Posts Tagged Galcon

 

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning

appstoreevo01The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 – Moving Right Along

appstoreevo02aappstoreevo02bThe following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.


Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »

 

The App Store launched July 10, 2008 and brought with it a whole new way of distributing and purchasing software. The first several months were a wild west frontier of pricing, business models (or the lack thereof), and genre, making the iPhone the place to be.

As the years have gone by, things have gotten more crowded, more predictable, and perhaps more “same-old” to some. Let’s take a look back at those early, heady days with ten of the best iOS apps from the launch of the App Store.

Cro-Mag Rally

Cro-Mag Rally – Kart racing with cavemen? Yes, please! This launch title from veteran Mac developer Pangea showed us all how much fun the iPhone could be, paving the way for a host of ports and new gaming experiences on the go.

AIM – Before the recent spate of apps that bring multi-client, desktop-style instant messaging to the iPhone and iPad, there was only AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM. This launch title clued us in to the future of always being in touch, even if we didn’t know it at the time.

Fieldrunners – Oh, tower defense games, why do you torment us so? Fieldrunners took the concept already on the web in Flash games and brought it to the devices we had in our pockets every day, iterating its tower defense gameplay to a fine polish. We were hard-pressed to stop playing, to be honest, and still are.

yelp

Yelp – Like Urbanspoon, Yelp brought location-based awareness together with user-based opinions on local restaurants and coffee shops at a level we’d never seen before. Yelp has become an indispensable tool when traveling, and even while staying in our hometown, letting us find interesting places to eat and drink at a price we can afford.

Super Monkey Ball – Wait, we were just playing this on our GameCube! How cool is it that we can tilt our iPhones and roll that adorable monkey around the maddeningly difficult tracks? Ten bucks! That’s a sweet deal! Oh, what a difference half a decade makes.

Google Earth – This one came out in October of 2008, quickly amazing us all with its innovative zooming interface as well as its comprehensiveness. Finally, we thought, an interesting app from Google.

rolando

Rolando – Wow! This game showed us that we didn’t have to own a PSP to get a quality arcade puzzle platform game like Loco Roco. It also allowed the early promise of ngmoco;) to shine forth like a beacon in the wilderness.

MLB At Bat – Updated on a yearly basis since 2008, MLB At Bat came onto the scene like a home run, proving that this little App Store thing was for more than just fart apps and casual games. Serious sports fans rejoiced in 2008 when this baby was released.

Galcon – This real-time space-themed strategy game was ready on day one of the App Store, bringing a depth of gameplay not seen yet. While games like Mushroom Wars and the like have since iterated on the concept, Galcon remains a perennial favorite.

evernote

Evernote – This essential app has been around since day one, and still continues to improve. Evernote showed us how important it was to have access to our notes, files, and pictures across all the devices we used, whether they were on a desktop or in our pocket.

Galcon Fusion Review

Galcon Fusion Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
It's like playing Chess, only everyone goes at the same time and the price for losing is being wiped out of existence.

Read The Full Review »

Remember Galcon? It was a pretty impressive space-themed strategy title that many of us at 148apps loved upon its release in 2009. Following that came Chickon, a fun chicken based spin-off of the title.

Creator Phil Hassey clearly fancied a change of genre with his next creation: Dynamite Jack. In it, players take the role of a Space Marine captured in battle and forced to work in a mine. This leads to what looks like a great combination of 2D gametypes with stealth elements included as well as Bomberman-style action.

Dynamite Jack isn’t yet 100% confirmed for iOS (with the game set to launch initially on Mac and PC next month) but Phil Hassey let Touch Arcade know via Twitter that a port to iPad looks very likely and with iCade support, also.

Check out the gameplay trailer below and cross your fingers tightly for a speedy release. Dynamite Jack looks like it’s going to be great fun.

[Source: Touch Arcade]

Chickon Review

Chickon Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Chickon is a goofy spin-off on the classic iPhone strategy game Galcon, and although it isn't quite as addicting or deep, there's plenty of fun to be had.

Read The Full Review »

Far too often gaming is heinously thrust under the microscope of the media by organizations like Fox News and CNN.  In most circumstances an ill-informed host or reporter with an obvious bias is very outspoken and condemning of an hobby that more and more of us have come to know and love.  Sure, recently PopCap received quite a bit of good press for their work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, but more often than not things lean towards the negative.

Five teens from the rural community of Rye, Colorado, along with Phil Hassey of Galcon fame, thought that it was time to once again show the positive side of gaming. After deciding that they wanted to try to help raise funds for a new community center in Rye, the team spent two days designing a brand new game from scratch. When the dust settled, The Exterminator was born.

So how does one decide to make a game about a motorcyclist that is humanity’s last line of defense against mutant bugs?  Here is a snippet of Hassey’s rundown of the project’s creative process:

“Wes really wanted to do a motorcycle oriented game and Shamoa was interested in some kind of game where we’d destroy mutant bugs.  By combining those ideas we came up with ‘The Exterminator.’  From there we spent two days developing the artwork, music, sound effects, and the actual game.  Matt put together the electric guitar soundtrack using GarageBand.  Wes, Shamoa, Shadrack, and Cameron all worked on the artwork.  Most everyone did some sound effects.  We also spent a lot of time eating food and generally goofing off.  We wrapped up the project with some solid play-testing and tweaking and we were all really happy with how it came out.”

First of all, hats off to Phil for making this project possible.  I’m sure these creative teens brought tons of amazing ideas to the table, but it takes the experience and expertise of a professional to bring all of those ideas together into a cohesive product.  Secondly, it is awesome to hear of the selfless generosity of Wes, Matt, Shamoa, Shadrack, and Cameron, all in the name of a good cause.  Well done to everyone involved.

If you are interested in supporting this very charitable cause, you can download The Exterminator when it goes live on the App Store, August 17th.  All of the proceeds from the game will go towards the efforts to establish a community outreach center in Rye, Colorado.  If you would like to learn more about the project and their progress towards raising $200,000, you can check out their website or like the game on Facebook.   Also, be sure to check out the trailer below to both see the game in action and meet the teens that made this project possible.

Space Hedgehogs vs. Space Cacti Review

Space Hedgehogs vs. Space Cacti Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Space Hedgehogs vs. Space Cacti is a surprisingly well done space strategy game, but it still has some flaws that will prevent it from hitting the big time.

Read The Full Review »
Buccaneer Blitz Review

Buccaneer Blitz Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Strategy Purists will still prefer Galcon, but Buccaneer Blitz is a strategy gem with the average gamer in mind.

Read The Full Review »

Another weekend, another great multiplayer game. This weekend, we’re designating the great strategy game Galcon as our weekend fun. Come join us.

Galcon is a game of conquest. Your goal is to fight against the other players and capture as many of the planets as possible. You do this by directing your ships (you have a specific number at each planet you control), from your planets to other players planets or uncontrolled planets. The planets that you control also produce new ships. So the more planets you control, the more ships you produce.

Once control of all of the planets has been achieved by a single player, that player wins. You can play many different variations as a single player game to get used to how the game is played. But when you are ready, hit the multiplayer version.

Besides the great strategic gameplay, Galcon also has a killer multiplayer version. The iPhone version, known as just Galcon, offers up to 4 player multiplayer games. You can play over the internet with others, or you can play locally over Wifi and Bluetooth. The online multiplayer is where it’s at. There’s never a time you can’t find a game to join.

The iPad version is an enhanced version of the game with many added features over the iPhone version. Not only are there more single player versions of the game to play, there are also 6 different multiplayer variations you can play. In addition, the multiplayer version on the iPad supports up to 12 players. And Galcon Fusion is the same as the desktop version. This means that you’ll be playing on your iPad against Windows and Mac users as well.

What other multiplayer games would you like to see us feature on Weekend Fun? Let us know in the comments.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-18 :: Category: Games
$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games

logo-alphaWe got word from Galcon developer Phil Hassey that he had decided, nearly last minute, to port over his new PC/Mac Galcon Fusion to the iPad. Galcon was one of the first really great games on the iPhone and Galcon Fusion is just a lot more of the same great things.

One of the really cool features of Galcon has been it’s multiplayer features that allow you to play over the Internet with anyone else that has the game. Galcon Fusion takes that a step further and allows you to play against not only other iPad users, but also other Mac, PC, and Linux users of the game!

galcon-ipad-rainbow

Galcon Fusion will be available when the iPad App Store opens up on April 3rd! Hit the jump for more great screen shots and details about Galcon Fusion.

Continue reading iPad Game Preview: Galcon Fusion »

Galcon Labs

Galcon Labs

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Generally we see content updates like this for free in the app store, so some people might argue that this should have been rolled into vanilla Galcon. But, there is just enough new content here to warrant a second app. It's priced right at $0.99 and well worth the purchase.

Read The Full Review »

From Out of Nowhere Comes… Galcon Labs!

This afternoon, Phil Hassey released a surprise sequel to his acclaimed strategy game, Galcon. Galcon was recently given an aesthetic facelift, and Galcon Labs not only incorporates these aesthetic changes but also adds four new game modes. Oh, and in addition to many AI single player difficulties with random maps there’s still fully-featured online multiplayer!

Galcon was one of the earliest strategy games on the App Store and remains one of the best with simple and addictive gameplay. You and an opponent are placed on a battlefield of planets. You each start out with a home planet, and your goal is to eradicate your opponents fleet. To do this, you send out a certain percentage of your ships from one planet to another. Based on the size of a planet, ships will grow at a certain rate. This sounds simple, but the game quickly becomes frantic as players set up satellite planets, fight for key strategic outposts, and eventually wipe their opponent off the face of the galaxy.

In addition to this “classic” mode, Galcon Labs features four new game modes:

Billiards – play in a battlefield of constantly moving planets.
Stealth – enemy ships are invisible.
Crash – ships battle mid-space.
Assassin – each player is designated a target planet. The first player to conquer their target wins.


Currently at only $.99, Galcon Labs is by all accounts a bargain. Expect a full review soon!
$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-01 :: Category: Games

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-18 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-09-17 :: Category: Games

Sure, Apple is dead to Jason Calacanis but we think the old rainbow fruit might still have a little life left in her — therefore, here’s the latest iPhone app store news.

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D is awesome and disappointing. Today, Richard takes a look at Duke Nukem 3D. He’s a lot more generous with the app than I think I would have been. Such is the way with reviews. While it’s amazingly cool to see Duke on the iPhone screen, that excitement was greatly diminished once I started to play it. The controls are just awful. To me they just show a complete lack of understanding of the platform. Something you’d expect to see of an amateur developer but not from a developer with this much experience. They must have just had to rush it out for some reason. Also, seems as though they aren’t limiting the speed properly. On a 3GS, the movements are extremely fast. Oh well, it’s still cool to see. Let’s hope the controls get fixed up soon. For nostalgia’s sake I’d love to actually be able to play it rather than just show it off.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-10 :: Category: Games

Galcon Looking Great!

Galcon Looking Great!

Galcon 1 year anniversary brings a facelift. We’ve heard from Galcon creator Phil Hessey that he has submitted an update that gives it “shiny real-game feel instead of a made in some guy’s basement feel.” While we think the original looks fantastic, take a look at this sample image to see what awesomeness is to come. The update marks the 1 year anniversary of Galcon being in the app store.

If you’re not familiar with Galcon, it’s a great single / multiplayer real time strategy game. It’s a fantastic game if you like a little strategy with your arcade, check it out. The update has been submitted and is a free upgrade to anyone who has bought the app. It should be available soon.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-18 :: Category: Games

SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 to work over 3G — outside the US. So if AT&T has no say in what apps get approved, why is AT&T the only carrier who’s customers will not be seeing an update to Slingplayer to allow streaming of content over 3G? Viewing content over 3G is just one of the features planned in this rumored release recently submitted to Apple. Other purported features in this update include 16:9 viewing and an updated user interface for Dish Network users. Via TUAW.

$14.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-13 :: Category: Entertainment

eTextbooks may finally be here. CourseSmart have released an iPhone application that interfaces with their online textbook rental service. According to their site the usual rental is for 180 days and is about 50% the normal cost of the book. The downside is of course that there is no trade in value. So in the end it’s about the same as buying and then selling a textbook yet considerably more convenient. The app is free and requires an account from their site to use.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-08-09 :: Category: Education

USAA bank brings virtual check deposits to the iPhone. USAA have updated their mobile banking app and included a new feature they call Deposit@Mobile. The feature allows their customers with iPhones to take a picture of the front and back of a check to deposit it. Once that’s done and it’s verified at the bank, the check will appear in your account just like you deposited it at an ATM. It’s a pretty big advancement and one that’s sure to see some scrutiny from security experts. But, it’s a step in the right direction.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-11 :: Category: Finance

Cosmic Nitro

Cosmic Nitro

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Cosmic Nitro, from the makers of Galcon, is a fairly standard foray into the missile defense genre. Many of the game elements are as expected, but the sheer intensity of this game separates it from some of its competition. If the game was twice as long/hard, Cosmic Nitro would be a must have $0.99 game.

Read The Full Review »
Galcon

Galcon

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Galcon is an excellent space-themed strategy game that requires lightning-quick decisions and delivers some great gameplay. Definitely a must-have!

Read The Full Review »

The IGF Mobile awards were announced at the Game Developers Conference this week, and the iPhone, less than a year after commercial games became available for it, swept the awards winning all categories.

In celebration of these awards and due to extra publicity by Apple in the App Store, have reduced their prices to help increase sales for the nominated applications. Here’s a rundown of the winners:

Best Mobile Game – Fieldrunners
(on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99 iTunes Link)

Best iPhone Game – Zen Bound
($4.99 iTunes Link)

Innovation in Game Design – Galcon
(on sale for $0.99, down from $4.99 iTunes Link)

Mobile Achievement in Art – Fieldrunners
(on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99 iTunes Link)

Technical Achievement Award – Real Racing
(Not yet released – target release date: late April, 2009)

Mobile Audio Achievement – Zen Bound
($4.99 iTunes Link)

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