But of course no technological fix could ever replace the feeling of actually singing together in the same space, not to mention the strong sense of community that has long been an essential part of Whistler’s choral groups.
If you grew up in the mid-1990s or early 2000s, you probably encountered that hallowed imaginary place at a friend's house after school while playing the cult classic computer game Logical Journey?of the Zoombinis.The beloved CD-ROM game appeared in 1996?and stuck around for a decade. Then it disappeared, its code languishing as a series of corporate owners neglected it and its former users discovered the charms and distractions of the World Wide Web.
Well, the strange little logic game is back. The reboot appears Aug. 6 on the Android and Apple app stores, with plans to release it soon for PC and Mac users.If it's possible to have nostalgic feelings for a piece of software, Zoombinis is the one to love. Launched by the software firm Broderbund in 1996, the game appeared at a key time: just as computers were showing up in American homes, but before they became ubiquitous.At the time, PCs were expensive. Only curious hobbyists were willing to invest $1,000 or more in the big, bulky units, said Scot Osterweil, one of Zoombinis' original co-developers. If you had a PC, you weren't yet using it to play all your CDs, pay your bills and telecommute. "You just thought, 'There are interesting things I can do with this,'" he said. "It wasn't yet commodified."
Games of the era, including Zoombinis, reflected that. They allowed users to indulge their curiosity without the nagging requirement that they make their kids more competitive in school."The goal was never to be curricular," Osterweil said. "It was never to say, 'These are things kids must learn and we know we must teach them in this sequence.' We really were thinking about it as an entertainment game."
Which is all very interesting when you consider that Zoombinis was actually an adaptation of Tabletop, a data visualization tool developed in the early 1990s by Chris Hancock, one of Osterweil's colleagues at the Cambridge, Mass.-based non-profit Technical Education Research Centers (TERC). Hancock had also developed Tabletop Jr., a children's version, and soon he and Osterweil began playing with the idea of creating a database tool built around bits of data that kids could easily digest and manipulate, such as pizza toppings and facial and body features. They created a race of creatures called Snoids, with hundreds of possible variations.
"It worked well," Osterweil said. "Kids loved playing with them. It turned out to be a really interesting space to think about multiple variables and independent variables."Finally, Mika Mobile has found and rectified a couple of rare but nasty bugs that might have lost your iCloud date or caused the game to crash. It’s nice to see these various issues addressed so quickly after the release of Zombieville USA 2, and I’ll be looking forward to what’s in store with future updates.
TouchArcade Rating:It was easy to overlook the issues in the original Zombieville USA. When it hit, the App Store was as foreign and exciting as our new iPhones. Plus, there was no real measuring stick; we just knew it was a fun and cutesy side-scrolling shooter starring the world’s favorite bullet-sponges, the undead. Zombieville USA 2 [$.99], on the other hand, has released in a period where we have expectations. Awesomely, Mika Mobile knocks them out of the park by both refining and creating within the confines of the original game.
Tightly-constructed, well-executed, charming, different and entertaining are all words I feel like I can freely use when describing Zombieville 2. For the most part, it’s a near perfect iterative entry to the franchise. It artfully hones in on and turns up the volume on the two best parts of the original: the shooting and upgrade models.Zombieville 2 just gives you more — more zombies, more weapons, more people to play as, and more to unlock as you rummage through levels collecting cash from boxes and other environmental items. The upgrade model in particular is a killer. Like a modern Call of Duty, this game has a tendency to inspire constant replays, as the next best weapon or character perk is always just a few more sessions away.