Here are the games that I’ve been playing on my iPad which have been keeping me distracted from the cold, wet darkness of winter.
In this game you burn things. Toys and bricks and food and batteries and planets. For everything you burn you build up credit to buy more things to burn, which you order from catalogs. There is a plot that unfolds as you progress in the form of notes from your neighbor and updates from the weatherman as you cower indoors. This game is a criticism on video games and it skewers the way that modern games get you to obsessively play against odds and (spoiler alert) ultimately chides you for wasting your time playing this game. That said, I enjoyed every moment. The fire sound effects are soothing, each thing you burn has a different aspect or reaction (some scream, some explode) and it remains amusing throughout. The graphics are all lovingly created fun to toss around. You get a bonus when you burn things together from a pun-tastic list you can check off when you guess what “Duck Season” or “Nuclear Shave” means, which adds an extra completionist layer and will have you looking back through old objects to find a match.
This game manages to be simple fun while having you looking extra hard to find a deeper story, and you won’t be disappointed. The humor and a few subjects inside are not for young children. $4.99 in the App Store, see more at the Tomorrow Corporation website. Also for Windows, Mac and Linux.
This is a mysterious and emotionally dark exploration game based on Swedish folk tales. It starts without any guidance on how to play or where you are or what you are doing, all things you’ll uncover as you progress. It’s graphics and spooky atmosphere had me continue to poke around instead of giving up in frustration. The first time I played it I was on a plane and the guy next to me made a point to ask what I was playing, it really is that pretty.
One of the first objects you encounter doesn’t end up being used in the completion of the game but it does tie into the Companion game ,which is easy to simply not know about. The companion game is short but adds some explanation and depth to the original story and it, apparently, wasn’t released for a good long time after the main game which was a very interesting move.
This game deals with murder and ghost horses and dead babies and is really, really not for the young. $3.99 in the App Store, Year Walk Companion is free. Year Walk will also be available on Steam soon, see the Year Walk website.
This is a recent addition to the app store but I’d had a preview of it last year at the Seattle Indies Expo. The graphic in this game are all inspired by origami and in the game you actually unfold objects to go deeper, it’s a fresh and intuative and frankly gorgeous form of gameplay. That said the unhappy reviews of this game focus on the fact that it’s short, which is true (but it’s worth the price) and slow, also true but the only aspect I had a problem with. Your character moves from location to location at a fairly slow pace and the first time you run through a new land it’s great to have a chance to look around and admire the origami landscape. When you backtrack to solve a try something it takes a little patience, when you have to go back for the eighth time to move something into another position in the midst of solving a puzzle you get downright impatient. A form of double-click-to-run option would solve all this and in the end it’s a trivial complaint in the midst of a deeply beautiful game. Available in the App Store now, $4.99, pre-order for OS X and Windows is on now. See more at the Nyamyam site.
This is a new adventure game in the old school point and click style. Everything is hand drawn in a charming cartoon style and it’s set in a completely different world which is underground and dying out and guess what? That’s right! Your character is unwittingly set on the path to save it. I’ve loved this style of game since King’s Quest 1 and a thoroughly enjoyed this game, the gather-and-combine puzzles aren’t too obvious and aren’t too incomprehensible, the conversations with characters are funny (and skippable if you find yourself asking the same question), the world is quirky and unexpected. It’s a bit of a slower pace than (affect a “kids these days” tone of voice here) games these days but I loved it and played it in short bits as a sort of bedtime story for myself. There isn’t much objectionable in this game (it’s Despicable Me type grown up inside joke humor) but it probably won’t interest younger kids. $0.99 in the App store. Also available, DRM-free, for Windows and Mac on the Studio Fizbin website, it comes in German and English.
· comments  · 03-3-2014 · categories:technology ·
So, something in our house sprung a leak last weekend and I found water dripping down into my sewing room. We’ll be spending the week watching our ceiling get ripped out, dried up and rebuilt. We’ve been through this before and yes, it’s the same ceiling but a completely different cause this time. Let’s pretend none of this is happening and talk about video games instead!
I’m going to admit I have not finished this yet. I tend to play iPhone games in public situations (on the bus, waiting in line) and this one will require that you either have a keen memory or the ability to take down some visible notes (codes) to enter later on. That said, it’s worth playing with your headphones on as this mostly-text game uses audible as as well as visual cues tell a story, and the game requires you to rotate and tilt the screen to advance. This game is stylish and fun. It’s won a bunch of Best of 2013 awards and I agree. Awesomeness. $3.99 in the app store.
This is a fun combination of fill-in-the-word and future fiction. You are a viewer into a series of digital conversations between an all-seeing dictatorship, a rebel group and a friend caught in the middle. Your only clues are the context of the story you’re reading. It can be frustrating if you just cannot get one of the words and you are prevented from advancing. That said, if you just don’t know the answer it’s easy (too easy?) to Google and find a spoiler in return. This is one of those instances where if you love the story it’s worth engaging a friend to Google the answers and give you more gentle clues. $2.99 in the app store.
This is a simple game that uses Bluetooth to detect other players nearby and whoever reacts first can pick the others virtual pocket. It’s amazingly fun to get a notification of somebody nearby while you’re riding a bus or arriving at a party. But, there aren’t nearly enough players yet which is why I need you all to play. It’s got the potential to be epically fun. Free.
Home Sheep Home 2
I heart everything that Aardman Studios does so I’m a wee bit embarrassed that it took me so long to play their Home Sheep Home 2 puzzle platformer involving Shaun the Sheep and his usual suspects. In each screen you’ve got to solve some puzzles to get three sheep to the exit. Each sheep has a different ability, one jumps high, one pushes heavy things, one fits through small spaces, and you’ll need all three to solve each level. The soundtrack, humor, personalities of the sheep and the crisp sound effects make a very charming game that is balanced with just enough difficulty. As you progress there are new elements presented (gravity!) and as you play there are collectibles for us completionists. That said, if you tend to play casual games in a web browser some of the levels are available online: Underground, Lost In London, as well as the original Home Sheep Home. $.99 in the app store. (Home Sheep Home 1 is also available for $.99 but know that it’s a much shorter game.)
This is similar to Shaun the Sheep, you have to get the snail to the exit on each screen. You click to move things out of the way, manipulate gravity and the like and in each level there are three stars hiding. It’s not as stylized as Home Sheep Home but it makes my problem solving pleasure centers happy. You can play a bunch of Snail Bob games online for free and if you’d like to try it out Snail Bob 5, A Love Story is a good representation of what is in the iPhone game. $.99 in the app store.
· comments  · 02-24-2014 · categories:iphone · technology ·
Announcing The Walk Game — Andrea Phillips.
GameFace headset offers wireless, Android-powered Oculus Rift alternative | Joystiq.
The OUYA Doesn’t Actually Suck: How to Make the Indie Console Great. Emulators? PS3 controllers? Yes.
State of the Blog Union: How The Blogging World Has Changed | Design*Sponge. All these things are true, and I really like her optimistic conclusion. Still, RIP blogs as we knew them.
Cool Tools – Ulmon Offline Mobile Maps at Cool Tools. I use an app called Offmaps to save data usage and look forward to comparing these two against each other.
SteelSeries Stratus iOS 7 gamepad launches for $20 less than its pre-order price | Joystiq. Oh boy, I’d like one of these.
Size Matters | Slog. Two games to keep an eye out for.
Indie Shows Join Forces For Radiotopia | Public Radio Exchange. I seem to continuously be finding ways to seek out the best corners of public radio and so I’m thrilled that PRX has gathered them together here. Podcast lovers, this is a list you should take note of.
· comments  · 02-6-2014 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 11-22-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
I’ve been saving up a few games on my iPad for our upcoming trip
This is a Sega game from Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert an Double Fine Productions. I have not played it yet so I’m just hoping that the on screen controls all make sense. Yay for vintage games. (iTunes.)
The Walking Dead
What? I know, I have been holding onto this game for a long time. I played the first chapter and decided to keep it for the upcoming long plane ride. (iTunes.)
I actually played all the way through this and have been trying to forget all the good stuff so I can play it again. This game is so very charming and sweet, I actually played each level as a sort of bedtime story. This is a simple and entertaining point and click animated game. (iTunes, also on Android.)
Draw A Stickman Epic
I played through this before but they’ve added a levels and completeist elements since then. Also it’s all Halloween themed right now! (iTunes.)
This one is a suggestion on my part, I played the PC version of this a few years back and really really enjoyed it. I’m not sure how the on-screen controls will translate. In this game you are a little mermaid creature who wakes up with no memory and have to explore the underwater world, memories come back as you explore. There is a little combat but you can largely zoom past all the nasty creatures instead of fighting. (iTunes.)
Are there any iPad games you’ve been playing lately? Any that were surprisingly amazing?
· comments  · 11-4-2013 · categories:technology ·
Earlier this month I went to the Seattle Indies Exhibition. It’s a gathering of independent game designers who are showing off their upcoming projects and it happens during PAX. It’s free and separate from PAX so you don’t need a pass to get in. These are the games that caught my eye:
The Bridge by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. This started as a computer science student project and was further developed into a really interesting game. This is a logic puzzle game in which you can manipulate the position of the building as well as reverse the game in time as often as you’d like. It’s challenging and amazing and difficult to explain (go check out the trailer). The graphics are hand drawn in black and white and are stunning. Available now, Steam (Windows).
Tengami by Nyamyam. I’d love to tell you I played this game but I could only observe because it was the game that way always mobbed. It’s an adventure game set among Japanese fairy tails and involves pop-up book surprises. It was gorgeous and I must have it. In development, iOS, PC, Mac and Wii U.
Shaman by High Iron Studios. When I approached this table I was greeted by a man saying I was his target audience, Shaman is designed to appeal to girls because it has no violence. (I kept quiet about my character’s level in Borderlands 2. Not that I don’t appreciate a good non-violent game, mind you.) This game combines gorgeous comic books layout and graphics with exploration and gathering. You forge shields using a recipe like interface when you have the right components, then confront and attempt to cure a shaman that has been possessed. The recipes involve the elements of traditional Chinese medicine. This game wasn’t ready to play but there was a trailer showing while I talked with the game designer. The game will be released in six episodes starting later this year, PC.
Energy Hook by Happion Laboratories. This game is a little bit Spiderman with swinging physics and the city scape reminded me of Mirror’s Edge. You have a jetpack that gives your character some height and you can attach an Energy Hook to buildings and swing and jump. It’s a lot of fun. And I’m not just saying that because Jamie Fristrom let me sample the gameplay while wearing his Occulus Rift. You can currently do a post-Kickstarter to get Alpha access. Windows, Mac and Linux.
Festival of Magic by Snowcastle Games. I didn’t get a chance to play this but I was taken by the bright and appealing 3D graphics. This game is described as “adventure role-playing game in which the players must fight and farm their way to glory”. There is exploration, puzzle solving, combining materials for ammo and spells. This all sounded good but it sounded better when I found out this game uses turn-based combat. I’ll definitely be checking this out. Beta launch later this year. Nintendo Wii U, PC and Mac.
Buddy & Me by Sunbreak Games. This is a sidescrolling platformer and runner that is meant for kids and it’s called “an endless adventure about friendship”. Your character escapes into a dream where he’s joined by a large flying creature I was completely taken by the beautiful hand drawn graphics. If your character falls he’s lifted back onto the screen by some helpful little birds and the game continues, so there is little frustration involved. I might get this game for myself. Should be available soon. Android and iOS, mobile and tablet.
Redshift by Belief Engine. This is a timed escape game. Each go has a randomly generated map and countdown clock, between 3 and 5 minutes if I remember correctly. You need to run through the halls (of a nuclear power plant? I cannot remember!) to find three control panels. Your way is blocked by locked doors and fires, which you can pass by collecting objects. I am normally stressed out by countdowns but found this game engaging and fun. It’s not out yet but I’m keeping an eye out for it’s release. Android and iOS.
Go Plague Monkey! Go! by Sparsevector. This was a funny game where you play a plague infected money who must attack as many people as possible to spread the disease while avoiding police, CDC doctors and dogs. You collect power ups and have a random, open world to run around in. The graphics were cartoonish in a charming way and the game was hilarious to watch. Release later this year. Xbox Live Indie Games and Windows PC.
· comments  · 09-20-2013 · categories:technology ·
The other week I had the thrill of getting a peek inside Microsoft’s 3D Printing Lab. The visit was set up in the hopes that I’d tell you that Windows 8.1 will allow you to send items to any 3D printer as easily as you do to an ink printer. Clearly it worked.
They set aside a few hours (which is like years in Microsoft Time) to give myself and Louise from Mom Start a primer in 3D printing. Here is what I learned:
Right now there are two kinds of plastic that 3D printers use. ABS is a hard plastic while PLA is made from corn. PLA creates a more pliable final object but, just like compostable silverware, it cannot hold up to the heat of a dishwasher.
They had a few 3D printers set up to show us and, please forgive me here, I need to say that I’m working from my handwritten notes on the points below. I don’t have any personal experience with the machines and I very well might have stronger notes and/or opinions once I’ve used them.
– Makerbot Replicator 2. This can use standard spools of PLA plastic and has a nice large printing volume. It’s also for sale in the Microsoft store and let me just note that both Christmas and my birthday are coming up so if those who are close to me want to pool their money and get me something awesome and this is clearly a big hint right here.
– Cube 3D Printer. This is cute, sleek and comes in a few different colors and was presented as the one that would look nice inside a home office or kitchen (a point which I frankly found uninspiring). This one comes in at a lower price point but uses a proprietary system for their cartridges so you pay more for each ounce of finished object. It was mentioned that this one was easy to use and it’s won some awards so I’m curious to look into it further.
– UP Plus by PP3DP. This was presented as a low cost and high quality printer.
– Printrbot Jr. This one comes from a Kickstarter past, it’s low cost (under 1k) and might require a bit more know-how or basic determination and is perhaps a lower quality than higher priced 3D printers.
They also had a Form Labs Form 1 printer set up. This one prints from resin and instead of depositing melted plastic on a surface to build an object from the ground up it uses UV light from below to cure layers of resin from below so the object appears to grow from the liquid resin. Creepy! We didn’t get to see it in action but we did see a few final objects from it and they were smoother and more detailed than the other 3D printed objects we observed that day.
Above I talk about the cost of the printable plastic as a factor, but I’ll also mention that the people who work in the 3D Printing Labs mentioned that most things are printed hollow and use a minimum amount of plastic. While a kilogram of plastic can average $50 most printed objects they showed us were close to $6 in materials. I was a bit apprehensive of the materials cost until I took a sideways look at how much I’m willing to spend on yarn for cardigan that I have more fun planning and knitting than actually wearing. Looking at unit of cost divided by time spent planning and amount of fun had creating means that the cardigan costs way more. That said clearly the initial cost of a pair of knitting needles vs. a 3D printer is weighing in on the side of the knitters. Let’s just say both are expensive hobbies and it all depends on which one turns on your brain.
Earlier this year one of the keynote speakers at the Altitude Summit was Chris Anderson (former editor of Wired and one of Time’s Top 100 Thinkers) and he quickly brought the 3D printing thing to the gathered attendees by telling a story about being able to use his printers to make to-scale dollhouse furniture for his young daughters which they were then able to paint any way they wanted. As simplistic as that might come across it got me thinking. A family member of mine is an engineer and so I knew about 3D printing as a concept from an early age but that concept was always surrounded by the expectation of the object being an exacting part of a jet engine or a component in a high speed train brake system and at that point in time said printers were so expensive one couldn’t conceive of having inside one’s house. So this whole 3D printing for hobby and utility is still something I astounded by. (For the record I’ve been around long enough to have experienced the then-magical quality of a laserdisc player, though my family wasn’t the type to own a laserdisc. Wisely as it turns out.)
Let’s get back to the present. Right now there are a few online services like Shapeways, 3D Systems and even Staples that will take your file and mail you a final 3D printed object. This is great! But if you need to tweak and perfect things the delay of having something shipped to you vs. waiting 30 minutes for it to print out is clear. Most places also have makerspaces that offer use of 3D printers, here in Seattle we have Metrix Create Space and MakerHaus where you can rent time with the machine. (Further reading: Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab? at Make. You can find a makerspace directory over at Makerspace.com.)
In the future (as patents come to an end and the technology is more widely available) we’ll have an Open 3DP system that will allow us to print in substances like sugar, salt, clay, glass and bone. (Need personalized votive holders for an anniversary party? Bam.) The University of Washington apparently already has one of these in place and I really want to see what they’ve been making from it.
I mentioned above that I was aware of 3D printing as a kid but I think I first was really interested in what 3D printing could do when I saw the DIY sugar printer built by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories way back in 2007. Because sugar! Marginally edible! Also, the possibility of printed sugar skulls! So of course while I was jumping to ask about printing with chocolate. Turns out there is already an open source mod on Thingiverse that creates a chocolate extruder, and the lab at Microsoft showed me the extra bit and mentioned that they use it when somebody in the office has a birthday. Awesome. Then Emmett, who could have been introduced to us as the guy who thinks up the possible, mentioned the hint of a printable cheese. Ooooh, think what you could make! From cheese!
Next we were shown a few ways in which Microsoft is looking at making easily creating a 3D printable object available to anybody with a Windows machine. I’m not allowed to tell you about them, but I am allowed to tell you that all of them will be easy to grasp, simple to create and awfully cool.
We talked about all the practical things that 3D printers will bring about like needed parts to remote medical outposts and researchers in Antarctica as well as recreations of ancient objects for kids in classrooms to be able to hold and touch. I personally want to see the day when humanity can print a personalized cheese sculpture for somebody who is having a birthday while on the Space Station.
For the record: I was not paid to tell you about this, I just think it’s pretty cool. I did accept the can of sparking water that they offered me while we were on the tour.
Two videos that are primers on 3D printing: Will 3D Printing Change the World? at PBS and Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing at TED.
So of course I’ve been wandering around my house wondering what I would create with a 3D printer if I had simple access to one. Most of my ideas so far are practical – a little container to hold my favorite coffee scooper, a replacement part for the little leg that holds up my keyboard which broke off, and something perfect for holding an eggshell when you need it propped up to be painted. And definitely a 3D selfie.
What do you think of 3D printing becoming more and more available? Do you have any plans on what you’d print? Any annoying little problems that could be fixed if you just had the right thing?
· comments  · 09-16-2013 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 07-8-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
So, Google Reader is shutting down in three days. Have you left choosing a new reader until the last minute? Me too. I have some good news though, Feedly has been hustling and is now browser based and easy as pie to sign up for. Yay for procrastination. Feedly is becoming the hub for a bunch of other services too, you can read all about it right here.
Back up your Google Reader feeds. Go to the Google Reader homepage and click on the gear in the upper right hand corner of the screen and choose “Reader Settings”. You go to a page with tabs, click in Import/Export. At the bottom you’ll see “Expoert your data – Download your data through Takeout”. Click on that, it’ll take you to a new page. Wait for it to load and then click on the red “create archive” button. Download and you’re done, high five.
You won’t need this archive to migrate to Feedly, but you will want to have it. For posterity. Or in case you decide to use a different RSS reader.
Go to Feedly. If you’re like me and you have not signed up for Feedly yet you’ll see a page with the option for “One-click Google Reader Import”. Click on that, sign into your Google account, accept those terms and that’s it. You’re all finished. Sweet.
I don’t use Google Reader to bookmark and save my favorite posts. (I put them here on this site, a habit I started pre-RSS. Gasp this site is old.) But I will note that Feedly also imported the few things I did mark as favorites inside of Google Reader, so you won’t lose those bookmarks.
Digg is also racing to be the Google Reader alternative, see this article at Wired: Inside Digg’s Race to Build the New Google Reader. I’m curious to see how that will work out.
Update: Also see this guide to the best readers by GigaOM, and a tool to help you get all your data out of Reader from somebody who used to work on Reader, the reader_archive tool. Both via Waxy.
Another update: The equally easy to use Digg Reader is available now. Also, Anna at Door Sixteen also likes Bloglovin’.
What Google Reader alternative have you adopted? Do you use a reader? Or do you look for blog updates on Twitter and Facebook instead?
· comments  · 06-27-2013 · categories:technology ·
How To Use Feedly | whoorl.
3D-printable food? NASA wants a taste | Ars Technica. When can they print sushi?
The NewsBlur Redesign – The NewsBlur Blog. This is good news, it seems like NewsBlur was everybody’s choice to replace Google Reader but nobody seemed to be pleased about the way it used to look.
Self-Hosted Alternatives to Google Reader (and how to export your RSS feeds) – DarrenWasHere. A good round up of readers by web, desktop, and even those you install of your own server if you rent hosting space. Via Scott Andrew.
· comments  · 06-13-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
100 Websites You Should Know and Use | TED Blog. Via The Morning News.
TIGSource » Preview: Hiversaires. A very pretty looking game that I’m looking forward to, for iOS.
What I’m Using Instead of Google Reader | Slog. He lands on a paid option called NewsBlur, I’ll have to check this out.
Podcast recommendations | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great long, conversational podcast recommendations here.
swissmiss | iFontMaker. “iFontMaker is an iPad font editor allowing you to create typefaces with the iPad touch interface in a matter of minutes.” Neato.
15 DIY Gadgets You Can Make with Raspberry Pi | Brit + Co..
· comments  · 05-7-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
Last year I took part in a Bing Focus Group with a bunch of bloggers, which was a really interesting experience. We were invited to visit with Bing in one of the Microsoft buildings (as far as I remember they have fancy coffee machines and great views) and asked us about how we used search engines as bloggers as well as in our everyday lives, all with an eye towards how they could make Bing better. A large part of the conversation that day was how much Pinterest is a tool we as bloggers use and have come to rely on. As part of this concern Bing has added a Pin to Pinterest option right inside the Bing image search and they’ve also added a few handy search filtering options.
Great thing #1: There is no bookmarklet to install. Bing has the Pin It button right there on the image search result page. Easy as can be.
Great thing #2: For image searches Bing includes a set of filtering tabs at the top. I can look up Dalek dresses (I’m headed to a comicon next week so what to wear has been on my mind) and with one click I can sort out dresses that are red, then brown, then white. (Look at this one! Also, shout out to Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon where that photo was taken.) You can also narrow your image search by image size, vertical or horizontal layout and how people appear in the photo. Very handy.
Tip: If you are looking for something on a specific website you simply add “site:sitename.com” in your search options. So, say you were looking for Easter eggs on this here website you’d put “Easter eggs site:notmartha.org” (like so) in as your search. From there you can narrow down by color, size, etc. I find this particularly useful for when I’m shopping. Does Nordstrom have any yellow cardigans I’d like? Why, yes they do.
Great thing #3: Bing automatically links the image you’ve pinned back to the original, high quality image source. Proper attribution is a good thing and this makes it easy. When you’re in the early stages of research you can quickly Pin a bunch of images right through Bing and know that the link to the page you will want to find later on is there.
The Bing image search Pin to Pinterst option allows me to quickly gather images for inspiration and reliably keep the sources straight. Meaning I can be efficient and a little bit lazy at the same time. So darn useful.
This post was sponsored by Bing, all thoughts are my own.
· comments  · 04-22-2013 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 04-2-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
How can I most efficiently “spring clean” my laptop? | Ask MetaFilter.
Designing For The Modern Web. Via Swiss Miss.
Cool Tools – Linx. “This inexpensive construction kit uses simple plastic hubs to connect grocery store drinking straws. You can assemble quite large — and featherweight — structures in crystalline and geodesic designs.” This will make a great present and activity for our niece and nephews next time we visit.
3D printed cookie rollers | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I’ve seen plenty of 3D printed cookie cutters but I’m falling in love with the rollers here. Love the comparison between creating ancient things with modern tools.
· comments  · 02-20-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
I have a post up at Babble Voices about my recommendations for Seven iPhone Games to Keep You Occupied During a Long Flight. I picked both old and new games soley based on which ones I make sure are on my phone before I leave, these are my faves. Go take a look.
There were a few other games that I wanted to note but didn’t quite make cut for being airplane-ready, here they are:
This is the latest popular time waster. I didn’t include it because I have a love hate relationship with it, the levels become frustratingly pretty quickly and I do a lot of low-key rage quitting. But it always lures me back.
- Babylonian Twins
This is a platformer where you play twins who each have different skills. You can switch between them them to help each of the reach the end of a level. The game has an interesting history, it was originally created for the Amiga but never released but word of it spread from those few who played a demo and it became something of a legend. The game for iPhone has new graphics. I’m normally not a fan of platformers but I find each level combines plenty of exploration and puzzle solving. (Free lite version to try out.)
- Rolando & Rolando 2
Adorable graphics and great sound. I didn’t include these games in my list because the controls use the accelerometer and needing to turn and twitch your iPhone isn’t so convenient when squeezed into an airplane. I’m not sure if these have been updated for the Retina display.
- Cross Fingers
A game where you move wooden blocks inside a level. The sounds are nice and crisp and the visuals are pleasing. The game seems simple but can become challenging. I didn’t include this one because some levels require you to use your fingers in a way that will make it look like you’re playing a mini-Twister so it’s not perfect for airplanes. (Free lite version available to try out.)
- Flow Free
I compared one of the games on my recommendation list to Flow, which is better known. I had played Flow before and it didn’t hold my interest for long but revisited it when I was writing this as well as because I heard it recommended on an episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest. And of course I am now obsessively working my way through it. I find it sort of works on my brain in the same way that knitting does. (Free levels, can buy more.)
- Pocket Frogs
This is a free game where you raise and breed frogs. It’s like a low-key tamagotchi. I play with this in spurts but love coming back to visit my frogs. There are a few ongoing frog goals that give in-game rewards to keep you working after you’ve bred yourself a library of frogs. I didn’t include this because some of the higher level frogs can take days to grow so it won’t help you out on a long flight. (Free, freemium.)
· comments  · 01-28-2013 · categories:technology ·