Dots – Game for iPhone

Every so often I download a new game that’s so addictive I’m hooked for weeks. Over the years these have included Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, Harbor Master, Letterpress and many more. At the moment, though, it’s Dots.


Dots, created by Betaworks, is extremely simple. You have a playing space with several rows of dots in different colours. Link together two or more neighbouring dots of the same colour, they disappear and you get some points. If you manage to make a square (or something a bit like a square that makes a loop) you get more points. Simple.

The challenge comes from one of its two playing modes – you either run out of moves or you run out of time.

There are trophies for completing certain challenges – getting lots of points, squares, etc – and bonus items available when you’ve collected enough dots to pay for them.

What’s really beautiful about this game is the design. It’s a lovely flat UX, with simple colours and some wonderfully cute graphics for the trophies. Added to that the sound design creates pleasant-sounding chords, built up dot by connected dot. If you complete a square, the chord resolves with a little shimmer. Lovely.

The game is free, but you have been warned about how addicted you’ll be. Enjoy!


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Cardiff Design Festival 2012

Cardiff seems to be full of art and design at the moment. Artes Mundi 5, Made in Roath 2012 and Cardiff Contemporary are all on at the moment. The 2012 Cardiff Design Festival, has also recently taken place.

I didn’t manage to get to as many design festival events as I’d have liked to this year, mostly due to my being in Amsterdam for half of it, but I really enjoyed the few things I did make! I’ve already posted about Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Pointe Blank exhibition, which has inspired me to think of other ways in which one art form can respond to stories and ideas associated mainly with another form.

My highlights of the rest of the festival were:

Trade School Cardiff

Again, my being in Amsterdam led to me missing half of this but I made up for it on the final Saturday when I joined classes to learn How to Write a Life List and Projection Mapping. Sarah‘s Life List class was really fun, and involved handouts which asked us to think about what we enjoy, our favourite things and some goals and then turn them into the beginnings of a life list. At the Projection Mapping class, Chris Mog demonstrated a selection of open source software that can be used to create 3D animations and projections, and all the fun that can be had with them. I left both classes with my head bursting with ideas. Now all I need is a few hours and a projector.

The best thing about Trade School is that the only thing you have to do to attend a class is barter for the knowledge. This amounted to providing some lovely notebooks for Sarah, and interesting flavours of tea for Mog. If you don’t know about Trade School, I really recommend finding out what it’s all about.

Doodle Noodle

During the festival, the team adopted an empty shop in the Morgan Arcade which became Design Festival HQ. Matt and his fellow illustrators created a giant doodle in this space, spread across several large canvasses on one wall. Anyone and everyone were then invited to come along and colour it in.

I loved just sitting for a few minutes and colouring in some doodles. I could have stayed for hours, I think, and just chilled out colouring in little cartoon dinosaurs, bees and other characters.

What also struck me at the time was that this kind of thing would be great to offer to workplaces and maybe even educational environments as a product. I would love to commission an illustrator to produce a giant doodle on the wall of my office and then leave a box of felt tip pens and the doodle ready to be coloured in by the staff whenever they felt like it. It could take days to complete; it could take months. Either way it would bring visual art and creativity into the workplace and would be a great way to relax and free your mind up to think over problems and solutions without feeling the need to be sat at your desk. When all the colouring is finished, you’d end up with a mural in the office to remain for as long as it was enjoyed.

It’s such a fun idea, and I really hope Matt and the other illustrators have the opportunity to create something similar again.

 Trade School image borrowed from thinkARK on Twitter; Doodle Noodle image from Cardiff Design Festival

Playing with Tate’s ‘Inspire Me’ Tool

FootballerArtBe inspired here.


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