Welcome to part three of our series leading up to “The Dark Knight Rises.” The inspiration for this week’s article lies in the life of Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne. When Bruce saw his parents gunned down before his eyes, he faced the darkest night of his life. Instead of letting that trauma defeat him, Bruce confronted the darkness, both emotionally and literally. He embraced the night and became a creature of it. Although we are not Batman, we can also thrive in the darkness. When the sun goes down and the lights go out, let your iDevice help you enjoy the night. Here’s how:
Step 1 – Look Beyond Yourself
In order to become Batman, Bruce Wayne had to look beyond his own pain. He had to see the bigger picture. For us, a bigger picture can be found in the stars. There is nothing like seeing the naked majesty of the night sky. There is also nothing like seeing that majesty through your iDevice.
Star Walk is an absolutely breathtaking app. Its premise is simple. You point your device at the sky and the app labels all the stars, constellations, and satellites in your view. The app is also filled with numerous educational tools. The execution is marvelous. I recently had the opportunity to take this app on a camping trip, where we were surrounded by night. I showed the app to one of my friends, who is an absolute luddite. Although she is generally allergic to technology, she was entranced by the app, angling my iPad up to the sky, down to the ground, and all around. Out of all the apps that are optimized for the night, Star Walk is my favorite.
Step 2 – Study Your Enemies
What sets Batman apart is not his combat ability; it’s his mind. Before Bruce Wayne became Batman, he was a student, studying the tactics and strategies of many different cultures. I can picture a young Bruce Wayne sitting by the fireplace, reading a book like Sun Tzu’s “The Art Of War.” Before the iPad and iPhone, reading in the dark was a chore. The iPad’s brilliant back-lit screen changes that. Now, the night is no longer a match for people who want to read. Their only challenge is finding the right book.
For that, I’d recommend eBook Search. The app doesn’t stand alone, but works in conjunction with book reader apps, such as iBooks, Nook, and Kindle. It’s a convenient source of free books, linking to popular sites, such as Feedbooks, Baen Books, and Project Gutenberg. From within the app, you can deliver the books directly to your reading app of choice. You can then access a book like “The Art of War” to read late into the night. If you really want to get into a dark mood, you can also pull up a choice horror story. Please note that you can either remove ads from within the app or pay a dollar for the recently released Pro version, which also adds over 60,000 more books.
Step 3 – Face The Fearsome
Batman has faced some fearsome foes. Many of these enemies represented the mysterious and the monstrous. Some of them were strong. Some of them were cunning. By using both brains and brawn, Batman defeated them. In a similar vein, Dark Meadow requires you to battle with both your mind and your reflexes. It is a stunning game.
Described by some as a cross between Bioshock and Infinity Blade, Dark Meadow wraps a solid action game around a fascinating mystery and a compelling story. You not only fight strong opponents, you also piece together clues to deduce the reality of what is happening. The game is gorgeous, yet creepy. It is a fantastic game to play in the dark. It also has a free version, which doesn’t have the limitations of many other free games.
Step 4 – Play With Your Toys
Bruce Wayne is the ultimate boy with toys. He has all the gadgets and gizmos you’d expect of a billionaire, and that’s not even including his bat gear. To my knowledge, however, he doesn’t own an iPad. That means he’s missing out on apps like Cosmic Top.
The app is a neat little toy. With its bright colors, unique designs, and hands-on controls, it’s a lot of fun, especially at night. There is something simple, yet mesmerizing, about a swirling array of colors, complete with futuristic sounds of spinning. It’s not a Batmobile, but it’s still pretty cool in its own right. Plus it’s a mere fraction of the cost.
Step 5 – Light The Night
Ultimately, one of the best ways to embrace the darkness is to set off some light. The Bat-Signal is evidence that Batman understands this. It serves as a shining beacon and is a symbol to evildoers everywhere. In Light the Night and its corresponding HD version, you also have a light. It’s your butt.
The game’s protagonist is a tenacious lightning bug named Darryl, who traverses many obstacles, in order to keep his light alive. Even when he runs into something, he keeps flying. To me, that sums up the essence of Batman. The Dark Knight is a lone light, standing against the darkness. Despite all the challenges he faces, he keeps fighting. At the end of the last movie, we watched the Dark Knight fight by fleeing. I can’t wait to see him rise.
Next week, we conclude our Batman-inspired series, right in time for the premiere of the movie.