Solid Line Products, LLC announced ArtCase™, a new line of iPad cases that features works of art by select artists. Starting with San Francisco mural art by Brian Barneclo, Solid Line will feature select works by a single artist for an entire month. The works are printed onto cases designed for the original iPad and the iPad 2. The patent-pending design enables the addition of a Bluetooth keyboard.
“We like to think of ArtCase as a new canvas for artists,” said Henry Lo, CEO of Solid Line Products. “While we’ll feature only one artist a month, this new ‘canvas’ is open to all artists, graphic designers, and photographers. The artists can create art cases that they can then market to their respective communities.”
Similar to a hardback book cover, ArtCase is made with recycled materials and is available for the original iPad and iPad 2. The artwork is printed onto the iPad cases using environmentally friendly inks. Customers have the option of adding Solid Line Products’ RightShift™ keyboard, named for the accurately placed right shift key that is often missing in comparable products but which is necessary for touch typing.
Brian Barneclo‘s art was selected to kick off the new line of iPad cases to coincide with the start of his work on the Systems Mural Project, a 24,000 square feet mural at 7th & Townsend in San Francisco. (Donations to the project are still being accepted.) Exploring the idea of interconnectivity, it will be Barneclo’s largest mural
The works selected for the iPad cases are images of murals he’s painted throughout San Francisco where he’s lived since 1996. Inspired by cityscapes, the works express ideas of simultaneity and multiplicity using letter shapes and architectural forms.
“Brian’s San Francisco cityscapes were perfect for kicking off our new line of iPad art cases because they’re as colorful and as inspiring as the city they depict,” said Lo, a native San Franciscan who has admired Barneclo’s work through the years.
A native of Indiana, Barneclo’s work was influenced artists like Oswaldo Guayasamin, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, and Stuart Davis.
“I’m excited that Solid Line Products picked my work to feature on these art cases,” said Barneclo. “I hope they do inspire iPad users in the same way that the city itself inspires me.”
A number of apps are trying to get in on the social networking experience made popular by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Sooshi – Social Sushi tries to supplement your other online identities by creating a real-time network with users you can interact with in real-time through your iPhone.
Much like Buddy, Sooshi gives you some ways to meet people online, though just like your average Craig’s List relationship quality pickings are slim and unlikely to lead to any long-term friendships.
One good feature found in Sooshi that many other social media apps lack is the ability to sign up for a profile directly inside the app — many force you on to the web to create an account.
Once you do this you can connect your existing social networking profiles and other links such as your web site or blog to your Sooshi account. This makes your profile a bit more complete and transparent to those who may check you out in the Sooshi community.
Using Sooshi consists of mainly trolling through the list of users and trying to strike up a conversation. You can send direct messages, update your status, or check in on the profiles of other users. One annoying feature was that Sooshi forces the users to have GPS enabled. Sure it makes for a convenient way to tag your location and find other users, but the battery drain is quite significant. That is of course if you plan to make use of Sooshi. What you are likely to find is many users who pass along “whatups” to each other or, surprisingly, complain about the app itself.
Apps like Buddy and Sooshi are trying to supplement what Twitter, Facebooks and others have launched with social networking. But the experience just isn’t that satisfying. It lacks the connection that some of the more well-established networks have.
Sandbox gaming has officially come to the iPhone. Payback, developed by Apex Designs, is a shameless clone of the experience found in the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) franchise. The GTA franchise is known for pushing the envelope with crazy dialog, violent missions and delving into all kinds of taboo subject matter.
Seeing how this type of game (and it’s complicated controls) translates to the iPhone was something I was definitely interested in checking out. With a pair of headphones and fully charged iPhone, I went to work!
The story is fairly basic in Payback. The main character finds himself in a busy city and is immediately briefed to answer phones to take on illegal jobs and earn money. At designated point levels, new environments and over a dozen cities open up for exploration in a variety of gameplay modes.
The types of jobs that are presented are fairly predictable in this GTA-inspired game. It’s common to see jobs like killing criminals, stealing cars, trailing enemies, stealing drugs and a variety of derivatives based on all of the above. No matter what the active job is, my experience has been good in being able to get through them fairly quickly which is perfect for a mobile gaming experience.
Core gameplay and the controls in Payback are a mixed bag. There is a definite learning curve that is required to get the hang of things. The accelerometer is used to control the camera while every other function of the game requires touching on-screen buttons. On a good note, using the on-screen buttons felt intuitive and I had no problem entering cars or changing and firing weapons. On a bad note, controlling the camera is extremely touchy as it tends to wander easily. This isn’t as prevalent while driving vehicles, but it is annoying when the character is on foot. The options menu has sensitivity level which can improve the control. While I was able to stomach many of the issues I had with the controls, it’s a real possibility that others may not get past their initial frustrations.
Payback excels in its overall graphical and audio presentation layers. The opening trailer is easily on par with what you’d see on the Nintendo and Sony handheld platforms. The real-time graphics in Payback are impressive with real 3D environments, shadows, transparencies and a variety of other cool effects at a fairly consistent frame rate. The inclusion of a nicely done game soundtrack and real voice overs helps round out the presentation layer in Payback. If there was one notable negative I’d point out, it would be that the game is extremely dark in some spots making it virtually impossible to play outdoors at times.
Folks have been waiting for a game like Payback to make its way to the iPhone and iPod touch gaming platform. I highly recommend they give Payback a spin. It’s not quite Grand Theft Auto, but this title provides a very good glimpse of what the iPhone is capable of.
Pokemon GO is an amazing adventurous game, that was developed by Niantic and was released in the market in July 2016. This game allows you to capture, train, battle and trade virtual Pokemon, who actually appear throughout the real world. It’s a free to play game. It’s a great fun game, with lots of adventure, that you give you the opportunity to literally enjoy this adventure as to catch morePokemons. For example, you can have fun by playing this game while you are walking on the roads, when you visit various landmarks, as to get new items. Moreover, you can team up with a number of friends and you have to do everything you can in order to be able to defend the gyms.
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ComeSpaceX has the shell of what could be a great game. It excels where some other action games fall short. While in its current form it is not as strong as the excellent Sentry Alpha, it has some great features and promises to get better.
SpaceX begins with a spaceship taking on enemies in somewhat Galaga-style action. The ship is controlled with either your finger or by tilting the iPhone/iPod touch. The controls are quite responsive — the ship moves both from left to right and up and down on the screen so you can shoot enemies and snag upgrades that float across. But it is another aspect of the game play that weakens SpaceX. Most of the spaceships, even in the later rounds, speed toward you with guns blazing — so fast that it is impossible to get in front of them for a clear shot. This is less of a problem in deeper rounds when there are multiple lasers and missiles that will shoot from the side of your spaceship or track the enemy. In terms of controlling the ship it means a lot of back-and-forth movement to get a clear shot. A tweak to the enemy ship firing patterns would make the game play a bit more reasonable.
The strongest area of SpaceX is the upgradeable weapons. After each round you have the ability to purchase new weapons with game credits earned during the previous round. This part can get a bit tricky because you need to pay attention to where the weapons are mounted. Buy an upgrade that mounts in the same location as another weapon you already have and that one is gone. It is a bit of a pain, but with a better system for identifying what weapons are where this will be even stronger.
The developers indicated on the SpaceX iTunes description page they plan to update the game soon with bug fixes, touch controls, and better game balance. Hopefully they come through, because SpaceX is good enough to be worth making even better.
It’s easy to see the appeal of apps such as Spanish Tutor from 24/7 Tutor. Apps like this one help you learn or practice a language at home and when you’re waiting in a grocery line, getting your car repaired or similar situations where you need to kill a little time.
Spanish Tutor is a Lite version of the 24/7 Tutor’s Spanish 1 app, which sells for $4.99. The company attempts to make learning Spanish easy with a series of six modules (not counting the edition) that you can build on.
Spanish Tutor features a set of simple words and phrases, organized into topics such as town & country, food & dining and opposites, and simple phrases such as “Do you need anything?” and Can you write it down?”
If you want to practice words in a category, your quiz options are multiple choice, puzzle, write in and flash card. In the puzzle and write-in quizzes, you fill in the blanks by tapping letters from a grid. In flash card mode, you’re given a written phrase and asked to speak it.
At every juncture in these quizzes, you’ll find a megaphone icon in the lower left-corner that will give you verbal cues on how to say words and phrases in Spanish.
I don’t speak much Spanish and I can see how I could learn enough to get around in a foreign country using a more sophisticated app. I speak French, another Romance language with the same roots as Spanish, so I was able to get a good sense of how well Spanish Tutor works for a novice.
There’s a lot more to learning a language than words and phrases, obviously. You won’t learn enough to hold a conversation using only this app, but that’s not its purpose. It’s mainly intended to give you a taste of, and perhaps an incentive, to step up to the more capable modules.
Spanish Tutor‘s graphical user interface is somewhat crude. Some sentences begin in lowercase. Sometimes they are punctuated; other times, not. The background color is a dull beige-y, tan and the typeface is bland. I’m probably asking for too much in a app. On the other hand, it doesn’t give me much incentive to try 27/7 Tutor’s line up when there are dozens of others to compare it too.
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Game Review: Alien 3
While he may have gone on to create some of the best cinematic masterpieces out there, such as “Fight Club”, “Se7en”, “Zodiac” and “The Social Network”, David Fincher had to make his career as director by starting with a sequel, the third film in the “Alien” series. Just as he was given a project that he could only do so much with but made it work, so too does Alien 3 come across as a game that had promise, but ultimately left me unfulfilled.
One thing that I miss is the thumb-twitch excitement that some games bring to me. That feeling that this next jump is crucial and important to get just right, otherwise you’ve lost that level, or a whole hour’s worth of work. When a game has good touch sensitivity, something that well made games on the NES were able to achieve, it gives you that sense of urgency. The controls on a game like this – while better than the average promo game that was purely a merchandising add-on – feel a bit ham-fisted.
Alien 3 Description
Even if the thought of those things still terrifies me, the game does not. The game is very loose in it’s interpretation of the game. I assume that the levels are supposed to resemble the prison planet, though they are just as much an acid trip as your standard NES game. I do question how so many aliens are running around, both the humanoid and the canine ones, as well as a multitude of queens. More curious however is how easily they die. The average one has no sense of where you are, and can be taken out with a single bullet. This is nothing like the unholy horrors of the films that I grew up with, which were seemingly indestructible, heat-seeking killing machines.
Your objective is to rescue all of the cocooned people before time runs out, a task that becomes increasingly more difficult as levels progress. While I don’t recall the aliens cocooning their victims in the film, I still wouldn’t want to rescue them if they did. Not that I don’t feel remorse for a planet full of the worst rapists and murderers in the galaxy, but that if a human host is usually let go to make it seem like everything is normal after being impregnated, I don’t want to think of how many eggs one hung up from the wall must have in them. I mean, those dozens of offspring per person have to come from somewhere, right?
Seriously, just leave it there. The game itself is fairly easy, and overall leaves you wanting for more, as the film that it is based on did. Overall forgettable in a sea of tie-ins. Thankfully in some of the newer titles this has been fixed, but the Xbox 360 and PS3 are not the NES, so I leave judgment on those to the pros. I will say that I am looking forward to the prequel film, with the return of Ridley Scott at the helm.
Well, the NBA season is about to kickoff as the bickering over the money has finally ended. Basketball fans, we are witnessing the probable end of the Chicago Bulls as champions, and more importantly, the great one himself, Michael Jordan, has left the game. Anyhow, let’s get back to business. NBA Live 98 was a great game in my opinion, it was a huge leap in comparison to NBA Live 97, and NBA Live 99 was very much anticipated by most basketball enthusiasts. Just like any other sports freak, I got the game right after it was released, hoping to annihilate my computer opponents and later my friends! Enough of me, lets get it on!
The graphics of this game are the best that I have seen to date for a basketball game. The new motion captured players look really nice and fluid — each NBA player seems to have been modeled very well. In addition, instant replays have also improved considerably, allowing better detail. The detail level of the courts and stadium is extraordinary! With a 3d card you can set the detail levels high, with player shadows and a variety of other detail options. The best part is the reflections of the ad boards on the court; they look great. In addition, instant replay has been improved also, with better angles and just a cleaner look. One thing that I really liked was that all the smiling faces from Live ’98 were gone. There are different facial expressions for the players depending on the situation. My gripe with the graphics is that Antoine Walker has one ugly shot and everyone shoots like him. EA used Walker for the motion capture and they should have gone back to a different set of pro players as they did in Live ’98. The shooting motion reminds me of the ugly looking shot of Bill Cartright!
Okay, flat out, the interface is not the greatest. Although it’s easy to navigate through, there are too many sub menus. The one thing that really ticks me off is the constant mouse clicking from the start of the game to the team ratings and through the starters menu. Then there’s the load time. After that, you finally get to play the game. Also, I find the sliding menus too irritating and time consuming. The controls are well done in NBA Live ’99 — more moves have been added to provide a more realistic look.
Gameplay is one of the more improved aspect of NBA Live ’99. In order to win you must have the right strategy and proper proper execution. Although I found too many steals and fouls being called on high levels of difficulty. In addition to season mode, a new franchise mode has been added. The season mode is just playing the normal season and having the options to trade, create a player, and so forth. Franchise mode is horrible. After picking your team, you try to win the championship year after year. Check this out: Although you are allowed to trade players after the season, and players skill levels change over time, there is no draft! How would you like to see Eddie Johnson fifty years old and still playing? Franchise mode is boring and ridiculous, at least have a franchise mode like Madden ’99. The 3-point contest is also great, but gets old quickly. One big flaw in Live ’99 is that the players almost never get fatigued — you can play a full forty-eight minute game without your starters leaving the bench. How can this not be noticed during beta testing? I don’t know, but they should release a patch to fix this problem. Also, rebounds always tend to go towards your computer opponent because you can’t switch fast enough. As far as the multiplayer aspect is concerned, I have only played NBA Live ’99 over the modem. I did not experience any lag and it was fun, but the fatigue bug remained. If you want better gameplay, go back to NBA Live ’98, please.
NBA Live ’98 has the most accurate commentary I have ever seen in a sports game. However, it is also very boring (What happened to Ernie Johnson?). The crowd is an annoyance; their noises and cheers are too repetitive. The rest of the audio, such as the buzzer sounding, players checking in the game, and the announcer calling the players names and jersey numbers are all flawless. All in all, after two or three games the audio is worth turning off.
Okay, NBA Live ’98 was really easy, right? Just inbound the ball and fling it across the court to your teammate and you’ve got it made! Well, NBA Live ’99 is still flawed in this matter! The very first season I started was on the superstar difficulty level with Golden State, and I went 28-0 in a 28 game season playing 5 minute quarters. I was the top seed in the playoffs and easily won the championship in four games. I can’t figure out why EA did not address this issue when Live ’98 was the same way. However, if you take Live 99 systematically in terms of playing the game as though a professional game was being played, it’s quite challegning. For example, if you want to win (without doing what I just mentioned above as far as flinging the ball across the court to your teamate to score) then it will take some straegy and knowledge of the game to win. The computer is a good challenge and expect to get blown out intially, once you have a gameplan and a actual strategy against an opposing team you should do well. The momentum meter is great; if you are down by 20 points against your buddy you better start hustling. Otherwise, you’ll suffer an embarassing loss!
I think NBA Live ’99, at best, is a mediocre basketball game for the PC. It is not a worthy improvement over NBA Live ’98. It is a fun game, but I wish they would have concentrated more on the management and simulation aspect. Things like a draft, salary caps, retirement, and players leaving or being unhappy would have been nice. The least they could have done was added internet play. Those who have fast cable modems should enjoy the game some. Sadly, NBA Live ’99 is a disappointment, and once again, we hope EA will revive us next year with a better product.