Thursday, September 19, 2013

2nd Screen Time

Many of you know that I love my iPad Mini (and my iPod Touch) for letting me communicate with non-ASL speakers via Facetime, Messages, Proloquo2Go, Penultimate, and even just Notes. But I also do some gaming when I'm not near my desktop computer to log into Second Life. Here's a sampling of what I'm playing now (and check here for past posts in this vein).

The game I play most often is Fairway Solitaire HD by Big Fish. As the name and picture indicate, it's a game of cards based on the solitaire format, but there's a twist ... you're playing golf!! Since that Seven of Hearts can't be played, I can draw a club from my bag (bottom right) or tap the draw pile in hopes that another card can be played. The idea is to clear the field thus finishing the "hole" while leaving as many cards in the draw pile as you can. That affects the stroke count of the hole as if you were golfing. Hazards such as rough, sand traps, and water barriers are on most courses and a pesky gopher can pop up at any time leading to fun mini games, penalties, or even bonuses. If you can fill the shot meter top right via continuous play streaks, you can earn game cash to buy extra goodies like new card backs, special games, or game enhancements (of course, you can buy game cash with Real Life cash). I play at least 2 courses (three to nine holes each) in this game every day. It's fun even without the hilarious commentary from off-screen sports analysts and the antics of the gopher.

Lego Batman is also fun, but not as easy to pick up and run with for short periods like other games nor is it as fun as the Lego Harry Potter titles for iOS. But I got it free (lots of big titles pop up for free with some regularity in the Apple App Store) and it's Lego, so I won't really complain. There is less running around to gather "studs" (the in-game currency) and mini-challenges than in the Potter games with more emphasis on battles, but that's the difference between the two fantasies outside these games, too, so all is as to be expected. My fingers stiffen up rather often through out the day so there are times I can't play this or similar games and if you don't like games that require some dexterity, then Lego Batman isn't for you. Still, it's a bit of a romp and a good diversion.

Coming in as just plain strange is Momonga Pinball Adventures, the only game I know where one is expected to liberally slap around a cute, fuzzy little creature. The big panda is a teacher and little Momonga (the small flying squirrel-thing on the ground in the pic above) has to learn combat skills such as flying, rolling around on grassy plains that resemble a pinball table, and suffering the whacks of paddles while smashing some things and rolling over other things. You'd think that with four legs s/he'd do more running, but I guess the paws are about as useful as the wings in combat. Between matches, there's some nonsense dialogue with closed-captioning for the critter-speak impaired, all part of a story that I can't really get into much. For the most part this diversion is a fun and very challenging game of pinball with some really stylish graphics.

Aside from these games, I do a crap-ton of reading so the Kindle reader, Digg, Instapaper, and more are on my main screen (and I adore Circa News on my iPod). My brother downloads a lot of textbooks (former teacher's habit, I guess) so now and then I peek at those since we share the iTunes account. I'll also poke at his games, too, like Star Wars Pinball, Infinity Blade, Angry Birds, and Full Deck Solitaire.

What do you do for gaming when you aren't in Second Life? Do you game on tablets or mobiles much? I'd love to read your comments.

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