Stay connected!

Our FREE newsletters provide a daily roundup of the morning’s top headlines. Subscribe today!






If you’re at all like me, you’ve been searching for a smartphone app that will delight small children and enrage Tea Partiers all at the same time.

Xcel Energy has come to the rescue with “Bulb Blasters,” a simple gaming app for the iPhone in which players use a compact fluorescent bulb to shoot laser beams at incandescent bulbs, set to the background of some futuristic hellscape.

It’s simple to play – you tilt the screen back and forth to move the CFL, and tap the screen for extra firepower. If one of the incandescent bulbs hits the CFL, it is destroyed, at which point you need to open up the windows and seal the remaining pieces into a plastic bag.

Yes, I’m kidding about that last part.

While I personally found the novelty of the game to wear off fairly quickly, I don’t suppose winning over long-term players is the point. The game is a vehicle for energy efficiency messages, which pop up in between levels as you complete them.

It’s no “L.A. Noire” or whatever it is the kids are playing these days. But it’s free, and seemed to have much of the room preoccupied before our staff meeting yesterday.

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.