Canabalt 2.0

Canabalt is one of the oldest games on my phone, largely unchanged since 2009. But a surprising series of recent updates has introduced some new content, culminating in version 2.0 this week. These updates breath new life into a stale game, but also add more complexity to a game famous for its rigorous simplicity.

After sitting idle for two and a half years, Canabalt version 1.8 finally added support for the widescreen iPhone 5 and came with three new characters, a new music track, and a new icon. In addition to the familiar tailored businessman, you can now play as a woman in a suit or a man or woman in a track suit. The woman looks a bit like Faith from Mirror's Edge, which I'm hoping was intentional. I'm glad to see some diversity in the Canabalt crew, but I'm not sure what people in track suits would be doing up in a skyscraper at night. Maybe it's a high-rise gym?

The new music combines themes by Danny Baranowsky with lyrics from rapper Mega Ran. The track, called Mega Ranabalt, flows nicely with the game, but it took me a few minutes to get used to the more vocal soundtrack.

canabalt_map

This week version 2.0 completes the revisions by adding eight new gameplay modes and 2-player mode. Now you can polish your roof jumping skills by focusing on each of the games many obstacles. For example, the Box Tripper level places many more boxes in your path than normal. Similarly, Bombardment saturates the level with mid-roof explosives. These new options are challenging but provide varied gameplay for people who have long since mastered the classic Canabalt style. 2-player mode allows friends to race each other across the rooftops of any level. One player is controlled with the right half of the screen, the other with the left. I'm not sure how well this will work on an iPhone, but it's fun on an iPad.

Canabalt more or less founded the extremely popular "endless runner" category on the App Store, and it has continued to be successful on other platforms like Android and Blackberry. It's worth noting that these other platforms received similar updates already, so these features are only new on the iOS version. Some people might be disappointed that the famously simple Canabalt gameplay has been altered, but fear not. The same game that's been around for half a decade is still right there in the middle, and you're free to ignore all the new options. And for those who were tired of the same old game, I'm glad there's new content to draw them back in.

I was inspired by the latest updates to create the character sprites and logo in LDD. Pixel art is quite fun and easy to recreate in LEGO, and this might lead to a bigger project somewhere down the line.

Beachcombing for LEGO

A shipping container filled with over four million LEGO pieces fell overboard off the coast of Cornwall in 1997, and they've been washing up on nearby beaches ever since. Amusingly, the pieces are almost all nautical themed, ranging from octopus to diving tanks to flippers. As a fan of the mid-90's Aquazone and Divers themes, finding these would make for a pretty great day at the beach. Also included in the shipment were such classic themes as FrightKnights, Pirates, WildWest, Roboforce, Time Cruisers, Outback, and Police. I drooled over all these in the catalogs back then! Apparently dragons and octopi are the holy grail pieces, rare and exciting enough to attract collectors after heavy storms.

Image credit: Tracey Williams

Image credit: Tracey Williams

Unfortunately, like any plastic waste, all this LEGO is harmful to the marine environment, especially to animals like seabirds who will eat the colorful parts. While containers dropping off ships are nothing new, and I can think of any number of items that would be worse to dump in the sea, plastic never degrades and acumulates in huge gyres filled with trash. This isn't limited just to marine animals either, since we have lost track of 99% of the plastic in the ocean. It's likely that fish are eating it, but we really don't know where it's all ending up.

So what can you do about it? First of all, stop using so much plastic. Drink cups, plastic bags, cut down on anything that has an eco-friendly reusable alternative. Of course, there are plenty of plastics that you can't avoid, so recycle whenever you can. Check your local municipality's recycling policy to learn what kinds of plastic and cardboard they do and do not accept. It's just as important (and complicated!) to not recycle things that can't be processed properly. And, if you live near a shoreline, volunteer to help clean it up! Who knows, you might even find some LEGO.

- Source: BBC, via Gizmodo

New posts incoming

It's been a really long time since I last wrote here. Frankly, I wasn't sure I would ever return to it. For a couple reasons, I'm going to try and squeeze in some posts again. First, I feel really bad because my life got very busy just after I received a pen that I promised the designer I would review. I'd better do that! Second, I have some writing projects to do for work, and nothing beats writers block like writing some fun stuff to warm up.
Some things on my to-do list:

  • The aforementioned belated marker review
  • An unhealthy backlog of pen and LEGO set reviews
  • My new DIY underwater LEGO project
  • Something about Apple I suppose. I'm not as excited about tech as I used to be, possibly because I have a perfect computer, snappy iPad, and a clear upgrade path to a new phone in the fall. I rarely install new apps, because my current ones work fine. I'm playing many of the same games as I was two years ago. I have no idea why – maybe the rumored iWatch will stir me up a little. It's not that I don't still like tech, but I'm totally satisfied with what I have and see no reason to change.
  • A new name for the site. When I got the domain I didn't know that LEGO frowns on unrelated websites using their name. Plus, the name limits what I can write here. I'm open to suggestions.
  • Science. I'd like to write about my actual job sometimes, but there's that name problem again.

 

2013 builds in review

Now's the time when many LEGO builders post compilations of their work over the last year. I like to take this opportunity to catch up on builds I might have missed earlier. (And as my activity level here suggests, I've missed a lot! My own compilation would be blank – changing that is a 2014 resolution!)

Here's a list of the collages I've found in the order I discovered them. I'm always looking for more great builders to follow, so don't hesitate to suggest people I've missed!

Shannon Sproule

Shannon Sproule

Red Spacecat

Red Spacecat

Chris McVeigh (powerpig)

Chris McVeigh (powerpig)

Chris McVeigh (powerpig)

Chris McVeigh (powerpig)

Cyrille

Cyrille

LEGO DOU Moko

LEGO DOU Moko

Jacob Unterreiner (4estFeller)

Jacob Unterreiner (4estFeller)

Lego Junkie

Lego Junkie

Arjan Oude Kotte (Konajra)

Arjan Oude Kotte (Konajra)

Mihai Marius Mihu

Mihai Marius Mihu

Pascal (pasukaru76)

Pascal (pasukaru76)

Nick V (Brickthing)

Nick V (Brickthing)

Jon Hall

Jon Hall

legorobo:waka

legorobo:waka

Albert (Rebla)

Albert (Rebla)

Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka)

Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka)

Mark of Falworth

Mark of Falworth

Iain Heath (Ochre Jelly)

Iain Heath (Ochre Jelly)

Ordo

Ordo

Pēteris Sproģis

Pēteris Sproģis

Greyson B. (Louie le Brickvalier)

Greyson B. (Louie le Brickvalier)

Simon Schweyer

Simon Schweyer

Happy New Year!

Evan Brus and legomac.net hold no copyright over the LEGO or Mac brands, and are not affiliated with the LEGO Group or Apple.