Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Battle.net Adds New SMS Protect Service

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2013

Battlenet logoGamers who play any of the games by Blizzard Entertainment may want to check this out. Battle.net has introduced a new way to protect your account from hackers. The new service is called SMS Protect. If you currently have your account protected by an authenticator, it is possible that you received an email from Battle.net about this.

It will send a text message to your cell phone every time suspicious activity is detected on your account. You will also get a text if your account is flagged for suspicious login activity, if your password has been changed, or if account security features are added or removed.

In other words, if something nefarious appears to be happing to your account, you won’t have to wait until you get home, and try to log in, to find out about it. You can get a text message about it, while you are away from your computer. All you need is a standard cell phone with a data plan. You also need to be in one of the countries that is currently supported by SMS Protect.

The sooner you know something has gone wrong, the sooner you can try to fix it. If you want to get texts, you have to log into your Battle.net account and enable the texts. (The “default” mode has the texts turned off).

Those of you who play World of Warcraft, Diablo III, or Starcraft hopefully are already using an authenticator to protect your account. The key-fob authenticators are still useful, and so are the mobile authenticators for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Those will still function as intended. You are not required to change over to the SMS Protect service if you do not want to. SMS Protect is simply one more tool to use to protect your characters and loot from hackers.

Take the other side: Dumb Ways to Live for Android

Posted by Alan at 6:45 AM on September 21, 2013

The Australian Metro campaign to alert citizens to railroad safety took on a life of its own, with a catchy song and video titled “Dumb Ways to Die”. Soon after it took off, a game of the same name was released, first for iOS then, more recently, for Android. The game plays off of the music video, featuring the same little creatures and tasking the player with keeping them safe while faced with the same deadly situations from the song.

However, if you grow tired of the characters, then there is good news for you. A new game, titled “Dumb Ways to Live” is now available. The game, which comes in both free and $0.99 ad-free versions, takes the opposite approach.

download screen

You will find the same characters and similar situations, but instead of saving them, you are expected to do your best the kill off each character. You will need to be quick, this is about speed and reflexes. When you first launch the game you do, thankfully, get a chance to practice each scenario.

The game is uncomplicated, but it does require quick reaction times and it’s a rather amusing little time waster, and much more cartoonish than real shooter games. You can grab it from the Google Play store.

Former Nintendo President has Died

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:43 PM on September 20, 2013

NintendoHiroshi Yamauchi, a visionary who is credited with transforming Nintendo from a trading card company to a leading force in video games, has died of pneumonia. He was 85 years old. He ran Nintendo from 1949 until 2002, and had an enormous influence on the gaming industry.

Yamauchi was a driving force behind getting Nintendo into arcades. How many of you remember putting quarters into a Donkey Kong machine (after waiting around for your turn)? He was president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube.

I’ve never met Hiroshi Yamauchi. I didn’t know him personally. Yet, I find myself saddened by his death. Where would console gaming be today without his influence? I think back to happy memories of playing Super Mario Brothers on the NES with my siblings for hours upon hours.

One of my siblings has autism. He was able to completely memorize all the details and patterns in Super Mario Brothers. His interest in the game encouraged him to try and communicate more with the rest of the family. He wanted to teach us how to play the game better. This was remarkable, and would not have happened without the existence of the NES.

I’m certain that I am not the only gamer who has fond memories involving Nintendo games. What are some of yours?

Wreck-it Ralph hits Windows Phone

Posted by Alan at 3:49 AM on September 6, 2013

Disney is no stranger to hit movies — in fact most of the studios releases are expected to be box-office successes, and Wreck-it Ralph did not disappoint.

Now the blockbuster flick attempts to become a cross-over hit as a game. The game brings five fun sub-games within, inspired by some of the movie’s most memorable scenes. There’s Fix-It Felix Jr., where you fix what Ralph has wrecked; Hero’s Duty, which lets you suit up as Sergeant Calhoun and blast cy-bugs; Sweet Climber, where fizzy jet packs help get you toward the top; Turbo Time, a fast race for the gold; and Flight Command, a flight simulator that strengthens all of your piloting skills.

Wreck-it Ralph for Windows Phone is not free, but $0.99 is  rather small fee to pay for more than 100 levels of entertainment, involving wrecking, fixing, blasting and soaring. Good luck.

wreck it ralph

Be Freddy for a day in Angry Birds

Posted by Alan at 2:29 PM on September 2, 2013

Freddy Mercury, the iconic lead singer of rock legend Queen, and one of most recognizable and best voices in music, passed away back in 1991. However, his memory lives on in the form of the Mercury Phoenix Foundation. The organization proclaims that “since 1992, The Mercury Phoenix Trust has been raising millions to fight AIDS worldwide and thanks to advances in treatment, many are able to live longer with the disease, but there is still no cure. Around the world, mainly in countries stricken with poverty and lack of education, people are dying. The fight is not over yet…”

This year Rovio, the Finnish game maker behind the Angry Birds empire, is once again supporting the foundation with a “Freddy for a Day” tournament this week in Angry Birds Friends. The tournament features six levels inspired by Freddie and some truly iconic songs.

Essentially, this is a fundraising initiative arranged by The Mercury Phoenix Trust, which aims to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS by encouraging people to dress as Freddie Mercury for a day.

Customers can help support the drive by purchasing the Freddy Bird tee-shirt. If you do not have Angry Birds Friends on your phone or tablet, you can play right from your PC at friends.angrybirds.com.

Rovio unveils Angry Birds Star Wars 2 sneak-peek video

Posted by Alan at 8:18 AM on August 23, 2013

Rovio announced previously that it would be releasing an Angry Birds Star Wars 2 game in late summer. Now, as the big day draws near, the game maker has unveiled a sneak-peek video and a bit more information. Angry Birds Star Wars II will feature bird and pig versions of over 30 characters from the Star Wars universe.

Rovio explains, that “in a countdown to the app launch, we’ll be introducing you to all of them! The first set of character reveal gameplay videos are already coming next Monday August 26th. The game will be out on September 19th all around the world”. The first charcter set will be unveiled this Monday, August 26th.

The game will be available as an universal app on iOS, Android (Google Play and Amazon) and Windows Phone 8 for $0.99 (or local equivalent)! There will also be a free ad-supported version available on Google Play.

Gameloft announces 15 new games for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8

Posted by Alan at 10:50 AM on August 20, 2013

Today Gameloft unveiled its Windows plans for this fall, including a bunch of new titles intended for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

According to Microsoft, “Beginning with the releases this Fall of “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and “Dungeon Hunter 4,” Gameloft will launch a complete line-up of blockbusters across many genres simultaneously on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, taking advantage of the Windows platform’s multiple hardware configurations and focusing on exciting new features like cross-platform play between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices”.

“We strive to make Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 the best platform for gaming. With top gaming companies such as Gameloft investing in the platform, it is evident that there is no better time for game developers and gamers alike to choose Windows”, says Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer and Platform Evangelism at Microsoft.

No release dates have yet been announced, so it is unclear when these titles will begin to roll out, not do we have any idea about pricing for either platform.

asphalt 8

Rovio rolls out account sync to iOS and Android

Posted by Alan at 4:47 AM on July 19, 2013

Rovio again makes the news, this time not with a major game release racing up to the top of the download charts, but instead with the beginning of its account roll out. Why is this a big deal? Simply because customers can now put down their phone, pick up their tablet and play a game right from where they left off on the previous device.

“We’ve been gradually rolling out Rovio Account over the past couple of months, listening to feedback and ensuring a seamless sync experience for all of our fans”.

angry birds

For now, the update has only hit the original Angry Birds game, but the company has plans to begin rolling it out to all of the platforms very soon. Users will see a “sign in” option on the home screen of the app. I have used the feature, already, to bring my progress from my Nexus phone to my tablet and can report it works perfectly well.

“We know that you’ve all been waiting for a way to sync progress between devices and we really feel that we have an amazing solution in place now” Rovio announces.

Now, we only have to await the feature to be rolled out to Space, Star Wars and the rest of the company’s hit games, a process which should take place over the coming days and weeks.

Last week Rovio teased something big coming today and hinted it had to do with Angry Birds Star Wars. Most folks expected a release of new levels or, perhaps, even a new game. The latter turns out to be true, but there are complications — well, one. The Finnish game make only announced Star Wars II today.

“Today we’re extremely excited to announce the arrival of Angry Birds Star Wars II, launching on September 19 across app stores worldwide” reads the official post from Rovio.

For those who were less-than-happy with the Star Wars prequels, I am afraid this may be bad news — “the new game will tackle the prequels, introducing a wide roster of never-before-seen Angry Birds Star Wars characters”. The game will bring more than 30 new characters.

angry birds star wars ii

To add to the anticipated hype surrounding these new figures, there will also be a line of over 30 collectable TELEPODS figures from Hasbro. Placing these figures onto your phone or tablet camera will scan your character of choice directly into the game, allowing you to select new characters on the fly.

It is certainly an interesting concept — and an obvious marketing grab, but Rovio seems incapable of doing anything wrong these days and the figures will likely sell almost as quickly as the game gets downloaded.

Rovio unveils new Angry Birds levels

Posted by Alan at 10:11 AM on July 3, 2013

angry birds

Duck Mr. Piggy, there is a bird heading your way! Rovio pushes the envelope a bit further with its massive gaming franchise, rolling out new levels to its record-breaking original Angry Birds game.

The Red Bird gets his very own episode featuring new “Egg Defender” gameplay, combining Angry Birds and Bad Piggies in a frenzy of bird flinging and crazy pig contraptions. The update features 15 new levels of play in which Red defends the eggs against wave after wave of Bad Piggies advancing in their 72 crazy contraptions. In other words, this time you are fighting pigs that are moving.

To pull this off, Rovio has given the bird new powers to aid in your fight. According to the announcement, the “new powers from the Mighty Eagle himself, so he can attack with speed and pinpoint accuracy! Watch the trailer to see what’s happening to the eggs and how you can defend yourself against the pesky pigs”.

Rovio announces that “to celebrate Red Bird’s own episode, we’re also giving a 15% discount on Red Bird products in the Angry Birds Online Shop! Offer is valid until July 10, 2013″. The update is for both Android and iOS.