Trainyard (App Store link) is a neat little casual game about making the trains run on time. And also about them, you know, not crashing. It may be a small subset of the casual-gaming crowd that likes this sort of thing, but count me among its members. A few nights ago I was reminiscing with a friend about "Railroad Tycoon," a game that inexplicably obsessed me for some months in the early 1990s. "Which one was that?" he asked me. "God, it was great," I told him. "You loaded up these old trains with lumber and livestock and stuff, and you had to get 'em from one station to the other on time, and... " And right there I realized how pathetic the gameplay sounded. In retrospect it was, and I'm sure the game would look laughably primitive to me now. But there was something hypnotic about laying the track, building the stations, loading the cars and letting them go. It was like you were winding the stem of an ever-more-complicated machine you yourself had designed and built, and standing back and watching it go.
Trainyard, and its free cousin Trainyard Express, tickles that same nerdy lobe in the brain. As is appropriate for an iPhone game, however, the graphics are minimal -- developer Matt Rix scales each train and line down to a clean, colorful schematic, and ratchets up the difficulty so subtly that by the time you realize you're hooked it's way too late to do anything about it. Rix is a clever guy and a good writer, and his lengthy blog post detailing the origins of the game is an interesting read loaded with good insights and spiky little lessons ("One of the key things I've learned is that the first project you make with any new technology will be awful"). All this fun is is bargain-priced at a buck for a short time, and well worth the miniscule investment. Go support an indie game developer. You'll have a good time doing it.
An archaeologist is studying a 4,000-year-old game board carved into the floor of a rock shelter in Azerbaijan. According to American Museum of Natural History researcher Walter Crist, the board was used to play an ancient game called “58 Holes” or “Hounds and Jackals.” From Live Science: (Previously), British archaeologist Howard Carter found a game […]
It's the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry's seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing.
“Katamari” is the Japanese word for “clod” or “lump,” and people familiar with the Katamari Damacy video game franchise know that the object is to created a giant clod of stuff by rolling it around like a snowball, picking up increasingly larger objects over time. Reroll is a new Katamari Damacy game for the Nintendo […]
Adobe’s design software catalog is essential to any graphics program, as much for their simplicity as their versatility. Anyone can be an effective graphic designer with tools like Illustrator and InDesign – and the right training in their potential. That’s where the Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle comes in. Whether you’re getting your feet wet […]
Businesses of any size continue to use PDFs despite – and perhaps because of – their stubborn resistance to simple editing. But for those who need a little flexibility on their documentation, the search is over for alternative software. PDF Expert for Mac is the catch-all solution for wrangling those PDFs, and it’s available at […]
When it comes to tech, smaller is better, and these items fit the bill both in terms of size and price. We’ve rounded up our favorite stocking-ready gadgets, most of which are already on sale – and you can take an additional 15% off any of them with the special code MERRY15. iPM 3-in-1 Fast […]