World of Tanks Blitz | I Played That

Game Profile: World of Tanks Blitz

  • Genre: Slow Motion Multiplayer Team Deathmatch Arena (Online 3rd person shooter)
  • Developer: Wargaming.net
  • Publisher: Wargaming.net
  • Service Requirements: Online connection, Game Center or Wargaming.net account
  • Available For: iOS
  • ESRB Rating: Not rated. No blood (or even people) are present. No swearing.
  • Price: Free
  • Amount Completed: 8 hours. Tier III for all nations.
  • Played On: iPad 2

 

Personal Bias:


Played a bit of World of Tanks on PC. Didn’t like it, but I could appreciate the game.

 

In a Nutshell:

World of Tanks (WoT), the slowest online deathmatch arena in the world, beloved by old men, Russians, and old Russian men, comes to mobile. The Blitz variant of WoT scales down the action to smaller (yet still large) maps, 7-man teams, and a single capture point in brisk, seven minute matches.

 

Defiance: Free-to-Play | I Played That

Game Profile: Defiance

  • Genre: Borderlands MMO. Or Firefall if it worked and had content (3rd-person shooter MMO)
  • Developer: Trion Worlds
  • Publisher: Trion Worlds
  • Service Requirements: Online connection, Trion Glyph account
  • Available For: PC, PS3 (goes free July15), Xb360 (free date TBA)
  • ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
  • Amount Completed: About 30 hours. EGO level 500ish.
  • Played On: PC 

     

    Personal Bias:

    None. I don’t know the show this is based on. I’m not familiar with Trion Worlds.

    In a Nutshell:

    Online open world run-n-gun shooter full of random folks wielding randomly generated guns in a constant stream of spontaneous events.

    Released in 2013 as a retail MMO product with no subscription as a marketing tie-in to the SyFy television show of the same name, it debuted with the problems typical to online game launches such as an aimless design and a dearth of content. Fast forward two years and Defiance jam packed full of missions, public quests, co-op/competitive instances, and drops the price tag to boot.

  • Is Amazon’s Fire Phone The Biggest Personal Data Harvesting Machine Yet?

    So Amazon's new smartphone seems quite exciting what with it’s simulated 3D, new-ish operating system, 13mp camera, universal identification system, and Amazon Prime’s video, audio, and e-book services. Yet is there a dark side to this marvelous new piece of always online tech capable of watching, listening, locating, and recording every aspect of your daily life?

    Enter Mike Elgan, current host of Tech News Today. He’s got a heaping helping of food for thought about that new Fire Phone, not the least of being “Why won’t Amazon say what they will/won’t do with all that data of yours.”

    Just to lend some perspective to those unfamiliar with Mr. Elgan, I can assure you that in the past several months since he took over TNT it’s been pretty rare to see him exhibit many signs of life, let alone get so fired up on a topic. When such a mild-mannered newsman gets on his soapbox for 10 minutes, it’s probably a good idea to sit up and listen.

    Microsoft Won’t Read Your Email Anymore But You’re Now Responsible for Your Kids Behavior

    Microsoft is previewing changes to it’s new privacy policy set to go live on July 31, 2014. In an email sent out to holders of MS accounts, one interesting change is highlighted:

    As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we won't use your documents, photos or other personal files or what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail to target advertising to you.

    These changes come, unsurprisingly, hot on the heels of leaked NSA documents that described Skype as “vital” to their spying efforts. Although this change does absolutely nothing to actually fix the the broken cryptography used by Skype, it is a welcome change that flies in the face of traditional ‘Read and record everything’ policies invented by Google and employed by most online service providers today (You DO read your EULAs (End User License Agreements), rightWinking smile).

    I know that some of the GUO staff here have become quite disillusioned with Google of late. The Big G has lost its luster between the constant snooping, obfuscation of activities within the so-called transparency report, forced Google+ adoption, and cancelation of beloved services. While choosing between Google and Microsoft is akin to choosing between the baby-kicking devil and the puppy-eating devil, every move towards giving you some rights versus taking you data makes ‘em seem a little less gross.

    Another notable upcoming change to the Microsoft policy involves your kids.

    We updated our Code of Conduct so you can better understand the types of behaviors that could affect your account, and added language that parents are responsible for minor children's use of Microsoft account and services, including purchases.

    This is in response to incidents Apple has encountered where you hand the kids your phone and the little monsters buy that $100 “Best Value” pack of Smurfberries. It is currently unknown if the ol’ “The dog bought it,” excuse will still work or not. Technically, this also puts parent on the hook for all the horrible things their kids are saying on Xbox Live. So, if you’re not already doing so, this might be a good time to turn off the TV and stuff a bar of soap into the mouth of your household’s loudest Halo fan.

    Microsoft’s surprisingly readable privacy policy is available online here.

    Five Fun Trailers from E3 2014

    E3 week, the most wonderful time of the year! A time to lay aside out rational expectations and embrace the wonder that may (or may not) show up in our digital toys of tomorrow. In honor of this spirit we are discarding all expectations of real gameplay and picking out five game trailers that were simply fun to watch. Enjoy!

    5) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

    Barely making our list is the least entertaining Borderlands trailer yet. Still, to say that this is the least entertaining Borderlands trailer is like saying that a T-bone is the least tasty steak. It’s still yummy, yummy beef!

    PBS Goes Inside the NSA’s Global Communication Syphon

    See that door? Yeah, the one with no knob. Guess what’s behind it. No, not snickerdoodles. Geez, always with the cookies with you. That, my friends, is where the NSA server lives that copies every single 1 and 0 to pass through AT&T.

    If you’re at all interested or concerned about the state of affairs involving the NSA kindly backing up all of your data (And you should be), you’ll definitely want to check out the “United States of Secrets” feature from PBS’ Frontline series.

    Part One-“The Program” is a two hour feature that traces the origins of things like PRISIM back to the original engineers and concepts following the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. Part Two-“Privacy Lost” is a much more digestible one hour program that covers the modern incarnations of these systems as we understand them from the Snowden leaks.

    Check out United States of Secrets on PBS.org

    And let me just add one little proverb from the Undernet for those of you who think you have nothing to hide: “Anything that can be saved, can be stolen.”

    It’s no coincidence that my little vacation from the Internet last year coincided with the breaking revelations about how the democracies of the free world had conspired with the tech giants of the Information Age to create an international spying system on a scale larger than anything yet dreamed up by science fiction writers. Honestly, if it weren’t for the gentle urgings of the family, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now. You have to be a special kind of crazy to still be posting on the ‘Net these days. Still, here I am. But not without a good deal more awareness, a good deal more software, and one heck of a rewrite on the back end of this little site for all our sakes.

    At least I’m not carrying a smartphone *shiver* Seriously, that thing isn’t just the biggest security problem you have, but it makes you REALLY freaking annoying to have a conversation with.

    Yeah, I’m about one Wikileaks away from moving into a shack in the swamp. Still, there are reasons GUO named You and Me the #1 Tech Turkey for 2013.

    So what can we as lazy, convenience loving, connected people do? Use ad blocking plugins, enable your browser’s do not track function, use some kind of basic online security such as HTTPS Everywhere, and stay informed (I recommend the EFF). All of that is REAL easy to do.

    Watch Dogs | I Played That

    In the past I’ve said that there wasn’t much point in writing reviews for popular games due to the glut of information on the Internet. However, it seems that some folks still look for my input on certain titles anyway (Thanks, Kris!). “I Played That” is an attempt to meet halfway. The concept is to bang out a quick little pros/cons type thing that won’t require me to complete a game or spend two days composing a proper review. As such, I’ll be doing such unprofessional things as comparing this-to-that, describing stuff simply as ‘fun’, and scoring more with my heart than my head.

    Pardon the dust as I figure out how to best construct this new article format and, as always, feel free to send comments/emails/carrier pigeons as to what information you’d like to see covered in this feature.

    Game Profile: Watch_Dogs

  • Genre: Cyberpunk GTA Clone (Open-world urban crime shooter)
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Service Requirements: Uplay
  • Available For: PC, PS3, PS4, Xb360, XbOne, Wii-U (coming “fall”). Multiplayer companion game available on iOS & Android for free.
  • ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Amount Completed: About 50% in roughly 20 hours. I plan on completing it.
  • Played On: PC 

     

    In a Nutshell:

    GTA by way of Assassin’s Creed with a very cool ‘ghost in the machine’ hacking gimmick.

    Ubi continues the trend that has brought them so much success in recent years by crafting another beautiful AAA open-world title with a heavy, yet optional, emphasis on stealth and gadgets. Watch_Dogs features tons of collectables, unique multiplayer modes (including the ability to covertly enter and ‘hack’ another person’s game for a little hide-n-seek, and checkpoint races against opponents on mobile platforms controlling police and security systems), and a great balance of tactical planning and crazy action.

  • Mario Kart Mercedes DLC Spawns This Must See Japanese Commercial

    Japanese Mario Kart 8 owners are in for a a little dose of advert-gaming when a free Mercedes GLA DLC drops later this year. Ya know what’s stranger than turning laps in a Mercedes against opponents in go-karts? This car commercial tie-in. Enjoy!

    Explore All The Sounds On Earth

    That’s right, All The Sounds!

    GlobalSoundScapes.org is the pet project of one Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, a soundscape ecologist (Yeah, I dunno either, but Wired seems to think it’s a real thing) with Purdue University. Dr. Pijanowski’s dream? Gotta catch ‘em all! Sounds, that is.

    The good doctor explains his latest plan in an interview with Wired:

    “I’ve been on a campaign to record as many ecosystems as possible, but there’s only so many places in the world I can be. I thought about how I could get more recordings into a database, and it occurred to me: We have a couple billion people on this planet with smartphones!”

    Enter the Global Soundscape Project and its associated smartphone app, the Soundscape Recorder.

    By crowdsourcing the work of recording and geotagging Bryan hopes not just to categorize the world’s soundscapes, but create a living database that will provided scientists with mountains of information about various ecosystems and their dynamics as well as a historical record that could be used to track changes to those ecosystems.

    Even if you’re not looking to chip in on the project, why not take your ears on a vacation around the world, three minutes at a time, using the Global Soundscapes interactive map. This being GUO and all, I’ll just refer you over to the happy sounding trains in Osaka, Japan.

    “We should get a sense of whether and how we’re making this a noisier planet, which I think we’re doing,” Pijanowski continued. “And it should increase awareness of sounds. Hopefully it will make people stop and listen.”

    That’s sound advice!