Tag: Reading »
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre examined why mobile games just don't seem to have as much depth as their console brethren. He says, "Should gamers expect the same experience on mobile devices as on console? Probably not–but that may be changing. Michael de Graaf, the producer for the mobile version of Need for Speed Most Wanted, feels that the difference between console and mobile is narrowing. “At the moment, consoles still have an edge when it comes to raw power but that gap is narrowing,” he told us, “and we’ve seen possibilities continue to expand on mobile. The current quality of screens we are seeing and new form factors are increasing the quality and diversity of experiences that gamers can now have on a mobile device.”
Nick Rish, vice president of mobile publishing for EA, believes that comparing the two is futile. “There is something very immersive about holding a device 10 inches from your face,” he said, “putting on headphones and enjoying a game like Need for Speed Most Wanted while on your lunch break … It’s tough to say one platform provides a better consumer experience than the other; gaming is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Mobile gaming grew from very basic flash games we all’ve been playing on web browsers,” said Przemek Marszal, art director at 11 bit studios, the developer behind the Anomaly Warzone series. But that’s changing, he said, noting that even a hard-core indie developer like John Carmac sees the potential of iOS gaming.
Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got back to nature with her review of Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest: "Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest for iPhone is an impressive adaptation of the printed non-fiction title “In the Forest” A First Discovery Look and Learn Book from Scholastic. A version of this app is also available for iPad.
The Forest is an impressive application about nature, with wonderfully bright colors and robust details on each page bringing the sights of forests to devices. Instead of text that one would read, this app consists of very good narration that leads children through interactive exercises that will teach them a lot about the forests of North America.
Six chapters are included that cover a lot of ground, such as learning about both deciduous and coniferous trees, tapping leaves or branches to learn about the trees they belong to, also allowing children to drag these realistic bits of foliage around the screen."
Last up, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson was happy to announce that one of our favorite games, Punch Quest, is coming to Android: "Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats."
Read the full story on AndroidRundown.
And we've cleared yet another week in 2012. Join us next weekend for another recap of the latest and greatest news from the week that was - and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest info on the hottest apps. Now go get the rest of your holiday shopping done!
Lately, there seems to be a Kickstarter project for everything imaginable. One new exciting project is Underground Kingdom.
The project aims to adapt the work of author Edward Packard, namely his Choose Your Own Adventure books made popular in the 1970s. These books have proved very important to many in the past, myself included, both encouraging literacy and demonstrating how much fun reading can be.
Much like the work of Tin Man Games, Choose Your Own Adventure books are all about taking part in an interactive story and making decisions that lead to many different inclusions.
Underground Kingdom isn't quite under way yet, hence the Kickstarter project. While I for one greatly encourage getting involved with backing the project, we thought it only right to check in with co-founder and project director Felipe Mingo and creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure books Edward Packard and see how they feel about things.
We asked Felipe about the motivation behind bringing back this series of books.
"In (our) search for an app idea," he explained, "we remembered the Choose Your Own Adventure series. We really loved these books as kids, and thought that it would be great to transport the concept of "gamebooks" to digital. When we looked for digital versions, we didn't find any quality apps that would deliver a great experience. We wanted something different, with contemporary artwork, interaction, a map to guide your path... That's when we decided to start working on it and contacted Edward, who was really helpful and licensed us some of his books."
Asking whether the books, starting with Underground Kingdom, will be original conversions or if there will be any adjustments, Felipe explained that "The adaptations of the story are completely original from Edward Packard books. We made some minor changes to the text so it would adapt to today's technology. The artwork is totally new." As you can see from the artwork below, it's pretty glorious to look at and a great re-imagining of the original's style.
Edward Packard explained to us that he believes the "imaginative color art and animations...greatly enrich the adventurous experience" while also stating that he's "delighted, and especially so about delivering them in app form," as well as the "added interactive features [and] sound effects".
While the project is still in the early stages, Visual Baker provided us with some examples of concept art and how the devs there plan to incorporate the feel of Choose Your Own Adventure books into app form. It's looking pretty great, so far.
If you're keen on backing the Kickstarter, check out the Underground Kingdom project page for details of pledge amounts available.
This week at 148Apps.com, we gave the Editor's Choice award to Organ Trail: Director's Cut. Reviewer Rob Rich had this to say about the game: "There’s something timeless about The Oregon Trail. Gearing up and heading west across the country in order to settle in some promising new territory, braving all manner of hardships and diseases along the way, it’s a game that just about everyone loves. Wait a second, the “E” is missing. It’s not Oregon Trail? It’s actually Organ Trail? Well I don’t see what the big difference-OHMYGOD ZOMBIES!!!
Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is a throwback to the classic era of computer gaming. Back when we had to load these things using floppy disks, and in-game sounds consisted entirely of varying forms of *BOOP*. Much like its pioneer era inspiration, the game tasks players with preparing for a cross-country road trip and naming party members after friends in order to make them feel bad when they inevitably die in horrible ways. Only this time it’s during a modern zombie apocalypse, and instead of hunting for food and fording rivers they’ll be scrounging for meager supplies while fending off the walking dead and creeping through zombie hordes."
Everything was about back to school at GiggleApps.com, where reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Murky Reef 1st-2nd Grade Reading, Science and Math: "Parents will appreciate how this app incorporates the Common Core standards for Grades 1 and 2 while keeping children engaged and entertained, especially as children prepare for school to start again soon and need to begin to get back to the business of focusing on school work.
Murky Reef is a collection of 22 interactive games which teach a great deal about the animals of the coral reef as well as include math, logic and language exercises."
Finally, on 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the rise of the app developer middle class, saying, "While there’s often much pessimism among developers as far as the challenges of money making on mobile apps goes, analytics firm Flurry’s latest report discusses how the revenue among mobile apps is being distributed. With it, there’s evidence that an app developer ‘middle class’ is forming, as with more revenue being spent on mobile apps, developers do not need to reach the kind of high ranks that they did in the past to make the same kind of revenue. As well, the ‘long tail’ of revenue is getting longer."
This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, "So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps..."
At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, "The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy."
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney's push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, "Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator."
iPoe - The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection is Ready to Spook Unwary iOS Users
Once upon a Friday evening, as I sat here, email reading,
Over a many quaint and curious letter of reviews implored,
While I perused, nearly napping, all the while my fingers clacking,
Pausing not their steady tapping, tapping on my old keyboard.
“ ‘Tis a slow night,” I muttered, “little use for my keyboard;
Only spam, and nothing more.”
Deep into my malaise drifting, long I sat there, fading, staring
Doubting, seeking apps few mortals ever dared download before;
Then my boredom was disbanded, by the news of an app branded,
A collection handed to a more than willing App Store.
I noticed when I checked the store. And I found, it offered more.
Not content with mere wording, these three stories feature moving,
Not just moving but reacting, with a touch we’ve seen before.
“The Tell-Tale Heart,” said I, “has piqued my interest.
“As has The Oval Portrait and The Masque of the Red Death.
Let’s see if interaction makes them better, better than they were before.”
iPoe, with interactive stories, still is sitting, still is sitting
Lurking in the category for books found on the App Store;
And we all can start the reading of this dark and twisted dreaming.
And the price is of a number that in dollars orbits four ($3.99);
And my goal for this here story has been met with much fervor
Download it from---The App Store!
When a child is in possession of a device as versatile as an iPad, it could be just as distracting as it is productive. A new series of apps by Ruckus, Ruckus Reader, has been released that help parents keep track of their children’s progress through Ruckus Reader books.
There aren’t many Ruckus Reader apps available yet, but the ones that have been released include big names like Transformers, Crayola, and My Little Pony. The Ruckus Reader apps send weekly “Reader Meter” emails to parents (information is also available on the website) with information about their children on subjects like phonics, print awareness, fluency, alphabetic knowledge, sequencing, and story comprehension.
All of the three big name apps (Transformers: Ruckus Reader, My Little Pony: Ruckus Reader, and Crayola:Ruckus Reader) include features like word hunts, games, mazes, and “make-your-own” sort of pages (make-your-own stickers, make-your-own story, etc). All three apps are free.
Parents will receive “Reader Meter Progress Snapshots” for free with a Ruckus Reader account. For full “Reader Meter Progress Reports” and unlimited access to their entire Ruckus Reader iLibrary, parents can subscribe to a Ruckus library membership for 6 months at $24.99. Both types of accounts can support up to four children who may access the books across various app and devices.
One of the best newspaper reading apps, PressReader, likes to keep on top of new technology and updates to the iPad, regularly adding new and useful features and tweaks.
With the recent release of the new iPad, this has happened again with a great selection of new features.
The big one is Retina Display support, ensuring that everything on the new iPad screen will look pretty amazing, even when zoomed in.
Also included is the ability to instantly translate publications in up to 12 languages, as soon as the title is opened. It's also now possible to save articles to Evernote or Instapaper for later consultation as well as email or share them via Twitter or Facebook.
It's also an ideal time to check out the new SmartFlow functionality within the app which works well alongside the Retina Display support to make this a great way of reading the traditional newspaper in a 21st century way.
Check out the PressReader video below demonstrating what's been changed. The update is available now.
This week at 148Apps.com, we checked out the long-awaited release of Readability, via a quick overview and full review from Lisa Caplan. Caplan writes, "The app provides the same service and merges seamlessly with the web versions. Users open to a blank page with just a menu. Filling the app is the the reader’s job. Users can search the web or enter an URL manually. The app pulls the article, pretties it up, and places a lead-in on the home screen.
I found it faster to just surf on my Mac adding articles that appealed as I found them, but how one fills the app is a small matter. What Readability does with the content is the cool bit. I tested the universal build on an iPad and it works wonderfully in both orientations. In landscape the articles fill the main pane and a well-designed and unobtrusive sidebar has the menu. In portrait the sidebar is a tiny top bar."
Meanwhile, our sister site Giggleapps.com dug deep into the garden of apps and came up with a review of The Giant Turnip: A Kidztory Classic Animated Interactive Storybook. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, "As always, the look of this app is delightful, with wonderful colors and textures and fun use of music incorporated into a style utterly recognizable as a Kidztory storybook. I appreciate the warm browns and green shades seen in the land where the turnip is planted, along with the noticeable brush strokes for a lovely effect. Possibly more so than other apps from this series, nothing is flat-looking within this app as every animal or other detail has its own imperfect texture that layered together on the page really brings a richness to this story that adults may enjoy even more than their children."
Finally, 148Apps.biz updated GameSpy's progress on its GameSpy Open platform. Brad Hilderbrand writes, "Today GameSpy announced that there are over 600 titles in development for its year-old GameSpy Open platform. The stable of upcoming titles includes games like Warm Gun, Skullgirls and more, with a total of 1200 developers hard at work on new projects."
The old week is done. Bring on the new week, with the promise of the iPad 3 just around the corner. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep abreast of the latest reviews, news items and contests right when they happen. See you next week!
I'll freely admit it, without shame or regret; I've written fanfiction before. Not just in my youth (although I don't consider myself "old" yet), but recently. Like in the past week. Don't ask, I won't provide links. Anyway despite being something of a sneer-inducing pastime among certain circles, fanfiction is still a legitimate way to flex those writing muscles. And much like regular old published fiction, it can run the gamut between fantastic and complete trash. For those who enjoy a good yarn regardless of its origins, or for those who are simply curious, there's FanFiction by PentaLoop.
The app currently supports fanfiction.net, and already sports an ever-growing library of thousands of tales. Users can search for specific subjects, keep track of what they've been reading, and even mark their favorites in order to come back to them any time they want. It's pretty much akin to a typical eBook app, only it deals exclusively with fanfiction. Which is kinda cool, really.
FanFiction is sitting in the App Store, just waiting to be downloaded. For free, no less. Whether for legitimate interest or the desire to read something akin to a literary train wreck, I think it's worth a look.
It may seem anathema in the early 21st century, but some people still prefer their news in-depth, thorough and well-written. But in a twitterpated sound-bite culture it’s difficult to find comprehensive news reporting much less an app that serves it without paying for multiple subscriptions.
A new iPad app on the news aggregator scene, Longform, is changing that, and doing so in a way that still feels very iOS.
Longform curates articles from numerous major publications including The NewYorker, National Geographic, BusinessWeek, Esquire and about a dozen more. Along with a Longform feed that culls from additional sources, readers select their favorites.
A tap on the periodicals, placed on the left sidebar, brings up headlines and excerpts appear on the right. Readers are then offered a web view or a beautifully Spartan page for easy reading in either orientation.
The app is closely integrated with Readbility for offline reading, but users can choose Instatpaper or ReadItLater in the options menu if they prefer. If one has used any of these services or Safari's native reader, the look is much the same.
The app allows for multiple scalable fonts, page-formatting options, and favorite articles can be shared via Twitter. Facebook, Tumblr or by email.
I have a wishlist as long as my arm for additional sources, but Longform is a off to a tremendously good start both in terms of style and substance. It has already earned its place amongst my favorite news aggregators on the App Store.
This week at 148Apps.com, writer Carter Dotson reviewed one of the most anticipated iOS games in recent memory - Infinity Blade II. Dotson writes, "Most of what is new here is a modified and extended progression structure. Instead of one path leading to a final boss, where failure means starting over, there are now several of them, with more branching paths to explore. There are 3 different weapon types now: the traditional swords, slow and heavy axes that deal more damage, and speedy dual swords that deal less base damage, but can do double damage once combos are started. The story is more fleshed out, with actual speaking dialogue from characters besides the God King."
Meanwhile, our attention was turned to more artistic matters at GiggleApps, as Amy Solomon reviewed Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers. Solomon says, "The look of this app is terrific, with illustrations evoking the style that Van Gogh is known for, complete with bold color choices and noticeable use of brush strokes, but maintains a childlike quality that fits well within this storybook. The jazzy music used is also wonderful, relaxing as well as engaging and very enjoyable to listen to even for long periods of time. The narration used here is also quite good. Parents will also like that each spoken word is highlighted red to aid the young children new to the world of reading."
Finally, 148Apps.biz site editor Rob Lefebvre reported on tablet users and their media consumption. LeFebvre writes, "In a study put out by comScore and reported by Fierce Mobile Content and the appside, interested parties can see that the number one use of tablet devices is games, with 67% of surveyed tablet users saying they’ve played a game at least once in the past month, as compared to 49% of smartphone users surveyed. 23% of those surveyed said they’d played a game on their tablet EVERY DAY. That’s a good number."
That's our wrap-up for this week. While you're out getting all of your holiday shopping done, don't forget to check us out on our Facebook and Twitter feeds to find out the latest and greatest news, reviews and contests. Feliz Navidad!
This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott welcomed the Kindle Fire into the tablet fold with an overview of his impressions of the device. Scott says, "...while the Kindle Fire is around 40 percent the cost of a base level iPad, it’s capabilities are even less. It just so happens that those capabilities match up well with what a typical consumer uses a tablet device for. Because of that, the Kindle Fire will be a strong competitive device to the iPad. When it comes down to it, it’s the cost that matters to a very large portion of the buying public, not the capabilities."
Meanwhile, our sister site, GiggleApps, took a closer look at a new educational app for children, iLuv Drawing Animals. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, "iLuv Drawing Animals is a nice choice for kids who are interested in learning the very basics of drawing cartoony animals that are cute and relatively easy to draw. I like how these illustrations are broken down into smaller shapes that kids will easily understand and have had experience with, and the narration is pleasant and easy to follow."
Finally, on AndroidRundown, Carter Dotson announced the public availability of Google Music, an interesting development for all music lovers, no matter the device. Dotson writes, "Most importantly, this means that Google is now in the business of one of the big pillars of media, and it addresses a gaping hole in the Android Market. With videos and books already addressed, now the store is complete with music to go along with apps. Google is directly putting themselves in competition with iTunes, and they are making their operating system much closer in terms of features to iOS devices. This was a necessary move for Google."
As we head into the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, remember that you can still enter to win an iPhone 4S, courtesy of 148Apps and Gameloft. To enter, just become a 148Apps and Gameloft Facebook fan – www.facebook.com/gameloft and www.facebook.com/148apps.
Or you can follow both of us on Twitter as well at www.twitter.com/148apps and www.twitter.com/gameloft. Then, write the following public tweet: “Upgrade to a 4S yet? Follow @Gameloft & @148Apps & RT for a chance to win an iPhone 4S! Gameloft gaming on the 4S: http://glft.co/uIR3Y1″
See you next week, true believers! Start thawing that turkey!