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Carter Dotson's Favorite Things of 2012

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 28th, 2012

2012 was an amazing year. It was full of new things, old things, and big changes. But of everything that came about in the past year, these are my favorite things:

"Super" Challenging Games

In particular, Super Crate Box and Super Hexagon both left me in states of constant desire, wanting to get that high score while tackling the immense difficulty both games presented. Yet there was one consistent thread in both: failure was usually my fault, the factor of poor execution rather than random chance. It makes success feel all that more empowering. The byproduct of it is constant failure, and frequent profanity usage.

The Story of Mikey Shorts

Another one of my favorite games of the year, and one of the cooler stories too. Developers Mike Gaughen and Mike Meade met on the TouchArcade forums while competing for high scores, and eventually they got together to make the kind of speedrun game that they wanted, and they absolutely stuck the landing on this one.

The indie spirit lives on

2012 was not an easy year for indie developers, and it didn’t get easier. Yet, there were still so many great games from small studios, trying to just execute a great idea or hopefully hit it big. I fear for the future of indies on iOS, but the fact that they keep on trucking is inspiring.

Getting to Attend Game Developers Conference

This was my first GDC, and it was an amazing experience. To go around and talk to the people who create the games we love to play in person is a fantastic experience. And it’s refreshing to see that even those who have hit the mobile gaming jackpot still talk with those who have not had that kind of success get. And hey, nothing makes you feel important like having a press pass and getting into exclusive events. And San Francisco is a beautiful city.


But Chicago is now my home. 2012 was a year of big life events for me, and I finally was able to make a big move, to leave Texas (where I had lived my entire life) and move out far away on my own. I live in a bustling and exciting city, I get to talk to a community game developers and writers that also live here, and the food ain’t bad either.

Note that this is a list of my favorite things of 2012 – I keep getting reminded that winter is coming and it is awful. As such, Chicago may not be on my 2013 list.


Finally, 148Apps. Being part of one of the best app review sites on the Internet has changed my life in innumerable ways. The two and a half years I have been here have opened up new opportunities for me, and allow me to pursue the things that I am passionate about as a career. So for everyone that reads the site and listens to the podcast, I thank you for your support.

LoSo Totally Redesigns Itself for Version 2.0

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on February 15th, 2012

LoSo, a location-based restaurant and bars app which bills itself as a combination of FourSquare and Yelp, has announced a complete redesign as part of the version 2.0 update. New features include user profiles, as well as a real-time news feed linked to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The most significant new addition is the What's Up! feature, which allows users to take photos or videos of local bars and restaurants and instantly upload them to your Facebook page, the restaurant's Facebook page, and LoSo's listings. The app also allows users to check out menus, drink specials and happy hour deals of all participating businesses within 10 miles of their current location. Checking in at participating businesses grants QRewards Points, which can be redeemed for free food and drinks, as well as other prizes.

LoSo is currently testing in the Philadelphia and Boston markets, and will be expanding to Washington D.C, Chicago and Dallas soon.

Drink Deck Chicago Brings Bar Specials to the Windy City

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on January 5th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Just because New Year's is over doesn't mean you can't enjoy an adult beverage every now and again, and the denizens of Chicago now have a delightful new app that provides a fun way to get soused. Drink Deck Chicago provides a deck of 52 "playing cards," each of which corresponds to a bar in the city with persistent drink specials. Suddenly your night out just got a lot more fun, and you may just end your evening with enough cash left over to pay for those bogus hangover pills (or at least a strong cup of coffee).

Each bar listed in Drink Deck Chicago offers patrons $10 off their tab of over $30 or more, which adds up to $520 in savings. Users can browse though all 52 bars, sort them by location, or even group them by category. So if you're in the mood for a night out watching games and getting grub then open up the Beer Bar deck, but if you're looking to impress a lady or simply class it up a bit then take a peek at the Wine Bar set of cards. The bars serviced by the app are spread all around the city and include local hotspots such as Reggie's Music Joint and The Bluebird.

Of course there are a few drawbacks to this app, not the least of which is the fact that it has a very limited customer base. Unless you live in Chicago or visit regularly you'll have little use for this app, so unless apps for other cities are released in the future this one has a very limited appeal. Also, the $30 tab is easy to hit if you're out with friends, but a bit tougher if you're flying solo. Sure, you can spend $30 on alcohol, but the end result will likely leave you laid out flat or waking up in a strange bed unsure what happened the night before. But hey, for social drinkers in Chi Town this is a pretty decent app that pays for itself after just a couple bar hops.

A steak timer for the true steak enthusiast

Posted by Ryan Wood on September 8th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

I still remember all you can eat steak night at the local Ponderosa. My cousin and I would chomp down four or five steaks each before we were both ready to burst at the seams. What we were eating was just a shadow of what steak is supposed to be, however.

Early in 2010 I took a vacation to Chicago. During my stay I visited a high end steak house, the Grill Room. This was my first interaction with how great “real” steak was. Our waiter (are they called waiters at steak houses?) brought out a huge plate of meat to display to us, explaining what each piece of meat was, how it was prepared, and the methods of cooking. It was at this visit that I learned “real” steak places won’t prepare steak past medium.

Steak Grilling Timer & Recipes is a grill timer for steak that provides much of the information I learned at a “real” steak house. Multiple steaks can be added, with each being allowed unique cuts, thickness, and cooking levels. Each steak timer can be started separately, to ensure that all of the steaks get done at the same time. Setting up each steak for cooking is the easiest process I think I’ve experienced in an app on the iPhone. The app even takes into consideration preparation on a gas grill, a charcoal grill, or inside.

Steak Timer is much more than a timer, however. Each cut of steak has a laundry list of facts, including how it was cut, cooking techniques, and the various forms that particular cut comes in. Recipe information can be searched through for individual cuts as well, ensuring multiple preparation techniques for each cut. Did I mention all of the above is available without an internet connection?

For those with an active internet connection, additional features are available. A Steak-Enthusiast blog is available directly inside the app, and Kansas City Steak Company runs a monthly drawing for a $75.00 gift card that can also be accessed directly inside the app.

If you’re a steak lover, you owe it to yourself to check out this free steak timer and database from Kansas City Steak Company. It doesn’t provide endless amounts of information, but provides the most important information that any steak lover would need, each time steak is for dinner. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to return to my daydreaming about the masterpiece of a dinner I had at the Grill Room in Chicago again.