Monthly Archives: November 2013

Everyone gearing up to stuff their faces this Thanksgiving weekend? Well, don’t eat too much, because you might want to venture outside at some point and take advantage of some deals Nintendo has coming up for the Wii U and 3DS. Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, laid everything all out on the dining room table with these words:

“This year, there is a dizzying amount of affordable Nintendo options for any holiday shopper looking to stock up on fun gifts for family and friends. And if there is ever a question of why shoppers should choose Wii U and Nintendo 3DS this holiday season, the answer is simple: Because it’s Nintendo.”

Can’t argue with that logic! Let’s see what plentiful bounty awaits us in the coming days:

Luigi 3DS Goodness – various outlets will have a SEXY Cobalt Blue Nintendo 3DS system that comes installed with one of my faves, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, for $169.99 on November 28th.

2DS For Cheap – Walmart is going to be selling the 3D-less 2DS for $99.96 on the 28th of November.

3DS XL Deal – Target will sell the 3DS XL for $149.99 on the BLACKEST OF FRIDAYS.

Digital Delights – there are character-themed discounts going on in the eShop on the 3DS and Wii U right now, which you can learn about here.

A Green Pack-InNintendo Land for the Wii U will come bundled with a Luigi Wii Remote Plus for $59.99 on December 2nd (which I need for my Salsa dancing on Wii Fit U).

Why wait a couple of more days for savings, though? Check out what Nintendo discounts you can enjoy RIGHT NOW:

A Turkey-Sized Bundle – gamers can pick up a Wii U with both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U on one jam-packed disc for $299.99.

Exercise For Free (Almost. Practically. Kind of.) – this one I have already taken advantage of: if you purchase a Wii Fit U Meter pedometer for $19.99, and download the Wii Fit U trial through the eShop, and then sync said pedometer to the game, you unlock it for free. This is only good until the end of January, so hop to it!

HD Wii Sports – players can download a demo of Wii Sports Club and play tennis or bowling (the only sports available at the moment) for a full day. Once the trial ends, gamers can purchase a Day Pass for $1.99 to play any available sport for a day (which will include baseball, boxing, and golf in the coming months) or spend $9.99 on each sport they desire to keep it forever.

More information on Nintendo is all yours for the taking here. Anyone hungry for these great, upcoming deals?

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Ubisoft has announced a new mobile based addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed Pirates will be available on December 5 for iOS and Android, as well as through Google Play and on the Amazon App Store for $5.

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In Assassin’s Creed Pirates, players will explore the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy as Alonzo Batilla, a young and ambitious captain. Players can manage their crew, upgrade their ship, recruit new crew members, and engage in real-time naval battles during an epic quest for legendary treasure.

Check out the announcement trailer below to learn more about Alonzo Batilla and his hunt through the Caribbean to claim La Buse’s renowned treasure.

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We’ve seen dozens of apps that claim to tailor music based on your driving style. And frankly, they all suck. We want something that automatically evolves to suit our mood behind the wheel, and Volkswagen’s Play the Road app may be the first to actually deliver — assuming they decide to release it.

To begin with, VW’s boffins enlisted the help of the legendary sonic duo Underworld to help create the sounds, synths, and rhythms to create an ever-evolving soundtrack. Then they used an iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to track the GTI’s maneuvers, followed by cross-referencing it with onboard video and GPS of exactly what the car was doing on the track. After that, they tethered the phone to the car’s on-board computer to get speed and engine revs, then ported it all to the Pure Data musical programming language that creates live sound.

The results — particularly the 17-minute-long track in the video below — speak for themselves. It’s freaking phenomenal.

Unfortunately, VW isn’t releasing the app just yet. Instead, it’s putting on a series of events where drivers get to “compose” their own driving arrangement on a closed course. But given the capabilities of those tiny computers in our pockets, there’s no reason they couldn’t deliver the Play the Road app to the rest of us plebes that can’t plunk down the coin for a new GTI.

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Image: Prioria

The big problem with drones is they look like, well, drones. It makes them easy to spot, and easy to target. The Army has a solution to this problem: make them look like birds.

A microdrone that resembles a bird would be harder to spot, the thinking goes, rendering them almost as invisible to the enemy as the soldiers controlling them.

Maveric has a bird-like profile with flexible wings, giving it the appearance of a raptor in flight. The drone, made of composite material, can fly as high as 25,000 feet and zip along at between 20 and 65 mph, making it just the thing for reconnaissance missions. And those super-stealthy guys in Special Operations.

“There was a Special Operations requirement for a plane that had a natural, biological look — it wasn’t supposed to look DoD-ish,” Derek Lyons, vice president of sales and business development at Prioria Robotics, told Flightglobal.

Earlier this fall, the Florida robotics company won a $4.5 million contract from the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force to produce 36 Maverics for an urgent, but undisclosed, need. Training the Joint Special Operations Task Force to use Maveric started earlier this month, according to Prioria, and fully-equipped delivery is expected in December.

Maveric weighs just 2.5 pounds and can be contained within a 6-inch tube. There’s no assembly required to prepare it for use, and it can be launched in less than 5 minutes by a single soldier. Once it reaches 100 meters, it’s silent to those on the ground. The battery’s only good for about an hour, but it takes just 30 seconds to swap a dead pack for a fresh one and have it ready to fly again. The drone is retrieved with a net.

The drone’s retractable gimbaled camera is flexible enough to capture footage from almost any angle, and it is said to be so good it can work in the most inclement weather.

Going from contract to delivery in less than six months is remarkable, and The Army considers its prompt acquisition of Maveric a very big deal, given some acquisition efforts take years to achieve.

“As the REF procures emerging capabilities to meet urgent Soldier requirements, we are often inserting technologies for the first time and assessing operational performance,” said REF project manager Tami Johnson, in a statement. “It demonstrates our ability to validate a unique requirement, canvass emerging commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf technologies, and partner with other Army organizations to quickly place capabilities into the hands of Soldiers.”

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You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why, Volition has deliciously vulgar Christmas packs, for you!

Volition announced they are launching a new Saints DLC aptly titled “How the Saints Save Christmas“, including two holiday themed activities.

- “How the Saints Save Christmas” DLC, Santa is stuck in a simulation and the Third Street Saints Boss receives help from his crew to create holiday spirit to save Santa.

- Volition’s Naughty or Nice List, found on the Saints website, help redeem the Volition developers from being naughty this year and pitch an idea to get them on the nice list. Great ideas can get filmed in a way only Volition can do.

- Saints Sing-Along Christmas Carol, send a video of yourself and or your friends singing the lyrics to “Saints Row Jingle Bells“. The winner will be featured in a Saints Row video message and have the possibility of winning a Saints Row IV guide, Razar DeathAdder Ergonomic Mouse, Limited Edition G3 Saints Row Unbreakable Sun Glasses or Gioteck EX-05 Headset. Submission deadline is December 5th, 2013.

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How the Saints Save Christmas” will drop December 11th, 2013 for $6.99. The Naughty and Nice list as well as the Saints Row Jingle Bells Christmas Carol are available now.

A new trailer has been released for The Mandate, fleshing out some of the game’s lore and featuring some pretty artwork as well.

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Described as a “sandbox sci-fi RPG” by developers Perihelion Interactive, The Mandate has managed to raise almost $500, 000 in funding though it’s Kickstarter campaign (which will end on December 2nd).

The game lets players command a large space-ship with a massive crew as they as they set out on various space-quests in a sci-fi universe resembling Tsarist Russia. The Mandate has so far been well received by critics, with several praising it’s unique gameplay style. Similar to the gameplay aboard Mass Effect‘s Normandy, The Mandate will emphasize gameplay aboard a large spaceship, and players’ interaction with its crew members which evolve as the game progresses. The developers also intend to make the game a co-op experience, allowing up to 6 players to work together.

The Mandate is set for release sometime in Q1 of 2015 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and will be available through Steam.

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  • Alaska. Give a man a fish and he has food for a day. Fish for a man and he’s food for a week. — From Abominable Quotes by Shaggy Bonespitter.

  • Oregon. Only organic free-range chickens run amok at the Freebird food truck. Just don’t get pecked when you pluck.

  • Massachusetts. The British are coming! That much was obvious to Paul Revere.

  • New Mexico. People tend to shy away from probing questions in the land of enchantment.

  • Alabama. Roll Tide! Just restrain yourself from rolling your tailgate party onto the playing field.

  • Arizona. Good fences make good neighbors?

  • Texas. Rounding up wayward little doggies on I-10.

  • Kansas. There’s no place like home, but if your home is frequently aloft please consider wearing a parachute indoors.

  • Washington. We can only close our eyes with clothespins.

  • Oklahoma. Home to famous cattle drives. They can go a long way in their methane-powered rides.

  • New York. Give me your tired, your poor, your creamy masses of tartar sauce.

  • New Jersey. Situation on the Jersey Shore.

  • Montana. Curiously absent from Lewis and Clark’s journals is Pierre, their loyal manservant.

  • Illinois. Bugsy’s mom thinks it’s great that he’s running a strictly legitimate lemonade stand this summer. That will keep him out of trouble.

  • California. Moonbeams’ mellow is never harshed by her compost-powered Fruitfly brand tri-scooter.

Everything’s better when it’s done with Legos, especially Canadians making fun of Americans. Canadian Jeff Friesen’s new project, 50 States of Lego, pokes fun at each American state’s stereotypes through the universal language of Lego. Some are obvious: aliens in New Mexico and hippies in California. Others, like the Portlandia chicken reference for Oregon, are a bit more subtle.

Of course, being Canadian, he doesn’t mean to offend anyone. “I wanted it to be funny but I also wanted it to be good-natured,” says Friesen, who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Friesen says he’s traveled to most of the states and lived in Massachusetts for two years. He researched the states that he hadn’t visited or that weren’t obvious. All the backgrounds are just paper, and there’s very little Photoshop work. The only thing he did was remove strings like the one that holds the Kansas house aloft.

For those looking to dissect every detail in the photos, there are a few red herrings. While Friesen includes nuanced references like the homage-to-Banksy bouquet in Arizona’s scene, he also has whimsical flourishes like the parachute worn by Kansas’ house dweller. “He’s just a dude who’s used to all the tornadoes so he always wears a parachute around the house,” Friesen says.

Friesen makes his living as a professional photographer, so the Lego series is just a side project. It actually started as a way to keep his 7-year-old daughter busy during the summer. They would build Lego creations together in the afternoons, and then he would photograph what they came up with on a homemade tabletop studio.

“I’m quite serious in my other work — this project sorta gives me an outlet,” he says. “And I always like to keep that time with her productive.”

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

I used to travel. A lot. Three or four trips a month wasn’t out of the ordinary before I achieved better life-work balance, giving me plenty of time to perfect a system to get through the TSA line as quickly and efficiently as possible. Careful planning and occasional improvisation cut my line time significantly, so before you head out of town for the holidays, study these tips carefully. Even if you’ve already bought in to TSA PreCheck, you can still apply some of these tactics to move even faster. If you’ve got your won tips and tricks, share them in the comments.

Before You Reach the Screening Area

1. Wear a jacket, even if it’s warm. They’re the perfect vessel for all the stuff you carry in your pockets. Since you’re required to remove your jacket before entering the body scanner, stuff your wallet, keys, phone, and anything else you’re carrying into the pockets. I put everything in the corresponding pockets on the jacket, so if my wallet is in my left pant pocket it goes into the left jacket pocket. Same with anything on your wrists. This avoids a mountain of crap in the bin, the chance of leaving something behind, and lets you get everything back in order on the way to your flight. It also gives you something to keep you from shivering if the plane is too damn cold.

2. Keep your ticket and ID (passport or license) in a separate pocket with nothing else so you can get at them easily.

3. Shoes that slip on and off. If you’re still stuck taking off your shoes, make sure you can pull them on and off with ease. Stash the knee-high Doc Martens in your bag and wear a pair of kicks that take seconds to slip out of. I’m partial to driving mocs, but that’s because I have no taste.

4. Don’t have your laptop buried. Make sure it’s in a separate pocket or sticking out slightly as you get into the queue. Nothing’s more annoying — for both you and the passengers behind you — than having to rip apart your carry-on to retrieve your computer.

In the Line

1. Don’t worry about finding the shortest line. Look for people who don’t know what they’re doing. Rookie travelers, people with children, and anyone who looks like a deer in headlights are to be avoided. Trust us on this.

2. Have everything ready. Jacket stuffed. Belt off. Bag open.

3. Grab two trays.

4. Pull your laptop out and put it in the first tray, then cover it with the second tray. This keeps things together and limits the amount of juggling you’ll do before reaching the scanner.

5. Take your shoes off and place them in the top bin. Then add your jacket, then your belt on top. You want to put the items in the tray the same way you’d put them back on.

6. Put your jacket/shoes/belt combo bin onto the conveyer first so you can start putting yourself back together before your other bags arrive.

7. Then the bin with your laptop, then your backpack, purse or personal items, then your carry-on.

On the Other Side

1. Get your belt and jacket on first, then your shoes. It’s easier to get away with the important stuff first and worry about walking in your socks for a few feet.

2. Stash your laptop back in your bag immediately and close it so nothing falls out.

3. Get the hell out of the way. Even if your shoes aren’t on and you only have one arm in your jacket sleeve, get out of the screening area ASAP. Fewer bodies means less congestion for your fellow travelers, many of whom are still struggling with their stuff because they haven’t read this handy guide.

Aarrr mateys! Topware Interactive officially announced the release date of their Pirate RPG, Raven’s Cry. The game will be coming out May 7th, 2014 for PC and will show a darker side of the Caribbean.

Along with the release date, the announcement came with a treasure trove of screenshots which show off the game’s detailed character models and rich, tropical environments.

The story of Raven’s Cry is one of revenge. You play as Christopher Raven who is on a personal vendetta and needs to supply his crew as he pursues bloody vengeance.

According to a press release from Topware Interactive, the game is described as “gloomy yet paradise-like images describe a world full of betrayal, greed and brutality. Accompanied by sinister cut scenes, the thirst for revenge leads the main character into an open, free-roaming world.”

Arm yourself well for the May 7th release of Raven’s Cry for the PC, brought to you by the pirate lords of Topware Interactive. Search for treasure and more on the Raven’s Cry official website, located here, 10 paces north and marked with an X. Anchors aweigh, scumbag.

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After the recent announcement that the PlayStation 4 version of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will be receiving exclusive content, Joystiq has reported that the Xbox One version of the title will be getting its share of exclusive content as well.

The blog cited a recent announcement on Spike TV’s Xbox One launch show as confirmation of the news. No other details have been revealed as of yet.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will act as a prequel to Phantom Pain, and is set for release in Spring of 2014 for the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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