There’s really nothing original to “Jar on a Bar.” Aesthetically, it immediately brings to mind “Angry Birds,” and the basic concept is so dated that they used to call it “Jenga.” But that doesn’t matter, because for a mere 99 cents, you get one of the most addictive puzzlers to come to the app market in some time, originality be damned.
Let me backtrack a bit and explain. “Jar on a Bar” stars a fish in a bowl trapped precariously atop a ready to fall stack of pallets, glass, and other increasingly nefarious obstacles. Your job is simple: Get that fish to the ground and back into the water without breaking the bowl, all while trying to spill as little of the water in it as possible for bonus points. Sounds simple, right? Well, as you can imagine, as the game progresses through its 60 plus levels, things keep getting more and more complicated, until the point that this game of “Jenga” becomes a real mind-twister.
I mentioned “Angry Birds” earlier, and that’s because at its core, the game’s main concept of removing various obstacles to reach your goal is highly reminiscent of that classic app. However, “Jar on a Bar” is more about manipulation than destruction. Its well implemented physics system accounts for everything from weight to momentum, and forces you to master it before you can make any progress in the later stages. You may have to push a block to a certain point to gain just the right leverage, or momentarily put the fish in danger in order to set up the right move correctly. You not only have to consider your next step at all times, but the next several after that as well. It creates just the right combination of on your feet decisions and long term strategy that makes the best puzzle games so memorable, and executes it very well. There is also an in-app store but, while it does feature some cool objects, overall it doesn’t add much to the core gameplay of “Jar on a Bar.” The good news is it doesn’t have to, and it far from hinders the experience.
I could be wrong on this, but I don’t expect “Jar on a Bar” to take over the world like some of the games that inspired it have. However, the 99 cent asking price is a steal, turning this into a must-buy for anyone that has half an interest in puzzle games. Quite simply, it is one of the best and most addictive new puzzlers, and overall app games, I’ve come across in a while, and it is a more than deserving app of the week.
This cool device from Griffin Technology (pictured above) is designed to work with any instrument that has a ¼ inch jack (including guitars, bass guitars, electric violins, keyboards, etc.), GuitarConnect Pro was created to turn iPad or iPhone into a compact performance or practice rig. A built-in gain control wheel allows the user to adjust the strength of the instrument’s input signal. Users gain a high-quality, all-digital connection from guitars and other instruments directly into GarageBand and other audio apps. It’s a simple yet very powerful device and music lovers will really appreciate it. And, it fits nicely into a holiday stocking!
Here we switch to keyboards, which is a very popular way to create music. The nanoKEY2 is built with 25 keys and allows full control of pitch. It’s one of the devices in the NanoSERIES2 which are all compatible with GarageBand. Imagine how much fun music-lovers can have playing around with this device.
Even if someone hasn’t tried to create their own music in the past, devices like these two above offer an easy way to get started. They spur the creative process, and for that reason alone they make great gifts.
We had the opportunity to visit the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas to check out the new show from the world famous dance crew Jabbawockeez. Jabbawockeez generated some great buzz with shows earlier this year, so we were excited to see them at their new home at the Monte Carlo for the premiere of “MÜS.I.C.” Life was good as we spent some "behind the scenes" time with the crew, attended the incredible premiere and enjoyed the comforts of the Monte Carlo.
The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is located right in the heart of the Vegas Strip, and this premium location is now even better with the connection to the spanking new City Center/Aria Resort. We were impressed as the staff seemed to be very serious about making the Monte Carlo a major player in the Las Vegas entertainment scene and making the hotel an “all needs under one roof” resort.
We were fortunate to spend our few nights at the Monte Carlo in a Monaco Suite that was well equipped with 700 square feet of luxurious space including a king size bed, one and a half baths, stylish furniture, 32" HDTV flat-panel TV, mini-fridge built into the entertainment center and a staff that was a phone call away 24/7 with excellent service. Dining at the Monte Carlo was also a big hit with our group. On the first night we ate at Brand Steakhouse, which combined the feeling of a classic steakhouse with an open view of the casino for some fun people watching. I ordered the Rib Eye cooked medium and I enjoyed every bite as I downed my dirty vodka martini.
There is also a very exclusive part of Monte Carlo that most don't get a chance to see. The new Hotel32 is discreetly located on the 32nd floor with elevators that you barely notice next to the main elevators. Hotel32 is for VIP guests who enjoy the finer things in life and expect to travel in style and comfort. Guests are treated to incredible penthouse suites that are so comfortable and catered that you never have to leave. The Hotel32 staff is ready to take care of your every need, with full concierge and butler service, preferred reservations at MGM Mirage restaurants and shows, and so much more. The coolest feature has to be the red iPod Touch that is loaned to guests when they arrive so that they can easily communicate all their needs and desires to the staff through a cool app.
After checking out all that the Monte Carlo and Hotel32 have to offer, we were ready for the Jabbawockeez premier. Media bloggers had a chance to spend time with the cast on Thursday night, and I found the dancers to be some of the most grateful and enthusiastic performers I had met through the years. These young men are full of positive energy and are symbolic of what hard work and perseverance can deliver for those who are dedicated to their craft. The Jabbawockeez cast is very talented, but their story is even more impressive. They started dancing in each other’s garages in California dating back to the late ‘90s and were crowned champions of "America’s Best Dance Crew," and now they’re starring at the Monte Carlo on the Las Vegas Strip.
The energy and buzz reached a fevered pitch by Friday night at the pre-party at the hip Ignite Lounge, which is right across from the Monte Carlo theatre where Jabbawockeez will begin their run in Vegas. One of the better looking crowds in town brought their own excitement to the pre-launch party that extended outdoors at the footsteps of Las Vegas Blvd. with beats from the show pumping and video playing on a wall between columns that set the stage for the evening. We were then ushered in to excellent seats and enjoyed heart throbbing music to some of the funkiest and well choreographed breaking and popping one could imagine! The performance kept me riveted and I really enjoyed the stories told through dance and dynamic teamwork the Jabbawockeez displayed through some very difficult stunts. There is also a certain mystery that surrounds the show as all cast members wear the same white mask. The performance leaves you with the illusion that the expressions change on the faces of the masks. The Jabbawockeez team sinks or swims with each other as they are nameless and faceless until the show is complete. Whether you are a hip hop fan or just someone who enjoys a great show, Jabbawockeez MÜS.I.C. will entertain and amaze you and have you feeling energized for more Monte Carlo fun! I also found it very clever how the production team even included unexpected music from eras back to Grace Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” along with more surprises you need to experience for yourself.
At the post-party the cast joined their supporters and knew they hit one out of the park as everyone had smiles from ear to ear. There were some notables at this party, as super comedian, impressionist and Monte Carlo headliner Frank Caliendo made an appearance and posed for some photographs. The young and energetic crowd both in the theater and at the party made this night at the Monte Carlo one of the hottest spots in Vegas. If Jabbawockeez continues to nail it like they did at their grand opening, the Monte Carlo will be jumping for Jabbawockeez for years to come!