(You're reading all posts by Rob LeFebvre) Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef
About Rob LeFebvre
We’re a bit early this week, but wanted to make sure you got all the Cult of Mac goodness in one fine compilation in time for your four-day weekend. Dig in and enjoy a whole slew of gift guides, including those for the women in your life, that special college student, and outdoor adventurers. Plus? Pro tips on surviving that modern ordeal of American culture: Thanksgiving. All that and some of the week’s biggest Apple-related news are ready for you right now. Just download and enjoy!
Let’s face it – not all of us want every purchase we complete via the iTunes or App stores available to anyone who uses our iPhone, iPad, or Macbook. Some things just need to remain, well, private.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to hide the evidence from unauthorized users via a quick trip to the iTunes app on your Mac or PC.
You think you know Peter Pan’s story? Guess again, because director Joe Wright (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice) has got an entirely new tale to tell.
Pan is the origin story of the boy who never grows up. He’s an orphan, left on a doorstep with a mysterious note from his mother. He’s secreted away to Neverland, where he mixes things up with Tiger Lily, Blackbeard (played by an almost unrecognizable Hugh Jackman) and a young, idealistic Captain Hook.
Check out the gorgeous trailer below for the full details.
Ten of the best video game/movie adaptations
Not every video game that ties into a blockbuster movie has to be crap, destined to fill the bargain bins of your local electronics store. There are a surprising number of quality titles based on movies that belie the rather common conception of movie video games as fodder for kids and bargain hunters alike.
As we wait for Jurassic World to end up on the silver screen (with an appropriately awful tie-in video game likely to surface), here’s a list of the good ones: ten of the best film-based video game spin offs from the last couple of decades.
Photo: Telltale Games
Aladdin (1994 - SNES)
This delightfully colorful video game had kids throwing apples and leaping across dangerous bazaar stalls to re-enact some of the crazy scenes from the Disney animated movie of the same name. The title blended some Prince of Persia gameplay with the easy-on-the-eyes color palette of the Disney hit to create a very playable video game experience.
Spider-Man 2 (2004 - Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
Here's one of the only video game adaptations of Marvel’s web-slinger that actually captures the true joy of swinging from rooftop to rooftop in New York. Sure, the side missions are a bit repetitive, and it took some grinding to get to new story chapters, but this Activision title is worth seeking out just for the city roaming alone.
Dune II (1993 - Amiga, MS DOS)
This game was less tie-in and more franchise-based, but it surely brought the braininess of the original story — full of political and social intrigue — to the forefront, rather than sticking with David Lynch’s weird adaptation for the silver screen. You get to build the army of one of the three houses from Herbert’s sci-fi epic, and then command and conquer the rest of desert planet Arrakis.
Photo: Virgin Interactive
GoldenEye (1997 - N64)
Perhaps the only Bond game worth noting, GoldenEye holds a special place in every gamer's heart from the era. While the graphics are dated beyond belief at this point, GoldenEye might be that one game that introduced everyone to the idea of multiplayer death matches in style.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005 - PlayStation 2, Xbox 360)
Strangely compelling, this pixel-based spin-off from the celluloid film of the same name had bargain-bin written all over it. Until you played the game and realized that it was a challenging, well-conceived romp through the jungles where a giant ape can fight a big old T-Rex. Hats off to Ubisoft for making something good out of something that could have been absolutely awful and still have sold some copies.
Kung Fu Panda (2008 - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Sure, this is mainly a kids’ game, but being able to beat up other martial arts animals while controlling a giant panda is one of the great joys in life. The animation is fantastic, as should any video game based on a Dreamworks animated feature, and the difficulty curve ramps up nicely as you progress through the game. It’s a fantastic time with younger nieces or nephews who really shouldn’t watch you own noobs in Call of Duty.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007 - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Also available on Mac and Windows, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga launched an entire series of games that took the concept of toy bricks re-enacting entire genre movies to a whole new level. You'll thrill and laugh as you guide all your favorite Star Wars characters from all six films through their respective storylines, with a large does of humor thrown in for good measure.
Photo: Traveler's Tales
The Lion King (1994 - Sega Genesis, SNES)
Just because it's a kids game doesn't make Virgin Interactive's The Lion King any less compelling, especially when it came out in the early ‘90s. You’ll get to leap, run, dash, roar, and attack Simba’s enemies at each stage of this fun game on the Sega Genesis or Super NES. This one came out at the height of the 16-bit revolution and just hows off the fun to be had with a simple side-scroller themed with the hit movie’s lions.
Photo: Virgin Interactive
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004 - Xbox, Windows)
I have to be honest: the movie this game is based on is one of the two films I've ever walked out on in my life. I just hated it when I saw it in the theater. Imagine my surprise, then, when the reviews of the game came out that said what a masterpiece it was. Vivendi Games somehow created a stealth-based video game (with Vin Diesel's help, we hear) that transcended its own source material. Hooray!
Photo: Vivendi Games
Tron (1982 - Arcade)
While Disney's movie Tron doesn't quite hold up these days, what with its rudimentary green screen and awkwardly tight LED unitards, the video game still holds a special charm for those of us who remember how cool it was to launch our light bikes across the master computer grid while feeding quarter after quarter into the hungry machines at the local arcade. It's like the movie was made to be a video game, or something.
Photo: Bally Midway
The fourth movie in the Jurassic Park series is slated to terrorize movie screens a full year from now. In order to drum up some excitement for Jurassic World, then, Universal has created this tiny trailer to advertise yet another trailer for the upcoming blockbuster.
The new trailer for a trailer shows very little, with some dinosaurs, a bubble car, an inquisitive Bryce Dallas Howard, and megastar Chris Pratt looking determined. Check it out.
If you’ve installed a third-party keyboard on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8, you might have noticed a strange omission: While you can communicate in animated GIFs or Klingon, you can’t dictate into any keyboard not made by Apple.
Reddit user 11011 sums up the puzzling situation nicely: “I can’t get myself to stick to alternate keyboards because I use dictation way too much and switching keyboards is a hassle.”
What’s better than goats? Goats you can control in a weird physics-simulator, of course.
What’s better than that? A full-on massively multiplayer online version of the goat sim. Duh.
The hilarious developers at Coffee Stain Studios (Sanctum, Sanctum 2) just offered up a free patch to all current owners (via Steam, not iOS) of the game, turning a wacky game jam cult hit into an MMO with various classes, like the Tank, or Magician.
Shit just goat serious, guys. Check out the sweet trailer below.
If you’ve been alive in the past fifty years or so, you’ve played a video game. It’s a primarily visual art form that uses current-day technologies to provide ever-evolving gaming experiences across generations.
This new series of short, ten-minute videos written and produced by Stuart Brown aim to take a closer look at the evolution of video game graphics, from the simple monochromatic lines of Pong to the incredibly rich and detailed photo realism of today’s games like Crysis, Destiny, and Far Cry 4.
“Graphics are absolutely important,” says Brown in the fifth and final video. “They are an essential part of video games. A window into another world and a prime indicator of the technology that powers it.”
Check out the first two installments below.
Hey, guess what? It’s yet another fantastic round up of great stories from Cult of Mac, so time for another special Newsstand issue just for you!
We’ve got all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone, like: New innovations in gaming include hot upcoming game Subterfuge, currently available MOBA Vainglory, and a new ex-Pixar-employee-led studio, plus news on the Apple Watch, some amazing gift guides, and a Black Friday special report that you won’t want to miss.
Sometimes it’s important to let your buddies or loved ones know your location. Whether you need to share this information for safety reasons, or because you like them knowing where you are on our beautiful planet, iOS 8 and your iPhone make it super-simple.
There are two ways to let your friends know where you are at any given time with iOS 8. You can either send your location immediately, or you can share your location details with people over a prescribed amount of time.
Both options are right in an app you use all the time anyway: Messages. Here’s how.