Games of 2013: QuizUp

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2013 playing games, but not a lot of time writing about them. As I have been doing in recent history, I’d like to tell some stories or share some thoughts about the ones that meant the most to me this year. I’ll be posting about one a day until Christmas. See all Games of 2013 posts.


Last year’s series started in a car with coworkers; this year’s shall as well. These series always tend to start with a game that does one thing fairly well; this year’s shall as well.

We were piled in a rental car today, making the lengthy journey from New York City to Ithaca for a work trip. The miles started to drag across Route 17 as the afternoon wore on.

One member of my team, wondered aloud: “Man, I wish we had a multiplayer game or something.”

I didn’t need to pause to think of a good option – I spat out QuizUp almost immediately.

It is a weird sort of situation that while mobile platforms are becoming increasingly known for social gaming, it’s become less about direct gameplay with a small group of others, and more about nebulous MMO-like elements in whatever the latest Farmville clone is.

QuizUp is a very cleanly designed two-player quiz game. Seven questions, all multiple choice, with response time determining the points awarded. Get more points, win the match. It has a very well-maintained layer of polish (the animations), clever little addictive nudges (a per-category experience system), and generally works very well, even over a cellular connection.

The only place QuizUp needs improvement is in integrating existing friends back into the game’s friends system, where it occasionally struggles to understand that I shouldn’t have to invite someone I’m already GameCenter friends with to play.

Small concern aside, it’s the best the trivia game I’ve played in a while, and perfect for long rides in the back of the car. Check it out.

QuizUp is available for free on the App Store. An Android version is planned.


Hey-yy, Batter Batter Batter, Swing, Batter!

It seems to be the week for over the top analysis of movies. Do check out Larry Granillo’s deduction of which baseball game Ferris Bueller was at.

It appears obvious now that this is a real ballgame that Ferris is at, not just something recreated for a film crew. The Harry Caray play-by-play and the Braves players on the field are pretty solid evidence of that. So what game, then, are they watching? Did the Cubs win, or did Ferris sing “Danke Schön” as a way to wash away the stink of a Cubs loss?

“What’s the score?”

“Nothin’ nothin’.”

“Who’s winning?”

“The Bears.”


Consider This Post To Be A Bucket Of Truth

Quick quiz:

What do they have in common?

What do Marcus Fenix, Bender, and Steve Ballmer from TNT’s 1999 TV Movie *Pirates of Silicon Valley* all have in common?
You may think to answer “*They are all fictional characters!*” – but you would be wrong. Steve Ballmer actually exists, despite popular belief that he is just a cartoon character.

Your answer might be “*They all have six letter names!*” – but you would not only be wrong, but also unable to count.

You may be so clever as to answer “*You put them all in the same image!*” This is very true. But this is only for illustrative purposes, and should not be taken as something they have in common. Still, two points for effort.

Have you given up?

THEY ARE THE SAME MAN. All three were voiced and/or portrayed by John Di Maggio.

(Of course, if you read Giant Bomb, you already knew this.)

This has blown my mind as much as when I learned that the bushes in Super Mario Brothers were just re-colored clouds.