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Sidescroller: Gaming fun with Apple’s Game Center

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Apple’s Game Center has quietly moved from being that icon on your iPhone you occasionally shrug at to being a cross-platform gaming powerhouse. Since the release of OS X Mountain Lion, and the Mac App Store, titles have begun flooding in that let you play on your Mac against people on their iPhones and iPad (and vice versa). Here are a couple of stand-out games that let you do just that.

‘Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy’
System. Mac/iPad/iPhone
Company. Nambo Bandai
Cost. $2.99 plus in-game purchases
Grade. •••••

The flying sim is about as old as gaming itself. Most of us will never, ever get behind the wheel of an airplane, so playing a video game recreation just feels right. To that end, the “Sky Gamblers” series is the best airborne action available for iOS. This game offers sharp graphics, a great single player campaign and, of course, plenty of cross-platform multiplayer tomfoolery. The only downside? Too many in-game purchases.
The cool thing about playing this on a Mac is you can plug in a joystick, challenge some friends who are playing via touchscreen and wipe the sky with them. Here’s to taking advantage of technology.

‘Real Racing 2’
System. Mac/iPad/iPhone
Company. EA
Cost. $12.99 Mac/$6.99 iPad/$4.99 iPhone
Grade. ••••

“Real Racing” was one of the first iOS games to show off true console quality graphics. The sequel, first released for iPhone and iPad two years ago, has finally come home to roost on Macs. Guess what? It’s even better than the original. What makes “Real Racing 2” so great? The graphics are fantastic, looking as good or better than any comparable racer for home consoles. The gameplay is smooth and offers a handful of neat control schemes, even allowing you to steer using your iPad or iPhone. The real meat and potatoes here is online play, however. Game Center makes it easy to set up intense 16-person races. You can finally prove to your friends and family the car accidents you used to get in were flukes.

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