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Friday, November 29, 2013

[iOS App of the Week] Toca Builders

It's that time of the week, everyone!

This week's iTunes Single of the Week is by the HAERTS and is called "Wings".

Fans of games like Minecraft will love this free app of the week for iOS devices! Games like Minecraft have been increasing since its release in 2011. Toca Builders is just one of many but plays its own unique spin on the gameplay.

Toca Builders is a game more designed not around first person view or even one character, but multiple characters that help the player design the world they want to see. The game is also different as it's been designed more for children than for adults whereas Minecraft and other games have been geared for older children in their young teens to adulthood.

If you've downloaded the game and ready to play, let's begin! To begin a game, click the red triangle on the title screen. It will bring you to a screen similar to the one below.

Your screen may be a bit different than mine, yours may only have the figure that is a hollow box with a plus sign in it. Clicking this will create a new world for you to build in. If you have any other boxes like mine above, these are previously used worlds. If you want to delete these worlds, just click the red trash can in the top right hand corner and select which world you want destroyed.

Now that we've stepped foot in the world, you can see how it looks. If you are a first timer, your world may be a bit blank unlike mine. Once you've played through the initial tutorial, you can have worlds that look like mine above with trees and mushrooms.

As I said before, Toca Builders is a game that centers around more than one character. Each of these characters have abilities critical in building the world you want to see.

Above is the first bot you will start off with.

His ability is to create blocks beneath him. You can see the block that I built in the below screenshot.

Wherever he stands, he can create a block beneath him and can go up 6 blocks high.

To move him, use the controls to the right of the screen. The top blue button will make him build a block and jump. The lower button will cause him to move forward.

For all builders, you will move them side to side using the left control. Move it to the right to move your builder right and move it to the left to make him move left.

Each builder can use many different colors in their ability. To change the color, click the button in the right hand corner which should have a colored block in it. Doing so will bring up the bottom screenshot.

Simply cycle through which color you'd like your builder to use and then continue building!

As you can see in the bottom screenshots, you can see this builder building using different colors.

If you grow tired of this builder or want to do something different, you can change builders using the bottom face on the screen. This will bring up the bottom menu.

There are currently six different types of builders on the list. The builder that we had been using was number four from the left. You can see that he has a dotted circle surrounding him in the menu.

Alternatively, you can change characters by simply clicking on them when you pass by them in the world.

The first builder in the list is the one in the above picture.

He has the ability to color blocks wherever he moves using the ball beneath him. What's different about this one is that you will need to use the ball in the right hand corner to move your builder. Moving this one in any direction will cause it to paint the beneath blocks the paint chosen. It's a pretty fun way to paint the ground rather than putting down one block at a time.

You can change colors using the above method.

If you need to move from one area to another but don't want to paint in between, you can click the green checkmark in the left side of the screen.

The next builder is second on the list.

His job is to create blocks behind him as well as destroy any blocks in his way using his fists.

To move him, he's very similar to the first builder in that you use the left stick and the right control.

A red X instead of a green checkmark means that you have clicked the button and want him to not put down any blocks behind him.

If he comes across any blocks, he will destroy them. It seems that he can only destroy blocks that are the same height as him. Any blocks above him cannot be destroyed by him. He can destroy only three blocks that are atop one another. He cannot destroy any that are four blocks above.

The next builder is a crane like character. Their ability allows them to move blocks from high up and from one place to another.

This builder moves like a spider from side to side using the ball wheel.

This builder cannot create nor destroy blocks but can only move them. This builder cannot change colors either. However, the color can be changed for when you move to another builder. This builder is useful in reaching high blocks that others cannot reach.

The next builder in the list is really the first one you start off with. But we already reviewed his abilities, so we'll move to the next one which happens to be the one below.

This builder doesn't seem to be able to move at all. Instead, they use a cannon to shoot anywhere they want on the map. This cannon shoots a dye that can change any desired block to any color. As said before, to change colors, use the color changer in the top right hand corner.

Wherever the white circle reticle is on the map, if you click the left button, it will shoot dye there and cause that one block to change colors. Any paint splashed anywhere else will not color in those tiles.

To move your reticle, use the ball in the bottom right hand corner.

The next and final builder has the ability to move up and down using a unique spine that can extend it up and down. It can create five blocks directly above it and also destroy any blocks in its way.

It cannot create blocks beneath nor in its place. Any blocks it place will be above it and up to five blocks high.

Players will need to navigate this builder using the right hand corner ball and right hand corner button which will create and destroy blocks. To move up and down, use the left hand control and slide it up and down to move up and down.

Below, you can see the builder destroying a block in its path.

All of these screenshots have been taken using the iOS' built in screenshot function which is holding the power button plus the home button. Toca Builders has also placed its own function directly into the game so that players can take screenshots using the game and a press of the finger.

In the top left hand corner, there is a picture of a camera. Click this will take a picture and the screenshot will look like the one below.

As you can see, there is also a watermark in the bottom right hand corner.

Personally, I prefer the iOS' screen capture to this as the screen is wide rather than this and it doesn't have the Toca Builders watermark. But this is ideal for anyone who wants to share using something like Instagram that currently doesn't use wide angled pictures.

Below is what happens when you take a screen capture using the in-game camera.

The game is fun and seems to be driven mostly towards young children but it seems like something fun for older children and adults alike.

This may not be a replacement for other games like Minecraft, but it takes an interesting spin on the genre.

I have not seen any in-app purchases which is a plus for many. For parents, this is great as you won't have to worry about your children making large purchases in-game and when you buy (or get it for free this week), you know there are no catches to the game.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this year.

I apologize for the late post but I was in the hills where there was no cell reception or internet. I enjoyed my time with my family and friends as we ate and enjoyed the company of one another. How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was well :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Risk of Rain PC Review - 8.8/10

Risk of Rain is an action/adventure, 2D side scroller with 'rouge like elements'. What that basically means is you're a tiny blip fight immensely larger blips with guns and other weapons. This is one of those games that completely went under my radar because I heard nothing about it in any gaming circuits and as soon as I played it I wondered why.

The Good:
The graphics are in that retro bit. Its to the point where I have to ask myself what bit it is because I have no immense knowledge of the differences. Though if I had to put my money on it, I'd say 64. Game runs smoothly, I've had no problems and that's always a good thing especially in a fast paced game like this.
I never thought I'd like perma-death but it actually works here. Basically you're on a planet at level one and stuff just... happens. Your main goal is to kill monsters while picking up items to help you survive (basically like perks) and find a portal, activate it, kill the boss and all other monsters. Where the formula is jostled is where the game gets increasingly harder each time you spend too long in one area. Problem is, all the enemies in the next area are also tougher. So you're going to spend a mad rush killing anything in your way as fast as you can, get xp and items while killing the boss as fast as possible. You're also rewarded for doing certain things like killing a number of monsters or finishing a level under a certain amount of time. They're like achievements but they don't barrage you every few seconds.
The items in here are awesome. Ranging to passive to using them, each one is awesome in their own way. There's a few ways you can get them whether from buying them with the money gained from slaughtered monsters or finding them just lying around at times. Not every item is 100% useful to you, so you'll be experimenting in game seeing which ones you like best and which ones work best for your specific character. The slow moving Enforcer may want something that speeds him up or lets him jump higher for a passive and maybe a set of homing weapons for a use. As far as I've seen, there's no limit to passive items but use items are limited to one, making you choose between which items are actually beneficial to you.
The monsters look really great. They all have a distinct look and if you need to distinguish between different types of the same variety, they do look different like an extra tint or some aura look about them.

The Bad:
The game really doesn't explain anything other than, "This is how you shoot and this is how you move." I went through every single playthrough without looking at the instructions not given to you in game to see how easy it was. About the second playthrough, I found and forgot how to use items but gained it back in the other ones. I know games way back when didn't tell you how to play them but we are behind that. I don't know why people say tutorials are the worst thing. Annoying tutorials are annoying. I can't really harp on this seeing as there is probably a bind keys somewhere, but something as simple as 'Use Item' shouldn't really be left out of the equation.
Enemies simply spawn around you. This became increasingly frustrating during one boss further in the game who uses these pillars to trap you. Problem is, I was trapped in with a bunch of powerful enemies and every so often another would spawn in.
Speaking of the game not really teaching you much, I have no idea how to unlock the other characters. There are about ten characters you can unlock and play as, each differ from the next. So far I've only got two. Problem is, nowhere I've looked I can find the requirements to unlock any new characters, I just did only one by accident. I was the furthest I've been then I died, then I restarted a new game with the knowledge the game gets harder by the minute yet died early on and then got the character. Again the with outdated use of 'Find it out yourself.' That's not fun, at all.

The Meh:
Your character model is so tiny is hardly noticeable. Aside from picking whatever character you've unlocked and zeroing in on your screen to get a glimpse, there's not really much you can tell. Minor issue thought that I feel has little to do with the final product.
The timer is a good concept but I'd like to be able to have the option to turn it off. Even at the risk of a penalty in game is fine as well. Again, minor issue.

All in all I think Risk of Rain is fun and new to me. Its available on Steam for pretty cheap so check it out if you're into slightly difficult gameplay and lots of avenues of discovery.

Zombie Media Cliches

I've been playing State of Decay on PC for a while now and its easily become one of my favorite zombie games. Though as I was playing, I began to notice a few things that seemed obvious from an outside perspective on the Zed genre. This list is in particular order, just a list.

1: Its never just a simple cold/disease.
When someone gets the common cold, its not a big deal. In the zombie world, however, immediately that person is the subject of paranoia and is most likely to be killed or create a rift between the survivors: the sane ones who wish to do everything possible and the insane 'kill em fore they kill us!' Where this is the least bad of the cliches, its easy to see why it stays. It separates the animals and those still clinging to their humanity hoping for the best.
On to the disease portion, the zombie plague can never be simplified. "Its just a plague, that's all you need to know," isn't a satisfying answer for most people, characters in the media or the reader/watcher/player. With the exception of Zombieland or some older zombie movies, there's never any moment where every character just doesn't care why there are zombies. Answers are fine to search for but in the end people are getting killed. The problem is not how this is happening but how to stop it for good. In some points I find the search for answers acceptable like in The Walking Dead television series where a character is trying to find how to reverse it and for good reason. I'll also be pushing my thoughts about the television series later as well. Any fanboys/girls probably won't like what I have to say.

2: "We have unlimited ammo, go nuts!"
During the apocalypse, I really doubt there are people still mass producing guns and ammunition as well as distributing it. There's always that point where "Its all or nothing" and they have seemingly limitless ammo for a certain period. For a bad ass factor, this isn't terrible. For a realism factor, this is insanely frustrating. Yes, ammo is limited and you should be aware of this and take strides to limiting your usage. Around the point I stopped liking The Walking Dead show was around the time The Governor came around. Killing a whole slew of characters, some of which I really liked. During the beginning of the third season, shots! Shots! Shots galore! And after all that talk/repercussions of the previous season? You'd think the characters would be a bit smarter. I am surprised how often this happens and how inept all of the characters involved are being. In the case of the rage zombies of 28 Days/Weeks Later, yes that makes sense for their speed but apart from that, the slow moving ones need only that for dire situations.

3: Any media with variant zombies is never fully appreciated/taken seriously.
First off, what are variant zombies? Variant is a zombie that diverts from the normal walking zombie. If you've ever played Left 4 Dead (or the second game), the game is rife with variants. Boomers, Smokers, Spitters, Jockeys, Tanks, Chargers and Witches. Each is unique and requires a different tactic. So why are these never taken really seriously or fully appreciated? Despite what people may tell you, they like a set rules with these universes. Adding a new element in is usually considered cheap, over used or under used. Variants offer a bounty of tactics to use against and offer up a new and dangerous challenge. The media that introduces this isn't usually panned or seen as bad, just seen as being less in quality to something like The Walking Dead.

4: The Last Stand
Cliche? Yes. Bad ass? Most often. The Last Stand is when a character is about to die and they know it. Knowing this, they send the rest of the group off to do something like an explosion or simply be bait. I personally think this is over used seeing as how most every single media does this at least once during it's length/run time. Used well it can be cool despite being cliche. In terms of Walking Dead, I wish every single one of my favorite characters got this. Sadly, most of them died like the others.

5: Limited supplies if only for plot convenience
Yes in the apocalypse there will be a lack of supplies but it always seems to come at the most inopportune time to either make the group make big decisions, have a member leave entirely or even have a character killed off. Back to The Walking Dead's use of ammunition in the last episode I cared to watch, I have not watched any episode past the 10th episode of season 3, but I can guarantee you there was a time when ammo was an issue. Realistically speaking, the group would have been dead by the forth season.

Thanks for reading this. Sorry if you're a Walking Dead fan. I wish you well with the continuing series.

[iOS App of the Week] Combo Crew

This week's free single is "Run" by Delta Rae. Get it for free only this week by visiting the iTunes Store on your iOS device.

Combo Crew is this week's "App of the Week". Get it for free on the App Store on your iOS device for this week only.

Combo Crew is a game a lot like traditional fighter games on popular consoles like Street Fighter and Mortal Combat but with a bunch of differences. Games like SF and MC are built around a more 2D experience with one side of the characters showing as they face and fight one another. Combo Crew is a game about street fighting but is more 3D and a game more comparable to that of Fruit Ninja.

For anyone who's played Fruit Ninja, this should be a very easy game to get adjusted to. The mechanics are the same in that you don't just click on enemies to have your character fight them but you swipe across the opponent to have them fight the desired opponent.

There are different ways to fight with your fingers. You can do a one finger swipe on an enemy and your character will hit them once, you can charge your attack by holding a swipe for a few seconds, or you can use two fingers for double hits.

Once you've completed a round, you can move to the next round.

Of course, there are prizes for doing better in a match. Like the screenshot above, if you happen to not get hit at all during a match, you get a Perfect Combo Bonus which can get you a higher score.

There are also medals at the end of each round.

The game allows the purchase of newer characters. Players can choose to use in-game money earned from fighting matches or using real money to purchase others. Below is a screenshot of some of the characters that can be bought.

You may notice that there are some recognizable names like Joe and Ryu. Whether these are legitimate characters from their appropriate series or not remains unknown to me. However, each of these characters, and others can be purchased for $0.99 USD. Others, on a previous page, can be purchased using in-game currency which are video game controllers. These seem to be unlocked when you get perfect matches and only then. I haven't come across any other areas of the game where you can get these collectables.

The game is your typical fighting game with some extras that only touch devices can bring using swipes.

For me, this isn't a normal game that I play as I'm not into fighting games as much, but it may be fun for some.

Let me know what you thought of it if you have played it. Hurry before this week's edition is over!

[iOS App of the Week] Introduction

Much like the Amazon App Store for Android users, Apple has begun giving away paid apps for free for an entire week. Each week, I'd like to write about which app was given and a little review on it as well as some background information on the app. Most of the apps have been games so it seems that we'll be reviewing games more than anything.

If you have an iOS device and would like to participate, just open your App Store app and look on the Featured page for a, currently, blue banner and a picture with a yellow "Free" marker on it near the middle of the page.

There is also a free single given every week. It is the same method as above only it's in your iTunes Store app.

Note: I am using an iPhone 5 running iOS 7. Your participation in the "App of the Week" may rely on what device you are using and what iOS version you are running.

Stay tuned every week to catch up with what is this week's "App of the Week".

Apparently, you can also download these games and music via iTunes which is interesting. It's in the same location as it would be on your iOS device too. Just go to your iTunes Store link within iTunes and click over for the App Store page to where you should see this week's App of the Week. You will need an Apple ID to get these apps as with any other app.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First-Look at Moga Ace Power Controller for iPhone 5+

Expect a review sometime soon about the new handheld gaming controller, the Moga Ace Power Controller from me. I just ordered mine today and the shipping is estimated to come within 2 business days (sometime before next Tuesday).

Check out the neat design in the pictures below. (Taken directly from Moga's website which is located here.)

I was reading some articles from a peer tech-website on my Twitter feed and happened to come across this neat little attachment for the iPhone 5 (also available for the iPod Touch 5th Gen, iPhone 5S, and iPhone 5C; not compatible with iPhone 4 and below or any iPad models due to design) when I entered in my credit card information to order it and my cousin walked in and I asked him about it. He said that a lot of sites were giving it subpar reviews due to some things like its weak feel.

I decided that I'd buy it anyway as it's listing price is only $99 and would get a chance to upload a new review for you guys.

I read a few reviews and it didn't do so well. CNET was just one of many who gave it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The biggest gripe amongst reviews was in its poor choice of plastic material. Apparently it feels really cheap and not just in the plastic feel but also the charging port.

What makes this controller, adapter so unique is its layout and function.

More and more, people are ditching their flat controller adapters for ones that are more bulky. Developers have decided to compete, head to head, with the big boys of gaming like Xbox and PlayStation. You can see the huge differences between the PSP and PS Vita in that the PSP was more flat but the PS Vita is aimed at making handheld gaming more like that of a home console's controller with actual grips and buttons that stick out. This makes gaming, especially 3D gaming, much more enjoyable. This is perfect for First-Person-Shooters like Modern Combat and 3D racing games like Asphalt. We'll see how great the compatibility is once it gets here, though. There is also another difference in that this one carries an external battery pack and plugs directly into the phone.

Other adapters, like my secondary case used for an external keyboard, rely on Bluetooth which can be a huge battery drainer. This is terrible not just because your phone is a multi-purpose device used also for communication, but also because you want to be able to play games for hours and not just put them down after 5 minutes of play. This adapter boasts a battery compartment that will charge your iPhone while you play. Much better because I hate turning on Bluetooth and I hate waiting for it to connect. Now I won't have to do that with this design.

It sounds like a really good controller all the way around, but I can't until it actually comes and I get to use it to its full potential. At that point, I will be able to tell you guys much more about it and what it can do.

What do you guys think of it? Do any of you already have it? How is Moga as a company? This looks like their first iOS device but I see that they have some other Android controllers.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why Jailbreak?

I recently read an online article which seemed to question the thousands of us who still long for a jailbreak for our iOS devices. The author was half true in that jailbreaking was more frequent in previous versions such as iOS 3 where users weren't able to do simple things like WiFi toggle, change a background, and other previous versions couldn't even do copy-and-paste unless you were jailbroken. Over the years, most of these features were added into official updates for the iOS.

So why would any of us want jailbreak status if we get most of what we want?

Apple is still a hard company to persuade. Apple is determined to push out the best when it is best (best meaning little to no bugs). It's the reason why things take so long to be released from the company. They work on it until it is perfected to the point where complete noobs can use it with little to no problems.

From what I've seen, the vast majority of iPhone users are completely technologically ignorant. Many of them choose the iPhone over Android because it's simpler and near perfected. I chose it for this reason but to also have some of my favorite add-ons from jailbreaking.

iOS 6 was very competitive in that it offered many of the things that Android offers. There's very little that it doesn't do that Android does. But there were still things that many of us want.

For example, I enjoyed jailbreak status for my iPad Mini because I liked having an actual moving background. iOS 7's new background is nice but I want something more like Android that's like an actual video playing in the background. Apple hasn't released anything like this officially because it poses many risks such as heavy battery usage and unlikely shut-downs. I was willing to take the risk because I know how to handle the risks.

Other reasons include limiting Apple's influence over my device that I paid for.

Out of the two, which do you prefer? If you had the choice, would you choose to use Apple Maps or Google Maps? I always choose Google Maps if I have the choice. The same goes for Safari versus Google Chrome (although, I'm in a minority on this one for iPhone users).

When asking Siri a question such as "Directions to Statue of Liberty" or "Google Statue of Liberty", your results will take you to Apple Maps and Apple's web browser, Safari.

In Android, I was always given a choice as to which one I wanted to use. There was one jailbreak add-on that removed this "default" feature so that users could choose what they wanted to use. As such, I chose everything to be opened, by default, in Google Chrome over Safari.

Then there were other add-ons like Adblock.

I pay $8 a month for Hulu and Netflix. Hulu forces ads into my viewing experience that I'd much rather do without. On my computer, Google Chrome has add-ons like Adblock Plus that can and have blocked these annoying ads for me. While it's nothing but a blank screen for 30 seconds, it's much more enjoyable than sitting through the same damn commercial again and again. For my iPhone and iPad, there was no such option until I found it in Cydia. It cost me 99 cents, if I remember correctly, but it did the trick and eliminated those pesky ads.

Then there are other additions like iFile that I really like having so that I can view every file on my iOS system.

There's a whole lot of good that jailbreaking can do for you.

What is jailbreaking? In a sense, it is giving your device, what is known as, "root status" or in other words, "administrative privileges" much like on your Windows computer. You, as the user, have complete control over what your device does. Apple has no say in what happens other than a few things that you absolutely must have.

Even if I don't use the apps on Cydia, I enjoy having my device be my device. I like the idea of being in control especially when things go sour. I don't like having to depend on the "Geniuses" at the Apple Stores if something goes wrong especially considering that I have to make day-in-advance appointments when I need my iPhone right that second.

For you guys, does it seem like jailbreaking is still something that we need? Is it something that you, personally, want? What good have you seen come out of jailbreaking?

iOS 7.0.4

A few days ago, iOS 7.0.4 was released to help fix a few bugs in the iOS system. This one is designed, particularly, to address issues such as these that are listed in the description:
"Bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue that causes FaceTime calls to fail for some users.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:"

According to jailbreakers like MuscleNerd (@MuscleNerd on Twitter), here's what he had to say regarding the new update:

It seems like it's safe to update for those wondering but want a jailbreak, but MuscleNerd is warning everyone to be careful.

Many tech-related websites are suggesting that it's fine to update to 7.0.4. I'm a bit uneasy about it. I don't think that Apple has patched the exploit that will be used for a future jailbreak, but it could be possible.

Unless there are any additional issues seen in iOS, I think 7.1 will be the next update and we will see a jailbreak released sometime after that.

Many users are reporting issues with iMessage that have still not been resolved in any of the iOS 7.X.X updates, so we may or may not see this fixed in a 7.0 update or possibly in a 7.1.

We're keeping a close eye on the status of the jailbreak and will let you know if we notice any changes.

7 Reasons Why I Will Not Get the PS4 or Xbox One...Yet

As I may or may not have already mentioned, I have not planned to buy the PlayStation 4 or even the Xbox One right at this second. I plan to sometime in early Spring 2014 for a few reasons.

Typically, online blogs and news sources get the latest consoles and tell their audience, "We buy it and test it so you don't have to!" Unfortunately, let me be blunt with you. I'm a simple guy who's living off of a simple wage and this is something I do in my freetime. I may have ads on this blog but I'm not being paid very much or even enough that could cover those expenses.

Below, I would like to list many of the reasons why I'm not first in line to get one of the next gen consoles at this present time:

1. They are very expensive. Buying both just isn't in my budget at this time, let alone just buying one.

2. For the average consumer, it's best to wait.

I bought the PlayStation Vita within a few months of its initial US release date. I also bought a PS3 when it was very young as well. Both were disappointments at launch as I was stuck with expensive systems with nothing to play. No games were available at launch besides a few and those few lasted me only a short while until they became boring. Then I got to a point where I was waiting for new releases and Googling to see if they were going to be released soon.

It seems best to just wait a few months then get the system, buy a game or two, play those, then get some more as you grow tired of the other titles.

3. New releases always have bugs. Whether it be software or hardware, new technology almost always has bugs. Sometimes these bugs are things you don't really have to worry about and other times the bugs are overwhelming enough that you can't even enjoy your product until a fix is released.

This was the case for the Xbox 360 and games such as Fallout 3, New Vegas, and The Elder Scrolls Skyrim. All of these were highly popular and anticipated. Gamers don't want to see a bunch of delays so companies think that it's fine to just release buggy software/hardware then fix the problem later. Most problems seem to be in software so it wouldn't be as difficult, but still; it's annoying to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a system and not be able to use it when it is first released.

4. You never know who's going to come out on top.

For the average consumer, they typically only buy one console at a time or keep one for many years. It's rare for someone to buy both a PS4 and Xbox One at the same time.

Waiting is best as you get to see a bigger picture of which one is used more.

The PlayStation 2 was a highly successful console, much more than that of the Xbox. More of your friends were likely to have a PS2 than an Xbox. Back then, it wasn't as much of a problem unless you were visiting a friend's house, then you wouldn't be able to play your games on their system. Nowadays, it's a problem as you won't be able to play online games with your friend if you two don't have the same system.

The Xbox 360 actually became a more popular system among gamers than the PS3 was. Many of the people I played with had Xboxes than they had PS3. I have very few friends that are on PS3 and are actually active there.

This time is a bit different as the PS4 was released first and the Xbox One has received a ton of negative feedback from gamers. It's possible that people could go to the Xbox One simply because they already have Xbox games but it's also possible that the PS4 could be the popular system because it was released first and has gained more favor.

5. It's best to see if any of the systems will even make it.

When looking back on the history of video gaming, we see lots of consoles that gained lots of publicity in the beginning but fell off very quickly and are now named as some of the worst consoles ever released. And none of these systems were cheap much like it is today. Can you imagine spending over $700 on a console only to later realize that publishers gave up on it and refuse to make anymore games for it? Not me. I'm playing it safe.

6. Wait to see what system is most hacker friendly.

While Microsoft nor Sony are friendly towards hackers, one of the systems may be more vulnerable than the other. To me, it seemed as though the PS3 was much easier to hack at home than an Xbox was but this may be a different story this time around.

7. Long lines and the risk of owning one.

There's a risk of buying brand new equipment. Many people were assaulted, some even killed, when the PS3 originally launched. For me, it seems to best to avoid all of that and get the console when the market dies down a bit.

This is not to say that I will never own any of these consoles nor are they interesting, but that I want to wait and make the best possible choice.

If you did happen to buy the PS4, what's your take on it? And when that time comes, how is the Xbox One?

Monday, November 11, 2013

iPad Mini Retina Release Date & Possible iOS 7 Jailbreak Release?

According to many websites like the Wall Street Journal, MacRumors obtained a message that allegedly came directly from Apple stating that the iPad Mini Retina display would be released on November 12, 2013 which so happens to be tomorrow for my time zone.

What was puzzling for many people was that this announcement was made the day of November 12 for many retailers so they were shocked to see this announcement so early and without warning.

I immediately went to Apple's website to see what they had to say on the iPad's release. At that time, said that the iPad Mini Retina was scheduled to be released in "late November". Later in the day, I checked again to see more reputable news sources reporting on this same story.

I checked Apple's website once again tonight and the same page for the iPad Mini with Retina display has this GIF image.

It seems that Apple is preparing to announce the release of this new iPad very soon just by seeing this image.

That brings me to the iOS 7 jailbreak release. I predict that we will see a release very soon, before the second week of December at most, seeing that iOS 7 has been released and all of the current devices are (will be) released now. The new iPhone 5S and 5C, the iPad Air, and the iPad Mini Retina are all released now. To make it easiest on everyone and make sure everyone is included, the iOS jailbreaking team(s) can now release a jailbreak to help everyone who wants it.

If the iPad Mini Retina is released tomorrow, November 12, 2013, as reported, expect an iOS 7 jailbreak very soon.

The evad3rs team has been giving us hints as to where they are in terms of a release, and it seems that they are extremely close to releasing a jailbreak. I say this as we can see they are very confident that Apple didn't close the exploit in iOS 7.0.3 which seems to indicate it's ready very soon.

I think we will have to wait just a few days after the iPad Mini Retina's release for the developers to be sure that the jailbreak works across all devices as well as probably one more iOS update whether that be 7.0.4 or 7.1. Some are speculating that we may have to wait for 7.1 but I think we may see it before then if that is not the next release. Seeing that iOS has not seen many problems, we may see 7.1 as the next release. However, if the iPad Mini Retina or another device has a major flaw, we may see a minor update before 7.1.

Will I be right in my prediction? I think so and I hope so. I've been waiting for this for a while and want it to come very soon.

Stay tuned, everyone. We'll be notifying you guys as soon as we get the official word and we see that the jailbreak works.

5 Reasons Why We Will Never Seen an Xbox Portable

A few years ago, I was very optimistic about seeing an Xbox portable launch that would compete against Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Nintendo's DS line. But as time has gone on, I don't think we'll see an Xbox Portable anytime soon and here's why I think so.

1. Look at the "success" of the PSP and PS Vita. People try to explain why neither haven't had as much success as Nintendo's handhelds have seen, but the bottom line is that Nintendo's is much more reasonably priced and has existed for a much longer time giving Nintendo an advantage.

Microsoft jumped into the gaming industry in the early 2000's so they don't have as much experience as Sony or Nintendo have regarding home consoles, let alone handhelds. Nintendo seems to have this section of video gaming tied down.

2. Microsoft may be giving up the Xbox division entirely to focus on making hardware for PCs and mobile devices. It has been rumored that if one of the more likelys is to take charge of Microsoft, he will let go of Bing and the entire Xbox division. This could be an indication of Microsoft not seeing reasonable profits from the system as they had expected, which would mean they would be less likely to invest more money into that area.

Although, if the Xbox division is sold or becomes separate from Microsoft, we have a chance of the new party possibly making a handheld system.

3. Microsoft has its feet in enough mobile platforms for it to dedicate one solely for video gaming. With the release of Windows Mobile 8, Microsoft announced that it would allow Mobile 8 users to play some Xbox games on their mobile phone.

Also, Microsoft has moved towards more mobile devices, mostly tablets, with its release of Windows 8 for PCs. In doing so, we have also seen more use of the Xbox name in the Windows' app store which seems to indicate that Microsoft wants to use these as gaming platforms rather than dedicate one solely for gaming.

4. Corporate gaming systems are on their way out. Let's face it: Steam, Android, and other open sources projects are taking the news by storm. While everyone does have their eyes on the PS4 and Xbox One releases, it won't last long. Consumers are tired of closed systems that don't allow players to do what they want, when they want to their systems they paid hundreds of dollars for.

With this, it may be the end of the Xbox line as we know it which would mean a no-show for any future Xbox-related hardware.

5. Xbox One has received lots of negative responses. Microsoft hasn't done a good job of announcing its hardware. They have been very open about what it is capable of doing and what it cannot do.

More people seem to be flocking to the PS4 than the Xbox One. Also, given that the PS4 is to be released first, we will see more people using this first before the Xbox One. In 2006, the Xbox 360 was launched and it did considerably better in its lifetime than the PS3 did among gamers. I would say that the release date had a lot to do with its popularity.

If the Xbox line isn't successful, as I said before, don't expect Microsoft to invest more money into it for future projects.

It's unfortunate as I'm more of a fan of actual 3-D gaming that Sony and Microsoft have been known for versus what we've seen of Nintendo in their mobile gaming. I've always wanted to see an Xbox handheld, but I don't think we will see one for a long time, if we ever do.

For now, we'll just have to be satisfied with fan-made concept art which many can be found here.

There are some interesting concepts here, but many seem too outdated, unrealistic, and others seem like they already exist such as a tablet. We may see one of these, one day, for tablets that allows PC users to unofficially run Xbox 1, 360, and/or One titles on their PC. Until then, we'll have to keep dreaming.

Veterans Day 2013

I feel uncomfortable saying "Happy Veterans Day" considering the things many of our veterans have seen in their lifetime, but I do want to thank every veteran for their service and sacrifice to our country. Without them, my blog and my freedoms would not exist.

We at WIFLI are an American blog so we thank each and every one of our troops for their service to the United States. While we may not agree on every war that we engage in, we must be thankful to our troops for volunteering themselves so the rest of us don't have to go.

Thank you, again, for your service.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

[Review] Rocksmith 2014 (PC)

For the purpose of this review, it's important to know the following:
I am using Rocksmith 2014 through Steam on a Windows 7 64-bit laptop in conjunction with an Epiphone SG electric guitar. I am using the original Rocksmith USB cable that came with my PS3 version of Rocksmith for Rocksmith 2014.

It's been a while, my friend. I'm speaking to both my guitar and Ubisoft's Rocksmith franchise, both, of which, I haven't touched in a few months.

I had higher hopes for the sequel than the original as Ubisoft should have learned from their mistakes and perfected them in the latest release. I expect to find areas that I still don't agree with whether that be new additions or removals from the game. The third release, if ever to be released, will be one of the best releases for the series, as is with most new series so don't expect this to be a review that completely agrees with the game and how it plays.

Steam finally finished downloading the game and installed it for my library. These games get weirder and weirder with each new release. Battlefield 3 opened through a web browser and now this game opens via Ubisoft's Uplay program. I assume this is done in an effort to cut down on the piracy. Nevertheless, the game eventually opened and I began to play.

It is important to note that Rocksmith is a game unlike many others in that it teaches you to play an actual guitar instead of a silly, expensive piece of plastic with buttons made to mimic the design of a Fender Stratocaster. There is no story-mode, the game lets you dive in once it finishes loading and you proceed through a brief introduction to the series.

Luckily for those of us who used the first game, there is no need for an introduction and the game will allow us to proceed through with little to no problems. My first problem was that the game automatically assumed that I would be playing a song in the traditional E tuning and made me tune my guitar accordingly. The game should have waited until I had chosen a song as I went the route of metal band Mastodon in choosing to learn their Blood and Thunder song which is in a Drop D tuning. It just seemed redundant to have to tune again when I was already in Drop C to begin with.

But the game takes a turn for the better after a few hours of playing. The game's song list is much better than I originally saw, although I wish there were more titles by more artists. Again, as I said in my previous review, that's probably not Ubisoft's fault that they weren't able to get the copyrights.

Here's a short list of what the some of the featured songs include.

For the duration of this review, I've chosen to use the Foo Fighters' Everlong song for much of the demonstrations of what the game can do.

As you can see, there is a yellow percentage sign beside the song. This percentage is what I have currently "unlocked" of the song.

As is the tradition since the first Rocksmith game, Rocksmith does not have a traditional difficulty meter that you can simply turn from "Easy" to "Professional". Instead, Rocksmith uses artificial intelligence to determine what level you are currently playing as. As you progress through songs and master what the game has given you, the game gives you a little more of the song each time. The bigger the percentage, the more difficult realistic the song will be. The song gets "more difficult" in that it requires more of you than before until it gets to a point where you play the full blown song.

When you select a song, the below screenshot appears.

From here, you can now determine how you'd like to play the song. Either you can jump into the song and begin mastering it on your own now or you can try some of the bottom options to help you prepare to master the song.

Rocksmith is that great in that it allows you to truly decide how you want to go about learning songs.

I think what's best is that people who are more comfortable with playing the guitar and/or the particular song should just jump into the song and begin playing it. Whereas beginners to the song and/or guitar should consider trying the bottom options.

Some of these options will help you master sections of the song or give you mini games to prepare for the songs. I'll dig a little deeper into the mini games in a minute.

Fans of the previous game should recognize the UI.

This is how the screen will look when you're actually playing. It's not very complex and not too difficult to understand to a beginner. If you know where the strings and frets are, you will have no problem picking this up quickly.

Red - 6th string, yellow - 5th string, blue - 4th string, and so on and so forth. Each fret is indicated by the numbers at the bottom of the neck as well as with the slightly transparent circles on the fret board which you can see.

The top of the UI is where you are currently in the song. What's orange is what you still have to play while what's been played will be a purple or blue color.

I have a bit of a problem with the game when it picks up my playing. It's unclear where you have to actually pluck and strum. Do you wait until it gets to the actual colored strings? I couldn't tell and the game doesn't seem to help.

I suppose that there's a bit of a delay because when I strum when I know I'm supposed to, the game says that I "missed" the note. So when I'm playing, I have to hit them early which doesn't sound very appealing to the ears most of the time.

Once you've finished playing the song, the bottom screen will show.

Notice that my percentage is shown again on here at 14.5%. Currently, I have am playing 14.5% of the full song. I am playing the song, just not every part.

This particular time, I got 79% of the song notes correct. This is what I actually hit that was correct. The remaining 31% is what I did not hit when I was supposed to.

Below is a picture of the main menu.

I am very impressed by the amount of options this game has included since its last release. The previous game did its job by teaching gamers how to play the guitar, but was not an adequate substitute for a human tutor. While I am hesitant to say anything like that, I will say that it can help you learn how to play the guitar and teach you techniques that the previous title was unable to do.

In the below screen, we can see many techniques that Rocksmith can help us perfect guitar playing.

Rocksmith now includes all sorts of interactive videos that can help you master techniques of guitar playing such as "shifting", chords, and even give you advice on how to restring your guitar! While it's all great, it's still best, and the game will even recommend, that you should ask a human for some things if you are unsure.

Not all of these videos, but most of them, are interactive. They will show you a technique, then explain how you can do it, and then have you do it for yourself. If you can't do it right the first time, it will keep going over it until you get it. The game will also slow down the tutorial if it seems that you still can't get the technique down.

Rocksmith can also show you a variety of chords and how to play them.

One of the problems that I had with the first game was that it didn't have a clear way of requesting a new tuning or had any other sort of tuning beside standard E and Drop D. Rocksmith 2014 includes many tunings and allows for you to tune using the main menu instead of having to enter a new song which is a plus.

A downside to this is that you will need to tune when changing from song to song. But it shouldn't be a problem for most people as you'll stick to one song rather than switching over and over.

While the game lacks some songs, there are DLCs being produced and released that include new songs to play with. Below is a screenshot of the currently available DLC songs for the game.

Please note that at least one other song is available but couldn't fit in this screenshot and that this screenshot was taken on November 6, 2013. Since then, more songs may be available for download. Also, prices may change later.

One of my problems from the first game was that the songs were just too much. With these, I do enjoy Iron Maiden, so that pack will be put to some use but buying individual songs for $2.99 seems a bit steep. Considering that most of these songs go for around $0.99 on iTunes, does it seem fair to charge an additional $2.00 just because they allow you to play and learn the song? For me, it doesn't seem like a fair price, but maybe you feel differently.

As of now, all DLC can be purchased for $94.76. I'm unsure whether that includes the game as well or if that is just for the DLC. Either way, it seems like a pretty steep price also considering that not all DLC has been released yet. Unless this price will be a season pass that will allow gamers to download new songs as they become available, then it seems a bit more reasonable.

Rocksmith 2014 has a fun way of helping you improve your skills as well. Rocksmith, itself, is designed to be fun but it's included mini games that give a retro feel and help you improve with some fun.

The picture above is of one of the many mini games included in Rocksmith. This one is called "Star Chords". It helps gamers improve their chords as quickly as they can.

The player is placed into a spaceship's cockpit and flies through space. Enemies pop up on screen and you are to shoot them down. To shoot them, you will need to complete the required chord that pops up on screen. If you don't do it quick enough, you will be shot and lose health. The more ships you shoot down, the bigger score you get.

In terms of the audio, I'm not sure if it's just because of my computer, but the sound isn't so great. Luckily, I have an HDMI-out port on my laptop so I hook it into my flat screen at home. Otherwise, it's difficult to hear the song and my guitar playing. The actually strumming on the guitar becomes louder and overbears the music playing. That's something to consider if you're thinking of getting this for PC.

I chose to buy this version for PC as it seemed the most convenient. If and when I upgrade my computer, it will still be in my Steam library, waiting for me to download. I also considered other things like upgrading video game systems. Not that this is a game I will play 40 years from now, but if I do so happen to choose this game then, if Steam is still available, I will have access to it even then without having to search for a 40 year old PlayStation 3 console.

Just keep in mind that if you do buy online, you will still need to purchase a Rocksmith cable if you do not already have one.

The original Rocksmith did a fine job at teaching people how to play some of the best songs around. Rocksmith 2014 did a fantastic job minus a few minor problems. The biggest problem for me getting used to the delay. I hope this is just an issue that I'm experiencing because it's frustrating.

What I said in the previous review goes for this one: this is a great game. If you are an avid gamer, I wouldn't recommend this game for you if you aren't serious enough about playing guitar; otherwise, it would just collect dust on your hard drive. If you are serious about playing the guitar and enjoy some games, this game is great for you. If you want to learn how to play the guitar and have the money for a monthly human tutor, go for that and don't go for this. If you want to better your guitar skills, this is a good choice for you. The biggest change between this one and the previous is that this one has a better chance of taking the place of a human tutor. At the same time, there will never be a game that can take the place, but I'd say that this comes very close.

There is much more to the game than what I could write here. There are more mini games, more tuning styles, more songs...and there will be new DLC coming soon as well as what's available right now.

For those of you who have played the game, what's your take on it? Have you played the first game? If so, what do you think between the two? Personally, I think this is a great improvement.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rocksmith 2014 Review Coming Soon

I apologize, again, for a late review coming to you guys. I just made my purchase over Steam tonight and am currently downloading the title.

I enjoyed the first Rocksmith game on my PlayStation 3 but there were a few issues that I encountered on that version that made me dislike pieces of the game. I hope that many of these issues have been corrected in the newest version which debuted a short while ago. Overall, it was a nice game and I enjoyed it also considering that it actually helped teach you how to play a guitar while making it as fun as other video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been for gamers.

If you're curious and want to see my take on the first game, head over to this post to see my review. Be sure to come back in a few days as I hope to cover the newest release then. If not, check back on this post for any additional details. The game may contain too much information for me to digest in a short amount of time.

This time, I have purchased the game over Steam for my Windows 7 PC so the changes may be a bit different than my review of the first game which I played on a PS3.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Humble Bundle November 5, 2013

They're back! Another special edition of Humble Bundle is going on right now so hurry up and get to their website!!

The latest HB pack was entitled in my e-mail as "Holy Humble Bundles, Batman" for a good reason. The Dark Knight makes a feature appearance in this special edition of the release.

Right now, you can get Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY (Game of the Year Edition), F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin, F.E.A.R. 3, and Lord of the Rings: War in the North for any price that you name! If you meet the average price which is currently $4.53 or pay more, you can also get Batman Arkham City GOTY and Scribblenauts Unlimited!

The featured charity in this Humble Bundle comes from We Can Be Heroes. The description provided on Humble Bundle's website is as follows:

We Can Be Heroes is designed to raise awareness and critical funds needed to fight the devastating hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and bring help and hope to eight million people who are in urgent need of assistance. The campaign is lead by DC Entertainment’s iconic characters – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Since launching the campaign in early 2012, we’ve helped more than five million people in the Horn of Africa. The funds we raise through these efforts support the work of the campaign’s three humanitarian aid organizations – Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps.

As always, Humble Bundle allows customers to pick and choose where their money goes as well as how much they pay (excluding the two games).

I got mine today for around $10. I think it's a pretty good deal for just one of these games. I would definitely recommend that everyone take advantage of this deal while it still lasts!

Monday, November 4, 2013

[How To] Custom Google Search Engine Blocklist

Is there a particular website that continues to pop up when you search for something on Google? Are you a liberal who hates the sight of Fox News? Are you a conservative who hates the sight of Huffington Post or MSNBC? Well fear no more, now you can search Google without having to see any of your unwanted websites pop in the search results!

What you will need is Google Chrome that can use plug-ins and you'll need to be using the Google search engine. I use Bing mostly, but I happened to find this for Google and it does work!

Once you've opened Google Chrome, go to this link ==>

Click the green button near the top to "Add to Chrome".

After that, you should see a few boxes and a button at the bottom that says "Save". Input your undesired website addresses into the boxes. Don't worry if it changes them a little, the extension knows what it's doing. (If you want to block a particular Facebook profile or Blogger blog that contains something like, Blacklist will block the entire Blogger or Facebook website from Google search results. Blacklist will not be able to block a particular profile for you unless it is a specific URL.)

Once you've added all of your unwanted websites, click save. There should be something indicating that it saved.

Finally, go to Google and try searching for any of these websites that you inputted. If the websites don't pop up anymore, you've successfully blocked them from your Google search results!

If you want to remove one of these websites, simply go back to that page which can be found here ==> chrome-extension://jiicbcimbjppjbckmoknagndlhjbeohb/options.html (Can be found by going to the right hand corner of your Google Chrome browser, clicking those 3 lines, then going to Settings, then click on Extensions in the top left hand corner. From here, you should see all of your extensions; for Blacklist, click options to be taken to the page for editing websites.) Once here, hover your cursor beside one of the lines until you see a red X appear off to the right hand side. Click that to remove that website from your blocked page. Now click save and you should be good to go.

Remember, again, that this method above only works for Google Chrome and the Google search engine. I am sure that one exists for Firefox and a few other browsers although I am doubtful of one for Internet Explorer. I am sure that one also exists for other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!. Search your favorite search engine if you want to find a plug-in or extension that will work for any of your desired browsers or search engines.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Official Twitter Page

It's always great to utilize social media to extend the reach of your blog or website. We've launched our new Twitter page which can be found here.

For the most part, it is another way for us to reach out to our readers and to increase the potential of sharing the blog with many more people. It has also become a way to stay connected with the rest of the world especially those in the tech-industry as news often times hits social networks more quickly than official news sources.

In addition, I believe that asking questions via Twitter is a much better idea than through our blog. Not only will we receive responses from our readers, but also those who may not view our blog.

Our account will be following other Twitter users so feel free to check out who we follow as well. We're still a growing blog so our Twitter account will be growing as well.

Thank you, everyone, for your support!

Is Humble Bundle A Scam?

Short answer: no.

The official Humble Bundle currently located at is not a scam in that they do not pretend to offer an unbelievable deal and run with your money. I've made a few purchases with Humble Bundle and have zero complaints with the website.

Their Steam and Origin codes were 100% legitimate and I received the games they promised that I would receive for the amount of money that I paid.

Humble Bundle is an excellent way to get some great games (usually Indies) for a great price while helping out charities. Best of all, you can choose which charities receive how much money you'd like them to receive. I know for some people like my parents, it would be a great deal. My dad has never been a fan of the Red Cross so if and when given the option to donate money, he could simply tell Humble Bundle to not give any of his money to them and distribute it to the rest of the charities and names listed.

The deals that you currently see on Humble Bundle are for a limited time only so do not wait for another day. The deals typically last for a week and a new HB pack will be introduced.

HB packs typically consist of Indie titles, meaning ones not produced by large video game corporations. However, there have been a few that did involve large title names such as one that gave a bunch of EA titles like Battlefield 3, Dead Space 1 and 3, and other titles. HB also gives out games for Android. As far as I know, they do not do any games for iOS devices. The reason is because HB games are DRM free and Android allows DRM free content while iOS does not.

Humble Bundle works with developers to use their games as a way of getting money raised for charity. It helps developers by putting their name out there. The costs are typically split between Humble Bundle (for server costs), the developers of the games, and various charities. Humble Bundle also helps contributors by posting their name on a top board. Contributors who contribute above and beyond what is typically given are listed on a board. This helps as many websites and individuals are allowed to share their Twitter and website names on this board.

I've noticed that quite a bit of people have asked if Humble Bundle is a scam. To my knowledge of the service and my dealings, I have not experienced nor witnessed any wrongdoings by the organization. They appear to be fair and conduct business as they say they do.

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