I have decided to write this two-part article as a part protest and part laugh, so sit back, relax and enjoy!
This is a scene that every tertiary student is intimately familiar with… You’re sitting in seats that you could swear were designed by sadistic old men, hell bent on your discomfort. Staring blankly at a lecturer, who is rambling on about something you couldn’t care less about, not because the topic sucks exactly, but because they use words like um & anyway as if they were vowels and it makes your head hurt. You’re drawing pictures, doing assignments or thinking about the pretty girl (or cute guy) a few rows down.
However my fellow students, do not despair! The apple may have got us chucked out of Eden but it is our salvation! You pay $700 for each class that drives you insane, so why not enjoy it? Be it an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, they will save you, the only question is how? With so many apps and also the internet at our fingertips what should we do?
This topic is so vast that I couldn’t even hope to scratch the surface, so I will merely give it an honourable mention. Do you prefer Speedos or Shorts, it’s a personal choice so there is no wrong answer (well not exactly, if you chose Speedos then I reserve the right to set you on fire). The same applies to Web Browsers, there are obviously some horribly bad browsers that would make anyone shiver, but ultimately the choice is yours. Follow your imagination, the bandwidth is the limit.
We all knew this heading was coming, and I welcome it with glee. As you can see from my picture I am well prepared for those awful lectures. However most of the games, while fun, are not suitable for lectures. In fact you would look incredibly stupid and obvious trying to play Infinity Blade in a lecture hall.
There are generally two categories of games, Solo and Multi-Player. I am choosing to mention those games I find the best value for money.
1: Plants Vs. Zombies HD
Most of you should have heard of this one by now, but for those who haven’t, it’s a very weird game where you grow plants on a lawn. The weird part is that each plant has a unique talent and you have to combine them to kill the zombie’s hell bent on crossing your yard and eating your brains (Disclaimer: If your studying an art paper then you have nothing to fear from zombies). You have to collect sun-power to grow your plants (duh) or build Sun-Flowers to do the same job. There is a range of plants that show the designers truly have imagination, from pea spitting Pea-Shooters to the nuke like Doom-Shrooms, there is a plant for every occasion. The zombies are also spectacularly well done, from the normal Zombie to the Disco Zombie. Remember to read the back story of each plant and zombie in the almanac you unlock as you play, it’s a laugh and a half. As a summary, it’s an incredibly addictive and very easy to learn game.
2: Shadow Era
Some of you have probably heard of Magic: The Gathering (MTG), the Trading Card Game (TCG) that defined the genre for all TCGs that followed. Much to our dismay there is still no MTG Online port to the iPad, however there is something close. Shadow Era is a fairly similar game, where wizards and witches dual by way of playing cards (the idea is the cards store the souls of creatures and spells you summon). The rules are similar to MTG but easy to pick up, and the game is fairly immersive, however the best part is that, like MTGO, it’s an MMO game. You can play against AI opponents and when you feel ready you can dual other players from all over the world. You get a free starter deck but you will have to pay to unlock more cards, a mechanic we are intimately familiar with in this day and age.
3: Dungeon Hunter HD
As a summarisation of this game I will simply say “Diablo Clone”, for those who have no idea what this means then just Google “Diablo”. Anyway, this game is best played with a Fling Joystick for iPad and allows you to play as a rogue, warrior or mage. You will blast, hack and stab your way through your garden variety of not-so-innocent creatures as you crawl through area after area. For those of us looking for a classic RPG experience then look no further than this one and its sequel.
4: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
This game is a shadow of the title available on Xbox360, PS3 and PC, but it’s still worth a look. The system is familiar to us, build bases, train units and lead them to victory. Not much more to say really so in the interest of the word count, just Google Command and Conquer! The controls are a pain to learn, but admirably efficient (the selection and command of units).
5: Angry Birds HD
Angry Birds is the current incarnation of the phrase “What The..” with respect to games. You’re a community of birds with anger management issues and the pigs just stole your eggs, so naturally there is only one response… to flip the hell out and brutally wage war on them. As you can probably understand, we birds are not technologically advanced, so the plan is to fire ourselves in giant catapults at the Pigs.
You will find that there are 6 levels in the first game, each with between 15 and 60 stages. This is actually a single player game, but we have got the most from it by taking it in turns to try the level. The competition and co-operation makes the game thrive, it also feels really good when your mate has spent an hour on the one level and you smash it on the first attempt!
6: Monopoly Here and Now Edition
Almost everyone should know this game and true to form, EA have recreated our childhood favourite (well mine at least) for our iDevices. This game can be saved so feel free to play it over the span of a few lectures.
7: Scrabble For iPad
Again another classic, but be prepared for frustration at the lack of words it knows. The game is limited by its database and also the online EA one (if you have an active connection) but there will still be plenty of words you cannot use. Again you can save this game, so go nuts.
As a side note here, keep the b******* you’re playing with within sight range, I played with a friend and true to form, the slimy bugger got every person around him to help. So because I was playing honourably I got royally trashed, as I didn’t know I was playing the rest of the damn class.
8: Worms 2: Armageddon
This is the game series that Angry Birds dethroned. You control a bunch of worms with a bunch of hilariously devastating weaponry, ranging from the humble baseball bat to the curiously effective concrete donkey. You take 60 second turns to manoeuvre the worm and then shoot things, your turn ends when you take damage or a few seconds after your shot (to allow you time to flee).
For those commenters familiar with this game, yes I am getting my hammered by the AI in the photo. It takes some time to learn the controls, be prepared to spend a while smashing your head on a wall because you just shot your own worm. Some words of advice though, make sure you throw the damn Holy Hand Grenade far enough away…
9: RISK: The Official Game for iPad
The classic strategy game returns for the iPad. Deploy your troops to your territories then struggle to overcome the opposition and make the whole board your colour! This game recently had a makeover, EA originally made the game kinda goofy (like Red Alert 3 compared to all other Command and Conquers) but realised their mistake and set things straight.
So that’s it for part 1. In part 2 I will look at news apps and more, in the meantime, what are your favourites for helping to pass the time?
To Be Continued..
.. You know, it’s actually fun (in an evil way) to use that phrase!