Although it wasn’t the original plan, Chantelle and I ended up spending the whole of last night locked in a deadly duel of Words with Friends, the Android version of the hit game from Zynga (the guys behind the super successful Farmville) which we had finally gotten around to installing and giving a go, Chantelle on her small Samsung Galaxy Ace phone and me on my Proline AK888-13 9.7 inch tablet. First off, it is important to note that this is for all intent Scrabble on your mobile phone, the hook here being of course the fact that you play matches against someone remotely, each playing their turn and then patiently waiting until a push notification arrives to tell you that it is now your turn, before promptly showing you the soul crushing score that your opponent just managed to land by covering a combination of triple letter and double word score tiles! (Seriously, Chantelle made me cry more than once!) Anyway, the interface I have to say is pretty slick and fairly intuitive, though it would have been nice to receive a help tutorial or run through on first load, just to get you up and running. As it is, we took a few minutes to figure out the interface, but once we got the hang of it and got our Facebook accounts hooked up, it was go time! Like I said, if you’ve played Scrabble then you’ll know how the game operates. Given 7 tiles a turn, you’re [...]
I recently purchased a Proline Smart AK888-13 9.7″ Dual-Core Tablet from Loot.co.za for the low price of R2,099, featuring a 1.6GHz Cortex A9 Dual-Core CPU, a 10 point multi-touch capacitive screen with a resolution of 1024×768 (4:3), 1GB memory backed up by a 16GB NAND memory capacity, and running the fantastic Android 4.1 Jellybean OS. No 3G but obviously Wi-Fi and BlueTooth capable. In other words, not a high-spec tablet like your Apple iPad or your Samsung Galaxy Tab, but a very serviceable, extremely well priced, Chinese manufactured (Proline simple imports and brands them) mid-range tablet with a nice solid and fashionable design, good handling and the surprising ability to play 3D games rather well. An unexpected but rather nice bonus I might add. So with the wonderous Google Play store at my finger tips, this is the list of games I find myself currently playing (and enjoying) on my new entertainment device: Note that all of these follow the so-called ‘Free-mium’ model, i.e. they are free to download and play, but do offer additional in-app purchases that allow you to progress through the game faster or gain access to better equipment or abilities. Temple Run 2 (2013): The follow-up to the original popular and successful Temple Run endless running game, and is basically a fun time waster which sees you running through an endless maze collecting coins and power-ups, all while dodging, jumping over gaps and sliding under obstacles, trying to stay one step ahead of a hairy bunch [...]
Now armed with an Android powered 10 inch tablet all of my own, one of the first games I installed turned out to be the thoroughly entertaining Aces of the Luftwaffe, from developer HandyGames. If you remember the awesome coin-swallowing arcade game from the ’80s, 1942, then you know exactly what lies in store for you from the enjoyable Aces of the Luftwaffe, a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up that puts you in the seat of an heroic Allied fighter plane, taking on horde after horde of evil Axis fighters. As expected from this genre, the pace is relentless and the action non-stop, not to mention the insane difficulty that comes with the territory of a screen filled with slow moving projectile bullets! Of course the usual power drops of wingmen, scatter shots and machine gun are there to aid you, as well as a clever little ‘super’ which amounts to a cavalry rush that obliterates everything on screen. The game is released as a free to play and is ad supported, though as expected one can make the purchase to remove the adverts. Leveling up of various aspects of your plane is possible, and in the same breadth, you can always choose to speed up this process through in-app purchases. Fun graphics, a good soundtrack and a well written game with a smooth handling interface means that Aces of the Luftwaffe is certainly one of those recommended titles to install if you’ve got some free space on your tablet! [...]
Cliff Bleszinski and the team over at Epic Games came back to hit gamers hard with the follow-up to their first successful Gears of War outing, launching Gears of War 2 in 2008, basically a bigger and badder version of the original, with an even greater choice of weapons than before, and not forgetting to mention their tried and tested cover system! Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the detonation of the Lightmass Bomb at the end of the first game and though most of the underground army of the Locust Horde was destroyed in the resulting explosion, the fall-out from this would be devastating to the human population. Vaporised liquid Imulsion seeped out of the ground and went on to cause the debilitating Rustlung sickness to quickly spread among the diminished human population. After months of peace, the cities of Tollen and Montevado suddenly and mysteriously disappear underground, leading the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) to suspect the resurgence of the Locust. Soon after, the once impenetrable Jacinto, one of the last remaining safe havens for humans, begins to show signs that the same fate awaits it. Needless to say, in order to stop the fall of Jacinto, COG responds with a large-scale counter-offensive against the Locust, which basically boils down to Marcus and Dom being once again knee deep in Locust shit! Gears of War 2 is a third person shooter with an emphasis on the tactical use of cover, and retains much of the [...]
Dredd (2012) Judge Dredd, a law enforcer given the power of judge, jury and executioner in a vast, dystopian metropolis called Mega-City One, is saddled with the task of handling the final evaluation of rookie judge Anderson, a trainee who exhibits a high level of psychic ability. The evaluation patrol takes a turn for the worse as Anderson and Dredd find themselves being called upon to bring justice to a 200-storey high-rise block of flats and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma. Only problem is – pretty much the entire building is against them! Outside of the fact that this film was shot mostly in South Africa, thus automatically making it super cool, as a big fan of Dredd over the years, I have to say that I absolutely loved this movie. It is wall to wall action that never ceases to satisfy, and despite the fact that this is a fairly simple get to the top of the building plot, the story manages to keep you fully engaged from start to finish, buoyed by some fantastic acting by Karl Urban as Judge Dredd (and on that note, he really is the perfect Dredd) and Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson. Special effects are in plentiful supply, and I have to say, the graphic gore and violence was needed in order to make this a realistic Dredd outing. Visually striking, great costume design and a pulse binding soundtrack, finally 2000AD fans can properly forget about the Sylvestor Stallone Dredd disaster [...]
Zeiram – the most dangerous life form in the universe. Evil. Ruthless. Invulnerable. Unstoppable. The Tedan Tippedai Corporation secretly planned to import Zeiram to Myce as a secret bio-weapon. But things went wrong aboard the transport vessel, leading to the release of this monster. Iria, a young apprentice hunter, formed part of the mission to try and rescue the crew of the ship. But their mission failed, and in the process, Zeiram butchered her brother. However, Iria did manage to uncover information that she shouldn’t have – information certain parties would rather have silenced. Now Iria must expose this silent conspiracy before more innocent people are massacred by this monster. Together with her mysterious benefactor and sidekick Kei, the deadly Iria seeks to avenge her brother’s death. But how do you stop the unstoppable? 1994 saw a six part OVA from director Amino Tetsuro and production house Bandai Visual, hit the retail shelves. Iria: Zeiram the Animation is a tight story revolving around the concept of revenge, conspiracy and vengeance. The main character is a reckless and dominant woman, acting tougher than the boys in a man’s world. However, Iria isn’t about man bashing and instead focuses solely on the plot of the story. The invulnerable beast known as Zeiram provides the perfect foil for Iria, forcing her to come back again and again to face her fears and try to stop the unstoppable, even after all the pain it has caused her. The characters are well designed and pretty [...]
ARCAM, a mysterious secret organization was originally set up to safeguard the enigmatic and powerful artefacts left behind by a technologically superior race that once ruled the Earth, before being destroyed by their own power. ARCAM’s private military force is enhanced by the inclusion of so-called Spriggan, humans with enhanced abilities like super speed and reflexes. One of these Spriggans is Japanese teenage delinquent Yu Ominae. Following the latest discovery of what is believed to be Noah’s Ark deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, Yu finds himself dragged into conflict as an unnamed group targets him through the manipulation of his friends. Now in Turkey, Yu must battle the forces of a USA who are desperate to seize the artefact for their own nefarious purposes, and who have sent along their own powerful (and slightly deranged) Machinists team. But the genetically enhanced, psionic-enabled leader Colonel MacDougall has other, even more sinister plans for Noah’s Ark should he be able to claim it for himself… Based on the manga of the same name, Studio 4°C unleashed Spriggan to Japanese audiences back in 1998. The movie was directed and story boarded by Hirotsugu Kawasaki, written by Kawasaki and Yasutaka Ito, and supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo. Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa had a hand in assisting the director through production. In other words, some of the top 90′s action anime talent all had a hand in this one! The story premise is an interesting one and certainly makes for a great set [...]
I absolutely loved 2008′s Battlefield: Bad Company first person shooter from developer DICE (the same guys behind the phenomenal Mirror’s Edge), and pleasingly I enjoyed the 2010 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 outing almost just as much! It turns out that Preston, Sweets, Hags and Sarge didn’t get very far with their stolen gold at the end of the first game, and this time they’re back, placed in the Special Activities Division, tasked with retrieving a very, very dangerous scalar weapon developed by Japan during World War II! But to get it back, they are going to have to face off against some very dangerous foes, the most deadly being without a doubt Colonel Arkady Kirilenko, leader of the Russian Army! What follows is a good couple of hours worth of unrelenting blasting and destruction, as you travel through a cornucopia of varied landscapes, blowing apart buildings and structures and in general just wreaking havoc amongst some rather trigger happy Russian soldiers. There is a fair amount of weapons to collect and use, split into the normal groups of long range, high explosive, assault, and close quarters, though it must be stressed that the selection at the same time isn’t all that huge. The game cheats by adding either a red dot scope or say extra damage or magazine space and then calls it a new gun. In addition to the varied weapons also comes a nice selection of vehicles to be commandeered and driven around, from big battle tanks all [...]
Having thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the first season of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it is pretty awesome to be able to say that I was just as thrilled with 2012′s Season 2, featuring the return of Iron Man, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, Wasp and the First Avenger, Captain America! Season Two depicts the Avengers as they track down the remaining members of the Masters of Evil and end up facing the secret invasion of the Skrulls in the first half of season, followed by the Kree in the second half. Intertwined with this is a number of other story plots that get opened up and then closed again, making for an enthralling, overarching storyline that is guaranteed to satisfy any long time comic book fan, never mind the people getting exposed to the Avengers for the very first time. The amount of characters drawn in from the Marvel Universe over the course of the series is staggering, with the likes of Ms. Marvel, The Vision, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scott Lang, Heroes for Hire, Doctor Doom, Surtur, Crossfire, Thunderbolt Ross, his Red Hulk form, Guardians of the Galaxy, Falcon and Beta Ray Bill all making an appearance. The show is cleverly written, the characters well handled, the touches of humour are all in place, but above all else, the unrelenting superhero action is without a doubt what makes this such a pleasing watch. Whilst the voice actors all do a terrific job with their respective characters, and backed by an outstanding [...]
Winning isn’t everything in the game of basketball, but who wants to come in second? It takes dedication and discipline to be the best, and the Shohoku High hoops team wants to be just that. They have one last year to make their captain’s dream of reaching the finals come true – will they do it? Hanamichi finally gets some game time as a substitute for the slightly injured captain Akagi and quickly goes about showing everyone that he isn’t all talk. Not only does he manage to strip the ball from Ryonan’s veteran center, but he also succeeds in making several key passes that result in some much-needed baskets. With Shohoku closing in on their opponents’ lead, is Hanamichi on the verge of proving that he has what it takes to become the next captain? I was quite fond of Takehiko Inoue’s smash hit basketball manga back in my twenties, and I must admit, it is somewhat of a guilty pleasure to get back into it again, now in my thirties, though admittedly I do seem to have outgrown it just a tad it would seem. Anyway, volume 5 of Slam Dunk still has us caught slap bang in the epic basketball battle between Ryonan and Shohoku, though unbelievably the entire volume 5 is used to tell just a few minute’s worth of game time – to actually finish this (and remember, this is only a practice game – the season hasn’t even started yet!), you’ll need to head [...]
I am a huge fan of Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s 2005 to 2008 Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series, one of the most engaging, character-driven, and laden with political and human nature commentary shows to come out of the USA for a long while. Pleasingly, I’m just as thrilled with the big follow-up, 2012′s The Legend of Korra, which continues the story of the four nations and the art of elemental bending, but this time shunting us forward into a new steampunk frontier, complete with a fiesty and hot-headed new Avatar: Korra. The Legend of Korra tells the story of the current Avatar who mastered three of the four elements back when she was still just a toddler. However, her fierce will and impatience makes it difficult for her to learn air bending, the result of which sees her travelling to Republic City, the capital of the United Republic of Nations, a state that emerged after the end of the war that occurred in Avatar: The Last Airbender. There under the guidance of Tenzin, the youngest child of Aang and Katara, Korra is hoping to learn the bending of the final element that will lead to her fulfilment of the Avatar role. However, Republic City comes with a lot of distractions, both in terms of boys and pro-bending – neither of which is helping her all that much. Unfortunately, things aren’t going to remain uncomplicated for very long though. In addition to the triads and the rest of [...]
Twelve years ago, a mysterious purple column appeared in the heavens – This was the Day of Succession. Out of it emerged two fearsome beasts, one white, the other black. These beasts clashed and the resulting explosions left nothing but the mysterious dark pillar stretching between the earth and the heavens. This pillar is the gateway to the Inner World. Marie and Joe Hayakawa were two of the scientists present when the day of confusion first arrived. They were instrumental in chronicling it’s story. They were also the first two people to actually travel to the new and strange world, but on their last mission they left their children and simply vanished. They have been lost somewhere inside the Inner World ever since. Now the young Ai and Yu have decided to enter the Inner World to find their lost parents. Boarding the mysterious dimensional subway train that appears only at midnight, Ai and Yu need to take a giant leap of faith to enter the strangeness of the Inner World. As Ai and Yu continue their quest through the many strange places that make up the Inner World, they continually meet new friends and make new allies. Lisa, the girl who hears the currents of energy. Cid, the inventor genius. Nav, leader of the revolutionary Comodin. And Kaze, the Black Wind. Controller of the Demon Gun, creator of the Soil Summonings. But the Inner World is run by Chaos. The Count rules these dimensions with an iron fist. Together [...]
Craig Lotter is an established web developer and application programmer, with strong creative urges (which keep bursting out at the most inopportune moments) and a seemingly insatiable need to love all things animated. Living in the beautiful coastal town of Gordon's Bay in South Africa, he games, develops, takes in animated fare, trains under whichever martial arts dojo is closest at the time, and for the most part, simply enjoys life with his amazing wife and daughter.
Oh, and he draws ever now and then too.
This is a collection of things that he has managed to find the time to scribble down since 2007.
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