Sep 29

Game Jam II: Finale

Category: Game Jam

Game Jam Trophy

Stop coding and shut your laptops, because Game Jam II is officially over! Last week, five top-notch groups of engineers and artists teamed up to turn game pitches into reality. This is where the fun begins: the teams showcased their final products and gave everyone a chance to play their games. The results were AMAZING.

Jaxon and Ed Game JamHe’s definitely having a hard time putting the game down.

We’re itching to tell you what these games are about, but they must remain locked up behind our top secret, six foot thick, high security steel vault…for now. Let’s make a deal: if any of these games end up in the App Store or Google Play, you’ll be the first to find out!

After everyone had a chance to play, it was time to cast votes. There were four categories, each with a winner and a runner-up spot: Most Fun to Play, Most Innovative, Easiest to Understand & Play, and Most Likely to Succeed Commercially. Competition was tough, but every team was able to rank in each category. One team stood out for winning three out of the four categories, and walked away with the Game Jam Trophy!

52 Pickup WinnersGame Jam II Winners

After the awards ceremony, it’s no surprise that we had our customary MobilityWare after-party, complete with drinks, snacks, and good company. It was a great way to unwind and to celebrate the impressive work accomplished during Game Jam. Until next year!

By the way, did you notice our matching shirts? Pretty sweet, huh?

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Sep 26

Game Spotlight — Tetris: The Grand Master 3

Category: Game Spotlight

At MobilityWare, it’s all about games. We love playing it, watching it – man, we practically inhale games. We thought it would be awesome to share this passion with our fans, and expose them to whatever awesome things we find from our favorite games. Let’s kick it off with a classic that everyone loves: Tetris! Whether or not you want to accept it, you’re using your Tetris skills every day. No space in the fridge? Tetris. Too many shoes on the shoe rack? Tetris.

The ordinary Tetris player plays the game until it becomes too fast, and eventually loses. However, there are some exceptional people out there with some sort of extraordinary power that allows them to play Tetris not only at near-impossible speeds, but even play with INVISIBLE blocks! Here’s one of them in action:

 

Warning: this video might make your head explode from awesomeness.

If you had reflexes like that, nothing can stop you.

 

Know any other impressive gameplay you’d like to share with us? Submit them in the comments below!

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Sep 25

Inside the Gamer’s Studio — James C. Smith

You’ve read the blog posts, and you’ve played the games. Now it’s time to meet the people who are responsible for creating and delivering your favorite casual games! The first person you have the chance of getting to know better is our Technical Director, James C. Smith! Let’s dig into his mind and see what we can find.

 

Here’s a few highlights from the interview:

 

Interviewer: What would you say are the top 3 things that attracted you to MobilityWare?
James: Well the most important is that they are making the types of games that I like to make…I really like the work environment, with the small and collaborative teams.


Interviewer
: What are you most excited to be working on in the next year?

James: We have some great ideas of ways to improve Solitaire…we just wanna bring more Solitaire to the Solitaire fans!


Interviewer
: What’s your spirit animal?

James: For some reason, “fox” pops into my head when you say that.

 

Watch the video for the full interview! If you have any ideas for questions we could ask in our future videos, go ahead and post them in the comments below. Yours just might end up in one of them!

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Sep 22

Welcome to the Game Jam

Category: Game Jam

Start Game JamMobilityWare’s brains and talent gather ’round for the annual Game Jam

 

GET PUMPED UP!!

It’s Game Jam week at MobilityWare! Game Jam kicked off last Friday with the creative brains at MobilityWare pitching their game ideas to the whole company within 3-5 minutes. We had some pretty sweet ideas this year!

 

Ken game jam   Alex Game Jam  Rachael Game Jam           Alex F Game jam

 

Afterwards, our engineers and artists wandered around the lounge and attached their names on a project they were willing to design. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

 

Picks Game Jam

 

In the end, it boiled down to five favorite picks. Starting today, it’s CRUNCH TIME! Engineers and artists will buckle down and complete their chosen projects by the end of this week. Best of luck everyone! Break a leg!

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Sep 19

iPhone 6 Frenzy!

Category: Apple,iPhone

Line-for-iPhone-6-South-Coast

Apple fans wait outside South Coast Plaza mall to be among the first iPhone 6 owners.

 

The hype is real. You thought lines in the DMV were bad – people have waited in line for at least 19 days just to get their hands on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus! Our CEO (right) also has the iPhone 6, but only had to wait since this morning. Our VP of Engineering (left) waited only since last night, and he was able to snag not one, but TWO of Apple’s latest devices.

 Ed-and-Dave-iPhone-6

Here’s two MobilityWare-ians, who are now very happy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners. They can barely contain their excitement!

 

After finally seeing it in person, the sleek design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus did not disappoint. If you’d like to know more about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ new features, check out last week’s blog post here!

If you’re having a bad day, just watch this video of the first man in Perth, Australia drop his iPhone 6 while being interviewed on live TV. At least the screen didn’t shatter!

Which of you were lucky enough to get your hands on the new iPhones today? Share your favorite feature of the phone in the comments below!

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Sep 17

Lucky Number 7 – A Gambler’s Sweetheart

Category: Casino

777

 

Why do gamblers consider the number seven to be lucky? This number is so prominent in popular culture that you probably never stopped to question WHY everybody thinks this number is so special. And NO, it’s not because seven ate nine. We’ll clear up the facts for you.

Seven is prominent when it comes to dice for two things: the sum of the opposite sides of each die equals seven, and seven has the highest probability of coming up when you roll two dice. This is why seven is “the magic number in craps”. Although seven is significant in Craps, people are more familiar with the number seven involving slot machines. When a player spins and receives a 777, it means that the player hit the jackpot!

But how did this number end up becoming so popular? What are its origins? First off, the number seven occurs all throughout nature. There are Seven Wonders of the World, seven seas, seven continents, seven colors of the rainbow, seven lunar phases, seven musical notes, and seven days of the week. The number seven also plays a significant role in religion. Seven is considered to be a perfect number in Judaism, and a Holy Number in Christianity.

On a scientific note, an individual’s short-term memory can remember around seven items, according to psychologist George A. Miller. It’s easier to remember lists and facts if you cluster them into groups of seven. Maybe that’s why phone numbers are so easy to remember!

We’re sure that there’s countless other places where the number seven is considered meaningful that we haven’t listed here. Let us know in the comments of any interesting facts we missed!

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Sep 15

Celebrity Blackjack Player of the Day: Ben Affleck!

3215777143_9fd88fc35b_b“Ben Affleck – Feed America” by Erin on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (license)

Well-known celebrity Ben Affleck proves that acting and directing movies aren’t the only things he’s good at. This Academy Award winner loves to play Blackjack, and he reportedly won a total of nearly $1 million in just TWO trips to the casino! In another occasion, Affleck won $140,000 in just one sitting and generously gave it all away to the casino staff, tipping individuals thousands of dollars each. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also won the 2004 California State Poker Championship!

Unfortunately, Affleck was a little too good at the tables. The Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas banned him from playing their Blackjack tables because he was allegedly racking up huge amounts of money by card counting. Remember our blog post about card counting? Card counting isn’t illegal, but if casinos notice you doing it, you’ll end up being banned like Affleck. According to one of the members of the MIT Blackjack Team, Affleck had to be REALLY good at his card counting to be banned and must have been “betting the right amount every time”.

Aside from being an excellent Blackjack player, Affleck is also an activist, and co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative to help stabilize the economic and social development in the Congo. Actor, director, activist, and master Blackjack player – Ben Affleck has it all!

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Sep 12

Special News Bulletin: Blackjack Rules are Changing in Las Vegas

Category: Blackjack,Casino

blackjack rules changing in vegasPhoto by Nandaro is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (license)

 

Throughout the last few weeks, we uncovered some of the top casino destinations in the world. But if your travel plans include Las Vegas, be a little extra wary when sitting down at the Blackjack table. That’s because a number of casinos on the Strip have begun to change the payout rules to favor the house. It’s no secret that Blackjack is one of the few games where the casino doesn’t have as much of an edge over the player. Traditionally, the payout rule in Blackjack has been a 1-to-1 ratio for most wins. So, if you bet $10 you get $10 when you beat the dealer. Easy enough and still true. However, it’s the payout rule for blackjack wins that’s changed. Until recently, if you had the relatively lucrative and rare blackjack winning hand (that is, when you start with an ace and a 10-point card), the casinos paid out at 3-2 odds. That means that if you bet $10, your blackjack winning hand (also called a “natural 21”) brought in $15. Under the new 6-5 rule at some casinos, however, that same hand would only pay out $12.

This might not seem like a big deal, especially considering how rare getting a natural 21 is (it only happens about once every 21 hands or so). And that’s exactly what these casinos are betting on. Most casual Blackjack players probably won’t notice this small change in the payout rule, and those who do may not care enough to go to a different casino still using 3-2 payouts. But from the casino’s perspective, this change is pretty substantial. Henry Tamburin, a writer and gambling instructor, points out that “this one small change increases the house edge by about 1.4 percent, more than tripling the amount the casinos expect to win against perfect play.”

The truth of the matter is, the 6-5 payout rule isn’t anything new. It’s been used more and more frequently in low-limit games. So what makes this all so newsworthy? It’s that these 6-5 payouts are becoming more commonplace. Not long ago, the Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo, set 6-5 as the payout for blackjacks at standard tables (not just low limit and single deck games) at these casinos. This trend is spreading across the rest of the Strip as well, according to Tamburin. For example, MGM Mirage, one of the largest casino operators in Las Vegas, says that “the mix of three-to-two and six-to-five games at its casinos varies according to guest demand and staffing.”

So, does all of this make you reconsider playing Blackjack in Vegas? What do you think about the change in payout rules that these casinos are instituting? Sound off in the comments below!

 

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Sep 10

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – What’s New?

Category: Apple,iPhone

iphone 6

 

You’ve most likely heard about Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement by now, but do you know all of the new functions it has to offer? You’re probably debating whether to buy or pass on the new iPhone, so we’ll break down the new features for you to make your decision a little bit simpler:

 

Screen Size: The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches, versus the iPhone 5s with 4 inches.

Overall Phone Size: The iPhone 6 is 5.44 inches high and 2.64 inches wide, the iPhone 6 Plus is 6.22 inches high and 3.06 inches wide, and the iPhone 5s is 4.87 inches high and 2.31 inches wide.

Frame: The iPhone 6 & 6 Plus revert back to curved edges, instead of the right angle corners of the iPhone 5s.

Thickness: The iPhone 6 is 0.27 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 0.28 inches, versus the iPhone 5s with 0.30 inches.

Resolution: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus boast “Retina HD displays”, with the iPhone 6 displaying just a little over 720p and iPhone 6 Plus displaying 1080p.

Processor: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced their A8 chip, which basically means users will have “up to 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics.”

Battery Life: The iPhone 6 offers up to 60 hours of audio, the iPhone 6 Plus up to 80 hours of audio, and the iPhone 5s up to 50 hours of audio. The iPhone 6 offers up to 11 hours of video, the iPhone 6 Plus up to 14 hours of video, and the iPhone 5s up to 10 hours of video. The iPhone 6 Plus also offers up to 16 days of standby compared to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s with only up to 10 days of standby.

Camera: There’s various improvements in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras. There’s a sensor that supports “Focus Pixels” that autofocuses like a DSLR camera, users can shoot videos at either 30 or 60 frames per second or shoot slow motion videos at 120 and 240 frames per second, the camera lens stabilizes for shaky hands, and a burst mode to take up to 10 photos per second.

Other Tweaks: iPhone 6 Plus landscape home screen view, improved voice audio quality, Apple Pay, a barometer to check air pressure and elevation, and more storage with each price interval.

 

As for the Apple Watch…well, that’s another story we can talk about when it finally releases next year.

 

Will you be rushing to Apple’s doors on September 19? What are your thoughts on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sep 8

Top International Casinos – Part 7

Category: Casino

We saved one of the best for last in our Lucky Number 7 spot! That’s the SkyPark at the top…it kind of looks like a ship perched on the three towers, doesn’t it?

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

5380862681_1912ceb4af_b“Marina Bay Sands” by edwin.11 on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

Standing at 650 feet high and wider than the Eiffel Tower laid on its side, Marina Bay Sands is the most expensive building constructed in the world. The President and CEO of the hotel, Thomas Arasi, considers the SkyPark “one of the greatest architectural feats of modern times.” Get the best view in Singapore from the Observation Deck, or swim 57 stories high in the Infinity Pool.

Look at that view!

9763937482_795dc962b2_o“SkyPark Infinity Pool” by Sarah_Ackerman on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

Get your gambling fix with the casino, housing over 600 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines, illuminated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers composed of 132,000 Swarovski crystals! Guests can indulge in luxury stores at The Shoppes, with designer stores like Emporio Armani and the world’s largest Louis Vitton boutique. Stop by at the ArtScience museum for good educational enjoyment, or dance the night away at the KU DÉ TA nightclub. The hotel has around 2,500 guest rooms, and some of the most prestigious guests can stay in the Chairman Suite. The suite is basically a house, containing four bedrooms, two living rooms, an exercise room, a game room, a pillow menu, and a baby grand piano! There’s so much more to Marina Bay Sands, and our summary just can’t encompass everything about it!

It’s refreshing to know there’s much more to casinos than what Las Vegas has to offer. If you had one choice out of all the casino resorts we shared with you, which one would you pick?

What are you waiting for? Book that flight now!

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