Some pictures from a stormy night

I took these pictures outside my room here in South Korea during a storm Friday night. Being stationed in Idaho I’ve missed the summer thunderstorms of the east coast (in my two years in Idaho it’s almost never stormed). I enjoyed sitting outside and watching the lightning and purple skies. Unfortunately I missed out on some really great pictures (I accidentally canceled out while they were still processing), but at least I captured a few.

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SmartGlass for Xbox One (I love it!)

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I haven’t used SmartGlass in awhile, but I started using it again recently and I’m in love with it. It makes everything incredibly convenient and even more enjoyable. I love being able to check in on my friends, send messages or view achievements without ever having to leave my game by pushing the home button. I love being able to type using SmartGlass, and I absolutely love the companion apps. You can even view your game clips!

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One of my favorite features, which I believe is rather new, is the ability to record game clips using SmartGlass. There’s a ‘Record That’ button at the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a companion app there will be three dots at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap those and a bar will pop up with the ‘Record That’ button on it).

Xbox One SmartGlass

Yesterday I started using the Battlefield 4 companion app which gives you a full screen map and shows your teammate and spotted enemy positions. It’s great for keeping up your situational awareness of the battlefield, and can help you figure out where all the action is.

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I also enjoy using the Madden 15 companion app which will show previously used plays, opponent tendencies and roster information. You can also manage your depth chart using the app which is an added convenience.

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I kind of wish more games (such as Diablo III) had companion apps (I’d love a full screen map and inventory management using SmartGlass), but I’m sure there will be more amazing uses in the coming months. I strongly recommend checking out the Xbox One SmartGlass app if you haven’t had a chance to already.

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Bioshock is now available on iOS

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So I was browsing the App Store today and was surprised to find that Bioshock is now available on iOS for $14.99. I had absolutely no idea that it was even coming to iOS, and now here it is, ready to be enjoyed on the go on my iPad Air! I was quite excited when I saw it, so I just wanted to pop in and share the news in case anyone else was unaware that this was actually coming.

I’ll be sure to share my experience after I play it a bit. Most of the reviews are quite positive so I’m excited to dig in and enjoy this wonderful game yet again!

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College football begins, but no NCAA Football video game this year

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College football has started, and as I sit here watching the BSU – Ole Miss game (I’m a Penn State fan and alumnus, but my girlfriend is from Boise) I’m really sad that there’s not a NCAA Football video game this year. Madden 15 came out just a few days ago and I’m absolutely loving it (it looks and plays darn good on the Xbox One) but I’m missing the collegiate fix the NCAA games have always provided.

If you’re unaware, the future of NCAA football video games is in limbo due to lawsuits brought by college athletes. It’s likely the series will return without the NCAA license in the future, but there is no 2014 game, meaning there is no current gen (Xbox One / PS4) college football game. Since I sold my Xbox 360 I have no access to any video game college football until either the Xbox One becomes backward compatible (which is supposedly being worked on by Microsoft) or EA releases a college football game in Fall 2015 or later.

I suppose Madden 15 will have to be my sole football fix this year. Unfortunately I’ll continue to have an unquenchable thirst to play a college football game with every game I watch this year.

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Recently watched on Netflix

This past week I watched two movies on Netflix that I didn’t think would be that great but actually turned out to be pretty entertaining.

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The first was Pain & Gain, starring The Rock and Mark Wahlberg. Going into it I had no clue what it was about, and although I like Wahlberg, I never really thought The Rock was a great actor. He proved me wrong in Pain & Gain. His character was quite amusing and portrayed quite well throughout. The story kept me entertained as much as the characters did and I’m glad I ended up giving it a chance.

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Last night, on a whim, I decided to watch The Art of the Steal, another movie I had never previously heard of. At first it seemed like a typical B action movie, but it had something extra that kept me from turning it off. I like movies with a bit of mystery and the potential for a plot twist and I ended up riding it out to the end and found it to be quite rewarding. Is it a movie I’d recommend renting? No, but if you have Netflix it’s worth turning on if you can’t decide on anything else to watch.

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Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition, where are my Infernal Pauldrons?

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Yesterday I picked up Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for the Xbox One. The Ultimate Evil edition includes Diablo III in much the same way it was offered on the Xbox 360 and PS3 but with the addition of the Reaper of Souls expansion thrown in. There may be some more differences (besides graphics and performance ones), but so far it feels very much like the 360 version which isn’t a bad thing. The console version of Diablo III is by far the better experience if you ask me.

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The only issue I ran into was trying to find my Infernal Pauldrons once I booted the game up. After you redeem the code on the insert there’s one more step required that isn’t quite mentioned. You have to go to the Games and Apps menu, select Diablo III and select manage game. From there you have to select the Infernal Pauldrons ‘DLC’ ¬†and tell it to install. It’s a small 9.5mb file, and once it’s downloaded the pauldrons will be in your character’s inventory.

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Sorry about the blurry picture.

I’ve leveled my Barbarian to level 16 and have enjoyed the Xbox One version of Diablo III quite a bit so far. It’s as addicting as it ever was, maybe even more so. I can’t wait to get deeper into the game and see the Reaper of Souls content for the first time. I have Diablo III on PC but stopped playing once I found out a console version was coming as I just can’t stand clicking a mouse.

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Civilization Revolution 2: I can’t stop

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Civilization Revolution on the Xbox 360 was my very first exposure to the Civilization franchise. The very first time I played it I was addicted. There was just something amazing about trying to set up the perfect defenses to keep your Nation alive before venturing out and engaging in little skirmishes to raise the experience levels of your armies as you advance your technology and eventually make a play to rule the world.

Going from Civ Revolution to Civ V on the PC was quite the shock. Not only is it a lot slower paced, there’s a lot more to manage and keep track of. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily a quick fix type of game. At first I couldn’t get a grasp on Civ V as it was just too different (for example, being unable to stack troops makes it very difficult to navigate into tight spaces and launch an attack). Now I love Civ V just as much as I loved Civ Revolution, it’s just very time consuming.

Enter Civilization Revolution 2, the $14.99 iOS exclusive (for the moment). Having such an amazing game available at any time on my iPad is amazing, and it’s worth every penny, if not more. The game looks and plays almost exactly like the 2008 console release, with a few additions and improvements.

Playing a Civ game on a touch device is easy, and intuitive. Tap a troop and tap where you want it to go. Everything comes naturally, I don’t think I could ever go back to playing Civ Revolution with a controller. It also runs quite smoothly on the iPad Air and looks great all the time.

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I’ve already sunk something around 10 hours into Civ Revolution 2, and I’ve loved every minute of it. The only problem I have is putting it down. Most people come to expect mobile games to be quick fix games, but mobile gaming has come a long way since Angry Birds. You now have full featured games on mobile devices as opposed to stripped down iterations. A few of my Civ Revolution 2 games have lasted three hours or longer and the time flew by before I realized it. I’ll tell myself ‘just one more turn’ and before long I’m 50 turns deeper.

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Beware Civ Revolution 2’s addictive properties. Recently after finishing a 3 hour Civ Rev 2 game I immediately jumped onto my MacBook and began a Civ V game.

If you have an iOS device I highly recommend purchasing Civilization Revolution 2. You’ll get countless hours of enjoyment out of it if you enjoy strategy games or Civ games. If the PC versions of Civilization have intimidated you I also suggest you check out Civ Rev 2 as it’s much easier to get into and you’ll be having fun before you know it.

Civilization Revolution 2 is available in the App Store for $14.99

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My summer watchlist (so far)

I’ve enjoyed quite a few great indie movies this summer and I’ve quickly fallen in love with indie movies. A few of my favorites I’ve already watch include The Pretty One and Ping Pong Summer, both of which were quite enjoyable (The Pretty One has become one of my favorite films of all time joining (500) Days of Summer and Juno among others).

Lately I’ve been compiling a list of movies I intend to watch in August, if possible, while overseas. A lot of the films in this list caught my attention through their pleasant movie posters and after watching the trailers I can’t wait to watch all of them. Most I hadn’t even heard of until coming across them on Indiewire which has become my number one source for discovering new movies.

I should note that I know little to nothing about any of the films I’m going to list. That’s a lot of what I like about indie films, I can go into them with hardly any knowledge or expectations and experience something new and refreshing.

The first on the list is Prince Avalanche.

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One of the things that really stands out to me is the use of color in the scenes shown in the trailer. I absolutely love films that could almost double as paintings, if that makes sense. I feel like all the colors mix pleasantly and at the same time stand out against the green, brown and grey backdrops shown in the scenes. This alone has me wanting to watch this film in HD and just enjoy taking in all the scenery.

Next up is Touchy Feely.

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Again, I love the poster for this film. I also absolutely adore Ellen Page, so I was already sold on this film before I even watched the trailer. The trailer has piqued my interest, and I don’t know much about the film other than I can’t wait to watch it.

Blue Ruin

 

 

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Things take a turn away from the seemingly cheery atmospheres of the previous two films with Blue Ruin. It looks both suspenseful and thrilling and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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It’s hard to say what exactly caught my eye with this film. I think it has something to do with the title, I just like the sound of it so I figure why not watch it?

 

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I have two Xbox One Destiny beta codes up for grabs

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Hey there, haven’t posted in awhile but I just wanted to stop in and offer up two Destiny beta codes for Xbox One. Just throw your e-mail address in the comments and I’ll give the two codes away (probably sometime tonight).

Hopefully I’ll be able to get into the beta after work tomorrow morning (on night shift) and I’d like to post my thoughts on it if I have the time. Until then, thanks for stopping by.

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Bose SoundTrue headphones

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I had been looking to pick up a decent pair of headphones to use while watching movies, listening to music and playing games without disturbing others. My budget was around $150 and I ended up narrowing my choices down to the Bose SoundTrue and Beats by Dre Solo HD 2. They were both priced around $150 at the NEX, though their prices vary elsewhere.

I initially liked the Beats as they had a lot of kick to them at high volume and sounded pretty good, but once I tried on the Bose I knew which one I’d be walking away with. The Bose headphones just have an incredibly rich and authentic sound that I don’t think the Beats are able to replicate. I especially love the sound of acoustic rock and classical music with the Bose headphones. You can close your eyes and feel like you’re right there in a concert hall, I love it! They sound great at any volume and are a huge improvement over the Samsung in ear headphones I had been using that came with my phone.

I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without owning a pair of headphones like these, they’ve made listening to music on my phone and watching movies on my laptop or tablet much more enjoyable.

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I enjoy the way that they look and also that they’re quite comfortable to wear. They are so light you barely notice you’re wearing them, and they never get uncomfortable to wear even for long periods of time. I highly recommend trying the Bose headphones out if you have the chance.

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