Archive for September, 2014

Defense Grid 2 from Hidden Path Entertainment

Defense Grid 2I believe that I spoke too soon when I reviewed Cannon Brawl, as I referred to it as a “towers of defense” game. In all honesty, Cannon Brawl is more of a “towers of offense” game, as you have to destroy the enemy base. Now, Defense Grid 2, that’s a towers of defense game.

Defense Grid 2, or DG2, is a game that takes place in some intergalactic war. Apparently, Earth has colonized other planets, but these aliens have a pesky habit of invading these bases. For some reason, these aliens don’t bomb the bases from above, but they invade on foot, or tentacles. Honestly, I don’t know what the aliens look like because they appear as tiny dots on the screen with health-bars, but you have to build tower of guns to defend against them.

It’s kind of like some deleted scene from James Cameron’s Aliens, as these towers can create killzones to cut the enemy forces down before they get to your base. You have to make the biggest guns that you can purchase to kill them all, and upgrade them as you kill off more enemies.

I got a chance to try it out, and it is very beautiful and cosmic looking game. I would recommend trying it out, especially if you are new to the whole “towers of defense” genre.

This game has single-player and multi-player modes, and it is available on Steam right now. You can read some more information about it here.

Posted by on September 30th, 2014 No Comments

Nixie is a drone that you can wear on your wrist for selfies

Intel recently had a contest for wearables, and one of the winners is the Nixie. Just to let you know, Nixies are shapeshifting water spirits from Germanic mythology, and I thought I would find that definition on a Google search. Instead, I found most results yielded a flying wrist bracelet drone that will shoot selfies.

Yeah, this is pretty futuristic technology. The purpose of this device is to just wrap around the wrist, and then you unfold it and send it flying. Apparently, there is technology that understands where the heck you are, and so you can get yourself some quick selfies.

I am assuming that the Nixie somehow downloads these selfie pictures to your smartphone. I would say assume because my Source did not really say that, but if I was building the Nixie, I would give it that feature. I would also create an app that would allow the user to control the Nixie’s flight. You can probably get some great pictures that way.

Now, this is still in the prototype stage, so I hope that those aforementioned features that I mentioned in the last paragraph will be implemented. In the meantime, I’m going to be looking for it on Kickstarter and at the next CES.

Source

Posted by on September 30th, 2014 No Comments

Neverending Nightmares is probably the scariest game you will ever play

I first saw Neverending Nightmares at PAXPrime, and I watched the trailer that you can see above. In case you are wondering, you’re right, and you should be creeped out by it. Here’s something that you might not be wondering, you should be creeped out by it. This is a good thing, and I will explain later.

Now, some of you know that I originally created this blog for church-going people, and some might wonder if I could recommend a game with this extremely creepy look to it. I had a chance to talk to the creator of the game, and he has had a history with mental illness. This game is meant to simulate mental illness, and it does it incredibly well.

Personally, I think this is the best illustration of depression since the film Melancholia. The game begins with a person named Thomas who rises from his bed in a monochromatic house. As you can see, there is a thin line look to this character that reminds me of the Drew and the Floating Labyrinth game that I reviewed before. In this case, all the thin lines can create shadows and shades which add to the eerie effect.

Thomas can explore this house, but only interact with things that are in color. It is the best way of gameplay that I have seen. This isn’t a point-and-click game where you constantly click on stuff that isn’t interactive. Here, you can see exactly what you can click on.

I’m not certain what Neverending Nightmares is about, but it appears to be about Thomas and his sister. He keeps having dreams that end in him getting killed, but he rises in a different bed after each death. If there is a dream-within-a-dream thing going on, I am not certain, but it is definitely living up to its name.

Now, as I mentioned before, this game is creepy. It has a scene where someone rips out a vein or artery on their arm, I am not certain. This game is sick for a good reason, because it really shows what mental illness can do. You can feel the fear and paranoia of this character, and you sympathize. This character walks and looks scared, and that is points in its favor.

Considering that we just lost Robin Williams due to his battle with depression, I would hope that we can find ways to save those who might be struggling. This game could enlighten you.

This game actually has jump-scares. I don’t know any game that I have played that has done this, and I won’t play it in the dark or at night.

You should play it. You just should. I wouldn’t have stopped playing it, but my kids walked in the room and I didn’t want to scare them. So feel free to go on Steam and get it.

Posted by on September 29th, 2014 No Comments

Dark Horse and Comic Books in general

20140829_161608Okay, brace yourself, it is about to get really geeky. After all, I am going to report on comic books here, and for some reason, sequential art seems to be as geeky as they come, at least from a stereotypical point-of-view.

As it is, I’m sure that it will come to no surprise that I read comics. This is read, pronounced “red”, like past tense. The reason why I stopped reading them was I went to college and decided not to use any income to purchase any more. I have sold most of them on eBay, and have a few left over. Sometimes I get my hands on trade paperbacks of comic collections, and I enjoy a few occasionally.

In case you are not aware, the person to the left of this article is me, and the other man is Dave Marshall, an editor at Dark Horse. I’m guessing that the average person on the street might not know who Dark Horse is, but then again, the average person might not know who Marvel or DC is unless they read comic books. Dark Horse is a very cool comic book company that publishes a lot of comics related to franchises like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and other video game products. The picture is from PAXPrime 2014, and it is pretty obvious why they were at the gaming convention.

Dark Horse has an interesting history, as it began in the mid-eighties, and boomed during the indie-comic boom of the nineties. This was when comic companies like Image and Dark Horse were showing DC and Marvel, who were then the prime comics, what was what. The same thing happened to music and independent film around that time.

In addition to their video game properties, Dark Horse has the rights to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, and they recently lost the rights to Star Wars after Disney bought them.

I realize that there has been a lot of focus in the movies on Marvel properties, but Dark Horse had a movie franchise before Marvel ever did. Their properties include The Mask, 300, Sin City, and Hellboy.

Dark HorseHere’s what I would like to talk about. As you might know, there is a Batman/Superman/Justice League movie under construction. Some say that DC is attempting moving into the territory that Marvel is doing with the Avengers. Just to let you know, I will be reviewing the Marvel films this year every Saturday this month on Speculative Fiction Saturday. The issue that I want to address now is whether or not comics should be movies and what direction comic-book storytelling should take.

Some of you might remember when I discussed why TV sucks, and I concluded it was the writing. I don’t think that is the problem with comics, as they have produced stories that are practically the new myths of America. The problem is that comics don’t know when to quit telling their story.

Much of the Marvel and DC comics have been around for decades. They have changed hands several times, so Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Hulk, and other household superhero names have been done and redone many times. Part of it is changing with the times, and doing retcons so the origin changes so all the lame stories can be erased from the superhero canon. Then there is the whole aspect that there really is only so much you can do with a superhero, and most plots have been done to death. Occasionally, a new writer comes up with a new angle, but it is feels like it is all been done.

I think the reason why comic book movies are so popular is because the movie can take the best from a well-developed character and put it in a stand-alone story. In some cases, they put too much story in one movie, and I will talk about that when I review The Amazing Spider-man 2 this Saturday.

So Dark Horse has the rights to certain franchises, and I hope they can live to tell good stories. I have heard that Dark Horse has a superhero universe that I can only hope doesn’t fall into the same traps as DC and Marvel are doing.

Posted by on September 29th, 2014 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Avatar, The Last Airbender

AvatarTheLastAirbenderWallpaper800I’m going to conclude my favorite animated shows for this month with a show that could easily be one of my favorite shows of all time: Avatar, The Last Airbender. Let me put it this way: if all songs were like “500 miles”, I would not mind. If all video games were like The Legend of Zelda, I also would not mind. If all shows were like Avatar: The Last Airbender, the world would be perfect.

I will be calling this series in this review Avatar because I don’t want to call it The Last Airbender. Yeah, I don’t want it confused with the live-action movie which everyone hates, and I’ll risk my readers getting this animated series confused with the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar. This show is ambitious with what it wants to do, and it is hard to believe this show is designed for kids. Most shows that are targeted for a younger audience are usually dumbed down, but Avatar took the opposite approach.

Avatar takes place in a world that is not ours, and certain people known as benders can control earth, fire, water, or air. There is some spiritual figure known as the Avatar who can master all four elements, and he is apparently the link between the physical and spiritual world. For some reason, these benders like to stay within their areas, but one day the Fire nation decides to just take over. Unfortunately, the avatar disappeared before the Fire nation advanced.

Now, in the context of this world, this avatar is supposed to be reincarnated or recycled, but this didn’t happen when the last airbender avatar named Aang, a young child, vanished. The series opens with Katara and Sokka, a brother and sister who live in the South Pole of this world. Katara is a waterbender, and her brother doesn’t bend at all, but he’s sort of the comic relief of the show. The two of them discover Aang entrapped in an iceberg, and they realize he’s the airbender.

Meanwhile, an exiled prince from the Fire Nation named Zuko is looking for redemption, and he hopes that bringing the avatar back will win him the respect of his father. Zuko has a backstory that involves his father literally scarring him for life to teach him a lesson, and Aang has a backstory that involves him running away to flee from his destiny as avatar.

Yes, this show is very complicated, and that is why it is so, so good. The first season of the show is essentially Aang, Katara, and Sokka trying to get to the North Pole so Aang can learn waterbending. Zuko is in constant pursuit of them, but he is a villain who is as sympathetic as he is malicious. Traveling with Zuko is his uncle Iroh, who is very wise comic relief and also a great character.

In addition to the awesome characters, the show had episodes that built upon each other to reach a very satisfying conclusion. It could have easily have been dragged on for many years, but it lasted one short season, a second long season, and a curtailed last season with a four-part finale.

I think most people regard Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the finest shows of all time, rating a 9.2 on imdb.com. Recently, the Nostalgia Critic did the best and worst episodes, and I think most of the world’s critics agree with him. These critics are united on their feelings of The Last Airbender, the M. Night Shyamalan live-action adaptation of season one of the show. The reason that I believe this live-action movie failed is because it attempted to compact 13 episodes into a one and a half-hour movie. In short, it was a movie that didn’t need to be made but was made for the sake of money.

I have managed to get my friends hooked on Avatar, and if you watch it, watch it from the pilot episode. Then you will want to watch all of it. Now there is a sequel series known as The Legend of Korra, which is all right. It takes the myth to the next level, but I don’t think it will be as awesome as its predecessor.

Posted by on September 27th, 2014 No Comments

I may have been too pre-mature on my report of Bendgate

Okay, I’m going to make a disclaimer. Generally, I do my postings a day early so they can post early the next day. Unless there is some sort of “big story” breaking, like the recent unveiling of the iPhone 6.

I guess I got ahead of myself with my report on the iPhone 6 bending. As it turns out, this is a problem that has only affected 9 phones, according to my Source. I believe that 10 million of these smartphones have been sold.

I believe that 9 individual phones out of 10 million is pretty good. I don’t really see this as a problem, but some sort of thing that just makes its way around. Let’s hope I don’t hear more about this. I was tired of hearing about the iPhone 4’s problem.

Source

Posted by on September 26th, 2014 No Comments

Say, does the iPhone 6 have a bending problem?

iphone 6 bendA few years ago, when the iPhone 4 came out, there was that design flaw that would power the phone down when you put your finger on a certain point on its side. It would appear that there is a new Applegate.

I’m not certain if you have already heard about this, but the iPhone 6 is having a problem staying straight. Have you ever kept your phone in your front pocket? Well, keeping it that way will bend it. In fact, there are videos floating around of people who bend the iPhone 6 with their bare hands.

So what have we learned here? Get your iPhone 6 a case, darn it. Seriously, I believe that this is the only thing we can learn.

Source

Posted by on September 25th, 2014 No Comments

HookUpz Universal IS-100 Smartphone Optics Adapter from Carson Optical

Hookupz 1In case you are wondering what this fish-shaped mechanism is, it is the HookUpz Universal IS-100 Smartphone Optics Adapter from Carson Optics. It is definitely for the age of the smartphone camera, as it allows the user the ability to like their smartphone’s camera lens to binoculars, telescope, microscope, and more.

It actually isn’t difficult to get it to work. It starts with inserting the smartphone into the slot on the bottom, and then using the vise-like grip on the side. From there, you take take your lens or other device on the other side. Now you can take pictures with smartphone and get the same magnification from the lenses on whatever you put on it.

Hookupz 2After trying it, I will have to say that I tried it out on my Galaxy S 5, but it barely fit. I believe that any phablet is just not going to work, so you are out of luck if you are an iPhone 6 Plus user. I also had some problems with hooking it up with my binoculars, but any eyepiece diameter of 20-58 mm. You can see it hooked up with the second image here.

You should be able to find it for about $59.99 on Amazon, but I’m not certain if you can find it at any other place for a cheaper price.

Posted by on September 25th, 2014 No Comments

My Review of the Thinium Charge

Thinium ChargeAt first I thought the Thinium Charge was one of those mobile batteries thatI have reviewed so often, but it is a charging cord, really. The Charge is an ultra-slim, portable wall charger that is as thick as a few credit cards.

Yes, it will fit in your back pocket, and you can pry out the prongs and push out the micro USB or Lighting connector. You can then plug it in, and put on your smartphone. It will charge quickly with 1 Amp to back it up. Another way of charging is to pry out the USB cable and plug it into your computer’s USB port.

I really have to recommend this. I will have to say that I thought the prongs wouldn’t come out all the way, but this is deliberate. I don’t know if I can be clear, but the prongs don’t come out in a perfect 90 degree angle. This is by design to make certain that the smartphone will stay in the wall as it is charging.

If you want to get in on this, head on over to the Thinium site and lay down $49.99 for it in black, white, and gold. It is also available in two forms: micro-USB and Apple Lightning.

Posted by on September 24th, 2014 No Comments

Gauntlet returns to the console

GauntletI can’t believe that I forgot to report on Gauntlet! I mean, this is a remake of a video game that changed video games as we know it.

If you are not familiar with Gauntlet, it was originally a stand-up video game that up to four players could play, as different characters: barbarian, elven archer, wizard, or Valkyrie. It was Dungeons and Dragons in video form, where the characters go through a dungeon and fight…ghosts. Yeah, it was a game where you constantly fight armies, and have to eat food to survive. The game was famous at saying things like “Wizard needs food, badly”, which is practically an internet meme.

Warner Brothers brought back this game, and it is M-rated. The overhead view is mostly the same, but there is a heck of a lot more blood. I was amazed that Gauntlet could still survive in the age of World of Warcraft. Then again, I’m very certain that World of Warcraft was inspired by Gauntlet. I guess it is just a circle of inspiration happening here.

If you want Gauntlet, open up your Steam Account and get it now.

Posted by on September 24th, 2014 No Comments