The best games to download when traveling for Thanksgiving: Talking Tech Podcast

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Hey listeners, this is Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. It’s Thanksgiving Eve. We are one day away from enjoying our favorite foods, and if you’re a football fan you can sit down to watch Football Day. Maybe you enjoy the morning Thanksgiving day parade. Whatever it was, we were a day away from it all. Now, for some of you, you’re probably traveling for Thanksgiving, which means spending a few hours in the car or at the airport. Wherever it is, you want to find some way to spend time while you wait to arrive at your destination, not to mention when you return home.

My colleague Mark Saltzman writes about this in a column you can read on Tech.USAToday.com. It’s called, “Do You Have a Long Thanksgiving Trek? Download these mobile games to pass the time.” They split some mobile games available on Android devices on the iPhone and iPad, through the App Store or Google Play. We break them down for you here. If you say you haven’t made your trip yet, you want to pop it on your iPhone or Android phone, or if you think I might need some confusion while returning, I’m sitting in the car too long, or I’m waiting too long at the airport, and I need something to kill time in between.

So let’s break down some of that here. First on Mark’s list is Farmville 3. It’s 2021 and I’m talking about Farmville. I’m shocked because I still remember it in the early days of Facebook, but it’s still there. It has been around for 12 years. It has been downloaded more than 700 million times. I think a lot of people have heard it this time. So what’s different or the same, or what’s going on with Farmville?

So in Farmville 3, you do stuff like breeding animals. You get to harvest what they produce. So if you are raising sheep, you get wool, poultry, eggs. You know the drill. And then you trade or sell those goods to customers to complete orders and you basically turn your farm into this big business. It’s basically like the Sims you’re farming a ton of.

Another great option is that you can join someone else playing Farmville 3 online and compete in these cooperative events to unlock new animals and special items. So a lot of fun stuff out there. I still can’t believe I’m talking about Farmville, as long as it’s out, but there you go. Still popular, still out there. If you have Farmville itching, Farmville 3 is the way to go.

Another game that Mark recommends is Pikmin Bloom, which is based on the popular Pikmin franchise for Nintendo. You may remember it was originally released 20 years ago for the GameCube. It challenged gamers to help find spacecraft fragments before the unfortunate space shuttle lifeguard system depleted. And you’re basically dealing with this little plant-like creature called Pikmin. It is being developed by Niantic. If you haven’t heard of them, you’ve probably heard of their biggest hit to date, this is Pokemon Go, which was a huge hit five years ago and is still played by a lot of people today. So they definitely have a good history with mobile games. And if you’re a big fan of Pikmin, if you remember it from the GameCube era, another great option.

Now, one thing that is interesting with this game is that it is based online. Obviously, augmented-reality involves quite a bit. So just keep in mind. If you’re on a plane and you don’t really have access to your phone or WiFi, then this may not be one of those games that tells you you can’t play it. But it’s definitely good, you’re in the car, you’re on a road trip.

Another game that Mark mentioned is called Collect Em All. The goal is to make long chains of adjacent balls of the same color. So you do things like pulling your finger horizontally, up, down, diagonally. And you’re trying to pull together balls of different colors, red, blue, whatever you have. Feels like it got a little candy crush vibe to it. If you’re big on those kinds of games and you’re really big on Candy Crush, it feels like it’s in the same vein. So that’s another thing worth considering.

We throw another game there. NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition. If you own an Apple Arcade, it costs 4.99 per month, and if it’s available on the iPhone and iPad, these are basically the main tools you’re going to bring with you on the road anyway. This is basically the mobile version of the console game. So if you are playing five-by-five basketball, you can play online against other players. There is a blacktop version so you can play three-by-three on the blacktop. There is also a quick match. Again, play online. You can play really quick games. There are also different modes, such as GM mode and Head Coach mode where you operate the franchise. You trade players, you sign free agents, you do everything. Again, just like the console version of the game, it’s on your phone.

Mark says the touch screen controls are tight and responsive. I haven’t had a chance to play the game, but it’s one thing that intrigues me, I’ve always found that games trying to insert a thumb stick on a screen don’t work. Very well. Trying to manipulate that thumb screen is really weird. But Mark stands by it. He said it works really well. I’m kind of curious about it so I think I might have to check it out. I’m a big fan of NBA 2K on consoles so it looks like there might be something to check out.

If you want to read more of Mark’s story, learn more about these games and any ways to spend time while you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, be sure to go to Tech.USAToday.com

Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions or thoughts? Any technical distractions or tasks that help you spend time on the go? Let me know on Twitter. I am @ BrettMolina23. Please don’t forget to subscribe and rate us or leave a review if you get your podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher. And don’t forget, we also have a newsletter. It comes to your inbox every Thursday. Be sure to subscribe at newsletters.USAToday.com. You’re listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick hit in the tech world.

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