Not all retro revisits end in disappointment, Chris Wild is bringing one of the greatest 8-bit games back to life in December 2012 and it stands up tall.

The mid eighties were a blessed time for gaming, the teenage years of a fledgling industry – nobody could see the growth that was coming, yet even today those of us that were there still hanker after those early experiences and those that were not there are intrigued by the legends. Yearning for some of the magic that was squeezed into 48 or 64 kilobytes can be a distraction, more often than not the return to those 8-bit pastures is tinged with a sour taste. These games and game designers shaped the generation and many of those respected one man bands have become industry stalwarts today. Continue reading


While it’s hardly the sexiest subject in the world, the weather is probably one of the most widely discussed topics of conversation in every day life. It often affects our ability to perform activities we had planned, can spoil or enhance events we are attending, and is even proven to affect our mood. Well now “there’s an App for that”.

MetService has just released the Metservice app, available on both iOS and Android. This is a review of the iOS app, but the Android app was developed in conjunction and is also functionally identical. The iOS app was designed by Shift (creators of the beautifully looking Herald iPad app) and developed by Wellington-based PaperKite (the team behind the Official All Blacks App as well as the “I can’t believe they made it” NZ Budget 2012″ App). MetService already has an excellent and informative free website, as well as a “mobile-optimised” version of the same site for smaller screens, so is it worth spending the $2.59 on this new release app?

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Flightless, the award-winning local developers behind a growing list of iOS games, have just released their latest universal iOS game Bee Leader. As the name implies, you take to the skies as a Bee, working to gather as much nectar to make honey while the sun shines. It’s obvious that the development team spent some time to study the life of bees in the course of making this game, but was all the effort worth it?

As soon as I fired I Bee Leader I was impressed by the visual style and upbeat soundtrack. The vibrant colours and “springy” menus were full of life, and promised a fun and unique experience. A quick start guide provides the necessary instruction for first-timers but within minutes you’ll be sent into the wings of a bee tasked with making as much honey as possible before the sun sets.

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Following in the footsteps of excellent Sparrow for Mac which we reviewed earlier, Sparrow for iPhone seeks to bring the same superb minimalist email to the iOS platform. The challenges go beyond adapting Sparrow to the smaller screen of the iPhone/iPod touch however, with Apple restrictions meaning compromises needed to be made, with certain much desired features reluctantly omitted.

Sparrow for iPhone currently only supports IMAP mail, so it is not an option for users of Hotmail and other POP accounts. Setting up accounts is relatively straight-forward, and completed you land in a unified inbox that looks on the surface much the same as any other mail app.

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Feed me oil

Just a heads up that Feed Me Oil is currently on the iOS App Store for free, presumably for a limited time. Both the standard “iPhone” version ($1.29) and the HD iPad version ($2.59) are currently free, with no indication of the reason for the sale, nor how long it is free for.

It’s a physics puzzler where the aim is to mop up oil spills into the mouths of strange and hungry creatures. If only it was so easy to clean up spills in real life…

While the Kickstarter campaigns mentioned here have more or less been successful, Republique is in danger of failing with less than 40 hours to raise $500,000. They’re currently at $355,333. The catch of Kickstarter is that if the pledged goal isn’t met within the time frame the project isn’t funded. The developers get 0 cents and the backers are out of a game. So while some projects may crack $10 million, little guys like Republique here lie mostly forgotten.

Republique is a game designed for iOS devices but a PC and Mac version is also in the works. It’s a cinematic third person stealth game with a twist. You control security cameras and computer systems trying to save Hope from a freaky 1984ish nightmare state.

The game includes special voice acting stars such as David Hayter. You may know him as Solid Snake. And Jennifer Hale. You may know her from Mass Effect… if you went female.

While I’m pretty sure the game will still see the light of day even if the Kickstarter fails, if this thing interests you at all, please help fund Republique.

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When AirPrint was first announced by Apple, there was much anticipation in the world of iOS. Along with copy and paste, printing was one of of the core functions that had never been given love and attention by Apple software engineers when developing early builds of iOS. We were made to wait until iOS 3.0 before copy and paste was finally available – it was more than a year later in late 2010 before iOS 4.2 allowed us to finally print from iOS devices.

Then there was controversy when the feature was finally released to the general populous – while beta versions of the iOS update encompassing AirPrint had allowed printing to any printer shared on your WiFi network (via Bonjour), the final release only supported a handful of new “AirPrint enabled” Hewlett-Packard printers. Some accused Apple of a broken promise, with a post-mortem revealing that perhaps Apple’s ambiguous statements concerning AirPrint hadn’t actually explicitly promised printing from any printer after all.

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It’s not very often that I would replace a built-in OS application with one developed by a third party. When it happens it is usually out sheer frustration or repugnance (eg. Internet Explorer), and rarely it comes about due to an application being so remarkable that installing it is the only logical choice.

Apple’s Mail application for OS X Lion has come a long way since version 1.0, and has been a pleasure to use particularly in the full-screen mode which Lion supports. It functions well, with no major annoyances to push me to look for any alternative. However Mail’s days are limited on my Macs, now that Sparrow has arrived with a simple mission – “Get mail done”.

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The concept of a multi-display desk setup has been around for some time now, with the idea being that we can be more productive when we have more screen real estate and separate screen areas to work within. Mostly the benefits tend to come from removing all those non-work related windows away from a dedicated work space, so that we can be productive without having content pop-ups whenever a friend/colleague/family member signs in/updates status/tweets/sends a chat message.

Some of us don’t have a multi-display setup for whatever reason, but what many of us do have these days is an iOS device. Thankfully, there’s an app for that – made by Avatron Software and called Air Display.

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Despite advances in capacitive touch screens, most people still fumble with on-screen keyboards even with the haptic feedback available on some Android devices. Auto-correct helps some of the time, but can lead to some epic failures when it goes bad.

Pairing up a spare bluetooth keyboard is a simple way to return to the tried and trusted when typing a long email or working with a Pages or iWork document, but in many situations it isn’t convenient to carry that keyboard around with it. In some of these situations you might be carrying your Mac laptop with you, and that’s exactly what Type2Phone was designed for.

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