Tech review: 5 worthy new mobile games
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Smartphones and tablets are giving video game consoles a run for their money. Touch-screen gaming on iPhones, iPads and Androids is easy, inexpensive -- and addictive. While dozens of new and interesting mobile games come out every day, these five are worth tapping into.
Basically an updated version of Pictionary, Draw Something is well on its way to becoming the most popular mobile app of all time with more than 50 million downloads in less than three months. You can play Draw Something with random strangers or with friends and contacts from your Facebook and email accounts. Once you challenge someone to a game, you choose between three words of varying difficulty and then draw a picture of that word. Your partner then has to guess that word while watching a live, real-time recreation of your drawing process. Then vice-versa.
The hype for Angry Birds Space included an out-of-this-world promotion from NASA, but the new title does not disappoint. The gravity-based mechanics, awesome birds, darker color palate and bizarrely amusing space aesthetics make this one of the most refreshing and enjoyable titles in the Angry Birds franchise. For the uninitiated, birds are good, and pigs are bad. You must stop the pigs by launching kamikaze attack birds from a slingshot, and there are various kinds of bird ammo in your arsenal. You rack up points by causing as much destruction as possible using as few birds as possible, and enough points will get you that coveted three-star rating. Newcomers and Angry Birds veterans alike will love this one.
This is a top-notch sequel to the best racing game available on mobile devices, complete with great visuals, revamped user interface, updated gameplay and plenty of content. The gameplay itself has a totally different feel than the first installment. While it's still an arcade experience at its core, the physics have been tweaked to include much more realistic handling. There are also a ton of control options and customizations to explore.
In Fancy Pants you take on the role of a shorts-wearing stick figure who blasts through an assortment of action-packed levels. Your speed and acrobatic prowess allow you to jump off walls, run up vertical surfaces and hurtle through space, all while collecting items and stars to rack up the best score.
JAZZ: Trump's Journey
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; $2.99)
Loosely based on the life of jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, JAZZ: Trump's Journey takes place in New Orleans during the 1920s. The platform game follows the travails of a trumpeter aptly named Trump as he puts his band together, falls in love and generally does awesome things. The game has very interesting visuals and mechanics, but it's the soundtrack that really makes the game unique.
Reports from Appolicious.com and Tribune Media Services were used in this story.
Commodore 64's Tramiel dies
Jack Tramiel, a computer industry pioneer who founded the company that created the Commodore 64, died April 8 at age 83. The Polish-born Tramiel survived Auschwitz, emigrated to the United States in the late 1940s and started Commodore International, initially a typewriter manufacturer. The company introduced the iconic C64 home computer in 1982. In the mid-80s, it outsold IBM-compatible PCs and Apple computers. -- Reuters
PayPal targets small businesses
PayPal has unveiled a new payment system aimed at small businesses and what it calls "casual sellers." PayPal Here includes a free thumb-sized card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone or Android-based phone. Merchants swipe credit and debit cards through the card reader or manually enter information using a free app. The app can also scan checks using the phone's camera.
Yahoo to add 'do not track'
Yahoo will add a "do not track" tool on its websites, allowing users to opt out of having their Web browsing and search preferences analyzed by advertisers. Yahoo said the tool "will provide a simple step for consumers to express their ad targeting preferences." The do-not-track option will be available by early summer, Yahoo said.