OWFI: Online, Wii, Facebook, iPhone Games

Archive for July, 2009

GaiaOnline: a place to hangout and play Flash games

Posted by Appgamr on July 30, 2009

Create a GaiaOnline avatar today!

Create a GaiaOnline avatar today!

GaiaOnline is an online world based on anime (Japanese cartoons) and arcades of free Flash games.  If you like YoVille, you’ll love GaiaOnline.  The community is on the young side: older than Club Penguin and Neopets, younger than SecondLife, cheaper and more feminine than core game MMOGs., Sony’s new MMOG, is probably the most similar.

Habbo Hotel and GaiaOnline tend to have the same users.

If you love anime and are between 10 and 15, interested in drawing and cartoons, this might be a community for you.


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OMGPOP and Booyah Society Are Kindred Spirits

Posted by Appgamr on July 30, 2009

Flirt while you game!

Flirt while you game!

In honor of Booyah, I’d like to discuss OMGPOP, previously known as IMINLIKEWITHYOU.  OMGPOP is a slick online casual game world where you get points for playing games with ostensibly attractive young people.  The idea was the social gaming would provide an environment for hipsters and casual gamers to flirt with each other, leading to (they hope) real-life dating.

It’s big in NYC and is probably the slickest implementation of Adobe Flex I am aware of.

I met Charles Forman, an OMGPOP founder, at TechCrunch’s annual awards show and thought he was smart and likeable.

OMGPOP, though brilliantly designed and executed, and addictive among its core crowd, never caught on.  In my opinion, OMGPOP might be a runaway hit if they hook up for aggressively with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, where people spend all day playing casual games and would embrace OMGPOP to flirt with other people in low pressure, interactive ways.

Intrigued?  Check out OMGPOP and learn at least what Flex is about.

OMGPOP and Booyah Society are both online games based on point systems.

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Barnes & Noble gives free Wi-Fi for the iPhone/iPod Touch!

Posted by Appgamr on July 29, 2009

Free Wi-Fi at Barnes & Noble Stores!

Free Wi-Fi!

Free Wi-Fi for my iPod Touch!  More reason to go to Barnes & Noble.  Download the Barnes & Noble iPhone/iPod Touch App to take advantage.  You should still be able to get the free Starbucks coffee at B&N just for downloading.

Borders, please even the playing field with free Wi-Fi for my iPod Touch.  Thanks.

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Review: Booyah Society, the iPhone/iPod Touch “Life Game”

Posted by Appgamr on July 28, 2009

Earn points for routine tasks.

Earn points for routine tasks.

I wanted to be the first to review Booyah, the iPhone/iPod Touch apps that give you points for the game of life.  You get points for Facebooking and Twittering; completing a five mile run; calling your mom; getting on an airplane, etc.

Booyah creators call it “the first social game based on your real-life achievements.”  It comes with built-in Facebook and Twitter communications, your own customizable 3-D avatar to represent you, interactive calendars, point systems for the various things on your calendar.

Booyah creators have impeccable game credentials: World of Warcraft and Diablo II design bragging rights.  For casual gamers, this means the Booyah folks are beloved for addictive, if warlock- and dungeon-filled, action games.

Pet Society is about getting points for activities with cute imaginary animal avatars: cuddling, feeding, grooming, visiting activities.  In some ways, Booyah is an online game influenced by reality TV.  It assumes people will be interested in people doing everyday things, but some people get more points than other people because of how they play the life game.

I tried testing Booyah just now, but the links to iTunes on were broken for the iPod Touch.  Booyah currently supports iPhone.  Will check back again.

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Free Coffee with Free iPhone App! Limited Time.

Posted by Appgamr on July 24, 2009

Free Coffee with Free iPhone App!

Free Coffee with Free iPhone App!

What’s better than a free iPhone/iPod Touch app?  Free Tall Coffee at Barnes & Noble, when you download the B&N book store iPhone/iPod Touch app.

B&N is not trying to compete with Kindle iPhone/iPod app.  Instead the B&N app is more a pocket bookstore giving you regularly updated “what’s hot” book lists for online purchasing.

It would be better if it were an e-Reader on the iPhone/iPod Touch.  But free coffee while browsing books is a great deal.

Limited time offer.  Hurry now to iTunes and search for “Barnes & Noble.”

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Review: Battlefield Heroes (Free, Paid Upgrades), EA

Posted by Appgamr on July 16, 2009

Get and customize your own square-jawed Royal British Hero!

Get and customize your own square-jawed Royal British Hero!

Battlefield Heroes: I like it.  If you have ever watched the History Channel or Saving Private Ryan, marveled at the Band of Brothers and what The Greatest Generation fought through, you should play Battlefield Heroes, EA’s first big free massively multiplayer online game, set in a fun, animated Normandy countryside.

Compared with Sony’s Free Realms, the wildly successful free game that is best described as a cartoonish, girlish World of Warcraft, Battlefield Heroes is a manly, artistically marvelous interactive World War II European fighting fantasy appropriate for all ages.

It took *one hour* for me to sign up, download browser plug-ins, and tolerate a few minor login issues.  However, once I logged in, I was completely immersed and drawn into this vivid, cartoonish world with a sophisticated, British sense of humor and graphics.  Battlefield Heroes is NOT a World of Warcraft copycat.  It is the first mainstream immersive game that does not depend on anime, monsters, and recycled ideas.

It’s an elegant and entertaining interactive world of Royal British and Nazi flavored fighters and villians, with military hardware and transport including guns, jeeps, tanks, airplanes.  Minor quibble: the keyboard controls are not intuitive for novices.  If Battlefield Heroes can make keyboard controls more obvious to use, for steering jeeps and tanks, for fighting, for healing wounds, the game will be even more fun.

Ease of Install: D

Keyboard Controls: C

Fun and Potential: A

Cost (Free): A

Entertainment Value: A-

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Opinion: Gaikai will be in your home, unless Apple TV gets there first

Posted by Appgamr on July 16, 2009

Dave Perry, Acclaim Director, Gaikai Leader, Video Game Visionary

Dave Perry, Acclaim Director, Gaikai Leader

Facebook games prove the idea that, if you makes games available with one click, no registration, huge numbers of players will show up.  Hence the popularity of Pet Society and Mafia Wars.

Many high end game developers, known as AAA game developers, are slow to embrace one-click, no registration game access concept.  Partly, it is because games are big files that, without specific technology, take a long time to get over the wires and into your computer.

Gaikai is going to change all of this, unless Apple TV or dark horse OnLive gets there first.  Imagine a YouTube for video games, or more fittingly a Hulu for video games.  You go to the website, browse the AAA or famous premium games as you would at Hulu for TV shows, click and begin playing.  No trip to Best Buy or GameStop.

David Perry of Acclaim, a major video game publisher, is one of the vanguard.

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Review: Mafia Wars (Free), Zynga, Facebook

Posted by Appgamr on July 13, 2009

Cue Sopranos music.

Cue Sopranos music.

What is the most popular game on Facebook?  In my social network, it is Mafia Wars, the free Facebook game published by Zynga, also known for its Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Game.  Anecdotally, the most popular Facebook games are Pet Society (Playfish), Restaurant City (Playfish), Mafia Wars (Zynga), Texas Hold ‘Em (Zynga), each with distinct audiences.

Zynga games appeal to transactions-oriented folks and Playfish games appeal to easy-going hanging out and sharing folks.

My b-school friend Mark is addicted to Mafia Wars.  He just won a Mafia Wars award “Dependability” for playing every day for seven days.  Mark is a senior manager at a large organization; I think he’s acting out turn by turn mob hits and grand larceny for one hour every night.  If he were paid actual $$$ for 7 hours per week, 4 weeks per month, 12 months per year, it starts becoming big bucks quickly.

Mafia Wars is a choose-your-own Sopranos adventure that lets you go at your own pace.  In my opinion, it is an interactive graphic novel or book.  Its unique appeal is that it can involve your Facebook friends and family members in the storytelling.  You’re sharing your entertainment and making it open to your friends at their option.

Zynga offers a Facebook game called Fashion Wars, which is similar in concept except set in the cutthroat Project Runway style fashionista world.

In comparison, Playfish’s Pet Society and Restaurant City are about hanging out in cute, colorful interactive worlds and giving your friends cuddly animal hugs and delicious pizzas.

Readers, which Facebook games do you prefer, those of Playfish or Zynga?


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Review: Grey’s Anatomy the Video Game (Wii, PC, DS), Ubisoft

Posted by Appgamr on July 13, 2009

Seattle Grace's finest listening to the Chief.

Seattle Grace's finest listening to the Chief.

Grey’s Anatomy the Video Game is a dream come true for anyone who has uttered the words “McDreamy” and “McSteamy.”  Re-live the first four seasons of Grey’s Anatomy as one of the Seattle Grace surgeon interns, counseling love-lorn Meredith, ogling Sloane and dissing Calli for shacking up with George.

Available on the Wii, PC, and Nintendo DS.

Give us your thoughts on this video game based on the popular TV show by clicking on the red LEAVE A COMMENT link below.

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Review: Castle of Magic (Free, $4.99), Gameloft, iPhone

Posted by Appgamr on July 9, 2009

Duh, duh, duh, DUH!!!

Duh, duh, duh, DUH!!!

Anime on your iPhone/iPod Touch?  It doesn’t get easier than Castle of Magic, a Super Mario Brothers style obstacle course game.  You are a cute, blonde elf with a cape that lets you parachute up and down the forest and medieval castle challenges, over which you run, skip and acquire gems and coins.  You look like you stepped out of a Japanese anime movie.  You are occasionally accosted by trolls but you can skip or fly over them.  Many different levels, puzzles, and challenges.  Cute beeps and boops sounds.

Try it for FREE at the iPhone/iPod App Store.

To be honest, I like it but don’t love it.  The blue and gold colors don’t naturally appeal to me.  Further, I don’t love anime, the Japanese cartoon style found everywhere from Gaia Online to Saturday morning cartoons.  You know it’s anime by looking at the large, doe-like eyes and brassy colors.

Rolando and Rolando 2 feel more modern, with their rich colors, proto-3-D stylings, and motion detection (or acceleromator) features.  Moreover, Castle of Magic, though slick and satisfying on the iPhone/iPod Touch, doesn’t use motion-detection and finger flicking in original, fun ways.

However, casual gamers who enjoy classic graphics and themes will probably love Castle of Magic.  Gaia Online fans, folks who love Japanese anime or cartoons, might also love Castle of Magic.  It’s a well-executed, easy game with lots of levels.  Thumbs up.

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