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Tech review: These apps feature some less common sports

Wildly popular. 8 Ball Pool features beautiful graphics

Wildly popular. 8 Ball Pool features beautiful graphics and a host of users always up for a game. Credit: Miniclip

Thursday was the “sports equinox,” the first time this year when the four major professional sports leagues -- NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB -- all had games scheduled on the same day. But what if you’ve had enough of overpaid athletes and their overexposed sports? Maybe it’s time to download these apps that feature sports of the less common variety.

Skee-Ball Plus

(iOS, Android; $2.99)

Longtime residents of Long Beach or denizens of other area boardwalks will remember the addictive game of skee ball that was popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Most real skee ball games are long gone, but the fun and addictiveness live on in mobile devices. Like the old-time skee ball boardwalk game, Skee-Ball Plus offers tickets for well-rolled games, but instead of trading them in for a teddy bear, you get power-ups and “magic” balls.

8 Ball Pool

(iOS, Android; free)

This wildly popular game from Miniclip — it’s been downloaded nearly 100 million times — is a perennial top-10 sports game on both the Android and iOS sports games charts for good reasons. It features beautiful graphics and a lively online stable of users always up for a game. 8 Ball Pool is free to download but has several in-app purchases — a main reason the game has grossed a reported $400 million.

Bocce 3D

(iOS, Android; free)

This nicely done game from Dublin-based developer Giraffe Games brings the charm of the popular European lawn game to mobile devices. The realistic ball physics of the rolling bocce ball will bring back memories for anyone who played the game in a neighborhood park. After you ramp up your skills, you’re ready to challenge other players online.

Badminton League

(iOS, Android; free)

Forget about the quiet backyard badminton game. Badminton League features cutthroat action where the competition is anything but friendly and the shuttlecock can be a weapon. You get to create your own badminton character and smash away against the computer or against live opponents nearby via Wi-Fi. The graphics and sounds are excellent.

Half-baked emoji

Apple knows smartphones, but New Yorkers know bagels. After complaints from many New Yorkers that Apple’s bagel emoji looked like something from the “freezer section at Walmart,” Apple made the bagel more appetizing. As spotted by emoji authority Emojipedia, the new bagel is doughier and filled with a shmear of cream cheese, looking more like the one you’d get at a New York or Long Island bagel bakery.


Facebook breach checker

The recent Facebook data breach that affected about 30 million users allowed hackers to gain access to a trove of personal data, including phone numbers, email addresses, date of birth, hometown and information on recent searches. If you want to see if your account was affected by the breach, Facebook has set up a website where you can check. Go to 


Zynga eyed for takeover

Zynga, the firm that created hugely popular apps FarmVille and Words With Friends, has attracted takeover interest from other game developers. Zynga recently scored a multiyear licensing deal with Walt Disney Co. to develop and publish a mobile game based on the Star Wars film franchise. A takeover would be worth billions — publicly traded Zynga has a stock market worth of about $3.5 billion.



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