The iCure for Boredom


Fruit Ninja was so popular, it was recently ported to the Xbox 360 with Kinect functionality.

By: Stephen Weigel Photography/Web Editor

Quick & Inexpensive Fixes Straight from the App Store

Fruit Ninja was so popular, it was recently ported to the Xbox 360 with Kinect functionality.

From the beginning, boring classroom lectures have inspired students to embark on a quest to discover the next new way to get through a class without falling asleep. When Snake for the TI-83 calculator came around, it seemed revolutionary. Thankfully, the quest didn’t end there, and today students have a new weapon in the fight against classroom banality: the smartphone.

The iPhone boasts many features to keep a bored student occupied during class, but its gaming repertoire is one of its best.  Thanks to the iOS operating system being uniform on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, interaction with friends is not limited to those owning iPhones. Offering all genres of games, from first person shooters to puzzle-oriented games, the App Store has something for everyone.

For discreet classroom entertainment, Words with Friends (free) allows you to play Scrabble online, with friends or a random opponent. If discretion is not your thing, hand it off to the person sitting next to you. Not into Scrabble? Words developer Zynga also offers Hanging with Friends (free), a similar game modeled on Hangman, Chess with Friends (free) and Poker by Zynga (free). Facebook and Twitter integration allow you to see who of your friends are already playing and easily start games with them.  Why struggle through a boring lecture on parabolas when you could rekindle an old friendship over a game of hangman?

For those classes where discretion is not as important, Fruit Ninja ($0.99) is an excellent way to pass the time. Once your ninja skills have been honed, you can challenge your lab partner, or a random opponent, online, in an addicting battle to puree the most fruit, thanks to integration with Apple’s Game Center. Fair warning, many close competitions have been lost due to recklessly slicing an opponent’s kiwi, so don’t just swing at the first banana that crosses your screen.

If slicing fruit with a samurai sword isn’t your thing, Temple Run (free) mixes elements of Sonic the Hedgehog with Indiana Jones, in an addicting running game that doesn’t end until you die. With easy to learn swipe and tilt controls, Temple Run challenges the gamer to collect as many coins as possible by jumping, sliding, turning and side-stepping to avoid obstacles, while being chased by a pack of man-eating monkeys.

For those looking to invest more time than a single boring lecture, a semester of boring lectures perhaps, games like Final Fantasy III ($15.99) put full length console games in the palm of your hand. While not identical to their full console versions, franchise games Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid have all put out iOS versions.

While mobile gaming has come a long way since smartphones first came on the scene, it is not likely to replace your home gaming console, yet. However, for those simply looking to pass the time, or looking for a way to game on the go, iOS gaming proves the never-ending quest is headed in the right direction.