Tagged: The Ultimate Alphabet

Hands-on with Toytek’s Filth Fair (iOS)

Last September I was still getting into the App Store experience on our iPad, exploring the games I’d heard so much hype about since the iPhone’s earliest days. But what I found when I finally got my hands on them was that they were cool for a few days but were quickly replaced by the next cheap, shiny app that did something clever with the touchscreen. Only a few games have managed to stay in my personal, perennial favorites folder and Toytek’s The Ultimate Alphabet is definitely one of them.

Now a spiritual spin-off is on its way as part of The Wellcome Trust’s months-long exhibition ‘Dirt: The filthy reality of everyday life‘. While the showings, events and music festivals in the United Kingdom celebrate and explore humankind’s history with dirt, the rest of us can join in with Filth Fair. The game is coming to iOS devices and the web in early March for free so if the Lite version of The Ultimate Alphabet wasn’t enough to entice you to buy (for shame!) then here’s your chance for some more free brain busting, word hunting fun.

I managed to get my hands on a preview copy and am thrilled to see an exclusive new painting of Mike Wilks’ given the touchscreen treatment. Filth Fair plays just like The Ultimate Alphabet and benefits from the gracious tweaks that Toytek have added since its debut. Like a photo hunt in reverse, it’s your job to poke on things in this jam-packed painting and tell the game what you see. It gets much deeper as objects have multiple meanings and the cryptic clues that accompany them can practically melt your brain. Honest, I’ve had to stop myself from going all Scanners-like with The Ultimate Alphabet. Thankfully there are plenty of hints, clues and word scrambles for all 331 “dirty” words along with a welcomed tutorial on just what those cryptic clues are trying to say.

Not only is it a great free game that features the work of Mike Wilks and could actually expand your vocabulary, I love how Filth Fair is tied to the Dirt Season exhibition. I stand no chance of crossing an ocean to see it in person but through the game’s connection to it (from in-app links right down to the delft pottery) I feel like I’m a little part of it.

Now Playing: The Ultimate Alphabet (iOS)

Just take this all in for a minute

Unaffectionately coined as Find the Shit games by Katy, you could immediately write off The Ultimate Alphabet as another of those photo hunt/hidden object games that are increasingly popular these days, but you’d be missing out. Sort of an intelligent photo hunt in reverse, The Ultimate Alphabet presents you with an image of hundreds of things that all begin with the same letter and lets you tell it what you see. And though it may seem like a perfect educational game for little learners, The Ultimate Alphabet is definitely an app for adults. The clues are horrendously cryptic, many of the words are esoteric or simply extinct and some of the imagery is borderline erotic or at least potentially disturbing to younger viewers.

The Ultimate Alphabet by Toytek is a collaboration with Mike Wilks, the Englishman who first created the illustrated book of the same name in 1986. For those who missed it 24 years ago (myself included), it was a coffee table fad that was later followed by books like Where’s Waldo? and The Magic Eye. What the app may lack in oversized, hardback appeal, it more than makes up for in simple interactivity and general gaminess while retaining the same smirk-inducing satisfaction of the original format.