An Apple A Day... - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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An Apple A Day...

I was never a big Apple / Mac fan...it's not that I don't like them (who doesn't like those shiny fancy looking computers, but sheesh, who can afford one), but as a gamer, I always gravitated towards the PC. And since Apple doesn't offer a game console (although I think one day they will) I just never really gave Apple much attention.


 

Until I got an iPhone.

What I'm about to say may be true for the other smartphones that are available, like the Android or the Palm Pre, but I've never used them so I can't speak for them.


 

While I use my iPhone for the normal every day functions like cell phone, texting and as a glorified alarm clock, it is quickly becoming one of my essential gaming peripherals. It doesn't see as much action as my keyboard, mouse or game controller, but it's right up there with my flight control system and force feedback steering wheel.

Never mind all the video game related podcasts that are available for download to listen to at your leisure (including the Game Informer podcast), there are some pretty nifty apps that any gamer equipped with an iPhone should have installed.

Ironically, one of my favorite apps is from one of Apple's biggest competitors - Microsoft.


 

The Inside Xbox app for the iPhone is a pretty nifty little program that allows you to connect to your Xbox Live account and access all kinds of cool features including a News function (highlights, games and videos); a Community function (Xbox Live blogs and Major Nelson's news and podcasts; and a Friends list (that even lets you view the person's profile). I like to use the friends list to check in on the kids while I'm at work to see if they are playing Xbox when they should be doing homework. If you have an Xbox 360 with an Xbox Live account and an iPhone, this is a must have app.

Another app that I'm pretty fond of is Gamefly's Game Center app. I don't have a Gamefly account and one isn't required to use the app, but if you do use Gamefly, you can manage your account with the app. I like it because it has an awesome news section that is updated frequently and able to be categorized by platform. If you see a news story you like, you can email it or share it on your favorite social networking site with a click of a button. It also has a pretty nifty "Most Popular" section to show you what the hottest titles currently are. (Just in case you don't know...yeah, right.)

If you work in a place that doesn't let you visit gaming sites (which I do), this is a great tool to read all the latest news so you don't go home at the end of the day and wade through all the different links and stories trying to catch up. Read the headline, and if you're interested...click and read. Too easy.

(There are a ton of video game news apps - some better than others - it's really up to the personal preference)

Even though I don't play it, I know there is a World of Warcraft app that allows you to "keep track of your characters, plan your adventures, and keep up with the activities of your guild". How cool is that. Makes me want to start playing the game just so I can download the app and check it out.

Then of course there are the stragegy guides. As I have mentioned in many other blogs before, I am one of those anal people that has to get all of the achievements a game has to offer. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt to remember them all and in the middle of the game try and figure out what you were supposed to do. But if you have the game guide on your phone you can flip right to it and look it up.


One of my favorites is the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Game Guide by AtMedia. Besides everything you would expect in a walk through (like maps), it has the 360 Achievements, the PS3 Trophies, and listing with descriptions of all the perks, kill streak rewards, accolades, callsigns, emblems and xp bonuses. How handy is that. Did I mention it was free. There are also guides for a bunch of the other big titles like Borderlands, Assassin's Creed 2, Uncharted 2...and the list goes on. Very sweet.

The iPhone also has a Facebook and Twitter app. Now before you go dismissing Twitter as something famous people do to keep in touch with their fans or lonely housewives use to describe how boring and dismal their life is...I'll tell ya, there are a lot of really cool people who work in the very gaming industry that you and I enjoy so much. Many of them correspond with their followers routinely. I know I've talked with a few. You know what, they are normal people just like us. They put their pants on just like us (if they happen to be wearing pants) and they play video games just like us. It's a great way to interact with them or at least read their thoughts. Another wonderful thing about Twitter is the insight on gaming news, free promo items, and scheduled events.

When the news of the Infinity Ward - Activision split broke, I heard it on Twitter long before I saw any news posts about it. It works the same with events. During last week's GDC in California, I don't know how many posts (or tweets) I received during the event. They were practically live, real time updates of all the days' events (and night time shenanigans).

Social Networking is here to stay. The big companies are already embracing it. Game developers are starting to integrate it into our video games. All that's left is for us to enjoy it.

What I want to see is the ability to connect my iPhone to my Xbox 360 or my PC...and when I'm playing a game, if I pull up the map or inventory screen it shows up on my iPhone and my monitor or TV doesn't change. I know Microsoft is already working on a way to have the Xbox 360, PC and Windows based phones all talk and play nice with one another, but I want a game that uses my smartphone as a function of the game.

Is that asking too much, or is that just too geeky?

(Fellow iPhone users...if you have any video game related apps you would recommend, don't hesitate to share)

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