Asphalt 8 for Android goes free

asphalt 8

There is no shortage of good games available on the Android platform, from sports to shooters to racing. You can even relive your youth through classic arcade games from Atari and Activision. And, if you like fast cars with exotic names like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugati, then there are games for you as well.

Now Android customers who happen to fall into that category get a special treat. Asphalt 8: Airborne has gone free for the Google mobile operating system.

If you aren’t familiar, it’s an arcade-style racing game with lots of high-performance cars, exotic locations and scattered platforms and ramps around the tracks that allow you to fly your car and do stunts with it. You get none of the realism of games like Real Racing 3, but instead you do get perhaps a bit more adrenaline.

The developer describes it as “The best Android arcade racing game series reaches a new turning point! Perform dynamic, high-speed aerial stunts in an intense driving experience powered by a brand-new physics engine”.

All of this may mean that Asphalt 9 is on the horizon, but that’s fine. You won’t be paying for a game that may become outdated — free is free.

 

Angry Birds goes Kart Racing on December 11

Rovio continues to find new ways to market its industry leading mobile game franchise, Angry Birds. This time, instead of teaming with another major franchise, as it did for Star Wars, the Finnish company is heading to the race track.

Today Rovio unveiled Angry Birds Go, a new racing game set to hit app stores on December 11. “It’s a complete first for the Angry Birds series, featuring high-octane downhill racing, upgradable karts, tons of characters with unique special powers and a fully rendered 3D world”, the company announced today.

The game will be free to play, and Rovio has partnered with Hasbro to integrate TELEPODS into the racing game. For now, a gameplay trailer has been released to tease you with what can be expected this holiday season.

Battle.net Adds New SMS Protect Service

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.

Former Nintendo President has Died

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

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

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 officially announces Angry Birds Star Wars II, makes you wait for it

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

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.

Ouya Review

Ouya My Ouya finally came late yesterday afternoon. First a little background from me, I am not a gamer, I have no hand to eye coordination so I am not very good, but I enjoy playing them. I have been without a gaming console for a couple of years now and I miss not having one. I had thought about buying a Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 but I couldn’t bring my self to pay $400 to $500 on a console that I knew was going to be replaced in a short time. When I heard all the noise about the new gaming console that was a Kickstarter project called Ouya I became intrigued. So, at the beginning of April after the Kickstarter project had become successful I preordered one. The email I received from Ouya stated that I would not receive the console until June, which was fine with me. I was aware how Kickstarter worked. However I have to admit when yesterday rolled around and I started seeing articles that the Ouya would be available for purchase at places like Amazon, Best Buy, Target and more I was a little upset that I hadn’t received mine yet. I was therefor very happy when my husband came in with it, saying it had been thrown in the bushes.

The Ouya comes in a small box about the size of a shoe box but slightly narrower. In the box you get the console, one controller, a power cable, a HDMI cable and a brief instruction book. The Ouya console itself is quite small. It is only three inches by three inches by three inches and is square with a rounded front. The console is made of plastic, but feels fairly solid and heavy for it size. There is a fan on one end and the power button on the other end. On the back there is a HDMI port, a power input, an ethernet input and a USB input. I was actually pleasantly surprised that a HDMI cable came with the console, although it is fairly short. The controller, which is bigger then the console does feels cheap. You can tell that it was made from a mold. The buttons on the controller are placed similar to how the Xbox controller is set up. Because it is so large and I have small hands (although normal I think for a women) it does feel a little awkward to me.

The setup went fairly smoothly after and initial hiccup. Because the Ouya is black I didn’t see the power button on the front, so when I first plugged the Ouya in and connected it to my monitor and nothing happened I was quite upset. I even tried a different outlet and still nothing. I was getting ready to send it back, when I took a closer look at it and noticed the indentation on the front face and when I pushed it the power came on. A simple red line around it to indicate power would have been appreciated. That problem solved the rest of the set up went fairly quickly and without a hitch. It does take some time since it has to be updated with the latest firmware. During the setup process you do have to provide a credit card number so you will need to have one available. Once setup is done you have to pair the controller. I had no problem with that once I figured out that the batteries went into the wings of the controllers. I have noticed also that the controller loses its pairing with the console occasionally. Not when playing a game but when I restart the console I will sometimes will have to reconnect the controller to it. Once you fire the Ouya up the first screen you will see is the management screen on it there is an option to play the games you have already chosen, discover new games, make a new games (if you are a developer) and manage your account, and the system.


Most of the games you will find on the Ouya are not ones you will recognize, unless you play a lot of independent games. However there are some that will feel familiar to you even if the names are different. There is one called Polarity which is a lot like Portal and another one called Puddle which reminds me of World of Goo my iPad. There were a some games I did recognize like Final Fantasy III, You Don’t Know Jack and Canabalt. I played a little bit of a couple of games, including Polarity and Puddle and everything seemed to work fine. The reaction time between when I pushed the button on the controller and the movement on the screen was a little slow, but not terrible. If this had been a $500 machine I would have said it was pretty bad, but for $99.00 it is fine. That is the one thing I would tell anyone who buys a Ouya  to remember is that this console only cost you $99.00 and if you compare it to an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 you will be highly disappointed. However if you remember that it is a $99.00 console I think you will have a lot of fun playing the games that are available on it. You may even find some independent games that you really like. Overall despite the few problems, so far I am happy I purchased the Ouya. If you are looking for a gaming console you can play on your TV and it will not break the bank, then the Ouya is worth a look.

Sony Will Fix Your Brick

bigstock-single-red-brick-isolated-on-w-42513223Sony recently released an update to the PlayStation 3 that didn’t work as intended. The software update was version 4.45. Some gamers quickly discovered that it bricked their console.

They reported the problem on the PlayStation Community Forums. Several people said that after they updated to 4.45, their PlayStation 3 wouldn’t go to the screen that would let them play. It was stuck.

They also found that they could not shut down the PlayStation 3 by pressing the power button. Unplugging the console didn’t solve the problem either. It was still stuck after being plugged back in.

If this happened to your PlayStation 3, fear not. Sony is aware of the problem. They are working on fixing your brick. They posted the following information about it on the PlayStation Community Forums:

We have identified the issue related to the PlayStation 3 software update (version 4.45) that impacted a small number of PS3 systems earlier this week. A new PS3 system software update is planned to be released on June 27 that resolves the issue. Thank you for your patience and understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Image: stock photo single red brick isolated on white background by BigStock.