It's the weekend of the big game, and all your friends are planning a party, but you hate football. What do you do?
OK, so maybe you don't hate football, but you're definitely not interested in watching it for half a day, even if it is the championship game. And that's totally fair. Either way, you're going to need something to occupy your time while the rest of your buds are glued to their television sets. So here's a collection of apps for iPhone and Android to help you escape the potential boredom of this weekend's big event.
If you are right now saying to yourself, "I love football," then read Jason Parker's post "Games for football lovers on iPhone and Android."
In The Kitchen ($1.99) for Android and iPhone gives you a database of delicious recipes from all your favorite Food Network chefs. If you're hosting or going to a football-related get-together this weekend, you can use it to escape the screen and prep some delicious dishes for the gang.
The interface offers a number of ways to find a good recipe, either by using a search tool or by touching the image of a chef from the Food Network. Browse through thousands of recipes from popular chefs including Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis, and Rachael Ray, and get reviews for recipes from other users. Once you decide on a dish, you can have In The Kitchen create a shopping list for you so you can check off ingredients as you walk around the store. The shopping list is particularly helpful because you can add just the items you need or all the items from multiple dishes. Even if you don't want to make a particular recipe today, you can store favorites in a recipe box so you can get back to them later.
Along with tons of recipes from your favorite Food Network chefs, handy tools for shopping, and a recipe box for your favorites, In The Kitchen offers timers so you don't even need to set a separate one. With all these features and the addition of special seasonal recipe collections, anyone who wants to add to his or her cooking repertoire should definitely download this app.
Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation ($6.99) for Android and iPhone is a first-person shooter with jaw-dropping graphics. If you're going to stick around your jersey-clad friends, you might as well have some of your own on-screen entertainment, right?
This third installment in Gameloft's Modern Combat series challenges you to fight through 13 missions from Pakistan to Los Angeles, while finding and using several different kinds of weapons to complete mission objectives.
Though the touch screen will never be as easy to use as a keyboard and mouse or console controller, Modern Combat: Fallen Nation manages to make the controls fairly easy to use. Auto aim (found in the options) helps a lot to offset the less-than-optimal controls in the beginning, but after spending some time with the game you'll be able turn it off for a more realistic experience.
Along with the great gameplay, Modern Combat: Fallen Nation has amazing graphics, great audio with satisfyingly explosive-sounding guns, and good voice acting in-game and during cut scenes. It even lets you battle up to 12 players online, across six maps, and in several game modes.
If you liked either of the earlier installments of Modern Combat, Fallen Nation is an excellent choice with more exciting gameplay, challenging missions, and probably the best graphics yet. If you like first-person shooters, this game is a must-have on your iOS or Android device.
Shopkick (free) for Android and iPhone is a free app that seeks out deals and earns you reward points at the same time. If you're considering skipping out on the football festivities altogether, then why not just go out and do some shopping? Plenty of retailers have big-game sales this weekend, and with everyone's butts on their couches and this nifty app in your hand, you'll probably be able to find some great deals.
To use Shopkick, simply download the app, and fire it up whenever you're out shopping. Then, just by making supported purchases, scanning items, or even walking into featured retailers, you'll start earning "kickbucks," which can be redeemed for gift cards, free merchandise, and more. You can also earn kickbucks by "checking in" to specific commercials you're watching, or by sharing the app with friends.
The other half of Shopkick is the deals. Whenever you're in a featured store, be sure to check the app to see if any coupons are available. If there are, you can easily pull them up through the app and have the cashier scan them. As of now, Shopkick is supported mostly by big-box retailers, but we're hoping it adds smaller mom-and-pop shops to the mix soon.
To make things easy, Shopkick also lets you share deals with friends via Facebook, e-mail, or SMS, and keep a Favorites list for stores you visit often. But you have to register your name, e-mail address, and phone number in order to unlock all of its features.
What's great about Shopkick is that it's a coupon app and a rewards app rolled into one. It's supereasy to use, and it even adds a fun gaming element to shopping.