What I’m Playing: Late August

30 Aug

Jensen watches Manning get eatin' by the natives!

The summer game drought has officially come to an end, with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  Prematurely in fact!  I almost passed on DE:HR at release — planning to pick it up at a later date, after the fall deluge of games, and at a more reasonable price — but after reading the rave reviews and craving something to kick me out of the summer game drought funk, I immediately enacted Amazon Prime’s wonderful “Free Release Date Delivery”.

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Monday Morning Designer: Handles Would Be Handy

28 Aug

White Paper Bag

This post is more of a rant, than an insightful look at some element of the designed world.  However, it does touch on usability, human factors, and packaging just enough to warrant as a Monday Morning Designer post.  I ask you to read between the passive-aggressive lines, and find the useful pieces within.  Or, just enjoy my rant on takeout food packaging!

I eat out a lot; everyday a lot. (more on that here: “Why I Don’t Cook At Home”)  I also, usually, would rather eat my food with a Netflix’d episode of MacGyver or clear out some DVR space with my meal, versus staring at the other sad souls sitting alone in a booth.  People watching is only amusing for so long.  And so I’ve come to know the carrying solutions of “To-Go” orders from a number of food joints.  Most stick to the tried and true, some try to be cute and clever, and others…  they seem to try to keep you in the restaurant, by offering horrible take-out carrying solutions that make you fear carrying any of their food out of the place.  One such place, is a place I frequent a few times a week:  Wildflower Bread Company.

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What I’m Playing: Early August

13 Aug

XMB Screenshot of Resistance 3 Beta

The summer drought of games continues, but I managed to finally dive into a backlog of PSN games, and got a chance to try out a multiplayer beta of a future game release!

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Monday Morning Designer: Video Apps Too Good For The Video Folder

12 Aug

I'm seeing double!

The PlayStation 3’s ever-changing operating system (known as the “XrossMediaBar”, or “XMB”) was recently updated to version 3.70.  Better than the typical “Playback quality of some PlayStation 3 software has been improved. *COUGH*hackerholepatched*COUGH*” style update, this latest version brought some slick new functions; like the auto-upload of saved game data to the cloud and auto-Trophy syncing (both requiring PS+).  However, it’s the update to how the various TV and video apps (i.e. Netflix) are organized, that is the real head-scratcher.

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What I’m Playing: Late July

31 Jul

Screenshot courtesy of http://limbogame.org/media/

Year after year, the summer is a dry season for new games (or at least quality ones worth playing).  It still boggles my mind that these companies continue to release the majority of their games, right along side everyone else, in the fall & winter.  It does make sense on paper to release a game just before the holidays, during the busiest shopping time of the year, but unless you’re releasing “Call of Battle: Modern SpecWar Ops 9”, you’re going to get lost in the mix.  It’s really sad that some hidden gems from lesser known game companies, with limited marketing budgets, don’t get the attention they deserve.  Releasing even a half-decent game during these dry summer months would equate to a windfall!  Then again, I always find something to play, and July came through with a gem that has finally managed to escape from Microsoft’s paid exclusive fortress — ‘Limbo’.

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What I Played: Recently

31 Jul

Before I post my first “What I’m Playing” article, let’s backtrack, and briefly cover a selection of the notable games I played over the past few months.

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Monday Morning Designer: Hidden TV Buttons

31 Jul

Find the buttons! Find the buttons! Bet ya can't find the buttons!

Before diving into this, maybe give my introduction to “Monday Morning Designer” a quick read through… Right here.

The advent of touch interfaces in the late 2000’s, led many companies to do anything they could to grab a piece of that buzzword pie. Samsung was no dummy. While they began a full-frontal move into the smartphone game, they also saw fit to apply a touch interface to a market they were already leading: the high-def television.

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