Somone Has Built A Life Size AT-ST – Cockpit And All

If you’ve ever seen Star Wars, the sight of the AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) is probably a familiar one. With it famously being destroyed by the cute little Ewoks and their wooden traps, they had to do something with the spares and leftovers didn’t they? Well, it would seem someone has taken the initiative and built a life-size AT-ST.

The Imgur user who “discovered the AT-ST” calls himself the “Kuat”, a planet known for its starship creation in the Star Wars universe. With the original engineer seeming to have gone to great depths in recalling its detail you can see just from the outside image the scale and size of the model.

With so much detail going into the outside design, you can only expect the same on the inside, and that expectation is not disappointed when you explore within the head of the life-size AT-ST.

If you can’t believe your eyes then check out the video showing the AT-st with functional turrets (sorry no lasers, just moving parts) and closing “eyelids” to protect the pilots as they conquer the galaxy. Just looking at these images makes me want to pick up my lightsaber and conquer/save the galaxy, a dream that was only recently reawakened by the latest film, The Force Awakens, set for release on Blu-Ray and DVD April 18th.

EDIT: Re-added the video after it was found to be missing.

 

QNAP’s HD Station Just Got Better With JRiver Media Center Support

QNAP continues to improve the experience for their customers and the newest incentive is an upgrade to the HybdridDesk Station 3.0 app that now comes with integrated support for the renowned JRiver Media Center and thereby provides even more options and choices for the users when it comes to their media experience.

The HybridDesk Station, for those who don’t already know it, is a combination of technologies that allows you to use your NAS unit as a PC by simply attaching a keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor to it. Among others, it uses multimedia transcoding, Virtual Machine (VM) integration, cloud integration, NAS connection technologies, and more.

JRiver Media Center is perfect to manage a large library of media files and even multiple media servers within the same network. The media center features cover art and metadata art to make the management easier and users can use the powerful media player for flawless direct-streaming of every multimedia format as well as multi-zone multimedia streaming.

JRiver Media Center doesn’t just stream video, you can also use it to record directly with yourself. It also covers music and files besides the motion picture features. It has functions such as equalizer, tempo, pitch, and sample rate available to satisfy audiophiles’ tastes too.

The HD Station 3.0 is supported by QNAP’s TS-x51, TS-x51+, HS-251/251+, TS-x53 Pro, TVS-x63, TVS-x71, TVS-871T, TS/TVS-x80, TS-x70 and TS-x79 series with QTS 4.2.0 or above firmware.

The Crystal Maze is Coming Back!

Do you remember back to when times were good? No impending doom or missile attacks or bomb threats, just sat down around a TV and watching a random group of people humiliate themselves while you sit at home and gloat that you could have done it better. Yes, I am talking about that old gem (pun intended) that is The Crystal Maze. I used to sit at home on a Sunday afternoon watching re-runs while removing the similar fake crystal curtain pole ends to pretend with.

The show was all about conquering the crystal maze with as many crystals (and contestants) as possible. The more crystals equalled more time and more people meant a higher chance of catching golden tickets in the final round. To get to the final round, a small team had to take on multiple challenges based in four different sections of “The Crystal Maze”. Each section would be similar to the others, but with a dissimilar theme; including Industrial, Aztec, Futuristic and Medieval.

The show finally came to and end in 1995 when the show wasn’t renewed for further seasons and the set remained unused and finally dismantled in 1999. That’s until some die hard fans took it upon themselves to start an IndieGoGo campaign to bring the show back to life. The trio launched the campaign in hopes to get just £500,000, but the public saw this and donated a huge £933,000 to make sure this happens.

Why such a big threshold? Well it’s not for a TV show, this time you can purchase a £50 ticket and run amock in the authentic remade set with Richard O’Brien narrating in certain spots and he may even be your host. It is being rebuilt in a secret part of London which is “easily accessible” according to the FAQ, let’s hope it doesn’t stay secret for much longer.

This is probably something a portion of our readers won’t actually know what we’re on about with this, so for those who are interested here is a video of the first episode, enjoy!

https://youtu.be/TrDUdOgpNsI

Amazon Fire Can Talk to Your Home and Listen to You

It would seem Amazon keep expanding on their technology, from the Kindle to the Echo, they produce more and more technologies that we now feel we need, that we never even considered before. The next one has a simple and nice name, Alexa, and she’s looking forward to helping you get your house straight.

Alexa is available on Amazon Fire devices running version 5 (and Fire TV Sticks running Fire OS 5.0.3) and higher. Alexa is a system designed to allow you to voice control your connected home systems.

From playing your prime music stations to playing your music collection, even your audible books. You can even re-order items, so remember that pet food and supplements you order? Why not re-order more in a single sentence?

You can even use Alexa to create your shopping lists, check your calendar or toggle your home devices.

Imagine sitting down to watch a movie and realising the lights are a little too bright, one sentence later the lights have dimmed to that of a cinema and with another sentence, your movie begins and you enjoy your popcorn in comfort having never left your seat.

At £79.99 for the TV box or £34.99 for the Fire TV Stick, you could soon be streaming all your favourite videos and streaming services without ever having to leave your chair. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Rogue Android App’s Nearly Impossible to Remove

I hate it when someone comes to me with a problem on their phone, “oh my phone is going slow”, “I can’t get on the internet” or something un-uniquely as annoying. The source? Normally full of random games or the odd easily removed malware app. It now turns out that those malware apps could actually turn out to be phone destroyers.

The newest strain of Android orientated malware applications are becoming some of the most unyielding to the usual rounds of anti-virus/ malware tools and require more physical measures such as seeking out professional help or completely replacing the device itself.

Cybersecurity firm Lookout has researched into the subject and revealed more than twenty thousand (20,000) of the world’s most popular app’s such as Candy Crush have been plagiarised to carry the malware. There is no warning of the malware being installed, nor will the owner know it’s there until it’s too late.

“Malicious actors behind these families repackage and inject malicious code into thousands of popular applications found in Google Play, and then later publish them to third-party app stores. Indeed, we believe many of these apps are actually fully-functional, providing their usual services, in addition to the malicious code that roots the device.” – Lookout blog

The largest source is from websites and lesser known App Stores that require you to install from unknown sources.

Personally, I have installed a few app’s that have required you to install from unknown sources that are completely legitimate, mainly popular bingo app’s that do not have an official Google Play entry. If you are unsure of the authenticity of the app you are downloading, avoid and download from registered and monitored sources.

Want to keep yourself safe? Check out these Free Google Play Anti-Malware apps.

Malwarebytes, Avast Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, and many more here.

Ransomware Locks Your Android Phone Pin And Asks For Cash

Ransomware is akin to the booming stock market of yesteryear for hackers, the notion of locking an individual’s infected device is a powerful reality for today’s modern day connected gadgets. As such it can be no surprise that a new technique has surfaced which implements a free app on third-party app stores which changes the device’s locking PIN and then asks for $500 as a kind of screw you post it.

Technique of this ransomware.

Let’s take a look at the details; it may take a while so make yourself comfortable. Security firm ESET has detected this threat as a Android/Lockerpin.A, users have no effective way of regaining access to their device without root privileges or without some other form of security management solution installed, apart from a factory reset, but this would delete all data as a consequence.

After successful installation, this type of malware attempts to obtain user admin privileges by attempting to trick users, it does this by overlaying the activation window with the Trojan’s malicious window which pretends to be an “Update patch installation”. As the user clicks through this innocuous-looking installation they also unknowingly activate the Device Administrator privileges in the hidden underlying window.

This is lethal considering the moment you click “continue” within the installation activation window, your device has fallen victim, the Trojan app has now obtained Administrator rights and has silently locked your device by setting a new PIN for the lock screen. Not long after this has happened, the user will be prompted to pay a $500 dollar ransom for allegedly viewing and harbouring forbidden pornographic material, below is a screenshot of this warning notice.

The device is then locked after the warning screen is displayed within the standard Android lock screen. The new PIN is generated randomly and not sent to the attacker. The only practical way to unlock is to reset to factory defaults.

Lockpin’s self defence mechanism part 2.

Not only does this type of ransomeware acquire device admin privileges it also stops users from attempting to deactivate Device Admin for the malware, they will fail because the Trojan will have registered a call-back function to reactivate the privileges when removal is attempted.

There’s more, this locker also attempts to kill running AV processes when the user tries to deactivate its Device Admin rights. The Trojan tries to protect itself from three mobile anti-virus applications which include ESET, Avast and Dr Web as well as the com.android.settings which prevents standard uninstallation through the application manager.

ESET state that its own self-protection mechanisms will prevent the malware from removing this vendor’s AV. Software.

Distribution of this malware

This Ransomware pretends to be an app for viewing adult/porn videos. In all cases, the application calls itself “Porn Droid”, giggity. 75% of so far infected devices have originated from the US; this is because malware coders are attempting to attack citizens of the US with the aim of collecting bigger payouts.

Unlocking the device

The only way to unlock your device without implementing a factory reset is to root your device; the user can connect to the device by ADB and remove the file where the PIN is stored. For this to work, the device needs to have debugging enabled otherwise it’s not possible (Settings -> Developer options -> USB Debugging) before using the commands

> adb shell
> su
> rm /data/system/password.key

The only crumb of comfort is that you cannot download this malicious app from the official Google Play Store, ESET recommends keeping your mobile AV software up to date if you have one. If not, be careful what you download, if you stick to official routes and be cautious of both unknown and suspicious apps which purport to be too good to be true. Back up any sensitive data and always update legitimate software, tech is becoming more advanced and so are the attackers.

Thank you eset for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of xperiaseries

Tumblr TV Is the Latest GIF Video Player on the Web

Tumblr just added a GIF search engine earlier this month and it now launched yet another GIF dedicated feature, namely Tumblr TV. From the looks of it, the feature aims to be a 9GAG.tv service, but for GIFs.

Unlike its GIF search engine, users don’t have to be logged into Tumblr to use the feature. Users will see that the player automatically starts in full-screen mode, but it’s not that great since GIFs tend to have a low resolution.

The feature is called ‘TV’ because it lets users pause, play and navigate to the previous and next GIF. With it, Tumblr says it wants to give users more ways of fiddling with its GIF feature. However, the social media platform doesn’t have integrated sharing options, which means that GIFs cannot be shared on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.

It’s a shame to see Tumblr miss out on further promoting its service through third-party sharing features, but Tumblr hopes this will attract more users to one of its popular ‘exclusive’ features, namely GIFs. The feature is now available on the web, but Tumblr hopes to bring it on the mobile version soon as well. You can view the feature and what it has to offer by clicking the following link.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Tumblr

The Strong National Museum of Play Just Named Its First Video Game Titles

Have you ever heard of The Strong National Museum of Play from Rochester, New York? Well, if you haven’t, then you should know it now houses its first six games in the new World Video Game Hall of Fame. It’s really exciting to see that we now have a museum with a Hall of Fame just for games.

The committee, made of journalists, scholars and game historians, have named the first six games to be Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, Tetris, Doom, and World of Warcraft. Fifteen candidate games have been considered out of thousands of public nominations, but in the end, the six were chosen for their “influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general”.

“There were some very deserving games that did not make it this year,” he said. “There was a high level of competition with the first class, as one can imagine.”

But it’s not all that bad. While some games have been omitted this year, they may eventually end up in the collection next year. The Legend of Zelda, Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog are still great games and deserve to be along the six nominated titles too, don’t you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BirdAir

Steam Is Now Able to Give You Refunds for Your Digital Purchases

I know you had at least one game that you didn’t like playing after you bought it or is just simply full of bugs and glitches. Valve surprisingly started to understand the frustrations and is now offering refunds for any Steam purchases. But you want to know the best part? Well, you can get a refund for almost any given reason!

Of course, this does not mean you will be able to abuse the system, but it does really seem like a nice way of not having any regrets for buying a crap game. You can now just ask for your money back. However, there are certain conditions, but they don’t seem too much from my point of view.

Valve said that you can receive refunds within 14 days of purchasing a game which you did not play for more than 2 hours. This of course makes sense since you can’t really say you haven’t enjoyed a game you played for 24 hours straight after you bought it. But this also does not mean you can ask for refunds over and over again.

Also, if you pre-ordered a game months before it gets a release, don’t worry. Valve said it will apply the 14 days and 2 hours game time conditions after the title is released, not from the moment you pre-ordered it. The company has more details about how its refund system works over here.

Nvidia Shield Now Available for TV

Nvidia released a new blog post today in regards to a new Nvidia Shield. “The battle for the living room has begun.”

Nvidia posted:

“For more than 80 years, TVs have been played at you. You watched what others chose to show you when they wanted to show it to you.

Now it’s time for you to play TV. Nvidia Shield lets you play what you want when you want it. Dive into movies, TV shows, music, a world of apps and, of course, games through SHIELD — the most powerful smart TV platform ever built.”

Nvidia have come up with a new system that gets all your content and keeps it in one place, no more individual boxes for services.Nvidia state that the content is already available, services such as Netflix, Youtube and Twitch are already thriving on smartphones and PC’s.

“On-demand content is the first killer app. While the number of traditional pay TV users has been flat for years, Netflix has 57 million subscribers, more than double Comcast’s 22 million. Twitch.tv, which broadcasts live streams of video games, now reaches more than 100 million unique users each month. Apps like Tablo now let you watch — and record — broadcast and cable television from any connected device in your home. “

“This new generation of connected apps will make possible capabilities that TV fans have dreamed of for years. Apps like Netflix connect to cloud-based servers to serve up content you’ll want to watch, delivering on the promise of personalized content. Hungry for barbecue? Apps will connect you to the same click-for-delivery convenience you’re already enjoying on your tablet.”

Nvidia state that the new Shield will feature the Tegra X1 processor, which has a whopping 256 cores! The device launched today in the US and Canada in two versions. The Shield (available for $199) and The Shield Pro (available for $299) which comes with a 500GB hard drive and bundled with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. You can also get a remote control with voice search for $49, a stand for $29 and additional controllers for $59 each. Also for a limited time you will get $60 of free Google Play credit.

You can see the trailer here:

Thank you to Nvidia for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Outlook for Android Now Ready for the Real World

After releasing 17 updates since its original launch, the Microsoft application has now had the preview title removed from the Play store. The team at Microsoft have had high expectations for Outlook, and whilst enhancing the apps performance and removing bugs they named the app as a Preview.

The application brings some new and welcomed features that make it a lot different from the standard mail client on your Android. The app features IMAP support, a revised people section, directory searching, swipe gestures and much more; the majority of the new features and changes have been requested by the end users.

“We’ve continued to polish the look and feel of the app. We updated our icon sets and simplified our fonts to provide a more consistent Outlook experience across operating systems and devices. But it was also important for Outlook to feel like a natural part of Android. We use common Android design principles like the Navigation Drawer to house the multiple tools offered in the app and have common actions like settings available in the App Overflow menu,” Microsoft explains.

The Application is available to Android users running version 4.0 and higher. The latest version of the app is 1.1.9 and is available to download here

Thank you Winbeta for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of winsupersite

Play Pacman on the Virtual Streets of Google Maps

Google starts out with April’s fools jokes early, well at least for us here in the Europe area. But it’s already the 1st in some places and Google started out with a cryptic tweet. Dots and fruits, this can only be Pacman.

And yes it is, and yes you can play Pacman in Google Maps for the time being. All you have to do is visit Maps on the web and click on the little Pacman icon at the bottom-left of the screen. Not all areas are suitable for the gaming environment and Maps will let you select a new area or chose one by random with the “I’m feeling lucky” algorithm. Then it will use the road grid to draw the level to play on.

You control your yellow hero with the keyboard, so off you go, go chase those ghosts around your local streets.

Thanks to TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

This Guy Plays the Skyrim Theme on 24 Wine Glasses… And a Water Jug!

Three years have passed since The Elder Scrolls Skyrim got released, but that will never stop fans from constantly finding uncommon ways of showing their love for the title. The latest involves a guy playing the title’s theme on 24 wine glasses and a water jug. The video can be viewed below.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Keep Your Camera Safe – Where is it Likely to be Stolen?

There’s an application called Lenstag, it allows for users to register their stolen photographic equipment in aid of the recovery of said items. According to their latest report, the top three places to have your prized possessions stolen include: your car, burglary of your home or theft on public transport.

Lenstag is designed to help people share their stories of stolen equipment around the globe, allowing people to look out for photographic sales on websites like eBay and report their whereabouts. They’ve been recording all of their data since their inception earlier this year and have produced the following pie chart explaining what they’ve discovered. Alongside this information, they’ve also discovered that throughout their 2013 data, the most likely to be stolen items are your Nikon D700, Canon EOS 60D or Canon EOS 7D. The above graph shows that the three main methods of stealing make up for around 60% of the total market – warning users to keep their cameras and accessories out of sight and ouch of reach of prying thieves.

They’ve listed their findings on exactly what country your items are likely to be stolen in and what models have been reported missing throughout each major brand – alongside some alternative accessories like action cameras and laptops used to editing.

So given this information, if you own a Nikon D700 and an Apple MacBook 15.4″, transporting them around constantly it your old automobile without much security, it may be time to invest in a pet German Shepard dog. As you can see above, Lenstag can be downloaded for free across Android and iOS devices – it provides you with a somewhat higher chance of getting your items back, but we urge that you make them as safe as possible in the first place.

Images courtesy of Chiphell and Lifehacker

Exams are boring – Play Smash Bros. on your Calculator

As many University and High School students are gearing up for their exams, we’re here to provide you with an alternative relaxation technique other thank copious amounts of alcohol.

A modder names “Hayleia” has released a Smash Brothers edition, playable on your standard TI-83 or TI-84 calculator. Said to be in the pipeline for quite some time, this project was first released by TinyCartridge – announcing that it’s free-to-play and supports only Falco and Fox at this stage. Being released as open source software, Hayleia has called out for help from the developer community in finishing off this glorious ‘demake’ – hoping to include more characters and possibly level remakes into this edition. Next Friday, the new Super Smash Bros. will be available for the WiiU, why not play this while you wait?!

So, next time you’re in an exam and are looking for a way to curb those pre-essay jitters. Why not partake in a little beat ’em up?

Gif courtesy of Kotaku
Cover image courtesy of What Culture

Hackers Want to Make You Play ‘Doom’… on an ATM!

Normally when you hear about hackers and ATMs, you think of someone attempting to steal your credit card details or make the machine spit-out some bills. This time however, it is more fun than drama, since you can get to see how a game can be played on an ordinary ATM.

An Australian hacker named Ed Jones, who also goes by the name of Aussie50, has posted a YouTube video which shows how he is kicking off in ‘Doom’ on the ATM machine. He is stated to give some credit to his partner, Julian, who is said to have sorted out “the software, wiring and logic side”.

There are a lot of questions surrounding the achievement, such as where did he acquire the actual ATM from or, most commonly, will we able to play games on ATMs in the future. Nobody has those answers at present, but the real question is: Does it matter? No, mainly due to the fact that you don’t get to see this everyday. I mean, who doesn’t want to play Doom on an ATM?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW5ELKTivbE[/youtube]

There have been discussions on Ed’s YouTube channel about turning the PIN pad into a controller and using the side panel to select weapons, while also discussing about making the receipt printer into a high-score note to keep after you finish your game session.

When talking about modern games, such as Minecraft for example, Ed pointed out that it is physically impossible to get them running on ATMs, mainly due to the fact that it lacks the performance needed to run them. While he can ‘upgrade’ his customized ATM if he wanted to, that would mean he would have to change about every OEM component found in the ATM.

“I could upgrade the hell out of it and play modern games, but that defeats the purpose of using all of its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) hardware with minimal modification. It lacks a PCI-E slot, so a subtle video card and RAM upgrade is not possible,” Ed stated.

Ed is stated to be thinking of introducing a coin mech below the card reader, which wouldn’t be such a bad idea. A ‘re-invention’ like this could make old games such as Doom popular again and accessible almost everywhere. Julian and Ed are not at their first wacky invention yet. They have been stated to have made Doom available previously on a LED billboard.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxIGuMif1Nk&list=UUlSOZJ7swsJqRadXieu1nlQ[/youtube]

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Big Discounts on Apps and Games With Google Play Summer Sale

The Steam Summer Sale has long gone and while I’m sure plenty of you grabbed a few bargains to keep you busy for at least another year, there is no harm in grabbing a few extra deals to keep your busy on your phone when you’re out and about.

The Google Play Summer Sale is now here and it’s offering up some reasonable discounts on freemium in-app purchases, and some great discounts on premium games. With Two Final Fantasy games, Worms 3 and Little Big Adventure being great choices for those who want some great games for less. There are a few premium apps too, although for me personally, I don’t see anything interesting there, but perhaps you will.

Freemium games: in-app purchase sales

Premium games

Premium apps

It’s unknown how long the deals are available for, so if you want them at this price you best be quick. Hopefully the deals will last a while or at least have no items added over the next few days.

Thank you Android Authority for providing us with this information.

Timberman Becomes The Latest Alternative To Flappy Bird

We all know how popular Flappy Bird was when it hit the App store and Google Play earlier in the year and since its creator pulled it from both stores, users have been begging for its return so that they can fulfil their flappy cravings. The wait for an alternative is not over as a new game known as Timberman has chopped its way to the top of the download charts.

As simple as Flappy Bird was, Timberman is a simple, yet addictive game where you have to chop down trees whilst avoiding branches by tapping on either side of the tree to get as many blocks of wood out as you can; as seen below.

As popular and frustrating as this drop dead simple game is, it has actually been rocking around on the App Store for a good couple of months now, but like many games that sit at the top of the charts, it sometimes takes a bit of time before a game gets recognised and goes viral. In the case of Timberman, this surge in downloads came to be after the games was featured as an Editors Choice by Apple. Not surprisingly, the acknowledgement has sent the downloads rocketing and out of the 2.5 million downloads that have been made, nearly half of these have been done over the last three days.

Addictive or not I’m not one for mobile game downloads, but I’m sure that a number of you readers will be wanting to join the craze, so here’s the links for the App Store and Google Play. Fancy more? a golden version is also available to download for 69p /99 cents.

Source: News for Shoppers 

Freemium Apps Said to Generate 98% of Google Play’s Revenue in May

A study performed by App Annie is said to have revealed in a report that Google Play’s revenue in May was not made from paid applications. With over 1.5 million apps from the store platform, it appears that 98% of the revenue was generated from freemium applications.

The freemium applications, which are ‘free’ to download and play, but also provide ‘premium’ content which users can buy with real money, have proven to be the ‘gold mine’ for Google’s store platform. However, the reports also show that the majority of downloads from the store registered in May also indicated a decrease in freemium apps and an increase in free (no strings attached) applications.

App Annie apparently did not state the revenue spike from freemium apps in the given months, however downloads from previous months followed by content purchase later on might explain it since 90% of the revenue during the first quarter reportedly came from games.

The use of premium content inside games has been criticised for some time now, having gamers with more money be given an advantage over gamers who do not wish to invest in such applications. Nevertheless, data gathered by App Annie shows that while the jury decides whether or not freemium apps are unethical or not, the apps are currently deemed as commercially successful.

The study shows that the average application downloaded from Google Play earns roughly $1,150, while Apple’s App Store brings a figure of $4,000, followed by Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store bringing in only $625. Though there is a considerable gap between Apple and Google’s earnings, it is said that Google is quickly gaining some ground in markets from Asia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable

Australians Gain the Ability to Watch Game of Thrones Through Google

Aussies rejoice! If you’re one of the seemingly few that wish to support your content creators to the fullest, Google is now offering streaming of Game of Thrones through their Google Play service.

Too good to be true? There’s a catch. As the season 4 finale has already aired and Google Play is late to the chase – only releasing the latest episode today. If this will be the same for future seasons or a once off, we don’t know for sure.

The pricing is reasonable however. Standard definition episodes air at $2.99 a piece (or $29.99 for a season), with the High definition option coming in at $3.49 each (and $34.99 per season), meaning this is a rather good alternative to Foxtel users who don’t watch much else.

What makes this Google move more intriguing is Foxtel’s apparent broadcast exclusivity – which I’m sure some users would have not purchased if they were aware of Google’s intentions previously.

All in all this is an interesting move by Google and we’re looking forward to see if the numbers stack up in the future.

To catch your own subscription, head to the Google Play Website.

Image courtesy of Pagesay

Nintendo Cut Online Gameplay From Wii and DS Systems

Online gameplay through the Wii and DS consoles has been a big part of the entertainment world, particularly with games such as Mario Kart and Wii Sports, however Nintendo as of yesterday have cut the functionality to play games online, leaving users only the ability to play games in offline mode.

Connection to the internet is still available, so services such as iPlayer, the Internet Channel, the Weather channel and so on is not affected at this time and Nintendo have also made it clear that Wii U and 3DS games are not affected.

Why this change has been made is not yet clear, although I suspect that the closure has been made in a bid to push users towards purchasing the Wii U console and the subsequent games in order to keep the online functionality.  In addition a full list of the games affected has been made, and this can be found over on Nintendo’s website here; affected games.

Although the Wii is not at the forefront of console gaming, it is very popular with social game play in the likes of Mario Kart and Wii Sports and what effect this has on the gaming community is yet to be determined.

Source: Nintendo

Image courtesy of IGN

Valve Adds Native Music Player in Steam Music, To Be Available in Big Picture Soon

SteamOS has not been so user-friendly of late, not to mention the major flaws it has. From not being bootable on DVD, to nuking hard drives clearly mentioned with the ‘install at your own risk’ warning, it did not look so amazing, not to mention worthy of giving it a try.

A recent announcement states that Valve added Steam Music features in the operating system, which basically searches for your music content on the hard drive and lets you play it inside the Steam interface. It is said that there is also a version in Steam’s Big Picture Mode as well to give it a try if you are too afraid of installing the SteamOS.

According to Valve, randomly picked beta participants will soon get early access to the Steam Music player. The company also confirms that a desktop version of the player is ‘en route’ as well. There is no news about implementing any multimedia offerings such as the ability to buy songs, manage and integrate online accounts such as Google Play, or other features you see on modern music players nowadays.

It may not look much at first, but keep in mind that it is still a beta version, and as Valve states on their intro page, the next steps in the Steam Player evolution will be mainly decided by the early beta feedbacks given.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

AOC Q2963PM 29″ UWHD AH-IPS Monitor Review

Introduction


Over the last few years, we have been [in general] demanding higher and higher resolutions from our monitors, and before we even think about using a multi-screen setup – the most common resolution of choice has to be 1920×1080. Over the last year or so, we have been seeing a slow transition over to the 2560×1600 bandwagon as some users opt for bigger 27″+ panels. The problem with these through is that the cost is far greater than a 1920×1080 panel so having a pair of 22″ or 24″ panels is not uncommon – it gives a balance between the desktop space and cost that many people look for.

In a bid to give users the best option of desktop space and display aspect ratio, the 2560×1080 resolution has slowly been cropping up within the market place and in effect it is an ideal alternative for anyone that is looking at a dual 1920×1080 screen setup. The super-wide aspect of this 29″ monitor gives a single desktop space to work within, however when we move over to the gaming side of things, the extra pixels allow for a wider peripheral vision without the distraction of a bezel right in the middle of your view.

AOC’s super-wide monitor is just one of the few to now offer the new resolution, but it doesn’t just give more pixels; it also has one of the best panels on the market to show the image as well. The AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In Plane Switching) panel that AOC have chosen produces a mixture of supreme colour accuracy, high pixel density and a high level of brightness, oh and let’s not forget that it has a superb viewing angle as well. All the ingredients are there for certain, but does having a 21:9 aspect monitor really make that much of a difference?

Before we even get a chance to delve inside the box, AOC are keen to show off the screens super-wide aspect ratio and its ability to house multiple windows with ease. The blue box also has a row of the panels highlighted features laid out along the lower edge with a front and back view of the monitor found to the right.

Taking everything out of the box, we find the monitor in two parts and alongside a two-part DC power adaptor we also have a VGA display cable, HDMI cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, a cable tie, rubber feet and a CD containing a set of display drivers and AOC’s accompanying software for this panel.

Arma Tactics THD Released For NVIDIA Tegra-Powered Devices

Bohemia Interactive have announced the release of the turn-based, close-combat strategy game Arma Tactics THD exclusively for NVIDIA Tegra-powered devices.

Arma Tactics THD takes the best from the popular strategy genre and goes mobile. The finest assets used in the critically acclaimed Arma series on PC now come to life on the Android mobile platform, in one of the best looking mobile games to date.

Arma Tactics THD is a turn-based close-combat strategy game, where the player takes control of a four-member Special Forces team. There are no given strategies, rails to move on, or paths to follow; it‘s up to the player to decide how he will play through both the story-driven missions and generated missions with randomized objectives. Whether using stealth or a more direct approach, players will need to use their strategic thinking and use both basic and advanced weaponry while facing many different opponents – ranging from unorganized local militia to smart and skilled mercenaries.

With highly re-playable missions, weapons to unlock and whole campaigns to be regularly added, Arma Tactics THD offers many hours of intense ever-changing action.

  • Explore highly detailed battlefield environments that come to life with sophisticated particle systems and post-process effects
  • See your men come to life with realistic animations captured by a powerful motion-capture solution
  • Lead them through a thrilling single player campaign or improve your skills in generated missions
  • Gather experience points to level up your characters, upgrade weapons and unlock special equipment
  • Choose your difficulty – we make sure the game is fun to play for both casual players and hardcore gamers
  • Take part in challenging special game modes
  • Play as you like – by touching your screen or by using gamepad controls

In June, gamers will be able to take Arma Tactics THD anywhere with NVIDIA SHIELD, an open source gaming portable designed for gamers who yearn to play when, where, and how they want.
Arma Tactics THD is featured in TegraZone – NVIDIA’s free app that showcases the best games optimized for the Tegra processor – and available on Google Play for $4.99.

Thank you Bohemia Interactive for providing us with this information.

Google Play Game Services Officially Detailed

This week we brought you news that Google were looking to setup a new, unified gaming experience on Android and that is exactly what they’ve delivered on today! Bringing with this new software update will be systems for multiplayer, leaderboards, cloud saves and achievements to name but a few, making the popular mobile platform just as competent in terms of features as that offered by Steam, XBL and PSN.

Google Play Game Services is a big game changer for Google, quite literally and not only will it allow for a much more pleasant and involving gaming experience on the Android OS but it will also bridge your experience and accounts across multiple devices and even platforms.

The biggest change will be the inclusion of real-time multiplayer, with the addition of leaderboards, cloud saves and achievements helping to bring the Android gaming platform up to speed with gamers demands, something that will no doubt go down very well with Android game developers.

This is all done through Google+ and while I know that the service may not have replaced Facebook, it does work a charm with integrating your Google services and this could be the glue that Google has been looking for to bring Google+ and consumers back together again.

Developers already have the service available to them, so expect the new features to roll out very shortly and extensively throughout the Android gaming store.

Source

Free To Play, In The Wrong?

Many games these days offer a wide range of things to buy over the internet, be it a quirky little add-on or even a mini expansion (EA’s Mass Effect Series for example). Recently the number of ‘Free To Play’ games has dramatically increased with games such as Star Wars, RIFT and many others offering a much better ‘Free To Play’ option to consumers, which allow you some, if not all aspects of the game for you to play without spending anymore than you did in getting the actual game, which was free of course.

This being said, it seems that the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has written to companies offering free web or app-based games, seeking information on in-game marketing to children. This is merely the first step in an ongoing investigation that could prove to be a waste or time, but it could also change the way Free To Play games are made, marketed and sold in general.

Personally, I think this whole thing revolves around a few kids getting a bit ‘over the top’ with their daddy’s credit card and parents are screaming ‘foul play’. If you are stupid enough to leave your card details within “point, click and bought” distance of your child you kind of deserve to be screwed out of money.

However, one might question if this would put games such as League of Legends, which is famous for its Micro-transaction deals, into the crosshairs as they too say they are “Free To Play”.

Source: CVG

Saints Row III PC Review

Some of our readers may have noticed that the weekly game review has been missing these last few weeks, I’ve finally found not only the time to return to writing them but the time I need to play the games. There has also been a slight shortage of games to pick and play so this week I figured I would visit one of the games that I got included in the THQ Humble Bundle deal from a few weeks back.

Saints Row III isn’t exactly a new game yet it’s one that I have long over looked for a mixture of financial reasons and the fact that I have a stack of un-played and incomplete games that is starting to get a little too big for words.  Either way I finally got around to not only buying this game but also putting in the time required to complete it, so have I been missing out or was I right to avoid the streets of Still Water for so long?

Well as many of you will know THQ has really gone the way of the dinosaurs and is no longer with us, but for its time they did put out some truly fantastic games, so too did the developers behind Saints Row III, Volition, Inc. who are well known for their work on Summoner, the first Saints Row game and the Red Faction series. For those of you who care about such things, Volation have been acquired by Koch Media (Dead Island, ArmA).