Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was almost better at Tetris than building computers. Photo: Leonora Giovanazzi
Before fingers throbbed from marathon Candy Crush sagas, before Flappy Bird zoomed across iPad screens from Palo Alto to Manila, there was Tetris — and Stephen Gary Wozniak was its king.
Thirty years ago today, a Russian programmer named Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov created the massively popular and horrifically addictive game that became the first U.S.S.R. video game export to the United States. In a recent Gizmodo article celebrating Tetris’ popularity, Woz jumped into the comments to wax nostalgic about his love for Game Boy Tetris and shot of a little brag on his wizard-like skills at the game.
Just how damn good was he? I’ll let the champ speak for himself:
All the game and math nerds love Threes, and it's easy to see why. This sudoku-meets-sliding-puzzle game requires just the right combination of zenlike concentration and sharp addition skills to keep you playing long into the night.
If you're looking for classic gaming nirvana, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has it all: an open world full of social parody and a style that's straight outta the '80s. You can't get a better glimpse into the early potential of video games than this.
Like exploring a more colorful version of an M.C. Escher illustration, Monument Valley proves that mind-bending spatial puzzles can go hand in hand with minimalist story telling quite easily. It's another iPad game that begs to be explored and treasured long after all the levels have been beaten.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is the cult classic 16-bit speed-platforming game that most fans point to as the ultimate Sonic experience. With lovingly recreated graphics, sounds and controls, this remastered version hits all the right notes to make it the best Sonic game on the iOS platform.
Tetris is the old-school Game Boy craze from Alexey Pajitnov brought to the modern era of touchscreen devices. It's every bit as addictive and delightful as the original with a few new modes and flashy graphical updates to interest non-purists.
Device 6 is quite easily the most innovative game we've seen on the mobile platform, making you tilt and turn your device around to follow the text and audio clues that pull you through a pretty fantastic dystopian sci-fi tale.
Smooth pop-up book animated storytelling at its finest, Temgami will turn your iPad into a lush world ripe for exploration and environmental puzzle-solving. The delicious, soothing soundtrack is a fine addition to the gorgeous Eastern-influenced level design.
The Room 2 pulls creepy and puzzle-y off with equal abandon, letting you dig deep into a horror story without any actual jump-scares. Spend some time with this one in a darkened room, headphones on and iPad in lap. You can thank us later.
Mobile gaming is an ephemeral thing.
The unending stream of iOS games runs too fast and too fat for any individual to figure out which ones are worthy of your time and/or money. Freemium games? Check. Casual games? Sure. Hardcore games ported to your iOS device of choice? Plenty.
But which ones should you sit down and play right now? Our crack team of reviewers took a moment to call up the games they return to, day after day, when they feel like experiencing the finest the mobile gaming world has to offer. Above are the eight best iOS games you should download at this very moment.
Hundreds of new games come out every week in the App Store. A select few are the next must-play title that everyone will be talking about (and ripping off) for the foreseeable future. Most of them are perfectly decent but may not receive the attention they deserve. And then you have the third group: games so odd, bizarre, and head-scratching that you’re not sure what to make of or do with them.
They aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just confusing and weird. And worst of all, people may never know that they exist. But that’s why we’re here.
Here are some of the strangest games to drop into the App Store this week. What you do with this information is between you and your iPhone.
As with all classic games, the question about EA’s Tetris for iOS doesn’t have anything to do with whether the core concept is a good one or not (we know that it is), but rather how well the developers have translated it to the world of multi-touch.
Tetris by Electronic Arts Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: $0.99 w/ in-app purchases
If you’re a long-time Tetris fan and former Game Boy owner, chances are you’ll have fond memories of Alexey Pajitnov’s classic puzzle game on mobile. The good news, then, is that at its best EA’s Tetris is every bit as revolutionary and addictive as that game was when you first played it.
The best puzzle games either have a single rule (Tetris: “Make lines.”) or a few basic rules based on things we know innately or intuitively (Where’s My Water?: “Dig holes, water goes down, steam goes up, poison is bad.”).
Flux Free by Zen Develop Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: Free
Flux Free is a new iOS title which falls into the latter category. It’s a shape-matching game built on a few basic concepts like color theory that keep it from becoming obtuse even when all of its mechanics are in play.
That’s not to say that it’s incredibly easy, but you’ll never spend any time trying to remember how anything works. And it’s smart and fun, so that’s good, too.
Steve Wozniak is no stranger to gaming, having met Steve Jobs while working at Atari and even programmed his own version of the classic video game, Pong.
Did you know, though, that the Woz is a huge aficionado of the classic Gameboy game, Tetris. Well, he is… so much so that Nintendo Power magazine back in the 1980s refused to publish his scores anymore because he’d dominated the #1 spot for too long!
EA is today throwing a President’s Day sale that has seen it slashing the prices of its iOS games by up to 90%. Over 55 games are included in the deal — including popular titles like Need for Speed Most Wanted, Mass Effect Infiltrator, and Dead Space 3 — and everything is just $0.99.
We’ve got a complete list of reduced titles below.
With Nintendo adamant it’ll never bring its games to iOS, the only way to enjoy your favorite titles on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is to jailbreak your device and download an emulator. But that’s no longer the case. You can now enjoy more than 100 NES and Game Boy games in your iPhone’s web browser.
As we all know, iOS developers just love an excuse to slash their prices, and EA is the first to show its celebrations for Independence Day. The company has discounted a stack of popular titles — including FIFA 12, Dead Space, and Mass Effect Infiltrator —to just $0.99 to ensure you stay busy before the fireworks start.