On My Radar – Tiny Metal

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I loved Advance Wars back in the day.

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Race the Sun

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The sun travels across the afternoon sky. Flying along in your sleek solar craft, you race towards the horizon. Will the sun set before you complete your trek over many regions? Depends on how bumpy your flight is.

Speed, Glorious Speed

Race the Sun has been a joyous surprise for me. Coming as a free downloadable game on PlayStation Plus, Race the Sun features gameplay hooks that sink deep.

Race-The-Sun-Logo-BlackBGRace the Sun is an endless runner platform game, much like Temple Run. Your solar craft is forever racing forward, unless it hits something and explodes. These Tron-esque explosions happen often. Learning from failure is the name of the game. Race the Sun features simple flight controls of moving right to left as well as a single jump button. As you weave your way through shape-filled mazes, power ups such as speed boosts and jumping litter the game world. Sounds easy, right?

The further you rocket into the distance, the closer the sun comes to setting. Shadows begin to cast off of the minimalist but deadly landscape. As your eyes struggle with the speed, obstacles, and route decisions, death is but a heartbeat away.

What keeps me coming back to the party?

  • A world that randomly generates every 24 hours
  • A sense of speed that I have not felt since F-Zero GX on the GameCube.
  • Fun objectives to complete
  • Personal high scores to beat

Race the Sun is the experience I needed to renew my faith in videogames–seriously, I’ve felt burned out. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely worth the price of admission if you happen not to download it this month (May 2015) on PlayStation Plus. Come on, you owe it to yourself to race the great ball of fire.

DEFCON 5wavesplinter5/5 – Just buy it already!

Wave SplinterTitle: Race the Sun
Developer: Flippfly
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Vita
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $10

Mass Effect 2

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Press Start:

In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepherd is tasked with recruiting the ultimate team in an effort to battle the Collectors. Most of the game is spent:

  • Exploring the galaxies/ collecting resources
  • Completing the individual story lines for each team member acquired
  • Shooting lots and lots of bullets
  • Listening to Grunt repeat his battle cry, “I AM KROGAN!”

Throughout the game, Shepherd must make choices that impact both immediate and future situations. Your actions, his actions, can often mean the difference between life and death.

I had a total love/hate relationship with Miranda. Ultimately, my choices doomed her to die.

Ideology/ Worldview:

As I mentioned above, Mass Effect 2 is all about choices. The two types of choices you are allowed to make are Paragon (good) and Renegade (evil, sly, Han Solo-ish). Depending on which route/mixture you end up choosing, the worldview of the game plays out in that manner.

Relationships, however, are a completely different matter in Mass Effect 2. Throughout the game, in-between missions, you walk the decks of your ship chatting it up with the crew. The more you pay attention to a specific crew member the more dialogue options open up during your conversations. Eventually, with enough flirting, this will lead to a romantic rendezvous in  Commander Shepherd’s quarters. Relationships are cheap in Mass Effect 2. If you don’t like the current person you are sleeping with, you can go off and pursue another. I would like to note that I did not, as much as I wanted to, bring a relationship to fruition in the game. There are places, as a Christian, I just don’t need to tread. Plus, you don’t need to pursue romantic relationships in the game in order to complete it (though there is an achievement for bedding someone down).

As a side note, Mass Effect 2 portrays women in an interesting light. The only times, that I can remember, the f-word being used in the game was by a female. I’m not sure what grand statement the game was trying to make in this regard, if any. I came away from it with the knowledge that the more wild women in this universe have potty mouths.

This is Mordin. Mordin talks like the coroner on the new Hawaii Five-O. Love this guy!

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Watch a cinema. Talk to the crew. Shoot a ton of people. Repeat.

In the End:

I played Mass Effect 2 for over 28 hours. I haven’t done this with a game in quite sometime. There was something about the storyline, role playing, and shooter elements that just seemed to gel with me. Would I recommend this series to someone else? Yes. Yes, with the caveat that the player in question is old enough to play a game that is rated M for mature. For all the games cons (minor language, romantic sidequests), there are endless galaxies to explore. I rarely wish that a game would just go on, but Mass Effect 2 is certainly one of those experiences.

An amazing experience!

– Level of Impact Rating –

Medium: Mission structure allows you to complete a mission in a short amount of time.

PlayStation Store Strikes Back May 24th

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Barring any additional problems, Sony plans to bring the PlayStation Store back online next Tuesday, May 24, according to a memo sent to the console’s publishing partners. – Gamasutra

I am honestly not sure how I feel about this, especially in light of yesterday’s news of Sony being hacked again. Sony has not won back my trust just yet.

Sony – Slowest Sinking Ship Ever.

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Dear Sony,

My personal information is running amok on the Internet! I have now received the first piece of SPAM related to your most recent debacle. Luckily, I can actually read and was able to see that you wouldn’t be using an email address like:

nment at soe dot innovyx dot net

This morning I learned, via The Ancient Gaming Noob, that your problems are more widespread than originally believed. Which makes me wonder, what the heck you have been doing? I would think, as a company, that one of your first and foremost priorities would be to secure your customer’s personal data. How could you have allowed for hackers to even obtain access to such things? You’re an electronics giant for the love of Godzilla! Capable of creating such things as the Walkman and the PS3!

It is time to put the big boy pants on Sony. We live in a digital age. Grow up or pass the company name onto someone else more deserving. Your squandering a legacy.

Sincerely,

Bryan

Sony Grovels

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This past Saturday, April 30th, Sony announced a limited rollout of its PlayStation Network this next week. In addition to outlining what they plan to do to make the network more secure, Sony also announced this:

Complimentary Offering and “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program
While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.

The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity “Welcome Back” program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

Central components of the “Welcome Back” program will include:

  • Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
  • All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

Additional “Welcome Back” entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.

SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation®Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.

For more information about the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services intrusion and restoration, please visit http://blog.us.playstation.com. or http://blog.eu.playstation.com/

Should be interesting to see what this really entails as the network comes online once more. I’m hoping for some free games. You?

PSN Failure: A Senator Calls for Answers

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United States Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a nice letter to Sony:

April 26, 2011

Mr. Jack Tretton
President and CEO
Sony Computer Entertainment America
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA USA 94404

Dear Mr. Tretton:

I am writing regarding a recent data breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network service.  I am troubled by the failure of Sony to immediately notify affected customers of the breach and to extend adequate financial data security protections.

It has been reported that on April 20, 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered an “external intrusion” and was subsequently disabled. News reports estimate that 50 million to 75 million consumers – many of them children – access the PlayStation Network for video and entertainment. I understand that the PlayStation Network allows users to store credit card information online to facilitate the purchasing of content such as games and movies through the PlayStation Network. A breach of such a widely used service immediately raises concerns of data privacy, identity theft, and other misuse of sensitive personal and financial data, such as names, email addresses, and credit and debit card information.

When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised. Additionally, PlayStation Network users should be provided with financial data security services, including free access to credit reporting services, for two years, the costs of which should be borne by Sony. Affected individuals should also be provided with sufficient insurance to protect them from the possible financial consequences of identity theft.

I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party. Compounding this concern is the troubling lack of notification from Sony about the nature of the data breach. Although the breach occurred nearly a week ago, Sony has not notified customers of the intrusion, or provided information that is vital to allowing individuals to protect themselves from identity theft, such as informing users whether their personal or financial information may have been compromised.  Nor has Sony specified how it intends to protect these consumers.

PlayStation Network users deserve more complete information on the data breach, as well as the assurance that their personal and financial information will be securely maintained. I appreciate your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

/s/

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

Source: Richard Blumenthal