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From all of us here at iWin to you and yours, the very happiest holiday wishes!  I’d love to sit and write a few thoughts about the holidays but I have a dog scratching at the door, two pies in the oven, and I need to do something about this hair before company arrives.  As Phyllis Diller once said “You know what keeps me humble?  Mirrors!”  Anyway, enjoy your holiday and go easy on the egg nog!

 

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People of a certain age (such as myself) might be familiar with an old commercial featuring anxious diners waiting for their Heinz ketchup to pour to the backdrop music of Carly Simon’s “Anticipation.”  Many a time while waiting for a download game to complete installation, I hum the tune while watching the minutes remaining tick away.  Most of the time, the end product is well worth the wait but sometimes there will be that title that I WANT NOW!  Fortunately iWin does have a growing selection of Online games that allow the immediate gratification I crave.  One game I’m really enjoying in this format is the recent release of the mystery title City of Fools.” If you haven’t checked this one out yet, I’m recommending that you give it a try.  You’ll get that hidden object fix in – without a moment’s wait to dig in.  Those diners in the commercial may not be so lucky, perhaps still sitting in a now dusty cobwebbed room awaiting the first drip of ketchup.  Just a whimsical thought.

 

 

 

 

When someone mentioned  Holiday Bonus Gold this morning as I walked into the office, I immediately seized on the mental picture of a seasonally themed compilation CD with classic crooners Roger Whittaker, Nat “King” Cole, and Burl Ives (and don’t forget Johnny Mathis!), but  I was not at all disappointed.  I love holiday themed games – to me, they’re just as mood setting for getting in the spirit of the season as Rankin/Bass television specials or turning on the radio to catch “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer” for the millionth time (maybe I’m just a tad oversensitive, but I’ve never been a fan of that little ditty).

Not only is Holiday Bonus Golda great seasonal game thematically – it’s also a great match-3 title, a genre I can’t ever get enough of.  With gingerbread men, candy canes, wrapped gifts, and other holiday symbols – I’ve found a great companion piece to my Frank Sinatra Christmas album and the home made fudge tempting me at every turn.

 

 

 

 

While I prefer the term “sophisticated palate,” I’m widely known as a fussy eater – particularly if I’m preparing the meal in question.  Getting the right combination of seasonings (and quantity – no one likes a bland chili or an over-salted stew) has been an imperative for my busy kitchen.  Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by strange fusions where mundane components combined create something entirely new, an epic adventure if you will.  If someone hadn’t already done it, I might have been the culprit blamed for putting someone’s chocolate in someone else’s peanut butter.  While I’m no longer apt to dip french fries in my ice cream or pour peanuts in my cola, I’m still up for an experiment to create delicious exotica.  Some are commonplace such as ham and pineapple, salt and caramel, blue cheese and pears, and bacon and…everything.  Less obvious, but still completely delicious are: mixing cinnamon with savory flavors, curry with ketchup, and don’t laugh…tuna fish on pizza.

One pairing that will never fail to disappoint is today’s together-for-the-first-time combo release of “Jewel Quest: The Sapphire Dragon” with “Jewel Quest Mysteries: The Oracle of Ur” inDouble Play:  Jewel Quest Bundle. Mixing the Match-3 adventure classic of Dragon with the Hidden Object extravaganza of Oracle, you can play these iWin originals reflective of the best of both genres to your heart’s content at one low cost.  I’ve always loved both of these games but never really considered alternating the game play experience until now.  I plan on going home tonight to pull a chocolate dipped banana out of the freezer and settle down for an hour or two of this amazing fusion.

I got a wake up call this morning from my ever perky sister Patty.  “There’s a problem with your game,” she snarled into the receiver and hung up.  Confused and drowsy, I fell back asleep without knowing what she meant until my alarm went off fifteen minutes later.

 

 

 

 

Now that I’m fully awake I know what she meant.  Today’s initial release of “Legend of Rome” had a couple of problems and has been temporarily “benched.”  In its place is the exciting and mysterious Grim Tales:  The Wishes.” Interestingly, the tag for this game states “Be careful what you wish for… When her young son begins to wither and age before her eyes, your sister desperately requests your help. You arrive to discover that a deadly bargain has been made.”  I hope I didn’t jinx Patty and her son Tommy by virtue of this switcharoo!

 

 

 

 

As I write this, the number one game for the day on iWin is Big City Adventure: London Premium Edition.  The game is several months old now but just keeps rising to the top.  What makes this game so special?  Like the others in the Big City Adventure series (I’m a huge fan of Big City Adventure San Francisco for hometown reasons), the graphics are cute and quirky, the difficulty level is enough to be challenging but not enough for my teeth to go on edge every time Molly my yorkie barks, and the story is fun and propels you through the game.
For me, Big City Adventure: London Premium Edition takes me back in time to a school trip made during my sophomore year of high school “across the pond.” It stands out so much because it was the first time I was away from my parents.  I remember the excitement of packing bags while my younger sister Patty sulkily looked on (who ironically later went on her own Big City Adventure to Sydney –  funny how these things work), clutching the hand of my best friend and co-traveller Bev during the nervous last minutes waiting for the plane to take off , and the strange feeling of landing in another world upon arrival.  While seeing all of the tourist sites one reads about (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, etc.) were of course thrilling, these weren’t actually the things which made the deepest impressions.  The way people dressed and the way they silently negotiated space in crowds, trying fish and chips with vinegar for the first time (I still get occasional cravings), stopping into a small but well stocked grocery and finding so terribly exotic the little things that the natives found mundane.  But by Day 9, I was a little homesick, Bev and I were on each other’s last raw nerve and I couldn’t wait to sleep in my own bed.  Still, playing Big City Adventure: London Premium Edition takes me back to a time when the world seemed larger yet less scary and to a place where people were essentially the same – they just speak a little differently and drive on the opposite side of the road.

 

 

 

 

Stories of scientific research and development gone awry have always fascinated and scared me half to death, given the accelerating rate of knowledge that exists.  The possibility of unintended consequences of experimentation permeate our culture with examples ranging from “Godzilla” to “Waterworld.” They play on our fears, exposing the dark underbelly of progress as we know it.  I’ve always gravitated towards the more far fetched and ridiculous story lines such as H.G. Wells “Island of Dr. Moreau,” with its humanoid creatures which were both menacing and pitiable.  Who can forget either the 1977 film with Michael York and Burt Lancaster, or the deliciously campy 1996 version with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer?

Needless to say when the game Natural Threat: Ominous Shores made its way into Steals and Deals, I was delighted.  As the research assistant of Professor Steiner (who looks a bit like Riff Raff from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”), you are dispatched to his remote Pacific island.  Once there you encounter all sorts of obstacles and creepy biological mutations.  I’m not going to give too much away, but I will say that I’m loving this game – and by most of the user reviews on this one, it appears that most of you who’ve tried it agree with me.  At $3.49/500 iCoins for our subscribers for a limited time, this is one you really don’t want to miss out on!

I wanted to take a moment out of peeling potatoes and fussing over my turkey to drop you a quick line.

For those paying attention to my recent post on the subject, I can now report that I was right in my early predictions regarding my leaked titles for iWin’s Thanksgiving Sale – Games for 50%.

 

 

 

 

There are some good ones in there (though I might wait until after Black Friday to play Mall-a-Palooza – I’ll be dealing with the brass knuckle crowd soon enough.  Best of all, I didn’t really take any heat for my big mouth…for leaking sale titles at least.  I can’t say the same about Aunt Ginny’s reaction to the news that I’d published her relish recipe, but I digress.  Back to the kitchen I go, but before I do:  I want to wish you and yours the happiest and safest of Thanksgivings.   Enjoy your meals, play some games, and spend time with your loved ones.

This week has been so hectic!  Between grocery runs, picking up out of towners from the airport, and coordinating my Black Friday itinerary (Remember:  Be assertive but do not use brass knuckles as I witnessed last year at a big box retailer!), I’ve barely had a chance to sit down!  My sister Patty the showboat is hosting at her house, but actual cooking details are being left to yours truly.  As in previous years, she’ll get off her duff from playing her new favorite Online Game “Treasure Seekers Enchanted Canvases” long enough to dust her crisp (read:  never used) Williams-Sonoma apron with a little flour and feign exhaustion as guests arrive before settling back to her game as if it were a reprieve from her tireless efforts at creating the perfect meal.  My Aunt Ginny is an incredibly secretive person (and as my post from last Friday reveals, I’m not  so inclined when it comes to good upcoming sales!) but has relented to years of pressure and has passed on to me a family favorite which I’m sharing with you as well.

Aunt Ginny’s Cranberry Relish

My suggestion is to make this a day before the meal.  You’ll need:
1 bag of fresh cranberries washed and picked over2 medium apples (I like Braeburn) – cored but not peeled
2 medium navel oranges (collect about 1 teaspoon of zest before peeling)
1 cup sugar
Optional:  a splash of Gran Marnier (I use it to help preserve the concoction but restore the bottle to its hiding place immediately afterward, in case my best friend Patty happens to stop by)
….and break out your food processor and mixing bowl.

Process cranberries and add to mixing bowl.
Process apples and add to the bowl.
Process oranges and the zest  – It will look like thick orange juice when you’re done and add to bowl.
Add sugar to the mix and taste.  If it’s still too tart add more sugar accordingly.
Put in a quart jar and refrigerate.

The best part about this is it freezes well and can be used for Christmas as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’d like to say that to know me is to love me.  That is a matter of opinion and in some circles is a very debatable statement.  Depending on who you ask in the neighborhood association, you’ll receive wildly different answers ranging from the aw shucks flattering to the unprintable.  A more accurate truism would be:  To know me is to know that I’m thrifty (but never cheap).  Around this time of year, I take sourcing Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals in advance as a competitive sport and my true calling.  Throughout the rest of the year I take a lot of ribbing for my deal hunting, but around mid-November I become the wise sage that friends and family alike come to with reverence for guidance and advisement.  Think of Marlon Brando in the Godfather without the cotton stuffed in my cheeks.

My sister Patty wants to know where the best prices on Blu-ray machines are.  No sweat. My best friend Bev has been asking about tablet pricing.  I’ve pointed her in the right direction.  Even that imbecile Mr. Martin across the street has made queries about George Foreman grills and where the deals may be had.  While I considered sending him on a fool’s errand (the only kind he knows), my generosity of spirit directed him to an incredible offer.  The only perplexing request I’ve had so far is from my elderly Aunt Ginny, who’s asked about getting a new portable tape deck.  We’ll figure something out for her.

With you in mind I did a little sleuth work here to find out what some of the titles would be for iWin’s upcoming Thanksgiving Sale, casually throwing some titles into conversation and gauging reactions.  You’d think I was after classified state secrets by the reaction I got!  I wasn’t able to find out exact pricing or a full list but if you’ve had your eyes on any of these games, you might be in for a pleasant surprise next week:

Mall-a-Palooza
Cradle Bundle
Vegas Penny Slots Pack 3
The Otherside Realm of Eons
…and I suspect there will be many more.

Now I do have to provide a disclaimer:  If I’m wrong or have been deliberately thrown off the trail, please don’t blame me.  If I’m right and get into trouble for talking out of class, can I count on you to back me up?  I hope so!  Have a great weekend!