Review: F!RST Mobile App A New Home For Gamers
By Malik Forté on October 28, 2013
When I’m not happily zapping my brain away in one of the many wondrous video games out there, nine times out of ten I’m most likely talking about video games. It’s what I do; I like to be on the frontiers of the game culture because I eat, sleep, and breathe most of the things the game medium has to offer. To go along with that, I also have an affinity for technology. The latest thing I’ve had my eye on combines everything I just mentioned: a nice new mobile application that’s specifically geared toward game fanatics. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you F!rst.
Red Robot Labs launched this mobile-exclusive online community on Android and iOS recently, giving game nerds like myself a new on-the-go solution for instant, streamlined game discussions. The spawn of Mike Ouye, Peter Hawley, and former head of Gamespot and Metacritic for CBS Interactive John Davison, F!rst was created to provide a singular home on mobile devices for the many game conversations divided across different internet destinations. It’s, in essence, a sanctuary for game discussion, so if you’ve been on Reddit (/r/gaming), NeoGaf, or 4Chan, you’re not going to be a stranger to the exchanges found on F!rst.
What differentiates this one is that F!rst caters explicitly to mobile devices, whereas the aforementioned communities are primarily web based. Some may view the lack of a web client as a potential deal-breaker, but this actually works to the app’s benefit. Mobile adaptations for web-based communities tend to feel like diluted experiences adjusted to fit their respective devices and the contrast of the limitations between the mobile and web versions make these applications feel inferior. F!rst is simple, quick, and feels as native to mobile devices as your typical stock messaging and email applications.
I spent a considerable fraction of my gaming life on message boards and forums, so upon observing F!rst’s thread-like format, I was instantly sold on how pretty-yet-message-board-ish and intuitive it was. From the get-go, users are greeted with the most popular post from around the community. Touching the F!rst logo at the top of the app will access a menu that allows you to view recent posts, posts that you’ve favorited (signified by a star), your personal profile, or any channels that you’ve subscribed to within the community.
Our good friends “#” and “@” function just as we’re accustomed to on most social networks, with “#” serving as a hashtag for categories and “@” serving as a direct connection to usernames. Users can subscribe to both hashtags and usernames to follow any involving post. As seen to the left, the Nerdist hashtag has already gained itself a subscriber early on, all humble-bragging intended.
Ultimately, if F!rst aims to be the cream of the crop, it will greatly depend on the class of community it harbors. The sleek, easy-on-the-eyes design is there, the application is intuitive and easy to browse and/or post content on, and there are currently no obstructive adverts to pester you while you explore the community (though this obviously may change in the future). If F!rst can grab the attention of dedicated game enthusiast who enjoy sharing their passion for the medium, it can potentially become one of the leading mobile communities catered to this demographic.
I highly recommend anyone who enjoys a good old-fashion game discussion to give the application a download. You can grab it from the Google Play Store here or from the iTunes store here. Oh, and when you hop onto to the app, feel free to tell folks that Nerdist sent you there.