Archive for July, 2010

Like playing a guitar

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Derek Powazek, on Thoughts on Designing for iPad:

Gestures go beyond creating an intimate connection. They turn a computing device into an instrument. After all, you don’t use a guitar, you play it. And what’s playing a guitar besides learning a series of gestures?

Nicely put.

Play Spider: Bryce Mansion for iPad

Monday, July 19th, 2010

If you haven’t yet played Spider: Bryce Mansion (iTunes link) for iPad, you should. You’re a spider in an abandoned mansion, spinning webs by shooting strands of silk between whatever’s handy: picture frames, statues, light fixtures. As you travel from the basement to the roof you uncover intriguing clues about the missing residents and what happened to them.

It’s beautiful. The subtle design really draws you in: different prey make different sounds—and different sounds again when they’re ensnared; spinning a web is near impossible in some spots where juicy flies lie just out of reach. Throughout the many levels gorgeous artwork and delightful detail surprise.

It’s fun. There are many extra ways to play the game, including two-spider play, where you can spin webs with a friend and race to eat the hapless prey. It sounds gruesome, but isn’t. Who knew that being a spider trapping insects in an abandoned mansion could be so enchanting? The thrill of taking down a hornet, or herding dragonflies towards a web adds to the pleasure.

It’s well-written. In two-spider mode the screen zooms in and out as necessary to keep both spiders visible—you over on the far left trying to complete a web between two tables and your friend over on the far right exploring an old cabinet. Despite the zooming and frenzied web spinning and leaping, the gameplay never falters.

Games like this, conceived on the iPhone but coming into their own on the iPad, show a fun future.