The iPad can be considered the perfect gaming system. Here are some of all-time favorite iPad games. First, take a look at the gaming landscape. Several types of games are available (some ported over from iPhone and some customized for iPad; price noted if not free):

  • Arcade games include apps such as Arcade Bowling, Pinball Arcade ($0.99), and Foosball HD ($2.99).

  • Kids' games are sometimes educational, but almost always entertaining. These include Ace Kids Math Games, Addition UnderSea Adventures, and Word Monkey ($1.99).

  • Card and board games, such as Astraware Solitaire – 12 Games in 1 by Handmark, Inc. ($0.99); Mahjong Epic HD; and Payday Roulette ($1.99).

  • Adventure games like Animals vs. Zombies (see the figure), Everest: Hidden Expedition, AirAttack, Amazon: Hidden Expedition, and Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter.

  • Sports games, such as X Games SnoCross, Stick Golf, and Pool Bar – Online Hustle.

    Animals vs. Zombies: May the best animal (thing?) win!

    Animals vs. Zombies: May the best animal (thing?) win!

Narrowing down choices to just a few must-have games is hard because everyone likes different kinds of fun. To add to the choices, there are both iPhone- and iPad-engineered games you can use on your iPad, and more are coming out all the time. If you have a third-generation (or later) iPad, you might want to look for games that are optimized for the new Retina display.

Still, the following list is a sampling of six recommended games for you to try that won't break the bank:

  • SCRABBLE for iPad ($4.99): You remember SCRABBLE, that favorite old board game that can let you shine or put you to shame for your spelling and vocabulary skills? SCRABBLE is now available on iPad, and it's hot.

    Shake your iPad to shuffle tiles. Use the drag-and-drop motion to play your letters. Want to share the fun? Reach out to your Facebook friends to take the game to the multiplayer level.

    Figure 8-2: SCRABBLE is awesome on iPad.

    Figure 8-2: SCRABBLE is awesome on iPad.
  • Broken Sword – The Smoking Mirror ($3.99): This classic adventure game lets you virtually become the main character to experience all the game has to offer. Great art and animation distinguish this game, and the iPad version (see its description in the Game Center Store) has a handy hint system you'll appreciate.

    Broken Sword is a classic game updated from its iPhone version for iPad.

    Broken Sword is a classic game updated from its iPhone version for iPad.
  • Civilization Revolution for iPad ($6.99): If you like a world-building type of game, you'll find Civilization Revolution right up your alley. It's been fine-tuned for iPad to be even better than the iPhone version. The game also offers a feature called Scenario Creator, which lets you create your own unique challenges, essentially allowing for unlimited variety in the game.

  • Flight Control HD ($4.99): Ever wanted to be an airline pilot? This game gives you a taste of the experience. Create flight paths that ensure your plane lands safely. A favorite with iPhone gamers, this one translates well to iPad. This game has lots of multiplayer options, including the option of using a split screen to keep both players in the action.

  • Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge for iPad ($4.99): A point-and-click adventure game classic on iPhone, in its iPad incarnation, Monkey Island has great graphics and sound, and an engaging story at its heart. If you like adventure games, don't miss this one.

  • Angry Birds HD ($0.99): This game has become a cult — you can even buy Angry Birds stuffed animals. Use little birds to attack pigs and smash them in a variety of intriguing and oddly satisfying ways. You have lots of levels to work your way through, but don't worry; if you get stuck, the Mighty Eagle is there to help you out!

    Angry Birds can become addictive.

    Angry Birds can become addictive.
  • tChess Pro ($7.99): This game is another app designed for iPhone that works just great on iPad. You can play against the computer or another player. You can modify the appearance of the chess pieces. It even sports features that help chess beginners learn the game painlessly, but more advanced players will enjoy it as well.

As well as costing money, games take up a lot of memory, so choose the games you buy wisely. If you no longer want to play a game, delete it from your iPad to save space, keeping a backup on iCloud or via iTunes on your Mac or PC in case you change your mind at a later date.

If you play games over the Internet with other players, remember to quit these apps when not playing to save resources and battery power.

Special mention: ComicBookLover isn't a game, but it's a blast of an app that most gamers can appreciate. The iPad screen is perfect for those bright, crisp graphics, and iPad's navigation tools let you swipe your way through the panes in several interesting ways.

This app uses CBR and CBZ files, which are available from various online sources. You can even scan your own comic books and graphic novels and use them with this app.

How to Find Cool iPad Games