Showing posts from December, 2013

Zero Lives - Episode 005: Mass Effect 3

App of the Week: Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Microsoft Solitaire Collection Publisher: Microsoft Platform: Windows Phone Price: Free! What's this!?  The Solitaire Collection again ?  Well, yes...and no.  This time, the collection of popular games (Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks, and Pyramid) have come to the phone.  For the most part everything plays the same with only some minor differences.  And unfortunately, all of those differences are horrible. First and foremost, the game is poorly optimized for the platform.  A single game of Klondike made my Nokia Lumia 920 uncomfortably warm.  Even if I just grasped the edges with my fingers, I could feel the heat radiating off the back of the phone.  And because the CPU is being worked so hard, the battery drains rapidly.  There are reports that it will even drain the battery with the phone plugged in.  There's simply no excuse for that. The other big draw is the advertisements.  Yes, I understand it's a free game, but so was the desktop client.  And that

A Look at the Gods of Smite - Chronos

My review of the god eternal, Chronos, is up at !

A Look at the Gods of Smite - Ne Zha

My review of the Chinese Boy Wonder is up at !

Fix It! Asus Vivo Tab RT's Flickering Screen

Image courtesy of PC Mag. Today I've come across an issue which has apparently afflicted many other owners of the Asus Vivo Tab RT.  After using the tablet all day yesterday without issue, I opened it up today and noticed the screen was flickering.  Nothing I tried would fix it: changing the brightness settings, adjusting power options, rebooting, completely turning off and back on, or removing it from the dock.  Other users reported the issue after applying a firmware update released earlier this year.  My own tablet is completely up to date as far as Windows and Asus are concerned.  Possible solutions included rolling back the nVidia Tegra 3 display driver, upgrading to Windows 8.1, installing any missing updates, or performing a System Reset when all else fails. In my case, I didn't have the option to roll back the driver, I already have 8.1 installed, and my machine is completely up to date.  Rather than set myself back by completely resetting the machine to facto

App of the Week: Nokia Creative Studio

Nokia Creative Studio Publisher: Nokia Platform: Windows Phone 8 Price: Free! Photo editing apps are a dime a dozen.  Or maybe a few hundred for a penny.  I don't know.  A lot of them are free.  So that's why it takes something a little special to stand out from the crowd.   And Nokia has been doing a splendid job of that for Windows Phone.  It's their unending support with top notch apps and incredible build quality that will ensure I continue to buy Nokia headsets. Nokia Creative Studio is a simple, easy to use photo editor.  It offers several editing features that can put a creative spin on your pictures.  Focus and blur allows the focusing of objects by drawing around the subject you want in focus and then drawing a secondary line around the background.  It can be a little cumbersome drawing with your finger to get all the details, but overall, it's a great way of drawing focus to a particular area. Radial and tilt shift is also an option and is fun for

App of the Week: Google Search

Google Search Publisher: Google Platform: Windows 8, Windows RT Cost: Free! When Microsoft decided to integrate Bing Search deeper within the Windows 8 OS, I thought I could get used to it.  After all, I just needed to keep using the search pane rather than the dedicated app.  But as I used it more and more, the strangest thing happened.  I started to miss the Bing app.  I liked having one dedicated app for searching.  Much like the search button on my Windows Phone, I found it easy to use.  But that went away.  And honestly, I'm not a fan of having to sift through the multitude of results for whatever it is I'm looking for.  As much as I grew to like Bing, I knew in my heart of hearts that I'd go back to Google sooner or later.  With the Google Search app for Windows 8 and Windows RT, I'm glad I finally have. For me, the Google Search app picks up where the Bing app left off.  And then it improves on it several times over.  To get the most use out of the app,

App of the Week: Netflix

Netflix Publisher: Netflix Platform: Damn near everything Cost: Monthly Subscription There's not a civilized soul alive that doesn't know about Netflix.  So much of what I'll say may will probably be old news to some.  However, the changes that the company has been making have only increased the usability of the app, especially on the Xbox 360. First and foremost, Netflix has finally added profiles to the mix!  Up to five profiles can be set up under a single account.  This allows users to custom tailor Netflix to their personal tastes.  No longer will parents be forced to sift through recommendations based on their children's love of My Little Pony .  Profiles can be named and assigned a unique avatar.  Upon launching the app, it will now prompt for a profile.  And for those sharing the account with friends and family, this feature alone may be the greatest addition the app has ever seen. But Netflix has also been tinkering with the look of the app on the X

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

The Force Unleashed was met with generally positive reception from both fans and critics alike despite noted repetition in enemies and levels.  And after what seemed like a death of protagonist, Starkiller, at the end of the game, many were left wondering what route a sequel could take.  Two years later, everyone got their answer with The Force Unleashed II. Clones.  The answer is clones.  Starkiller really did die at the end of the first game, giving everything so the Rebel Alliance could form.  Roughly six months after the end of the first game and just before Episode IV , players find that Vader has been up to his yellow eyeballs in cloning another secret apprentice on Kamino.  After going through countless clones, we meet this latest one who has failed yet another one of Vader’s tests when he refuses to kill an assassin droid with the guise of Starkiller’s main squeeze, Juno Eclipse. As he’s set to be executed, Clone Starkiller breaks free from the cloning facility an

Aurora Lakeland Medical Center's Cheeseburger

Place: Aurora Lakeland Medical Center Location: Elkhorn, WI Ingredients: American Cheese Verdict: While waiting for my son's birth and helping Kim through the labor pains that accompany that, a perverse idea struck me.  I'm going to have to order lunch.  They have burgers here.  I write reviews about the burgers I've eaten on my site!  I should review another hospital's burger! And so my order was placed.  And I waited.  And waited some more.  An hour later, my "Dad Tray" finally came and the smell of the plastic warming cover combined with the overly processed food assailed my senses, causing flashbacks of the kitchen I had worked in over a decade ago.  I guess some things never change. And indeed they don't.  The burger was exactly as I had remembered it.  The bland patty had just enough meat in it to be called a hamburger as it sat between two of the lowest grade bun halves.  While it wasn't horrible, it was just so basic and dishearteni

Photos! Wisps and the Moon

I took this photo about a month ago.  The moon was full and there was a beautiful halo around it.  Now, despite the incredible technology behind the Lumia 920's camera, it is absolute crap when it comes to taking a decent photo of the moon.  Fortunately, my inexperience with taking good photos led me to snapping the picture while exhaling.  Thus, my breath was forever frozen in this moment that I think ended up being a fairly decent photo.

The Game Master

At the end of a long day filled with disappointment in humanity, I found myself at the local Wal-Mart.  Now I understand that Wal-Mart is the lowest common denominator of what humanity has to offer.  But I'll be damned if you can beat the deals and selection of their various wares of questionable quality. As I meandered through the aisles, I naturally found myself in the electronics department, specifically the video game aisles.  I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but it was a habit I had formed, perusing the latest releases and other titles and accessories from prior generations being sold at extortion rates.  I was specifically looking at the latest Skylanders offerings, wondering if I should get a companion for Drobot.  I quickly chastised myself for being a fool.  Drobot is the greatest skylander there is.  Why would I ever need another one?  But..what if I got another Drobot?  Great Odin's raven!  I would be unstoppable! While I was lost in the fantasy o

Photos! The Foggy Graveyard

I'll admit that I'm not much of a photographer.  I have no grasp of composition, lighting, or alignment to take a decent photo.  But as a thick fog has enshrouded the surrounding area and I had some free time, I decided to take some shots at the local cemetery.

App of the Week: Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo: Spartan Assault Publisher: Microsoft Studios Platform: Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8 Price: $3.49 It was only a matter of time before a Halo  title found its way to the new mobile Windows platforms.  And it's a hell of an entry.  Much like Infinity Blade  did for iOS, Halo: Spartan Assault has raised the bar for mobile games on Windows. Acting as a training simulation withing the newly created Spartan Ops program aboard the UNSC Infinity, Spartan Assault chronicles the events of Spartan Davis and Spartan Commander, Sarah Palmer.  The story is spread across six operations containing five missions each.  A rogue group of covenant have broken the peace treaty brokered at the end of Halo 3 and have unleashed hell on another planet containing Forerunner technology.  It's not the most original story, but hits all of the bullet points necessary for a Halo  game.  It's enough to keep the game moving along, but skipping the beautiful drawn cutscenes and pre-

Release Calendar: December 2013

December 09: Peggle 2 (Xbox One) December 10: Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God (PS Vita) December 11: Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise (PC) December 12: Let's Sing (PC) December 18: Jett Tailfin Racers (3DS) December 31: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD (PS Vita, PS3)