing fair is knowing when to quit. If you’ve “won” the argument and made the other person agree with you, stop right there. Continuing to talk about how you’re right might only stir up another argument.

Listen. Resist the urge to simply talk over the other person until he or she gives up, and actually listen to what’s being said. Don’t interrupt, and don’t try to cut the other person off.

Respect what the other person has to say. An argument has to be two-sided, if you fail to hear the other side out, they will return the gesture and not listen to you. Refuting a person’s opinion is fine, but refusing to hear it makes a debate pointless.

2. Divide and conquer. Discuss one issue at a time, covering everything you want to say about it. When it’s been settled or you’ve reached an impasse, move on to the next topic.

Don’t allow subject changes. The other person might try to change the subject in order to cover up a mistake. Many people, when proven wrong in some area, will rather be dismissive of their mistake rather than acknowledging their error. Either leave the argument if the person refuses to acknowledge mistakes (i.e “It doesn’t matter”, “Whatever, that’s my opinion.”, etc), or insist they acknowledge their error.

Stop thinking about what you are going to say next. You cannot possibly anticipate every possible point a person will say, so as such you will likely fail to create points relative to the other’s. Just stick to what you’re focused on right now.

3. Don’t get emotional. If you allow yourself to become angry, you will be less effective at arguing your points, as you will be more susceptible to logical fallacies and misdirection. You will also be less convincing to the other party as well, as it is human nature to oppose threatening figures; as such any point you make that is angrily directed at someone will be ignored, no matter how logical it is.

Use your words, not your tone. Say things like, “When you say that, I feel…”, or, “It hurts me when you…”. This makes the other person feel like they are not at fault, and they don’t have to become defensive. If you said to them, “I hate it when you…”, it makes them feel like they have to defend themselves and both of you end up getting more angry and farther from a resolution.

4. Watch out for rhetorical fallacies. Most people start using fallacies when they’re losing an argument, especially because few people have a solid understanding of rhetoric. Be on the lookout for fallacies, and point out why they’re false when you catch one. The other person might be forced to re-examine their own reasoning for disagreeing with you.

5. Know when to wrap it up. If you’ve been talking for a long time and neither one of you is budging, consider calling it a day. There are some arguments you can’t win, no matter how good your argument is, if the other person isn’t willing to rethink the problem. If you know when to quit, you might still be able to preserve the relationship.


VI. Working on the project

1. Role play the argument: a fan of mobile phone games vs. a portable games console fan. Follow the useful tips above.

2. Role play the situation: Your friend has downloaded a new app on their phone and keeps boasting about it, which irritates you greatly. Follow the useful tips above.