Casual Friday: 17 Sweet Smart-Phone Tweaks and Games
Welcome back to PC World's weekly effort to celebrate sloth.
Operation: Cellular Slack
Games on your cell phone--lame, you say? You're obviously looking in the wrong places, friend, because this ain't about 8-bit blackjack or playing Snakes on a plane. I'm talking awesome puzzle games, graphic adventures, shooters ... wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here's the deal: My economic stimulus hush money from Uncle Sam showed up, so I bought an HTC Touch. The phone is great for all that "productivity" nonsense I keep hearing about, but I needed to hack this sucker apart for goofing off while on location. My mission: Seek out sweet, free software for Windows Mobile 6. And, really, why shouldn't you benefit from all my hard work trying to avoid hard work?
Disclaimer: All of my finds work on an HTC Touch,
Emulation is always a gray area when it comes to gaming, and if you're not careful, it constitutes piracy. You do have a couple of options, though. First, if the game is released to the public for free--which happens with many ancient titles--you can play it. Second, if you own a game, you have the right to make a backup for yourself. Me? I'm backing up games to my cell phone! So why not try to run some classics between calls? Here are
1. ScummVM: I love the old LucasArts graphic adventure games. Sam & Max Hit the Road, Maniac Mansion ... I could go on. And I might if I had more room. I still own all the games, and this little software app (made for just about every OS ever conceived) lets me play them on my morning commute. Also, check out the bottom of the downloads page for a couple extra freeware games.
2. Pocket IIe: I've been hankering to play Karateka again. Maybe even to hit the high seas with Sid Meier's Pirates and to venture Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. If you feel the same, download this Apple IIe emulator, and you're halfway there. (You'll just need the Apple ROMs.)
Download These Now!
3. Zelda Mobile: This Java-based cell phone game is a work in progress (currently at "Demo3"), but it still manages to capture all the fun of a certain old-school action adventure game.
4. Pocket UFO: I wear my nerdiness on my sleeve, but when I found this fully functional
5. Samulos: It seems Tetris-ish, but it's really more like
6. Pocket Quake: Want to play a classic first-person shooter on your cell phone? No problem! Well,
7. Shift: A bunch of goofy-faced colored blocks keep closing in on the center, and you have to make 'em connect. Think of it as a Bejeweled-ish puzzle game that pushes everything toward the middle of the screen.
8. Pocket Gravity: By all rights, this program is utterly useless--yet, I keep opening it up, creating odd shapes, and seeing how they react with other objects in my little digital sandbox.
On to some of the slightly serious, but equally cool cell phone mods! (See the next page for more stuff!)
The HTC home screen is handy, as is its TouchFLO interface. But I need to tame them and show them who's boss. Here are some must-have tools if you too hate the status quo.
9. PointUI Home: iPhone this, iPhone that--I'm tired of people talking about Apple's cool, no-stylus interface. My advice: Download this free (and amazingly smart) smart phone application to make your mobile more manageable.
10. HTC Home Customizer V1.0: If you want to give Windows Mobile just a small face-lift as opposed to total reconstructive surgery, HTC Home Customizer is the program for you. With the help of this convenient little application, you
11. Touch Settings: Out of the box, the nifty finger-swiping interface on the Touch had
The (Yawn) 'Useful' Apps
Yes, I know that billions of useful programs are out there, but here are some go-to
12. Viigo: It's an RSS feed reader and then some. This is a must-have mobile app for catching the news while you're on location.
13. Help 2 Speak: Yeah, when you're a jetsetter like me, a
14. HelloTwitFace: This microblogging tool gives you easy access to HelloTXT, Twitter, and Facebook at the same time--and, well, any program whose name can double for a lame insult is A-OK in my book.
What About the iPhone?
And then there's that whole iPhone thing. Yes, the SDK is out, but if you want to play around right now, you must first clear several hurdles to hack your iPhone apart (aka "jailbreaking"). Oh, sure, you can play some Web games optimized for your cell, but that
15. Labyrinth is a digital port of the old analog wood maze/ball game. You know, you tilt the thing, avoiding holes,
16. If you fancy yourself a musician, check out Pianist,
17. Remember what I said earlier about emulators? Yeah, well, caveat emptor, friend. Someone created a fully functional NES emulator for the iPhone, as well.
How about you guys? Anyone else find some great tweaks or cell phone games I need to check out? Hit the comment field below and let me know!
Until next week...
Senior Writer Darren Gladstone geeks out over gadgets, games, and odd uses for humdrum tech. In other words, he's a nerd--and he's okay with that.