Battlefield 1 is one of the most fun games I’ve played this year!

I’ve been having an absolute blast with Battlefield 1 so far. For starters, the intro to the campaign is mind blowing. The production value is amazing, and the way they start things off showing that not everyone is going to survive is incredible. So far I’ve played through the first few sections of the tank campaign and I can’t wait to play the rest! I’ve never played more than two missions of any Battlefield game (except for Bad Company of course) but Battlefield 1 has me begging for more after each mission.

The only thing keeping me from finishing the campaign is the amazing multiplayer. They’ve nailed just about everything with the multiplayer in Battlefield 1. The guns feel amazing to shoot and I love the way they sound. I love the all out chaos of war, with planes flying above, machine guns echoing in the distance and sniper fire flying over my head as I run for cover. I’ve only played a few matches so far, but every single one has been so much fun. I can’t wait to play more!

Recently watched: Cafe Society

Cafe Society poster

Last night we rented “Cafe Society”, a film written, directed and narrated by Woody Allen. I haven’t seen very many Woody Allen movies, but the ones I have seen I’ve always enjoyed, such as  one of my favorites, “To Rome With Love.”

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are great in the film, and seem to have pretty good chemistry throughout. The real star of “Cafe Society”, though, is the environments around the actors. There’s not an incredibly thrilling story to tell, and it certainly doesn’t offer any great conclusion, but I felt like the story that does exist was there mostly to navigate from one environment to another. The great music and all the life in the background really shine from beginning to end, and I never felt bored or disinterested. I know I’m probably not doing a great job of selling the movie, but I think it’ll probably remain underappreciated and overlooked by most people, and that’s sad.


There’s not much more I have to say about the film. I wasn’t blown away, and was never in awe, but it felt good watching it. I’m glad we gave it a chance.

It’s an exciting time for video games

This morning Nintendo posted their NX reveal trailer, offering the first look at their home console / handheld combo due out in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch. Like many have assumed over the last year or so, it’s a tablet that you can hook up to your TV via a dock and play with a controller while at home, and then pop out and attach a controller to while on the go.

It’s a pretty neat looking idea, and if it works as seamlessly as it seems to in the trailer it’ll certainly be an exciting device. They showed off some third party support in the trailer, to include Skyrim and NBA 2k, so hopefully the Switch will continue to get third party support. That will ultimately determine whether or not I buy into the Switch. I’m not the hugest Nintendo fan, I’ve never been too big into Zelda or Mario, but I ended up buying a Wii U last year soon after Super Mario Maker launched. It probably wasn’t my wisest decision, because after the first few weeks the console has done nothing but collect dust. I tried to get into Mario Kart 8, but never had as much fun as I did with local multiplayer on Mario Kart 7.


Battlefield 1 release tomorrow (unless you bought the $80 early adopter edition which allowed you to start playing Tuesday), and I’m pretty excited to check it out. I don’t think I’m going to buy it right away, but I’ll try hard to reserve it at Redbox while I’m at work tonight and pick it up in the morning. As much as I’d love to play it on PC in 4K, most of the people I would ultimately play with only have consoles. We’ll see how much I enjoy playing this weekend before I make any purchasing decisions. The campaign certainly looks great, and I can’t wait to try my hand at the multiplayer.


I’ve been having a great time with Gears of War 4 on PC over the past week, however I’m still very early in the campaign (less than an hour into it). It runs pretty well on my GTX 1060, averaging around 33FPS on high to ultra settings in 4K and it looks great! I’m still getting used to playing it with a mouse and keyboard, and I might actually go back to playing it with an Xbox controller.


I’m also still enjoying Forza Horizon 3, but with so many games coming out recently I’ve found it difficult to put more time into it!

There’s a lot I want to play this weekend, but as usual I’ll probably end up getting very little done. I feel like 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years for video games in recent memory, and as exciting as that is, it makes it incredibly difficult to play everything with such little free time. Either way, I’m enjoying every minute of it!

I miss the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7

The week the Note 7 was released I paid off my Galaxy S6 and ordered a Note 7 in blue online through AT&T. Most of the phones I’ve owned have been iPhones, but I ended up switching to Samsung with the S5 in order to try something different. The S5 wasn’t a terrible phone, but it was plastic and didn’t feel very great. That’s why I was more excited for the S6, which felt closer to an iPhone than ever. However, eventually the S6 started to slow down and give me issues, and nothing I did could get it working smoothly again. It would freeze often when typing, and apps would crash all the time. I assume it had something to do with a software update, but once I saw the Note 7 I knew that it was time to get rid of the S6.

The day the Note 7 arrived I was blown away. It was the most premium feeling phone I’ve ever held. It had weight to it and felt great in the hand. The screen blew me away, and I loved using it to watch Netflix at the gym. I upgraded to the new Gear VR so that I could use the Note 7 with it, and it did a lot better than my S6 did. It wouldn’t get hot and temporarily stop working like the S6 always did.

When reports first started coming out about the Note 7 catching fire I thought that I would be fine. Sure it was alarming to hear, but the numbers were so low compared to the amount of phones sold that even after the recall was announced I had intended to hold on to my Note 7. It never got hot, no matter how much I used it, so I wasn’t that concerned. Ultimately, however, Samsung pushed out the update to change the battery color to identify “safe” phones, and announced that they intended to use another software update to stunt the battery on recalled Note 7’s so that customers would have little choice but to stop using them. At this point I decided to return to the AT&T store.

The exchange process for my first Note 7 was not a pleasant process. Initially when I took it in to temporarily swap it out for a S7 until they got replacement phones in stock the AT&T employee told me that I’d be better off keeping the Note 7 until the replacement phones came in because it’d be an easier process. Nevermind that phones were continuing to catch fire, he advised me that it would be fine. He told me to come back next week, and that’s what I did.

Once I was notified that replacement Note 7’s were available I went back to the store, waiting behind four other customers, and was eventually helped. However, it turned out that they didn’t have any blue Note 7’s in stock, and that’s the color I was in love with, so they had to call around and find me a store with the blue phone in stock. I then drove across town, and was finally ready to exchange my faulty Note 7. Would this process go smoothly? Not a chance. When they started the exchange they tried to tell me since I didn’t have the box and everything included with the phone they couldn’t exchange it for a new one! It’s not like I expected to be returning the phone when I bought it! I told them that I talked to customer support and they ensured me I could return the phone without the box, and besides it was a safety issue to keep the phone. He didn’t quite believe me, and went into the back to talk to a manager before coming out and continuing the exchange process.


Once the exchange was completed I spent the next few days restoring my phone, logging into all of my apps and accounts, and getting everything set back up how I wanted it. Less than two weeks later and the Note 7 is back in the news, this time with “safe” phones supposedly bursting into flame. Again, initially I planned to wait it out and see what would come, but with each passing day there was another report of an exploding replacement Note 7. At this point Ars Technica put out their article saying not to buy even a replacement Note 7, and advising everyone to return theirs. I called AT&T and was ensured that if I felt unsafe I could return my replacement Note 7, no questions asked.

The second exchange went smoother than the first, but was still painful. I had wanted to switch to an iPhone 7 Plus at this point, mostly out of frustration with Samsung, however no stores around had any in stock. I decided to settle with the S7 Edge as it was closest in screen size to the Note 7, but when I picked up the phone I was really put off by how cheap the S7E felt compared to the premium feel of the Note 7. Still, I had heard many good things about the S7 Edge, and used the price difference in the phone to justify upgraded my Gear S watch to the Gear S2. I really like the S2, especially since it feels less like a spaceship on my wrist and more like a watch.

As the week has gone on I’ve gotten a little more used to the S7 Edge, but I’m still sad that the Note 7 is gone for good. That phone felt so much better to hold, and even if the screen wasn’t that much larger I can definitely tell the difference with the S7E. At this point, I’m not sure what I’ll get for my next phone. I’ve never liked the design of other Android phones, and the Pixel hasn’t impressed me either. If Samsung can revitalize the Note series (probably under a different brand name) I’d be tempted to give it another try, but I don’t think I’d move on to an S8 or 9.

Have I lost faith in Samsung? Not entirely. I love the Gear S2 that I got last week, it feels like a premium product and performs great. We also got a Samsung 4K TV last month that I absolutely love, so I don’t think the Note 7 debacle has damaged their brand as much as the people making memes want to believe. Hopefully Samsung will thoroughly investigate what happened with the Note 7 and be as open with the public as possible during the coming months. As long as they don’t try to hide anything (and I’m aware of the text message suggesting they may have already tried), I think they’ll move on from the Note 7 disaster hurt, but not broken. I would hope they’ll use this experience to continue on more determined to ever and deliver a great series of phones next year.

Adam Ruins Everything: The Conspiracy Behind Your Glasses

The Adam Ruins Everything series has quickly become one of my favorite things to watch on YouTube, and this morning I saw the “conspiracy behind your glasses” segment while watching TV. I don’t wear glasses (not even sunglasses usually), but watching this video was infuriating! How could something like this happen? What’s worse is that what is exposed in this video is probably true of a lot of industries, and it’s just not cool. I wanted to share it because first of all it’s entertaining, but also it’s quite informative, and I’m hoping more people will watch and share it so that more people will know what’s going on in the world.

I played Virginia

Virginia game Xbox One

Last night I bought and played through Virginia ($9.99) on the Xbox One. Virginia is a game unlike anything I’ve ever played, and is the first game put out by developer Variable State (available on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam). The game has no dialogue from beginning to end, however its beautiful soundtrack sets the mood for every scene. The game tells its story by pushing the player through a series of scenes, however most of the scenes end abruptly and spit the player directly into the next relevant scene, sometimes midstep.

I love the music and artwork of Virginia, however by the time the game ended I was left scratching my head and with little insight as to what exactly was going on in the game. I’ve heard that it’s best to play through the game more than once in order to try to piece things together, however part of me wonders if Variable State wants us to know everything that’s going on. Despite being terribly confused throughout, the music and artwork did a great job of creating an emotional state that left me satisfied. I don’t really know how to explain how the game made me feel, but it definitely evoked a wide range of feelings throughout that just felt right, if that makes any sense. I enjoyed the journey, even as I was left wondering exactly what I was supposed to think of it all.


I highly recommend checking out Virginia. It’s a unique and bold experience among so many cookie cutter games these days. The game only lasts a few hours, but it was worth the $10 price of admission for sure. It was an experience that will still be kicking around in the back of my head for days to come.

XCOM 2 on the Xbox One


The first time I had ever played an XCOM game was with the Xbox 360 release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I was quickly addicted to the game, and ultimately ended up sinking a lot of hours into it on the PC and iPad. Despite having a lot of fun with the first game, I had never gotten around to checking out XCOM 2 when it released on PC. Since its release I had heard a lot of mixed reactions to the game, but I ended up adding the Xbox One version to my GameFly queue and it arrived today.

I’ve spent about an hour or so with the game so far and thought I’d share a few thoughts about the experience.

Xcom 2 screenshot xbox one

One of the first things I noticed was that the gameplay is nearly identical to the first game, with a few minor additions here and there. This isn’t a bad thing, as it made the game easy to pick up and dive into. Like the 360 release of Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 plays surprisingly well with a controller. It’s incredibly easy to maneuver your troops into position, perform attacks and navigate the menus. Rather than hovering over a keyboard and mouse, it’s nice to play XCOM while relaxing in a recliner watching the battle unfold on a big screen.

Xcom 2 xbox one

My one complaint about the game so far is that the percentage to hit system makes absolutely no sense. In the screenshot above I’m literally one tile away from an enemy, and yet I have a 74% chance to hit the target! It’s incredibly frustrating and entirely unrealistic to miss a shot from this close. What’s worse is that I’ve been no more than 3 tiles away from enemies with no obstacles in the way and have still had less than a 50% chance to hit, even with a sniper! In fact, I’ve had my sniper and another character equidistant away from an enemy, and for some reason the sniper has had a lesser chance to hit!

I had heard people complain about the absurd randomness of XCOM 2 around the time of the PC release, however I had expected those issues to be remedied by now. It’s unfortunate that it’s still an issue, yet so far it’s only been a minor annoyance in an otherwise enjoyable game. At most this system has caused missions to last a few turns longer as I’ve missed several sure shots, but it hasn’t yet gotten any of my characters killed.

xcom 2 xbox one

I’m looking forward to relaxing on the couch and playing through a few more missions in XCOM 2 tonight. Hopefully it’ll continue to be an enjoyable experience.