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Crazy Taxi Is a Wild Pedestrian-Terrorizing Jaunt
October 23, 2012
Back around the turn of the millennium, Sega had itself a bona fide hit in Crazy Taxi, a driving game that has players picking up fares around a city that looks a lot like San Francisco and getting to their destinations in as little time as possible. What began as an arcade game was ported to the Sega Dreamcast and then to various other platforms, most recently iOS.
Zynga Aims to Keep 'Em Down on the Farm
September 7, 2012
Zynga rolled out "FarmVille 2" on Facebook this week -- but if fans were expecting an enhanced version of the same familiar game, they were in for a surprise. The two versions have little in common. For starters, "FarmVille 2" is the first Zynga game to be built entirely in 3D. The theme is also different: In "FarmVille 2," players journey to the countryside to reinvigorate their old family farm.
'Bastion' Blends Monster-Smashing Fun With Great Color Commentary
September 4, 2012
The action role-playing game "Bastion" has been around on the Xbox 360, PC, Mac and a few other places for a while now, but I failed to notice or care until I stumbled upon it in the App Store on my iPad 2. It has fighting action, so that's good. I'm a sucker for hammers, pistols and bows. It has a lush and vivid landscape. Fantastic. And yet none of this sparked me to download and buy.
'TheEndApp': When the World Ends, the Fun Starts
July 23, 2012
I'm definitely not an iOS gamer, but I do look for a good diversion every now and then. My latest: "TheEndApp." The premise: The world as we know it comes to an end and you've got to run around an urban wasteland collecting duct tape as you go. Why? Presumably duct tape can fix anything.
Beautifully Dark Design Makes Up for 'Crow's' Gameplay Shortcomings
May 21, 2012
Every two or three months, an iOS game manages to snag more than a brief glance and actually inspires me to buy and download it. "Crow" is one of those games. The icon for the game implies a lot -- it's got a wicked darkness to it, is slickly designed, and it evokes the idea that there's trouble somewhere.
'Soulcaliber': A Beautiful Mashy-Slashy Mess
April 24, 2012
Action games can be tricky to pull off on iOS. Everything's done through a touchscreen, so you don't have as much tactile feedback -- there are no buttons under your fingertips to let you feel exactly where you need to touch at precisely the right moment, while your eyes are busy with the screen.
'Arkham City Lockdown': The Bat Is Broken
April 10, 2012
Typically when I review an iOS or Mac application, I'll give it a rating somewhere between one and five stars. Star ratings tell you nothing about the concept behind the app, how well it's executed, or how practical it is. They're just shorthand for "good," "meh" and "digital sewage."
'Angry Birds Space HD' Soars Into Orbit
March 27, 2012
The "Angry Birds" franchise is one of the App Store's biggest success stories. When it debuted almost two and a half years ago, its developers hit on a potent formula for casual gaming profits. Make it colorful, make it work nicely with a touchscreen, and make it really easy to figure out.
'Infinity Blade II' Carves Out a Plot This Time Around
December 13, 2011
I never beat the original "Infinity Blade." I liked the game, thought it was worth the money, spent many a joyful moment slashing away at a never-ending parade of uglies. But come on, that game was kind of hard. You're trying to kill a God King, and that's not an easy thing to do, even for a thirtieth-generation sword-swinger.
'Blood & Glory' Delivers the Goods but Might Bleed Your Wallet Dry
December 12, 2011
When I stumbled across the iPhone and iPad game "Blood & Glory," I instantly got the feeling that it was like "Infinity Blade," the popular fantasy slasher fighting game. That alone wasn't enough to pique my interest, but when I saw that it was free, sported lush graphics, and had an eye-popping 43,000 customer ratings with a five-star average, I had to download the 111 MB beast and take a look for myself.
Microsoft Opens iOS Window for Xbox Live Fans
December 9, 2011
Xbox gamers can access their Xbox Live accounts from their iPhones and iPads now that Microsoft has launched the My Xbox Live app for iOS. Access to Xbox Live has been available on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform since it launched more than a year ago, but this is the first time Microsoft is offering the app on a competing system, although third-party apps have allowed at least partial capability before.
Does Any App Play Straight Poker Anymore?
November 28, 2011
When Apple pulled its popular "Texas Hold'em" game from the App Store, I was moderately surprised, but then again, it's not like Apple was actively developing the game over the years. And besides, after racking up $100 million or so against the Artificial Intelligence engine, it's been a long time since I've actively played it.
'Little Wings' Soars by Not Trying Too Hard
March 8, 2011
Some iPhone games try to emulate the kind of layout you'd see on an actual video game controller -- a directional pad on the left and a set of A/B/C buttons on the right. That's a familiar configuration, it allows for a lot of options, and the developer can let the player customize just how everything's laid out.
'Risk' Lets You Conquer the World on Your iPad
January 10, 2011
Board gamers with a thirst for world conquest have long been attracted to "Risk." Its simple mechanics make it easy to learn, and the thrill of annexing nations through simulated force of arms appeals to a bellicose streak in all but the most devoted pacifists. Hasbro and Electronic Arts have done an excellent job making the tablet version as exciting as its board analog.
'Infinity Blade': Gorgeous, Epic and Surprisingly Addictive
January 5, 2011
Currently among the highest-grossing apps in the Apple App Store, the sword-slashing fight game "Infinity Blade" is one of the must-have games of the year. Like "Angry Birds," it's surprisingly addictive. I'm far from a hard-core gamer, but I can recognize a masterpiece when I see one.
Next for Apple: Soldiers and Surgeons, Gamers and Geeks
December 15, 2010
By and large, the business gods have been kind to Apple this past week. There are reports that companies in the medical sector are buying up iPads as fast as they can get them. Meanwhile, Novell has unveiled a remote management application on the cloud for the iPhone and Apple's iOS is growing as a gaming platform.
'Cut the Rope' Satisfies the Casual Gamer's Sweet Tooth
October 14, 2010
Has "Angry Birds" become the "Super Mario Bros." of the iPhone platform? I guess we'll have to see at least 20 "Birds" sequels before we'll know for sure. But based on how many weeks in a row I've seen it at the top of the App Store's Most Popular Paid Apps list, I'd hazard a guess that it's the single best-selling iPhone game of all time. It's not a peaceful game.
'Memory Puzzle HD': A Fun Grindstone for Sharpening the Mind
October 4, 2010
Do you feel as if your memory is a sieve with the spaces in the mesh getting bigger and bigger every day? If you do feel that way, you're going to like a new game for the iPad that's designed to improve both your memory and concentration. The game's called "Memory Puzzle HD." Actually, "Memory Puzzle" is three games, all of them challenging to a player's mental acuity.
Scowling Birds, Smashed Pigs, Good Times
June 17, 2010
Every time I've visited the App Store in the last few weeks, I've seen the same game at the top of the most popular paid apps list: "Angry Birds." Reluctant to presume humanity generally skews toward anything other than the lowest common denominator, I wrote the game off as some scatological exercise in dive-bombing techniques. This week I finally broke and paid it a bit of attention.
A Gyroscope That Will Set the Tech World Spinning
June 11, 2010
You don't have to be an Apple fanboy to rave about the coolness on display during a typical Steve Jobs keynote presentation. Sure, like any good speaker or stand-up comic, Jobs knows where his guaranteed applause/laugh lines fall during the hour or so he's on stage, and he's well aware of who will be doing most of the laughing, oohing and aahing. It's better than a '60s sitcom laugh-track.
FixPix: An Addictive Fit of Pixelated Madness
June 10, 2010
There was a fair degree of anticipation surrounding "FixPix" a few weeks ago before it launched at the App Store. Delicious Toys posted a video of an early version in action, and viewers sat transfixed by the retro appeal of its artwork. It's a throwback to 1980s Atari, Nintendo and Commodore 64 aesthetics, when video game artists had to make due with a technically limited palette.
FIFA World Cup Is a Kick on iPad
June 7, 2010
With the FIFA World Cup a week away, the timing of EA Sports couldn't be more impeccable. The entertainment giant has just released its latest version of its game based on the tournament for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and it's great fun for fans of "The Beautiful Game."
Steam Heats Up Gaming for Mac Users
May 12, 2010
Valve Software on Tuesday launched the Mac OS X version of its Steam online gaming platform. Steam, a portal through which users buy, download and play both old and new PC games, was until now limited to the Windows operating system. Valve will soon extend Steam to the Linux platform. Valve launched a collection of game titles Wednesday on Steam for Mac OS X.
To Take On Apple, Nintendo Will Have to Think Big
May 11, 2010
I've been relatively slow to embrace gaming on my iPhone and iPod touch. For starters, I don't tend to have a lot of free time, and I'm lucky enough that I don't waste a lot of time traveling, commuting, or otherwise standing in lines. But even I have enjoyed far too many hours blasting rag dolls out of canons and slinging angry birds at bad pigs.
Apple's Game Center Tilts the Playing Field
April 9, 2010
Gaming enthusiasts who gobble up every tidbit of news they can about consoles, gadgets and titles didn't have a lot to digest Thursday when Apple revealed that the new iPhone OS 4 would include Game Center, a social gaming network. The news was just one feature mentioned in the overall update for the smartphone operating system; Steve Jobs' company certainly didn't unlock any new levels in the "details" category.
iPad Pep Rally Pumps Up AAPL
March 24, 2010
Apple stocks shot up Tuesday to close up 1.62 percent at $228.40, perhaps due in part to smattering of good news for Cupertino. That's nearly $2 above the record $226.60 level they hit on March 12. For one thing, Cupertino is ramping up efforts to tap a huge source of revenue: video games.
'Street Fighter IV' on iPhone: Loud, Dumb and Fun as Ever
March 18, 2010
I can't bring myself to download a first-person shooter game on my iPhone anymore, just because I know I'll get sick of it before the third level. Its icon will sit there on the screen, its data will languish on the drive. Delete it? Can't. Might get stuck in an elevator, beat all the games I actually like, and have nothing left to do but count the minutes.
Can a Clown-Nosed Wand Move the Needle for PS3?
March 12, 2010
Sony put PlayStation 3 fans in a tizzy by whipping out its latest controller, which it calls the "Move." It looks a whole lot like a black version of Nintendo's WiiMote controller, only it's got this big, clown-nose ball on the end of it. That ball actually serves a purpose. The Move's motion is partially registered by a camera PS3 users will set on top of the television.
Thunder in Cupertino Makes It Rain on Wall Street
March 10, 2010
Apple has announced the iPad will hit retail shelves April 3, sending the adrenalin surging through competitors' veins. HP and several Chinese manufacturers have announced tablets in what might be perceived as an attempt to capitalize on the not-quite-a-laptop, not-really-a-netbook category.
Valve Opens Pipeline for Mac Gaming
March 9, 2010
Valve one of the largest distributors of online games, has announced that it will make its Steam online gaming service and proprietary gaming engine, Source, available on the Mac. The service, Steamworks for the Mac, comes equipped with Steam Play, a feature that allows play on either a PC or Mac at no additional charge.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.