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Friday Night Smite - 12/30/2016



It's our last episode of the year! We have technical issues, new team mechanics, and salty winners in this episode!

App of the Week: Wifi Analyzer

Wifi Analyzer
Developer: farproc
Platform: Android
Price: Free!


Say you have a fancy new router for your home. Now, imagine your home isn't isolated the the woods or a corn field, but rather, is in a large apartment complex. Now, without getting too technical, do you know how a wireless network operates? How about what happens when you have a bunch of networks working in the same small area?

Epic Burger - Custom Burger

Place: Epic Burger
Location: Chicago, IL
Ingredients: Egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, buttered and lightly toasted bun, Epic Sauce


Verdict:
When you're having a day out on the town, what better way to top it off than with a trip to a burger joint? Probably a pedicure, but that's another story. No, a burger was not in the plans that day. After several hours of enjoying all that aquatic life has to offer (including seeing a beluga poop!), the lady and I headed to the cafeteria at the Shedd, only to find it was closed (despite it being an hour before the actual aquarium closed). So, based on location, this left us with a few options. All of which were in the Loop and required some city driving .

App of the Week: Abyssrium

Abyssrium
Developer: Idle Idea Factory
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!

The mobile platform still confounds me when it comes to gaming. There aren't normal conventions like platformer, shooter, or RPG. Instead, there are idle clickers, endless runners, and match three games.

Now, these games may be entertaining, but for myself, that entertainment is short lived. At most, I only find myself playing a title for a few weeks. The ones I played longer were on my Windows Phone, and I believe a large part of that was because it was my first foray into the smart phone arena. Now that I am entrenched in the Android ecosystem, I find myself stumbling over an embarrassment of riches.

When I started writing these reviews, I wanted to cover apps that I enjoyed and would have no problem recommending to others. But, thanks to that previously mentioned embarrassment of riches, I'm coming across more and more garbage. So, I'm going to be falling back into old reviewing practices.

Olympic Restaurant - Olympic Burger

Place: Olympic Restaurant
Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Ingredients: 1/3 lb beef patty, sauteed onions, mushrooms, green peppers


Verdict:
I will admit. I am a flawed man. I have my biases. One of which is that each trip to the Olympic Restaurant in Lake Geneva ends with either a bad meal or...a bad meal. So, when the lady friend suggested this trip, I didn't expect much. The snow was coming down hard, I was already in an off mood, and it was late.

Titanfall 2 Campaign



Aside from the first five minutes, I played through the entire Titanfall 2 campaign in one sitting! And you can watch it here!

Reindeer Games


Oh boy, oh boy! It's a new comic! What started off as a label for a local brewery, but turned out to be too risque', has found its way here.

Games with Gold - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon



Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Games with Gold Availability: 11/16/2016 - 11/31/2016

App of the Week: CamScanner

CamScanner
Developer:
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


While everyone is busy downloading the latest new game only to become bored of it within a week, we often forget how productive our phones can make us. While being productive may not be as fun, it is definitely more rewarding. Especially when you need to scan in a document and get it off right away so upper lower level mid-management will get off your back.

Games with Gold - Murdered: Soul Suspect



Games with Gold Availability: 11/16/16 - 11/31/16

Brodie's Beef - Brodie Burger

Place: Brodie's Beef
Location: Delavan, WI
Ingredients: 1/3 lb beef patty, Merkt's cheddar cheese, fried egg


Verdict:
Who loves a good burger!? I do! Also, Keenan and Kel. Who provides a good burger!? Brodie's Beef...maybe...I don't know...I'm undecided.

Games with Gold - Super Dungeon Bros



What happens when you mix Diablo with Castle Crashers? You get a very ho hum and unpolished game. Aso, apologies about the audio levels being goofy. It has been fixed, but this game wasn't worth playing again.

Overwatch Olympics





Overwatch has gotten into the Olympic spirit. Here's a video showing the new costumes, emotes, and poses.

Destiny Goodies





Rejoice! Destiny has released a bevy of gifts for all classes. Each class will receive a new shader, dance, and class armor. The gifts are themed around the new sub-classes and the shaders are class specific.

Artwork

Recently, I've been called upon to create some artwork. I thought I'd share some of that work here.

App of the Week: I am a Brave Knight

I am a Brave Knight
Developer:
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


Some of the best games on mobile aren't necessarily games. They're more an experience than anything else.  Such is the case with I am a Brave Knight.

App of the Week: Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go
Publisher: Niantic Labs
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


Holy cow. Of all the apps I've felt it unnecessary to do an app review of, Pokemon Go rivals Candy Crush and Angry Birds. A week into it, this title is dominating everything and is all folks are talking about. It's a verified hit. But what the heck, I'm already here and you're a paragraph in.

App of the Week: Tap My Katamari

Tap My Katamari
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


One game series that has always held a special place in my heart is Katamari Damacy. The premise is simple, the beautiful and wonderful King of the Cosmos has accidentally destroyed all of the stars, planets, and other celestial bodies in the galaxy. It falls to the tiny, but capable, shoulders of the Prince to roll up content on Earth the help of his Katamari so it can be turned into new planets, etc.

App of the Week: Miitomo

Miitomo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


After what has felt like an eternity, Nintendo has dipped their toes into the mobile market. Miitomo focuses on one of their more popular creations, the Miis. The focus for gameplay in Miitomo is being social and playing dress up.

App of the Week: Bing Search

Bing Search
Publisher: Microsoft
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


I'm all about getting free stuff. After all, what's better than free? One tool I use in the pursuit of being cheap is Bing Search. Microsoft offers an incentive to those that use Bing to search the web in the form of credits per search. Earn enough credits and you can redeem them for things like gift cards or entries into sweepstakes.

App of the Week: Werewolf Tycoon

Werewolf Tycoon
Publisher: Joe Williamson
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


Mobile games were intended to be time killers. Something to play while waiting at the doctor's office or in the check-out line. Not many expected them to take off like they have or to impact the larger gaming industry to such an extent. Because of this, we see many games offering larger incentives to keep players coming back and spending more through micro-transactions.  It's a tried and true model. However, this leads to fewer and fewer games being simple enough for a quick play session.

App of the Week: Alto's Adventure

Publisher: Noodlecake Studios Inc.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free! - $3.99


Endless runners have easily become one of the more popular genres on mobile. They're simple enough to get into, but also frustratingly complex the further one gets into them. Entering into this arena, but not necessarily sticking too much to the formula, is Alto's Adventure.

App of the Week: Google Opinion Rewards

Google Opinion Rewards
Publisher: Google
Platform: Android
Price: Free!


Free.  We all want stuff for free.  But, if something is free, then you're usually the product.  Such is the case with Google Opinion Rewards.

When it comes to a major corporation having all of my information, I tend to stick with one.  I'm not some type of floozy with my personal info [just my body (hit me up on Twitter *wink wink*)].  So while my main squeeze Microsoft has all of my info, I have everything on the Google side of Android locked down.

But oh, does the Gmail Man tempt me.  With the adoption of a new platform comes a new store.  Previously, I had been using the Bing Rewards system to fund my Windows store purchases.  And as I recently found out, Google does a similar same thing.

Google Opinion Rewards allows users to give up all of their deepest, dirtiest secrets to Google in exchange for Google Play Credits.  The filthy little sluts.  The surveys are based on what data you give to Google through prompted surveys.  In my case, one survey was to review a hotel I recently stayed at.  Another had me review my local Wal-Mart.  Yet another probed me about my gaming habits.

The surveys are random and so are the amounts they reward you with.  Not every survey will reward you with Google Play Credits.  The number of surveys you get also varies.  Sometimes I get two a day and other times I don't get one for a couple of days.  Your mileage may vary.  But, if you're looking for a way to supplement your micro transaction needs, there aren't many ways better than this.

App of the Week: Cthulhu Virtual Pet

Cthulhu Virtual Pet
Publisher: NeuroCreativa
Platform: Android
Price: Free!

Do you love Cthulhu?  Do you love Tomagotchi?  Oh boy, do I have a treat for you!  Cthulhu Virtual Pet does exactly what you think it would.  It allows you to raise your own adorable eldritch horror through means all too familiar to children of the 90's.

The idea is to raise a happy and healthy Old One through regular baths (despite living in the ocean), feeding him all manners of organisms, and by plaguing humanity with the priest of R'yleh.  To assist with this are four meters that must be kept up: food, sleep, health, and happiness.  There are a variety of activities to increase each.

Aside from the game itself, there are several mini-games available.  They range from a Flappy Bird knockoff to a bridge builder and several others based on simple tapping.  Unlike the main game, these mini-games are frustratingly difficult.

CVP is a very slow moving game.  You'll only need to check in on the little guy a few times a day to keep him happy and it will take days for him to grow.  Beyond that, some of the controls and icons are a bit mysterious and not so very intuitive.  Additionally, there are several sections that say more features are coming soon.  As of this writing, the game was last updated on 03/30/2016, so we'll see if the additional content does come around.

Finally, like many free mobile games, this one is supported by ads.  However, they can be turned off by purchasing the ad-free version of the game for $1 within the app itself.  I'd say it's definitely worth it as the ads distract from the nostalgic charm of the game.

If you're a fan of Lovecraft or you like digital pets, Cthulhu Virtual Pet is definitely worth a try.

Games with Gold - Lords of the Fallen





Release: 2nd half of March 2016
Platform: Xbox One

Lords of the Fallen is very reminiscent of the From Software titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Its not as polished, but still fun.

App of the Week: Where is Xur?

Where is Xur?
Publisher: Crocus Games
Platform: Android
Price: Free!


If you play Destiny, you are familiar with Xur.  You're also familiar that he only shows up on the weekends for a set amount of time and his inventory is randomized.  Adding to that frustration, his location within the Tower is randomized.  Week after week, numerous guardians search the tower for Xur and hope that he'll have something good for them.

Where is Xur? simplifies this task by pinpointing him on the map, showing his inventory, and the cost.  It's simple, to the point, and reliable.  If you play Destiny, this is a must-have app.

Zero Lives - Episode 048: Steak and Blowjobs





On a very spiteful night, I encounter numerous technical issues. Along the way, I talk about Batman V Superman, Gods of Egypt, and steak and blowjobs.

App of the Week: Adblock Browser

Adblock Browser
Publisher: Eyeo GmbH
Platform: Android
Price: Free!


Ads suck.  Unfortunately, in our glorious capitalist society, most content creators, sites, networks, etc. rely on ads.  Over the years, these ads have been increasing in number, aggressiveness, and overall annoyance.  Worst of all, some ads have malware behind them that will try to install on your device and generally ruin your day.

Games with Gold - Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes





The first Xbox One Games with Gold title for March 2016 is Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes.  It's slow, predictable, the controls are bad, the mini games even worse, and is frustrating.  Yet, I want to play it out.

Boba Fett is a Cheater





During a recent match in Star Wars Battlefront, I ran into the famous bounty hunter.  I thought we used the same rifle, but his seems to be a little too powerful.

Bonk!





Always look above you for drop titans.

Destiny Broke My Legs





I hit a loading wall on Earth and found my back now had a better range of motion than an owl's neck.

Destiny Quad Kill





I got extremely lucky (or was it skill?) while doing the Iron Banner competition.

Zero Lives - Episode 047: Anger





Sporting a snazzy new intro, I keep plugging away at Hand of Fate.

Review: Gurgamoth

Gurgamoth
Developer: Galvanic Games
Platform: Mac, PC
Price: $9.99
Release Date: February 16, 2016


If there is one thing that irks me more than any other about the current generation of games, it is the lack of local cooperative play.  It was something that began with the previous generation of games.  Slowly, but surely, more and more developers started cutting what was once a staple feature.  Now, you'll be extremely hard pressed to find a game that isn't made by Nintendo and supports a party of gamers sharing the same couch.

Games with Gold - Styx: Master of Shadows





The second offering for February's Games with Gold is Styx: Master of Shadows.  Yet another underwhelming stealth title.

Gurgamoth





The little lady and I sit down to try Galvanic Games' latest title, Gurgamoth.  It's a local multiplayer only battle royale that looks like Lovecraft for kids.  It is an absolute blast.  You should try it.

Red Robin - Tavern Double

Place: Red Robin
Location: Kenosha, WI
Ingredients: Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, tavern sauce


Verdict:
It was so hard to go with a burger besides the Royal at Red Robin.  Ever since I tried that gift from the heavens, it has been my absolute favorite.  Many have come close to dethroning it, but none have succeeded.

Zero Lives - Episode 046: Lackluster Fate

App of the Week: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts
Publisher: Shifty Jelly
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Price: $3.99


Podcasts...they're great.  Ranging from the stereotypical morning shock jock format to a worldwide phenomena like Serial, there's something for everyone.  However, if you listen to a wide range of podcasts from multiple different networks or independents, it can be tricky finding an app to collect and play them all.  Enter Pocket Casts.

Zero Lives - Episode 045: Whacky Racers





In a return to form, I share the game that is getting me back into gaming.  In short, Forza 6 is brilliant.

Games with Gold - Hand of Fate





The first Games with Gold title for the Xbox One in February, 2016 is Hand of Fate.  It's a delightful mixture of cards, choose your own adventure, and action combat.

Fix It! Plantronics Gamescom 780/788

Take a look at those headphones.  Those are some primo 7.1 surround sound, noise cancelling, USB connecting, stylish black with red piping noise-makers that you can strap to your stylish self.  Couple them with a badass adjustable boom and you can talk to your friends too!

Now, let's assume you've been using this bitchin' headset for years, because you're an awesome individual.  Now, it's been a few years, so you may have upgraded to Windows 10 like all the other good little boys and girls.

As we continue on the imagination train with our suppositions and hypothesis's, let's pretend that for whatever reason (janky audio, driver corruption, wipe and reload, you were bored, you're a masochist), you have to reinstall the driver.

App of the Week: Final Fantasy Record Keeper

Final Fantasy Record Keeper
Publisher: Square Enix, DeNA Corp.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!


I am a man of passions.  For as long as I can remember, I've been consumed with one passion and then the next.  One of my oldest passions, and the one that really got me into gaming was Final Fantasy.  The developer, Squaresoft, merged with a competitor, Enix, forming Square Enix.  It was around this time, that the quality of Final Fantasy games began to deteriorate.

Zero Lives - Episode 044: Her Hotness





In this episode, I talk more about streaming and recording issues and my plans for the future.  I also talk about my new found passion for automobile racing and Top Gear.  Wrapping things up, I discuss what it's like living with anxiety and how to cope with it.

GTA V: Parking





When crime doesn't pay the bills, you have to resort to other sources of income.  Like being a parking attendant.

Zero Lives - Episode 043: Resident Evil: Revelations 2





This is another make-up episode. The original recordings from 1/20 were corrupt due to streaming issues with Twitch. I cover the second half of episode one in Resident Evil Revelations 2. This looks to be the first proper RE game since RE 4.

App of the Week: DuoLingo

DuoLingo
Publisher: DuoLingo, Inc.
Platform: iOS, Windows Phone, Windows 10, Android
Price: Free!


If you've been watching my show, Zero Lives, since the start of the year, you've heard me harp on self-improvement more than once.  One of the many ways that I'm trying to improve myself is by learning a new language.  While there are many options available to one trying to learn a new language, I've going to tell you about my favorite: DuoLingo.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Beta





I had a chance to play the Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 beta.  I offer a glimpse into what I was able to play.

Games with Gold - Zheros





The second entry for January 2016 is Zheros.  A difficult beat-em-up with tight controls, brilliant art design, and a name I'm still not sure how to pronounce.

Zero Lives - Episode 042: Final Fantasy VIII





Part four in the FF VIII journey continues.  The gang meets up with Rinoa and the Timber Owls where they carry out a plan to kidnap the president of Dolet.  Along the way, I talk about having no shame in your interests and my recent experience with Android.

Zero Lives - Episode 041: Final Fantasy VIII





After a day of configuration, learning new software, and troubleshooting, I'm streaming from the PC.  To treat myself, I loaded up Final Fantasy VIII.  I also take some time to talk about my favorite games of 2015 and what I look forward to in 2016.  Enjoy!

App of the Week: Rival Knights

Rival Knights
Publisher: Gameloft
Platform: Windows Phone, Windows 10, Android, iOS
Price: Free!



The hunt for a good app is an ever constant thing.  With so many of them lacking substantial content, lasting content, or being locked behind too many paywalls, it's easy and understandable to crave more.  It's that craving that has publishers like Gameloft pushing so many of their games.

Not skill. Pure luck.





As I've said before, I have a problem with launching off the ramps in GTA V.  I managed to get lucky in this instance.

New Artwork

I was called upon recently to create some concept art.  It's been some time since I drew anything.  I rather liked the way they came out.  The names have been removed, so please enjoy.



Buffalo Wild Wings–Big Jack Daddy Burger

Place: Buffalo Wild Wings
Location: Kenosha, WI
Ingredients: Hickory-smoked pulled pork, onion rings, cheddar jack cheese, signature honey BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, and red onion

                                      


Verdict:
I love unusual burger combinations.  So when I sauntered to to the table and saw this sumptuous concoction of beef, pulled pork, and onion rings…I knew I had to try it.  The short of it ended up being spectacular. 

Zero Lives - Episode 039: Smite





I get back into Smite, trying my hand at Joust and Conquest.  I suspect that while I like playing Neith, I'm much better suited for support with Aphrodite.  Time will tell.

Zero Lives - Episode 038: Smite





Adventures at Panda Express, Smite, Soul Calibur VI, and how to get out of a bout of depression.

GTA V - In the Hoop





This is why I can't win races in GTA V. I cannot hit the ramps straight, at all.

Games with Gold - Thief









The second Games with Gold title for December 2015 was Thief. I'm not good with stealth games and this video just goes to show that.

GTA V New Year's Day





It's a new year in GTA V, but we're up to our same old shit...except with snowballs.

Games with Gold - Killer Instinct





Every month, Microsoft releases a couple of games for free to Xbox Live subscribers. The first offering of January is Killer Instinct which includes the season one bundle. 

Zero Lives - Episode 037: Happy? New Year





Depression takes hold and everyone suffers for it.