It’s a weird roundup, I know. Usually, when I put a roundup in Queer Your Tech, the apps at least share a common function or purpose or something. Not so with these—these are for when I feel like the upside down smiley face emoji, when the world is topsy-turvy. They are when the digital culture shows plainly its most Dadaist leanings. And yet, they are useful, fun, helpful and a bit weird.
Monument Valley 2
Weird and beautiful, Monument Valley stole my heart comparatively recently—it wasn’t until a friend described it to me that I realized I’d missed something grand. This Spring, when I was having a particularly difficult day, I sat down and played the entire game and its supplement in one sitting. It was GORGEOUS, beautifully designed, like playing in an Escher painting with an almost mythological story. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more of it—how has the hungry internet not demanded its fill? Well this week, Ustwo Games released a sequel to Monument Valley. Players twist and turn the amazing environments on their phones to get the adorable main character from one spot to another—perfect for fans of puzzles, art and, yes, the absurd. Monument Valley is available for iOS and costs $4.99.
While you may think it was Monument Valley that prompted me to dive into apps of the absurd, it wasn’t. My sister-in-law sent my wife a Ditty. And I was down the rabbit hole. Type a short message into Ditty and pick a song (Star Wars theme? For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow?). Ditty will SING THAT MESSAGE and output it to a textable, shareable video with which to torture your loved ones.
One of my strongest memories of my childhood takes place after my family got a new Mac computer (I learned all my tech-ness from my savvy parents). One evening, while working on some project or another, my mother discovered, completely by accident, that our Mac was capable of singing text back to us. I was sitting in the family room at the time and both of us burst out laughing. We spent the next TWO HOURS of our lives writing an email that fit the tune of Pomp and Circumstance to send to her cousin. And when we sent it? HER COUSIN HAD WINDOWS AND COULDN’T EVEN APPRECIATE OUR PARODY GENIUS. To this day, if my mother sends out a Christmas card, she parodies Christmas songs about our year (yes, the year I totaled my car when I was a teenager was, in fact, a Christmas song by the end of it). I digress.
The point is—no more two hours of our lives trying to make a computer sing something. This takes, maximum, five minutes, depending on how crazy you want to get. The best absurdist part of this is the random gif setting—it searches for the words you have in your message and gives you gifs that match it, automatically set as the backdrop to your singing message. Ditty is available FOR FREE on iOS and Android.
Snaptee is an app that you put on your phone. And once it is on your phone, you can go to it, design a tee shirt and order it for yourself instantly. It then becomes a real thing in the world and isn’t just on your phone and you can wear it on your body. You can share and sell very pretty tee shirts, but that’s not really what I’m here for. See, Snaptee doesn’t really sound absurdist until you imagine what it could be used for, which is making tee shirts of your friends’ faces, inside jokes, and other nonsense. The reason I even went looking for Snaptee is an actor on Critical Role (a D&D game I like to watch every Thursday on Geek & Sundry) keeps making tee shirts with the dungeon master’s face on it. I didn’t even realize you could get an app on your phone that makes tee shirts until said actor mentioned it was so.
Now I know what you’re thinking—an entire tee shirt for an inside joke? Surely that is too much. But I happen to know that at least one of you readers got a fucking TATTOO to commemorate an inside joke with a best friend. I’ve seen a few tee shirts go around that are A-Camp inside jokes that I know nothing about. So is this too much? Not for y’all, apparently. Go forth a boogie. Snaptee is available on iOS and Android. The prices of the shirts vary based on what sort of shirt you order.
Hodor hodor hodor hodor. Hodor HODOR hodor hodor. Hodor hodor? Hodor hodor hodor!
To be clear, this is a ninety-nine cent keyboard that types only Hodor for Android phones. If that ain’t absurd, I dunno what is.
What are the most absurdist apps you’re using? Let’s hive mind all the things in the comments below.