Originally Published: 4 Jan 2011

Back in 1947, the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator at Harvard University suffered a bit of a problem. On the 9th of September, it stopped working and an investigation was launched. Boffins were dispatched to study the workings of the machine and eventually found the source of their woes. A moth. It was trapped in the points of Relay 70, in Panel F (first place I’d have looked, to be honest). It was removed from the machine and affixed to the log alongside an entry that reads “First actual case of a bug being found”. Once word got out that the team had “debugged” the calculator, the term “debugging a computer program” found its way into geek speak, and the rest is history.


Bugged is a new release on the iPhone designed to give your poking finger a good workout. Using a circuit board style backdrop your task in the game is to squish bugs, tiny computer bugs, that constantly invade your circuit board.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

There are two game modes – one challenges you to squash as many bugs as you can within a certain time limit, while the other presents you with a set number of bugs and asks how quickly you can squash them. There’s not a lot of variation to these game modes, unfortunately, and you’re ultimately playing the same game whichever set-up you choose.

The bugs themselves are quite obviously computer bugs as they’re presented in a neon green before they’re satisfactorily squished, both visually and sonically, beneath a stabbing digit. There are a variety of powered-up bugs with special effects to help your crusade – these range from exploding bugs to ones that attract other bugs allowing you squash a huge amount of the nefarious creatures in one calculated stab.

The sounds, as you may expect, are simple as well. You get a satisfactory squishy noise when you flatten a bug and a kind of computer error noise if you miss. The power-up bugs explode, freeze and plink appropriately but by the time you’ve played a five minute game you’ll be wanting to turn the volume off as it just becomes a cacophony of sound depending on how frantically you’re poking away.

There’s very little else to be said, to be honest. It’s a simple concept and a simple game and how much enjoyment you get out of it will depend largely on how many people you know who play it, how much you like OpenFeint and the achievement system (which slows down the initial run-through of the game as it sets up) and how willing you are to sit on public transport stabbing at your iPhone screen like a loon.

It’s 59p and that’s a fair price. It’s not a game you’ll spend ages playing in one go but it’s good for a quick bash or two while you’re on the bus. Competing with your friends via OpenFeint becomes a little like that app on Facebook that sees how many times you can click a mouse in 10 seconds, strangely addictive but with no real benefit.