New iOS Game Aims to Conquer iPhone Addiction

Can't keep your smartphone out of your hands? You need Downside.

News by Pete Davison, .

Smartphone addiction: it's an all-too-common sight in modern society.

There you are, having a conversation with someone, and right in the middle of you extolling the virtues of your latest dungeon run in Final Fantasy XIV (or your best ever killstreak in Call of Duty, or the amazing combo you pulled off in Street Fighter, or...) your conversational partner reaches into their pocket, grabs their smartphone and starts scrolling through Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or all three. Or checking the football scores. Or generally just not paying attention to you and your fascinating stories.

(If this doesn't tend to happen to you, there's one of three distinct possibilities: you're the most sparkling conversationalist in the land; your friend doesn't have a smartphone; or you're the one fiddling with the smartphone in the middle of a conversation.)

If you're one of the people finding themselves increasingly annoyed by the sheer amount of dominance smartphones hold over our modern lives, then a new iOS game from mobile developer Collective Idea might be just the thing you need to encourage a bit of eye contact and conversation that doesn't involve autocorrect and touchscreens.

The concept is simple: one player hosts a game, and other players join, via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The game begins when all players have laid their phones face down on the table -- "on the downside" -- and the loser is the first to pick up their phone. Ridiculing and/or forcing said loser to take a shot of nasty vodka/eat a really hot chilli/foot the bill for the group optional.

The basic game is free but limits how many players can play at once. For $1.99, you can upgrade the game to support up to 10 players at once. There's even a selection of Game Center achievements to chase -- though most of them center more around how many times you've played rather than any actually interesting achievements. It is, however, somewhat difficult to imagine what more interesting achievements for a game based entirely around not touching your phone might look like, however, any suggestions?

Downside is available now from the App Store for free.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar for limbeckd #1 limbeckd 4 years ago
    I think a real game to combat phone addiction would periodically make your phone vibrate/make some notification noise, and reward you for not checking it.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #2 brionfoulke91 4 years ago
    This is the first iOS game I've ever actually been interested in.
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