Tag: Scrabble »
Word Mage Review
Word Puttz Review
5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now
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
The 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
The 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.
Scrabble Is Getting Even More Scrabble-y
A lot of people enjoy Scrabble. Like a lot. But while the current official iOS rendition is doing okay, it’s been in need of a little tweaking for a while. Well the time for tweaking is nigh.
The list of changes includes a much-improved user interface that not only looks nice but makes setting up matches and finding friends a lot easier. In fact, it makes the act of setting up a game into about as painless a process as I’ve seen yet. The chat features have also been updated, and even include some pretty wacky emoticons. There’s also a rather handy new feature that will allow players to see what other words they might have made with their letters after (emphasis on after) their turn is submitted, which should help to even out the playing field a little for the less spell-savvy while still keeping things fair during multiplayer matches.
However, the most exciting change by far has got to be the cross-platform integration. The Facebook rendition is already available, but once the iOS and Android updates are ready to roll out players will be able to get their spell on across all three platforms. This means PC/Mac users can play against iOS/Android users, and that one user’s account can span multiple devices. So one could play a few rounds on their mobile device, then come home and continue the game on the computer via Facebook. Effectively, just about anyone will be able to play Scrabble with just about anyone else just about anywhere.
Scrabble is already available and is free, but these changes won’t hit until sometime this summer. Do any of these changes have you current players excited? Then chime in below!
Competitive Word Gaming From Words Play And A Giveaway!
There's a plentiful supply of Scrabble type games on the App Store with the most popular varieties being Scrabble itself and Words With Friends. Today marks the launch of a new word game much like the aforementioned twosome, keen to make its mark on the multiplayer word construction world.
Words Play is that game. Providing an attractive and playful exterior with smiley, cartoon faces guiding the player and a colorful board, Words Play certainly has the potential to be a big hit.
The word game concept we all know and love is there. Players take turns to create words from 7 tiles then place them on the board. The board has a variety of special places that provide double or triple point scores for respective letters or even the whole word. Bonus points are given for creating a word with all the available letters on the rack. Rather usefully, there's the addition of an in-app dictionary so that players who don't recognize a word, can just tap on the selection and learn a bit about the term.
Words Play offers a selection of modes. There's the head to head mode for players who want to play against a friend who's sitting near them. Then there's the online multiplayer functionality via the title's Game Center support. The player can choose to be automatically matched with a random opponent or they can hook up with a friend on their Game Center friends list. For the anti social gamer, there's also the prospect of competing against the adaptive AI player for the additional price of a $0.99 in-app purchase.
Words Play is a neat little package that's no doubt sounding pretty appealing right now to words games fans. So readers will be excited to hear that we have 20 promo codes to give away! All you have to do is check in on our Twitter account where we'll be giving away codes shortly. Obviously, you're already following us but if not, we're @148apps.
Enjoy the fun!
Free Word Based Gaming With BetterLetter
Who can resist a word game? I know I can't which is exactly why I immediately checked out BetterLetter.
BetterLetter is a very simple word game but that's often all that's needed for a potent and enjoyable title. Available for free, it's a game all about adding letters and forming increasingly more complex words from the line up. Pitting the player against another human player or with the AI, each player takes turns in adding letters in their efforts to create the longest word possible and gain the most points.
It's a simple idea and one that I'm sure I've played before as a pen and paper game, but a great way to pass the time. The dictionary included with the game is pretty comprehensive coming up with all manners of words that I didn't even know existed. Curse my average vocabulary.
BetterLetter also provides themes soon, in order to inspire creativity. These will include a Christmas theme as well as a Breakfast theme amongst others.
BetterLetter is available now for the grand price of nothing. Players can also pay out $0.99 to remove the ads that support the free version, and they can buy a Science Fiction theme for the same price.