Anyone who has ever read a copy of Highlights magazine knows what a hidden object game is. Players are presented with a big picture and are tasked with finding the objects hidden within. With the advent of social gaming and its ability to easily feed players new content and connect them with friends, the genre seen new life. Take for example Game Insight’s Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure which has now made the leap to iPad.
The 8 million people that have already played Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure since its release on sites like Facebook and Orkut know that the game’s hook is its atmosphere. In order to break the secret of Mystery Manor and find Mister X players must look for objects inside a hand-drawn haunted house filled with all of the zombies, monsters, gypsies and other creatures that implies. Beyond that though the game seems to offer enough puzzles and challenge modes to make the gameplay worthwhile as well.
Game Insight plans to offer new content like extra characters and quests on a fairly regular basis. They claim one “will never finish the game.” Best of all, Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure is available for free.
I’ve never really been one for direct competition. I tend to prefer working with a team as opposed to fighting against other people, it’s just how I operate I suppose. But even I have to admit Spin Island might be on to something here. Their new app, iBeatThat, is something akin to a social networking YouTube hybrid with a decidedly “Top that!” vibe. Competitive types (read: normal people) will no doubt eat this stuff up.
The overall premise is simple: users pick a “real world activity” such as snowboarding, basketball, etc… and take a video of themselves doing something impressive in that category. Once that’s done, they can upload the clip through the app and see what happens. Which is to say, other users can view the video and rate it or even attempt to one-up the feat and see what the community thinks of their own attempt. They can also issue direct challenges to people on their friends list.
Would-be daredevils or “physical activity” enthusiasts will no doubt get plenty of use out of iBeatThat. And they can give it a spin right now for free. Just remember to play it safe, folks. Don’t go getting seriously injured out there for the sake of fleeting notoriety.
The App Store has seen its fair share of messaging, email and social networking apps. The new grouptime app, from the start-up company grouptime GmbH, hopes to set itself apart from the rest by combining the best of these services into one. Grouptime is a new kind of mobile social messaging service.
Grouptime takes inspiration from three forms of online communication: text messaging, email, and social networking. The app allows users to send SMS-style messages for free. Users can also share content with specific groups of friends in email-style distribution lists. Finally, like with any good social network, users of grouptime can update their status and location, chat with groups, and instantly share audio, photos and other multimedia.
Grouptime boasts extensive privacy features as well as a “simplified user interface.” Grouptime is currently available for free on the App Store for iPhones, iPods and iPads. An android version is currently on the way.
The 26 million users of the Formspring social network now have a new way to send and receive responses from friends, celebrities or whoever else with the launch of the official Formspring iPhone app. Since its launch in 2009, Over 3.6 billion responses have been sent through the network. With this new app, now responses can come from anywhere.
After setting up their profiles, Formspring users ask questions to each other and receive responses, furthering the conversation. With this app, users can now share photos as well, a feature coming to the browser version too. The app can also access users’ iPhone contacts and add them to their Formspring friends list in addition to getting data from Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace.
Formspring is currently available for free on the App Store and is coming soon to other mobile platforms. This is just the beginning of Formspring’s big push into the mobile space.
Some time ago, a man by the name of Frank Warren started a little project. He invited people to send him anonymous postcards with a personal secret attached, and a lot of people ended up sending in a lot of cards. In fact, he received so many responses he was able to put all of these secret confessions into several books. And now, the project has entered the world of social networking.
PostSecret, the app, allows users to take pictures and type out accompanying words as they bare any hidden part of their life they choose. Other users can also send replies if they want to. The anonymity this app affords people is no joke: no personal information is ever revealed, exact locations (via GPS) are never stored, it’s possible to choose a general location such as a city or school, no sign up is required and secrets don’t have to be stored on the device. Granted, they need to be stored if a user wishes to monitor responses, but accessing them requires a personalized code. PostSecret takes the privacy of its users very seriously.
Those interested in confessing anonymously to the entire world, or those content to silently dig through random strangers’ dirty laundry, can check out PostSecret on the App Store right now.
I must admit, the existence of Localmind is something I wasn’t even aware of until recently. Now I’m wondering why that is, since it’s a rather ingenious app. Utilizing an iOS device’s GPS in order to let users ask and answer questions about various destinations in their area seems like the kind of thing that’s both ahead of its time and has been a long time coming. It’s odd that it’s taken so long, I know.
So recently Localmind (the developer) released a new update for Localmind (the app) which includes a slew of new things. A number of them are being touted as mostly unnoticeable but still important (i.e. small tweaks and such). However, there are also a trio of specific additions that users have been clamoring for.
First, users can now use photos to answer questions which can provide some (I would imagine) very handy visual aids, such as an honest look at how long a line might be. Second, it’s now possible to answer past questions and those that have already been answered, adding a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) impression. Third, and perhaps most puzzling for a “Top 3 Requested Features” feature, is the ability to turn off the anonymous feature and use a real name and/or portrait. I’m not entirely sure about how essential that last one is, but I can certainly see how the other two options can be handy.
Localmind is the kind of app that can certainly be useful to just about anyone on certain occasions, such as when going to the movies or heading off to the airport. Folks such as myself in major metropolitan areas will no doubt get even more use out of it. Regardless, anyone who leaves the house every now and then would do well to check this out. Especially given the increased usefulness with this update.
Google has (finally) released their mobile iOS app for the hot new social network cum buzz-generator, Google+. The app is free and is available on the iTunes App Store, though it’s still propagating to the mobile App Store, so be patient if you can’t download it directly on your device.
According to MacStories, the Huddle group messaging feature is available from the app, and we can finally rejoice in sending photos from our iPhone or iPod Touch without any wacky workarounds.
From the App Store Page: Google+ for mobile makes sharing the right things with the right people a lot simpler. Huddle lets you send super-fast messages to the people you care about most. And no matter where you are, the stream lets you stay in the loop about what your friends are sharing and where they’re checking in.
* Circles let you share the right things with just the right people.
* Stream is where you can get updates from your circles or see what people are saying about things nearby.
* Huddle is super-fast group messaging for everyone in your circles.
Let’s face it, there are entirely too many social networks out there. In fact, there is a whole cottage industry of companies who try and help keep your online presence in check by organizing all your networks and presenting information in an easily-digestible manner. A leader in this arena on the iPhone is HootSuite, and as of today the service is now available on the iPad.
HootSuite allows users to keep track of Twitter updates, Facebook and Foursquare check-ins without having to constantly jump between apps or visit multiple websites. The service fully integrates almost all of the features of each network without the extra hassle of using their “official” apps. Also, the extra real estate afforded by the iPad creates room for more columns, so prepare for absolute information overload.
HootSuite has been available on the iPhone for over a year so it’s great to see the app finally available for Apple’s tablet. Nearly all those who have tried out HootSuite have loved it, as it does a great deal to help sort out and categorize what could otherwise be an overwhelming amount of Tweets, status updates and check-ins. If you can’t keep things straight now then maybe it would be wise to unfollow a few people and trim down your Facebook friends list. Come on, you never talk to half those people anymore anyway, are they really still your friends?
The larger question raised by the need for services such as HootSuite is have we taken the social networking phenomenon too far? HootSuite only currently supports three social media sites, but there are plenty more where that came from. We’re nearing the point where we all spend so much time cultivating our online image that we have to wonder what sort of hit our actual social skills are taking. Are we just creating a new way to communicate, or have we forgotten how to actually talk to one another? I don’t have time to answer that right now, I just got an @reply and need to follow-up.
OpenFeint has described their service as “think XBOX Live meets Facebook.” They’ve quickly become the social gaming platform of choice for several game developers, even with competition from the likes of Scoreloop, Agon, and ngmoco’s Plus+ network. OpenFeint has now released a free standalone app that gives you a central location for tracking all of your gaming accomplishments, and for interacting with the rest of the community. These features were previously only accessible from within each individual game.
With the new OpenFeint app, you can see your progess, as well as that of your friends, across the entire inventory of OpenFeint enabled games. This includes global, friends-only, and personal leaderboards, as well as specific game accomplishments. You can send challenges, participate in forums, and chat/IM. There are several features to manage your profile, such as linking your account to Twitter or Facebook for the incorporation of your profile picture and friend lists. The OpenFeint app also showcases a free/lite app everyday, shining the spotlight on that particular developer.
With hundreds of games already supporting their service, and the intent to eventually bring their community features to Android as well, OpenFeint may be steadily emerging as the de facto standard for social gaming on the go.
OneConnect is an attempt by Yahoo! to unify all of the social networks you use into one application. They have released this pretty interesting looking application to the iTunes App Store now. Downloading now…
* Get a full-featured phone book that can integrate contacts from your Yahoo! Address Book, iPhone, and your social networks (including: Bebo, Dopplr, Facebook, Flickr, Friendster, hi5, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube).
* Connect with your friends via Yahoo! Messenger or SMS. Have fun with emoticons, avatars, and photos.
* See what’s happening on your favorite social networks with an at-a-glance view of status updates, photo uploads, and more.
* Find your favorite people quickly and call, message, or send an e-mail—with one tap.
I am eager to let readers know about Oceanhouse Media’s annual app sale in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday from Wednesday, February 25 through Monday, March 9. During this time, five of their best-selling Seuss stories will be on sale for $0.99 each, and there will be discounts for other classic Dr. Seuss titles as […]
I know, I know. Match-3 is kind of an overdone concept at this point. It’s sort of like the zombies of game design. Good thing there aren’t any… oh, wait. Seriously though, don’t let the match-3 and zombies combination fool you into a false sense of “meh” before you really take a look at Zombie […]