If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.
What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”
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I was originally planning on spending today at Disneyland with a friend and possibly some others, however my friend had to cancel earlier this week, so since I had my heart set on going up to Disneyland and I was going to be going by myself, I opted to go yesterday instead of today as it would just work out better for me. And while I was there I took the opportunity to play a wonderful iPhone app game designed to be played at Disneyland called “Wishing Stars.”
The concept of the game is that several “Wishing Stars” have been broken up and scattered throughout the Disneyland park. In order to find them, you have to take your iPhone to the location of the clues and hit the “I think I’m standing in front of it!” button. You can’t cheat because the app uses the GPS built into the iPhone to verify that you’re standing in the correct spot. It won’t accept your attempt to stand in front of the correct answer unless you actually are in front of it. Essentially its a GPS based treasure hunt. The game is the perfect addition to Disneyland for an Annual Passholder who finds themselves wanting something more to do within the park besides the rides.
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One of the things I think that was inevitable was being told about Words With Friends. I was initially told about this Scrabble like game for the iPhone and iPod Touch through a few friends, but soon it was taking over the iPhone owners at work too. There’s no escaping Words With Friends. No doubt this due to the fact that Apple’s iTunes App Store carries both a paid and free version of the software, so there’s no excuse to not try it.
I consider Scrabble one of my least favorite games, as it was always one that my Dad liked to play. As a young child who loved games, I quickly grew to hate Scrabble as my young vocabulary never had a chance in hell of beating my Dad because he would never play it so that there was ever a chance I could win. While I’m sure some Scrabble grand masters would wipe the floor with my Dad, at such a young age I grew annoyed and frustrated that he’s never sacrifice a few top scoring words for the sake of giving the impression that he could be beaten or even sacrificing a game or two here and there to give a little victory and ensure those around him would still be willing to play with him. So I was a reluctant player drawn into Words With Friends due to this mostly hateful relationship I had with the game of Scrabble over the years, sure my vocabulary is greater than it once was, but I am no where near the type of player who truly masters the game with high scoring unusual words that only Scrabble grand masters know.
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Press Your Luck was one of my favorite game shows from the early 1980’s. As a child I loved all the game shows of the period but one of the ones that always stood out was the short lived Press Your Luck with it’s host Peter Tomarkin. My brother and I used to enjoy the show, probably more for the Whammies than the actual game, as we were kids at the time. We loved to see the contestants hit a Whammy and have their money taken away so we could see one of the animated Whammy graphics come on and make the money disappear. They had so many wonderfully creative ones from ones that blew up a little dynamite detonator, to Whammies dressed like Boy George and the Beatles coming in to sing a little line from a tune before taking the money away. I also loved the sound effect from when the Whammy was hit, it just sounded like a dramatic electronic “Uh-oh.”
The game consisted of a round of questions where three players compete for the right to spin on the big board and earn cash and prizes, then a round of playing the spins followed by one more round of questions and then a final round of spins on the big board. The winner at the end of the game was the player who collected the most money in cash and prizes. Part of the strategy for the big board was to spin a few times to collect enough cash and prizes then to pass on the remaining spins to another player who would have to play those spins in the hope that the passed spins would force that player to hit a Whammy to steal their cash and prizes. It was a fun and high energy show that got quite competitive and a player could hit three whammies and stay in the game. A fourth Whammy eliminated them from the game.
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My good friend Dan Baggett introduced me to a new iPhone/iPod Application called “Words With Friends” by NewToy, Inc. which is a game very much like Scrabble. It’s a crossword game using tiles except I’m sure to legally not infringe upon Scrabble’s copyright, all the spots for Double and Triple letter scores and Double and Triple word scores are in different spots than a traditional Scrabble board. Also the board doesn’t seem to have as many squares as a regular Scrabble board. I’ve not been a big enthusiast of Scrabble so I don’t know if the number of tiles and point values on the tiles are the same or not.
The game can only be a two player game and allows for two ways to play, it can be played on one iPhone or iPod Touch through “Pass and Play” mode or it can be remotely played with someone on another device in what is described as “asynchronous” online game play or “correspondence” play where the players play the game at their convenience, they do not have to be playing the game at the same time in order to play. There are several options on how to play with someone remotely, you can create a game to play with someone on your contact list (I’m not sure how this one works but I would imagine it sends that person an invitation to download the application.) Next, you can search for specific players by user name, which has been how I’ve played with my friends, you just enter their chosen user name and it establishes a game with that person. Lastly, you can also start a game with a random person as well by allowing the application to find you an opponent.
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If there’s one thing I could say about my childhood, it’s that I was a Game Show junkie. I loved to watch hours of game shows. I loved the thought of people competing for cash and prizes on the various television shows. I loved nearly all of them from the more luck based ones like “Let’s Make A Deal”, “High Rollers”, and “Card Sharks” to the ones where you actually had to know something, like “Jeopardy!”, “$25,000 Pyramid”, “Super Password.” In high school, I even tried out for a teen tournament version of Jeopardy! Unfortunately, I didn’t make it on.
I also used to get all the home game versions of all my favorite shows, and then eventually bought them as computer games when those started to surface, and then when digital handheld versions became popular, I bought those too. Now the latest incarnations are applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. These are probably my favorite versions as I have my iPhone with me all the time and there’s no mess or clean up like the old home game versions. Not to mention, no bulky boxes to store the games when they’re not in use.
Continue reading Family Feud Comes To The iPhone App Store
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Priceline.com can get you the lowest possible prices on hotels, if you know how to play their “Name Your Own Price” game. But how do you know what to bid in the hopes that it’s accepted but also the best deal available?
Travel tips expert, David Rowell, offers a four part detailed guide on how to get the best possible hotel deal on Priceline. David writes about it on his blog site, “The Travel Insider” and he suggests doing a little research. As the old saying goes, the best deals go to those willing to invest the time to research. He recommends a couple of sites to do the research which shows what prices people have gotten for various hotels for the same time frame as your upcoming trip. He also offers some really interesting ways to creatively use Priceline‘s site to narrow down and make rebidding easier when you want to narrow your selections down to specific classes of hotels.
David’s advice also offers a practical checklist of the pros and cons of using Priceline‘s name your own price system, so that you can determine if that option is the best for you. Check out all four parts of his very helpful advice by on how to get the best possible deals on Priceline.com by clicking here and then click on over to Priceline.com by clicking here to get your best deal for your upcoming trip.
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