'Tis the season. Welcome to the most jolly, yet, hectic time of the year. From the smell of burnt cookies baking in the oven to that caroling sound of Christmas songs playing on repeat throughout the house - the last few weeks of December can be the most annoying time of the year.
As much as we love visiting in-laws and other relatives, getting through the holiday season can have its limits. Sure you are surrounded by people who love you, or at least people to whom you are related, but sometimes you just want to put your head down and do something, anything other than listen to your sister talk about her wedding plans for an hour.
How many Sony-hack conversations can one have with Aunt Sally? Do you really have to answer Dad's intrusive questions about your marital and reproductive prospects?
If you need a distraction, take comfort in bits of tech salvation, that is-- your smart phone of course! So either put on some headphones and just ignore everyone just for a bit or download these 10 apps to successfully ignore your family during the holidays.
Instead of scrolling through your braggy Instagram posts from people you follow or seeing whatever hashtag is trending, Plague is an iOS and Android app designed to spread information-- much like a virus in real life. Whenever a user submits a funny picture or video, shared by text, links or images which have your location, it gets sent to the four Plague users closest to that person, who can either pass it along to the four closest Plague users nearby, or strike it down and stop the spread. When it appears for those users nearby, they have the option to either infect those near them or to stop the infection.
Think of Plague as Reddit gamified. And when there's lots of people sharing, Plague could be a great way to crowd-source your family angst and spread the virus, (ehem) we mean cheer.
If Mom asks, "Are you playing on your phone again?" You can tell her confidently, that you are swiping for your soul mate, or at least someone to bring to next year's holiday festivities. If Tinder is for hookups, the Hinge app is for relationships. The Android and iOS app uses its "romance graph" to pair you with friends of friends, so you have a trusted connection that implies your date isn't a psychopath, and you get to see info about their work and education upfront.
Hinge serves up a seemingly endless stream of potential dates; for each one, you respond by swiping left for "no" or right for "yes"—kind of like the old "Hot or Not" game. You will be mesmerized by how quickly time can pass by with this app.
So you've been sitting in your parents home for hours, longing for an adult drink. You could hop in the car, but hey, it's cold out there. And who's to say whether the closest liquor store will be open? Have no fear, just look down at your smartphone and with a few taps of the finger, your favorite beer, wine or liquor is on its way, in just 20 to 40 minutes. The $3 flat fee plus 10% automatic gratuity is totally worth it. After a few drinks, you will be sad that the holidays are almost over.
Tengami is an atmospheric adventure game, full of wonder and mystery. Taking its design from traditional Japanese arts and crafts, you guide a character through a pop-up book world in which you flip pages and slide tabs to discover hidden passages. Flip, fold, slide and pull parts of the world to solve puzzles and discover secrets.
You need headphones to properly appreciate this iOS app, to fully appreciate the serene, low-thinking break from holiday madness.
So you keep looking at your phone, and your family is wondering what you're doing. If only they knew you were having a real conversation about real things. Not weddings or baking or redecorating your garage.
How about chatting with someone who has things in common as you? FlashChat lets you communicate with people on the same Wi-Fi network as you, anonymously. Whether you're in your family's home, an office, university campus, stadium, shop, airport, or anywhere else, you can have fun talking to new people who are close by. Best of all, your messages will disappear from the iOS and Android app and its servers shortly after you leave the Wi-Fi network on which you were chatting.
You can pretend to not be entirely self-obsessed, but the Shots app will prove that unlikely. This social network is a dairy dedicated entirely for selfies. While its creators say, it stands apart from other social media because it is driven by a positive, anti-bullying structure. Comments on photos are not allowed, and users can't see how many followers others have. We think the terms will change if you get Granny involved. Spend some time on this iOS and Android app and the entire family will be looking down on their devices sending selfies.
Were you obsessed in the 80s and 90s with Trivial Pursuit? Then this is the game for you. This iOS and Android app randomly matches you up with people from all over the globe (so you're sure to have the pop culture advantage) and show your superior knowledge on tons of topics. Users are presented trivia questions on their selected topic and are given 4 choices. They need to select the right option within the given amount of time.
If you feel bad about not taking this time to enjoy the holidays with our loved ones, you can include them in the game as well. The thing that makes QuizUp interesting is that users can play in real time against other players or their friends who are online at the moment.
8. Candy Crush Saga
The face of concentration you make while playing Candy Crush will make relatives think you're doing something very important on your phone, rather than trying to beat level 425. This mind-numbingly simple, yet addictive game involves matching colored sweets. Basically it's a glorified connect 4/ Tetris/fruits game. The goal of the iOS and Android app is to complete the objective given to you at the beginning of each level. Sometimes it is to get the fruit to the bottom of the screen, or to completely clear the candy on screen, or something similar. As the saga goes on, the levels get progressively harder and harder.
Whether you are age 7 or 37, living in Candy Land sounds like loads of fun, because Candy Crush Saga can take you there…and make you never want to leave ( we're not talking about your family here).
Brains need regular exercise and challenges to reach their full potential. Lumosity is an iOS and Android brain-training app – well, a suite of games really – which is great for stretching your grey cells, especially after all that spiked eggnog. The platform promises to improve memory, attention span, processing speed and mental flexibility, with personalized brain challenges designed to help with practical problems such as remembering names, avoiding distractions and even driving better.
10. Jetpack Joyride
We know Jetpacks don't need much selling; they're cool. From Michael Jackson, James Bond - they've all had a go. Join Barry Steakfries on his adventure to break into a laboratory to grab the jetpacks and take on a trip full of obstacles and dangerous enemies. You will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you can lose yourself in the Jetpack Joyride, especially because you are controlling your character by tapping your finger on the screen to keep him in the air.
The objective of this Android and iOS app is to get as far as possible without being hurt, a task that might seem easy at first but it's actually pretty hard given all the obstacles he will find. There's always a new surprise waiting just off the screen in this game, and you'll find it hard to put down if for no other reason than you want to make time whizz by.