Gaming is not like classic literature, where cheap bastards reap the rewards of public domain, amounting to all the Jane Austen, Mark Twain and Tolstoy e-books you can possibly read.
In gaming, there's no such thing yet, but that hasn't stopped a trend in flash and shareware games known as "ripping sh*t off." While we all have wasted an insane amount of time on "Super Obama World" and other great online games that joyfully spit in the face of copyrights and trademarks, there's a new mobile game machine in town that's being flooded with good free and cheap ripoff-ware, too. Viva la iPhone! Now let's look at the best titles you can add to your cheapskate arcade.
"Space Invasion" (aka "Space Invaders") Hmm, what could this game be ripping off? Wait, wait -- we've got it. "Herzog Zwei." Well, but seriously folks, this is as good of a ripped-off "Space Invaders" as you're going to get using a touchscreen. For now. In the meantime, the added power-ups more than make up for the missing joystick.
"LED Football" (aka "Mattel Football") Down to the very buttons, it's a nearly complete copy of Mattel's 1977 white plastic portable gridiron. Not that we're complaining. The old red-light handheld game was a favorite of snot-nose early-80s children who dreamed of Troy Aikman in monocolor. Now that bleeping blipping is all yours on the iPhone, complete with "simulated button wear."
"AeroGyro" (aka "Marble Madness") If "Super Monkey Ball" didn't make you want to throw your iPhone into a sewer in utter accelerometer-induced frustration, then go ahead and give the tilty "AeroGyro" a try. Yes, it's similar to "Marble Madness," but this one really will drive you to madness -- possibly even murderous psychosis -- as you wonder whether you have early-onset Parkinson's, or if the game really has a motion-sensing system that wonky.
"Frotz" (aka "Zork," other dorky text adventures) Perhaps you remember the days when "look wooden box" was a doorway to adventure, excitement and perhaps the response, "What wooden box?" Text-based adventures like the "Zork" series have been dead and buried in this graphic-ridden age, but "Frotz" will load a host of available texties for you to tap around in on your iPhone's virtual keyboard. Yes, it looks as exciting as a trip to the library, but it's free! And it promotes reading!
Skins Most people start by buying a couple of skins. As long as you swear you are not going to buy the one with a lightning on a violet background, we'll give you this link, where you can find unique iPhone face lifts for about $7. As for the best skins, you will find them on Urban Outfitters ($10) or on Skinizi ($24).
Headphones While you're free to choose headphones that fit your needs at the Apple store, we would like to point out Loud Enough, the children's headphones by Ultimate Ears ($40). And just for you, take a look at iDiamond , made from white gold and studded with 204 diamonds. But if you're ready to throw down $6,400 for these buds, you could easily afford to book Madonna for an hour and have her sing in your living room.
Protectors Since the brand new iPhone 3G doesn't have the sparkling back anymore, you can just go for cases. Apple.com offers a great variety of cases, from $32 to $63. If you want something more classy, you can get leather cases from Vaja Cases ($48) and silicone from iFrogz ($20). But if you're looking for the best, Louis Vuitton's iPhone cases are already a must and cost about $246.
Aquapacs If you think that you have to use your iPhone/iPod everywhere to justify your expensive purchase, you can enjoy your gadget's company while exploring the deepest seas or the seaweed growing close to home. With these two Aquapacs versions (iPhone $38, iPod $60), you can use touch and camera without any problem at over 15 feet deep. For risk lovers only.
Speakers For those who love good-looking products, Appleand Logitech offer many beautiful speakers ranging from $39 to $599. If you like minimal design and the Lego look, Urban Outfitters will gladden your day with its cool stuff. And if Aquapac is not enough for you, here are some nice waterproof speakers ($120). Dreams also offers drop-shaped waterproof speakers to help you sing in the shower ($44). If you are wondering where to buy the toilet speakers, you should talk with a good psychiatrist.
Battery Chargers Have you ever sworn at the umpteenth battery charger that doesn't fit your previous phones? With WildCharge at $199, your problems will fade away. Let's suppose that you are lying on the beach with your Aquapac and waterproof speakers, trying to listen to your favorite summer hits, when your iPod runs down. Don't worry! Urban Outfitters sells the Solio solar charger, which will charge your iPod and your mobile ($50). And what if it rains and the sky is gray? Well, just go home.
Arm Bands How could you ever go and have your morning jog without your beloved iPhone? Belkin has your back ($28 or $30). For those who love to run/bike in the rain, protect your investment from the elements and buy a waterproof armband ($80).
Throw-Away iPhone Competition And now something for all the criminals out there: the throwaway phone. Bicphone, the brand-new product by Bic, the pen people, will be available in shops this month. It costs $78 for the phone and you get 60 minutes of free calls. So now we are wondering if it would be better to go back to good old days and free ourselves from hi-tech toys and expensive accessories ... Nah.