- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
Zadzooks 2012 Gift Guide: Best gaming gadgets and toys for the iPad and iPhone
Question of the Day
Its most obvious feature taps into the iPhone’s accelerometer, so twisting the wheel translates to on-screen vehicle turns. The AppDrive is compatible with all iPhones and the iPod Touch (fourth generation).
Tap into an app: Download the free extreme racing game 2XL MX Offroad and compete against up to seven other drivers using a selection of either supercross dirt bikes or high-powered ATVs.
Sixteen beautiful courses (from huge mountain paths to dusty terrain) mix freestyle, career and single-race modes to provide hours of fun on long road trips. The game works flawlessly with the AppDrive and adds a level of interactivity worthy of the price. I also recommend the street racer Asphalt 7: Heat, available for a paltry 99 cents.
Lazer Tag 2-Blaster Battle Pack (Hasbro, requires 12 AA batteries, $74.99). Forget Halo and Call of Duty, gamers now can move their butts off the couch and play live, competitive shooting matches with added augmented reality in the finest traditions of laser tag.
Owners get a pair of pistols that look as if they were plucked from a Nerf arsenal (with a touch of Spartan soldier charm) that use onboard infrared emitters, sensors, audio prompts and sound effects with options for indoor and outdoor light sensitivity to set up and play live matches.
Two triggers, one to shoot and one to activate shields, along with a bottom trigger to reload the gun, let players run around and target one another until one has been tagged 10 times.
The beauty of these high-tech beasts is that up to 24 players can sync up (even in teams) to take part in matches.
The wallet-killer here is that each gun requires six AA batteries.
However, to really appreciate the sophistication of the pistols, use the mounting bracket at the top of the gun barrel (accommodating all versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch) to hook up the smart device (through a cord to the audio jack) and use it in tandem with game play.
Tap into an app: Download the free Lazer Tag game app and look at the screen to train first against six levels loaded with hordes of alien Cephalids attacking within your real environment. The app works with the smart device’s camera to generate an overlay of hostiles, and the screen even starts to fake crack when shot at.
Most of the menacing pests look like Sentinels from “The Matrix” and swarm around on and off screen ready to attack. Success in missions earns points that can be used to upgrade weapons.
With two or more players using the iPhone apps and guns, it becomes virtual-reality chaos as combatants stalk each other while using the screen to watch adversaries take explosive hits and even suffer from the occasional drone airstrike.
I can do without the in-app purchases (99 cents to $1.99) to upgrade arsenals, but, still, this is an amazing meld of technologies.
Note: Now through Jan. 15, players can use the pistols connected to their iPhones to unlock the Winter Domination Weapons Pack, including four new guns and a pair of special attack upgrades.
iCade 8-Bitty (Think Geek, requires two AAA batteries, $24.99). The retro mobile gamer in the family can take a trip down memory lane with the use of a wireless, Bluetooth-connected controller that looks as if it were plucked from an 8-bit NES Nintendo system from 1985.
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About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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