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Thursday, 27 December 2012

An economist looks at James Bond villains scientifically

An economist looks at James Bond villains scientifically

I recently came across an interesting article on the website regarding James Bond villains. They wondered, if the villains killed James Bond when they had the chance and went through with their master plan, would the plan actually have worked?

James Bond laser
He's right there! Just shoot him!

They asked economist Jean-Jacques Dethier, Development Economics Vice-President at the World Bank,to take a look at the villain’s plans and then decide if the plan could have worked or not.

Some the plans had some merits, for example, in the movie Gold Finger, the villain Auric Goldfinger planned to blow up Fort Knox and destroy all the gold there. With all of the United States gold destroyed, the gold owned by Goldfinger would be worth a lot more and the Western world’s economy would be in chaos. Dethier, says that the plan could have worked if the gold was actually held at Fort Knox. Most of the gold owned by the US is held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Woops.

The article goes on to examine more James Bond movies such as Live and Let Die, View to a kill, etc.

It is a very interesting article and puts the James Bond movies in a new perspective.


Monday, 17 December 2012

Game Review: Gun Bros for Xbox

Game Review: Gun Bros for Xbox

 Gun Bros logo
This week I am checking out a great new game that is free on Xbox Live – Gun Bros.
Gun Bros for Xbox
Image: source
The game is free to download and play but it does implement the freememium model. Under the freememium model you can use real world money to buy items in the game.

Action packed - Gun Bros
 Image: source

Gun Bros is a simple top down game. Your Gun Bro stand in the middle of the screen and is rushed from all sides by enemies. Your job is to shoot them before they get to you. The further you advanced the more enemies rush you and will need better hardware to survive. You will have to buy better guns and armor from the store.

This is where the freememium model comes in. There are two types of currency in the game, gold coins and War Bucks. You can earn gold coins by playing the game but War Bucks can only be purchased with real money, and you probably guessed it, the best items can only be bought with War Bucks i.e. real money.

I don’t have a problem with this model, creating games is a business and you have to make money. It is just too bad that Glu, the developers, have gone completely overboard here.

The smallest amount of War Bucks you can buy is 50 which cost R115 ($13)! That is a LOT more than what your average game cost. And now for the punch in the nuts – The worthwhile items cost 500 to 600 War Bucks. There is a gun that cost over 3000 War Bucks!

Who will pay R6000 (+-$700) for an item in a cellphone game?

Sure, you can earn War Bucks by playing online games with friends, but to earn that kind of War Bucks will take ages.

Sorry Glu, I would support you, but this is too much.

Ok, so I am too poor to buy War Bucks, but at least I can still play the game with the normal items. The game is a lot of fun and the wild action makes it addictive.

If you have Xbox on your phone, the game is worth downloading, but I think supporting them by buying in games items is not worth it. Glu simply made the items too expensive.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Play Command & Conquer Online for free

 Play Command & Conquer Online for free

Tiberium Alliance Logo
The classic real time strategy game Command & Conquer has gone online.
The full game is available to play for free on the official website:
Real time strategy games are like chess, if did not have to wait for your opponent to make a move. You must move your pieces as fast as you can else you opponent will overwhelm you.
Command and Conquer battle
Image source: gameplorer
Unlike chess, you can build factories to keep on churning out pawns to send into battle. To build factories and new units to send into battle you will need money. Resource gathering has always been an important part of Command and Conquer.
You have to balance your aspiration to conquer the world with your need for resources. You need to send as many units into battle as possible while keeping some of them back to protect your harvesters and other production units in case your attack fails and the enemy is now coming for you!
All the excitement of Command and Conquer is now available to play online for free. Any web browser that can support html 5 can be used to play the game.
You should be able to play the game if you use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari.
If you are still unsure if your browser will be able to handle the game, you can use this site:, to test your browser’s capabilities.
It is amazing to think that years ago we had to install enormous amounts of data from CDs and DVDs on our computers before we could play Command and Conquer. Now, to play Command and Conquer is as simple as clicking on a link.
Resource gathering in Command and Conquer

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit Movie Poster
Image source.
The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movies were a big success and as a result fans everywhere have been clamouring for years that Peter Jackson (Director of LOTR) should make a movie of the prequel to Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit.
At first it seemed that the movie would never get made. Peter Jackson was embroiled in a legal battle with New Line. The chairman of the movie studio said of the movie: “[not] during my watch”.
Finally in 2007 the studio and Peter Jackson sorted out their shit and the go ahead was given to make three movies based on the book. It was great news for all of us, except for one small thing – As a book, The Hobbit was really short. How on (middle)earth are they going to stretch a thin little book like that out over three movies?
Last night I had the opportunity to see the Hobbit. Excitedly my fiancé and I settled in the cinema and waited for the movie to start.
The movie starts off slowly enough with the first scenes stretched to breaking point. From there it gets dark and the next thing I know, it is the end of the movie. Me AND my fiancé slept through the whole movie.
So that was their plan the whole time. Make the movies impossibly long and boring.
The last scene of the movie that I actually got to see was wall-to-wall action and very impressive but I just don’t think I will able to sit through the whole movie in one sitting, The Hobbit does not translate to three full length movies all the well.
~Spoiler Alert~
When shit is about to get real for Gandalf and the dwarfs, Gandalf calls a bunch of gigantic eagles to sweep down from the skies to pick them up and carry them to safety. So the question - Why does Gandalf not call the eagles at the start of the movie? They could have settled this whole quest of theirs in 5 minutes.

Conspiracy theory alert!

Conspiracy theory alert!

[Archive - article first published on the defunct website]

I have been thinking of a way to sugar coat this, but there is no way so I will come out and say it…there has been rumors that developers like Capcom intentionally create bad artificial intelligence so that you have to play co-op. What does that mean?

There is a conspiracy theory that has been floating around the internet about the new Resident Evil. The theory goes: the artificial intelligence is intentionality bad to force you to play with a partner.

 In the new Resident Evil 5 if you don’t play co-op with a friend you have to partner with the computer controlled Sheva Alomar. The thing about Sheva  – she is suicidal. She would happily ride a conveyor belt into a blazing furnace, walk in front of bullets and while you carefully plan an attack by laying down traps, she will walk right behind you picking them up!

Why would Capcom give you a partner that stupid? This is 2009 surely by now they can give you a partner not as self-destructive as Lindsey Lohan? That’s where the theory comes in.

Sheva annoys you so much that you WANT to play with a friend. That way another person has to buy Resident Evil, and both of you have to pay Microsoft for a Windows Live account to be able to play together. This is the kind of shenanigans you would expect from Microsoft but not Capcom. 

 Searching online I could not really find any evidence that support this. The closest I could find is product reviews that states trying to control Sheva is an awful experience. Posting about this in Capcom’s forums someone remarked that it is “plausible”.

So everyone agrees that she is annoying but no one is sure if this was intentionally done so that you HAVE to play with a friend.

I guess that this theory will keep it’s conspiracy status.

Much ado about something

Much ado about something


 [Archive - old article published on the now out of action website]

Last month woman’s right group in the USA kicked up a racket about a Japanese rape game. In this game the object of the game is to stalk, victimize and rape girls. The game did not break any Japanese laws and the developer of the game, Illusion Software, was “bewildered” that people outside of Japan actively campaigned against the game since the game is only released in Japan.

They stated – “We make the games for the domestic market and abide by laws here. We cannot possibly comment on (the campaign) because we don't sell them overseas”.

However the pressure from the West continued and last week after an emergency meeting it was decided to ban rape related games in Japan. Representatives of various gaming companies decided that it might be best to stop producing these kinds of games.

There was no law created to ban the games, just a sort of gentlemen’s agreement between various companies to stop producing games that focused on rape. This still leaves a lot of loop holes. 

Amateurs can still produce rape simulators or they can produce games that do not focus on rape, but still contains some rape. (like that is better) 

So a victory has been won for human right groups fighting these kinds of games, but the war is not over… 

(There are suggestions at the bottom of the page)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Nice tool for gamers

This is one of the coolest tools I have seen in a while...
Have you ever bought a PC game only to be disappointed to find that it is not compatible with your computer?

Before you buy a game, go to System Requirements Lab.

This site lets you select from a variety of new games and then compare your machine to the minimum requirements for the game. It than tells you if the games will work on your computer or not.

Good news for me, according to Requirements lab Gears of War will work on my PC. BUT, they also seem to think that Assassins Creed will work on my PC, which I know from experience does not.

So some fine tuning on this tool is still necessary.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Review of Xbox for Windows Phone

Review of Xbox for Windows Phone

Previously I checked out the games that you can get for Windows Phone. The picture was bleak with most of the games being ‘so-so’ at best.

Thank goodness for Xbox for Window Phone. The games on Xbox for Windows phone are a step up from the normal phone games. Not only are they of better quality, they integrate into Xbox Live so you can play with friends and unlock achievements that go on to your Xbox Live profile. I am a big achievement hunter so I took to the Xbox games like a duck to water.

There are some nice free Xbox games available so here is a quick overview of the free Xbox games.

Suduko for Windows Phone

Suduko for Xbox


I have never liked playing Suduko on a cellphone. Suduko is something that works better on paper. You can scratch with a pencil, make notes and erase wrong answers.

On the small screen of a cellphone, playing Suduko is hard because you cannot write down the clues you have, which is a crucial part of playing Suduko.

Suduko for Windows Phone changes that. With a very funky interface and the ability to make notes, playing Suduko on Xbox is a great experience.
Suduko game play
To take things up another step, Suduko on Xbox have implemented an Experience Points system. By completing puzzles you receive Experience Points. With enough XP you level up and unlock Special Items. These items can be used solve the harder puzzles.

If you like Suduko, you should definitely get the Xbox version on your phone.


Breeze is a game that works with your cellphone’s movement sensor. It is not a new concept, other phones have had games like this for years, but none the less, it is a fun little game.

You have to navigate a flower drifting on a breeze through a maze without letting the flower touch any of the obstacles.
Breeze is a fun and adictive little game.

Shuffle Party

 Another fun game, Shuffle Party is a mix between the game Fingerboard and bowling. You give a puck a push with your finger and it will slide down a board to the other end.

There are two modes of game play. First game mode is just like bowling; you slide the puck down the lane and see how many pins you can knock down. Beware - highly addictive.

Than there is the trick shot section. The lane is filled with obstacles and the objective is to get the puck around the obstacles and as close as possible to the red zone. The closer to the red zone, the more points you score.

It is a lot of fun but it quickly turns your screen into a smudgy piece of shit.


In a lame attempt to make a game about flowers seem cool and edgy they named the game Flowerz. Flowers / Flowerz, it's still lame.

I played the game for a while when I noticed there is a bug in the game, none of the achievements I unlocked propagated to Xbox Live. To the rest of the world I might as well never have played the game.

That taught me a lesson; I should never have played a game called Flowerz in the first place.

Although Flowerz is stupid, the rest of the free games on Xbox for Windows Phone are entertaining and worth checking out.

Review: Games for Windows Phone

Review – Windows Phone games

[Archive - old article first published on the now defunct]
I recently got one of the new Nokia Lumia phones. One of the things I liked most about the phone was the Xbox Live application.
This week I am diving into the games on Windows marketplace.
The Lumia can get games from two places, the Nokia Ovi Store and the Windows Phone market place.
Under the Windows Phone marketplace you get two types of games – normal games and Xbox branded games that form part of Xbox Live. Playing these Xbox games you can unlock Achievements that will earn you Gamer Score that is attached to your Xbox Gamer Tag.
My interest lies with the Xbox Games since I chase those Achievements really hard.
But first let’s take a quick look at the no name brands in the Windows marketplace (I can’t be bother going to the Ovi store).
While most of the games in the store look solid, there are some real dodgy looking games in there.
Epic indeed.

That's one way of getting around copyright protection.

Beat a super hero.
An unlicensed Marvel game? Marvel might be good at comics, they are better at suing.

Bowling - you are doing it wrong.

No words.
No words.
Like all marketplaces, the Windows marketplace is rife with Tetris, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombie clones. And of course, obligatory Sexy Girl puzzle games. Before you download any of these games, take a look at what they require to access on your phone:
  • data services
  • movement and directional sensor
  • music and video library
  • push notification service
  • owner identity
  • phone identity
Why would they need access to all that personal data? These shitty free games must be selling your data to third parties. These applications that masquerade as free games are after your personal data just like Google and Apple.
Even if these games are free, the price is too steep for me.
The games on Xbox Live are MUCH better and next time I will take a look at them

Saturday, 8 December 2012

[Archive] Review: Cafe Solitaire

Game Review: Cafe Solitaire


[Archive - old article reviewing a Nokia N-Gage game]
Who here have not secretly play Solitaire on the computer while at school or work? I know I have. Vegas mode; Cumulative Score. If I lose as much money in real life as I lost in Solitaire, I would be living in a box under a bridge right now. I played Solitaire so many times, that I am sick of solitaire and never want to see it again.

I did not think anybody wanted to play solitaire ever again but Digital Chocolate did. In Digital Chocolate’s Café Solitaire the idea is not to play Solitaire in solitary confinement. You join your friends in an online café. In the café you can display your trophies you have won, change the clothes of your character and answer questions about your friends.

Most import of all – accumulate points with your friends. Every time you play solitaire you score a certain amount of points. This all adds up and when your points reach a certain threshold, your café is upgraded to the next level. So there is the nice team work element.

There is about eight, nine or ten different solitaire games you can play. Can’t remember how many right now and can’t be bothered to go find out.

Some of them are easier than others. Some like Beleaguered Castle are so hard you will be bashing your head against the wall in frustration. But if you keep trying you will eventually be able to finish them all.

Speaking of finishing them all. There is a bug in the game. You can’t get the full 1000 N-Gage Points (NGP). Taking a look at online forums all over reveals a bunch of frustrated players stuck on 980 NGP. This really, really sucks because in N-Gage the entire point of playing the games is unlocking the full 1000 NGP.

Is it really so much to ask that you test your fucking game before you release into the wild Digital Chocolate? Next time you want to release something and your not sure its working, send it to me. I will test it, free of charge. Ok, for a small (big) fee.

Anyways, if you don’t mind only joining the 980 NGP club than this game is definitely worth checking out. It’s a great way to kill time and very challenging.


Review: Civilization Revolution for Windows Phone 7

Review: Civilization Revolution for Windows Phone 7

I started playing Civilization back in the day when the game could fit on a stiffy or two. In other words, the game was not bigger then 5 meg!  
As time went on. sequels to the game expanded in size and scope until you would need a thousand or more stiffies to accommodate the game.
Recently though, the game was shrunk back to 5 meg so that it would comfortably fit on you mobile phone. Civilization Revolution for Windows Phone 7 has been released on Xbox  recently and I decided to take a look since I am a long time fan. 

Game play

The goal of Civilization is to take you tribe of savages in year 4000 BC, build big cities, raise armies and learn new technologies up to the point where you start exploring space and colonizing new planets.
You start of with a small town of your own, and then much like chess, each player on the board gets an opportunity to move. Instead of moving pawns and bishops, you move infantry, tanks, battleships and bomber aeroplanes. You must also build buildings in your cities, develop new technologies and explore new territories to colonize.
You move your military and select what buildings should be built in which cities. After you made your selection the other nations get to move their military units and build their buildings.
Another crucial point where Civilization (CIV) differs from chess is the different ways in which you can win the game. Chess you have limited ways. In Civ you can either go for a brutal victory  by wiping out all nations on the planet using your military or you can go for more sophisticated victories like the economic victory, cultural victory or technological victory. 


The achievements for the game has not been thought through at all. To unlock the achievements, all you have to do is play the game with each nation on the easiest setting and soon you will unlock them all.
They could have made the achievements more diverse by handing out achievements for completing the game at different difficulty levels or by achieveing victory by the different victory methods. 


Although the achievements are not challenging at all, Civilization will keep you busy for a while as you try to become the ultimate leader the world has ever seen.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Real-life Transformer Robot

Real-life Transformer Robot

This 1/12 scale real-life Transformer robot by Japanese designers Brave Robotics is for sale and you can pick it up for only $24,000! It really works but it still looks a bit wonky.
Even though it still looks like a toddler first finding it's feet, it is not hard to imagine them getting better and better at it and that one day we will have life-size models that will follow us around. Hopefully can program them to pick up dog poop so I don't have too anymore.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Friday Time Waster

Friday Time Waster

It is Friday and as soon as your d@mn boss leaves you can stop predending to work and mess around on the Internet.
Here is a little something to help you waste time - Terry Tate Office Linebacker.
Originally, Reebok produced just one of these adverts for the Super bowl but after the runaway success of the first one, they (thankfully) made some more.
See Terry ‘bring the pain’. It is a thing of beauty.

In the second episode things heat up as Terry get some competition.
After all that hard work, Terry deserves a holiday. 
In need of more Terry Tate? Open YouTube and do a quick search, you will find many more videos there.
 I will now leave you with this quote from Terry Tate: 
"I don't have time for pain. The only pain I have time for is the pain I put on fools who don't know what time it is."