There’s only so much news one can take right now. Cable, online, print — the news is all about COVID-19. And, with all of our time at home, there’s an increasing need for welcome distractions. This weekend, I turned to my favorite recommendations app — Q — created by a recent methink customer, Porch Games, founded by a cool group of Amazon and SAP alumni. Q helped me get friend recommendations for a few new streaming series on NetFlix. But, by Sunday, I’d learned this quarantine wasn’t timed well from a streaming content release standpoint.  

With so many people asking each other for thoughts and ideas on what to do, I thought I’d share recommendations for consumer-validated games and entertainment apps that might help keep you sane after you’ve overdosed on cable news and “Tiger King”. Here is the list of entertaining apps methinks Thinkers helped to shape with their feedback, in alphabetical order:

Eko is something completely different on streaming media, and it’s the perfect break from linear programming and appointment viewing. If you’re super old like me, you probably remember the choose-your-own-adventure books craze in the early 1980s. Eko is bringing that idea to every video genre that makes sense — and, it’s working, for realz. My favorites are Cook Together and Tasty, a collaboration with Buzzfeed. As you might suspect, cooking shows in this format have a novel difference — they actually help you prepare food that you’re interested in, as opposed to just making you hungry in advance of yet another DoorDash delivery. On Cook Together, you can specify food allergies, preferences, taste and number of servings, ensuring you learn how to cook something you’ll like, in the right proportions for your family. But, Eko is not just a delightful recipe box come to life, Eko has a growing lineup of new content that lets you explore storylines in different genres, including (shocker) mysteries, drama, fashion, DIY and reality shows. Eko definitely keeps it interesting in streaming content.

Image: Eko.

Radish Fiction is not your momma’s bookstore. Nope, not even close. Radish brings readers and writers of popular fiction together in one app, where readers can influence authors, and authors can gain perspective on their storylines, characters and themes even as they complete their works. Did you ever want to be an editor, or get your hands on paper manuscripts before they went to the publisher? Or, maybe you wanted to watch the director’s cut before the “theater release”? That’s what Radish feels like. You’ll find all sorts of content from new authors and celebrated writers alike. Best of all, it’s on your phone, and you’ll get alerts when new content is released — there’s no waiting, no need for Amazon. 

Loop.tv will eat your day, so be forewarned. Their new mobile apps bring you the BIGGEST music video library on the planet, with all of the popular artists from UMG, Sony AND Warner Music — the latter can’t be found on YouTube via Vevo. The popular in-venue streaming music service finally released it’s consumer app last week, putting all of that amazing content in your hand, but, with an extra voyeur mode that lets you follow “live streams” created by other Loop users, including recording artists that may or may not tell you who they actually are, leaving you wondering about the VJ’s real identity. Pro-tip: methinks Thinkers LOVED all of the live performances from legendary concerts in days of yore. And, just when you start to feel guilty about watching too many music videos, switch over for some Pac12 sports highlights or a bit hurts-so-good on Fail Army. Disclosures: I worked at Loop before joining methinks as the CEO. 

Image: Loop.tv App Store.

I know what you’re thinking, cool interactive takes on streaming media and print, but what about some good old fashioned video game distraction? 

We’ve got you covered. 

KooApps is a casual gaming godsend for anyone on an Android device. Don’t get me wrong, KooApps has iOS games too, but rarely does a mobile games company treat the Android customer with the same care and consideration as iOS. KooApps has Card Games, Word Games, Puzzles and classic arcade-style games for mobile. 

Line Mobile Games is a gallery of fun. The bubble series is a bundle of cuteness that keeps on giving. The Brown and Bubble series of characters never let you down, but, for my money, nothing beats the Line Bubble puzzle game. Puzzles calm the racing mind, and, let’s face it, we need to find some calm right about now. 

Image: Line.

NCSoft is a global leader in immersive MMOs, perhaps best known for the Guild Wars, Aion and Lineage series. These are topnotch, very serious games with engrossing challenges, characters, requiring group play, communications, strategy and planning. This is not something you “do” while waiting for the past water to boil. But, if you really want to get lost for a spell, and create some memories with friends, this is your ticket. 

Aaron Burcell

Aaron is the CEO of methinks, where he oversees marketing, revenue operations and marketing partnerships. He is a mentor and advisor to the TechStars Fintech community, as well as individual startups in video, streaming video and fintech. Aaron has worked on video platforms and online media networks throughout his twenty-year career. Recently, Aaron was the CMO and COO at Loop.tv, an industry leader in Digital Out-of-Home premium content and advertising solutions, servicing thousands of commercial locations throughout North America, and popular online digital services from Amazon, Disney and other leading video distributors.

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