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Tips on Using the iOS9 Game Center

The point of an arcade machine was to try and get the high score. You spend hours of your time and dozens of your quarters learning everything about the game so that you can proudly say you’re the best. At least until it was time to turn the machine off and lose all those scores.


Modern gaming has come much further. If only because modern games remember things for longer. Leaderboards and achievements are stored electronically online and never lost. It gets better too because these achievements can be shared with your friends and other people who enjoy the same kind of games you do.

The Game Center is Apple’s take on multiplayer gaming social networking. As you’d expect it’s proven to be quite popular and tens of millions of people use the service. The large number of iOS games that support it are a big reason why.


Some games will give you the chance to compare scores with your friends and compare and compete for achievements. You also earn Game Center points as you play similar to an Xbox Live Gamerscore. It also helps people play multiplayer games. It has support for both turn based games and live games like Letterpress and Asphalt 8. You can use Game Center to compete directly with your friends or just get paired up with someone with your skill level. Here’s a bit more about the Game Center.


  1. The Me Screen

The Game Center is all about you with the Me screen. It shows you important information and gives you access to the rest of the Game Center. You have the option of making the Me screen a little more “you” by adding a catchphrase or a profile photo. The photo can be one from your library or you can take a brand new one.


  1. Make some Friends

When you’ve added some friends you can sort your friends list alphabetically, in the order you made them, or how many points they have. You can also select a friend to compare scores and achievements with them.


Making a friend is pretty easy. Just tap the + button to open the Friend Request window, then enter their Game Center ID or email address, along with a message. Then press send and wait. When you receive a request it appears above the button you use to order the friend list and you can accept or reject requests from there.


  1. The Games Collection

Opening up the Games tab gives you a list of your games as well as recommended games, also known as adverts. There is also a text field where you can search for games directly. This is a big help when the only way to order the games is in reverse-chronological order.


Each game has an icon and shows you when you last played it as well as the number of achievements you have in that game and how many there are available. You can tap the game to access the leaderboards.


  1. All About Scoreboards

The pages for the game vary by game. You will get access to a Leaderboard of high scores, achievements (basically one-off challenges in a game that give you Game Center points) and a list of Players, or friends who also own the game. There are some games that have more than one scoreboard and in that case you will have to pick which leaderboard you want to access. When you open up a leaderboard the scores on the top will be the scores of your friends.


  1. Dealing with Alerts

If you play games a lot you’ll have to turn down the notifications before they drive you insane. It’s pretty easy to do. Start by accessing the Settings, click Notifications, and then access Game Center. From there you can choose when and how you are alerted. A good start is turning off all sounds. The individual games you play will often notify you in their own ways. Some of which may be spammy and annoying. They can be turned down in this way too.


  1. Beat the Challenges

You can find challenges in the Challenges tab. You can Play Now to take the challenge or, if you don’t own the game, you can purchase it from this screen. Of course you can also decline the challenge. If you want to Challenge your friends just select an achievement or score to challenge them on and tap Challenge Friends.


If you want to challenge and individual friend then open the Players page, select Send a Challenge, and then issue your score or achievement challenge to them.

  1. Take Turns

Different turn-based games work in different ways. Though many of them do use the Game Center. While you can receive notifications about moves and challenges, you can also access a list of recent moves, including in currently active games, through the Game Centers Turns tab. Making your move is as simple as tapping on the active game and selecting Play to open the game and make your move.


  1. Setting Up

The Settings tab has a whole range of options for Game Center that you need to check out before you use the service. You can select the Apple ID and if your profile is public or private. You can also choose which contacts are used to give you friend recommendations.


Controlling invites is also important. If you turn Allow Invites off then people won’t be able to invite you to join in a new game. If that’s the case then you have to invite them, assuming they themselves have Allow Invites activated.


  1. How to Delete Games

Data from games is also deleted from your device when you uninstall the app. When a game uses Game Center you have the option of keeping your scores. These scores are then put back in the game should you download it again.


Other data, such as how far you’ve progressed, depends on if the game backed up that data to an online service like iCloud or Dropbox.

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