Get the Most from Apple’s Game Center

Though Apple’s Game Center has been around for quite some time now, it’s still a mystery to many users. For example, my own family eschews Game Center, because they don’t see the point. Though my brother plays games, he hasn’t signed up for Game Center, and the same goes for my husband.

I think many other people are in this same situation, unfamiliar and uninterested in Game Center. That’s a shame, though, because it has quite a few uses. If you want to get more use out of Game Center, read through this article, which covers the ins and outs of Game Center, how to use it, and how to get the most out of it.

The Basics

First of all, let’s cover the basics. Apple’s Game Center is a lot like Microsoft’s Xbox live. It’s a place to keep track of the games you’ve played, and it’s also a way to compare your game scores to the scores of your friends and family. It’s your one stop gaming shop.

Game Center uses your Apple ID, so it’s easy to set up. Every individual Apple ID has its own associated scores, achievements, and friends. Make sure you’re connected to the correct account by tapping the “Me” icon to see which account is signed in.

When you first sign up for Game Center, you’ll need to create a nickname. This is what people will know you by and how people will find you, so make sure to personalize it. You’ll also need to add in some other cursory information such as your birthdate, but it’s a simple process.

All About You

The “Me” section of Game Center is the heart of the app, and this is where you will find your games, your points and your number of friends. You’ll see app icons all around the page – you can click these to find new games.

This is also where you will be able to enter personal statuses and change your Game Center photo.

Achievement Points

Let me take a moment to explain the points section of the app. Some of the games that you play, which have Game Center support, come with achievements or goals to earn in the game. When you earn these goals, you’re rewarded with points, which are added up in Game Center.

Your points don’t result in any rewards, but it is fun to see how your points match up against those of your friends and family. For example, if you play Fruit Ninja, you can see how many points you have compared to your mom, your cousin, your brother, or your best friend, and you’ll know who the Fruit Ninja champion is.

Even if you’re not competitive, it can be entertaining to see how you measure up. If you are competitive, it’s a delight to beat other players at single player games simply by earning more points.

Friends

While the “Me” section of the app contains all of your points, you’ll find the same in the friends section. Your friends will be ranked by their achievement points, and below that, you’ll see a listing of the top Game Center players in the world. Some of these people have millions of points, which is an impressive feat.

When you tap on the name of a friend, you’ll see what games you have in common and how you guys match up. Checking out the games that your friends play is a great way to find new content.

To add new friends, you’ll need to use the “Request” tab. In this section, you can send a friend request to any contact, or to any email address or Game Center ID.

Games

If you click on the “Games” tab, you will see a list of all the games you have downloaded and played. You can tap on a game to see more about it, and get a list of your friends that have played the game.

This section also has a list of recommended games, which is based on games that your friends have played. Tapping any of these will tell you more about the game, and will let you purchase it from within Game Center.

Challenges

This is a fun part of the app. You can challenge your friends to beat your high scores in games by tapping on a friend’s name or game score. This works for any game that has leaderboard support, and leaderboards are your ranking within a particular game.

Playing Single Player Games

Once Game Center is attached to your Apple ID and you’ve picked a username, it will sign you in every time you play a Game Center compatible game, and keep track of your score automatically. You don’t need to do anything but play your favorite games and rack up the points.

Playing Multiplayer Games

The best part about Game Center is that you can use it to connect with your friends to play both cooperative and competitive games. You might think you can use the Game Center app itself to initiate multiplayer games, but that’s not how it works.

Instead, when a game has multiplayer capabilities, you’ll select that option from within the app, and then send a game invite to a Game Center friend when the window pops up. All multiplayer gaming is done within the game that you’re playing, rather than in Game Center.

You can also use Game Center to play matches with random people, if you’re in need of a quick fix and don’t have a friend available. Game Center matches you up with other players automatically, so there’s always someone that you can play with.

Summary

In summary, all you need to do to make use of Game Center is to make an account, sign in, and play games.

It’s super handy when you come across a multiplayer game, because if a Game Center friend has the same game, you can play together, or play with a stranger.

Game Center is also great if you like to keep track of your game achievements and scores, and then share them (or brag about them) with friends and family. It’s a great way to make iOS game playing into a social experience, so if you haven’t given Game Center a try, you should check it out.

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About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • http://twitter.com/GameCenterGames Game Center Games

    That’s a shame because I love Game Center. This is an awesome how to though. Keep up the great work. I think if Apple took it a little more seriously and gave it a redesign then it could really take off eve more.