Weekend Distraction: Bonza: An Addictive Word Game

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 6.00.18 PM Bonza is a word puzzle game that’s a bit hard to describe.

The finished puzzle looks like a crossword puzzle, but that’s not how it starts.

You are presented with assorted pieces of the puzzle and it is up to you to slide those pieces around until you make the words that match the theme.

This quick video will show you clearly what I struggle to explain.

Once you download this app, you will get a set of ‘starter’ puzzles to complete. After that, if you want more, you’ll have to buy packs.

** OR **

you can return to the app each day and find a new puzzle …. for free. This is the one-free-puzzle a day model that is also used in the Daily Crossword. I like this. One a day is enough for my rather short ‘game-attention’ span.

Bonza works on your iPhone or iPad and is free in the iTunes store. (I downloaded this a while ago and paid 99ยข for it. As I write this blog post, it appears to be free.)

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Weekend Distraction: Daily Celebrity Crossword

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 7.37.58 AMFinally! A crossword puzzle I can complete! (translation: very very easy)

Notice that in the title it says “celebrity” ……. I actually found that off-putting, since I am not one who knows much about actors, sports figures etc.

BUT, to my delight, the celebrity part is usually only two or three clues throughout the entire puzzle, and completely solvable with the cross-clues.

I really enjoy doing crossword puzzles. But I’m also REALLY bad at it. I’ve tried so many, and it’s so discouraging. I love that I can almost always complete this one. I know it’s easy, but that’s ok with me. I still get a happy feeling when I get my completed star and digital confetti as I type in the last word.๐Ÿ™‚

There is absolutely no learning curve to complete the puzzle. The clue is highlighted along with the blocks you have to fill. Just tap and type. (there are some other nuances. You earn coins when solving, and you can use these coins to buy hints, etc. This is something I’ve never needed to do, so I just ignore the whole coin thing. I just do the basic puzzle. Perfect in its simplicity.)

You get ONE puzzle per day. Just one. At first I craved more, but over time I’ve found that one is just enough. This way I don’t over-do and it keeps my interest.

Occasionally you’ll get a bonus free puzzle. As I type this, I noticed that the app is offering a free bonus puzzle for Valentine’s day. So today I’ll do two. Yay!

Daily Celebrity Crossword is FREE in the iTunes store.

Sample puzzle page:

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Weekend Distraction: Atari Nostalgia

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 2.10.15 PMRemember Atari? Pong? Super Breakout? Missile Command?

I just enjoyed a brief game of Pong, and a bit of Super Breakout.

Remember how exciting it was when we first had the ability to manipulate a single pong-paddle on the screen? The nostalgia of that memory still makes it fun (briefly).

It won’t hold your attention for very long. But, still…… ๐Ÿ™‚

You can play some of these original games (Pong, Super Breakout, Yars Revenge, Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, Combat, Lunar Lander) …. for FREE…. online, by clicking this link:

Atari Arcade

Enjoy!

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Identify the Autumn Leaves with Leafsnap

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 8.02.03 PMI love this time of year. Crisp mornings and long walks among colorful trees.

But as I walk, I wonder. What kind of a tree is that? The one that makes bright yellow leaves? and …… What kind of a tree is the one over there with bright red leaves?

This app, Leafsnap, helps answer those questions. It’s not perfect, but the price is right (FREE) and it’s not b-a-d, so……

This app was developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. It contains a few games to help you learn (matching leaves to names of plants) and a pretty significant database of leaves (pictures of leaves and names of plants/trees).

It also gives you the opportunity to take a picture of a leaf (hence the name, “Leafsnap”๐Ÿ™‚ ) and upload this picture to get the name of the tree. (This feature is not well-received, and I didn’t have any luck with it myself, but it’s a great idea that hopefully some day will be improved.)

I’ve primarily used this app to confirm what I think a leaf might be. But I’ve also played the game a few times and came away just a wee bit smarter.

Leafsnap for the iPhone or iPad is FREE in the iTunes store.

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Weekend Distraction: Crosswords for your iPad and iPhone

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 7.42.38 PMIt’s looking as though this is going to be a snowy stay-in kind of weekend here in the Northeast US.

Snow + ice = slippery roads. No thank you.

It’s been a while since I looked through the App store for a new game.

But with the snowstorm looming, it seemed like a good time to find some kind of something to play with in between the many movies and oodles of comfort food that come together to make up a cozy stay-at-home snow day.

I didn’t have to browse the store for long. I downloaded Crosswords, and I’m not disappointed.

Basically, I am a Crossword-doer-Wannabe. I’m just not very good at them. But I’m always willing to try.

This Crosswords app is made by a company that has been producing crossword books for years (Dell Magazine and Penny Press). Now these are not New York Times quality puzzles, but for a Wannabe like me, this is all I can handle. ๐Ÿ™‚

You get to download this app for free, and you get a nice bunch of puzzles for free, too. If, after completing them all, you want more, those are available through an in-app purchase system.

The board is large enough to easily see the squares and the clues. There is no learning curve. Just tap anywhere to type in your word. Or delete. It’s very intuitive …. you’ll be playing within minutes of downloading it.

This screen (from my iPad) shows you all the free puzzles you get with your download.

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And here is the game screen (also on the iPad). Easy-peasy to use.

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Crosswords is FREE in the iTunes store

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Weekend Distraction: Peggle

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 6.46.24 AMI can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for several years now, and have never mentioned Peggle!

Peggle is a wonderful mix of “fun” plus “addictive-enjoyment” plus “challenging-but-not-too-challenging” plus (again) “fun”.

Not much of a learning curve. The basic premise: you release a ball and it bounces around on the screen, bumping into dots of various colors. Your job is to aim that ball as it is released in a way that will maximize its collision with orange dots. Your main goal is to clear the screen of orange dots before you run out of balls.

There will be a few obstacles tossed your way (of course). But you’ll learn as you go.

When you start, you have a choice of several different “modes” of play. I recommend “Adventure” as this will move you along gradually, screen to screen, learning as you go.

It really is addictive fun. There is something rather hypnotic watching that ball bounce around on the screen.

Here are two random screen shots. The arrangement of dots will change with each screen, and sometimes some of them are moving targets.

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Peggle is 99ยข in the iTunes store

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Weekend Distraction: Word Solitaire

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Do you have a favorite chair? A favorite spot to curl up with a good book? I have an enclosed porch with lots and lots of windows, plants, and breezes, and a great big old comfy chair. In the summer I find myself spending probably too much a lot of time in that chair, curled up with a good book. And sometimes I put the Kindle down, and fire up the iPad for a leisurely game of ….. whatever strikes my fancy.

Recently I found a new goodie. A word game that is relaxing and fun. And free. Relaxing, fun and free. A trifecta!๐Ÿ™‚

Word Solitaire is a klondike-type solitaire game. Each card has a letter, and it’s your job to move them under each other to form words-in-columns.

There is a delightfully clear tutorial for you to use when you first open the app, and I would suggest that you use it. Don’t skip it. Once you complete the tutorial, you’ll be good to go.

Here you can see one of my earliest (winning!) attempts. You turn over cards, just like in Klondike, and put them under other letters to make words.

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There are some expansion packs available to purchase if you want more more more.

It’s just challenging enough to keep you interested….

but relaxing enough for a lazy afternoon in that favorite chair of yours.๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy!

Word Solitaire is free in the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad

also

Word Solitaire HD is free in the iTunes store for iPad, only

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