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Five Years Of The App Store: Jen's Favorites & Highlights

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 9th, 2013

Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what's so great about a device and service that you can't imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It's given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here's a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it's all been for me.

Memories

Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I'd had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn't feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It's hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn't show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.

Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!

Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I've used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.

Highlights

A career path: It's a pretty significant one, but if it wasn't for the App Store, I wouldn't be writing this. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what I'd be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It's changed my life for the better. It's been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I'm immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.

The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven't yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That's got to be a good thing for creativity, right?

Beloved Apps and Missed Titles

Favorites: I've struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it's practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.

Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.

Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I've played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble's use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.

It's been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I'm excited to see what the next five years will bring. It's looking like a pretty rosy future to me!

13 Year-Old Releases First App, Mad Pigs

Posted by Kevin Stout on May 25th, 2012

Last month, I reported on a 15 year-old developer releasing his first game (Patrick Balestra and Catch the Airplanes). This month, we found a developer a full two years younger releasing his first game! Jack McGraw, 13 year-old developer, has just released his first app, Mad Pigs.

You're Ol'Farmer. Ol'Farmer has been having a hard time harvesting his crops because of trouble with the local "mad pigs." The farmer navigates through 60 total levels dealing with various problems including different types of pigs, electric fences, and ham-shooting turrets the pigs have set up. Having problems with a level? Just use one of the bacons (three obtainable per world) to unlock the next level.

We reached out to young Mr. McGraw to ask him about the development of his app. We found out that since Jack didn't have enough time to learn to code because of his schoolwork, he used GameSalad, a development tool to create apps on iOS and Android without knowing how to code. But he's hoping someday to learn Objective C or Lua. Jordon Brownlee, a friend of his, provided all of the hand-drawn artwork in Mad Pigs. Playing games on his own iPhone and seeing some of the no-so-great apps get accepted into the App Store (I'm with you there!) inspired him to go off and create his own game. Thanks for chatting with us, Jack!

Check out Mad Pigs on the App Store for free.

Battle Legend Infinity Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Thomas on January 31st, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FIGHTING NOSTALGIA
This free retro-inspired offering will bring a smirk to the face of anybody who grew up on the 8 and 16-bit eras. Just make sure you're ready for the grind.
Read The Full Review »

The Police Story Made With GameSalad, Now Live In The App Store

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on August 2nd, 2011

Daniel Soto is a multimedia artist with a lifelong interest in interactive projects and art. He wanted to take this passion and build a video game; he chose the iOS platform, used GameSalad to create the design and gameplay, and released his creation into the wilds of the App Store. Updated just this past week, the game is live and ready for a download.

According to Soto, "Everything has been done with lots of dedication. Making it all from scratch was pretty tough but very rewarding on the other hand. I hope people will like playing it and, at the same time, bring back memories from the old 80s platform videogames mixed with the new technologic advantages."

He describes The Police Story as a game made to test player capabilities with controls to accelerate, slow down, and jump the police car, while interacting with the environments of 8 different levels across four different worlds, each containing three donuts for bonus points, along with end of level bosses. Soto plans to continue improving upon his game, promising upcoming updates and unlock-able extras.

While this could seem like many other endless runner type games in the App Store, the level of competency in the audio and visual elements, along with the fact that a non-programming artist was able to make the game with a product like GameSalad, made us sit up and take notice. It's examples like this that truly show the disruptive power of the iOS app ecosystem, especially in the world of gaming. Whether the game makes money for its creator or not, the fact that he was able to achieve his vision is exemplary.

The Police Story is available in two versions: a Lite version for free and a full version for $0.99. Need further evidence to support our interest in the game? Check this video (and the screenshots below it) out:




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Feed The Duck Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Sinan Kubba on August 2nd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SATIATING
There's the basis for an engrossing, addictive physics-based game in Feed The Duck, but it's not quite been realized. A good enough game, but a concept let down by execution nonetheless.
Read The Full Review »

The Portable Podcast, Episode 95

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 26th, 2011

Why don't we live in a world where seeing Batman walking down the street is normal? Such a shame.

On This Episode:

  • Carter recaps the mobile gaming offerings at SDCC 2011.
  • Carter speaks to Jonathan Hunt of GameSalad about their game programming product, and gets a demo of what can be instantly produced using the software.
  • Carter speaks to David Hedgecock of Ape Entertainment about the upcoming Cut the Rope comic, and how the franchise will translate into this new medium.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guest: Jonathan Hunt, GameSalad
  • Guest: David Hedgecock, Ape Entertainment

  • Contact The Show: Email | Twitter

    Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:


  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal

  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.

  • Listen on WRGT Radio every Friday at 4pm Central
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned in this Episode:



    An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    By Chris Hall on February 23rd, 2011
    Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: HEAVY
    An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook is a nice resource to have, but it definitely needs some editing and a redesign to be worth the high price.
    Read The Full Review »