Brian Stucki is the developer behind MacMiniColo (the Mac mini colocation outfit in Las Vegas), and he recently sent us a fun project he's hosting called "Ransom Apps." It's just a silly little web app, but the idea is that you enter a phrase of text, and Ransom Acts returns your phrase written in App Store app icons. I don't know if there's a real use for it, but it's fun and creates some neat designs.
Speaking of using App Store icons creatively, Ransom Apps reminded me of App Icon Quiz (free), which is kind of ingenious. It's a trivia quiz based around identifying App Store icons. The app uses real icons (with the permission of the actual developers -- more on that in a second) to create quiz questions, challenging you to match the icon with its app. It may sound goofy, but in practice, it's actually fun, especially if you spend quite a bit of time browsing the App Store.
App Icon Quiz is clever in another way as well. The developers, GameVision, told me back at GDC that they're using the app to market and brand new icons, so users' feedback is going the other way as well. Developers whose icons are included receive information about how easily players ID their icons as well as the word people tend to associate with their images. Personally, I think that can be a little shady. There's no indication in the app's description that the "game" is being used for marketing purposes. But as long as you know and agree to that use, it could be a fun way to give feedback on an app's most important visual element.
App Icon Quiz is available on the App Store now