I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while, so here we go with Part 1:
EDGE is an platformer where you are a cube trying to navigate an isometric landscape in search of the tiny glowing cubes. Some levels are really easy, some require timing, some have cubes hidden away in secret areas. Here though, the music shines, so much that Mobigame released the soundtrack for free! KAKKOI!
Canabalt is a free flash game gone iPhone: a one-button ‘daring escape’ platformer. No story up front, but the game has one to tell! Addictive, try the free web version first.
You’re a Jake T. Hooker, an Indiana Jones style tomb-raider stealing idols from dangerous caves and escaping with your amazing grappling hook styles! Easy to learn, hard to master, harder to put down! Try the lite version first, and then buy the full version with more maps and achievements!
A strange game in which you are to bind up a wooden figurine with string. This is meditative gaming at its best: no time limit, but you do eventually run out of string. Again, amazing soundtrack here, with a free download when you buy the game! Get the lite version first to try it out.
Eliss is a multi-touch puzzler. Gather same coloured circles together, enough so they fit into the ‘squeezars’ to score points. Don’t let different colours touch or it’ll soon be game over. You’ll need all your fingers to play this one, maybe both hands at some points. Lite version also available.
Flight Control – NZ$1.29
A simplified air-traffic control game: draw flight paths for aircraft so they can land on the appropriate runway or landing pad, but don’t let them collide! Harder than it sounds, but quite addicting!
More to come!
There has been a few posts going around the internet talking about the enabling of Japanese emoji on the iPhone. I was curious, and after enabling and experimenting, here’s the truth about emoji on iPhones.
Once enabled, you get access to a staggering amount of icons! To be exact, 469 symbols, ranging from smiley faces to weather icons, flags, animal faces, (clean) hand gestures, and much more. Here’s what they all look like, screen-grabbed right on my iPhone after I put them all in an email. FYI, scaling has occurred, these are not perfect.
The trick here is that while these icons look fantastic on the iPhone, when sent in SMS text messages and emails, the beautiful pictures you see above are sent as Unicode characters, as they came through to me via my Gmail:
These characters are part of the Private Use Area of Unicode. Which is why, if you’re viewing this page on a browser not running on an iDevice, you will see a whole slew of question marks or boxes with little letters in them, followed by the copyright, registered trademark and trademark symbols.
Doing some more research, it turns out a bug has been filed on OpenRadar outlining how Apple’s implementation isn’t even that compatible with NTT DoCoMo’s de-facto standard on ‘Pictographs’, even though it would seem they’ve implemented every single icon in that standard.
I’m not expert, but it seems that pre-Unicode, Japan standardised on Shift-JIS, a modification to ASCII that would allow the storage and display of the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana characters that make up Japanese written language. This was pressed forward into the design and manufacture of the Japanese handsets, and even into the operator’s networks, and for the time being, this means both NTT DoCoMo, the biggest telco in Japan, and Softbank, the telco serving iPhones in Japan.
NTT DoCoMo created the defacto standard on emoji on Japanese mobile phones, and have outlined the character encodings for both Shift-JIS and Unicode. Every handset in Japan supports this standard.
When the iPhone was first released, it apparently was criticised in Japan for not supporting the sending and receiving of emoji glyphs. Eventually Apple got around to it, but according to rdar://6402446, iPhone Firmware 2.2 currently implements the encoding of emoji using Unicode characters in the private use area, but not the same private use characters as the NTT DoCoMo Pictographs standard.
So it would seem that, to cut a long story short, Apple’s emoji are directly incompatible with every other handset in the world.
According to Apple, Softbank doesn’t even do translation for iPhone SMS to other Japanese handsets. It will however, translate emoji in emails, but only if you have a Softbank email address and SIM.
And because the rest of the world doesn’t have handsets that work with emoji, that’s why Apple only enables the emoji keyboard for phones with Softbank SIMs.
Still, it wouldn’t be too difficult to write a script to support emoji characters in your web app, supporting both NTT DoCoMo Unicode and Apple Emoji Unicode. Apple have done a nice job with their icons. Interesting times.