Thursday, June 21, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
May 5th, 2007 by dgoldring
Everyone remembers the classic word game, Boggle. Mix up the lettered tiles, and slam the box to lock them in place (everyone’s favorite part of the game was slamming the tiles into place). Flip the timer and you are off. Whoever could make the most words out of the random jumble of letters won. Well, get your spelling hat ready, because Smart Box Design apparently remembers Boggle as well. WordPop is the 21st century rendition of Boggle, with a little bit of Scrabble thrown in to spice things up. It has everything you remember, including the fun of finding words in the jumble of randomly lettered tiles; and a lot of things you may not remember from the original game, such as the rotating board and helper tiles. So, sit back and start warming up your dictionaries for WordPop!
Installation and Registration: WordPop follows the standard installation procedure. Simply download the desktop installer and load the game onto your device via Activesync. Once installed, you can start 25 new games before you will have to register. (As an aside, Smartbox is among the most generous trial periods of any developer). You won’t need to play all 25 games before you find yourself clamoring for your wallet to buy the full version. If you are the type of person, however, who wants to feel like he got his "money’s worth" out of the free trial, then feel free to play all 25 games before registering.
Gameplay: WordPop is a basic word search game. Just select new and set the difficulty level to drop lettered tiles into the board. Each letter is assigned a point value based upon the point values assigned in Scrabble. Now, the hunt is on. Find words by linking adjoining letters. Note that the letters need not be in a straight line, as long as they are all adjacent to each other. Once you form a word, those letters will "pop" off the board. Clear the board to advance to the next level.
Three Levels of Difficulty: WordPop offers three levels of difficulty, which means anyone from the novice word finder to the advanced word sleuth will enjoy playing this game.
- In Easy Mode, you will begin the game with three blank tiles which may be used at any time. Each time you clear a level, you will earn an additional blank tile.
- In Medium Mode, you will begin the game with a single blank tile. Each time you clear a level, you will earn one random bonus tile.
- In Hard Mode, you will start with no tiles, but can earn bonus tiles as the game progresses.
Bonus Tiles: Since we are on the subject of bonus tiles, I’ll give you a little better explanation of how they work. As I mentioned, depending upon which level of difficulty you select, you may start with one or more blank tiles. These tiles are wild cards. They are worth no points, but can really help you out of some difficult situations (such as finding yourself at the end of a level with no vowels; or worse, a "Q" standing alone.)
Additionally, you can earn bonus tiles which already have letters on them. These tiles can be played at any time, and will earn you the same number of points as if that tile had appeared naturally on the board.
In addition to earning bonus tiles at the end of each level, you can also earn bonus tiles for creating words worth a certain number of points.
In Easy Mode, a word worth 40 points will earn an extra bonus tile.
In Medium, it is 50 points, and in Hard Mode, 60 points.
Of course, the obvious question is what if you complete a word worth double those amounts (80 points in Easy for example). Well, in that case, WordPop will award you a double bonus of two new tiles.
You can only hold onto three bonus tiles at a time. Don’t worry, though, if you earn a bonus tile while you are already holding three, WordPop will not forget about you. Instead, when you earn a fourth bonus tile, one of your existing tiles will turn into a blank wild card tile.
Scoring: Scoring in WordPop is similar to the game of Scrabble. Each tile has a number in the corner. When you form a word, the numbers are added up and then multiplied by the number of tiles in the word. In other words, if you spelled the word "eat", the letters "E", "A", and "T" are each worth 1 point. Thus, the word is worth a total of three points. Multiply that by the number of tiles (3) for a total value of nine points. WordPop will even take care of all of this advanced math for you, tallying the score for each word as you go along. All you need to worry about is finding words and "popping" them off the screen.
Rotating the Board: Sometimes, you reach a point in the game where you seem to have no remaining options. Like children at a junior high dance, the vowels are all clustered together on one side, while the consonants are ignoring them from the other. It seems like the game must be over now. There is no way to form a word unless you can think of one that begins, "OIUAAEI". I sure can’t. But all is not lost. In WordPop, you can rotate the board at any time, without penalty. Just hit the rotate button and the board will shift 90 degrees. What was the top is now the side, and so on. Suddenly, that "N" is next to the "E" and you have the beginning of another word.
Ending the Game: The game ends when you cannot form any words with the remaining letters. One drawback I found in the game is that you will not receive a message telling you whether there are any words to be made. The reason for this makes sense, it is because the rotation of the game board makes it impossible for the computer to anticipate all possible variations of the letters. Nonetheless, I found it slightly frustrating that there was not a message. Regardless, when you cannot locate any additional moves, tap the red "X" button on the right to end your game.
Sounds: I do not typically like to play games with the sound turned on. This probably stems from the fact that I am usually playing in public places, such as the train. Nonetheless, I was extremely disappointed by the sounds in this game. The background music plays only during the introduction, not during actual gameplay. During gameplay, a series of chimes sounds to alert you how you are doing. One chime sounds each time you select a letter. If the last letter selected completes a word, a second chime sounds. A slightly different chime will sound if you complete a high value word.
Additionally, although WordPop has a built in volume control, it can be a little tricky to use. Tap it once and the volume will be muted in the system control. Tapping it a second time should return the volume to its previous position. In order for it to do so, however, you must first set the desired volume in the sound settings menu. One of my main criticisms of other Smart Box Design games has been that the audio controls did not tie into the main system volume. Thus, the sound was difficult to control. WordPop seems to have fixed this problem, as the tie in worked extremely well.
High Scores and Best Words: WordPop does a great job of tracking your progress through the game. First, it tracks up to ten high scores for each difficulty level. In each high score, it will note the score you achieved, as well as the round on which you ended.
Additionally, WordPop will keep track of your best words. This is a list of the 10 highest scoring words you have played. My best word so far was "junta", which earned me 65 points.
Conclusion: If you are a fan of word games such as Boggle and Scrabble, then WordPop is the ideal game for you. It is a fast paced and addictive game. It takes you from the highs of scoring a 75 point word to the lows of finding yourself stuck with "XVZI" as your final tiles, in a matter of seconds. Give this game a try, and before long words will be popping right out of your dictionary.
Platform: WM 2003 SE
Also Available: WM5, Palm OS, Treo.
Developer: Smart Box Design
Distributed by: Smart Box Design, Astraware Games
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
It’s amazing how you can take something that would be stressful in real life, move it over to the video game arena, and it becomes fun. When you really get going on some of the later stages and your kitchen starts filling up with bake-able goods, you’ll either be in a zen-like state of baking concentration, or a frantic fit of quick left clicking as you shout out loud at your customers to wait their turns, but there is no denying the deep-rooted feeling of satisfaction when you’re able to turn what could have been a mess into a smooth-running operation. Thankfully, the game starts you out easy, and since you choose when to buy new additions to your kitchen, you can set your own pace to a degree. In the same way, it’s fun to watch your empty counters and shelves fill up with appliances, to the point that you later look back and say, “Oh man…I remember when I used to cook with only one oven. Boy, how did I ever make ends meet that way?”
Cake Mania can keep the attention of many ages of game players with its simple concept and increasing levels of challenge, and its well-designed presentation neither gets old nor disappoints as new game play options continue to increase as you get further into the game. Rumor even has it that publisher Majesco has scooped up the rights to Cake Mania and plans to bring it to the Nintendo DS. However, if you can’t wait, don’t forget that you can always get your baking thrills on the PC where it all started.
Buy or Try Cake Mania at Smart Box Design!
The longest word was found by:
The two random winners are:
jade645 and LiaG
If you have not already contacted me for your prize, please do so by replying to this newsletter.
Make sure to play the new Word Watch Contest.
Click Here to Play Smart Box Design Games
- The player who submits the longest word wins a Smart Box Design Game
- If a tie then the first one to submit wins
- Two random winners will also be picked
- Contest ends May 11, 2007
- Winners will be announced in the next newsletter and / or e-mail
- Make sure to register at the forum so we have your e-mail on record
- I can't wait to see your words
Click Here to Submit Your Words at the Forum
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
WordPop for Palm and Windows Mobile
Todd Sherman provided me with a copy of WordPop for WM and I have been playing this for the past couple of weeks...it's quite addictive. I don't know how best to describe this game...it's sort of like scrabble in that you get points for making words but it then takes it a step further because you have to try and clear the board of all letters. The ultimate aim is straightforward, try and get as many points as you can. Cleverly, and to add longevity, there is a running High Score Board so you can keep playing it trying to get that elusive higher than the last high score. There is also a similar feature for words points.
Like all good games there are different difficulty levels and I being extremely intelligent, of course, went straight to the hard level. Big mistake...ahem...best to try it out on the basic level to get a feel for it. It's not as easy as it may sound however but there are things along the way to try and help. For example, if you are a real smarty pants and make a word that is high scoring you may earn a Bonus. This entitles you to use blank letter tiles which can be brought into the battlefield, and it is a battle, and used to help form words. The game goes on until you fail to clear the board. You can also rotate the board which may help move the remaining letters into more formidable words.
I have noticed with Smart Box Design games that in game help is very good which is a bonus, some games I have tried out and given up previously was mainly because the accompanying "help" was in fact...ahem...no help.
It's not easy but at the same time it is not impossible and there is a learning curve. Once that curve is reached, in other games you can get bored or just lose interest in carrying on but with WordPop the incentive is still there...to beat the high score for both game and individual words. I don't know how it looks on a palm but on my WM device it is great with crisp graphics and clear in game sounds.
All in all, a first class game that will keep you going for ages.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
If you have any problems installing the latest version please feel free to click the below link to visit our support page for upgrade installation directions.
How do I upgrade to the latest version?
- Added new words (like "ai", a 3 toed sloth)
- Added old words (like "als" a type of tree)
- Added forgotten words (like "ut", old version of do)
- Made gameplay more fair and satisfying
Please visit our website and upgrade today for FREE.
Click Here to Read More, Upgrade, or Download the Trial
Friday, April 06, 2007
Palm-Mac is an award winning BLOG known for it reviews of mobile technology.
Thanks to Todd Sherman at Smart Box Design for letting me try out a couple of games. The first one I had a go at is Word Monaco for WM5. This is card game of sorts, similar to Solitaire, with a huge twist...you are trying to make words with the cards as you would with Scrabble. So, the best way to describe it would be to call it Scrabitaire...that's a direct cross between Scrabble and Solitaire.
I have to own up here. I have always loved card games and therefore I am going to be somewhat biased. I just feel they lend themselves ideally to the smaller screen format of our pda's and smartphones. This game is no exception.
There are three different skill levels. The easy one is a good start to break you in gently as it includes 2 random jokers that can be used as any letter. To win you have to make words in all columns and have no unturned cards left. When you have made a word a small green diamond appears at the top of the column to signify success. You can move whole words or letters to other columns to make words in that one or to enable a new card to be turned over. Letters can be placed without an actual word being formed as long as the letters might lead to a word....so for example, you could leave SH on a column but not TT. Sounds easy? It is pretty straight forward on easy level but once you move up to medium and hard things become much harder.
This is the sort of game that you start off thinking, I'll just have a quick 5 minutes and then 45 minutes later you're still playing away. It demands a bit of concentration and use of the old grey matter. There are no time limits and you can come back to the game later on...these are features I always like to see as I hate games where there is some sort of timer involved. Basically, you can play at your own pace which suits me down to the ground.
There are three different versions of the game with slightly different aims but the basic premise is the same. It's easy to pick up, the graphics are crisp and there are useful "tips" throughout the game.
If you are looking for a nicely paced game where you need a bit of the old grey matter then Word Monaco should be given a run out.
You can try Word Monaco Solitaire here: http://www.smartboxdesign.com/wordmonacoppc.html
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
...however, that isn't all there is to it. They have added another twist of bonus tiles. Large word scores and game difficulty level will determine how many you earn. Each tile is scored similar to Scrabble, each adding up into a score. If the score is high enough (40+ points in easy mode, 50+ in Medium, or 60+ in hard) you will receive a bonus tile, which could be another letter or a wildcard tile. If you have more than three, a letter tile will be changed to a wildcard. If you have tiles left, they will carry over to the next level.
What if you're still stuck? Rotate it! The board will rotate, allowing you more options with your tiles. Press the round arrow button and watch your letters change places.
What I love most about this game is the separate scoreboard for highest ever word scores. You still have an Easy, Medium and Hard scoreboard, but you can also keep your best word creations in check too.
Do you feel lucky?
Farkle is a developed style of Yahtzee, based more on luck and choice. 2-6 players (computer or human) roll six dice in the hope of rolling certain number combinations. However, in this game, you are aiming to earn the most points.
Possible point-scoring combinations are:
1 x 5s = 50
3 pairs = 500
Farkle has been kept simple in graphics and sounds, but to great benefit. The game remains the focus, allowing players to concentrate on the action and strategies.
I think many of us read People Magazine, even if we don't admit it, because it is fun to peak into other's life and relate it to our own. Palm Addict is just as fun.
1. All major credit cards are accepted
2. You can purchase with PayPal
3. Each step is simpler and streamlined
4. See savings up front as coupon discounts are shown in the first step
It is always our goal to make visiting our web site a great experience. Please continue to let me know how we can improve.
Click Here to Try Our Games
Above is a screen shot of WordPop, our best selling word game. Try to find the longest word you can, and then submit it to our forum. Just like the rules when you play WordPop on your device, each letter in the word must be adjacent to the next, for example, RENT.
- The player who submits the longest word wins a copy of a Smart Box Design Game (if a tie then the first one to submit wins)
- Two random winners will be picked from additional submitted words
- Contest ends April 14, 2007
- Winners will be announced in the next newsletter and / or e-mail (make sure to register at the forum so we have your e-mail on record)
- We're looking forward to seeing your words
Click Here to Submit Your Words at the Forum
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The time-tested game play remains, only now you’re collecting kitties instead of gold and trapping bulldogs with boxing gloves instead of stick figures. However, it’s the new additions that really keep the fun at a maximum.
If you purchase the full game, you can really get your money’s worth with nearly 100 levels. As the levels press on, players receive new obstacles and puzzles to overcome, and all of the while Granny provides verbal reactions to her dilemmas that will make you laugh out loud. For PC.
Click Here to Read More and Download the Free Trial
We've opened a forum on this subject, and would like to reward the first posting with a free copy of WordPop, Word Monaco Solitaire, Farkle Dice, Word Watch or Triples. In addition to that, we'll randomly select 2 more postings to receive a free game as well. Contest closes 3/25/07. Winners will be notified by e-mail and / or in the next newsletter.
Post your comments at our forum by selecting this link. Click Here to Go to the Forum
Congratulations to all the winners.
The fastest post with the longest word:
The three random winners are:
mophimbaie, Abimlech, Deeja
See the next posting for our latest contest.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Many of you will have no doubt noticed how many times I mention WordPop! on the 247 sites and I make no apologies for doing so. It occurred to me that I play this game to the point of blunting my stylus and that it was time I reviewed it to explain why it sits at the top of my PDA gaming list. I have owned countless PDAs since 1989 (over 40 by now) and in all that time must have tried hundreds of games- WordPop! is the best PDA game I have ever played and will probably become my most played game in the near future. Don't panic- I'm not anal enough to keep stats on how many times I play a particular game but I do find it difficult to let a day pass by without having at least one play. The problem is that one play on WordPop! can become over an hour without me noticing.
This is a true story- one night after a few sleepless nights with my children I decided to go to bed at 8pm which is unheard of for me because midnight is my standard bedtime. I sat in bed and thought I would have a quick game of WordPop! I went to sleep at 11:30pm. I was genuinely worried that I had a problem and would be attending a meeting with strangers the next evening... "Hello, my name is Shaun McGill and I can't stop tapping letters with my stylus." It is hard to explain why this game is so addictive but I think the main reason is because the result and combinations are so entirely different every single time I play.
In the first image I have chosen three adjacent letters to make the word 'mix' which gives me 33 points (see top panel). When I click the final letter twice the letters will explode and leave gaps at the top. Those are the rules- enjoy the game:)
OK, there is a lot more to the game but not in terms of complex rules and a steep learning curve. You can be playing this game within 1 minute and if I can use an awful cliche- 'easy to pick up, difficult to master'. On to the second image where you will see a blank tile in the grid (the one on the left)- the was move from the column of three blank tiles on the right and can take the form of any letter you like which is useful if you are really stuck. The idea is to keep all three blank tiles available near the end of the level as letters become scarce. You can win extra lettered tiles by getting words worth over 40 points and higher scoring words will grant you a bonus blank tile.
It is strange how your mind starts to think so far ahead and can spot a multitude of potential words in the grid, some of which you need to make yourself by removing letters that are in the way. Remember you can only remove them by making another word so you have to be aware of how the letters will fall as well. There is a lot in this game to make you think and it takes the best of Tetris, Scrabble and Countdown and pours them into a very professionally made package.
I mentioned earlier how addicted I am to this game and those of you who have played it will no doubt be chuckling at my high score table which I admit is not good (at least compared to some people on the Smart Box Design forums) but I don't care. I worked bloody hard for that 4461 score and am very proud of it!:) I'm also proud of my best word although I have seen some posted that make both of my scores look really stupid...
The small curved arrow icon you can see is a crucial part of WordPop! You use it to flip the letters over- for example if you have a grid that is half full pressing this button will caused the grid to spin 90 degrees and the letters will fall in a slightly different order. There is no element of chance to this- they fall exactly as they should and thus you need to be careful that you understand what will happen when you press it. If you use it well it can dig you out of all sorts of trouble.
There isn't much else to say about WordPop! except that there is a decent help section built in and that the sounds are just perfect for the game. They are so perfect that my text messages now come in sporting the main WordPop! sound- I just cannot get away from this game no matter how hard I try.
Value for money- only US$14.95
Addictive, very addictive, very very addictive
Sounds and graphics are perfect for the game
Improves your vocabulary
Support- Smart Box Design are as good as a developer can get
Ooh let me think. If I could think of a way to improve it besides asking Smart Box to add some of the unusual swear I know to it's database I would.
I'm sure you can guess where this is going. Trust me when I say you MUST try this game- it is, in my opinion, the best word game available on any mobile device today and I can see myself enjoying it for many years to come.
Available from Smart Box Design for Palm and Windows Mobile devices
Saturday, March 03, 2007
February 24th, 2007 by dgoldring
Several months ago, I wrote a review of Paragon’s Can’t Stop Solitaires Collection. Any of you faithful readers who remember that review should find it to be no surprise that my favorite vacation activity is playing solitaire…particularly at the beach. Frankly though after several straight hours, traditional 52 card solitaire can become a bit tiresome, especially when the wind keeps blowing he cards off the blanket and whipping them through the air and into the sand. Before long, I need something more to keep my attention. Enter Word Monaco. Word Monaco is a game designed for tireless solitaire players like me who just need an added twist. And what is that twist, you might ask? Spelling. Our old grade school nemesis.
Installation and Registration: Installation is simple. Just download the desktop installer and load it onto your Pocket PC using ActiveSync. You can play 15 games using the full featured trial version before you will have to register, for unlimited spells of fun.
Gameplay: Word Monaco is similar to a traditional game of solitaire. The cards are dealt out of the deck into seven increasingly sized piles (so that the first has one card and the last has seven). Like solitaire, the top card of each pile is turned face up, while the rest of the cards remain hidden. Now, here comes the twist. Instead of numbers and suits, these cards each have letters. Create words by moving letters from column to column. Use all of the letters to form words and you win.
Variations: There are three variations of Word Monaco. Gameplay is the same in each variation, however, the ultimate goal of each variation is slightly modified, enhancing the excitement of gameplay as you switch from one variation to the next. The three available variations, which are all based on a vacation theme, include:
Larvotto Beach — where you must simply use all of the letters to form words
Royalty Cafe — where, in addition to using all of the letters to form words, you are also given three special cards (pink borders). The special cards must all be used in the same word, or each in different words. Each word must also contain three or more letters.
Train Station — where, in addition to using all of the letters to form words, you are also given four special cards (pink borders). The special cards must all be used in the same word, or each in different words. Each word must also contain four or more letters.
Frankly, once you start looking at how the variations can significantly affect the outcome of the game, it becomes apparent that there are countless variations of the basic game which could be made. This is a game which just screams for expansion packs, with different themes and variations of cards. While the available variations already make Word Monaco an incredibly addictive game, expansion packs would significantly enhance the appeal of this game by providing a wide variety of themes and gameplay variations.
Difficulty Levels: In addition to the three variations, there are also three different skill levels in each. The skill levels determine the universe of letters available in each deck.
Easy includes two jokers in each deck which can be substituted for any letter card.
Medium includes every letter in the alphabet except J, Q, V, X, and Z, and no jokers.
Hard includes every letter in the alphabet,and no jokers.
Cheating: There are two ways in which you can discover what cards are hidden under the dealt piles in each game. First, in the game settings menu, you can select the "Peek At Face-Down Cards." Once checked, you need only tap any face down card to be shown what letter is hidden there.
Likewise, at any time during the game, you can also select the "Show Deck" option from the Game Menu. This will provide you with a list (in alphabetical order) of all of the cards showing and all of the cards which are still hidden. Unlike "Peek At Face-Down Cards", this option will not show you the placement of each letter, but it will give you an overview of the letters at your disposal. Both options can be very useful for learning the rules and strategies of the game, as well as planning ahead during any of the variations of the game.
Statistics: One of my favorite features found in games such as Word Monaco are the statistics. Essentially, you are your only opponent, so it is nice to know how you stack up against yourself. Word Monaco does a nice job with this. It keeps track of how many games you have won in each variation versus how many games you have played. It also tells you your winning percentage and the fewest number of moves you have used to win each variation. Additionally, there is also a running list maintained of your best words from all of the games you have won.
Graphics: The graphics in Word Monaco are well drawn in high resolution. Each variation has a different background which evokes the mood of the location on which the variation is based. I found these backgrounds, while not overly complicated, really helped establish the mood of each of the variations, and significantly added to my enjoyment of the game. Again, however, this feature clearly lends itself to unlimited variations, backgrounds, and themes. I would love to see a variety of different themed expansion packs. For example, pictures of different cars, sports, or even mobile devices could be integrated to makeup the background images.
Help: While Word Monaco is an extremely exciting game, it is also a unique concept which combines traditional solitaire and…well, like I said…spelling. New games like this can be tricky to learn, and that is why Help is never more than a click away in Word Monaco. Turn on the in-game tips and text boxes will pop up on the screen to help guide you through the next moves and explain what you are seeing on the board. Once you have mastered the basics, you can still seek help by simply tapping the Help Menu and search the extensive help library, seek strategy tips, or review the goals of each variation of the game. These options certainly went a long way toward helping me familiarize myself with the basic gameplay and strategy.
Conclusion: If you enjoy solitaire, card games, word puzzles, or any combination of these three, then Word Monaco has found a new home on your device. Although gameplay sounds easy, it quickly becomes apparent that creating words out of the available letters can be much more difficult than it looks (just wait until you get a deck with all vowels and a "v".) The variations and backgrounds make the game extremely enjoyable. Couple that with the three difficulty settings, and this game is ideal for players of any skill level. Those learning to spell will enjoy the freedom this game adds to the educational process, while advanced spellers can try to increase their vocabulary by creating words using as many letters as possible. This is an original and fantastic variation on an old classic card game, which will definitely be joining me for my next vacation.
Name: Word Monaco
Platform: WM 2003 SE
Also Available: WM5,
Developer: Smart Box Design (distributed by Astraware)
Available From: Astraware
Technorati Tags: Smart Box - Astraware - Word - Monaco - Just - Another - Mobile - Monday
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Monday, February 26, 2007
Congratulations to all the winners from the February 5 Word Monaco Solitaire Contest.
The fastest five posters were:
co2stay, dcroennau, qc832, LKeeton, and bearboy.
The five random winners are:
Marie, contestr, usuallyfrazzled, bkauntie64, and Barksfan.
Click here to go to the forum.
Monday, February 19, 2007
If every store I visited in Bellingham or Fairhaven had a Palm I could quickly add them to my contact list and if they included their hours to the notes section then I would never arrive at the store when it was closed. If my favorite Pizza joint and Thai food restaurant had a Palm I could also get their menu so ordering food for delivery would be easy. Plus I could mark what I love at the restaurant so I could order it again and again.
If all my relatives had a Palm I would do a much better job at remembering their birthday’s assuming it was in their contact info.
I've only touched upon a small part of what a Palm can do, contacts and schedules, but it is so powerful. I do the above things every day but not as widespread as I wish but with more Treo's selling daily, my Utopian Palm world is just around the corner.
Here is the official email from NPR:
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Monday, February 12, 2007
When I get to the store I’ll then open my list and as I add the item to the cart I will draw a line through it. When all the items are crossed off, I’m ready to pay. The nice part of having the Note Pad open during this process is that I can jot down something that I might want to buy but not sure until I get home to see if there is a real need or not. If not, I cross it off, if yes, I leave it on the list for my next visit to the paint store. And there is always another visit to the paint store.
Now if I could only get my Zire to actually paint the room.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Word Monaco is a unique blend of a word game and a card game, where the playing cards contain letters rather than numbers and royalty, and your goal is to spell words rather than to build according to suit or value.
At the beginning of each round, the cards are layed out as in Klondike solitaire. You must use as many cards as possible to spell as many words as possible within the tableau (there are no foundations). Each letter card is worth a certain number of points, based on how often it is used in common words (this is similar to the way that Scrabble and many other word games work). Words are spelled within individual tableau piles, and letters or words may be moved between piles to build new words, or to add on to or modify existing words. You can score bonus points by building long words, using all the letters, or using various power-ups that you earn during play.
It’s an interesting concept, and it works reasonably well. There’s no time limit, so the game is really more of a puzzle than an arcade game (which is not a bad thing). As in most word games, success does depend a good deal on your ability to spell, and to recognize combinations of letters that form the building blocks for words. With a word list of over 50,000+ words, the game does recognize a great many possible words.
The game uses only the one layout, as far as I can tell. With so many layouts available in solitaire, I don’t know why the developers limited themselves to just one. But that’s a minor complaint. The bottom line is this is a fun game. It’s certainly not your everyday solitaire game, but if you enjoy word games, I think you’ll find this to be a fun way to spend your time and exercise your mind.
Download Word Monaco (7.81MB)
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
In referring to word games, Allen Gall of Pocket PC Magazine says, “Word Monaco Solitaire is the most interesting title in this category that I’ve seen...”
With nine difficulty levels, settle in for whatever type of challenge you’re in the mood for. Mac users… stay tuned!
- Click here to try the Windows Mobile / Pocket PC demo
- Click here to try the Palm / Treo demo
- Click here to try the Windows XP / 98 demo
Friday, February 02, 2007
When I visit a new store downtown or in the Fairhaven district I add the store to my phone book. If I happened to have a nice conversation with the owner or employee I will add their name to the notes section. This has been a great help as on more than one occasion as I have asked for that person by name. For example at the print shop I know ask for a specific employee to do all my business cards and other stationary.
To remind me what the store looks like I will take a picture with my PDA and add it to the contact list. This might seem silly, but if you only visit the store occasionally having a reminder what it looks like is very helpful, especially in the downtown corridor.
Part of the fun of living someplace new is discovering short cuts. Whenever I find a new or interesting way to get to a store I will open the notes section and jot down the directions. This is also very helpful if I have not visited the store in a few weeks. It answers the questions, "hmm, do I take state street or 11th?"
I highly recommend all users when using the contacts list to take advantage of the note section and take a picture to remind you of the location.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Here is their commentary:
For me there are two that stand out as being perfectly suited to the PDA / Smart Phone format but it would be good to know which games you have played the most and keep coming back to time and time again.
Igzo The Dolphin is just so addictive and probably the game I have played most on any type of device or games console. It's only 13k and free so there's no excuse not to try it.
WordPop! has had me turning in circles for the past few months- I am not very good at it but that does not stop me trying over and over and over again to beat my high score. It has been responsible for more late nights than anything else lately.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
You can get the patch from here:
Palm Addicts is reporting significant gains in battery usage after using the patch. Several users are now saying that they can use the phone all day without a recharge.
Great job Palm for releasing a patch so quickly.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Here’s how it works: The game pieces consist of letters that are arranged in columns just like they are in solitaire, and the idea is to move them around until every letter forms a word. That’s the essence of the game, although three rule variations are offered along with nine difficulty levels.
The basic concept works well enough. Even though the number of words in each level is limited, getting all the letters into just the right spot provides a good challenge. Had the game been thrown together with limited sound and mediocre graphics, it would likely be overlooked as just another shoddy word game. What makes WM an exceptional title are not only the terrific graphics, music, but the overall feel of the game. While the graphics and sound evoke the famous French resort country and contributes to the game’s atmosphere as a casual game, WM provides plenty of feedback to the player. Once you successfully create a word, a green gem appears over that column. Dragging over a letter or group of letters results in a pleasant sound effect as well as the last “card” in the column to smoothly flip over.
Developer: Smart Box Design
Genre: Word Games
Platform: Pocket PC 2003+
Rating (of 4): 3.4
Friday, January 19, 2007
January 18th, 2007 by dgoldring
When I read that Farkle was the perfect game for a long commute, I knew I would have to review it. As some of you know, I ride the train for over an hour each way just to get to work. So, anything that is labeled perfect for a long commute, I am going to check out with interest.
Installation and Registration: Just download the Farkle setup file and install it on your Pocket PC via ActiveSync. Once installed, you can play 15 complete games before the trial period expires. Let me tell you, 15 games was more than enough time for me to explore all of the options and realize that this is a great game.
Gameplay: Simply put, Farkle is a game of chance and dice…probably not in that order. It is a combination of Yahtzee’s strategy and Craps’ chance. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible during your turn and reach 10,000 before any of your opponents (Farkle can be played by two or more players, however, 3-5 seems to be ideal).
Your turn begins by throwing six dice. Once they land, you must determine which ones earned you points. Point earning dice are ones, fives, three-of-a-kind, and any roll that combines all six dice together. Once you have identified your points scoring dice, you must decide whether to keep going or pass. If you pass, then your turn ends, and you tally your score from that round into your total score. If you want to keep going, then you roll the remaining non-scoring dice in an attempt to earn more points.
Be careful, though. If at any time, you roll a FARKLE (a roll in which you earn no points) then you lose all of the points earned that round. If you score three Farkles in three consecutive rounds, then you will lose 1000 points from your total score.
Characters: One of the great things about this game are the characters. Although they are not graphically represented (and that would be a nice feature in future versions), they each have a different style of play which is reflected in the way they play the game. When you begin a new game, by default, you will be playing against Nervous Nell (a very conservative player who fears Farkles) and Steady Stan (who gobbles up scoring dice like Pac-Man devours dots). Once you learn the basics, you can play against other characters by using the Game Setup Menu. There are a total of six characters, and you can play against any combination of them. Try to work your way up to Jammin’ Jen, the most skilled of the computer characters.
Head-to-Head: In addition to playing against the computer characters, you can also choose to play against up to five friends. Unfortunately, Farkle does not allow you to connect two Pocket PC’s together or play over a Wi-Fi/Internet connection. In order to play against your friends, you will all have to share the same unit and pass it between you. That did not present a large problem for me, however, as I typically do not play against other people.
Graphics: For a simple dice game, Farkle really impressed me with its graphics. The graphics in this game are a perfect example of the old idiom, no matter what you do, do it well. Let’s face it. This is not an adventure game, relying on the graphics to draw you in or tell a story. This is a game of chance. It is a game of rolling dice. I have seen plenty of dice games which are just the dice and a score card. That would have been easy.
Instead, Smart Box had to take the more difficult road. They included a wooden game board with a fine grain and green velvet playing surface. They even included animated dice which can be colored a translucent red or smooth white.
They did not have to do these things, add these extra touches to the graphics, but they did. And that is what makes Farkle more than just a simple dice game.
Audio: This game has some pretty realistic sound effects, such as the sound of the dice bouncing off the walls of the playing surface. The problem for me though, since I ride the train, the people around me do not care to listen to the dice bounce off the playing surface. Unfortunately, the audio in Farkle is not linked to the master audio on the Pocket PC, so it kept overriding me when I would hit mute. This can get frustrating. Thankfully, I discussed this issue with Smart Box, and they assured me that they have already fixed it, and will include better audio control in the next version which should be coming soon (that will be a free upgrade for registered users).
Saving: Since I play games on the train a lot of the time, nothing is more important to me than being able to stop the game when the train reaches my stop. I tend to get very frustrated at games which do not allow me to pick up where I left off. This is another feature that makes Farkle an ideal game for commuting, or just waiting in line at the DMV. When you need to turn it off, just close the program. The next time you open it, the game will automatically pick up exactly where you left off. No need to even remind it to save the game. It already knows what to do. Of course, if you want to change any of the game settings, then your saved game will be lost so you can start a new game with the new settings.
Customization: As I mentioned, you can pick from up to six computerized players to challenge. You can also decide which "house rules" will be followed. Some people like to play with a break-in score (you must reach a minimum score in order to earn any points in that round.) Others don’t like this rule. You can also decide the upper limit of the game. If you think playing 10,000 takes too long, set the game to end at 5,000 instead. These little options allow you to customize Farkle to your personal style of play.
Strategy and Tips: One of the things I loved about Farkle is that it teaches you the game as you go along. The rules are not that difficult. Keep rolling the dice until you stop or earn no points. It is pretty basic, but there can be some complicated strategic decisions. If I roll two scoring dice, do I keep them both or keep only one and hope for a better score with a new roll?
As you progress through the game, various strategy tips will appear which teach you how to look at your roll from all angles and fully immerse you in the game. I really appreciated these tips the first time I played the game, but once you have heard them, they quickly become unnecessary background noise. Fortunately, you can choose to turn them off in the preferences menu.
Conclusion: This is definitely my kind of game. It is quick and easy to learn, but takes some concentration to master the strategy. You can also stop the game at any time and pick up right where you left off. If this were all it offered, Farkle would be a mainstay in my stable of games. Add in the smoothly drawn graphics, six different player characters (which effectively means a variety of skill levels) and various customization options, and Farkle is a must play for anyone who enjoys a simple game of chance or, a really long train ride.
Platform: WM 2003 SE
Also Available: WM5, Palm OS
Developer: Smart Box Design