Old Game is New Again
by Maria Welych - Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Gaming news

My son has reintroduced me to a game I played on my Macintosh Performa before he was born: “You Don’t Know Jack.” The irreverent game, based on American culture, was a riot on PC, and it’s even better on mobile devices.

“You Don’t Know Jack” comes in two mobile versions. One is a smartphone-only version – available for iOS and recently released for Android – that lets you play “Words with Friends” style against your friends or even strangers. You sign in with your Facebook account, but the number of games are limited in the free version. You can buy tokens, of course, but that costs real money.

I played “You Don’t Know Jack Party,” which is more like a game show and like the original game that debuted in 1995. In this version, which is available only for iOS, you install the game on an iPad or an Apple TV and use your iPhones as controllers.

The game uses Apple’s wireless Airplay feature to connect the devices, and you can use the iPhones and iPads in any combination. For instance, if you play on your TV using an Apple TV, you can use both iPhones and iPads as controllers. If you play on an iPad, you can connect to both devices, as well.

However, if you use an iPad as the game screen, you need to download the free JackPad app on your other devices so they can function as controllers.

“You Don’t Know Jack” has one free game and 29 additional games that you can download. You can download them in packs for $3 each, but it’s cheaper to download them all for $10.

If “Jack” is too U.S.-centric for you, there are many other family games you can try. On iOS, there’s “The Game of Life: Classic Edition,” “Monopoly,” “Clue” and “Boggle,” all costing 99 cents. For Android, you can find “Tetris” (free), “Uno & Friends” (free), “Jenga” ($3) and “Scrabble” (free). Except for “Clue,” all the games are available on both platforms.

 

Bits & Pieces

  • People are reporting that iOS 7, iPhone’s latest operating system, causes dizziness and nausea. But there’s an easy fix: Click on “Settings,” then “General” and then “Accessibility,” then turn on “Reduce Motion” to cut back some of the movement. I did that the moment I turned on my phone after upgrading.
  • The New York Public Library recently found nearly 400 floppy disks with about a dozen video games created by LSD guru Timothy Leary. Some of the games are still playable via emulation and on display in the library’s rare books division.
  • Duff Goldman, the star of the former Food Network show “Ace of Cakes,” has his own app game, “Duff’s Zombie Cupcake Attack.” In the game, which will be released Sunday (Oct. 6) exclusively on the Amazon App Store, players take out zombie cupcakes with hockey sticks, guitars and fire.
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company that created video games based on the popular Christian “Left Behind” novel series. The SEC accuses Left Behind Games Inc. CEO and Chief Financial Officer Troy Lyndon of giving friend Ronald Zaucha nearly 2 billion shares of stock as compensation so Zaucha could sell unregistered shares and kick back the proceeds to bolster the struggling company. Lyndon denies the allegations.
  • If you’re traveling to New York City soon, be sure to download the Citymapper app. It recently won the Best Overall App Award and $20,000 in the MTA and AT&T App Quest Challenge.
  • Twitch, a San Francisco-based network that lets video gamers broadcast their game play, recently picked up $20 million from investors. In the two years since its launch, Twitch has grown to 600,000 users a month.
  • “The App Generation” – a new book by Katie Davis, a digital media professor at the University of Washington, and Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist – says  that smartphone use is making children less creative.

Gaming!

Maria Welych, who was technology editor at The Post-Standard for five years, is director of marketing and public relations at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology. She can be reached at mwelych@gmail.com.