App of the Week: eBay Now

Developer:
eBay

Compatible with:
iPhone

iPod Touch

iPad

Android Devices

Requires:
iOS 5.0

Android 2.1

Price:

Free

Available here (for iOS) and here (for Android)

There’s certain advantages and disadvantages to living in a big city that any resident will tell you. For disadvantages, there is the high cost of living, the crime rate, the human traffic (and motor traffic) all around, and in some places a smell so unique and horrific that you are afraid to identify it in the fear that by giving it a name, you also give it strength.

However there are the perks. The best restaurants and stores, world class architecture, an unlimited amount of entertainment options available around the clock, and the ability to have pretty much anything delivered to you.

That last one just got a big boost thanks to the launch of eBay Now. Available to residents of San Francisco for about a month now, recently the service has been expanded to New York and allows you to buy a large number of products from a variety of big name retailers from their eBay stores, and have it delivered to wherever you are, that same day, with an estimate that many of the deliveries will arrive in under an hour.

With a host of major retailers already signed up including Macy’s, Best Buy,  Target, and Walgreens, there are very few things you could want or need that are not now available to you for same day service, and the only limits of this app’s uses are seemingly your imagination as it pertains to what “have to have it here now” items you could possibly want.

And whether it be an impulse need for an epic NERF gun fight brought to you via Toys R’ Us, or a strong desire not to wash your socks in the near future that just leads you to ordering some new ones brought to you from Macy’s, there is now a wide variety of impulse purchase options available that are made all the better by the reported excellent speed, reliability, and support the service offers, which includes a GPS tracker of your delivery progress.

eBay Now is a significant release for the online retail giant, and shatters expectations of consumers when it comes to availability and speed of purchases even if they are used to living in a big city. eBay is looking to expand the service to more cities to come, so even if you are not in one of the included areas, be sure to keep an eye out for additional upcoming locations as this app comes through with its lofty promise and not only delivers just about anything you could want right to you, it also delivers the app of the week.

  

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App of the Week: Curiosity

Developer:
22Cans

Compatible with:
iPhone 3GS or up (optimized for iPhone 5)

iPod touch 3rd gen or up

iPad

Android Devices

Requires:
iOS 4.3

Android 2.3.3

Price:

Free

Available here (for iOS) and here (for android)

Peter Molineaux has made his career off of hyping his titles to impossible degrees. From promising you the ability to play God with all that entails, to his infamous claim in “Fable” that you could plant a seed, and live to watch it grow into a tree, he’s defined by promising lemonade and delivering lemons.

Well, maybe that is a bit harsh as his titles are always interesting, even if they are never quite what you though they would be. He’s without a doubt one of gaming’s most unique minds, and he’s just released an app that might just be his most ambitious title yet. It’s called “Curiosity” and if you haven’t heard of it in your everyday life yet, you can expect that to change soon, as it is slowly taking the mobile gaming market by storm.

“Curiosity” is a game that starts with nothing more than a black cube. Zoom into the cube and you will see that it is comprised of millions of smaller cubes which can be removed with the touch of a finger. The goal couldn’t be more simple, as you are tasked with removing every single one of those cubes on one layer by taping them, in order to do the same on the next layer, earning coins for in game purchases that will let you dig faster.

That’s it. That’s the entire point to the game. Why would anyone want to do this? Well there are two reasons really, as it’s not just you chipping away at the seemingly infinite sized cube but rather thousands all working on a cube on each server, making this a pretty significant multiplayer title. The other is the vague promise that at the center of the cube is a life changing, mind blowing secret, which will only ever be revealed to one person, and that’s whoever removes the last cube first.

The whole “world changing” secret bit reeks of classic Molineaux, and will no doubt be a resounding dud. However, “Curiosity” is slightly different than the typical Molineaux hype job, as instead of promising the journey of a life time, he’s only promising the destination of a lifetime, and leaving the journey to those who wish to discover it.

It’s a key difference that is already paying dividends in the entertainment factor of the app, as the thousands that have played so far have already started creating sayings and photos of all kinds en route to the center of the cube. The sheer size of the structure makes it easy for a large number of hidden images and messages to be found, as every angle usually yields some new surprise, even if it is just a dirty word or two. Of course, they already go along with the hidden visuals the developers have put into each layer.

Much more than the contents of the cube then, it is the community aspect that drives what is better described as a global social experiment than a game. Since the only real gameplay consists of removing a seemingly infinite amount of blocks one at a time (even if there are coin and combo incentives), the real joy comes in gaining a new layer, and exploring what players have done with the layer you are on. Every would-be-monotonous step is now instead one step closer and filled with wonder, and of course pure curiosity.

“Curiousity” is also very controversial, as many are saying it is a joke to call it a game, and consider it to be more of an elaborate prank than a form of entertainment. There’s also the issue of how many people are trying to join at once causing massive server issues, and preventing many from joining at will.

Faults aside though, “Curiosity” may represent a small step toward the future of mobile gaming, as it brings the whole world together for one common goal and lets the define how they get there. Whether you are in it for the hunt for the center, or just want to see what creative works others before you have done, I recommend trying “Curiosity” out while it’s busy setting the world on fire as it is, if nothing else, a memorable experience that may turn into something much more.

We don’t know when “Curiosity” will end, what will come of it, are what stories will be crafted along the way. For whatever the answers to those questions eventually be, it’s important to get onboard with “Curiosity” sooner than later if you want to find out, which is all the more reason for it  to be my app of the week.

  

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