Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, September 30, 2021

not actual size
I downloaded iTunes 7 a couple of weeks ago. It’s got a look-and-feel revamp, with little extras like the vaunted cover flow feature and gapless playback (finally!).

But that’s not what compelled me to upgrade. No, what hooked me was a little button on the iTunes Store (note, no longer “iTunes Music Store”, since Apple’s branched out to other media) that proclaimed, “iTunes Games”. And one of those games was Pac-Man.

Enough said. I upgraded to 7 because that was the only way to buy any of the games (a masterful stroke by Apple to make the new promos and sections visible in iTunes 6, but not accessible unless you got the new version). Once I installed it, I paid the five bucks without thinking twice, and synced the game over to my iPod. Incidentally, the iTunes upgrade included an update for the iPod’s firmware, to 2.1; it seems to fix some performance-lag bugs, and also brings a much-needed brightness control function to the device. Plus, you can’ t play any of the iTunes Games without it, so…

How does it play on the tiny screen? It’s not quite as microscopic as the action on the world’s tiniest website. That’s not saying much, though. And trying to manipulate Mr. Pac through the maze via scrollwheel is tough stuff — doubly so on a moving train, which is where I usually play it. It’s superb as a timekiller, but I’m not expecting to break any scoring records with it. I’ve yet to get past the Orange stage.

Drawbacks aside, the graphics are wonderously beautiful. The option to turn off the game’s sound effects is nice, as it allows you to listen to the iPod’s playlist. I also appreciate that the game designers included the time of day in the upper-left corner of the tiny screen; you know how the minutes can slip away while your popping power pills! The need for the game to load up is odd, and distinct from the iPod’s built-in firmware games; but it seems like that saves on battery power somehow.

I almost think someone’s going to come out with a little snap-on stub joystick for the iPod in response to this. Not sure I’d buy it, but I’d love to see it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/30/2006 05:00:31 PM
Category: Tech, Videogames | Permalink |

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    I already mentioned that I loaded up iTunes 7. It’s not like I was waiting fervently for a new full version of the software; if it wasn’t a required upgrade for me to load up Pac-Man on my iPod, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it.

    But sinc…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 10/03/2021 @ 06:25:12 PM

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