Tag: Entertainment »
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Don't let the identical version number fool you; there's a lot more to Pickle Weasel this time around. Even more Guess Games and Draw Games have been added, giving users twice as much guessing and drawing to do. On top of that there are also Flips, which are essentially a collection of goofy 2-frame animations meant to draw out a chuckle or two. If nothing else it means people will be able to enjoy the bizarre creature's antics for a bit longer now.
First of all, what exactly is a pickle weasel? Well in this particular instance it’s a cartoon character brought to life by JC Little, a.k.a The Animated Woman (director, illustrator, blogger, speaker, and artist). Back in 2011 the bizarre pickled cucumber mammalian took on a life of his own, and now he has his own weird iPad app to help spread the weirdness that much further.
Pickle Weasel is kind of a game, and kind of not. It’s more like a pseudo-interactive showcase with an emphasis on sharing the madness with friends than a straight-up multiplayer affair. The app is split into two distinct parts: Draw-Games and Guess-Games. Draw-Games present users with an image (or sometimes a partial image) and challenges them with adding their own particular visual elements such as a face on a piece of fruit or a costume for the weasel himself. Guess-Games, on the other hand, give users a single play-on-words image that they need to try and figure out. Once they think they know the answer there’s a “WTF” button at the top that can be tapped to reveal the actual subject.
The Guess-Games can be decent fun when there’s a group of people to sit around the iPad and make assumptions with, but there’s much more fun to be had with the Draw-Games. Whether users are following the instructions to the best of their abilities or simply doing whatever they feel like there’s no shortage of drawings to scribble over and share with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or simply handing the iPad to a friends and saying “Look at this!” There’s even a nifty option to replay the drawing and watch each line trace itself into existence. It serves absolutely no purpose but it can be kind of cool to see in motion.
Unfortunately there really isn’t much meat on Pickle Weasel’s bones. I suppose his half-vegetable DNA is partially to blame but it still makes for a fairly simple app with rather limited use. Updates are in the works and the creators are welcoming feedback, but until any supposed new content gets added it’s most likely going to be the kind of app that people play with for a day or two and then move on.
Pickle Weasel is a commendable first attempt but in its current state still feels a bit incomplete. There’s some entertainment value in trying to guess what the picture is trying to describe and scribbling weird faces on produce is surprisingly fun. It’s just that the well runs dry pretty quickly at the moment.
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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EMI is doing some interesting things with app developers via their openEMI project. While the project is by no means limited to iOS, EMI proper, pairing with Groovebug and Blue Note Records - which was founded in 1939 and acquired by EMI in 1971 - chose the iPad to make it’s commercial debut. Blue Note by Groovebug offers a great free tour of the jazz label’s catalog with 30-second low-bitrate samples along with access to iconic album cover designs and even detailed liner notes, giving the package a vintage vibe with legit LP perks.
While the app functions as a free stand-alone product, in order to enjoy full tracks users must subscribe for $1.99/month. While the catalog is finite, it’s not all there yet and EMI promises new featured albums and artists along with new playlists from experts in various related fields each month to keep thing from getting stale. The upgrade also gets users higher-quality audio and access to extended photo galleries.
The app pays homage to one of the most venerable historic jazz labels and has sounds from the likes of Thelonious Monk and Jazz Messenger drummer Art Blakely in signature Hard Bop style, Modal Jazz with Andrew Hill and Sonny Clark along with other sub-genres like trios, tenors and post-Bop and recordings by giants including Baby Face Willette, Miles Davis and John Coltrane - all musical pioneers in their time.
The feature set is cool whether you love jazz or don’t know much about it. Along with the album art and music, there are well-written featured articles on topics like Blue Note’s history and Blue Note in NYC Jazz Clubs. Users can add curated playlists to their favorites and make new playlists of their own. Also included is basic social sharing to Tumblr and Twitter and extra Facebook integration allowing users to dedicate songs to friends and participate in conversations.
There is even artist backstory and discovery - those who want to learn more about the early avante-garde jazz scene can tap on a familiar name and get all their recordings, a fairly extensive bio, YouTube videos, news, photos, even original newspaper clippings. The last tab – Similar – toggles a neat turntable-like control, which users spin to see related artists.
Blue Note by Groovebug is a sweet package, worth the subscription if one loves jazz or wants to learn more. It’s not a comprehensive history of this uniquely American art form, but it digs into one label that helped shape the genre with enough depth and breadth to give it replay value. I’m eager to see what EMI and third parties do next with commercial OpenEMI apps on iOS, Spotify, and beyond.