Games



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Tic Tactics Game Play

Every kid’s menu at every restaurant that provides them always includes a few games of Tic-Tac-Toe. It’s a staple. It’s simple. And it’s why you are about to be addicted to an updated classic game. Techlife has been heads down testing Tic Tactics by Hidden Variable Studios to ensure our readers would fall in love. Ok, who are we kidding we have been playing games all in the name of fun.

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Tic Tactics takes the game we all know and adds just enough complexity that adults and kids alike can play and discover what’s old is new again. Tic Tactics is a multi-player, free game for both Android and iOS. The game starts with what looks like a big Tic-Tac-Toe board, a 3×3 grid. Looking closer each square of the board is subdivided again into another 3×3 Tic-Tac-Toe board, providing a total of nine little games of Tic-Tac-Toe that make up the big board. The goal is simple, get three in a row in any direction of the big board to win.

How To Play Tic Tactics

Each player at the start of the game places nine of their X’s or O’s spread among the board. Tic Tactics won’t allow a user to complete a line in this initial setup phase, by taking away squares as you place each of your symbols. After both players have placed their initial moves, X goes first.

Each player then alternates playing a piece. The strategy is that each move impacts the full big board. When you place a piece the location corresponds to the placement of the next piece by your opponent. Place a piece in any of the  little boards’ upper right corners and the next move made by your opponent will be in the upper right corner little board.

Once a user does play three in a row on any little board they own that square on the big board. Getting three in a row on the big board wins you the game.

Tic Tactics You Won

Tic Tactics Strategy

My first time playing I had some questions and Techlife’s strategy section should help new users as well as experienced players. What happens if a little board has a “cat’s game” or a draw? If the last piece of a little board is played (9 in total) and the board is a draw, both players get to claim that board as a wildcard toward the goal of three in a row on the big board. This can include winning someone the big board.

Just because a little board is claimed, the empty squares on the little board are still in play, but they hurt you. A lot. Avoid getting into a situation where your opponent keeps forcing you to play in a little board that has already been won.

Each little board has one square that when played makes the next play on that same little board. Use these squares wisely, both on offense and on defense.

Giving up a little board isnt’ a bad thing. Be willing to sacrifice a little board.

When you start Tic Tactics you will notice your rating is 1500. This is because the game uses the Elo rating system. This system, invented by Arpad Elo allows the Tic Tactics server to try and set up fair matches between random players. Tic Tactics users can click on the person they are playing against to get a full game stats biography.

Keep your battery charged as you won’t want to put this game down.

Tic Tactics User Profile


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Imagine gripping your handlebars tight, gunning the engine, shifting your weight while hanging on during a forward full flip of you and your motor bike all from the comfort and safety of your mobile.

bikerace

Turning back the clock to your earliest days with a Nintendo Entertainment System you may recall the classic Excitebike and exclaim, except for the flips you remember that game. Then long time fans of Techlife may recall the physics based builder Line Rider where you guide a rider and sled over a hand drawn course. It wasn’t a game as much as a chance to build your own track.

Then we have our faithful readers, you lovers of the mash-up bring us a motorbike-riding physics-based simple-line-track with user created levels and multi-player cross-platform experience. (Let’s let the rider race over the hyphens in that last sentence). How does it work? Addictivley well.

How to Play Bike Race

Visit your favorite app store and download Bike Race. Level 1 is a simple tutorial which explains the right side of the screen is “go” and the left side of the screen is “stop”. The game forgoes actual visible control elements but you shouldn’t need them. The game uses the accelerometer. Tilting left while on the ground pops the bike into a wheelie. Tilting left while in the air the rider and bike perform a backflip and tilting forward does a front flip.

You progress through each level as a time trial. Complete the level more quickly to earn the maximum three stars. Just after starting I got an invite from the loyal reader to play them in a multi-player match. Multi-player is a turn-based style game awarding you a win if you beat your opponent in head to head match of a single race. While you wait for them to race you can race other people or continue the single player racing.

Like Line Rider and the grand daddy Excitebike, Bike Race offers a track creator for those who want to build their own. Bike Race will take care of sharing them in the game and let others play your levels too. It gets addicting quickly so be careful that you have a few hours to kill before you try and build your masterpiece.

Thanks as always to the greatest readers for finding some real amazing things. We had quite a little struggle this month as reader suggestions came pouring in and made the job of curating just one a tough chore. Send those small ideas, fun things, and creativity to techlife at dkworldwide dot com.

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Leon Kiriluk - NES Reproductions

Father’s Day used to mean a neck tie, a steak dinner and some quality time with the old man. Today’s dad grew up not wearing a necktie and swears off too much red meat. So that leaves quality time. For those Dad’s who grew up playing the  Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), we have the ultimate Techlife 8-bit gift this Father’s Day; never released Nintendo Games ready to play on Dad’s NES. Often called ROMS, these games for many reasons were never published or in the case of my personal favorite Super Tecmo Bowl, have a loyal fan following that has updated the ROM with new player rosters and stats and even a few more teams.

Meet Leon Kiriluk of NES Reproductions. Leon was kind of enough to sit down for an interview and this will only add to the gift for dad; the backstory.

Techlife: What is NES Reproductions?

Leon Kiriluk: As a collector and gamer, I love playing NES games on the real system, rather than the artificial constraints found on a PC game emulators.  Through sheer luck, I discovered a community of game hackers that took these game dumps and put them back on original NES carts.  Being proficient with electronics, I decided to experiment with making my own NES games as well.  After I successfully reproduced a few of these never released NES games, I posted my creations to a popular video game forum.  To my surprise, many collectors, less electronic savvy than me, messaged me pleading me to make these games for them.  NES Reproductions was born.

 TL: When and why did you start this hobby?

LK:  I grew up with Nintendo (the original) in the late 80’s.  As with most kids, my Nintendo was eventually sold off in a garage sale as the family upgraded to better and newer video game systems.  Sometime around 1998, my brother brought home an NES system with a handful of games which he purchased at a flea-market.  I was hooked.  We played for hours on that system, bringing back all my childhood memories.

For the next 5 years I made it a personal mission to collect as many NES games as I could; I completed my NES collection a few years later.  In the process, I discovered that there were many NES games in development that were never released for one reason or another (mostly due to marketing pulling the plug in the last minute).  These game prototypes went home with the engineers and eventually made it into the hands of game collectors, such as myself.  These collectors proceeded to dump the games from these prototype boards and provide them for free on the Internet.  Gamers are now able to play these games on their computers using NES emulators.
Over the next decade, it grew to not only reproduce never before released games, but also game hacks, such as the community based hack to Tecmo Superbowl.
TL: What is your background?

LK:  From a very young age I was interested more in how toys worked rather than play with them.  Every new toy I ever got, I proceeded to disassemble it, learn what made it function, and then put it back together.  Over the years, as my interest in electronics grew, the tools of the trade naturally grew with it: soldering stations, desoldering stations, memory chip programmers and erasers.

TL: How did you figure out what hardware you needed?

LK:  There’s a big community out there (thanks to the Internet) that can help anyone do what I do.  Someone just has to be driven enough, and invest enough time/money in this hobby.  It’s also not that expensive to get started.  I started with a cheap 40$ programmer and 5$ soldering iron.  These tools will suffice for half a dozen reproduction carts, but for any significant volume, investing in professional equipment is a must as with any “hobby”.

I use the word hobby because that’s what NES reproduction is for me.  A hobby that fills my time most evenings when my kids are asleep.  I’m fortunate enough to have a very good full time job where I don’t need to supplement my income with making these games – I consider it a way of giving back to the community, for gamers such as myself.  This is the main reason why I never raised my prices for reproductions in a decade.
NES Reproductions - A Collector and Gamer's Dream
 TL: How long does it take to create a cartridge?

LK:  On average, about 30-45 minutes per cart.  Surprising, the finishing touches on a cart (making the label, cleaning the cart, installing the cart, and testing it) take a lot more time than the actual electronic desoldering/soldering of new memory chips process.

TL:  Of the 52 titles listed on your site what’s the most popular title?

LK:   Earthbound followed by Super Mario Brothers 2 (Japan) by far; both made by Nintendo, and both killed for silly reasons.

Earthbound courtesy of NES Reproductions

Earthbound courtesy of NES Reproductions

Earthbound only came out in Japan.  Nintendo did have a full english translation completed, but for some reason never released it.  It wasn’t until the SNES release of Earthbound did North Americans got access to this wonderful RPG game.  But in reality, Earthbound on the SNES is actually Earthbound 2.
Super Mario Bros. 2 courtesy of NES Reproductions

Super Mario Bros. 2 courtesy of NES Reproductions

The other game, Super Mario Brother 2 – Japan, looks and plays the same as the original super mario bros, except it’s a lot more difficult.  It wasn’t released in North America because Nintendo felt the game was too difficult for us.  Instead, they took a different game, hacked mario characters into it and released it as SMB2.  Nintendo fans aren’t stupid – anyone can see how different SMB2 is from every Mario game that came before it, and after.  Simply put, it’s because it’s not a real Mario game.
TL: Have you seen requests steady since you began?

LK:  For the most part, yes.  I have also taken breaks (4 month breaks when both my children were born, as my families’ needs took precedence.)

TL: What’s the most unusual request to date?

LK:  Oh .. that’s a tough one (for the most part, game reproductions boil down to the same process)  I think special or custom game hacks.  I’ve had customers request special one off reproductions and requested of me not to share the games with anyone else, which I complied with their wishes.  I actually did have a couple of customers request a special NES game made for them, which they can use to ask their girlfriend to get married.  Unfortunately, I’m not that good at actually programming a new NES game.

TL: Have you had any companies or individual game makers approach you? Any interest or even legal hassle?

LK:  Not yet.  🙂

Truthfully, for any game hacks, such as Gamepad Hero 1 & 2, I e-mailed the game developer first, and attained permission to offer a game reproduction of their games.  In most cases, the company that made the game is long gone, or simply doesn’t care anymore as there really is little to no money in these old titles.
Even Nintendo itself lost the patent on the NES a few years ago due to the original Nintendo patent expiring – this is why there’s so many NES clones on eBay these days – and there’s a lot more money to be made selling NES clones than game reproductions.
TL: What is the best game in your opinion that was ever released?
The Goonies courtesty of NES Reproductions

The Goonies courtesty of NES Reproductions

LK:  That’s a hard one.  It depends on the gamer.  The best RPG game is Earthbound (because it’s so different from any other RPG on the NES), for shooters nothing can touch Recca (I can’t believe this is an NES game! It really pushes the NES to its limits). I personally love playing The Goonies – what a great puzzle game.  And the soundtrack is awesome too!

 TL: What’s are some things you are requested to do that are not possible?

LK:  I get a lot of requests for games that only came out in Japan or Hong Kong pirates that simply can’t be reproduced.  They use special circuit boards that were only released in that part of the world, and as such I can’t reuse any of the game carts that came out in North America in reproducing these games.  This is a shame as some of those games are actually really good .. many of these games were created long after the last NES game was shipped.

 TL: What’s the most interesting story to come from this hobby?

LK:  For me personally, I can’t believe how long it lasted.  I initially created it just to help a few people on a popular chat board which I was an active member of.  Over the last decade, it grew to so much more.  I’ve had happy customers from all over the world, places that I never thought I’d ship a video game to.  It really shows how international the NES has become.

TL: Do you have any future plans for your hobby?

LK:  Truthfully, so much has changed in my life in the past decade.  Getting married, having kids.  Priorities in life have changed, and hobbies always tend to be the first to suffer.  Can I see myself still making NES reproductions a decade from now?  Probably not.  Heck, even hobbies change!  About 5 years ago my wife and I purchased our first home (a century old home) and my hobbies have moved away from working with electronics to doing home renovations.

TL Bonus question: We met when I found out you had Tecmo Super Bowl updated rosters. For the updated teams and rosters, how did you determine things such as “speed” or “quickness” or any other stat that has a no single statistics associated with it?
Tecmo Super Bowl 2K11 courtesy of NES Reproductions

Tecmo Super Bowl 2K11 courtesy of NES Reproductions

LK:  The Tecmo Superbowl updated NES game is developed by a team of developers on the Tecmo Superbowl repository web site.  I only provide the service of putting their game on a cart.  I’ve contacted the web site owner a few times, and sent him free reproductions as a ‘thank you’ for all the great work he does for the Tecmo community.


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Do you like fairy tales? This one has explosions, wizards and two arch enemies.  While there are no princesses or frogs there is a columnist and a few game developers and most of all a happy ending.

Once upon a time, back in 2007, a lowly columnist was penning his latest April Techlife column titled, “chick chick BOOM – Baby Chick gaming warfare at its best“. The article spoke of a mysterious, fun game for the web browser. Then all of a sudden this highly addicting game vanished. Our lowly columnist was asked about this and in February of 2009 made a bold prediction, “…maybe they will release it one day as WiiWare for the Wii.”

As if this voice was heard whispering on the wind, a return voice whispered from Frankfurt, Germany where the game developer “tons of bitscame out from the shroud of silence to tell their tale of the resurrection of chick chick BOOM in multi-player for Wii Ware.

Techlife: How did the original chick chick BOOM get started?

Tons of Bits: Before chick chick BOOM we had developed another flash game called Mission in Snowdriftland, which had a great impact and positive response by the players. Mission in Snowdriftland was created as an advent calendar with 24 jump ‘n’ run levels for christmas. The idea of making a game for Easter was an obvious next step. chick chick BOOM was born.

TL: Sounds like it was hatched. How long did it take to plan and implement?

TOB: The whole project was realized in a pretty short time for a game of this complexity. From scratch to release it took approx. 8 weeks.

TL: What was your measure of success?

TOB: The constant positive feedback from the community. In the form of comments on the web but also as direct e-mails; or for instance fans writing a detailed article in Wikipedia.

TL: Why did it disappear?

TOB: It was planned as a limited easter event. We thought it wouldn’t feel right outside of this seasonal context if we would have kept it online.

TL: Is the new chick chick BOOM the same game?

TOB: The new chick chick BOOM has been completely redesigned and improved. The core idea “two chick teams fight each other in a whacky way” is the same, but the presentation and the game mechanics have been completely changed. The focus was on optimizing the game for the Wii, especially on the feature of simultaneous use of the Wii remotes for the multiplayer mode.

TL: What are the coolest new features?

(more…)


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Where in the world? Location determined screen - Nice guess of Rome!

From where in the world is Matt Lauer to Carmen Sandiego to Waldo this is an age old theme (at least to the mid 1980s.)  And now Google has their own twist on the classic called, “Where in the World?“.

Techlife readers come to learn, engage and discuss at our little corner of the world.  Be it a reader who stops me on the street, emails in a suggestion, or comments on an article in the online site we welcome the interaction.  We have heard from thousands of readers, and while not everyone gets featured in a column, sometimes they get a mention.

Today’s column harkens back to our early days, as our newest find we stumbled upon all on our own.  This little secret game is almost hidden, I would call it an easter egg, yet it is sitting there in the open.  We have always covered neat visual tools here at Techlife. From our review of Picasa in “Picture Perfect” to “Life Poster: A Picasa How-To” to our most recent “How to Create Online Tilt Shift Miniature Photos” we have covered various fun things to do with your photos.  Now we will explore other people’s photos.

Picasa Web's Explore Tab

Our adventure started one day when a reader sent us trip photos.  Are you a little surprised?  Don’t be.  We get lots of fun things from the great readers of Techlife. After viewing the photos, I noticed the tab, “Explore”  near the Picasa logo, next to “My Photos” and “Favorites.”

Hey I love to explore!

So I clicked, you are taken to a pseudo homepage with a few interesting sections, each of which could take hours of time to Explore.  There are 12 “Featured Photos” which sort of change if you hit refresh, though same stay.  Then there is “Recent Photos” which you can watch in a slideshow format.  There are also 40 of the most “Popular Tags”, which is a method for indicating what a picture contains is about.  Popular tags include, wedding, vacation, lake, house, birthday, beach, flowers, you get the idea.  Then in a small corner is our hidden gem.

Picasa Web's Explore Screen

Titled, “Where in the world?” and a button stating “Start Game” with this simple explanation, “Check out photos from around the world and guess where they were taken!”  As Sherlock Holmes said, “The game is afoot.”

In a great mashup of their own tools, Google has used Google Maps and Picasa along with Geotagging to create their game.  (Geotagging is a method for tagging a photo with location data, indicating where on the blue marble we inhabit a photo was shot.)  Play is simple, you guess where the photo they show you was taken by clicking on the map of the world.  Sometimes the photos contain clues, subtle or obvious.  Your score for that photo is determined by how close your guess was to the actual location of the photo.  The closer the better.  You get five different photos per round.

Where in the world? - game screen

The game is strangely addicting.  Five clicks and you get a score.  Then you want to beat that score, then you convince yourself you will beat it the next round.  Then you do!  To celebrate let’s see if we can beat it one more time.  Okay an hour later, this is definitely my last game.  Hey look at that I got a high score!

My high score is 2,597 can you beat it?  Let me know.


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The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

As we meet with client’s the hardest thing for them to wrap their arms around is that on the web, your business is instantly global.  “Awesome, bring it on.”  “Yeah, so, no big deal.”  These are some of the common answers we hear from client’s.  It is then we sit them down and using their enthusiasm or lack thereof, we coach them on doing business in a global economy.  It’s not always easy with i18n (shorthand for internationalization) and l10n (shorthand for localization) and social networking and web 2.0 and e-commerce.

Now imagine adding mobile customers to the mix.  That is exactly the challenge David Kainer of The Dojo experienced.  Provide his customers a gaming platform globally that easily works for all mobile devices and Linux, Mac and Windows computers (<=computer download link, start playing today) based customers.  He also added in multi-player real-time , and to top it all off…it is all FREE.

Techlife sat down with David, who from his Sydney office, works with the London office to learn about The Dojo.  How?  Why? How hard?  It’s all in there, and we even cover why he chose Google’s Android first over Apple’s iPhone. 

Techlife: What is The Dojo?

David Kainer: The Dojo is a global platform for uniting game players in interactive gaming, irrespective of platform. It’s aim is to provide great multi-player experiences on mobile and online and really begin to blur the boundaries between the two. Best of all – it’s free.

T: How did you come with the idea for The Dojo?  Was it based on something?

(more…)


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Casual gaming is enjoyed by readers of Techlife, we have discussed many free flash games in the past, today we present a face-off.

XGen Studio’s new release of Stick Arena Ballistick has been long awaited by the readers of Techlife.  How long?  We measure the wait in years and comments.  We have had nearly 2500 comments regarding the love for this new title.

The Casual Collective also re-launched their top hit Desktop Tower Defense 1.9 as well as a slew of new games including: Buggle Stars, Farragomate and Minons.  While not nearly as popular comment wise, there have been nearly 200 comments about the various games they offer.

Here’s the Techlife Take

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The Nintendo Wii is a big hit in our offices.  It works for the video game fan and the casual fan to sit down together and enjoy playing.  The most popular game in our office is the Lego Star Wars series.  Which means the Lego Batman series would certainly go over well.  Another option is always the man in the Fedora with Lego Indiana Jones.  If the person you are buying for has a Playstation or Xbox these great games are available for all systems.  BAM! POW! KER-SPLAT!


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Techlife readers are the best. Our large arctic readership’s excitement with Yeti Baseball prompted a bit more searching and we found way to appease all our Yeti readers, you know who you are.

While first arriving on scene in 2004, Chris Hilgert’s funny flash games based on Yeti’s and penguins have grown over the years to include a whole collection, called Yeti Sports. They include the following:

  • Pingu Throw (Yeti Baseball)
  • Orca Slap
  • Seal Bounce
  • Albatross Overload
  • Flamingo Drive
  • Big Wave
  • Snowboard Free Ride
  • Jungle Swing
  • Final Spit
  • Icicle Climbing
  • Tournament
  • Stage Diving

Yeti Sports Commentary on YouTube
These games are similar to the mini-games people see on the Wii, and one day could show up as part of a WiiWare collection. Each one has a single point, and simple controls. We lost *cough* a day or so playing testing these games for our loyal readers. So get that furry yeti to toss, hit, surf, spit and more on the penguins. It is just plain fun.

Note: The final item on their site, Yeti Puzzle Kick is apparently a broken or old link. But they did make a few extra games for Fox’s Ice Age 2: The Meltdown which are pretty fun too.

Make sure to post your high scores in the various games in the comments.


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Animator vs. Animation II

Techlife readers are really amazing. You send in some of the best things on the web. Once again loyal reader Dan found a gem, with Alan Becker‘s Animator vs. Animation movie. It follows the story of a small Flash animated stick figure as he wreaks havoc on the flash desktop of his maker.

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Watch Animator vs. Animation on Techlife TV

Being the inquisitive bunch we did a bit more research and found that this gem is really part of of a larger collection of work by the talented Mr. Becker. After the success of Animator vs. Animation, Alan built Animator vs Animation II. In this story, the animator does the unthinkable and risks his entire computer to a stick figure’s wrath.

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Watch Animator vs. Animation II on Techlife TV

Alan’s wild success was recognized by the world,  and he teamed with Charles Yeh and Atom Films to create Animator vs. Animation: The Game, which is a blast. (pun intended). And then the duo modded it a bit and created Animator vs. Animation: The Game SE (Special Edition).

Animator vs. Animation Animator vs. AnimationThere are a lot of small touches Alan added to these animations, be sure to keep your eyes on areas like the backgrounds and text labels to catch all the attention to detail. I enjoyed Animator vs. Animation, as you can see the care and effort Alan put into his first masterpiece in the genre. Animator vs. Animation II is great second effort with some out of the box thinking and a real ending. I hope Alan is plotting Animator vs. Animation III, I’ll be watching.

Animator vs. Animation IIAlan’s inspiration likely comes from the original Stick Art films. Stick art animations have been around for a long time, and are often violent and a bit comedic. What’s your favorite? Post the link below.


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CentSports - Bet on sports

People everywhere are excited for MLB’s Opening Day. It is a day when everyone has a clean slate. Everyone has an even shot (at least the media gives that impression.)

We all know the owners and players are in this to get paid. Well once again, loyal reader Dan writes in with an Opening Day gem to give Techlife readers their shot at a payday. (Pete Rose, this one’s for you!) I was a bit skeptical at first, but it’s free money and fun too. Nearly as good as fun at the old ballpark.

CentSports is a new kind of social gaming site where you risk nothing but can win real money. First off the site gifts you $.10 to bet on sports. Lose that and get another gift of $.10 and so on. (Yep, they are unlimited in their generosity.) Start winning and you can cash out as soon as you reach $10. Sound to good to be true? Sounds more like spam you might get, right? Trust Techlife it isn’t. It is actually a lot of fun

Do you like hardwoods, frozen ponds or field of dreams? CentSports has NCAA, the NCAA Tournament, the NIT Tourney plus the full slate of NBA games. They also have NHL hockey and starting today they have baseball’s MLB all ready for Opening Day action. They are planning on adding soccer and bringing back boxing and tennis. (Apparently those pesky tennis players will retire mid-match which screws up the betting a little.)

As a person with little knowledge of sports betting it is a lot of fun to learn on someone else’s dime (pun intended). They have all the standard bets including point spread, money line, over/under and let you parlay or combine these bets to get higher payouts.

The best part is the social aspect of the site. You can see what others bet, invite friends, publicly chat about each bet made and send private notes too.

How can CentSports fund the payouts? Advertising. They have a unique feature after placing a bet you will get the chance to see an ad which can give you bonus cash if you win. (Hint: Always hold out for near the top tier of the bonus.) There are other ads scattered around the site as well.

Overall: If you like sports and are too chicken to try using your own money, you can’t lose. Literally! CentSports is sports gambling for the rest of us. No skill required.

I hope you try it out and see if you can beat me, I was up to nearly $2. Let us know in the comments what your user name is and we can add you to our friend list on the site.


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Line RiderA winter wind whips a lone rider on his trusty sled. With only a small hat and a candy cane scarf his entire existence is to ride the line. Can he keep it up? Will he make it? Only you will determine it. Only you can make the flight of the Line Rider.

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It’s been a while since Techlife has brought us another in the series of Friends of Line Rider. Can you tell we missed the little guy? Today we find ourselves enjoying Line Rider Zada v1.3.

A modded Line Rider version with everything that is missing in the first Line Rider. Use the eraser, speedups and zoom for a better Line Rider experience.that is Zada!

Line Rider Zada is really quite the fun afternoon and perfect for adults and kids alike.

Line Rider Zada v1.3


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Ballistick - new features include, custom spinners, pets, a store, a map maker and editor

Techlife has just learned that XGen Studios is now a developer for the WiiWare program.  Might Stick Arena or Stick Arena Ballistick be released for the Wii one day? We were pretty shocked too. Nintendo has a developer program with the Wii, known as WiiWare for smaller developers to build content for the platform. Combined with all we know about Stick Arena‘s long awaited title, it appears a multi-platform release might be in the works at some point. While we can’t confirm this, a recent press release from XGen says:

XGen Studios is developing an original title for Nintendo’s upcoming WiiWareâ„¢ service…

It goes on to say:

…inspired by an existing cult classic from the studio, and will allow up to 4 simultaneous players while leveraging the unique capabilities of the Wii Remoteâ„¢…

and

…classic game play enjoyed by Millions is coming to your living room in the form of a new title with compelling additions…

and finally

…jump-in, jump-out casual style appeals to a broad audience for both quick and extended play sessions…

Reading between the lines it would appear that we are in a for a treat. The real question is will the 6.3 million Wii owners be able to interact with the PC gamers, I would think they won’t. But your username might port between the two, allowing a character to travel with you. Imagine playing Stick Arena Ballistick on your Wii online and on your PC online.  Once we all are playing Ballistick on the PC, imagine having a party and Grandma slices Uncle Charlie, only to find herself on the end of a barrage of gunfire.  Brings a whole new meaning to “The war at home.”
Ballistick with new weapons - Chainsaw, Gattling Gun, Lightsaber, and that red triangle item??

And in other Stick Arena Ballistick News…there is an impatient group of loyal Techlife readers who have logged over 700 comments about how excited they are for Ballistick. For all of them, I want to give them a heads up, an exciting announcement is coming shortly. We are targetting next week on Techlife and TechlifeTV the news. As a teaser, we have confirmed that there are 6 new weapons for Ballistick. For a bit of fun, we are going to release their initials…

  • CG
  • LS
  • TH
  • FT
  • CS
  • RG

Got any guesses? Let the comments begin!

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Google Image Labeler Points Screen

Google has achieved the “Field of Dreams Effect”. Simply put, this effect coined by Techlife, means there is no longer a preceding qualifier to the famous phrase by author W.P. Kinsella’s character of the “Baseball Announcer” in the book Shoeless Joe and the movie Field of Dreams:

If you build it, he will come.

Techlife’s “Field of Dreams Effect” states:

“Build it and they will.”

Purposely left open ended, this phrase intends to cover both people who build (in this case Googlers) who build cause they can, and users or customers (Google’s users) who will use what Google has built, because it exists.

Google Image Labeler is one of these creations, hatched using some licensed technology from Carnegie Mellon University. Google wanted to improve the results from the Google Image Search tool, and realized that using the power of “us” they could improve their results dramatically. They created a social game, where the blindly pair up two people for 2:00 minutes and let you race to match terms about random images that show up.

Google Image Labeler In-Game Screen
It is easy, free and rather addicting. For those of you social context types, you could be helping improve search results for a global audience. For you cynical types no question it is a sweatshop and you get paid in points redeemable for nothing. For you gamers, it is a highly addictive free game where the goal is to be cooperative with your partner to gain the most points.

Techlife previously covered Guess the Google, a very addictive game also based on Google Image Search. Which do you like better? Tell us.


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Samorost2

In 1984 Sierra On-Line released King’s Quest I: Quest for the Throne. (Bonus: The link contains a playable remake on today’s computers, that has been downloaded 190,000 times.) It was a new kind of adventure game with a great story, amazing visuals (for the time) and a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. The player was dropped into the middle of a story, in the middle of a world they had no real connection with other than knowing it was a game. After many sequels and genre’s, the games only live in fan’s minds.

Samorost1

Techlife just finished playing a game that has a great story, amazing visuals and a bit of humor, but also has a great musical score, and an enjoyable interface from Amanita Design. Samarost1 and Samarost2 are free point and click, puzzle games built in Flash. If you get hooked they offer a downloadable extended Samarost2 for just $6.90USD. This company from Brno, in the Czech Republic was founded in 2003 by Jakob Dvorsky.

YouTube Preview Image

Amanita Design has done a few other great projects like Samorost, check out The Quest for the Rest a commission for The Polyphonic Spree. And their upcoming game Machinarium looks really amazing and already is getting a following.
Machinarium Preview

Thanks to one of my editors of all people, who pointed out Samorost1 and Samorost2. (Suck up alert) Any editors that are looking for a great syndicated column for their publication, please contact me. We welcome submissions from anyone, even editors. Send them to techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

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