APP HAPPY

Google the phrase “Chrome Web Store” to find lots of apps that will run right on your desktop. Here are a few nice freebies:

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“MORGS” PULL IN 190 MILLION

More than thirty years ago, when you bought a home computer it was to play games. You could write on some — Bob wrote his first book on an Apple 2 — but basically they were used to play games.

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GAME ON

“Raptr” is a free program that automatically optimizes every game on your computer, making sure the graphics and other drivers are up to date. On Joy’s Windows 8 computer, it just found one, but it had links to tons of other free games with stunning graphics.

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GAMES: LOST CIVILIZATION

“Lost Civilization” is a “hidden object” game set in Prague, London and Mexico it’s $5 for iPhone or $10 for PC or Mac. We found ourselves hooked for three days, trying to get our heroine’s fiancé back safely as we went from one archeological dig to another.

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CITIZEN SCIENCE

We recently watched a NOVA science show about a guy who created a game that lets people from all over the world help find solutions to cancerous growths and viral infections. The solutions were tested in the lab, and when they didn’t work, people went back to their computers and found others that did work.

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SUPER MARIO BROTHERS

SuperMario.me has free online games for fans of Super Mario Brothers. We played the classic version, using our keyboard to jump up and collect gold coins, go through doors, fight bad guys, the usual stuff.

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FUN AND GAMES: THE SIMPSONS

“The Simpsons: Tapped Out” is a fun, free game from the Google Play store for Android phones and tablets.

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THE XBOX ONE

A number of critics have been saying the Xbox One isn’t worth getting because some of the most popular games won’t play on it. That’s not the only reason. We got one because our favorite game, Peggle, is out in a new version that only plays on Xbox One. The other reason was just to keep up to date on what’s happening out there. It’s a good thing we’re having a blast playing that game, because everything else about the Xbox One feels overpriced and underwhelming. Want to use Skype for phone calls? Or Amazon Instant Video? Or Internet Explorer? Or even the popular Netflix and Hulu networks? Fuggedaboutit. Nearly everything you want to do except free games, requires an […]

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FUN AND GAMES

“Mech Mice” is an online game and iPhone app (coming soon to Android) that challenges players to build their own squad of mechanical mice to defend against invading armies. It was designed by Lance Priebe, the co-creator of Disney’s Penguin Club.

We liked it that instructions pop up to show you where to

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MAKING KIDS SMARTER

A new study from SRI International found that using games from PBSKids.org made four and five-year old kids significantly smarter in math. They improved in counting, recognizing shapes and patterns. The games they played, “Cat in the Hat,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Curious George” and “Sid the Science Kid” are all free at PBSKids.org.

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