What is the appeal of cell phone gaming?

Would someone please help me understand the appeal of regularly playing games on your cell phone? My Motorola V500's screen has a viewable area of 3 cm wide by 3.7 cm tall—the image bellow shows my V500 running Bejeweled. I can't image starring at this tiny space for hours playing a mobile game. Sure, I've played Jamdat's Bejeweled while waiting at the dentists' office, but only for a few minutes. I could never sit for hours trying to align tiny crystals on a cell phone, and I certainly wouldn't pay for the pleasure.

I'm a long-time gamer. I've played arcade, PC, console, and handheld games for the last 20 years. I also love gadgets. But the $2 billion mobile games market baffles me. I can understand gaming on an integrated PDA, cell phone, MP3 player device with a screen the size of Sony's PSP, but not a tiny 3 cm by 3.7 cm screen. Perhaps I'm over generalizing my own opinions. A mobile games business worth $2 billion means a great many do enjoy gaming on current cell phone technology. So I'm asking, what is so appealing about cell phone games? Please explain it to me. Please tell me why I should pay for an activity that is essentially a diversion while waiting for someone to clean my teeth.

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...