Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Went to a Concert: The Residents in Boston, 2/12/13



Pre-show.

The Residents at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, February 12th, 2013


Band web site: Residents.com

The Residents are one of my all-time favorite bands, in part because few people I know can tolerate them. They really know how to push people's buttons in a way that I find extremely amusing.

For forty years now they've been making what might be some of the strangest rock music ever created. Forty years! Even after all this time most bands can't get near as weird as them. They remain half performance art, half rock group, performing songs that tend to be full of strange characters telling stories, deconstructed pop anthems, nursery-rhyme-like melodies and a willingness to go to some pretty dark places.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pizza and Video Games: God of Blades, Curiosity and Pitfall!

I am not particularly fond of gaming on the iPhone. I also don't own, and don't really have a desire to own, an iPad. I keep hearing about how it's a key gaming platform nowadays, but I have yet to play very many games that are fun on it. Maybe I'm just not playing the right games? So far some of the best experiences have been asynchronous word games like Letterpress, when playing with friends, although I hear there are some good adventure games to be had as well.

Oh, and I find Angry Birds to be tedious and not fun at all. Sorry! :)

That said, I do enjoy the relatively indie nature of a lot of App Store development. Small teams with grand plans, tiny budgets, and a penchant for long workdays pour their passion into a product that tends to either be completely ignored or make everyone involved a pretty significant amount of money! There's a lot of pricing pressure being put on the console-makers as well, and that's not a bad thing, either. 

It's been said a million times, but it's true: iPhone and iPad gaming works best when you don't have traditional keypads and jump buttons. That's why simple swipe-based gameplay and asynchronous word games tend to be the most successful, at least so far. Fighting some kind of cruddy virtual keyboard just isn't fun! They are different experiences, and require a different approach. 

Here's a couple of games that have been in heavy rotation on my phone in recent months: