The Humble THQ Bundle

The folks over at Humble Bundle have partnered up with THQ to create The Humble THQ Bundle!  This bundle includes Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor.  Also in the bundle are soundtracks for each of the games in MP3 and FLAC formats.  All purchases support the Child's Play Charity and the American Red Cross.  And if you pay more than the average donation of $5.58, you'll also receive Saints Row The Third.  This is an amazing offer for these great titles and with proceeds benefiting even greater charities.

To play the games, you'll need a Windows operating system and Steam.  Hurry, as this offer expires in a little over six days.

Get your bundle HERE.

Release Calendar: December 2012

It's the last release calendar of the year!  And if the hype is to be believed, the last one ever!

December 04:
Far Cry 3 (360, PS3)
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (PS Vita)
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade (PS Vita)
Rayman Legends (PS Vita)
Mass Effect Trilogy Compilation (PS3)

December 05:
AirBuccaneers HD (PC)

December 12:
Hawken (PC)

Windows Phone 8 App for Desktop

For those that have upgraded to or purchased a Windows Phone 8, you may be wondering how to get your music, pictures, and other data from your PC to your phone.

In the past, Windows Phone 7 connected with the Zune software and users could manage the data on both their PC and the phone.  Windows Phone 8 does away with this and is not recognized by the Zune software.  Windows Phone 8 is designed to work with Xbox Music on the Windows 8 platform.  Those running Windows 8 on a traditional PC or Windows 8 RT will have no issue syncing their phone.

For those not wanting to upgrade to Windows 8, it's not clear in the slightest on how to sync your content.  Most references direct users to connect their phone via USB to their PC and use the file browser to move and organize data.  While I'm no stranger to managing data in such a manual way, it's not the best way to handle it for a lot of people.

Microsoft has released a Windows Phone app for desktop that is currently in beta.  The app will only work with Windows 7 and Windows 8.  Users running Vista need to get with the times and upgrade their OS.

The app works like a stripped-down version of the Zune software and allows users to sync their music, pictures, videos, and ringtones with their phone.  At the bottom of the app is a visual representation of how the space on the phone is divided up.  It's incredibly bare-boned, but it's better than using the file folders to manage everything.

The app isn't perfect and that's to be expected from anything in beta.  It has a hard time recognizing when the phone is plugged in and then has some more trouble recognizing when it's unlocked.  But when it works, it works well.  What's even better is that Mac users aren't left out.  There's an app for them too.  What kind of masochist would use OS X and Windows Phone 8?  I can't imagine a worse Hell.

Hopefully this helps other early adopters of Windows Phone 8.  A big thanks goes to for putting up the story.

Xbox Live Says "Happy Birthday!"

As part of the Xbox Live Rewards program, Microsoft is giving away Microsoft Points when players' birth month rolls around.  With November finally here, I've received my 20 MS Points.  More accurately, I've received an email saying I'll receive 20 MS Points.  Points are automatically added by the 15th.  Though I received the email today, the points still haven't hit my account.  It's nothing to complain about, just another detail.  So if you've been waiting patiently for your points, don't fret too much.  After all, it's only $0.25.

No Elin Swimwear for You!

In what could be the oddest bug after a patch day, players of the immensely popular action MMO TERA found they couldn't log in if they had an Elin character with a swimsuit.  Players soon found out that it wasn't just Elins with swimwear.  Elins with any type of costume head gear (glasses, masks, etc.) couldn't log in.

At this time, there still isn't an official answer and the issue still hasn't been resolved.  Developer EnMasse has put in temporary measures to allow players to log back into the game by removing the swimsuits from Elin characters.  Once a resolution is in place, the swimsuits will be restored to players.

From EnMasse's official FAQ:

"We recently discovered an issue that caused users with Elin characters with a swimsuit as well as any costume head gear (glasses, mask, etc...) equipped to be unable to log in.  Most users with this combination of items equipped encountered an FFFFF error.  We also found that Elin characters with just the swimsuit equipped would appear invisible in the game.

To correct this, we removed all swimsuits from Elin characters until the problem is resolved.  This includes swimsuits that were equipped, as well as swimsuits in the inventory or bank.  As soon as the issue is corrected, all swimsuits will be returned, with no further action required of players."

Release Calendar: November 2012

November 06:
Halo 4  (360)
NASCAR The Game: Inside Line  (Wii, 360, PS3)
Chaos on Deponia (PC)
Ragnarok Tactics (PSP)
HISTORY Legends of War: Patton (PS3, PC, 360)
Big Time Rush: Dance Party (Wii)
Big Time Rush: Backstage Pass (DS)

Review: Dofus

My review of Dofus is up at!

Halo 4 "Scanned" Trailer

343 Industries has released the latest live-action trailer for Halo 4.  "Scanned" shows a captured Master Chief being "interrogated by the new enemy faction, the Prometheans.

As the Chief's mind is probed, we get a glimpse into his past as he was a young boy who was abducted and put into the SPARTAN program.  We see the surgical upgrades he received and that not all Spartans survived the process.  The Chief then receives his MJOLNIR armor which up until this point, we've never seen him out of.

While we may never get a live-action Halo movie, this and the Forward Unto Dawn web series almost fill that void.  But, after the disappointing mess that was District 9 (the spiritual successor to the Halo movie project), I'm not sure we want Hollywood getting their hands on the franchise.

There's only a few more weeks until Halo 4 is released.  Get ready!

Xbox Live: MyAcheivements

Xbox Live has rolled out another addition to their Xbox Live Rewards program.  Called MyAcheivements, the system rewards players based on the once pointless Gamerscore.  There are currently three ranks to be earned with each rank giving another award and rewards to players.

Contender is unlocked at 3000 Gamerscore and awards a "special gift" during the player's birthday month.  This special gift has been confirmed by many to be 20 Microsoft Points.  Four birthdays will net you enough points to buy your avatar a shirt.  Still, it's better than nothing and you can't say that Microsoft never got you anything for your birthday.

Champion is unlocked at 10,000 Gamerscore and in addition to the birthday gift, players get a 1% rebate on Xbox Live Marketplace purchases every month.

Legend is the third and final tier and is unlocked at 25,000 Gamerscore.  Players retain their birthday gift and see an increase in the rebate for Xbox Live Marketplace purchases from 1% to 2%.

While it's not much, there's at least some incentive to build Gamerscore.

Halloween comes to TERA

Any successful MMORPG has truly great holiday events.  The one event I always look forward to, year after year, is Halloween.  From City of Heroes' zombie apocalypse taking the streets of Paragon City to World of Warcraft's worldwide decorations and the Headless Horseman storming Scarlet Monastery, Halloween proves time and again that it only makes games better.

Now it's TERA's turn and they've pulled out all the stops.  From October 23rd through November 5th, players can collect Halloween candy baskets and cake for a chance to win limited-time Halloween costume items.

Players that log on will receive a free Trick-or-Treat Mystery Box.  The box contains a variety of items, including: NPC summoning scrolls, masks, and Halloween-themed rare items.

Players can also throw pies at Gourdo, a floating pumpkin-headed spirit.  Pumpkin pies drop from monsters, with BAMs dropping more.  Throw the pies at Gourdo and receive a Halloween Candy Basket.  The candy basket also contains Halloween masks.

The third and final event is calld "Protect the Candy".  Talking to Ellonia in any city will warp players to Eldritch Academy where they can talk to Titiana who will warp them to the Festival Hall.  Once players have completed the dungeon, they're receive a pair of Halloween Glasses and a Halloween Cake.  The cake contains all manner of items, but the one everyone will be working for is the Boneshaker Mount.  The dungeon can be run up to five times daily.  those that want to save time and want to invest money instead can purchase the Boneshaker Mount for one character for $14.95 or for all their characters for $24.95.

Players can also purchase Halloween-themed masks for $9.99 each in the EnMasse store. They include masquerade masks, bat hairbands, the Frankenhat, and the Ailuri Giantkiller Mask.

It's been some time since I've played TERA, but this is a fantastic way to get back into the swing of things.

Mass Effect 3: Omega

I know!  Another Mass Effect post?  Seriously!?  Blame the folks at BioWare for continually pumping out such stellar content.

Mass Effect 3: Omega comes out November 28th on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 (November 28th in Europe).  It looks like the queen of the galaxy's underworld, Aria, is going to reclaim Omega from Cerberus.  It's been a long time coming, and this is one of the most anticipated chapters in the Mass Effect saga.  It may be the most fan requested DLC.

While I didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye with Aria, she never attempted to screw over Shepard, which went a long way in a game where nearly every NPC had an ulterior motive.  And it will be nice to curb-stomp some more Cerberus forces.

Omega will sell for $14.99 or 1200 MS Points

Official Site

Mass Effect 3 Gets a Watch?

Every gamer knows that time tends to disappear in large quantities every now and then.  This is especially true for the utterly fantastic Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.  Now 500 fans can get their hands on this extremely limited edition N7 Ambassador watch.  That is, if they're willing to shell out $475 for it.

The watch is manufactured by independently-owned watch maker, Meister Watches.  It features:
  • Black stainless steel bezel and band composed of 316L NASA grade steel
  • Individually numbered laser etched backcase with N7 and Mass Effect logos
  • Carbon fiver face with a "rugged" 15mm thickness
  • Swiss movement
  • Water resistance up to 100m
  • Date display
  • Two year warranty
Now I don't wear a watch myself, and while I can appreciate this well crafted Mass Effect themed piece, I can't imagine many folks willing to part with $475 for a watch.  I was tempted when I saw $150, but after realizing that was just the deposit, I cringed.  It may be a fine watch, but I have a hard time believing it is worth nearly $500.  Those who aren't as cheap as me can order theirs now and expect the watch to ship mid-December of this year.

Rusty Hearts Gets Reborn!

Action MMORPG, Rusty Hearts, sees its first major expansion.  Read my impression at!

App of the Week: Game News Now

Name: Game News Now
Developer: SelesGames
Price: Free!
Description:  "Passionate about videogames?  So are we!  With Game News Now, you get all the latest videogame news, review, and rumors.  Stay on top of your favorite console or PC games.  Take a trip down memory lane with classic retro game art.  Keep up-to-date with continually updted Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii news (not to mention PC, DS, and PSP news aw well!)

Get your videogame news when you want it, how you want it.  Fully customizable-you can even find and add new sources of news at any time!  From Halo to World of Warcraft to Mario, we've got you covered.  Check out the trial version for unlimited access to browsing news articles.  Game News Now-videogame news, your way!"

Game News Now is the best gaming news aggregator for Windows Phone.  Pulling stories from such sources as Joystiq, 1UP, IGN, GameInformer, Kotaku, and more, GNN makes it quick and easy to stay up-to-date on the gaming world.  Stories can be collected based on search terms, platform, or both.  Only want to know what's going on with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Windows Phone?  Done!  Want to get a sample of news for all platforms from only IGN and GameInformer?  Easy.  Stories are loaded in a preview consisting of a few paragraphs with an option to load the whole story, view on the original site, or post the story to Facebook or Twitter.

With so few decent news apps on Windows Phone and virtually no apps for gaming news, Gaming News Now has become an invaluable tool in getting my gaming news fix.  It's a must have for any Windows Phone-owning gamer.

Mass Effect 3: Retaliation

Mass Effect 3 is set to get it's biggest free update with Retaliation.  Retaliation is free DLC for the multiplayer mode and goes live Tuesday, October 9th (October 10th for PS3 in Europe).

The Collectors have joined the fight as a new enemy faction.  Their forces consist of the Praetorian, Scion, Abomination, Trooper, and Captain.  The Geth have also bolstered their ranks with new Drones and Cerberus has enlisted the Dragoon.

Players get to take the Turian Havoc Soldier and Turian Ghost Infiltrator into battle with the promise of more classes being added on a regular basis.  Collector weapons including the assault rifle, sub-machine gun, and sniper rifle have also been added.  In addition, all weapons are getting new ammo modifications and armor is seeing several unique upgrades.

Retaliation also features a new Challenge database.  This database tracks in-game statistics, such as weapon usage.  Players earn challenge points by completing mini-goals such as accumulating 140,000 points while using the Typhoon rewards the player with 10 challenge points.  These points are used to unlock in-game bonuses such as titles and banners.

Official announcement

Release Calendar: October 2012

October 01:
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time  (PS3)

October 02:
War of the Roses  (PC)
NBA2K13  (PSP, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)
NiGHTS into Dreams  (PS3)
Resident Evil 6  (360, PS3)

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan

After releasing hordes of free multiplayer DLC, BioWare has graced players with more content for the single player game.  Released on August 28, 2012 at a cost of 800MS Points ($10), Leviathan promised to take players to the darkest corners of the galaxy in the hunt of a weapon strong enough to kill a reaper.

Taking place during the main campaign, Shepard receives a message from Admiral Hackett that an Alliance researcher by the name of Dr. Bryson has uncovered information about the Reapers that could turn the tide of the war.  After arriving on the Citadel, Commander Shepard discovers that Dr. Bryson is the equivalent of a cryptozoologist.  This kicks off a series of missions spanning the far corners of the galaxy searching for the Leviathan, a creature rumored to be able to kill a reaper.

The additional content only takes a few hours to complete and spans a series of 10 missions in all.  It adds in some of the newer aspects of multiplayer like escorting a drone and transporting a backpack full of goods to points on the map.  Leviathan takes place in only a few different worlds.  There's the standard lab on an asteroid, a planet with rocky terrain, and of course The Citadel.  But the real treat is the water-planet 2181 Despoina.  It is an oceanic graveyard of ships.  The depressed and desperate atmosphere combined with the violent visuals of the encroaching storm make this world unique in a galaxy filled with strange and exiting locations.

Ultimately Shepard learns the origins of the Reapers and gains powerful allies in his quest to save the galaxy. But, this reduces the Leviathan DLC to just another quest to gain a faction.  This type of quest makes up the majority of Mass Effect 3.  It's a fun journey, much like the entire campaign, but when I realized it was just more of the same, I was a bit let down.  The climax isn't all that surprising and taints the entire experience.  It's a nice addition for lore hounds, and honestly that should be almost everyone that has played this trilogy.  But for those that aren't as obsessed, Leviathan can be skipped without any serious repercussions.

Jet Set Radio Hits XBLA

One of my absolute favorite games for the Dreamcast was Jet Grind Radio.  Originally released in 2000, the game was groundbreaking with its use of cel-shaded graphics and revolutionary gameplay.  The game has been revitalized and given a facelift to transition to the HD era of games.  It's definitely not the prettiest thing to look at, but it's just as much fun as I remember.  Join me in this fun trip down memory lane.  It's on XLBA for 800MS Points ($10).

Jet Set Radio on

Rusty Hearts Wallpapers

I've whipped together some minimalist wallpapers for Rusty Hearts.  All are 1920x1080.

Release Calendar: September 2012

September 04:
Far Cry 3  (360)
Fable: The Journey  (360)
The Sims 3 Supernatural  (PC)

September 7:
Mark of the Ninja  (360)

September 11:
NHL 13  (360)

September 14:
FTL: Faster Than Light  (PC)

September 18:
Borderlands 2  (360, PC, PS3)
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition  (PC)

September 20:
Torchlight II  (PC)

September 25:
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria  (PC)
Dead or Alive 5  (PS3, 360)

September 27: 
FIFA 13  (360)

Maestia: Rise of Keledus

My review of Maestia: Rise of Keledus is up at!

City of Heroes Freedom to Shut Down

Earlier today, Paragon Studios' Community Manager, Andy Belford, made a post of the City of Heroes site that Paragon Studios will be closing.  This decision comes from NC Soft "in a realignment of company focus and publishing support".  As such, all subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing have been discontinued.  He goes on to say "I implore you all, fovus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios.  Don't dwell on the "how" or the "why", but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between players and the development team."

City of Heroes was launched in North America on April 27, 2004.  Over the course of its eight year run, there have been 23 free updates and two major expansions released.  It was my first MMO and I met @Shaihulude because of it.  I spent plenty of hours bringing down the forces of evil and just hanging out during the many incredible holiday events.

The servers will remain open until November 30, 2012.  Undoubtedly, I'll be spending a great deal more time playing it and plan on being there when Paragon finally goes dark.  I hope to see you there.

Official Site

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

It's been a while since we've heard anything about Army of Two.  The last entry in the series, The 40th Day, was less than stellar and fans' hope for a continuation of the series was understandably low.  Since then, Dead Space developer, Visceral Games, have picked up the series.

They promise a more mature and darker story-line revolving around new characters, Alpha and Bravo.  Visceral Games won me over long ago with the first Dead Space, so I'm confident in their ability to give Army of Two the treatment it deserves.

Official Site

TERA on sale now!

Until August 28th, TERA is on sale!  Pick up the standard edition for $14.99 or the collector's edition for $19.99!  Both come with the standard first month of gameplay included.  However, the collector's edition also comes with some account-bound accessories and the totally bitchin' Regal Frostlion Mount.  The mount alone is worth that!

Get your copy HERE.

Help Build a Tesla Museum!

I'm wicked late to the party and they've already raised enough to buy the property, but you and I can still help by contributing even more money!  The money left over from the property purchase will go towards building the museum/science center itself.

Go!  Donate Now!

Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend: Operation Alloy

This weekend (August 24th - August 26th) marks another bounty weekend for Mass Effect 3.  This weekend's mission should be an easy one.

While I'm not keen on starting all over on my N7 Shadow, it's for the greater good.  Plus, the increase to medi-gel capacity won't hurt.

From BioWare's blog:

"A training center will only take a recruit so far.  Our recruits need field experience, so it's time to integrate them with seasoned squads during our next series of sweeps.

Individual Goal: Promote 2 characters

Allied Goal: Promote 50,000 characters

Special Circumstance: None

Individual Goal Success: All players awarded a Commendation Pack
Allied Goal Success: All players awarded a victory Pack and an increase to medi-gel capacity"

Hunter Blade

Want to see just how closely a developer can make their game resemble another without getting in trouble?  Read my review of Hunter Blade at!

Drakensang Online

My preview of upcoming of the fantastic browser MMO, Drakensang Online, is up at!

Zombies, Run! Day Six

To clear up any confusion as to what Zombies, Run! or this experiment is, I'll add basic information for the app at the end of each article.

Day six was an excellent continuation of day five's run.  The app held steady and I was able to blast through missions five and most of six thanks to my playlist consisting of shorter songs.  The plot thickens and more questions about Runner Five's past surface.  Much like any other zombie survival scenario, I'm starting to feel safer around the zombies than other survivors.  The impeccably crafted story continues to pull me as it slowly unravels.

I had taken two days off since my last run in an effort to rest my legs and allow my body to rebuild.  I was feeling good until a 1/4 of the way into my run.  My legs cramped up with tremendous pain.  Clearly I haven't been stretching enough and the sudden three mile runs have caught up with me.  As my legs locked up like a gorgon's victim, I hobbled and limped my way home, cutting my run in half.  While I'm getting better to adhering to Rule #1, it appears I've let myself go too far and my body is fighting back.  Until the damned awful pain lets up, immediate updates may be sporadic.

App: Zombies, Run!
Platform: Windows Phone (also available on iOS and Android)
Price: $7.99

Create Your Own Weapon in Dead Space 3

Another new feature has been revealed for upcoming title, Dead Space 3.  Players will now be able to use Isaac's engineering know-how to do more than repair ships and disable security systems.  Using parts collected scattered about, Isaac can craft exciting and deadly new weapons.

To help Isaac in his fight, two weapons can be combined into one, like a plasma cutter with a force cutter strapped to the bottom.  Players can also share the blueprints of their custom weapons so friends can build their own or tweak it to fit their own personal play style.

To celebrate this exhilarating new feature, developer, Visceral  Games, is allowing players to build their own weapons on the Dead Space site and submit it.  Visceral Games will then select one design and feature it in the game.  While all weapons should be craftable once the game comes out, it's still exciting to think that your weapon was the best of the best.  So get building!  The contest ends September 1st.

Zombies, Run! Day 5

Zombies, Run! has received an update for Windows Phone.  There appears to have been some major work done to the stability of the game as I was able to finish my 40 minute run without the app crashing or hanging up.

The ZombieLink account has been added.  This allows players to create an account on the official site and sync their stats from each run.  It's a nifty way to keep track of all run logs, post stats to Facebook and Twitter, and that's about it.  There are tabs to check the codex for unlocked items, places, and people, but at this time it wasn't recognizing what I had unlocked.  There's also an option to manage Abel township and upgrade buildings, but it's currently not functional with Windows Phone.

So close, and yet, so far...
An additional tracking method has been added in the form of an accelerometer which recognizes placement in the hand, in a pocket, or in an armband.  I run with my phone in my hand and the counter had a mind of its own as it was counting steps even though I was standing still.  I don't know how this affects the zombie chase mode as I still haven't turned it on because music still overpowers in-game alerts.

Thankfully, missions have been revised. Players can pause missions and resume them from predetermined points, of which there are usually four or five.  It makes it incredibly easy to pick up runs from where you left off and in my case, where I average a mission or two per run, I don't need to extend my run just to complete another mission.

A "wp7 exclusive" category has been added under the missions.  There are five in total, but I have no idea what they could be as I haven't unlocked them yet.

While there's still some room for improvement, this was a critical update that was sorely needed.  $8 is still a little high for a buggy app, but now I have no qualms about recommending it.  If you're still on the fence, at least download the trial.

Dead Space 3 Release Date and Pre-order Info

Dead Space 3 has been confirmed for release February 5, 2013.  Players can pre-order the game on the official Dead Space site through the Origin service for PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.  Pre-Orders get the limited edition for $59.99.  The limited edition contains two bonus suits and weapons.

From the official site:

  • Witness Suit - An insulated suit to help you explore Tau Voltanis' harsh terrain
  • First Contact Suit - Built for long term space exposure with thick armor
  • Evangelizer Weapon - Heavy duty assault rifle and shotgun combination
  • Negotiator Weapon = Tesla powered "instrument" for organic tissue dismemberment

Zombies, Run! Day Four

Disappointment seems to be the name of the game with Zombies, Run!  For an app that costs $7.99, the Windows Phone version seems riddled with bugs that quite nearly kill the experience.  From a pace tracker that doesn't work to settings not being retained to the app suddenly stopping during a run to the terrible volume management.  It's a proverbial mess.  What keeps it together is the story and the quality voice acting.

Today's adventure found Runner Five working with Runner Eight leading a group of zombies away from Abel township.  The only gate to the town was stuck open and the motors controlling it have burnt out.  It's up to the team of runners and the armed guards to keep the zombie horde away from the town.

With noise making devices strapped to their backs, Five and Eight lead a pack of zombies away from the town.  While Five has brought good fortune to the town with his arrival, there are some that think it is too convenient.  The last time the military sent someone to a village with only half of the normal supplies ended in a mysterious fire that consumed the village and all inside of it.

Trying her best to suppress a horrendous cough, Eight cuts communication with Sam and Abel township.  Simply put, she doesn't trust Five, and with good reason.  The runner whose shoes I fill could have a sinister ulterior motive for his arrival at Abel.  Time will tell what his plans are.

For this run, I had created a new playlist comprised of much shorter songs.  And since I couldn't hear the alerts of zombies chasing me, I was forced to turn "zombie chase" off.  Because of the shorter songs, the mission progressed much quicker.  It went so fast that it was done before I was halfway finished with my run.

With half of my run left, I decided to start the next mission.  But much like the first and second missions, this one crashed halfway through with the tell tale cue of the audio cutting out.  Instead of starting over, I opted to exit the app.

After returning home, I was able to divide the items gained during my runs among the various buildings of Abel.  After each settlement had gained a level, the towns population had risen to 92.  Leveling up the buildings seems to be a slow affair.  Sometimes it appears that the gauge doesn't fill up at all when applying new items.

At this point, I'm still torn about Zombies, Run!.  The unreliability is definitely the most frustrating aspect and is the biggest deterrent for the $7.99 price tag.  It doesn't matter how good a story is, if the app can't run properly, it isn't worth a dime.

Zombies, Run! Day 3

Day three begins and I'm finally on mission two.  Today's mission consists of the lead runner, Runner 7, taking me on a tour of Abel's perimeter.  Runner 7, Evan Deaubl, has become the head of runners simply because he has survived the longest.  When your job is to recover supplies from a zombie infested city and use yourself as live bait to protect other, the life span is understandably short.

The run was going well.  The music still overpowered any in-game cues, so yet again, I had to visually check each vibration my phone made.  Halfway through the run, I picked up an item and the music cut out.  The timer was still running, but the pace wasn't functioning properly.  That's nothing new however.  Many folks have complained that it doesn't work and I personally haven't seen it work.

I ran for some time, hoping that the issue would resolve itself.  I paused and started the mission, but it never kicked back over.  I finally had to stop the mission and restart it.

The mission played through without further interruption.  It was quite uneventful.  Some military supplies were recovered, some zombies evaded, and Runner Five lives to see another day.

Zombies, Run! Day 2

Due to the mishaps of day one, I approached day today's run a little differently.  I had my pre-made playlist from the night before, consisting of music from horror themed games.  My thinking was that without a playlist, the game defaulted to not playing anything during the running sections.  And based on my experience of the never ending run from yesterday, I did not want to repeat that.  So, with playlist in tow, I restarted mission one.

Things started off well as I stepped back into the shoes of Runner Five.  I was being flown in with supplies for Abel township.  For whatever reason, I only had half the supplies that are normally dispatched.  As we approached Abel, a rocket erupted from the wilderness and knocked the chopper out of the sky.  I'm not sure how, but I managed to survive the crash.  Only, there were far worse things waiting for me in the woods surrounding the crash site...

Zombies make everything better.
Fortunately, the coms operator for Abel, Sam Yao, was able to guide me to relative safety on the route to Abel.

This was the first instance where I finally had music play during the game.  I soon discovered that the music overpowered the alerts for the game.  The only way I could tell anything was happening was my phone vibrating.  Most notifications are what items have been picked up, so it wasn't a big deal.  But I was playing with "zombie chase" on.  When the zombies began to give chase, I had no idea until I looked at my phone.  And with no way of knowing how close they were, I had no choice but to sprint until I received another alert that I had escaped them.  When I got back home, I found that this is a common complaint for users of Zombies, Run! on Windows Phone.  There's no way to adjust the music volume in comparison to the game volume and as such, it's near impossible to hear anything over the music.

After successfully evading the zombies, I was directed to the local hospital by Dr. Maxine Myers.  It was this hospital that claimed the previous Runner Five.  Things were uneventful as I took an underground entrance into the abandoned building.  Only when I picked up a box from the CDC did the zombies react to my presence.  Like a well placed trap, they began to swarm...

Narrowly escaping the hospital, I sprinted for Abel.  Only I wasn't alone.  The previous Runner Five had caught my scent and was hot on my trail.  As I neared the gate, Sam could barely keep it together.  Apparently he and my predecessor had grown quite close.  Now with his love gurgling and  moaning into her still hot mic, he would have to watch as the town guards gunned her down.

As Runner Five was put down for good, I crossed the threshold into safety and delivered the package to the good doctor.

I was glad to complete the rather lengthy mission without the app "crashing" as it did the day before.  Yet, with the music overpowering the game, it's hard to use "zombie chase" without being put at a significant disadvantage.

Either way, after a rocky start, things are starting to look up.

Zombies, Run! Day 1

I've begun an experiment today.  Over the course of the next 35-40 days, I will undertake a daily mission in Zombies, Run! for Windows Phone.  Kim and I had used the app on her iPod and had loads of fun.  Since then, it has finally made its way to Windows Phone.  I will chronicle my journey and that of the people of Abel as I work my way through the 35 missions.

The first thing I notice is that the app doesn't like to retain some of the settings.  The game volume stays at one level, despite adjusting it several times.  Also, it will not play music on shuffle.  For music to play, a playlist must be created in the Zune software and then transferred to the phone.  I wasn't aware of this until I noticed 15 minutes into my run that it wasn't playing music.

After crash landing in the forest outside of Abel, I began to make my way to the hospital to gather supplies. As I walked, I heard the guttural moans of the dead.  They were close, but I couldn't tell how close.  Along the way I picked up an axe.  It seemed that many more items were collected with the iPod versus my Windows Phone, but regardless, items were still collected.  I thought that perhaps I wasn't swinging my arms enough, so I promptly corrected that and bore a striking resemblance to this guy.

Like a boss.

As I was enjoying my leisurely stroll through the woods, I received an alert that zombies were 10 meters behind me.  Zombies are a slow lot, and I didn't want to exhaust myself right away, so I began a brisk jog.  Seconds later, I receive another alert that they're six meters behind me.  I pick up the pace and suddenly they're five meters behind me.  I break out into an all-out sprint with a panicked look on my face as I hear the horde of the undead closing in.  Others on the path can only look at me with confusion as I run for all my worth away from this zombie menace.  After sprinting for 30 meters, I receive a message that I've dropped my supplies (consisting of one axe) which distracted the zombies and allowed me to escape.  I know that this is a fitness game, but I didn't expect to start against zombified Kenyan runners.

Motherfuckers are crazy fast.
After narrowly escaping and letting my heart rate return to something resembling normal, I realized that my music didn't play once.  I fiddled with the settings and resumed my run, waiting for it to kick in.  The zombies were waiting.  I immediately received an alert that they were 90 meters away.  I did my best impersonation of Forrest Gump and managed to put them behind me.

Replace the rapist rednecks with invisible zombies and you get the idea.
After successfully getting away, I slowed back down to a saunter and the items came flooding in.  A bat, batteries, a USB flash drive, a first aid kit, a sports bra...all good stuff.  I soon realized my music still wasn't playing.  I paused my session and fiddled with the settings.  I came to the conclusion that it would not shuffle the music on my phone.  I resigned myself to create a playlist when I made it back home.  I launched the app again and found that my progress in the first mission had been lost.  Rage and frustration were understatements as I had lost a half hour of progress and would have to start all over.

After getting back home, I was able to spread the supplies to Abel, even though I hadn't reached the settlement yet.  Four new faces found their way to the town even if I hadn't.

I've since put together a haunting playlist consisting of music from Alan Wake, Dead Space, and Call of Duty's zombie modes.  We'll see if tomorrow pans out better than today.  Stay tuned.

Release Calendar: August 2012

August 01:
Deadlight  (360)
The Book of Unwritten Tales  (PC)
Maestia: Rise of Keledus  (PC)
Hitman Sniper Challenge  (PC)

August 03:
Total Recall  (PC)

August 07:
Persona 4: Arena  (PS3)
Deponia  (PC)

August 14:
Sleeping Dogs  (PC, 360, PS3)
Darksiders 2  (360)

August 19:
New Super Mario Bros. 2  (3DS)

August 21:
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2  (PC, 360)

August 24:
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Editio  (PC)

August 28:
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron  (360, PS3)
Madden NFL 13  (Wii, PS3, 360)
Guild Wars 2  (PC)

Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend: Operation Olympus

This weekend plays host to another Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend.  From BioWare's blog:

"Operation OLYMPUS (August 10th-12th)

Increased Reaper activity has been reported around London.  Operation OLYMPUS will focus large-scale strikes on the Reapers to buy the Resistance time to investigate.

Squad Goal: Full extraction from Firebase London using any Kit on any difficulty

Allied Goal: Using any Kit/Map combination against any enemy, complete wave 10 on a combined community total of 200,000 Bronze missions, 175,000 Silver missions and 70,000 Gold missions.

Special Circumstance: None

Squad Goal Success: All squad members awarded a Commendation Pack
Allied Goal Success: All players awarded a Victory Pack

Requirement: Mass Effect: Earth must be installed

TERA's Summer Event

From August 3 to August 13, TERA is hosting their "Suit Up for Summer" Event.  During this event, players can defeat monsters in coastal zones to collect event boxes.  The boxes will contain special items, including: fireworks, rare crystals, combat consumables, and 30-day swimsuits.  The race-specific swimsuits drop in one of three colors and boxes can be traded with other players.

Players that want permanent swimsuits can purchase them from the En Masse store through August 13.

The coastal zones for the event include: Tuwangi Mire, Mistmoor Island, Cutthroat Harbor, Jagged Coast, Tempest Reach, Serpentis Isle, and Balder's Refuge.

There is also five event achievements to complete.  Complete all five achievements and get one of five pairs of permanent sunglasses.  The achievements are:

Diving in Deep
Killed one BAM while wearing a swimsuit

Splish Splash
Took a 10 second swim while wearing a swimsuit

Groove to the Island Music
Danced in Ostagarath while wearing a swimsuit

Quintessential Ice Dancer
Danced in Westonia while wearing a swimsuit

Party Like a Swamp Thing
Danced in Val Tirkai while wearing a swimsuit

Official Site

Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend: Operation Overwatch

BioWare has unveiled the tie-in weekend operation for their Earth DLC that was just released.

From BioWare's blog:

"Operation OVERWATCH drops troops on Earth to tackle the most secure Reaper strongholds.  Reaper anti-air defense will make for high-risk shuttle extractions.

Squad Goal: Extraction on any difficulty with at least one squad member using an Earth Pack character.

Allied Goal: Extract 800,000 individual players on any difficulty, with each live member counting toward the goal.

Squad Goal Success: All squad members awarded a Commendation Pack.
Allied Goal Success: All players awarded a Victory Pack that includes a new Earth character.

Special Circumstance: Extraction time lengthened due to failure of Operation BROADSIDE.

Requirement: Mass Effect: Earth must be installed to earn these rewards."

Get A Free Black Bandit Mask In TERA

En Masse Entertainment is giving away more free goodies to TERA players.  Active subscribers can sign up for their newsletter by 11:59pm PDT to receive the Black Bandit Mask.  A promotional code will be sent out with the newsletter to each subscriber.  The masks are account-bound, permanent items that can be redeemed and worn by characters level 10 and up.

From TERA's official site:

"To celebrate the launch of our first monthly newsletter on Friday, July 27, we're giving away Black Bandit Masks to current TERA newsletter subscribers (with active TERA subscriptions).  Just a little something to show our appreciation for our players.  To make certain you're signed up, follow these simple steps:

1.  Go to and log into your TERA account.

2.  Click the Profile Management link at the top of the page.

3.  Under Notification Preferences, select Yes, then click Update.

That's it.  Simple!  Your item code will be included in the next issue of the newsletter, along with instructions for redeeming it.

Note that these masks are account-based, permanent items that are bankable but can't be traded or sold, and are equippable only by characters level 10 and up.  You must be signed up for the newsletter by 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 25th to ensure you get your Black Bandit Mask.  So log in, make a few clicks, and stay informed and stylish all at once."