Facials, nail clipping, saunas, and very hot rocks. No, I'm not referring to that vacation in Calistoga, Calif., I've never taken. I'm, of course, talking about my favorite iPhone game of all time, if by "all time" I mean the last two years.
In Sally's Spa you run a spa business with the goal of increasing your clientele so that you can buy better spa equipment, thereby bringing in even more customers and so on. There was nothing l lost more when playing Sally's Spa than time. So the irony that it's considered a time management game isn't at all lost on me. I usually walk to and from work, but Sally's Spa is the first iPhone game I was happy to pay $4 a day to play on the bus. Its addictive quality is beyond legendary.
I've never wanted to own a spa and I still don't. Also, I'm fairly certain it takes a little more than wiping my thumb across a screen or carrying people around with my finger from one station to the next--as you do in the game--but I really feel that if push came to shove, I'd now at least have a point of reference to start my doomed business.
If you're trying to lose weight, a surefire method is to burn more calories than you take in. Simple, efficient. Why then are so many people overweight? Well, probably because they don't have Lose it!. OK, the reason is undoubtedly more complicated than that and likely involves some emotional and physical issues I'm not prepared to dive into for a slideshow caption. However, I'd be willing to bet that if you wanted to lose weight and used Lose it!, you'd have a better chance at achieving that goal than if you didn't. Hmmm, yeah. I think I can get away with saying that.
Anyway, Lose it! is a free calorie-tracking utility that allows you to chart your weight loss goals, and track meals and workouts. It includes a fairly extensive database, allows you to quickly add previously stored meals to your tally, and can break down how much protein, carbs, and fat you're taking in every day or week. Lose it! is simply a great tool for anyone looking to fit into those almost-loose-enough jeans.
As much as I love shooting things in video games, strangely, I also love not having to shoot said things. Like most tower defense games, GeoDefence doesn't require you to shoot anything. It requires only that you facilitate the shooting by strategically placing turrets, missile silos, Tesla coils, and energy vortexes. Also, its Robotron-esque graphics and excellently designed sound add a techno flavor that would make Jeff Minter proud. A wonderfully addicting and strategically challenging game.
Between work, married life, hobbies, and friends, there are many appointments, tasks, and projects just waiting to be completely forgotten about (whether intentionally or not). Sure, I could make a bunch of little Post-it notes, reminding me of urgent tasks, but: one, that gets messy; two, it wastes paper; and three, since the notes eventually begin to blend with the already messy decor of my office, they ultimately don't work.
Total ToDo does work, however. With it I can make lists of tasks, apply priority and due dates to them, and quickly add additional tasks. It's a very task-focused app, which is the point. Now, back to that whole world domination thing...
Don't you hate it when you're at a restaurant after a huge meal, trying to figure out the check and someone says, "Oh, just double the tax for the tip!"? Well, I hate it. At those times, while still in my food coma, the only words I can mutter are, "Math requires thinking; I don't want to, nor do I really have the capacity to think right now." That usually comes out in a less-than-articulate fashion, however.
This is why Check Please Lite is awesome. You can easily determine the percentage-based tip and split it however many ways you want. And no, I don't mind the nonintrusive ads, which is why I've never upgraded to the full version.
Last year, my intern Sharon Vaknin came into work and began chatting about how addicted she was to a game called Paper Toss. I told her I'd just picked the game up the night before and was enjoying it, too. She then asked what my highest score was. Now, as an extremely competitive person, I don't like answering questions like this, especially since I'd spent only a couple minutes with the game, but despite my better judgment, I answered with "17". I immediately noticed the smirk that quickly formed on her face as she replied with her score: 189.
After being revived a few hours later from unconsciousness, I awakened determined to beat that score into a bloody pulp and make it call me daddy. The next 24 hours were a blur of finger flicking and near death experiences as I played not only at home, but on my hour-long walk to and from work through busy, San Francisco rush hour traffic.
In less than 24 hours, I'd beaten her score (and then some) expecting to feel a sense of emptiness, having basically wasted the last day. However, achieving the best score in San Francisco as well as making it the top 10 in California (at that point, at least), I actually felt like I'd accomplished something meaningful in my life.
Paper Toss is the simplest of games, with virtually endless replay potential. Just flick your finger over a virtual, crumpled piece of paper while taking into account which direction and how hard the fan is blowing. From such a simple concept came a game that should probably be banned in most states, because of its extreme addictiveness.
Although I no longer count the long, excruciating hours between the time I log off of World of Warcraft (WoW) and when it once again welcomes me into its sweet, warm embrace, I still enjoy playing in a casual manner. However, with the upcoming release of a new expansion pack, I may once again be putting my life on hold while I attempt to find meaning and purpose through an imaginary fantasy world, at the same time getting personally offended at people half my age who I've never met nor have any intention of meeting in person.
The Armory app is basically Wowarmory in a nice little, iPhone-sized package. With it, you can view stats for yours and other characters, fill out talent calculators, view your guild calendar, browse items and much more. Though my interest in WoW is seasonal, it's nice to know that no matter where I am, if I ever get a sudden, uncontrollable urge to further "min-max" my character's talent build, I have Armory to help me do just that.
Sure, I've used IMDb for years to look up my favorite actors or to find out what year a certain movie came out; however, when watching a movie or TV show at home with my wife, I insist that we both remain focused on what's happening on the screen. This means no laptops are allowed (unless she's forcing me to watch a "Twilight" movie...again).
With IMDb for iPhone I can actually break my own rules of no distractions without her knowing! OK, I'm sure she notices, especially after I announce, "Wow, Freddie Prinze Jr. looks older than me now. I wonder how old he really is?" This is immediately followed by me grabbing my phone and thumbing my screen. A few minutes later, I can feel better about myself for still looking younger than younger-than-me Freddy Prinze Jr., and she's entertained by the random trivia.
See? With IMDb for iPhone , everyone is a winner. OK, I'm starting to sound like a commercial for these apps now.
Want to know the latest about the BP oil spill, but don't want to miss out on news of Penelope Cruz's secret wedding or the latest celebrity death? Huff Post may actually be the only app that can give you all of the above, a feature that is either awesome or incredibly sad and disturbing--I've yet to decide.
Though you could use the Web version at Huffintonpost.com, the app has a much more organized presentation, categorizing the news (and what passes as news) into a user-friendly interface.
The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition (CNET 100: iPhone Apps)
The LucasArts adventure games from the late '80s and early '90s were the best games of their time. Anyone who disagrees with that sentiment should be laughed out of whatever delusional fantasy they currently call home.
The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is an upgraded version of the original LucasArts adventure game (released in 1990) with new (but not necessarily better, if you prefer the old art style) graphics and an interface that works superbly with the iPhone's touch screen. The game is (Le)chock (ha!) full of clever humor, fun puzzles, and great animations. Also, it had pirates before they were cool, again.