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February 13 2014

Farewell, Flappy Bird

It's gone. The popular mobile game that was beloved — and sometimes hated — by millions of users was recently removed from app stores by the man who created it. While those who had already downloaded Flappy Bird prior to Sunday still have access, but many will never get the opportunity to play game.

To commemorate this loss, Mashable is hosting a MashTalk Hangout on Air today at 2:15 p.m. ET for a discussion about the rise of Flappy Bird, its critical reception and removal of the game. Join Mashable Senior Tech Analyst Christina Warren, Games Reporter Chelsea Stark, Impending co-creator Phill Ryu and Inside Gaming's Adam Kovic and Bruce Greene today as we reminisce and reflect on all things Flappy Bird. Read more...

More about Mobile, Games, Entertainment, Gaming, and Mobile Games

February 10 2014

6 Games to Fill the Flappy Bird-Sized Hole in Your Heart

Can't get over the loss of Flappy Bird? After creator Dong Nguyen pulled his bizarre, addictive game from the App Store dramatically this weekend, some are resulting to drastic measures to get their fix.

But the mobile game world is a vast sea of opportunity, and there are plenty of games to fill that pixelated, bird-shaped hole in your heart.

Since you're likely looking for something new to play, check out our mobile and browser-based recommendations, below. They range from the extremely brutal to the absurd, just like good ol' Flappy. Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Mobile Games, and Flappy Bird

February 04 2014

How 'Flappy Bird' Went From Obscurity to No. 1 App

The developer behind Flappy Bird, a simple but rage-inducing game that recently went viral, says his success was just luck.

Flappy Bird, which first launched in May 2013, is currently the number-one free app in Apple's App Store and the number-one free game in the Google Play Store.

The game became an overnight success after a wave of hilarious tweets, YouTube videos and expletive-filled reviews in iTunes and Google Play went viral in the past week

Dong Nguyen, the Vietnam-based indie developer who created Flappy Bird, said he never did any promotion for the game. "The popularity could be my luck," he said in a recent interview with Chocolate Lab Apps. Read more...

More about Android, Mobile Games, Ios, Gaming, and Tech

December 10 2013

'Infinity Blade III' Players Invited to Win '47 Ronin' Sword

Infinity Blade III players can work together and earn a special-edition digital samurai sword from 47 Ronin in an in-game event later this month.

ChAIR and Epic Games announced the promotion Monday. Starting Friday through Dec. 24, players team up in a ClashMob to defeat 47 Ronin's Samurai Brute

If enough Infinity Blade III players participate and succeed, all players will receive the Brute's sword, which will be added to their in-game weapons.

Infinity Blade III was released in September for iOS devices. The hack-and-slash game was used on stage by Apple to show off the power of the iPhone 5's 64-bit chipset. The game costs $6.99 [iTunes link], and the 47 Ronin ClashMob is available for free to all players who have updated to the "Soul Hunter" version. Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Mobile Games, Epic Games, and 47 Ronin

December 05 2013

Game Break: Get Criminal With 'Lawless' for iOS

Lawless is an arcade-style shooter for iOS set in a gritty, 1990s Los Angeles. Players take on the cops to become the nastiest criminal in the city.

You'll Like Lawless if You Like: Playing Time Crisis 2 in the arcade, and watching '90s action film Heat.

Who Makes It? DeNA, a mobile games company that started in Japan and is expanding quickly to Europe and North America. The game was also designed by Ben Cousins, who created The Drowning, which creatively solved the accuracy problem of putting a first-person shooter on mobile

What's Special? The touch controls for shooting are reminiscent of a light gun, offering precision with the tap of one or two fingers. The graphics and detail are sharp, but they actually capture the gritty feeling of '90s L.A Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Mobile Games, Ios Games, and Game Break

October 02 2013

September 27 2013

Ask a Dev: How Do I Make Games for iOS and Android?

Ready to build the next addicting mobile game? We've got some tips for you.

The latest installment in our Ask a Dev series discusses ways developers can start designing games for iOS and Android platforms.

iOS architect Conrad Stoll explains that the framework you pick is dependent on your desired platform. Some frameworks support both iOS and Android, while others are only used for one or the other.

Stoll also talks about dynamic type on iOS 7, a feature that allows users to change the size of the text shown in apps

"All the new changes to typography in iOS 7 really mean that there's a lot more flexibility for developers and designers," Stoll said. "But with the increased flexibility, there's still more work that you have to do to make the best use of these features." Read more...

More about Android, Mobile Games, Mobile Gaming, Typography, and Ios

September 26 2013

By Playing This Game, You Deliver Bikes in Africa

One company is taking a different approach to gamifying charity: by playing a game on your iPhone, you provide transportation to people in Africa

The Global Gaming Initiative uses popular mobile game genres to create games that "make play purposeful." The company's first game, Sidekick Cycle, provides people in poor regions in Africa with bikes, through a partnership with charity World Bicycle Relief.

Sidekick Cycle, which was released last week on iTunes, is a downhill racing game where players navigate a bicycle on progressively difficult terrain. Half the proceeds are going to World Bicycle Relief. For every 387 games sold, a bike goes to a disadvantaged child. The game even keeps players updated with how many bikes they have helped donate. This is a different approach to gamification for charity, as Sidekick Cycle exists as a game with good mechanics first and a teaching tool second Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Mobile Games, and Social Good

September 19 2013

'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' Game Arrives for Mobile

The weather forecast for your mobile device today is cloudy, with a chance of meatballs.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the sequel to the popular animated film is set to hit theaters later this month. PlayFirst in cooperation with Sony Pictures Consumer Products announced Thursday the mobile game for the movie, an addictive arcade game featuring characters from the film.

In the movie, the same invention that caused it to rain food in the first film is now not only creating food but living food. Strawberries are sweet friends who help keep the gang safe, and Cheespiders (a cheeseburger with fry legs and sesame seed eyes) are an animal to be feared, while traveling through the now jungle that is Swallow Falls. Read more...

More about App, Mobile Games, Entertainment, Gaming, and Apps Software

August 06 2013

How Reddit Helped a Game Developer Fight Copyright Infringement

The power of Reddit helped one indie game creator remove a game from the Google Play Store — a game he said blatantly ripped off one of his own creations.

Ben Huxter, creative director of a two-brother studio in Australia called MiniMega Games, posted a series of screenshots in r/IndieGaming on July 30 titled "So someone stole a bunch of artwork from my game and made a dodgy copy version. Not sure how I should feel."

Huxter's game, SLAP!, is a digital, less painful version of the classic children's hand-slapping game, with some cute upgrades like Zombie mode and Feral mode (the latter uses cat paws). He released the original version for iOS and Android in January 2012 and an HD version for iOS in May of that year. Read more...

More about Reddit, Gaming, Android, Mobile Games, and Entertainment

July 01 2013

The Sweet Story Of Candy Crush Saga, The Most Unlikely Hit Mobile Game Ever

A saga of sweet, sweet proportions has been unfolding on smartphones across the world over the last several months. And a new darling of mobile game publishers may have been born. 

Candy Crush Saga, by United Kingdom-based games publisher King.com, is the most downloaded game for both the iPhone and Android. And it has been so for some time. But how did this game, which really has no discernible special features or original style of gameplay, become the overwhelming favorite among mobile gamers?

Mobile analytics firm App Annie, which tracks downloads and revenue on both the Google Play store for Android and Apple's App Store, has Candy Crush as the most downloaded game for May 2013 in both. Candy Crush also brought in the most revenue of games in the App Store for the month while coming in second (to a game called Puzzle & Dragons from Japan) in Google Play. The top charts within the App Store and Google Play themselves have listed Candy Crush at or near the top for almost all of 2013.

What makes Candy Crush's success more amazing is that its publisher, King.com, has not historically had success in mobile. Yet, for May 2013, King ranked third in number of downloads on the App Store. It was fourth on Google Play. King was in the top 10 in revenue for the month in both stores as well.

And King accomplished that with only three games in the App Store and two for Android. Electronic Arts has 829 apps in the App Store and 121 on Google Play. Angry Birds maker Rovio has 30 apps for the iPhone/iPad and 15 for Android. According to App Annie, the three publishers ahead of King—EA, Rovio, and Gameloft—on the App Store average 372 apps on the platform.

King defies the conventional mobile-game wisdom of spreading your bets as bored consumers go from game to game to game. And Candy Crush reigns supreme. 

No Neophyte Ruler

King has been making games on the Internet for 10 years. You’ve likely played a couple in you life in a moment of boredom. King’s catalog of games includes standards like Solitaire and word games. The company’s website says it has more than 150 games in its portfolio, most accessible through desktop browsers and heavily tied to Facebook. 

King received backing from Yahoo Europe in 2004 and €34 million from two venture capital firms in 2005. It is reportedly considering an initial public offering which would let it expand further around the globe, particularly in Asia. It's not some baby company making its first steps. Yet it is relatively new to mobile, which may give a reason as to why Candy Crush Saga does so well. It has pulled off a trick Zynga has largely failed to do, pulling in players from the desktop world who are getting a favorite game on their smartphones for the first time. 

Source: CrushingCandies.com Source: CrushingCandies.com

As a game, Candy Crush is remarkable for how unremarkable it is. If you ever played Bejeweled on the desktop or a mobile device, Candy Crush Saga is a lot like that. Instead of jewels, one plays with candy. It uses classic social marketing dynamics to move players along in the game (share information, get friends to sign up, get rewards) and in-app purchases for extra moves and extra lives. These match-style games are nothing new. They started with Tetris in the 1980s and moved to Dr. Mario in the 1990s. The past decade brought bubbles, monsters, jewels … and candy.

Past mobile hits, like Minecraft and Angry Birds, brought genuinely new styles of play or new social dynamics like the ones Zynga popularized. Candy Crush's in-app purchase options and graphics are standard-issue.

But it turns out that focusing on the traits that seem distinctive when trying to sort through the mass of mobile games doesn't really help you identify hits.

Striking A Balance

The experts at App Annie don’t have a really good explanation for the popularity of Candy Crush.

“It is a combination of a lot of things and no one thing in particular,” said Marcos Sanchez, VP of corporate global communications at App Annie. “Candy Crush has found a balance between storyline, pace of gameplay and social.”

Puzzle games have almost always done well on computers, from Minesweeper on ancient Windows PCs to Tetris to Candy Crush. Sanchez notes that games like Candy Crush are great time-killers, played while waiting for a bus or on the Subway or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. 

To a certain extent, Candy Crush speaks to the preponderance of smartphones as the primary interface people currently have with the Internet. 

“People are really starting to experience the Internet more through mobile apps to the detriment of the desktop browser,” Sanchez said. 

So, it is understandable that a classic PC-style puzzle match game would do well in mobile. Today, it is Candy Crush, with its unremarkable yet somehow just-right graphics, pace and storyline, its social features, its hints of the Candy Land board game from yesteryear, its je ne sais quoi. Tomorrow? Hard to tell.

Can King Maintain Its Crown?

When it comes to the sustainability of business in mobile games, App Annie sees two avenues of success.

“Either you are that cool game that everybody need to have or you are in it through a variety of apps as how you make your money,” Sanchez said. 

Angry Birds from Rovio is the classic example of the game you need to have. Electronic Arts and its 829 games in the App Store is the prime example of building a business through a broad portfolio of titles. For the time being, King falls into the former group. But, when Candy Crush Saga inevitably fades, will King have a replacement to help stay at the top of the rankings?

“That’s the golden question,” Sanchez said. “We do tend to notice that the top publishers, especially on iOS, tend to stay the same over time.” 

King has a lot of inventory to move from the desktop to mobile. So, there is a chance it can catch fire once again. Will it be Yo-yo Jackpot? Papa Pear? Bubble Witch Saga?

Or, King could be a flash in the pan as the likes of EA and Zynga catch on to its wiles and push it out of the market. 

Even if it proves brief, King is experiencing the upside of what has become the golden age for mobile game developers. It should enjoy the success … while it lasts. 

Tags: Mobile Games

May 30 2013

'After Earth' Mobile Game Hits Android and iOS

The After Earth mobile game arrives Thursday to iOS and Android, just a day before its movie namesake hits theaters.

The After Earth game is an endless runner, similar in feel to Temple Run. The game's main character has all the tools and skills of the film's characters, and as such, the gameplay goes beyond just running. You'll have to glide, freefall and zipline through a variety of terrain on this far-future, desolate earth.

The game also includes a combat mode, in which you can fight enemies by striking them with a variety of taps. There are even tougher boss battles in the game. Read more...

More about Gaming, Android, Film, Mobile Games, and Ios

May 07 2012

10 Top Android Racing Games

Death Rally

Tired of opponents getting in the way in racing games? Blow them up! This game offers plenty of dangerous weaponry that you can use to deal with the opposition. Thankfully, you can earn money to armor up your vehicle, repair damage, and upgrade weapons. You know, so you can cause more mayhem.

Click here to view this gallery.

Whether you feel the need for speed or the desire to run your fellow drivers off the road, we won’t judge. We will, however, suggest you redirect that energy into one of these Android racing games.

SEE ALSO: 10 Top Android Racing Games for Road Warriors

These games run the gamut of racing styles, but they all have the same basic goal: Get to that finish line as quickly as possible! So pick a game, rev that engine, and get going.

Enjoy a racing game we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments.

More About: android games, contributor, features, mobile games, online games, video games

January 27 2012

10 Best Arcade Games for Android

1. Hard Lines

This retro-style mashup of Tron and Snake puts players in control of a wisecracking yellow line that's trying to collect dots and avoid collisions with other lines. There are six game modes to enjoy -- ones with tons of lines on the loose, as well as a classic Snake mode.

Click here to view this gallery.

Android gamers looking for lightning-quick action and the thrill of chasing a high score should look no further. These are 10 of the best arcade games on Android, designed to take players to the limits of their skills.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Action Games for Android

Do you have any favorites from the Android market that keep you hooked? Share your picks in the comments below.

More About: android, android games, contributor, features, games, Gaming, mobile games, video games

For more Entertainment coverage:

December 29 2011

How Mobile Games Are Sports Stars’ Newest Marketing Channel

Heads Up with Cristiano Ronaldo — a mobile game featuring the Portuguese soccer star — has already been a hit for parent company RockLive after less than a month in the iTunes App Store. Users have spent more than 225 million minutes playing the game since its launch on Dec. 4, according to RockLive co-founders John and Sam Shahidi. Last week it was the top-ranked game in the app store’s sports category.

But Heads Up is just the latest in RockLive’s line of arcade-style iOS games based on celebrity athletes, and the company is spearheading an emerging industry that is putting a new twist on how athletes market themselves across mobile platforms.

In November 2010, RockLive released Mad Chad, featuring popular NFL player Chad Ochocinco, and followed that this March with Mike Tyson: Main Event. Titles featuring NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and Olympic star Usain Bolt are planned for 2012.

“Because we did such a great job with Chad and Mike — and now that Cristiano’s game has had this great appeal — a lot of celebrities are saying, ‘I’ve done a great job with Twitter, but now what?” John Shahidi says. “Well, now they want mobile games.”

RockLive’s games don’t adhere to the realistic simulations that are the basis for most sports games. In Mad Chad, which has gained more than a million users, players help a cartoon version of Ochocinco find a lost pet pigeon. In Main Event, which has gained more than two million users, players box cartoon versions of celebrities including Tyson and DJ Pauly D. Similarly, Heads Up features a cartoon Ronaldo who bounces colorful soccer balls off of his head to gain points.

But Heads Up also represents an important step forward for RockLive, its founders say, with the new game having already generated more revenue than Mad Chad and Main Event combined. RockLive also released a full social platform with Heads Up, allowing users to compete against Twitter and Facebook connections, create a gaming profile and browse a public leader board. An API for third-party developers is planned to debut in 2012. Among all Heads Up users, the Shahidis say, some 30% of time spent with the app is devoted to its social elements.

John and Sam first met Ochocinco when he was an NFL teammate of two high school friends of theirs. The brothers began helping manage Ochocinco’s social media presence (they currently do the same for more than 10 sports personalities) and soon developed an Ochocinco iPhone app. Before long they moved on to mobile games, starting with Mad Chad, in an effort to create a more use-heavy marketing product for athletes.

“It’s been crazy ever since,” John says.

RockLive works closely with its athletes to develop games; Tyson helped design some of the characters in Main Event, while Ronaldo insisted on including his pet Golden Retriever in Heads Up. The immediate popularity of RockLive games has even enabled the Shahidis to be be picky about whom they choose to work with.

“If someone isn’t interested in being closely involved in the process then we’re not interested in them, no matter who they are,” John says.

The side-by-side relationships also help the company forsake traditional marketing efforts to instead promote products through stars’ robust social media followings. With Heads Up for example, Ronaldo’s immense popularity on Twitter (where he has more than 6 million followers) and Facebook (where he has more than 37 million likes) has been a boon for the app, which has gotten more than 50% of its users from outside the United States.

And what’s good for RockLive’s games is good for the athletes the games are built around.

“What we’re finding is athletes really want to get more eyeballs and build their followers online, because that’s where the world is going,” John says. “Games are a new way for them to expand their reach worldwide.”

More About: cristiano ronaldo, mobile games, rocklive

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December 27 2011

December 15 2011

Pet Lizard Plays Game on Smartphone [VIDEO]

Each day, Mashable highlights one noteworthy YouTube video. Check out all our viral video picks.

A pet owner recently discovered a way to let his lizard interact with a smartphone. Using an HTC Android device, his bearded dragon amusingly tries to eat non-edible virtual bugs residing in a mobile game called Ant Crusher, which requires players to smash ants but avoid bees and their pesky stingers.

The poor lizard doesn’t know the rules and really can’t tell the difference between the ants and bees. The above video, which uses the Super Mario theme song as background music, shows the pet fail miserably.

SEE ALSO: Sexy Chicken Bares All on Twitter | 1 in 10 Pets Have a Social Networking Profile

Don’t let the creature’s fruitless attempts be for nothing: Internet fame awaits. Watch and share the video with your pet-loving friends. Do you let your pets play with your gadgets? Sound off in the comments.

More About: mobile games, smartphones, viral-video-of-the-day

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December 01 2011

Fowl Idea: Angry Birds Cookbook Finally Released

The Angry Birds cookbook cover

This cover features all the game's popular characters.

Click here to view this gallery.

Do Angry Birds make Tasty Meals? Rovio Mobile sure as heck hopes so with the official release of its Angry Birds cookbook, titled Angry Birds: Bad Piggies’ Egg Recipes.

The book is stocked with cute illustrations and characters from the popular, bird-slinging mobile game. As the title suggests, the cookbook is packed with egg recipes including breakfast dishes (omelets), heartier fare (egg sandwiches), desserts (souffle) and more adventurous options such as “Egg Sushi.”

Bad Piggies Egg Recipes puts Angry Birds‘s bad guys front and center, and while the bright illustrations by Pasi Pitkanen and tongue-in-cheek recipe names — a sorbet recipe is called “Ice, Ice Baby” — may appeal to a younger demographic, the recipes themselves are actually pretty adventurous. Any kid can probably figure out eggs and hash browns, but you try finding a kid that can make a proper souffle or a noodle-crusted quiche.

More importantly, do the recipes actually taste any good? We’re willing to give Rovio the benefit of the doubt, but don’t take our word for it, The cookbook is more likely a way to bring kids and parents together to make some fun, non-threatening recipes. It’s also a good way to cash in on Angry Birds‘s tremendous popularity. The book costs a little more than $10 on Amazon and joins a parade of other Angry Birds-themed paraphernalia including plush toys, apparel, stickers, silly bandz, and so on.

The cookbook was released at Nokia House, a pop-up shop in London showcasing Nokia’s first Windows Phone, recombu reports. Mike Cooper, creative lead at Conversations by Nokia, filmed his two children making a “Shake ‘em Shake: Banana Alternative.” Apparently the results were egg-celent. Erhm.

Is the Angry Birds cookbook a brilliant idea or just milking the franchise for all its worth? Let us know in the comments below.

More About: angry birds, Mobile, mobile games

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November 25 2011

10 Best Cross-Platform Multiplayer Mobile Games

1. Hanging With Friends

Zynga's turn-based take on hangman is now available on Android as well as iOS. Players form a word of 4-8 letters from their set of tiles, then send them to an opponent, who tries to solve it and send back his own word. iOS and Android players can play against each other and players can log in on either device with the same account.

[iOS Download Link]

[Android Download Link]

Click here to view this gallery.

More and more mobile game developers are learning that their titles have to reach across playforms if they want to bring everyone in on the fun. With the smartphone market more evenly segmented than ever (iPhone and Android being the dominant operating systems), making games that people can play together, regardless of device, is key.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best iPhone Action Games

Check out our picks for some of the best cross-platform mobile titles out there, and let us know in the comments if you have any favorites we might have missed.

More About: android games, contributor, features, games, iPhone games, mobile games

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October 21 2011

10 Seriously Addictive iPhone Strategy Games

1. Plants vs. Zombies

This strategy game from PopCap blends together elements of castle and tower defense.

Like other PopCap games, Plants vs. Zombies is great for its accessibility. The game gradually introduces new gameplay elements at a rate that never feels overly complex -- even when dozens of enemies get involved, and an even greater number of defenses must be employed. Both casual and regular gamers will find themselves enamored by this fun title.

Click here to view this gallery.

Strategy games and iOS are a match made in heaven. The touch screen makes interacting with units and maps quicker and easier than any mouse pointer could. This has led to a wide variety of fun and intuitive strategy games made for the platform.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Live Multiplayer Games for iPhone | 8 Fantastic Physics Puzzlers for iPhone

From traditional turn-based strategy, to tower defense, to games that bend the rules altogether into something new, there’s something here for everyone who wants to use his brain to win.

More About: contributor, features, Gaming, iphone, iphone apps, mobile games, video games

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