One of my favorite movies is Predator, with Ahhh-nahld going head to …, umm, chest against an eight foot tall dreadlocked alien trophy hunter.
Predator was a testosterone-laden, cinematic bloodletting that tapped into the imaginations and, after two more movies and countless books, comics, and toys, the wallets of a generation of males, and more than a few females.
(Yes, there were two Alien vs Predator movies, but I don’t count them because they were not purely about Predators, though the first AvP movie did focus more on the humans and Predators than the Aliens. Eh. Whatever.)
The idea that there could a race of creatures technically more advanced than, and physically superior to us who hunted us as we might lions, or tigers, or bears (oh my!) spoke volumes about who we think we are and where we fit in the grand scheme of the Universe. And it was just plain fun to watch.
Predator aliens don’t hunt for food, they hunt for the challenge, only pitting themselves against creatures they considers to be worthy of chasing and killing. The sick or infirm need not apply. Predators wants their prey to run, think, and fight back. The tougher the prey, the better the hunt.
Many people bad-mouthed the second Predator movie, which starred Danny Glover as a cop in New York City who dukes it out with the Alien hunters. I liked the movie, though I will admit it was not on par with the original. I liked it because it offered a longer look at the Predator culture. We knew, from Arnold’s movie, that the Predator was a hunter, but the second movie showed us what we’d only guessed, that they hunted on other worlds, and that their culture revered the hunt, which had rules. We also learned that the Predators had visited Earth many times before, and that there was no reason to believe that they wouldn’t visit again.
The latest installment in the Predator franchise is called Predators, and it reveals even more about the Predator culture. The movie was released earlier this year and it did well in the box-office, proving that people are still interested in these creatures. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you here, but I will say that Predators showed us that these hunters are more like us than we might care to admit. I’ll add that it’s more than a little unsettling to see Adrien Brody, the guy who played an emaciated Jewish pianist in Nazi Germany in The Pianist, run around on the big screen sporting a six-pack, bulging biceps, a chest meaty enough to get a nod from Arnold himself.
Anyway, I mention all of that so that I can tell you about a free iPhone/iPad app based on the latest Predator movie, and the lite version is free.
Predators Lite puts you in control of a Predator who is new to the hunt. You learn how to use all of those deadly weapons as you hunt and kill your human prey. This is not Mario Karts folks — there’s plenty of blood letting. Humans get stabbed, sliced, diced, blasted, impaled, and, yes, beheaded. Good gruesome fun, but definitely not for the wee ones.
As your newbie hunter learns the way of human trophy hunting, you’ll quickly learn not to feel too sorry for the humans, as they are not helpless. They carry weapons and can quickly reduce your alien avatar to a glowing green mess if you’re not careful.
As you collect trophies from your hunts you gain access to better weapons and technology. Turn invisible, hunt using infrared vision, slight smart-disks, and more.
Whether you’ve seen the Predators movie or not, check out Predators Lite and get your hunt on.
If spilling human blood is not part of your gaming world then you might want to check out Mr. Runner.
This is about as simple as a game can get and still be fun. You control a little guy who runs through a side scrolling environment. Ever so often this monotone world collapses leaving pockets where the runner won’t get smooshed. You can speed the runner up or slow him down. Your goal is to keep him from getting smashed.
The further he runs the more interesting the environment becomes. Silhouettes of famous places appear, and you wind up wanting to see the next silhouette.
It’s basic, it’s fun, and it’s free. Mr. Runner. Stop and get it.
The last app is something I stumbled upon earlier this week, and it’s almost as simple as Mr. Runner and just as addicting. I’m talking about Virtual Table Tennis Lite.
I use to be pretty good at Ping Pong. I played a match recently against a kid a quarter my age and won. So, I guess I still got it. What I like about Ping Pong (pronounced “píng-pŏng”) is that it requires skill, yet, with a bit of practice, almost anyone can play.
Virtual Table Tennis is like that. The controls are such that it requires a bit of skill to get a good volley going, but the learning curve is not steep. A few minutes after loading the game you can play about as well as anyone can.
What’s really good is that the physics of the paddle and ball are pretty realistic, and you can predict the result of your swing accurately.
Unfortunately, in the lite version, you can’t play against others, but the built-in opponents are good enough to hone your skills or just waste some time.
Download Virtual Table Tennis Lite and you’ll be smacking that ball like a pro.
That’s a wrap for this week.
More free stuff below with direct links.