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Matt Fern

Matt Fern

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Ever walked into Hannaford, Walmart or some other grocery/retail store and wondered what it would be like to own and run a business such as those? Well, I can’t tell you how to invest your money, but I can tell you that it’s possible in the world of video games.

“Idle Supermarket Tycoon” has you take on the role of a business owner who opens up a small mini-mart in town. Your goal is to grow from a small local grocery mart into a major supermarket. The game sees you starting off with a small amount of cash, which you use to design your supermarket and fill it with decently-priced, average-quality items. As you grow, you can offer higher quality products and sell them for more. For instance, you might start off with the basics in your vegetable section, but you can later start stocking specialty and health focused vegetables.

You have to make many decisions along the way. Do you want to build a new section like a Deli, or should you upgrade your registers to help get people through checkout faster? Should you invest in more parking for your customers so more people can shop at once, or should you upgrade the butcher shop as most of your customers are requesting higher quality meat? You also are in charge of hiring quality employees and setting their wages. A butcher might make less money than an electronics expert. Which leads me to the point of as you grow, you can start becoming more than a grocery mart and expand into having electronics, home goods and more.

A good supermarket also has a marketing plan. “Idle Supermarket Tycoon” lets you dive into the world of customer interaction as you develop marketing strategies to attract new customers and perform research to find out what your customers want – and what they don’t.

“Idle Supermarket Tycoon” is a fun little supermarket management game; it’s free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Whether or not you are a fan of the “Call of Duty” series, you can’t deny that it has quickly become one of the most popular first-person shooter franchises ever. Featuring blockbuster action campaigns, fast-paced arcade multiplayer and even horrific zombie survival modes, “Call of Duty” has set itself apart from the rest of the market.

While you wait for the highly-anticipated “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” - releasing later this month - you might consider wasting some time with “Call of Duty: Mobile.”

“COD: Mobile” offers a fully-fledged free way to play the first-person franchise, with the regular 5v5 multiplayer modes such as Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Search and Destroy and more. The other staple the game brings is a Battle Royale mode that sees you jumping down onto a map with 99 other players. Using vehicles and weapons that you find along the way, you battle it out to be the last man standing. There are even patches of zombies that spawn on the map, as well as special bosses that spawn to drop special loot to help you become number one.

“COD: Mobile” runs smoothly on a personal mobile device, while offering intuitive controls that can be customized to your comfort level. There is even a simple control feature that eliminates the fire button and shoots your gun automatically when your aiming reticule hovers over another player. The game also offers keyboard and mouse support if you are playing on a tablet.

“COD: Mobile” is a greatest-hits showcase of all the characters, gadgets, weapons and maps that fans have come to love. From characters like Captain Price to maps such as Nuketown and Crash, “COD: Mobile” has a little of something to appeal to everyone.

You can download “Call of Duty: Mobile” for free off the Android and IOS stores!

Tuesday, 01 October 2019 16:02

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Mario Kart Tour’

“Mario Kart” has been one of Nintendo’s flagship racing games since the days of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Since the first game launched in 1992, the franchise has been a critical and commercial success. The only copy I ever owned, and still own today, is “Mario Kart 64;” the memories of racing against my friends after school and into the night on weekends are still fresh in my mind.

The “Mario Kart” games are still alive and well – and have finally made it into the palm of your hand!

“Mario Kart Tour” is “Mario Kart,” but as an online racing game. Instead of racing computer-controlled players, you compete against other people. The game does a great job of bringing back classic courses such as Rainbow Road, but also has a few courses based on real-life cities like Paris.

The premise is simple; race through a track littered with power-ups and weapons to use on your fellow racers and finish first. The game is divided into cups, where you race across three different tracks; depending on how you finish, your placement in each race is tallied to give you a final score. You don’t need to finish first every time, but top-three finishes are how you’ll get the most points. All the iconic Mario characters are there as well, though a few of them cost real money to unlock.

The game does have quite a few micro transactions, but you certainly can play it without spending a penny. There are also lots of systems – familiar to mobile gamers – that aren’t in standard “Mario Kart” games. For instance, in each race, you can earn coins you can use to buy new karts, gear and other items. You can only earn a certain amount of coins per day, however; because of that limit, you may need to play multiple days to be able to afford certain items.

“Mario Kart” is finally here on mobile – and it’s a blast! Grab some friends and head out on to the track! May the best racer win. “Mario Kart Tour” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 09:10

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Rocket Sky!’

In the mid-20th century, mankind set a course to venture out into space. With the U.S. and the Soviet Union operating to become the first into space, technology advanced rapidly; we have seen those efforts end up influencing the tech we have today. Loving space like I do, it’s only fitting I found a simple little game that lets you have your own little space race in the palm of your hand.

In “Rocket Sky!” you are tasked with the objective of flying a rocket as far off the planet as you can, reaching out farther into space with each launch. Starting with a moderate amount of cash, you are tasked to build a rocket, choosing which aspects of your rocket to spend the most on and which to go cheap with. You then tap and hold your screen and launch your rocket. Based on how you built your rocket, you will rip apart, overheat or run out of fuel. Once that happens, it’s game over and you need to rebuild your rocket again. As you play and earn more cash, you can upgrade your rocket, reach greater heights and even discover new planets out in the unknown. As you reach certain heights or milestones, you also unlock new rocket bodies to build!

This game reminds me most of science class in middle school, where we were tasked at seeing who could build a rocket that could go the highest. It wasn’t just fun, but you challenged yourself to keep building a better rocket with each success or failure.

If you are into space, this game is for you. If you aren’t into space, it’s still a great time waster! “Rocket Sky!” is available to download for free on the Android and IOS stores.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 09:22

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dead Zed’

When you have an online flash game that has been played over 50 million times, you probably ought to take that flash game and make it available on mobile devices. This is what happened to “Dead Zed.”

Zombies have been prevalent in video games for ages. “Dead Zed” is a simple take on the genre. As with most zombie games or movies, the dead are coming back to life, and they are hungry. To survive, you make your way through a map, progressing from location to location. The game takes you from peaceful suburb locations to an abandoned city that looks like it’s straight out of the first episode of “The Walking Dead.” In each location, you are tasked with defending your area by taking out waves of zombies.

“Dead Zed” is just like one of those arcade games that has weapons you physically hold. Your character cannot move and simply stands in place; there is nothing but your fast and accurate aiming that keeps you alive. You start the game with a simple handgun, but as you progress by mowing down zombies, you unlock many different weapons to add to your arsenal: revolvers, automatic rifles, crossbows and more. You can also upgrade these weapons to perform exactly to your comfort level. Each round lets you bring two weapons with you, so choose wisely!

The mobile edition of this classic online game wasn’t just transferred to mobile devices, but was completely overhauled with new gameplay elements, new weapons and locations.

“Dead Zed” is a fantastic zombie game addition to mobile stores – and a great way to waste some time. “Dead Zed” is free to download on the Android and IOS stores.

With the first regular season NFL kickoff on the horizon, it’s the time of year I like to revisit the “Madden Mobile” game. It’s a great time-wasting companion to the NFL season, one that deserves a spot on your phone to play for the next few months.

What is “Madden Mobile”? Well, it’s a free-to-play version of the “Madden Football” franchise. A cross between digital fantasy football and a card-collecting game, “Madden Mobile” sees you hitting the field as your favorite team but built with your favorite players.

As you play, both online and offline, you will collect more and better players; whether you’re playing the offline season, challenges or full games against real players in the world, there is always something to do. Last year, “Madden Mobile” added a huge graphical and physics update, a TV-broadcast style presentation, new live events, a redesigned kicking meter and more.

This year’s update to “Madden Mobile” builds on some of the same refinements, but also adds a new game mode. With each new year, you started a fresh new team to play the current NFL season. But now, a legacy mode has been added; you can play with your old superteam in new challenges and events to earn rewards that can be used to get new and upgraded players on your current season team. And as you build your current season team, you’ll also be building towards next year’s legacy team!

There are many other features that make this year’s “Madden Mobile” more exciting, such as new TD celebrations, updated playbooks, rookie players from this year’s draft and other little quirks for you to discover. This is EA’s boldest year for the game, and hey, you can never have too much football!

“Madden Mobile” is available to download for free on the Android and IOS stores.

Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get. The choices in life you’ve made, have brought you to where you are today. With the future always being one second ahead of you, there are many more choices we will make on the horizon in our lives as well. Wouldn’t it be fun to simulate a new life, starting from the beginning and seeing where it would end? Well, now you can!

In “BitLife”, you are tasked with taking a Bit character from the beginning of their life, all the way to the end. The game is a text-based life simulator which starts you off from birth and has you make decisions through your character's entire life. Each scenario gives you a list of options on how to respond and begins to shape your future.

For instance, your girlfriend might want to break up with you, and the game might give you the options of insulting them, wishing them well, or begging them to stay. How you respond ultimately shapes the outcome of your future love life. Maybe you stay with them forever, maybe not. The decisions are endless. You could have ten kids, become a movie star, become an astronaut, become well-educated or establish a thriving social media presence. On the other end of the spectrum, you could end up descending into a life filled with crime, spend time in jail, attempt a breakout, get eaten by a shark or even become a crime lord.

“BitLife” presents you with these realistic and unique choices but does so with a light touch. You could get really sick and decide to see a doctor, or if you don’t want to spend any money, see a witch-doctor who performs some creepy voodoo on you instead. The choices are yours! No play through is ever the same – and that’s what makes it so interesting.

“BitLife - Life Simulator” is free to download on the android and IOS stores. I must warn you though – this game isn’t for the faint of heart.

Ever driven by a farm and said to yourself, “What would it really by like running a farm? I couldn’t even imagine.” Well, if you want to find out, you can try to run a farm on your mobile device! The “Farming Simulator” series has been around for a long time; a free version has made its way onto mobile.

Fun Fact: “Farming Simulator” has somehow become so popular over its life, that it has spawned an ESports league in Europe with $280,000 in prize money!

In “Farming Simulator 14”, you play as the owner/operator of a farm. You must plant, maintain, feed and harvest your crops and livestock to ensure your farm is profitable. With many real farming machines and tractors to control, there are copious amounts of tasks to be done.

Your farm contains many things: silos, a cowshed, manure and fertilizer, a diesel fill station, a mill and more. To plant crops, you must cultivate the fields, sow the seeds, and then harvest them using many different types of farm equipment. You need to keep an eye on your crops however, as if you don’t harvest them in time, they will dry up and die. Your meadows must be maintained so you have hay for your cows. You must mow, tedder and then bale the hay in your meadows.

The game starts you out in an old harvester with not a lot of money. You are put in front of a ripe field of wheat to harvest your first payday. You also own an old tractor, trailer, cultivator and sowing machine in the beginning that really could be replaced. From there, your farm – and its future – is in your hands.

What’s great about “Farming Simulator 14” is how relaxing it is, and realistic in a sense. The developers of the game really made it feel like you are driving the tractors and using the equipment when tending to your farm. It’s also a learning experience to see how things can go wrong and how you must adapt.

“Farming Simulator 14” is free to download on the Android and IOS Stores.

Tuesday, 06 August 2019 19:22

Weekly Time Waster - ‘Dr. Mario World’

If you’ve ever delved into the world of Nintendo generally and Mario games specifically, you’ve probably come across “Dr. Mario” at least once in your life. It was a popular time waster on many Nintendo systems – and now it can be popular in the palm of your hand!

“Dr. Mario World” sets you in the shoes of Mario as a doctor trying to kill viruses. To kill these viruses, you must take colored pills, and place them in the right areas. You take the colored parts of the pills and match them against the same colored viruses.

It plays similarly to a “Candy Crush” game, where you must match your pill to three or more viruses to get rid of them. You can also manipulate your pill to fit best into the puzzle presented by spinning it. With over 200 levels, the challenge gets more difficult as you progress.

To even the playing field, the game offers numerous power-ups that you can earn, such as the character Bowser appearing and torching half the viruses from the get-go. The game is also not time-based at all, so you can certainly take your time in figuring out each move you plan to do.

You do have a limited number of pills on each level; if you run out of pills, you must start over. You lose a heart (which is the unit for how many tries you have at a time) each time you lose, and if you lose all your hearts, you must wait to play again, just like most matching games.

With plenty of levels to play, power-ups to fetch and different Mario characters to unlock as doctors, “Dr. Mario World” is a fun little dive into the Nintendo world on your mobile device. “Dr. Mario World” is available for free on the Android and IOS stores.

If you were a kid (and let’s face it, we all were) you might have likely played the game of “Battleship” at least once. It was simple, sink the other person’s battleships in a guessing game and you were crowned king of the sea. Well, with the Hasbro version costing money, I turned to a free version on the app store, and it’s fantastic.

“Fleet Battle – Sea Battle” is a take on classic “Battleship.” However, there’s a twist. In the classic game, all your ships are regular linear shaped ships. In “Fleet Battle”, your aircraft carrier and submarine are irregularly shaped, with parts to be hit protruding out their sides. It makes for an interesting situation. “Fleet Battle” is the same simple premise as “Battleship.” Your radar systems have failed, so as the weapons officer, you must direct fire blindly into the enemy’s known territory. As you hit ships, you must keep guessing which direction they face.

Each player has five ships – first to sink all five wins the game. With both offline and online multiplayer that lets you rank up to admiral, there is plenty of destruction to be had. With lots of collectible blueprints in the game, you can give your ships special skins based on real ships.

There are three different ways to play. You have your classic mode, where each player takes turns firing one shot. There’s Hitting Streak mode, which is the game’s default. In Hitting Streak, every time you hit a ship, you get to fire again until you miss. The last game mode – my personal favorite – is Chainfire. In Chainfire, you get to fire as many times as you have ships available. So, if you’re down to three ships, you can fire three times. This mode is my favorite as it rewards you for good ship placement and keeping yourself one step above the other player.

“Fleet Battle – Sea Battle” is the best alternative to the licensed “Battleship” game I could find – an absolute blast! Free to download on the Android and IOS stores!

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