Article by: Rom Villarica
When the iPhone first came out in 2007, it was revolutionary. Its user-friendly touch screen and interface instantly catapulted it to worldwide fame, even prompting tech bloggers to proclaim it the “Jesus Phone”.
One of its features in particular, though, the App Store, took the world by storm. Its launch marked the beginning of a new era, an era of creativity. No longer were users limited to the apps created by Apple’s developers; with the introduction of the App Store, they could create their own. This quickly spawned an incredible variety of apps; from simple games such as 2048 and Flappy Bird to more useful apps such as Garageband and Kindle, the App Store has enabled developers to release increasingly brilliant, unique ideas every single day.
Occasionally, though, an app graces the App Store that is almost on another level entirely. Simple, yet unmistakably appealing, it captures the hearts and minds of thousands across the world.
In 2014, three such apps were released, apps that are still in use to this very day. The first “Heads Up!” is a Charades-esque game that boasts a wide array of topics. Players typically gather around the guesser, a player who holds the phone, screen facing outward, against their forehead. As words appear on the screen, players must describe each word to the guesser without actually using the word. Upon guessing it correctly, the guesser angles the phone downward to progress to the next word. Guessers can also angle the phone upward in order to pass if the players deem the word too difficult or unfamiliar.
In a similar vein, “QuizUp” is a multiplayer trivia game that pits friend against friend in an epic battle to answer questions spanning over 550 topics. Senior Mariel Guzman in fact believes that QuizUp is not only a fun way to pass the time, but also an invaluable resource for learning, featuring “knowledge questions about all kinds of topics”.
Last, but most certainly not least, “Snapchat” is a photo sharing program wherein users can send pictures taken with their phones, called “snaps” to their friends. After a predefined number of seconds, the pictures are deleted. Though the concept itself is simple, there is an almost addictive quality to sending and receiving snaps; sophomore Lukas Fiechter believes that part of the thrill of Snapchat is being able to actually see the faces of others. “To me, a snap is much more personal than a text. We live in a world where the primary mode of communication is textual, and I feel that being able to see the face of the person I’m communicating with – even though it’s just for a few seconds – helps me connect with them on a much deeper level than I would normally be able to if we were texting.”
These apps have enjoyed high levels of success in the App Store, and it is undeniable that they have made a great impact on society as a whole. It is common to see people playing Heads Up! in public places such as airports and restaurants, a favored pastime to challenge a friend to a quick game of QuizUp, and not unusual for people to communicate exclusively through Snapchat. Though Heads Up!, QuizUp, and Snapchat have attained a level of popularity that makes it seem unlikely that they will ever move completely out of the spotlight, one cannot help but wonder what new, innovative apps will arise to challenge this with the advent of 2015.