The Game Data Facebook Conundrum

Facebook_installBack in March, I wrote about moving from my old smartphone to a new one.  Well, thanks to B getting a new phone from Verizon Wireless, I’ve had to do it again. This time, however, things didn’t go as smoothly as the first time.

For the first move, games tended to fall into one of three categories. The first was games whose data I couldn’t move over but whose data I really didn’t care about. For example, I enjoy playing a backgammon game and the app keeps track of the games won and lost. I didn’t really mind having that counter reset.  The second category was games whose data I was able to move either by signing into an online account if by contacting the developer. The third category was games whose data I couldn’t move but which I realized I hadn’t played in a long time.

This time around, there was a fourth category as well. These were games that I cared about and could be moved – but only by logging into your Facebook account.

Problem: I didn’t have a Facebook account. Though I’m on social media, I’ve steadfastly refused to open a Facebook account. I refused when I saw that a lot of people that i knew were on Facebook. I refused when groups I would like to be a part of were only accessible as Facebook groups. I refused when my wife kept telling me it was a great way to keep in touch with family and friends.

Part of my refusal was due to time constraints. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media in general. I’d rather focus on one or two social media platforms than to spread myself across too many and not be able to keep up with any. In addition, Facebook has had a lot of piracy and usability issues. I didn’t want to subject myself to that.

Still, I *needed* to get those games transferred. What was I to do?

In the end, I gave in and opened a Facebook account to transfer my games over. Don’t expect my to Like your Facebook posts or add you as a friend, though. My profile remains almost completely bare – I didn’t even bother to add a profile image. The only purpose for this account was to assist me in moving my game data. Now that this is done, the account is only going to be used for saving game data.

What lengths have you needed to go to to keep your game progress?

The Great Android Phone Move

androidmoveLast month, I wrote about my reluctance to upgrade my phone.  Well, last week, after one too many times with my battery dying too quickly, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade.  B showed me some of the phones she had gotten from being a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers program and I selected the Droid Razr HD.

We had already obtained a new SIM card for the phone (something you can request for free from the online live chat on Verizon Wireless’ website) so all that I needed to do was switch my plan to use that phone, move my apps and data over, and set all of my apps and phone options.  Switching my phone over was simple on Verizon Wireless’ website.  So was setting up my Google Play account on the phone.

At this point, I could have let Google Play install all of my apps for me, but I decided not to.  Over the years, I had installed many apps on my previous phone that I had used only a few times, but that I couldn’t bear to uninstall.  To prevent instant app-overload, I decided to manually install apps as I wanted them.

With most of my apps installed, I went about moving over the data.  Some of my data was moved over by simply moving my microSD card from the old phone to the new one.  There were only two apps whose data I cared about.  In Doctor Who: Legacy, Google Play’s cloud save feature moved my game over.  For My Muppets Show, I had contacted the developer ahead of time and they informed me of the process for moving my game over.

Some phone setting changes later and my new phone was all set up and ready to go.  I did keep my old phone on me for a couple of days in case I needed something that was on it, but I never actually did.

Now that I’m officially switched over, I’m only sorry that I didn’t do this sooner.  The process went pretty smoothly and my new(er) phone is much nicer than my old one.  The screen has a higher resolution and it runs faster.  Best of all, I can use it for 10 minutes without worrying about the battery draining to 40%.

Have you changed phones recently?  How easy was it to move everything over?

The Case Of The App Hoarder

tablet_appsJSL has a problem.  He loves his Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, but there are just too many apps on it.  When I try to update it, it replies that insufficient space is available.  I tried various tricks to free up space, but nothing worked.  I even put a microSD card in, but his tablet’s version of Android doesn’t allow moving apps to the SD card.

It was clear that some hard decisions had to be made.

I sat down with JSL and explained the situation.  He understood.  Especially because this isn’t the first time we’ve hit this wall.  We began to go through the apps (read: games) on his tablet to see which we could get rid of.

"Angry Birds?"  "Keep."

"Cut the Rope?"  "Keep."

"Fruit Ninja?  Surely we can delete that, right?  You never play with that one anymore."  "Keep it."

"Nutty Fluffies?"  "What’s that one?"  "Well, if you don’t even know what the game is, I guess we can delete it."  *JSL glances at tablet* "Keep that one."

And so it went.  After going through over 35 games, he finally, very reluctantly, let me delete about four of them.  The good news is that this was just enough to let the other apps be upgraded.  The bad news is that his tablet is still low on space and it is only a matter of time before we need to go through this again.

How do you deal with a digital app hoarder?  What methods do you use to convince your kids that it is ok to delete apps that they don’t use anymore so that you can free up tablet space?

Phone Upgrade Reluctance

smartphone2_smallLately, I’ve been having a problem with my smartphone.  It’s getting old and, as phones tend to do, the battery has been acting up.  I’ll go from 80% battery charge to 50% to 20% with little real use.  Once the battery drops, it will take a long time to go back up from 20%, but will sometimes leap to 100% from much lower.  Clearly my phone is dying and is in need of an upgrade.

Luckily for me, my wife is a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers and has a nice collection of phones she has reviewed.  This means that upgrading isn’t a matter of being able to afford a new phone.  You would think that I’d jump at the upgrade chance.  Since I use the name TechyDad, I should be ready to drop the old tech and upgrade, right?

So why am I so reluctant?

It might seem like a minor thing, but the answer is games.

It isn’t that I can’t get my favorite games on a new phone.  In fact, I’d likely be able to play the games for longer before the battery drained and without as many slowdowns.  However, since game progress is stored on the phone in most cases, my progress in many games would be completely erased.  This isn’t a problem for some games.  I really don’t care too much if I need to start Angry Birds: Star Wars or Cut the Rope over again.  However, I’d hate to see My Muppets Show or Doctor Who: Legacy reverted back to the beginning.  Especially because I’ve collected a few items in both that were only available for a limited time.

B has said that I can keep the old phone for my games as a Wi-Fi only device and this is true, but what if I want to play a quick game while I’m out?  Maybe I have a few minutes to kill and want to collect coins from my Muppet performers or I want to kill a few Daleks in Doctor Who: Legacy.  I would either need to carry my "gaming phone" around with me along with my new phone (and hope I could connect to Wi-Fi) or I’d be out of luck.

(Quick Note: Doctor Who: Legacy now uses Google Cloud Saving which might help this situation.  Still, I’m not sure whether Google Cloud Saving would restore to a new device.  Even if it did, other apps don’t use this.)

Ideally, I’d like to be able to back up my game save data and transfer that to a new device.  Unfortunately, this can be tricky and, in my initial research, often requires that your device be rooted.  Not that I’m against rooting, but it’s more the principle of the thing.  There should be an option to save your data in a manner that is easily transferable to another device.

Have you ever moved data such as game progress from one phone to another one?  If so, what did you use?

NOTE: The image above is "The Incredible Javascript Android Phone Browser" by filtre.  It is available via

Paint Blobs On A Smartphone

Screenshot_2014-02-06-21-59-27Last month, I wrote about a fun Smartphone game called Buttons and Scissors by KyWorks.  A couple of days ago, another of their games, Color Oil, was Amazon’s free app of the day.  I downloaded it and have been hooked ever since.

Like Buttons and Scissors, you need to use your brain to match colors and beat levels.  Unlike Buttons and Scissors, though, you don’t deal with buttons on denim, but with drops of oil paint on a canvas.  The paint only joins up with blobs of same colored paint.  Luckily, you can change the color of your main blob.  As you do so, it will join with any adjacent, similar colored paint.  As your blob grows, it can join with more and more paint until all of the paint is joined.

Sounds easy, right?  Well, there’s a twist.  You only have a certain amount of turns to complete each level.  For example, you might have five different colors on the board and only six turns.  This gives you a mere one move before you need to start eliminating colors.  If you go over the allotted number of turns, you start losing stars.  Lose all three and you’ll need to start all over again.

The levels begin easy but ramp up in complexity.  This game is not one that is won by quickly tapping the screen.  Instead, it forces you to think about your next move, the one after that, and the ones after that one.  Only by planning out your moves in advance will you have any hope of finishing the board in the required number of steps.

This is definitely another fun game from KYWorks.  It’s sure to give both me and my boys hours of fun while also challenging our minds.

Links to Color Oil for Android, iOS, and Blackberry are available from KyWorks’ website.

NOTE: I obtained Color Oil as Amazon’s Free App Of The Day, I wasn’t required to write about the app, though.  I did that because I liked it.  All opinions above are my own.

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