iPhone Game Review: Tiny Wings

Tiny WingsThere is not shortage of games on Apples iTunes App Store, it is after all the biggest category of Apps available. So to become number one on the ranking takes something special. Angry Birds has been on the list for a very long time, and to my surprise this past week, I noticed that it wasn’t anymore! I had to find out what usurped Angry Birds from the top spot. Behold, it’s a little game called “Tiny Wings”. If you haven’t bought it yet, I’d recommend doing so, why? Because it’s a great example of a simple idea done very right.

Tiny Wings, doesn’t have a deep story about betrayal, vengeance, or anything that dramatic. It’s just a cute little bird with little wings that dreams of great flight. What transpires is a game where you essentially slide down hill to gain speed for prolonged flight. Of course, there are challenges. You must maintain your distance from the impending onset of night. The game keeps score for how well you slide, how far you go, how high you go and how many coins you collect along the way. This simple premise would be easily dismissed, if it weren’t for the execution. The game’s character is cute, and well animated, but it’s the backgrounds and visuals in conjunction with the masterfully crafted music and sound that makes this game shine! It’s a colorful world that changes with each play through, so the game always looks different. There’s not much more to say, you need to experience it for yourself, and at a dollar, this little game is a no-brainer. In a sea of so much competition, to come up on top with something so simple is quite an accomplishment, Bravo!

Click on the image below to purchase Tiny Wings!

Tiny Wings - Andreas Illiger

no images were found

A Sample of What Gaming Was Like in 1984!

Electronic Games Magazine, May 1984While digging through some boxes in my basement i came across a rather old magazine that caught my attention. It’s a tattered issue of Electronic Games Magazine from May 1984! I scanned the magazine into a PDF to share with anyone who might be interested in what things looked like back then. I’ll apologize for some odd white squares in the PDF; apparently in my youth I cut out images I liked from the magazine.

Download the Electronic Games Magazine from May 1984 here.

HP TouchSmart 310-1020 Unboxing and Initial Review

This week I picked up an HP TouchSmart 310 PC for my elderly parents. I need to configure and install the software on the system for them, so I took this opportunity to create my first YouTube video of its unboxing and initial startup. I have my son at the end playing Bejeweled on it. Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this computer. I’ll follow up later with a more in-depth review. Enjoy.

ThinkGeek Joystick-IT for iPad looks pretty good!

If you have and iPad or iPhone, the lack of real tactile controls makes gaming often difficult. My thumbs tend to slide around all over the screen, never quite landing in the right spot. If any one has tried playing any of the Capcom, Sega, or other console arcade game ports to the iPhone or iPad, you probably have run into this. For example, my foray into Megaman on the iPhone left me at game over within 10 seconds of game play… Even sick with the black plague on my deathbed I wouldn’t do this bad on my SNES! The touch interface, at least for me, just doesn’t hack it… But once again, intrepid third party developers come to the rescue! ThinkGeek’s selling these nice looking aluminum joysticks that stick onto the iPad screen… Hop over to their site for more details. I might need to go buy me some!

Tip of the Week: Spyware Removal, it really is important!

I cleaned out three computers this week of spyware and viruses. It’s vital that you keep your system healthy with the right tools. Spyware can build up in your computer, much like barnacles on the hull of a ship, and needs to be cleaned off. So, how do you keep your system clean and healthy?

Tools like Norton and McAfee help, but alone they aren’t enough (although they may make you believe that). Luckily, there are some nice free tools that can help. Two I use regularly are Glary Utilities (http://www.glaryutilities.com/) and MalwareBytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org/). Glary is a suite of tools that can help with a wide variety of ailments, and the tool offers a great 1-click maintenance function which works to clean up spyware, fix your registry, and recover disk space by removing temporary files that build up over time, all by clicking one button. MalwareBytes is considered one of the best tools available to clean out spyware, and functions much like your antivirus software. Run the program, perform a scan and fix any problems found. Both company’s offer a Professional version in addition to their free one, so if you really like it, consider buying it for the additional features, and support the developers.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to do regularly to keep your system happy:

  1. Keep your system up-to-date! I can’t stress this enough, make sure your tools have the latest updates, this includes both your antivirus, spyware software, and  Window updates.
  2. Run the tools occasionally, at least once a week. Having the tools is not enough, you need to use them!
  3. NEVER EVER open up .exe attachments from suspicious email messages! This is typically how viruses are allowed onto your computer. It’s like inviting a monster into your house when it knocks on the door! DON’T DO IT! Even if the message looks like it came from a trusted source, ask yourself, do they send programs as attachments? Most company’s don’t! A friend recently got tricked by a UPS message that had a program that was named to look like a tracking program. Well, UPS doesn’t send program to it’s customers.

Following these tips will certainly go a long way in keeping your computer happy. There’s no guaranteeing your system won’t get sick, but by not doing these tasks, I can certainly guarantee that your system WILL get sick. Good Luck and thanks for reading.

Valve’s Steam Service has Square-Enix Complete Pack for $75

In case anyone reading this doesn’t know what Steam is, Steam is a game download service for your Windows or Macintosh computer. The company that runs the service is Valve. Steam is probably the most popular game download service available, mainly due in part to their incredible service, ease of use, and extensive library. All games available on the service are for sale, and vary in price, they offer both new and older titles and they have frequent sales. The best part about it is the games are tied to your account, so there is no need for physical media, and games are installed on your computer over the internet. You can read more about their service on their web site, but this post simply states an incredibly good deal going on this week; the Complete Square-Enix collection is on sale for $75! An exceptional value considering it contains several titles, if purchased individually would cost a few hundred dollars. Titles include: Batman Arkham Asylum, Front Mission Evolved, Just Cause 2, and many more.

Boxwave Capacitive Stylus Review

I have been an avid tablet and tablet pc user for many years. I’ve always enjoyed Pen computing, and even more-so pressure sensitive pen computing with a Wacom enabled device. For the uninitiated, a pressure sensitive pen is simply a stylus for a tablet or tablet-enabled laptop which can understand the various levels of pressure you exert on the pen tip. The experience offers a more real translation of real world hand writing and drawing onto the computer – a facet that doesn’t exist on the iPad or iPhone. Instead, you are left to finger paint your notes or drawings.

Fortunately, Apple has a very dedicated group of third party peripheral manufacturers, one such company is Boxwave, who offers a solution to the no-pen dilemma. Boxwave’s offering is a sleek metal cylinder, about 3” long with a black rubbery collapsible nub for a tip. On the body is a nice metal clip, and at the other end is a loop with a special plastic pin that anchors neatly into the headphone jack on an iPad or iPhone; so the pen is harder to lose. In short, it looks and feels like a quality product.

no images were found

no images were found

I tested the Boxwave on the following applications on my iPad and iPhone: Penultimate for notetaking, Sketchbook Pro for drawing, and Sprite Something for creating game graphics. As with any pen product for the iPhone or iPad, resting your hand on the screen (like a pad of paper) is a bad idea, the device doesn’t recognize a large hand print from a finger tip, so you end up smearing and multi-touching the screen unintentionally. It’s also important to understand that the accuracy of a finger isn’t very precise, which translates similarly over to any pen, including the Boxwave. Don’t expect pixel perfect precision. If you understand and accept these limitations, then the Boxwave performs admirably. Taking notes and drawing is far better with this pen than with my finger tip, making for a more natural experience. Unlike other pens, the Boxwave doesn’t require much pressure from the tip to register a touch, and works at an angle, thus allowing you to hold the pen in a more natural hand position; even if your hand must hover above the screen.

For $15-$20, it’s pretty pricey for a metal cylinder with a rubbery tip. But if you really desire the feel of a pen to enhance your use of your iPhone or iPad, then I have found no better choice than the Boxwave, and compared to other similar pens, like the Pogo, the Boxwave is a far better performer and value.

If you wish to purchase the one I bought, simply following this link. BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus (Metallic Silver)