I’m sure you’ve been in this situation: the class lecture seems to be dragging on forever while the monotonous droning of your professor is wearing thin on your patience. Or you're in meeting number three of a five meeting day, and your boss has used the word "synergy" 15 times already. Or your pastor is embarking upon a full exploration of the old testament. And as eager as you are to soak in the mind-numbing academic babble/workspace confab/religious edification, the siren call of your cellphone is far too appealing to ignore.
You’ve got video games in there, after all! Glorious, wonderful, fun-packed games! So, unable to withstand the beckoning lure of digital entertainment, you discretely slip your headphones on beneath your hood, quickly dial down the brightness of your screen to avoid detection, and settle in for a pleasant distraction.
Oh, Robot Unicorn. Always, I want to be with you, make believe with you, and live in harmony, harmony – ohhh love! … Ahem. If you haven’t already memorized the lyrics to this explosion and rainbow filled mobile game, it will at least have you humming its irritatingly catchy theme song for days to come. Not surprising, considering how often you’ll find yourself picking it up to play and pass the time.
In Robot Unicorn Attack ($0.99 on iPad/iPhone/iPod/Android), you wield the controls to a shiny, metal, rainbow-trailing robot steed who, while leaping from platform to platform, gradually picks up speed throughout the level. Similar to the old arcade favorite, Helicopter, you accumulate points based on the distance you are able to travel without, well, exploding in a fiery death. But the best part about this game (aside from the fairy-collecting and star-destroying content) is the ability to prove to your friends who the real Unicorn Master is. Turn a few of your buddies onto Robot Unicorn Attack and utilize the game’s ability to post scores via Facebook and Twitter, and then compete for the top!
That being said, my high score is 57,874. Do you have what it takes to beat it?
Hey guys, who’s up for a friendly game of basketball ... in outer space?! No, no, we won’t be needing that tired old Spalding trash. I’ve got this cool new RoboBall that makes dunking a breeze. We can even hack it with boosters to increase its speed and give it cool abilities! And if that’s not enough, we’ll be using this badass backboard that equips our ball with powerups while we play! So whaddya say? Are you game?
Discounting Space Jam, StarDunk (Free on iPad/iPhone/iPod) is possibly the first of its kind to approach the sport with this stellar twist. It’s fairly easy to pick up and play right off the bat and serves as a great time killer when you’re looking to zone out in class. And if you start to get really into it, there are some awesome ways to customize the look and feel of your ball and help you stand out a bit on the leaderboards (like colors, symbols, and various upgrades).
Competition also takes an interesting twist in StarDunk when the game counts down to random online contests that allow you to play live matches with other StarDunkers across the globe, all while providing live updates on who is leading the scores for the current round! Check it out.
Hurry, Boss! The end of year award ceremony is fast approaching, and your competitors have already been advertising how awesome the graphics are going to be in their latest game. Have you hired enough Coders to get the glitches out of your new title? Did you manage to save up enough money for production from your last contract job? And why is S. Presso writing the script for the third plot line in a row?! Your games are getting repetitive! Fire that unimaginative loser and get some raw talent on board!
Game Dev Story ($0.99 on iPhone/iPod/iPad, $2.47 on Android) puts you at the helm of an entire game development company and leaves it up to you to create and sell a series of successful titles in order to reach the top of the game industry! And while this game can sometimes turn into a multitasking headache, it is surprisingly quite fun. It does take a bit of strategy to reach the top, however (even I haven’t been able to master it yet!). Thankfully, you can always just save the game, then check in on your little gaming empire as you see fit. So if you’re the type to relish the power that comes with being a top dog video game mogul, this might just be the mobile game for you.
Listen well, young grasshopper. To become a true ninja, one must first master the sacred art of … Fruit slicing. Yes, fruit slicing. And no, this isn’t your typical bubble gum cutting board knife-to-fruit action – you’re going to be chopping these suckers in half in mid air! But pay attention! Amidst the swarm of flying fruits are lit bombs with short fuses just waiting to explode – so beware! Your training begins now.
Fruit Ninja ($0.99 on iPhone/iPod/iPad, and $1.29 on Android) is an action-packed fruit slicing game that gets pretty intense as your score improves. You accumulate points by slicing fruits with a swipe of your finger, all while scoring combos and multipliers when cutting through multiple fruits in one swipe. However, miss three fruits and it’s game over! You can even play with friends in Fruit Ninja’s awesome multiplayer where you and one other player can battle to slice fruits as they fly simultaneously across your screens. And I have to admit that it gets pretty frustrating when I lose against a buddy, so if you’re anything like me and are prone to random cries of anguish at every loss, avoid the multiplayer mode in the middle of class.
I’m a bit foul-mouthed and dirty minded, so playing games like Words With Friends (Free on iPad/iPhone/iPod/Android) is always a pleasure when I am able to dish out double letter scores on words like “PORN” and “BOOBS”. Heheheh. This is awesome, of course, because Words With Friends is an incredibly simple to play Scrabble-type word game that you can easily hide beneath your desk and pull out to play when your turn arrives. Stealth gaming FTW! For even more fun times, get your buddies hooked on it and play multiple games at once, then PWN those suckers with your massive, word-filled brain! Woot.
But don’t blame me if your childish snickering gets you caught using this; just do as I do tell everyone you're just improving your vocabulary. After all, you’re just flexing your word power. Getting in trouble for applying what you’ve learned in school to real-life competitive situations?! Perish the thought! You should be rewarded for all this extra work you’re doing. What a good little student you are.
A quick survey of badass gaming buddies both casual to hardcore revealed other gems available in the mobile market such as Sword and Sorcery, Bejeweled 2, Oregon Trail, Angry Birds (didn’t think I’d forget that one, did you?), Flight Control, Doodle Jump, Peggle, Labyrinth, Tilt To Live, etc.
But realistically (and considering the insane amount of mobile games that have been released), I’m probably bound to leave out some of your favorites. So you tell me – What are your favorite games to play when you should be paying attention? And if not in school, then at work or in other places where you are probably supposed to be doing something productive? Let me know!
Sherilynn "Cheri" Macale is a freelance journalist and illustrator who can't exactly decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life and so does absolutely everything. Harass and prod her via Twitter, check out the badassery on her website, and leave a friendly message on her Facebook.