Fallout Shelter: Why am I playing this?

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Fallout Shelter has been frustrating me lately. I can’t quite figure out why I’m playing it and yet at the same time I can’t seem to walk away from it. Fallout Shelter is Bethesda’s free to play game in which you manage a Vault in the Fallout universe, launched alongside the Fallout 4 reveal during this year’s E3. It is currently only available on iOS devices, however it is set to release on Android platforms on August 13th.

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Fallout Shelter is simple to play. In it you construct various rooms and assign vault dwellers to work in those rooms to produce resources. Each vault dweller has a unique set of stats and each room requires a certain stat in order to run efficiently. You need to produce electricity, food and water in order to keep your vault running smoothly and your dwellers healthy. You can also send your dwellers into the wasteland in order to earn experience while searching for caps (currency), weapons and outfits.

The game doesn’t pressure you to pay in any money, however you can purchase sets of card packs starting at $0.99 for one pack. These card packs will provide you with either more caps, resources, weapons, outfits or even special vault dwellers. Each pack will include at least one rare item (such as a vault dweller or outfit) and they make doing well in the game much easier.

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Opening the packs is one of the most exciting parts of the game, so last week I bought my first card pack (a set of 5 for $3.99). I got some pretty cool weapons and a few special vault dwellers with high stats. It was pretty exciting and I felt like my vault was well on its way to prosperity. Not more than thirty minutes later a radroach outbreak occurred, and as I tried to fight the roaches off every single one of my vault dwellers was killed. At this point my vault was doomed. I didn’t have the caps to resurrect any of my dwellers, and I couldn’t see anyway to advance the game.

I should’ve quit the game then, but having just spent four dollars on the game I felt the need to try again. I started a new vault and was a little disheartened to find that my card pack purchase didn’t follow to the new game. I sped through the initial setup and found myself purchasing another $3.99 card pack to get a jumpstart on my vault. This time I determined not to rush any of my production (rushing carries the risk of causing accidents such as fires or radroach invasions). I also decided not to expand too quickly which left my resources spread too thin in the first game. Since then things have been going well, however I’m constantly asking myself why I’m playing this game, and why I’ve spent $10 on card packs in just one week.

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Playing the game itself provides little reward, and it seems like the only fun comes in opening card packs. You can earn card packs for free by completing objectives, however you can only hold three objectives at any one time and most of them reward you with a measly 25 or 50 caps. There doesn’t seem to be much of a point to expand my vault further, yet having spend ten dollars on the game I can’t bring myself to delete it from my iPad.

Are you still playing Fallout Shelter? How has your experience with the game gone? Should I just quit before I spend any more money on it?

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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!

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

iOS 7 is here!

So I’ve been crazy excited for iOS 7 to arrive and today at 11AM (Mountain Time) it did! I had no problems downloading and installing it on my iPhone 5, but so far I’m having issues with my iPad 4. It downloaded the update but when I try to install it it says ‘software update unavailable’.

Anyway, I love the new look and feel of everything and the way it switches between apps now is awesome. I’m particularly in love with iTunes Radio. I love the design and I’ve been listening to ‘Ra Ra Riot Radio’ for the last hour and have discovered more amazing music than I ever have on Pandora and Spotify. I’m pretty certain I’m going to end up subscribing to iTunes Match as a result.

I don’t have much else to say right now, but I just LOVE the look:

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Candy Crush players, save some money

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I started playing Candy Crush yesterday and immediately found out just how frustrating it can be. Every time I’d fail a level I’d instantly hit retry, and soon I ran out of lives. I came so close to beating a level I decided to fork over $0.99 to instantly refill my 5 lives (otherwise you get one life per half hour, or you can get lives from Facebook friends). Before long those five lives were gone as well and a Google search for “how to get Candy Crush lives” brought me across an article that describes an exploit in the game that allows you to refill your lives for free, and without waiting.

All you have to do is go to your device’s date and time setting and advance the time forward a few hours. This tricks the game into refilling your lives and you’re good to go, without waiting and without spending any money. If you reset your device’s time back to the current time, however, the game will still show you need to wait until after that future time to get a refill (so essentially the game will show a wait of several thousand hours before long).

There is a way to avoid this, however. After you change your device’s time setting to a time in the future open Candy Crush. You will show 5 lives, but before you start playing you need to close Candy Crush, set your time back to the current time, and then continue playing. This way when you spend a life you’ll only have to wait 30 minutes from the current time, rather than 30 minutes after the time in the future. You can also uninstall and reinstall the app to reset the wait time if you happen to end up with a thousand hour wait. You will not lose any of your progress if you are synced to Facebook.

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I hope this has helped. I’m sure they will patch this in the future so that you either have to wait or spend money to refill your lives, but for now this will help you play on through the night, because really, who needs sleep?

Iron Man 3: IMAX

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The last movie I saw in IMAX was The Amazing Spider-Man last year (it also happened to be my first IMAX experience besides The Hubble IMAX at the Smithsonian). I had never lived close enough to an IMAX theater to justify seeing movies in IMAX until the last year. I enjoyed seeing Spider-Man in IMAX but never felt the need to return to the IMAX theater…that is until now.

Iron Man 3 is getting overwhelmingly good reviews and positive buzz so far with its overseas release and it opens in IMAX at 10pm tomorrow night in Boise. I’m pretty certain we’re going to see it in IMAX 3D tomorrow night, despite the $15.50 per ticket price tag. My girlfriend has never seen a movie in IMAX and I feel like Iron Man 3 will do it justice. Besides, this may well be one of the last times we see Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (his contract is under negotiation, and there is talk of recasting Iron Man).

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I look forward to the experience, and the official start of the blockbuster summer movie season that Iron Man 3 rings in (following closely behind will be Star Trek, The Hangover III and Man of Steel!). Heck, I’ve even downloaded the official Iron Man 3 mobile game to fool around with in the hours before the movie premieres:

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Family Feud and Friends

So a lot of people at work have been playing Family Feud & Friends on their phone and it seemed like a fun time. It’s certainly fun to battle it out with strangers and come up with “good answer”(s). However after downloading the free app myself I’ve run into nothing but problems.

First off, the game requires coins to play, and each game of Family Feud costs 2 coins. You start out with 10 coins and get 2 coins for leveling up (you level up by earning money). However after no more than 20 minutes I was zero balance on my coins. So I have the option of paying anywhere from $1.99-$99.99 for additional coins. $1.99 will net you a total of FIVE games of Family Feud, or 15 minutes or so of fun. Most definitely not worth it. And anyone who spends $99.99 on an iPhone game (or even thinks about it for that matter) needs some help.

Every day you get to spin a slot machine to earn more coins, but most often you’ll only get 2 or 3 coins. So you can play one game a day if you don’t shell out cash.

What’s worse is the fact that the app itself never works. Most of the time I open the app I get a never ending connecting to server and an error saying the app failed to retrieve information from the server, try again later. Great so I can’t even get my daily spin to earn free coins so I can actually play the game.

This in app purchase model is not a winning model. I would rather pay $2-5 for the app then have to continuously dump $2-5 a day into it. Even if you bought the $99 coin package I doubt that would last a person a year. What a shame, the game is fun, but it apparently doesn’t want to be played.