Your iPod's got game

Published: Friday, January 26, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 26, 2007 at 12:16 a.m.
Your iPod blasts music, shows vacation photos and plays movies. It now does something else that seems an entertainment no-brainer: it runs video games.
It was only a matter of time before Apple's ubiquitous digital media player would have the ability to keep us just as occupied with simple games like "Tetris" as it does pumping out The Killers. And with the latest generation of iPods' ability to run video comes the option to download games off iTunes and play away.
Video-game giant Electronic Arts is on the cutting edge of creating games for the iPod, and after checking out its offerings, we are impressed with its initial batch of titles that can be played on fifth-generation machines (don't bother if you have an older version).
The classic puzzle game "Tetris" looks much better than the monochrome original did for the Game Boy all those years ago, thanks to bright colors and decent sound effects. And like the other iPod games, you control those tiny blocks the same way you search for songs: with the circular scroll pad and middle button.
"Mini Golf" is a fun little romp in a colorful miniature golf course that features obstacles including creatures that have an appetite for golf balls. The exotic music on this one is a particularly nice surprise.
And "EA Mahjong" brings the classic tiles to life on the iPod's screen without being too hard to see.
EA also just released Sudoku and Solitaire titles to keep you equally occupied. The games cost $4.99 each and can be downloaded at the iTunes store (look for "iPod Games" in the upper left-hand corner).
These don't have the depth of play that you'd find in titles for dedicated game systems such as a PlayStation Portable or Nintendo DS, but that's not the goal here. These titles, rather, are for the person who wants to squeeze in a little play time here and there, and to that extent, they - and the medium they're played on - are a great fit.

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