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Atlus to World: Persona’s Not Dead; Here’s the Games

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Japanese game developer Atlus may not be the most well-known name among many circles, but there’s not one person who knows of the company who isn’t also a huge fan. For decades now Atlus has been consistently bringing out some of the finest JRPGs–and other, sometimes oddball genres–in video game history, but one could easily argue that their crowning achievement is the much-loved Persona series. In recent years production of these games was brought to an untimely halt during a severe financial crisis for Atlus and its associated company, Index Corporation, but earlier this year Sega Sammy swooped in to save the day by acquiring the companies and giving them a prominent position in Sega development. The result? We’ll finally get Persona 5, yes, but Atlus won’t be stopping there. To prove to the world what they claimed all along–that Persona was not dead–we’ll see not just that one game, but a grand total of four Persona titles (three of them spinoffs) over the next year or so. For now …

Custom Boot Screens on Android Tutorial

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Is your Android device rooted? If so, then you’ve got access to a relatively under-publicized feature of Google’s popular OS: the boot screen animation. Contrary to what you might expect, this boot animation is extremely versatile and it’s completely safe to tinker with as well. The worst thing that can happen is you get a blank screen instead of the animation you desire, but the device will boot normally in the background all the same. And the best thing that can happen is you get a snazzy new boot screen to smile at every time you turn on your device for the day, and that’s worth the ‘risk’, right? If that sounds interesting to you, then proceed on with the tutorial below.

What you’ll need
• A rooted Android device
• A file manager capable of accessing the root file structure (ES File Explorer recommended)
• An image editor capable of rendering animations (Adobe software is especially suited for this, but there are free alternatives) OR a premade boot animation (available through variou…

AndrOpen Office – Finally the Real Deal Comes to Android

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As Android is based on a Linux kernel, it has long been the dream of fans of Google’s mobile OS to see desktop Linux applications running on portable devices. In the early years of Android, hardware limitations prevented this dream from becoming a practical reality, but these days things are not so difficult. Many of us regularly use tablets and smartphones with quad-core CPUs running in the 1.5GHz range, a gig or two of RAM, and a capable GPU, whether that be based on NVIDIA’s famous Tegra platform or otherwise. Android devices are becoming more and more like their bigger Linux brethren all the time, and so at last we’re beginning to see some solid ports of Linux software to Android. While many of these ports are little more than interesting experiments at this point, there is one particular project that deserves some serious attention: AndrOpen Office.

As you probably guessed by the name, AndrOpen Office is a full port of OpenOffice.org, the popular open-source office suite and bigge…

ThinkBoxly’s PC-Building Parts Guide for Gamers (2013)

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While there are a variety of PC builders out there, gamers are the driving force behind a significant portion of such enthusiasts. With the Xbox One and Playstation 4 arriving commercially in only a few weeks, next-gen will soon be here in full force–effectively outdating that beastly build from five years ago. Since both new consoles are based on x86 hardware we will likely see an increase in quality PC ports of new games over the next several years, if the PC is your gaming platform of choice now is a good time to start considering your next upgrade or totally new build. Or perhaps up until now you’ve lived with prebuilt machines, and you’d like to get into PC building for the first time to get more performance out of less money. Either way, this guide is for you–not a step-by-step how-to for putting everything together, but something even more preliminary than that. Today we’re going to walk through everything you’ll need and talk recommendations to get you started.

1 – The Case
For …

Windows 8.1 Gave Your Start Button Back? Now Get Rid of It!

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Unless you’re running a Surface RT, for which Windows 8.1 was pulled due to a bootup bug, chances are you’re either already running the hotly-anticipated update to Microsoft’s newest OS, or you’re getting ready to take the plunge. There’s a lot of great new features, and the operating system as a whole feels much more polished than the original release version of Windows 8. But at a particular point of controversy is a little icon which once again resides at the far left of the Windows taskbar. It was there from Windows 95 onward, then gone in Windows 8, and then it not-so-mysteriously reappeared in the 8.1 update. Many users rejoiced at the return of the start button, but others (myself included) found ourselves disappointed instead. Not disappointed at Microsoft–they’re just doing what they must to increase adoption of Windows 8–but disappointed at the general tech community that handled change so poorly that they voted back in a feature which was patently obsoleted a year ago.

Just …

OStober! Windows 8.1 – Two Years With the New Microsoft

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October is going to be a big month for a lot of people in the tech industry. Popular Linux distribution Ubuntu has been regularly releasing updates every April and October for nearly a decade, and earlier this year Microsoft confirmed that their game-changing Windows 8 operating system would be getting its first major update in October as well. If there’s anything that gets a geek excited it’s upgrades, so this week ThinkBoxly will be featuring a special duo of posts covering both new editions of these popular operating systems. First up: Windows 8.1, releasing October 18!

I’ve been using Windows 8 ever since the first Developer Preview released a couple of years ago. While many have found the new features—especially the Start Screen—a bit difficult to adjust to, personally I found many of the changes very refreshing and useful. In some ways Microsoft worked smartphone and tablet paradigms into the desktop environment, and in other ways they recreated the smartphone and tablet environm…

Resident Evil: Revelations – Not About the Zombies (Review)

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m tired of zombies. The walking dead have been thoroughly exhausted from their march through seemingly every shooter game to be produced in the last decade, and then some. They aren’t scary anymore. There’s nothing new to be done with them. And no matter how many developers try, zombies just make a bad crutch to lean on when your game is need of some gravity. The fact that Plants vs Zombies exists as one of the better uses of the infected should give you an indication of just where they stand in the industry.

Resident Evil: Revelations doesn’t change that. Instead it just sidesteps the issue entirely and breathes new life into the Resident Evil series without sacrificing the core of what has kept it running for so long.



Graphics
It’s somewhat difficult to judge the graphics of a game in these particular circumstances. Resident Evil: Revelations was originally released towards the end of 2012 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, and by that platfo…

What’s Wrong With Video Games (A Ranting Response)

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This week’s post is going to be a bit different than usual. A friend of mine recently pointed me to a certain video by way of Google+. In it, BlimeyCow’s Jordan Taylor rants about what’s wrong with videogames. His arguments aren’t particularly new or original, but it’s worth watching regardless. Take a look:



Today I would like to respond to this video and make a few comments to all the gamers out there. Because the fact of the matter is…

I Agree…
Yes, I agree that games have grown too simple, too repetitive, too boring, too banal(*). I’m not just talking about games that are “cinematic”, on-rails experiences with lots of quick-time events, either. When developed properly and viewed as interactive movies, I think there’s a place for this kind of game—sometimes. What makes me cringe is the reaction that games like Call of Duty and Battlefield and Halo get. Halo was once an innovative production and Call of Duty served as a decent enough history lesson, but let’s face it, these days there a…

Tales of Xillia – “It Just Keeps Gettin’ Better!” (Review)

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There’s never a guarantee that an entry in the long-running Tales series by Namco Bandai is going to make it to English-speaking areas of the world, so when one does show up on western shores people generally pay attention. While in the states the series has always played second fiddle to the quintessential JRPG franchise, Final Fantasy, Tales’ more traditional approach to the genre coupled with a unique fast-paced combat system continues to win over old and new fans alike, especially as gamers question the direction being taken by Final Fantasy developer, Square Enix.

Story
In the PS3-exclusive Tales of Xillia (that’s pronounced “ek-ZI-LEE-uh”), players are given the choice between playing primarily as either Jude Mathis, a promising medical student with a background in martial arts, or Milla Maxwell, a fairy-like being (referred to simply as ‘spirits’) tasked with destroying a weapon that kills humans and spirits en masse. While for most of the game these two protagonists experience t…

Nintendo 3DS XL Review – This is (Finally) the Handheld to Have

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While the WiiU continues to struggle to gain a user base, Nintendo’s other current generation console, the portable Nintendo 3DS, is at last gaining traction and a solid following in both eastern and western areas of the world. Even though the device has been around for a couple of years now, there are still plenty of potential customers out there who are finally finding the growing 3DS library of games enticing enough to consider a purchase. For that reason I figure is still beneficial to release a review so that interested parties who (like me) weren’t brave enough to be early adopters can get a feel for the device to see if perhaps after a couple of years it is now the right gaming device for them. Let’s get started!

Build
The Nintendo 3DS XL does not conform to recent standards set upon other new technologies, but nevertheless right out of the box it feels like a high-quality product. Yes, it’s thick and the screen operates on a snap hinge, but the matte plastic body feels solid and…

What’s Going on With Technology?

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Nintendo 2DS, a PS Vita TV, a handheld Android gaming console, a plastic iPhone—who would have thought gadgets like these would actually exist? While 2013 has seen some really great new tech so far, lately the phrase that keeps coming to mind is just: “Well, that’s weird.”

Has Technology Stagnated?
The tail end of the 20th century was rife with progress. Computers went from occupying entire rooms to fitting in a pocket, and from lighting up LEDs to displaying fully 3D, interactive environments. The foundations were being laid. The next step for technology was always obvious, because the holes in what could be accomplished with it stared us right in the face—literally (and destroyed our eyes in the process).

Then the 2000s rolled around, and technology settled into a comfortable state of being capable of basically anything. Massive, revolutionary changes were reduced to incremental upgrades. If you were a gamer or mobile device-touting business person things were fairly interesting, but …

3D is Dead, Viva la Nintendo 2DS!

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I wish the video after the jump was just an abysmally late April Fools’ joke. Sadly, it’s not. Nintendo will be releasing a Nintendo 2DS on October 12th, 2013 for $129.99. The catch for the discount (as compared to previous models of the 3DS)? You don’t get 3D (obviously), and you have to live with an ugly ‘2D’ design as opposed to the original ‘3D’ clamshell style. These kinds of oddball redesigns are usually saved for a console’s final days–something different to make old news new again and hook one last round of customers into the hardware so that they’ll invest in the software library available for it. But the Nintendo 3DS is still early in its life cycle and really only now picking up the steam of its predecessor. Why would Nintendo do this now?



The answer is fairly simple. It’s the same reason why ESPN is cutting its 3D broadcasting by year-end, why Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and the rest of the gang are moving on to pushing for 4K instead of 3D TV sets, and why companies don’t se…

Chaos Rings II - Square Enix has Still Got it (Review)

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Some time ago I ran a review of the original Chaos Rings, which is now available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and PlayStation Vita. In short, I found the game to be a great example of what JRPG gaming could be on mobile devices, if still slightly lacking in some areas. If all you want to know is whether or not Chaos Rings 2 is an improvement, you can stop reading now and go buy the game: it basically corrects every problem of the original and adds a dose of its own awesomeness to boot. But if you’re still not convinced, feel free to stick around for the full review. Let’s get started!

Story
Despite being a direct sequel, Chaos Rings 2 doesn’t stick too closely to the narrative of Chaos Rings 1. They are very much connected, but those connections will not be obvious without some exploration and a good memory of the original Chaos Rings and to a lesser degree its prequel, Chaos Rings Ω. As a result, Chaos Rings 2 stands well on its own and is easily enjoyed with no prior series experie…