Having a Google Home Mini around is often an enjoyable, futuristic experience. But for some, it can feel bizarre saying things aloud to seemingly no one in particular and waiting for a disembodied Google Assistant to respond. Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing, you can make these encounters a little more palpable by giving that virtual assistant living inside your smart speaker an adorable Android robot body.
Developer Kevin Ng created a smash hit back in May of 2013 with the stylish and frantic Impossible Road [$ 2.99], but several months before that he was also involved with a cute and quirky side-scrolling platformer called Food Run. This was an auto-running style of platformer, and while it didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel or anything it was one of the more polished and quirky runners on the App Store. It was also novel for being both level-based and fully premium, unlike most of its contemporaries, and it just gushed with fun and personality. Unfortunately Food Run eventually went the way of the dodo, but Ng has resurrected this old favorite with a completely remade version called Food Pals [$ 2.99] which just hit the App Store earlier today.
As you can see in that short trailer, Food Pals is cute as all get out, and much like the original game it bucks the trends of most runners by offering 38 hand-crafted levels to play and no ads or IAP of any kind. Also that is some kick ass polka music. Besides all the running and jumping you’ll do in Food Pals, you’ll also want to collect all the stars strewn about the level as well as any other food items you come across (your Food Pals) so they can follow you along towards the finish line. Both of these are much easier said than done, but for completionists it’ll add an extra dose of challenge trying to 100% each of the game’s levels. Much like the original Food Run, Food Pals offers very straightforward platforming in an adorable premium package, so if you’re looking for a new runner without the usual free to play BS I highly recommend checking it out and sharing your thoughts about it in our forums.
By now, you’ve probably heard of HQ Trivia [Free], it’s growing at a rate that reminds me of the rise and fall of Draw Something [$ 2.99 / Free] in that I have friends of mine who I know don’t care at all about mobile gaming asking me if I’ve played it. Like HQ Trivia, Qriket [Free] is another live stream game show anyone can play through an app. They’re like something out of an episode of Black Mirror on Netflix, and as soon as I first saw HQ Trivia, I thought to myself, “This is neat but man this format is going to open up so many possibilities.”
Interestingly enough, Qriket actually hit the App Store beforeHQ Trivia. It’s been running for well over a year now and is the brainchild of apparent internet celebrity Jonny Comparelli who also uses Qriket to funnel followers into his various social media accounts. To play, you download the Qriket app and register for games using spin tokens. (You earn more tokens by viewing ads and doing other things you’re super used to if you’ve played a freemium game.) Just like HQ Trivia, games are scheduled throughout the day and they’ve got a number of different hosts.
Actually playing the game is sort of hilarious, in that super low-fi indie Wayne’s World basement public access show kind of way. While HQ Trivia has big prizes and is filmed all on a green screen with all kinds of fancy overlays, Qriket is filmed in a tiny studio with a couple screens, a host, and a spinning prize wheel like the one you might spin to figure out whether you’re getting a free chip clip or a pair of sunglasses from some local business at a county fair. Instead of guessing trivia questions, you’re just deciding between whether the prize wheel will land on yellow or gold. Guess correctly and you get points. That’s all there is to it.
There’s various special emoji sections of the wheel that when hit do things like add more rounds to the game, increase or decrease the prize pool, and all sorts of other things. (In the game I played, three additional bonus spins were added at the end of the game.) It’s straight up weird how captivating this all is, particularly as your brain tries to assign some kind of strategy to your choice between the two colors, not at all unlike playing roulette. You know how when the roulette wheel hits red three times and you’re sure it just has to hit black next? That’s the same part of your mind Qriket tickles.
Instead of there being chat in game, you interact with the hosts and the rest of the community via Twitch chat. Like any Twitch channel, emoji spam is everywhere, but it all moves slow enough and the game (currently) is small enough that it really feels like the host is connecting with the audience in the chat (compared to being one of the hundreds of thousands of people in a HQ Trivia game). They’ve apparently given away over $ 2,000,000 in prizes since the game has been online, and the side benefit of games being smaller is the prize split is way better. In the game I was in, $ 400 worth of prizes were split between only five people. Prizes get paid out to a PayPal account, just like HQ.
What I like most about Qriket’s format is that you can play the game until it’s over, as you never know if you’ll get a string of luck and regain a ton of points by accurately choosing between blue and gold. Comparatively, in HQ, if you get a question wrong you might as well just close the app. It was really cool to actually be engaged and feel like there was a point to playing the entirety of a game of Qriket.
If you’re even remotely interested in this whole live streamed app-enabled game show thing, you really need to also try out Qriket. As I mentioned, I’m super stoked to see where this whole format can go, and seeing the massive differences between HQ and Qriket, this really feels like the future of game shows and the sky is the limit.
Some videos are just too awesome to not be shared and this one falls right into that category. It’s a grandma (she’s Italian, you’ll notice some Italian dialect in the video) figuring out how to use a Google Home for the first time, and the whole video is filled with her saying “Hey Goo-Goo, Okay Goo-Goo.” It’s just adorable.
I laughed, I teared up a little (my grandma died right before Christmas and this video brought bittersweet memories), I laughed again, and I just felt an urge to go hug her and tell her she’s awesome for putting up with these quirky gadgets we use, the usability of which we take for granted.
“There’s something fascinating about miniature-sized versions of everyday objects. Even as a kid, I just loved tiny versions of things, evidenced by my once neighborhood-famous Kitchen Littles collection and boxed display of miniature trinkets that hung on my bedroom wall. As a Kansas City native, I was also fortunate enough to live near the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (which has recently been renovated and is still a very cool attraction, if you get the chance). I come by it honestly. So, you can probably imagine the spark of excitement that ignited when I came across this Kickstarter for the Zanco Tiny T1, the world’s smallest functional phone.
Actually, I first experienced déjà vu when I was reading about it. You see, back in the day, there was another small cell phone making headlines that caught my eye as well: the Pantech C300. Unfortunately, that tiny phone was an AT&T (ahem, Cingular) exclusive and I didn’t use Cingular, so I was only able to admire it’s small, cute form from afar.
Not anymore, though. The Zanco Tiny T1 gives a girl with broken dreams hope again. Well, sort of.
The difference between the Zanco Tiny T1 and the Pantech C300 is that while the C300 was small and fully functional, it wasn’t so tiny that it was necessarily uncomfortable to use. As a flip phone, it doubled in size when in use. The Zanco Tiny T1, on the other hand, is a candybar style device – what you see is all that you’re going to get, which is a device that is “smaller than your thumb, lighter than a coin, and ridiculously cute”. Agreed.
Although it seems like the Tiny T1’s only purpose is to serve as a conversational piece or a gag gift, it actually can serve a higher purpose such as a backup phone, a phone for when you’re out exercising and a large smartphone isn’t as convenient to carry around, or a phone for when you’re out and you don’t want to risk losing your daily driver that likely cost hundreds of dollars. Of course, this is all dependent on whether your carrier still uses 2G networks or not, because that’s all the Tiny T1 can use (which makes sense, as all you can do is make calls and – surprisingly – text).
Unfortunately, such a cute device doesn’t come cheap, at least not as cheap as you might expect something that’s about the same size as a flash drive to cost. Early backers can back the Tiny T1 for £35, which equals about $ 47 in US currency, which includes a device once it launches. Whether the minuscule device, which lasts up to 3 hours of talk time and 3 days on standby, is worth that much is up to you; I’m probably just going to stick with the Nokia 3310, which costs about $ 13 more but can arguably do more (and still manages to serve as a decent conversational piece, albeit not as eye-catching as the Tiny T1).
I’d still consider the Tiny T1 worth a gander, considering how adorable it is and can fit virtually anywhere.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this unusual cell phone? Do you think you’ll be picking one up for yourself?
Minecraft‘s [$ 6.99] empty oceans are about to get much more populated once the upcoming Update Aquatic hits in 2018. The developers decided to give us an early present by teasing us about a new water mob, turtles. Turtles will make their nests on shorelines across various biomes, and their young ones will scamper down to the water, according to the official description. The turtle textures in the screenshot below will likely be temporary and might change before they are added to the game. That’s pretty much all the info we have on the turtles. I wonder if we’ll get any uses for turtle shells (guitars?), although I’d hate to have to kill those cute creatures.
I can’t wait to get the Update Aquatic and finally see the oceans populated with all kinds of sea creatures. The land has always been very busy, but the oceans and the skies have been really empty, a fact that made Minecraft maps less interesting. I’ve always loved the idea of building an underwater house, and now I’ll have plenty of fish and turtles swimming by my windows. What other water mobs do you want to see?
Microsoft is focusing on Paint 3D for its festive holiday message this year. The software giant’s “3D Holiday” commercial has started airing this weekend, and it includes the adorable “Gabe the Yeti” which was created in Microsoft’s new version of Paint. In a year when everyone was worried Microsoft would kill off the original MS Paint app, the company is celebrating its biggest ever update to the classic app with a cute TV commercial.
Microsoft has positioned Paint 3D and its Remix 3D website as a community for people to share their creations. Remix 3D lets anyone share a 3D character, or download one that someone else has made and tweak it. Paint 3D fully supports 3D models, and you can even move creations over to Windows Mixed Reality…
Is this controller cute as hell or what? Sony’s teamed up with hardware accessory maker Hori on its new Mini Wired Gamepad, which is designed for younger PS4 players with smaller hands, and it looks nice enough that I want to try it too – despite my giant paws. The $ 30 Mini is half the price and 40 percent smaller than the standard DualShock 4, making it easier for little tykes to grip. However, it’s a rather bare-bones accessory as it lacks the touch pad, light bar, headphone jack, and motion sensing and vibration functions. For what it’s worth, Sony…
When I was younger (maybe 8 or 9), I absolutely loved toy robots. I remember having a particular fascination for toys from WowWee, like the ‘Robosapien‘ and the ‘Roboraptor.’ I managed to convince my parents one year to get the Roboraptor for my birthday, which I still own to this day. It was pretty basic by today’s standards (the most advanced part of it was the IR sensor), but it was awesome at the time.