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Game Centered: Special Holiday Edition, Exciting New Games and Awesome Updates.

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week, in advance of Apple’s annual iTunes Connect closing dates (12/21-12/27) we've been treated to a whole slew of top-of-the-line new games and big updates that slipped into the App Store just in time for Christmas! We've got a lot of exciting gaming news to cover, so let's dive right in. And don't forget, the App Store allows us to gift apps and any of the following games would make excellent holiday presents.



Apple Posts Best of 2013 Lists: Duolingo Named iPhone App of the Year

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Monday Apple posted their Best of 2013 lists, including Music, Movies, TV Shows, Apps, Books, and Podcasts. The free Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free, was named iPhone App of the Year. And it's well deserved. Not only can you use it to learn Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and English, but the app makes it fun. It uses gaming techniques to help you learn. And, interestingly, the app also has a crowdsourcing function, such that in the process of learning and doing translations, you are helping translate the Web into other languages. 



What I Played This Week: Angry Birds Go and Quantic Pinball!

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There's a buzz over Angry Birds Go (free), and 'freemium" titles in general to discuss in this edition of WIPTW. I was not aware that computer bits were being subjected to such draconian work conditions on our devices that they needed to rest; but Angry Birds Go introduces the "energy" concept to the Rovio game chest: a union break for overworked player characters, I suppose. Otherwise, ABG has plenty of good graphics, and is mostly goofy and fun like a cart race should be. Also played this week is the jam-packed action pinball slam of the season called Quantic Pinball ($2.99). If you like pinball, you will gorge yourself on this version.



Ahoy, Mateys! Time for Another Game-Centered, Featuring Updates, News, and Oh Yes, Pirates!

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Happy Holidays gamers, and welcome to the latest installment of Game Centered. Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition. This week's installment brings news of what promises to be a new, award-winning game set within the Game of Thrones universe, as well as update news and a review of the latest Assassin's Creed iteration. And don't forget, the App Store allows you to gift apps, something to keep in mind as you read on...



JumpStart's Madagascar Math Ops Makes Math Magical

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I have a special place in my heart for JumpStart learning programs. My kids grew up on the Toddler series and popped those CDs in our old PC like they were pop tarts in a toaster. But this is a post-PC era, and touch screens and apps are all the rage.

Fortunately, JumpStart has changed with the times and they offer a plethora of iOS apps that leverage the touch screen as well as relationships with Dreamworks and their Madagascar characters. Jumpstart offers apps that teach ABC's, math and more.



What I Played this Week - Gobble Edition!

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Three cool titles helped me to overcome a triptophan and carb coma this past week. One of them was an actual zombie-style turkey shoot called Gunner Z (free with many IAPs). The second was a free tunnel race called Boost 2 ($1.99). Finally a platform defense hybrid called Forces of Nature ($0.99). All three made for a delicious gobble weekend of time killing fun!



Best Rugged Bluetooth Speakers of 2013

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These days there is a seemingly endless array of excellent quality Bluetooth speakers. However, out of the multitudes of Bluetooth speakers on the market, only a limited and select few can lay claim to being rugged and heavy duty. What follows are the cream of the crop of ultra-durable, shock-proof, and waterproof speakers. Read on to find the best rugged Bluetooth speakers for those who are adventurous or accident prone, or those who are looking for the perfect speaker for someone who can be really hard on their gear.



Best Over-Ear Headphones of 2013

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There are a great many options when it comes to incredible over-ear headphones, and they can range in price from under $50 to well over $400, and upward. Professional musicians and audiophiles alike tend to agree that a good pair of over-ear headphones will provide you with the most accurate and authentic listening experience available.



The Game That Started It All: Original Infinity Blade Now Free, For Limited Time.

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If you happen to be one of the few folks on the planet who haven't experienced the revolutionary gameplay of the original Infinity Blade, now's your chance, no more excuses. For only the second time since this masterpiece of a game was released three years ago, Infinity Blade has gone free in the App Store in celebration of the season. But act fast, this deal likely won't last long.



iPhone Life Bloggers' Choice Awards: Best Gaming Apps of 2013

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On Monday we published the iPhone Life Bloggers' Awards: Best Apps of 2013. You may have noticed a very important category was missing—gaming apps! That's because they're so important that they needed their own roundup. Bloggers voted for their favorite gaming apps in six different categories. Here are their favorite three gaming apps of 2013 for each category! 



Best iPhone Games | iPhone Life Magazine

When searching for the best iPhone games, you can get lost in companies propaganda.  Articles like Top Ten FavoriteiPhone Games, can help to alleviate the stress.  The following snippets from articles can help you to decide what kind of game is better suited for you.

"Stinger Games' newly launched Stinger FoosballLeague takes a game that's already a step removed from reality into a truly virtual environment - topping as one of the best iPhone games.  Foosball, of course, is the table version of football or soccer.  With Stinger Foosball League, the field that was crammed into a table in a pub is now in your iOS device.  The premise sounds okay, but the execution is way cooler than it sounds.  That's because Stinger Foosball League is actually, well, cooler than actual foosball.  First of all, the 3D graphics and game physics are right on, putting this game at the forefront of console-style graphics on iOS.  Second of all, the view when playing real life foosball is… usually not that awesome. I'm sure there are people with foosball tables that are tricked out, but for most of us, they're usually a dingy affair.  But Stinger Foosball League hasn't been sitting in your uncle's basement for the past forty years.  Kick-ass flying cameras show off how much action there really is in a game known for being low-tech. And just to make it even more trippy, the ball leaves behind a golden light tail, kind of a comet-effect."

"The Universe of SPIRIT FORCE was inspired from the Japanese Samurai-era.  Discover an epic story giving you a social experience where players fight with monsters and collect Spirit Cards in order to save the world.  It places a core emphasis on player vs. player combat.  The player begins his journey as a member of the SPIRIT FORCE.  Battle with other players or clear the mission to get great treasure and rare card. Use crafting skills with the collected treasures in order to summon new Spirits.  Players can team up with friends and cooperate each other to fight against boss, unlock new rewards and new stages.  The most immersive and massively multiplayer online card game ever!"

Both of the previous two articles are on specific games, but perhaps you want a more comprehensive look on several games... The Free iPhone Games To Kick Off Your Summer articleis what you are looking for.