Posts

Showing posts from 2014

Resogun (PS3/Vita) – An Admirable Downgrade (Review)

Image
With each new console generation it’s pretty much a given that a certain few titles will arise early on that, while certainly fun in their own right, are more or less designed purely to show off what the new hardware can do. What isn’t so normal is for one of these kinds of games to much later be backported to the previous generation, and even rarer is seeing a handheld even get in on the action. But as of December 23, that’s exactly what’s happened with Resogun, the flashy arcade shoot ‘em up from Finnish indie developer studio Housemarque. Even better, it’s a participant in Sony’s cross-buy program too, meaning if you already own the game on the Playstation 4, you already own the new PS3 and Vita versions too, available to download at your convenience. But is a scaled-back next-gen game really worth your time and hard disk space, or your $15 if you’re a complete newcomer to the title?

Counting Pixels
Resogun on the PS4 was all about HD graphics, particles, and particle physics. Pixel-…

Simple Display Scaler now available from ThinkBoxly!

Image
At the beginning of the year it was announced that a new section would be opening on this site: ThinkBoxly Projects. While the first release ended up not being the planned vision for Projects (that version is still in the works), what the new page has accomplished is paving the way for ThinkBoxly to become more than just a tech blog, but a showcase for everything I do. Of course, the sort of projects originally on the page aren’t the extent of that vision either, but all that starts to change, now.

That’s right, there’s a new project added to the roster of ThinkBoxly projects, and this time it is a completed product, published and ready for use. It also addresses a certain niche crowd I’ve been hoping to address around here for a while: programmers. In this case, specifically those programmers out there who use YoYoGames’s GameMaker: Studio IDE.

Now, although I’ve been using GameMaker since version 5 (hi, Mark Overmars!), it’s only much more recently that I’ve delved into GML (that’s G…

Nimble Sense, Now Bringing Your Hands into VR

Image
It’s already been a long, hard wait for Oculus’s virtual reality headset to hit the consumer market, but brace yourself, because it’s about to get even harder.

It’s been said in VR circles that Oculus is the first pillar of VR—that being the sense of presence in a virtual space. It’s your eyes and ears, your very head. And while we’ve seen some pretty creative inventions attempting to be the second pillar, it’s been pretty obvious that these are mere iterations along the path to a more practical, more streamlined future.

Well, now Oculus’s slow aptitude to get a product out to market is starting to make a whole lot more sense. Take that as a pun if you will, it wasn’t intended. But another ‘sense’ is precisely what it appears Oculus will be getting integrated right into the headset very soon. The addition comes courtesy of a new startup that took to Kickstarter to promote their first product, the Nimble Sense.



Nimble Sense is a depth-sensing camera capable of creating a field of 3D poin…

‘Text Me Merry Christmas’ Brings Holiday Cheer Up-to-Date

Image
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say ‘Christmas music’? Chances are good that it’s at least half a century old, if not significantly more, even if the particular interpretation you think of happens to be the creation of a contemporary artist. And indeed it’s true—Christmas has become an inconsistent mesh of the old and new over the past decade or so. Various tech products now top the charts as the hottest gift items under the tree, but that tree itself is planted firmly by the river of tradition. One might even get lost just imaging walking in a winter wonderland without Google Maps these days. Well, now Straight No Chaser, creators of the legendary acapella version of the 12 Days of Christmas, are back to make their mark upon the holiday season again with ‘Text Me Merry Christmas’, a new song for a new generation saturated in smartphones. Oh, and Kristen Bell’s in it, too. Because, you know, I’m pretty sure she starred in some little movie about winter a while back, i…

Playstation Experience Roundup + PS4 Unboxing!

Image
Remember when CES and E3 were all us tech fanatics had to look forward to every year? Now it seems like every company has their own press conferences and shows. Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Activision—all throughout the year now we get these smaller displays focused on just one company at a time. But up until now there hasn’t really been anything on the Sony side, or more specifically, the Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) side. Enter Playstation Experience, an annual event which debuted this past weekend doubling as a celebration of PlayStation’s 20th anniversary. And oh boy, what an event it was. Riding high off the unstoppable momentum of the Playstation 4, Playstation fans have never been more proud to be Playstation fans. Heck, there were even a number of former Xbox fans in attendance who were proud to be Playstation fans. Not to say that Microsoft isn’t doing well at all—in fact, the Xbox One has grown into quite the worthy purchase—but with Playstation Experience (or PSX…

Destiny has Become an Exercise in Frustration

Image
Alright, videogame reviewers, fair’s fair: you get to say “I told you so” on this one. In a few days Bungie’s latest console offering, Destiny, will turn three months old, and while it hasn’t lost relevance like Titanfall (arguably the biggest other release this year) it is steadily becoming more and more inaccessible and lackluster as weaknesses that were present from the start are finally coming to bear in some pretty serious strokes. If you recall, I was initially pretty hard on all the folks who couldn’t just sit back and enjoy Destiny, because indeed it was enjoyable…for a while. The game started off strong, dropping me into this vast new universe to explore as a fresh new character to grow and develop as a Guardian. But then not only did it fail outright to exposit on this universe in any meaningful way, after a while my character hit level 20 and the game switched from a pretty enjoyable XP system to one of the worst loot mechanics in modern gaming. Even then Destiny’s fatal fl…

Turkey Tech – Geeks, Beware Black Friday Deals

Image
It’s that time of year again: the week in the USA where we give thanks for what we have one day and beat each other up for what we don’t have the next. As businesses continually find more and more ways to market Black Friday, it’s practically become a bigger thing than the holiday preceding it. Every year consumers look for steeper price cuts on bigger and better things, and the pressure’s on retailers to deliver according to expectation. Now, competition and capitalism are great things, and there definitely are some great deals to be snagged out of it on November 28, but let’s face it: Black Friday is all about profits, not deals. The enticing offers are there to get consumers into stores buying things they wouldn’t usually buy in greater quantities than they’d usually go for. At its core Black Friday is just one of the world’s biggest gimmicks, and to make it work businesses are oftentimes willing to cut prices at all costs, so to speak, including total honesty. That’s not to say yo…

AppTrailers Review – the Best and Worst Mobile Money-Maker

Image
Although it’s been a while, I was a bit surprised by the popularity of past reviews on points-for-cash smartphone apps and services like FreeMyApps, AppBounty, and FeaturePoints. I suppose I shouldn’t have been—the prospect of earning a little cash on the side for performing simple tasks on a smartphone or tablet is certainly enticing, and considering there’s usually the most money to be made in simply referring other people to use these services, it makes sense that word would get around. Now, back when I first started reviewing these types of things, the apps I chose to review (or—full disclosure—was approached by a company to review), were basically the only options out there. Today the Android and iOS app stores are flooded with them, most promising high and delivering very, very low. There’s no easier way to scam people than to promise money for little to no effort, and while most of these points-for-cash apps genuinely do offer redeemable gift cards or direct payouts, you’d be h…

Freedom Wars – Unshackling the Playstation Vita (Review)

Image
After a long season of silence and dismissal, Sony has finally kicked the Playstation Vita back into high-gear thanks to the release of the Playstation TV—a mini-home-console-slash-streaming-box variant of the system—and the development efforts of Sony-owned Japan Studio, the same that graced us with Gravity Rush a couple of years ago. While it may be too early to call the Vita’s future secure just yet Sony is at least making another effort, and spearheading the charge is none other than the hotly-anticipated Freedom Wars. Originally planned as a PS3/PS4 title called ‘Panopticon’, Freedom Wars is a 3rd-person action/shooter game in the style of Monster Hunter, but with enough twists of its own to make it stand out as much more than just a clone of a popular genre. But is it the killer app Vita owners have been hoping for? Let’s find out.



For the Greater Good
Freedom Wars follows a mostly silent protagonist who is a member of a society called a Panopticon where natural resources are so s…

HP Pavilion 22/25bw – Great for the eyes and wallet (Review)

Image
In recent years it seems monitor product announcements and reviews have grown increasingly rare. Occasionally at events like CES we’ll see a company or two bring an interesting display with them, but these are typically ultra-widescreen or ultra-HD affairs that don’t make it to market—at least, not in a timely fashion or at a consumer price level. In the meantime more and more devices are coming with integrated screens, meaning you settle for whatever you get and don’t really consider the display separately from the rest of the product. But on the desktop PC side of technology, monitors remain a very important investment for everyone to make, whether you’re into creative productivity or gaming or really anything else. While the monitor we’re here to take a look at today is by no means the best and fanciest out on the market (and it doesn’t claim to be), all things considered HP has struck a pretty great balance with the Pavilion 22bw/25bw, addressing a wide variety of needs in a singl…

So long iTunes, Hello Amazon Music!

Image
If you’ve frequented this website for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am no great fan of Apple. However, despite my frustrations with their devices, I’ve long been a fan of iTunes as a digital distribution platform. Sure, there are far better music and video players out there, but when it came to downloading content for those alternative applications to munch on, iTunes was my go-to source for years. Unfortunately, after so long of Apple holding this one last mark on my good side, they have finally struck the death blow to our relationship, and as it turns out, they’ve done me a great favor. I will probably never put my own money into iTunes ever again (I’m still open to gift cards—you know, just FYI), but contrary to my prior expectations, I also don’t think I will ever miss it at all.

Why?



My iTunes Experience
Well, it all began a few months back when I booted up iTunes one day to find that, lo and behold, my account was practically empty. Three random …

Windows 10 Technical Preview Hands-On

Image
It’s been well over a week since Microsoft first went public with the next version of the world’s most-used operating system, dubbed Windows 10 because apparently Microsoft feels the leap is so big as to warrant two integers and also because the release pattern will be changing from here on out to a quicker, incremental update system akin to Mac OSX or Linux. In fact there’s more than one thing about Windows 10 that is reminiscent of Linux distributions—a strange, but refreshing change for the Redmond-based company. While pre-release versions of Windows 8 were aimed squarely at developers, even the language in the name ‘Windows 10 Technical Preview’ demonstrates Microsoft’s shift to a consumer and business focus, and it shows in how they’ll be building the OS from now until release just one year from now. This time around they are genuinely open to feedback, and the Windows 10 preview is something of a playground for people of all types to explore and return their experiences on what …

Has the Apple Gone Rotten?

Image
Apple hasn’t been the same since the untimely death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs three years ago—few people will argue that. In days since all the familiar Apple products have gone on being iterated year in and year out, but if it seems to you that each successive generation brings with it fewer improvements and more problems, you’re not alone. The Apple Maps fiasco that left Apple actually recommending Google Maps after removing it from their own system, the so-called ‘antennagate’ affair that dropped iPhone signals just for holding the device in a particular hand, accusations of secretly collecting personally identifiable GPS data that anyone could access, iOS bugs that entirely break some features, drain batteries, or slow CPUs to a crawl, and now the king of all controversies, the instantly infamous ‘bendgate’ problem that leaves iPhone 6 Plus devices broken just for sticking them in your pockets—what does it all indicate for the future of the tech giant?

If the internet is to be …

Destiny Reviewers are Doing it Wrong, says Machinima

Image
There’s no doubt about it: Bungie’s new hit, Destiny, is an undeniable success. As the most preordered game in history it made back its entire $500 million budget…on the first day of release. Of that stock, more than $325 million worth has already sold at retail. Just over a week ago gamers all over the world stayed up until midnight to queue at their favorite retailers or wait at home for the digital edition to unlock, and many of them—if not most of them—came away happy and satisfied. While certainly not without fault there’s a lot to love about Destiny, and Bungie has promised more and more content to keep the experience only getting better over time. In fact, if you didn’t browse around the internet for opinions, you’d probably think everyone was blissfully enjoying themselves and having a great time with it.

Ah, but where would the drama be in that? Turns out reality and the internet tell rather different stories on this one. While copies of Destiny continue to fly off shelves and…

Destiny First Impressions (a not-first-day-review)

Image
Feeling a little tired this fine Tuesday afternoon? Chances are good that’s because you were up at midnight (or much later) playing Bungie’s hotly-anticipated new shooter-slash-MMO, Destiny. After a very long wait that technically began all the way back in 2009 Destiny is finally live and officially available at retail wherever you may live in the world. It’s the most pre-ordered game in history, with figures surging up somewhere around five million copies (we haven’t seen official numbers in a while, so for now take that as an estimate). To be fair, whenever a product is this hyped it is a good idea to temper your expectations. After all, it is only a video game. It may be the latest and greatest now, but Bungie has already told us in no uncertain terms that Destiny 2 is on its way, and in only a few short years Destiny 1 will be obsolete (though no less fun for what it is, I might add). The thing is, when hype levels hit 100% it’s not necessarily about the hyped product anymore. Fiv…