Fifty apps that are reinventing mobile gaming

Solve a murder mystery, grow a tree, spend the day as a sailor, be a spider… mobile developers are rethinking everything

Innovation is an overused and abused word in the technology industry but if you strip it down to the basic principle of “new ideas”, it’s clear that there’s a lot of it going on in mobile games. When you gather some of the best examples together, you realise how many new ideas are out there. For example, there have been some creative experiments with the idea of interactive fiction, from the round-the-world thrills of 80 Days to the beat-the-censors story of Blackbar.

There are games that play with sound in new and interesting ways: Papa Sangre II is played entirely by listening rather than looking, while Dark Echo visualises your sounds on the screen. Both are – and this may not be a coincidence – among the creepiest mobile games available.

Continue reading… …read more

When self-monitoring becomes uncomfortably intimate…

The fitness tracker craze has taken a paternalistic turn with a US university asking students to wear wristbands. Has datafication gone too far?

‘Apple’s iPhone sales disappoint but profit beats targets,” said the headline. It turned out that Apple sold “only” 74.77m iPhones in the fiscal first quarter of 2016, which is less than a 1% increase on the same period a year ago. So what happens? The share price plummets and Alphabet (aka Google) overtakes Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

And right on cue, we get the usual kind of kindergarten “analysis” from the tech commentariat. Apple has run out of ideas. It needs a new “breakthrough” product along the lines of the iPhone. The iPad was supposed to be that product, but its sales are declining. And the Apple watch clearly isn’t going to take its place etc, etc…

Continue reading… …read more

Who will speak for Brittin? Not MPs on the warpath over Google

Google’s big man in northern Europe speaks in glowing terms of London as a base – which might make things awkward at his select committee hearing

Here’s Matt Brittin, Google’s boss in northern Europe, speaking in 2012: “Google set up in London 11 years ago now and it was a natural choice. It is such a cosmopolitan international city and there is a huge array of talent you can access – and that’s the most important thing for Google when building its teams outside the US.

“Also, the UK is the No 1 internet economy in the world. We spend more money buying things online in this country than anywhere else on a per head basis. So actually it has been a great place for us. We’ve been so successful in the UK that we want to try to give something back.”

Continue reading… …read more

Is the price of a video game ever really right?

The creator of The Witness has defended its £29.99 price tag. But how do you measure the true value of a video game?

Of all the bargains to be had in the Harrods New Year sale, none shines quite so ostentatiously as the store’s 24-carat gold-plated Xbox One, sat in gaudy resplendence under thick, presumably ram-raid-proof Perspex. While the console (purportedly the only one of its kind) had endured an ego-shanking £3,500 discount to its original £5,999 price tag, it remains one of the most expensive pieces of video game hardware in the world. This will be of small comfort to the sulking internet commentators who, in the past few weeks, have bemoaned the launch price of the Oculus Rift, Facebook’s forthcoming virtual reality headset. The technology, which will lead the VR charge in March, will cost £499 at launch (or around £1,000 for a package that includes a capable PC), much more than was previously expected.

Continue reading… …read more

Electra Loft 3i: bike review | Martin Love

Affordable and stylish, this classic town bike is perfect for city slickers

The Loft is made by Electra, a Californian bike company. They call it a ‘flat-footer’, which means its frame has been designed so that when you stop you can put your feet flat on the ground. For anyone who has given themselves a temporary vasectomy as they tipple over on tiptoes, this could be a godsend.

The relaxed geometry also means it is incredibly comfortable to ride around town. It’s been designed with functional minimalism in mind and there’s nothing poncey about its clean and classic lines, its sensible mudguards and useful rack. It has a deep step through to make getting on and off easy, and the upright bars put you in the ideal position to avoid bumps, pot holes and jaywalkers. Gearwise, you can choose from a fixie-like single up to an 8-speed hub. A good un’ (evanscycles.com).

Continue reading… …read more