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17 ways to have fun with your smartphone

Pointless but fun downloads and tweaks

While smartphones are great for productivity and working on the move, we all want to kick back, relax and have some pointless and sometimes plain stupid fun every so often.

With this in mind, we've rounded up the best free software for the HTC Touch and other Windows Mobile 6 handsets that will help you to avoid to avoid hard work.

Retro Gaming

Emulation is always a grey area when it comes to gaming, and if you're not careful, it constitutes piracy. You do have a couple of options, though. First, if the game is released to the public for free, which happens with many ancient titles, you can play it. Second, if you own a game, you have the right to make a backup for yourself. Me? I'm backing up games to my mobile phone! So why not try to run some classics between calls?

Here are my favourites.

ScummVM: I love the old LucasArts graphic adventure games. Sam & Max Hit the Road, Maniac Mansion ... I could go on. And I might if I had more room. I still own all the games, and this little software app (made for just about every OS ever conceived) lets me play them on my morning commute.

Pocket IIe: I've been hankering to play Karateka again. Maybe even to hit the high seas with Sid Meier's Pirates and to venture Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. If you feel the same, download this Apple IIe emulator, and you're halfway there. (You'll just need the Apple ROMs.)

Zelda Mobile: This Java-based mobile phone game is a work in progress (currently at 'Demo3'), but it still manages to capture all the fun of a certain old-school action adventure game.

Pocket UFO: I wear my nerdiness on my sleeve, but when I found this fully functional tribute to the classic PC title X-Com: UFO Defense, even my pocket protector cried. This turn-based squad strategy game lets you build bases and launch missions to take down an alien menace. From your mobile phone, of course. If your phone has the horsepower to run Pocket UFO, you really have no excuse to miss this truly awesome (and truly free) game.

Samulos: It seems Tetris-ish, but it's really more like the popular PSP game Lumines. You watch the blocks drop, match the like colors, and deal with more falling blocks. Sounds harmless enough, you say? I'll check back with you in about 2 hours.

Pocket Quake: Want to play a classic first-person shooter on your mobile phone? No problem! Well, one slight problem: The program requires the .WAD file from the original game if you want to savor the full fragging experience. Lacking that, this portable version will also work with the shareware version of Quake. Want to really freak someone out? Try setting this thing up for multiplayer.

Shift: A bunch of goofy-faced colored blocks keep closing in on the center, and you have to make 'em connect. Think of it as a Bejeweled-ish puzzle game that pushes everything toward the middle of the screen.

Pocket Gravity: By all rights, this program is utterly useless, yet, I keep opening it up, creating odd shapes, and seeing how they react with other objects in my little digital sandbox.

  1. Pointless but fun downloads and tweaks
  2. Key customisations for your Windows Mobile 6 handset
  3. The Useful' apps


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