iPod Touch applications

5th August 2008 – 1.28 pm

I poked around the new application store for the iPhone and iPod Touch when it was opened a couple of weeks ago. Apart from getting the Remote application, which allows my iPod Touch to control iTunes on my desktop machine over the wireless network, nothing really grabbed me as interesting. I was only looking at the free applications at the time though, more idly wondering what was available than anything, as I see my iPod as primarily a music-playing device that just happens to have some neat extra functionality.

I had another poke around the free applications the other night, and came away with a few more applications this time. The complete works of Shakespeare gives me the equivalent of the books themselves, in that they will sit unread but looking awfully impressive should anyone notice, without even needing to distress pages or spines to feign having actually read them. I picked up a neat dice rolling simulator, which offers random number generation as if rolling any dice from a D4 up to D20, as well as 3D6, and 4D6 less the lowest result, both of which work for D20 character generation, which is nifty but unlikely to displace the physical sensation of rolling actual dice. And in a vain attempt to pretend to fulfil any of my weekend to-do list I downloaded a Mandarin phrasebook.

One new application that will actually get some use is the Moonlight Mahjong Lite game. My old third-generation iPod had a few games on it, of which I occasionally played Patience when travelling on a slow train or had an idle few minutes to pass, and the lack of anything similar on the Touch was a little disappointing. I had been looking forward to the application store's opening mostly to see if I could get a simple game in order to keep myself amused on occasion. This Mah Jong tile game is just the ticket. It's the solo version of the game, where paired tiles are removed from the edges of the stack until no tiles are remaining. Being nicely rendered in 3D the multi-touch screen of the Touch is used to move, zoom, and pan, allowing you to get a good view of which tiles are on which level, and tiles to be removed are selected simply by touching them. The game handles selecting the tile you're trying to touch quite well, even when the tile is partially occluded, making for a fairly error-free playing experience. It's a neat little game and shows off the capability of the Touch. The 'Lite' version of the game is free, with a full version available to buy that has more tile layouts.

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