Tech review: The best app games of the year from Apple

As iPhones and high-end Androids grow in size and graphics power, mobile games have evolved from simple diversions to being able to offer gameplay that equals the experience of playing on consoles and PCs. In 2019, these games were the best of the best according to Apple’s App store.

Sky: Children of the Light

(iOS, free)

Apple loved this fantasy role-playing game filled with gorgeous animations and named it iPhone Game of the Year. (There’s also a version for iPads; an Android version is coming soon.) But Sky: Children of the Light is more than a game. It is also a social network in which gamers who share common interests become friends. In honoring the game, Apple called it a “groundbreaking social quest.”

Hyper Light Drifter

(iOS; $4.99)

This adventure game puts players in a beautifully rendered but dying world where the goal is to solve clever puzzles — mainly how to cure a disease that has ravaged the planet. Calling it a “dazzling, action-packed reimagining of classic 16-bit adventure games,” Apple named Hyper Light Drifter its iPad Game of the Year. There is also an excellent version for iPhones and iPads, but none for Android.

Gris

(iOS, $4.99)

The story may be a sad one — it centers on young girl named Gris who is dealing with a life of sorrow — but your goal is to guide her on a journey that will end her pain. Although this was named Mac Game of the Year, there are mobile versions for iPhones and iPads. (There is no Android version.) Apple said Gris is “spectacularly satisfying” and called it “a soul-stirring work of digital art.

Mario Kart Tour

(iOS, Android; free)

Apple also included a category called Game Trend of 2019, which was defined as “blockbusters reimagined.” Titles like Mario Kart Tour were singled out because they “breathed new life into the most beloved franchises in gaming history.” Other Game Trend winners (all are also available for Android): Alien: Blackout; Assassin’s Creed Rebellion; Call of Duty: Mobile; The Elder Scrolls: Blades; Dr. Mario World; Gears POP!; Minecraft Earth; and Pokémon Masters.

Spotify bans political ads

Spotify, which has 140 million subscribers to its ad-supported music streaming service, will not accept political advertising at least until after the 2020 election. Spotify told Reuters it didn’t have the capability to “validate and review this content.” Twitter has also recently banned political ads, and giants Facebook and Google are under pressure to ban or at least correct misleading political ads.

— PETER KING

Apple sued over patent infringement

A New York University cardiologist is suing Apple, claiming the Apple Watch uses his patented heartbeat-monitoring invention. Dr. Joseph Wiesel claims the Apple Watch infringes his patent for detecting an irregular heartbeat caused by atrial fibrillation. Wiesel said he contacted Apple in 2017, giving the company information about the patent, but Apple “refused to negotiate in good faith.” Wiesel wants Apple to pay him royalties.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS

AI jeopardizes white-collar jobs

It’s been believed that artificial intelligence, which will power workplace automation, will take its heaviest toll on blue-collar jobs. But the Brookings Institution says “better-educated, better-paid workers” will be impacted most by AI technologies. College graduates and those with graduate degrees, especially professionals working in law, marketing, computer programming and publishing, are most likely to see their jobs usurped by AI technologies.

— PETER KING

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