Thursday, May 13, 2010

Breakfast in bed, and other techniques of diversion


Ding, ding, ding ... That was the sound of the alerts he got with each receipt from the App Store, thanking him for my purchases.

During the course of an upgrade, I inherited my husband’s first-generation iPhone as well as his sophomoric tastes in games and apps such as iFart, Sex Jokes, and Flip Strip, which is essentially a novelty wherein girls become unclothed down to their skivvies as a person turns their cell phone on end (think stripping pens with tattooed ladies).

The mistake he made – beside giving me his App store access code – was leaving the kids in bed with me on Mother’s Day whilst I tried to “sleep in.”

What’s 99 cents here and there for distraction, right?

Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching.

Some of the selections we made included:

Talking Carl (Awyse, $.99). A square, red monster that repeats virtually everything you say at helium pitch. Awesome! The Champ was so enamored of the virtual “pet” that he began referring to Carl has his best friend and asked him if he’d like to watch the movie “Cars” together. The relationship, unfortunately, has turned ugly since the boy learned poking Carl in eye yielded some funny results. You can also pinch and tickle him. Ignoring him makes Carl testy.

TiltShift Generator (Art & Mobile, $.99). This is an app filter you can run on your camera phone pictures to make them look more artsy-fartsy. You can select the area you want to be in focus, the amount of blur and saturation levels. It’s a lot of fun. I also like the idea that photographers can take crappy pictures on a really expensive smart phone and make them look almost as good as if they’d taken really cool pictures on a crappy plastic camera.

My Makeup … OMG (AppsNMinded, $.99)! Remember those Barbie heads that looked like a Mattel version of a beautician’s mannequin? That’s pretty similar to what this app is. “Blake,” “Tia,” “Tessa” and “Brook” are ready for their make-overs as soon as you press the screen over their already over-painted faces. Ittybit loves to choose what garish look this gals will sport. Green mascara and purple lips? Beautiful. Some of the talking heads have English accents while others sound like they’re from The Valley. "Ooh-la-la" (retch).

Tap Tap Revenge 3 (Tapulous, free). You know that ride at the amusement park that’s kind of a cross between the bobsled and a rock concert? Add those plastic balls from a toddler inflatable and Whack-a-Mole, and that’s basically this game. A blend of popular music genres play as you tap little “drains” to the beat before the balls fall in. (I don’t feel like a total dweeb if I play with the sound off.) No matter what you're kids are doing, you can ignore them playing this game.

Flick-A-Pop (The FORM Group, Inc., free). From the makers of Dum-Dum-Pops, this is a game that really fits the definition of “Virtual Reality.” You spin a wheel (for no real reason) and then start racing to clock to eat one Dum-Dum after another. Shake to get a new pop, tap to upwrap it and flick the screen to lick it. The boy, of course, thinks it’s funny to lick the iPhone while playing this game. I think, “at least they won’t get cavities.”

Sheep Launcher Free (Kronos, free). That’s right, a sheep launcher. Push a button and an animated sheep gets jettisoned into the sky. Higher and higher, out of sight it goes gaining you points with the tinkle-tinkling of little stars. To keep it up and launch it higher, you tap the sheep when it starts to fall. I love the concept, but with it also comes the potential for social networking. Turning off all bells and whistles that make it “so much more fun to play” -- such as publishing of results on Twitter and Facebook -- not to mention the amount of advertising it launches at players, makes me realize Sheep Launcher Free is almost worth what I paid. Perhaps I should have sprung for Sheep Launcher Plus for $.99.

So ... What's your favorite app?

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