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19Aug 2015

Time Surfer SmallThe Apple App Store’s “Free App of the Week” is one of the best deals out there. Who doesn’t like free, even if for a limited time?

The App Store chooses a lot of games for the FAoTW, which may not be your cup of tea. I can’t claim to be much of a gamer myself, in part because I know how time consuming video games can be. I lost too many late-night hours to  learning “Starcraft” years ago, and too many weekends to finishing “Doom 3.” These days, I use my computer for work and my XBox stays off most of the time in simple self-preservation.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t appreciate the merits of a good game. Let’s face it, computer games are probably more influential now than they have ever been–and with the rise of gamification,  understanding what makes a game engaging and compelling can have serious business applications.

Enter “Time Surfer,” this week’s FAoTW in the App Store. A side-scrolling throw-back to the arcade games of my youth, “Time Surfer” features a classic motivation and an interesting innovation.

The motivation is a variation on the countdown clock–this time in the form of the fiery end of the universe, which Time Surfer is trying to escape by fleeing into the future. Go too slow, the wall of fire catches you, and Time Surfer is history…  😉

The innovation is the chance to reverse time–sort of like hitting “Undo” if you delete the wrong range of cells in your spreadsheet. You can use this to scroll backwards to pick-up items have you missed or otherwise correct your mistakes in the game. Your “time energy” is a limited resource, so you can do this trick only so often before you need to recharge.

Time Surfer is fun, the graphics are entertaining, and the side scrolling format works as well as it did in 1988. I don’t think it’s going to get me back into gaming, but my 11-year old is already a fan.

Brian S. Pauls is the president of PerAspera Consulting, LLC, providing comprehensive technology solutions, from the Web, to mobile devices, to the desktop. He only reverses time when there is no other option.