Shot Sports Software's Jump Shot Basketball was the first Windows NBA management simulation game online and has been in constant development for years. The effort shows in its level of detail and sophistication. It accurately simulates what it's like to take charge of an NBA team as owner, general manager, or head coach. You can create leagues, teams, and players, or join an Internet league and compete online. You can play unlimited seasons in franchise mode, draft players, present awards, manage finances, even set arena seating and other factors for each team's town. There are probably worse … Read more
Jet Car Stunts is an exceptional arcade driving game in which (as you might guess) you drive a jet-powered car through a series of stunt-inducing tracks.
This app makes terrific use of the iPhone and iPod Touch interface, with four customizable touch-screen buttons (accelerate and brake/reverse, and jet engine and hand-brake/air-brake) and accelerometer control for both steering and (when you're airborne, which is often) your pitch and roll. The game is split between two different but equally well-developed modes: 11 speed-heavy Time Trial levels with more traditional race-type tracks, and 25 architecturally inspired Platforming levels that focus … Read more
With more than 100,000 apps in the iTunes App Store and huge success around the world with the iPhone, it would appear Apple has done just about everything right with the launch of its first mobile handset. But as any iPhone app developers will tell you, the app approval process is less than ideal, with some developers waiting well beyond Apple's 14-day waiting period and sometimes longer to get their apps approved. Though Apple has stated it is working on the app approval process, there has been little in the way of progress if you ask iPhone app … Read more
Canabalt is an elegant and addictive side-scrolling game with an extremely simple interface and premise. You play a suit-wearing office-worker who is running and jumping across a series of rooftops and other structures, while you see the city behind you in the midst of some sort of mysterious giant-robot assault.
The interface is very straightforward: you run left to right automatically, steadily picking up speed (if you avoid obstacles), and you tap the screen to jump, with the longer you press, the farther you jump. That's it. But as you run, you have to contend with all sorts of … Read more
We've written before about Brutal Legend, the just-released video game starring big-screen funnyman Jack Black. Produced by Tim Schafer, who has several cult classics (from Grim Fandango to Psychonauts) under his belt, the game has built up a lot of positive industry buzz, but is also in danger of being overshadowed by a flood of fall 2009 blockbusters, from Uncharted 2 to The Beatles: Rock Band.
Does Brutal Legend--a wide-ranging action/adventure about a foul-mouthed heavy metal band roadie who gets smacked on the head and wakes up in a D&D-style fantasy land--have what it takes to rock gamers this holiday season?
Dan: Having seen and played a few segments of the game at different times over the past eight months, I was eager to have a chance to spend a weekend playing through a bigger chunk of the main campaign. Several hours in, Brutal Legend has done an overall excellent job of treading the very fine line between comedy and gameplay--but not without some serious stumbles along the way.
I'd be the first to say I'm not a Jack Black "fan," but this is clearly a role he was born to play. He's apparently into it as well, and shows up as himself for a clever live-action intro video. The game's writing is sharp, even if much of it is clearly constructed from contextual one-liners that Black's character, Eddie Rigg, spouts off in a semi-random fashion.
But we ended up having more fun listening to the dialog than playing the game itself. Brutal Legend doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a hack-and-slash action game, an open-world exploration RPG, or a squad strategy game--as Eddie picks up small armies of head-banging locals to order around with basic follow/stay/attack D-pad commands.
Perhaps trying to mash all these genres together caused a few of the rough, unfinished edges we saw. Cut scenes and in-game dialog crashed awkwardly into each other, cutting off characters mid-sentence. Transitions between dialog and action scenes were abrupt and sometimes disorienting.
But despite some muddled ideas, we kept going back for more, drawn in by the Frank Frazetta-style art (think '70s metal album covers) and inside baseball music biz jokes--and as someone who has spent some time in a self-parodying heavy metal band, that's high praise.
Jeff: It's tough to name a game that has as much hype this. It's probably because of the talent involved in the game; Jack Black has sported a Brutal Legend T-shirt everywhere he's gone for the last year and voice work comes from rock legends like Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and Ozzy Osbourne.
Brutal Legend is unique, in that you'll experience a variety of gameplay genres mashed up together inside. The game incorporates open-world driving, action/adventure, real-time strategy, and elements of role-playing.
If there's one thing the game does right, it's establishing the metal atmosphere.… Read more
Thumbdrives offer arguably one of the most convenient ways to carry data around. However, because they are so small, they have been frequent culprits of data breaches. Enter the JumpDrive from Lexar.
The company announced Thursday its new JumpDrive Safe S3000 FIPS, which it claims is the world's first smart-card-based FITS 140-2 Level 3 validated flash drive.
Lengthy name aside, this is the most secure and easy-to-use thumbdrive I've ever gotten my hands on.
(FIPS 140-2, by the way, stands for Federal Information Processing Standard and is a U.S. government computer security standard used to accredit cryptographic modules. Level 3 of this standard is the second highest level of data security, which prevents the intruder from gaining access and requires a physical security mechanism to protect the data inside.)
Physically, the new JumpDrive looks very much like most standard thumbdrives on the market with a detachable lid that reveals the USB head. However, it is noticeably heavier due to its thick metal housing and a presumably sophisticated mix of high-security components inside. Its lid also has a thick layer of rubber insulation to keep the moisture out. According to Lexar, the drive exceeds military waterproof standards.
Lexar said the JumpDrive Safe S3000 FIPS is certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and features hardware encryption and is the first of its kind to have atemper-resistant smart card to manage all security critical computations. The drive uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit technology and utilizes an onboard hardware cryptographic controller to encrypt and decrypt data.
From the user's perspective, however, the drive is almost as easy to use as any thumbdrive. I tried it with a few computers and it worked very well. … Read more
iDork Lite is a free, 15-level preview for iDork, a path-tracing game similar to other arcade/puzzle games for the iPhone and iPod Touch in which you use your touch screen to draw a path to help a stick figure avoid various obstacles--in this case, animated pencils, protractors, erasers, and other deadly school supplies, since your "iDork" is "lost in a world of school paperwork."
Once you trace a line for your iDork to walk on, you move him by placing a virtual thumbtack where you want him to go, and pressing a jump button for … Read more
This week, my blog has been dedicated to redneck vehicles, drivers and racing. For my final installment in this series, I found this hilarious web video featuring a group of hilljacks racing their pickup truck over railroad tracks at increasingly accelerated speeds. After realizing the truck was thrashed after numerous jumps (and probably after several beers), the redneck buddies gang up on the truck and tip it over into a ditch. Check it out at 3:00 mark. Totally ridiculous.