Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Three “Shark Week” Apps to Sink Your Teeth Into

Impressed by Olympic swimmers? How about swimmers who have been reported to swim at speeds up to 60 miles per hour?

In case you missed the memo, it’s Shark Week.

For those not familiar with Shark Week, it’s seven days of Discovery Channel programming devoted to those vilified, sharp-toothed sea creatures. While I’ve spent a good chunk of this week watching big fish swim writing about consumer tech, I’ve also managed to catch programs like “How Jaws Changed the World” and “Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks,” about a trio of WWII soldiers who fended off schools of hungry sharks after their plane crashed in the Pacific.

Shark Week is about halfway over now, having kicked off this past Sunday, but you can keep the fun going with a few apps. Bonus: The first two don’t require you to watch the gazillion Miller 64 beer commercials that run during primetime.

Jaws Revenge

Jaws Revenge kicks off with the musical theme from the movie “Jaws” — need I say more? Made by Universal, this iPhone app normally costs $.99, but is free during Shark Week, and is currently ranked No. 5 in the free games list in the App Store.

In this addictive linear game, you’re the shark, and you’re out to kill — fish, people, buoys, boats — to keep your energy up, earn coins and progress to the next level. A “frenzy” puts your shark on steroids for a fast-paced feeding session. The shark jumps high enough to catch birds flying overhead, and emits angry noises that make it sound more like a rabid dog than a giant fish, which is pretty much what you’d expect from a gamified version of a Hollywood-made shark.

While the game is free to play, users are prompted to watch the occasional video ad, or sign up for a free Web service in order to gain coins and continue playing.

Shark Bite Me

Also available for iPhone, this free app applies gruesome shark-bite effects to any photo, with a variety of different bites available, like Tasty Tear, Chunky Chomp and Nasty Nibble.

The app, which is made by U.K.-based digital media company Moshen, also offers shark myths and facts (did you know that there are approximately 400 species of sharks?).

There are a couple flaws with this app. The first and most obvious is that photos imported from the phone’s camera roll appear stretched. And some of the punctuation in the Facts and Myths section makes me think that the copy editor at Moshen was probably eaten by a shark before the app was released. But, hey, it’s free, and it might be fun to apply shark bites to photos of you and your friends. Or your non-friends.

Shark Week Bingo

It really doesn’t get geekier than this, but if you’re read this far, you’re right aboard the geek train with me, anyway. This free Web app from Discovery prompts you to log in through Facebook, indicate which Shark Week program you’re watching, and from there, play a fun, competitive game of Bingo with other viewers, with a social feed on the right-hand side of the board, and Facebook commentary below.

As items appear on the screen during the program, you select a box with that item — a shark fin, or a life jacket, or a seal, for example — the goal is to get five boxes in a row checked off. Curiously, items like “mermaid” and “light saber” appear in some of the games. If you spot those, let me know.

(Image courtesy of Flickr/J. Mossholder)


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald