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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weeks ago, I downloaded Unity3D. I began looking around for games made with Unity3D in hopes of making my own game, and one title I came across was called "Man or Monster." I wanted to blog about this game because it was interesting. I think this is the first-ever Flash-based game I reviewed on John's Blog Space. I will tell you more about this game and what I think about it for your viewing (and perhaps playing) pleasure.

Positively wasting your time since January 2009, welcome to John's Blog Space!





--- Man or Monster ---

"Man or Monster" is a game created in Unity3D by Miniclip. Let me explain this game and its nuances. But first, here's a picture I found:

Man or Monster Miniclip
^ from: (Miniclip on Google+) - Man or Monster. Save the city (man) or destroy the city (monster).


Man or Monster: General Info.

Some of the world's largest cities are under attack by huge monsters! One determined man is ready to combat these massive monsters in an attempt to save the world. Can you save the world's largest cities from absolute destruction? Or can you completely destroy these cities? Obstacles impact you no matter whether you choose to be the Man or the Monster.

No matter whether you play as the Man or the Monster, a lot of resources are available to you to aid you in accomplishing your task. This game features ten cities for which you can either save or destroy. Saving or destroying one city allows you to access the next one. Can you save/destroy all ten cities?

You are able to purchase items to help you out in the task of saving or destroying the cities before the start of each level. This game uses both the keyboard and the mouse. The mouse is used for attacking and selecting items as well as aiming. To help you in getting you ready for this gaming experience, let me tell you about taking on both tasks of being the Man or the Monster.


Man or Monster: Man.

The Man you play is credited with the task of saving the city from the huge monsters. You are equipped with a blaster and a jetpack. You also have a number of different units you can deploy to aid you in taking down monsters. As the man, you have resource units available to you to use against the monsters such as tanks, helicopters, mines, and more. Completing missions allow you to access bigger and better units to use in battle. The man himself can even be upgraded to have more health, a more powerful weapon, and more jetpack power.

You have a limited amount of time to prepare your units in advance of the monster coming into the level. The monster will spawn where you see red smoke off in the distance. It is a good strategy to drop some of your better units near landmarks. You obviously don't want the monster to destroy the entire city, but you certainly know landmarks are usually some of the first structures the monster wants to destroy. Keep a fair distance from the monster and keep attacking both with your gun and with your units. Be careful with some monsters because they have certain abilities and powers that make them temporarily immune to damage. You may find item boxes across the city. Shoot them to receive powerups and other items.

As the monster tears apart the city, civilians will be running around the city. Rescue as many civilians as possible for cash bonuses.


YOU WIN (MAN) IF...
• You defeat the monster using your weapons and units.


YOU LOSE (MAN) IF...
• You are defeated by the monster.
• The entire city is destroyed.


That covers the Man. Now, on to the Monster.


Man or Monster: Monster.

As the monster, your job is to destroy the cities you land in. Despite this task, you will be faced with many different units spread across the city trying to make it difficult for you to destroy each city. Everything from tanks to helicopters and more will make your destruction attempts difficult. Good news is that you won't have to worry about a little man with a blaster gun running around town trying to take you down. As the monster, you can not only pick what special powers you want to use, but you can also select different monsters to use for each level. You can even customize your monster. Take advantage of these special powers to help make your destroying tendencies stronger and more satisfying. You may receive certain items after destroying certain buildings. Collect these items to keep that edge you have in destroying the cities.

Rather than set up everything beforehand, you're dropped right into the city, ready to destroy everything in sight. When the game starts, don't hesitate to immediately wipe out the various buildings in sight. Try to take out the buildings as well as any units that may get nosy. When a building is destroyed, you move that extra step closer to winning the level as a monster. Eating some of the civilians earns you bonus credits. Basic attacks and special attacks are key to try to complete the task of destroying each city.

YOU WIN (MONSTER) IF...
• You destroy every building in the city.


YOU LOSE (MONSTER) IF...
• You are defeated by the various units around the city.



That covers some of the basics. Now on to some general thoughts of mine on this game.



--- Man or Monster: Review ---

I found "Man or Monster" surprisingly addictive. The game is in no way frustrating. Battles can be quite intense. You rely mostly on instinct, but you do have to think about deploying certain units at certain times as the Man and also knowing when to use your special attacks as the Monster. I kind of found it easier to be the Monster rather than being the Man. Then again, how many games are there that seem harder when you're the VILLAIN instead of the HERO? The game has great-looking voxel graphics. Everything from the cities themselves to the destruction is done pretty well. The massive monsters look impressive. The voxels make for a great retro-style experience, and it is an overall great-looking game. There is some pretty cool retro-style music as well. There isn't much to complain about in my view. If you just want a great gaming experience from a browser-based game, check out "Man or Monster." I don't think you'll be disappointed with the action this game provides.


For More Information...

For more information on this game, take a look at the link below and this trailer :


^ Man or Monster: Final Trailer

Play "Man or Monster" now! Click here (you will need the Unity Web Player to play this game): Man or Monster (Miniclip)


To learn more about Miniclip and their games, visit www.miniclip.com.





This is a game I thought was pretty fun. What do you think about this game if you played it? Feel free to share your thoughts here. Have a great day/night. Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let's do #WaybackWednesday again! Welcome to this week's installment here on John's Blog Space! Music (and other stuff) at least five years old will be featured here. Wayback Wednesday. It's like Throwback Thursday, only made for Wednesdays. You probably already knew that, but I just wanted to clarify. Anyhow- get ready for another trip back in time! I'll be your YouTube music video jockey here for this post.





--- Wayback Wednesday: How it Works ---

Wayback Wednesday on JBS
Welcome to Wayback Wednesday on John's Blog Space!

Most of what I select for "Wayback Wednesday" primarily consists of music videos. Rather than share with fans, I usually share YouTube videos among friends in my Facebook profile. Most of what I share are selections based on a certain group of songs I want to feature. I want to label it as "Wayback Wednesday" for the sake of hashtag usage. The proper person in me knows it is "Way Back Wednesday" rather than "Wayback Wednesday." The main criteria element is that the material must be at least five years old. So as of this blog post, all Wayback Wednesday features material from 2009 or earlier. Nothing from 2010 or later will be featured. All Wayback Wednesday selections go in chronological order from earliest to oldest. So more recent material is featured before going to least recent material. For example, a song from 2003 will be shown followed by a song either from that same year or before 2003.

Here's the quick rundown:
• material that is at least five years old is featured.
• selected material is from more recent to less recent.
• not every selection is music.

This is a sample post:

Wayback Wednesday: (Month Day, Year)

(song arist - song title, or title) (year)
(description)
(link to video)

I decide to post just a link to the video rather than slow down the performance of my blog with embedded YouTube videos. Links to some videos may or may not be available all the time. You're basically clicking at your own discretion in this sense.


Depending on traffic and other considerations, I may start this as a common feature of my blog. Having said all of this... let's begin!



--- Wayback Wednesday: Selections ---

Here are the songs I've selected for this Wednesday. Click on the links to view the YouTube videos associated with the individual songs. NOTE: Certain restrictions may apply to some of the material I've selected- such as (but not limited to) age restrictions. Be wary of this if you decide to click on any of the provided links to this post.

If you like to comment, feel free to let me know which songs you like from this list I selected. Enjoy this post and my selections.


Wayback Wednesday: December 17, 2014

See anything you like?

DHT - Listen to Your Heart (Hardstyle Mix) (2005)
This week's trip in time begins in 2005 with a very popular song in the realm of electronic dance music. The Hardstyle Remix of "Listen to Your Heart" by DHT was pretty popular. You can say I'm starting this Wayback Wednesday hard. Let's do so!

Bone Crusher, feat. Killer Mike and T.I. - Never Scared (2003)
This would be the hip-hop anthem for someone who doesn't fear anything or anyone. If you ain't never scared, this song is for you. Welcome to 2003!

Eminem - Lose Yourself (2003)
Let's stay in 2003 with this next song. Detroit to the bone, Eminem came up with this song here as part of the soundtrack to "8 Mile." This link goes to the official music video to this song.

Jay Z - Girls, Girls, Girls (2001)
Jay-Z is all about one thing in this song- girls. This song takes you back to my High School graduation year- 2001. Ready to go back this far? By the way- shout out to everyone else who graduated from High School in 2001! :)

Shaggy - It Wasn't Me (2000)
Get ready for some Shaggy here with this song from 2000. I tried to find a version of this song that isn't bombarded with spam or with some ridiculous intro. This was my best effort. This video is just lyrics. It's either this video... or no video.

P!nk - There U Go (2000)
On Wednesdays, we wear pink. On Wayback Wednesdays, we listen to Pink. So enjoy "There U Go" from the music star from Atlanta. Staying in 2000.

Kenny G - Eastside Jam (1996)
Time for some jazz from one of the most recognizable and most respected saxophonists in the business... Mr. Kenny G. From "The Moment" album, I give you "Eastside Jam." Welcome to 1996!

Everything but the Girl - Missing (Todd Terry Remix) (1995)
A good song can be made better with the right touches. While I've heard the original to this song, its remix from Tod Terry is a classic. The original song dates back to 1994, but its remix from Todd Terry dates back to 1995. Here is some 1995 musical loving for you.

Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y. (1993) (WARNING: Bad language!)
Queen Latifah sat atop her throne as queen of hip-hop in the 1990s. This song I provide here is one of her bangers. She's all about that U-N-I-T-Y with this song. Go enjoy you some 1993 loving here. Who you callin' a b****?

Larry Carlton - Sleepwalk (1982)
Here is the most beautiful rendition of "Sleepwalk" I've ever heard. It comes from my favorite jazz guitarist- Larry Carlton. It is romantic and beautiful at the same time. This is probably something to cuddle up to your lover/spouse with. No, really. This joint is deep. Welcome to 1982!

Survivor - Eye of the Tiger (1982)
You've... probably heard this song before on YouTube from somewhere. Maybe you've heard this at sports games. There was probably some kind of way you heard this song before. Well now here in my Wayback Wednesday post, you can enjoy this song in its entirety with this video. This is 1982. Enjoy your stay!

Barry White - Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (1974)
Finally, I give you the Maestro of Love from Galveston-born Barry White to conclude this edition of Wayback Wednesday. You're getting TWO songs from Mr. Barry White here. First off is "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe." Welcome to 1974!


Barry White - You Are The First, My Last, My Everything (1974)
Here's the other Barry White Song I selected for your audio enjoyment. Staying in 1974, here is another amazing tune from Barry White. Enjoy!


This concludes another "Wayback Wednesday" post of mine. To check out the latest posts in the "Wayback Wednesday" category, click this link: Wayback Wednesday.





That's all for this Wayback Wednesday. Next week, it's another themed edition of Wayback Wednesday- ALL Christmas songs. Hope you stick around on JBS for me to post on Christmas Eve. Subscribe, Follow, and get social with me in the meanwhile. Thank you for reading!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I discovered Pusheen the Cat not too long ago. Pusheen is a very popular tabby cat as part of a webcomic called "Everyday Cute." She has many adventures and misadventures that will not fail to get you to smile or laugh. Pusheen is adorable, cute, and funny. I'll do what I can to discuss this popular webcomic star in my post here on John's Blog Space.





--- Pusheen the Cat ---

Pusheen the Cat. Get to know her.

Pusheen the Cat
^ from: www.readersread.com (best I could find) - Meet Pusheen the Cat- perhaps the cutest kitty you'll ever meet. Meow!


^ "Pusheen - Gwiyomi"

Pusheen the Cat is the name of a cat from a popular webcomic called "Everyday Cute." Created by Andrew Duff and Claire Benton, the gray tabby cat The word "Pusheen" translates to the Irish word "puisin" (Irish for for "kitten"). She was inspired by a real cat from the youth of Claire Belton. Much like Hello Kitty was the standout star of the Sanrio characters, Pusheen is the standout star of "Everyday Cute." Her popularity has garnered merchandise of various kinds, including a book by Claire Benton. Even though "Everyday Cute" still exists, Pusheen has her own blog.

Some of you may know that I am very old-fashioned and usually late to the party (so to speak) when it comes to Internet memes and entertainment trends. So therefore, when I started seeing a familiar-looking big gray cat, I had to find out who this cat was. This was where I learned of Pusheen the Cat and started to see what the buzz was about with this cat. Since seeing Pusheen, I basically became addicted to various pictures and other media regarding this cat.


What Got Me Into Pusheen the Cat.

There are so many cute and funny images featuring Pusheen. She can be so silly and cute.


Why I Became Fond of Pusheen the Cat.

I became fond of Pusheen the Cat because of the various silly pictures of her. I would even say her cuteness is really positive and lighthearted. And as someone who tries to promote and honor positivity, Pusheen really provides this lighthearted and fun experience. This is one cute cat who really does not fail to make you smile or laugh.


If Pusheen the Cat Were Real...

What if this webcomic cat were real? I certainly would love to cuddle and play with Pusheen. She seems to be as playful and as fun as an adorable baby. She would also be fun to pet while sleeping. It would be quite a fun experience.


Time to close this post out. The next section awaits you.



--- Pusheen the Cat: Final Thoughts ---

As a cat lover, Pusheen the Cat is just absolute fun to me. It is her cuteness and her silliness that makes her just enjoyable. A really good job is done to offer Pusheen's cute and silly ways. This is all lighthearted humor and fun only Pusheen can provide. Since I am a male, it is no shame to like something as cute and as fun as Pusheen the Cat. I am only hopeful that my commentary and my featuring of her will have you into Pusheen the Cat too.


For More Information...

Want more on Pusheen the Cat? Take a look at these links for more info:

Pusheen the Cat - Official
Pusheen the Cat Wikia
Pusheen the Cat on Fanpop
Pusheen the Cat on Know Your Meme
Pusheen on Facebook
Pusheen on Twitter
Pusheen on Instagram


And in case you're interested in some Pusheen merchandise, take a look at these items:



And for more: Pusheen the Cat on Amazon, and also Pusheen the Cat merchandise on Hey Chickadee.


Cross-Promotion and Other Reading.

Here is the only other post I can offer you in regards to related topics with Pusheen the Cat. That video I shown you in this post? I mentioned Pusheen in this other post here on JBS. Check it out, cat lovers!

"Cats" (John's Blog Space)
^ My reborn post on cats after the previous post garnered so few views over a few years. I mentioned Pusheen the Cat in my "Cats" blog post.


Thanks for visiting "John's Blog Space!"





I'll now let you comment. Sound off!

Are you a fan of Pusheen the Cat? What do you like most about her and her personality?

Here is a quick thing I want to mention. If you haven't heard, nRelate will be retired at the end of 2014. I went from LinkWithin to nRelate and thought it was a very solid service for offering related blog posts. I will be working to find a replacement (I don't want to go back to LinkWithin). This replacement will be used across all of my blogs. Thank you for your cooperation.

Also, thank you for reading this post! Get social with me now:

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I encountered Jessi Malay on LOOKBOOK once, and her style caught on with me. I later got to hear her music. This represents my chance to introduce and discuss Jessi here in my main blog. I'll be sure to let you in on this fine lady and the style she presents across various arenas of media ranging from music to fashion.





--- Jessi Malay ---

NOTE: A lot of the facts are based on various websites I looked up, including her own website.

Jessi Malay is a singing sensation as well as an avid fashion blogger. This Filipino-American was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, USA on July 25, 1986. Jessi Malay has taken on many different musical and acting roles even with big-name companies and personalities. She's a UCLA grad, so you University of Southern California people can be a bit jealous of her. :)


Jessi Malay: Fashion.

While Jessi Malay's greatest trade is music, she is also a fashion blogger. "My White T" is the name of her fashion blog. I would say she enjoys fashion about as much as she enjoys singing. She doesn't compromise much between music and fashion. As I mentioned, I came across Jessi Malay through LOOKBOOK. So this is where I began to appreciate Jessi for her fashion style. I loved her various outfits to where I Fanned her on LOOKBOOK. Jessi's fashion style can range from chic to sexy. She can be classy or casual. She has a lovely face, a sweet smile, and a goddess-like hairstyle. Being captivated by her wonderful looks is a natural occurance.


Jessi Malay: Music.

I found this video to showcase some of her singing. As a singer, Jessi Malay is very much the one capable of delivering a powerful, sexy voice complimented over some very cool pop beats and instrumentals. Her latest EP as of this initial post is called "Give Me Life." I am including this video as a sample of her singing talent. For your musical pleasure, I give you... "The Edge" below:


^ "Jessi Malay - The Edge [Official Music Video]"

What do you think about her singing after I provided this sample?



--- What I Would Tell Jessi Malay ---

If Jessi Malay were to read this blog post, I'd like to say that I appreciate and admire your singing talent. I certainly admire your beauty whether in chic outfits or in sexy photo shoots. I think you are beautiful singing and in looks, but you are even more beautiful in spirit and personality. Keep up the great work with all that you do. Never stop working to improve. I would like to wish you the absolute best in all aspects of life. Take care of yourself and be well. You certainly have my support and adoration. In the future, I do hope you maybe reach superstar status and become as much of a superstar as you aspire to.

On the fashion front, remain as stylish as you want to be. You have amazing style in almost any sort of outfit or styles you showcase yourself in. Your smile and hairstyle are gorgeous.


Would I Want to Meet Jessi Malay (if given a chance)?

I sure would! Jessi Malay is something special.





That concludes my blog post on Jessi Malay. Want more on this lovely lady? Check these links out:

Jessi Malay - Official website
My White T - her fashion blog
Jessi Malay on Facebook
Jessi Malay on Twitter (@jessimalay) and My White T on Twitter (@mywhiteT)
Jessi Malay on YouTube
Jessi Malay on Instagram
Jessi Malay on LOOKBOOK

I hope you enjoyed this post and also this blog. Thank you for reading!

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

China's Hisense released two tablets to compete with other 7-inch tablet PCs. Hisense- which seems like a young upstart (and technically, they are) to many people have been around for a long while. They released the low-spec Hisense Sero 7 LT and the top-of-the-line Hisense Sero 7 Pro. The latter device is what I will be blogging about in this review. You may remember on "John's Blog Space" that I offered first impressions of this device. Now after playing around with it for almost a full year, it is time I offer my own commentary on the Hisense Sero 7 Pro.





--- Hisense Sero 7 Pro ---

This isn't first impressions... this is my own proper review! But first, we need to take a look at what I am blogging about. That would be THIS device:

Hisense Sero 7 Pro
^ from: androidadvices.com - The Sero 7 Pro tablet PC from Hisense.

Before I begin, here is some retrospective. The review portion of this blog post will come later.



--- Hisense Sero 7 Pro: Retrospective ---

While the Google Nexus 7 is long regarded as king in the 7-inch tablet segment, there are certain features which make it not as well-liked among some tech consumers. Among others, the lack of external memory for the Nexus 7 is a con for a lot of people. So leave it to a company like Hisense to challenge Google's hot tablet. Hisense decided to test the tablet PC market with two tablets. The lower-spec Hisense Sero 7 LT is the light model of the Sero 7 series, and the Sero 7 Pro (which is the highlight of this post) is the top-of-the-line model.

Since Hisense is sold exclusively through Wal-Mart, people will automatically assume that you're going to have cheap quality from this Chinese company. And to some people, "China" and "good quality" don't usually belong in the same sentence. Get these thoughts out of your head in regards to the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. Hisense has a hub here in the United States, as Hisense USA is based in Sewanee, Georgia, USA.

One of the points to set up the Sero 7 Pro's appeal is that the Sero 7 Pro came out near the end of the Google Nexus 7's cycle. The Nexus 7 would end up getting a refreshed and enhanced model with a new Snapdragon processor while the Hisense Sero 7 still packed a processor to stand with the Google Nexus 7. This led some people to believe the Sero 7 Pro would have a tough time keeping up with the Nexus, especially after the refresh of the Nexus 7. The Google Nexus 7 comes in at about $229 USD; and the Hisense Sero 7 Pro started off at $149 USD, but has since been dropped to $129 USD. So in regards to price points for 7-inch tablets, this one is very affordable compared to most offerings in the $150 USD to $200 USD range. You aren't going to pay too much to enjoy a proper 7-inch tablet like the Hisense Sero 7 Pro.


From Samsung to Hisense...

I always wanted to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch tablets for the longest. I wanted one to stay within the realm of Samsung and their amazing products... until I looked at a lot of the competition. It began when my interests went from having a Samsung tablet to getting the more expensive Google Nexus 7. Then, I saw the ASUS MeMO HD 7. And then eventually... I came across a tablet that felt pretty good when I visited a Wal-Mart store once. I started to play around with one tablet and remembered the name- Hisense Sero 7 Pro. I came away fairly impressed with it. The only thing I wasn't sure of was if I was actually using the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. After my own research and such, I found out I was indeed using the Sero 7 Pro at the store! I extended my research into watching various YouTube videos. Many video reviewers were pretty impressed as I got a fair idea of how this tablet PC is.

Little by little, I started to become less attracted to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch tablets in favor of the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. I became attracted to the Sero 7 Pro in much the same way I was slowly drawn away from getting the Samsung Galaxy Player portable media players after long wanting an iPod Touch. Some people whom have owned a Google Nexus 7 or considered a Nexus 7 ultimately picked or enjoyed the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. I guess you can say I'm one of the ones to join the Hisense party.


Specifications.

Here is what you need to know about the Hisense Sero 7 Pro- or as much as I know without consulting Hisense's website...

The Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a 7-inch tablet PC. It runs the Android 4.2 ("Jelly Bean") interface. The Sero 7 Pro is powered by an nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor for fast and smooth operation. It features two cameras- a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2 megapixel camera at the front. What is unique about the rear camera is that it has an LED flash to it. So you can actually use this tablet to take photos in low-light or night conditions. The rear camera even has Autofocus as part of the package. You can also shoot video with the camera, and it is capable of video up to 720p resolution. It has a micro USB dock for charging as well as an HDMI port for you to plug into your HDTV. There are two rear-facing stereo speakers on the Sero 7 Pro. If you prefer Internet usage, it is WiFi only. No options for 3G or 4G or whatever. You can use your Bluetooth devices with this tablet. It also has NFC (Near-Field Communications) support. Most importantly, this device supports external memory with a microSD card slot. You can put in a microSD card of up to 32GB, but I've heard of some who managed to put in 64GB microSD cards into the device. The back of the Sero 7 Pro features textured backing- just like the Google Nexus 7. This helps keep the tablet in your hands without feeling like it's going to slip from your fingers. There are no physical buttons on the front of the device. You have the capacitive buttons for Back, Home, and Menu. Curiously enough, there is a capacitive button where you can press to take a quick screenshot to be saved to your Gallery. This tablet can even be a remote control for your TV- granted the TV connected on the same WiFi network.

The Hisense Sero 7 Pro has dimensions of (length × height × width) of 7.87 in. × 4.95 in. × 0.43 in. It weighs 12.7 ounces. The Sero 7 Pro has an IPS HD LCD screen boasting a resolution of 1280 x 800. I am guessing, then, that it should have no problem playing videos and movies of up to 720p. You get a handful of Google apps preloaded onto the Sero 7 Pro. Among many others: Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Play, and more. Since Wal-Mart sells the Sero 7 Pro, you even get Wal-Mart exclusive stuff like the Wal-Mart app, the Sam's Club app, and the Vudu app (I didn't know Vudu was owned by Wal-Mart) for you movie watchers. The Sero 7 Pro is told to have a 4000 mAh battery. Reviewers I've seen YouTube videos on say they were able to get about maybe nine hours of usage under moderate or even heavy operation.


Now that you have an idea about the device, I'll share my review of the Hisense Sero 7 Pro.



--- Hisense Sero 7 Pro: My Review ---

Going on almost one year since getting the Sero 7 Pro for Christmas, Hisense has done a very good job providing a powerful and useful tablet. Hisense may not be a sexy name or any big label brand, but anyone looking for a more than suitable tablet PC to take on basic mobile device usage would not and should not be disappointed with the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It is fairly powerful and more than useful for basic usage. I am not much into mobile gaming, so I left this aspect of the tablet aside. Some of the games I did play ran fairly well. The biggest problem I've had with the device- except for times when it would freeze after keeping it on for so long- is the camera, especially the front-facing one. You have to look at it at a certain angle to get a better look and to look right using the front-facing camera. The only other issue is the fact this thing has a button on the navigation bar that takes screenshots. You may accidentally tap on that icon and end up taking a screenshot you didn't want to take. Not that I've used a bunch of tablet PCs previously, but there are times when I noted the Hisense Sero 7 Pro overheats a lot of times. Be sure not to have it on for too long or have too many processes working at once to minimize this overheating.

When I mentioned the tablet sometimes freezing, this usually happens a few times when I realize the tablet has been active for hours on end. I have now started to simply turn off the tablet when I feel I don't need to have it on serving as my own notification device for e-mail or other things.

I still think the Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a great tablet for what it is. It has a lot of the features the Google Nexus 7 (at its time) has, but with external memory and more. This Sero 7 Pro will still do many of the things you want in a 7-inch tablet. Even if you find a used or refurbished model, this tablet will do you just fine. Just be wary of some of the different negatives and issues regarding this tablet.


Video Preview.

Here is a look at the Hisense Sero 7 Pro I offered my review on:


^ "Hisense Sero 7 Pro review iPad alternative 2013"


For More Information...

For more information about Hisense and other products they offer, visit global.hisense.com. Or for my American audience, visit Hisense USA's website at hisense-usa.com.




--- Hisense Sero 7 Pro's Successor? (BONUS SECTION!) ---

Some people into Hisense have voiced displeasure with the latest offering- the Hisense Sero 8. Some even say a refurbished Hisense Sero 7 Pro is better than the up-to-date Sero 8 that was released earlier in 2014. So if you're torn about getting the Sero 7 Pro or the Sero 8, at least this blog post hopefully sways you in the direction of the Sero 7 Pro.

To learn more about the Hisense Sero 8 tablet, here is an official video from Hisense: Hisense Sero 8





I probably should apologize for wanting to post this review of the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, but never doing it until now. As they say, better late than never. I already mentioned the new model is the Sero 8. Maybe I'll do the first impressions and such on this tablet in the future. As for the Sero 7 Pro, I hope I've given you some insight. Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This #WaybackWednesday is special because this is the first themed edition of "Wayback Wednesday." This one is devoted entirely to musical themes. These are themes to TV shows, movies, games, and more. It will be featured in this week's selections if it was used as a theme to a certain bit of media. Otherwise, it will be something cast aside and have to settle for some other installment of Wayback Wednesday. Welcome to this week's Wayback Wednesday!





--- Wayback Wednesday: How it Works ---

Wayback Wednesday on JBS
Welcome to Wayback Wednesday on John's Blog Space!

Most of what I select for "Wayback Wednesday" primarily consists of music videos. Rather than share with fans, I usually share YouTube videos among friends in my Facebook profile. Most of what I share are selections based on a certain group of songs I want to feature. I want to label it as "Wayback Wednesday" for the sake of hashtag usage. The proper person in me knows it is "Way Back Wednesday" rather than "Wayback Wednesday." The main criteria element is that the material must be at least five years old. So as of this blog post, all Wayback Wednesday features material from 2009 or earlier. Nothing from 2010 or later will be featured. All Wayback Wednesday selections go in chronological order from earliest to oldest. So more recent material is featured before going to least recent material. For example, a song from 2003 will be shown followed by a song either from that same year or before 2003.

Here's the quick rundown:
• material that is at least five years old is featured.
• selected material is from more recent to less recent.
• not every selection is music.

This is a sample post:

Wayback Wednesday: (Month Day, Year)

(song arist - song title, or title) (year)
(description)
(link to video)

I decide to post just a link to the video rather than slow down the performance of my blog with embedded YouTube videos. Links to some videos may or may not be available all the time. You're basically clicking at your own discretion in this sense.


Depending on traffic and other considerations, I may start this as a common feature of my blog. Having said all of this... let's begin!



--- Wayback Wednesday: Selections ---

Here are the songs I've selected for this Wednesday. Click on the links to view the YouTube videos associated with the individual songs. NOTE: Certain restrictions may apply to some of the material I've selected- such as (but not limited to) age restrictions. Be wary of this if you decide to click on any of the provided links to this post.

If you like to comment, feel free to let me know which songs you like from this list I selected.


Wayback Wednesday: December 10, 2014

Here are the themes I selected for this week as part of this themed edition of Wayback Wednesday. Some of these selections don't have proper years I can really tag, but they are pretty much in order of when I remember first hearing each song:

That's So Raven theme (circa 2005)
That's so Raven... "Yep, that's me!" This hit Disney channel show featuring Raven-Symone is what you're going to get with this featured song.

NBA on ESPN 2003-2006 (2003-2006)
This is my favorite NBA on ESPN theme. I prefer this one more than the current theme.

Top Gear Theme (BBC Top Gear)
This the theme to BBC's Top Gear. Go ahead and make your own introduction. "Tonight..."

NASCAR on FOX theme (2001)
With NASCAR on FOX giving way to NASCAR on NBC, let me share this post to get you going with NASCAR on FOX.

ESPN Speedworld Theme (1990s)
When I started following racing back around 1999, there used to be ESPN Speedworld. That theme is what you're going to hear here, and this song is the Speedworld theme as I got to know it. Click on the link above and enjoy some old school ESPN music here.

Daytona USA 2: Battle on the Edge (1998)
SEGA's "Daytona USA 2: Battle on the Edge" has a song that will get you going almost immediately if you're a racing fan. That song can be heard here. Have a listen!

ESPN National Hockey Night theme
When ESPN shown coverage of the NHL, there was this classic theme.

X-Files (mid-late 1990s)
Time to take things to a surreal level now. My brother was a big fan of the FOX series "The X-Files." This rather creepy tune sounds great to me. By the way, this is full X-Files theme.

Living Single (mid-1990s)
The theme to the FOX sitcom "Living Single" is featured season-by-season with this video. Nothing like 90s hip-hop. Listen and enjoy!

The Ricki Lake Show theme (1993-2004)
Maybe one of my favorite daytime talk show themes is that of [the old] Ricki Lake Show. I did enjoy the newer Ricki Lake Show theme before it got canceled. Here is the classic theme to the classic Ricki Lake Show. "Go Ricki! Go Ricki!..."

John Tesh - Roundball Rock (NBA on NBC theme) (1991-2002)
I love the current NBA on TNT theme. But when it comes to NBA themes in general, there is nothing better than John Tesh and "Roundball Rock." Listen to this classic here as part of the old NBA on NBC days.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme (long theme) (1990s)
One of my all-time favorite sitcoms is "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." The theme to this classic sitcom can be heard by clicking on the link above.

Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F (1984)
The theme to "Beverly Hills Cop" is called "Axel f." All I know is, this is a great theme to listen to. Why not give this one a listen?

Gary Portnoy - "Every Time I Turn Around" (1984)
The theme to "Punky Brewster" is what you'll find here. This is a really cool song with mellow vocals and nice instrumentals. This is such a positive and happy song. Check it out!

Rita Coolidge - All Time High (1983)
One of my favorite James Bond themes is "All Time High." This sexy number can be enjoyed by clicking on the link above. It was performed by Rita Coolidge for the Bond film "Octopussy."

Alvin and the Chipmunks Theme (1983)
"Simon... Theodore... ALVIN!!!" Okay. Something got me to feature this song. Enjoy you some old school cartoons here.

Dave Grusin - St. Elsewhere theme (1982)
I love this mellow theme to "St. Elsewhere." I've never seen a single episode of this show, but I do love this theme. The song was performed by Dave Grusin. Have a listen.

Henri Mancini - Nadia's Theme ("The Young and the Restless" theme) (dates back to 1973)
I do NOT watch soap operas. However, my favorite soap opera theme is that of "The Young and the Restless," which you can listen to by clicking on the link above. I swear to you this is a beautiful song with the soft piano melody and with the stringed sounds. It is both beautiful and sad at the same time. It is perfectly normal to shed tears hearing just how beautiful this song is.

Good Times theme (1974)
This is the theme to the old sitcom "Good Times." This song dates back to the sitcom's 1974 debut.


This concludes another "Wayback Wednesday" post of mine. To check out the latest posts in the "Wayback Wednesday" category, click this link: Wayback Wednesday.





I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hashtags in today's online culture relate to trying to organize discussions. When you're talking about using hashtags (#), it is a way to keep discussions sorted. What I decided to do is offer this blog post as kind of a resource for my not-so-inclined online audience. I hope you find my post interesting and helpful. Of course, I try to make sure all of my published content is of some value. This one being no different.





--- Hashtags at a Glance ---

Let's set the mood with a random picture.

hashtag
^ from: www.neboagency.com - Use your hashtags wisely and properly to keep the conversation going smoothly.

At its most basic, the use of hashtags in online material is to properly sort certain messages. Think of hashtags like sorting mail or E-Mail. You know... you have your regular mail followed by all the spam mail and stuff. Anyone can talk about any subject. When it comes to keeping conversations relevant, however, you need to use hashtags in your discussions to keep everything relevant and stick to certain topics. For example, you may talk about how great a basketball game was last night, but the way to feel you're part of the conversation is to use a certain hashtag to contribute to a conversation. Otherwise (and not to be rude), you're just babbling.

Hashtags help keep conversations flowing and help sort things out. Unique hashtags help in trying to search through loads of text and messages online. It used to be that the use of hashtags was only restricted to Twitter. Afterwards, other social media started adopting the use of hashtags. This helps to organize and sort conversations. When my blog posts are fed online, I use certain hashtags to let people know about my latest blog posts.


Hashtag Tips.

How do you use hashtags properly? Here are things I've basically learned:

• hashtags can be of any length.

• hashtags consist only of letters and numbers. No punctuation, special characters (for example: "ñ") or other symbols are used.

• hashtags are usually all one word. However, you can use an underscore as space for a hashtag.

One thing to be wary of is for services such as Twitter, you may need to adjust your messages so that you don't overstep the 140 character limit. You can use multiple hashtags for a lot of different messages on social media, but you have to be careful on some services not to use too many characters. What some people even do is populate certain posts with all kinds of hashtags for the most visibility in searches.

You sometimes want to find the most popular hashtags so your relevant comments don't go astray. In these situations, try to search online for a certain topic. Try to find a common or similar hashtag you can use to increase the chances of your comments being within the main conversation. For example, you may be discussing the 24 Hours of Le Mans and need to find a proper hashtag. You could use "#24HoursofLeMans", but the most common one may be "#24HofLeMans" or "#LeMans24H." Just remember to include a certain hashtag to help the chances of it being read by others and even be included in search results.


This gives you a general idea on hashtags.



--- Hashtag Examples ---

Some hashtags are common and popular. What can they be used for? Any number of purposes. Here are some examples...


Hashtags in Online Contests.

Even different features and contests ask people to use certain hashtags to discuss topics across social media. An example would be for people to use a hashtag to share pictures and videos. People may be asked to share pictures by posting pictures online and forward them to a certain online profile while also using a certain hashtag. This is a sample with a generic handle and a generic hashtag:

"@SomeGirlGroup I love Katrina because she's a great singer and a sexy woman. #SGGContest

There are a few things to note here. If you fail to include the handle to send the message to, you just basically sent out a random message online that doesn't go to the certain target. If you fail to include the hashtag, the message goes through to the target, but you fail to contribute properly to the conversation. If you fail to include both the target handle and the hashtag material, you simply just posted something that doesn't get to the target and isn't part of the conversation.


Hashtags in Current Events.

These days, there have been certain hashtags used in discussing news events. One of the most popular hashtags these days related to police beating Eric Garner to death. One of the last things Erica Garner said during the beating was, "I can't breathe." So among the online community, the hashtag "#ICantBreathe" became popular.

The use of hashtags in certain current events help contribute to these events and in keeping conversation on them flowing.


Hashtags in Status Updates and Posts.

You can use hashtags in various forms of social media. Some hashtags can contribute to certain popular trends or certain events. Here are some examples:

#PrayForSara
#ComeHomeSafely
#ILoveHouston
#MentionSomeoneBeautiful

Some hashtags can be comical. Here are examples of comical hashtags (words have uppercases to see entire words):

#DontJudgeMe
#IGetMines
#GirlsRule
#GetMeOutofHere
#JustSaying

Hashtags are sometimes shorthand, as you can see with these examples (words in parentheses are what the proper term is supposed to be):

#AintTrynaHearDat (Ain't trying to hear that)
#AznGrlProbs (Asian girl problems)
#SxyNIKnowIt (Sexy and I know it)
#DonBHatin (Don't be hatin'! or Don't be hating!)
#IWouldDateUIf (I would date you if...)

And sometimes, some hashtags can be pretty stupid. Once on Twitter, one of the most trending hashtags on Twitter at one time was "IfIWereWhite" or something like that. And I'm thinking to myself... wow.


Popular Hashtags.

There are a few common hashtags that I want to make mention of. Here are a few examples:

#ff = Follow/Favorite Friday - every Friday on Twitter, mentions are made to favorite profiles on Twitter. I send several of these Tweets on Friday.

#wcw = Woman Crush Wednesday - females honor certain other females on Wednesdays. Kind of like "man-crushes," only this is the feminine version.

#tbt = Throwback Thursday - people share moments from their past on Thursdays.


There are many more common hashtags, but that concludes the bulk of using hashtags and of examples of hashtags.



--- Hashtags: Final Thoughts ---

I actually think hashtags are a great way to keep discussions relevant and sorted. Otherwise, conversations and comments would be spread far apart with no real unity. It is acceptable to say that hashtags are only for Twitter. However, even social media outside of Twitter can suffer from scattered discussions. The only real problems with hashtags is in making sure you use the right ones


Just So You Know...

If you Follow me online, I use certain hashtags for my blogs so you know where I posted my material at. Here are the hashtags I use for my content (click on the links to visit my other blogs):

#JohnsBlogSpace = John's Blog Space (the blog you're reading now)
#JohnsCS = John's Creative Space
#JohnsRaceSpace = John's Race Space
#SSbyJBM = StyleSpace, by John B. Marine


This way, you can conversate regarding my blogs.





I hope this helped. I been wanting to release this topic for a while but never completed it until now. Thank you for reading!

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Independent (or "indie") gaming over recent years has exploded into great popularity. When I recently blogged about my thoughts on the OUYA gaming console, I noted one important element of the OUYA's appeal was in indie gaming. Some people- especially mainstream types- tend to think quite poorly on indie games and indie developers. Many think they lack the polish and the appeal of titles from major developers on major consoles.

I am NOT completely educated on everything indie gaming, but I will make an attempt to discuss indie gaming here on "John's Blog Space." Welcome to another post of mine! I have a lot to discuss. Or in Internet lingo, my material is more "TL;DR" (too long; didn't read). However, it's "TL;DR" that is worthy of a long read. So I hope you enjoy this post.


BEFORE I BEGIN...

I will use "independent" at times rather than exclusively use "indie" because for some reason, I tend to think of India whenever I hear or see "indie." I do welcome my Indian (as in the country of India) readers/visitors to JBS, of course! :)


Talking Points.

Here is a brief look at what this post features, especially if you fear this is a "TL;DR" style post:

Independent Gaming Thoughts
• The Major vs. Independent Argument
• What Makes Indie Gaming Popular?
• My Concerns on Indie Gaming
• The Future of Indie Gaming?
Independent Gaming: Final Thoughts

Let's begin!





--- Independent Gaming Thoughts ---

In the past, it used to be that only the big-name developers and companies produce great games. That is true to an extent. The finest franchises and companies help to inspire us game lovers to dream of making our own games; or perhaps, aspire to join these companies to make some of the best video and computer games one can ever play. Also in the past, it used to be that making games was incredibly difficult, or that many attempts to make unique games just honestly weren't good enough to stir the imagination or inspire a generation.

Times have definitely changed. These days, almost anyone can make a complete game and sell it online. We have certain tools to make games such as Blender 3D, GameMaker: Studio, and one of today's biggest suites for building games- Unity 3D. There is also Microsoft's XNA gaming platform; but as of the initial date of this blog post (December 9, 2014), Microsoft ended support of the XNA platform. Created games don't have to be extravagant or completely mind-blowing in their design or in their execution. But among most people, a game has to be on par with current popular games on major systems to be worth anyone's attention. Some indie developers even prefer more retro styles to try to deliver a retro-inspired experience. So how an indie game looks is indicative of its character and what kind of character the game is supposed to deliver to its audience(s).


The "Major vs. Independent" Argument.

The notion of indie games going up against major titles brings on a classical argument- is indie material any better than major titles? Can even the biggest indie media better than even the worst major material? While I am not any movie buff, think about someone who wants to see a great movie. Most people would rather watch major movies from major companies with major actors/actresses. If you believe only in major material, you would feel as if it would be impossible to enjoy a similar or better experience if you were to watch a B-movie or an indie film. What if, however, you come across a B-Movie or an indie movie and enjoyed it as much as or more than any major movie?

Well, the same applies to indie games vs. their major counterparts. Some gaming experiences from indie games can be better than a lot of major games. I spent most of the previous paragraph making reference to movies because the arguments are similar. Just like you can be impressed with a non-major movie, you can be impressed with a non-major game.


What Makes Independent Gaming So Popular?

Here is why I think indie gaming so popular. I feel that indie games and companies have a certain character and personality to them which make them better than a lot of titles from proper top-tier developers and franchises. Many of the independent titles are either original ideas or different spins on what classic franchises and companies have perfected.

What makes the major gaming companies and major games so popular? Simple- the highly successful ones are the ones that are trendsetters and help set what direction the world of gaming is taking or where it should be taken. Some of the better indie games also help set the tone. Just like in any business or industry, everyone just wants to seek the next best thing. They want to seek the best opportunity and set a tone for others to either follow or better. In today's gaming culture, Minecraft is among one of many indie games to establish that sort of character that makes indie gaming fun. Such a game has the kind of character and appeal that puts itself on par with or better than most Triple-A games and franchises of different genres.

Another popular aspect of indie gaming is the unique appeal and ideas offered in games. Most major developers wouldn't dare think of certain ideas for their games the way a lot of indie developers would think. You may find some indie games to try to bring back classic gaming experiences in today's postmodern times. You may even run into occasional (and sometimes unnecessary, to be honest) swearing as well as animated blood from time to time. Not every indie game has some capacity of immaturity or tomfoolery. Some indie games are pretty powerful in their concepts and in their execution. Not too long ago, I learned of a game called "That Dragon, Cancer" (IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED: more info on this game can be found at thatdragoncancer.com) as I was looking around online. Many developers have unique ideas. Some others just try to re-capture certain experiences from past games and past franchises. No matter what, indie developers are always looking to stake their claim and make their mark any way they can.

What seems to be popular concepts among a lot of indie games is that of randomized material and procedural levels/worlds. Randomized levels mean they feature a lot of items and obstacles randomly generated so that no two levels are ever the same. Most procedural levels offer experiences where when you think you've reached the edge or boundaries of a level or world, the area gets expanded with more items. Especially with games that have a retro feel to them, many indie games try to capture the classic game look and feel (and even retro sounds sometimes) even in these postmodern times. Most people complain about most indie games lack of great graphics or mind-blowing audio.


My Concerns on Indie Gaming.

Forgive me if what I am about to say makes me less of a person; but I feel that most indie games I've played are actually tougher than most mainstream games, and that I am not as keen about "hardcore" levels of games. There is also the notion of permanent death. In other words- when you die in a game, you're dead... forever. Think of the Hardcore setting in Minecraft where if you die, you can not respawn, and your world is deleted. At least these concepts are a lot different from what most mainstream and popular games offer. Fair? No. Different trains of thought? Absolutely.

I mentioned indie games offer a good amount of difficulty to keep any player honest. They may be TOO great in difficulty to where such games may not be as enjoyable to most people. Frustration does not equal fun. Some of the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph add up to some of many things that will bring most people to delirium and frustration. You don't want that.

One indie game that made me think a good bit was a game simply called "Treasure Adventure Game." This highly-acclaimed indie game offers a pretty good experience while also testing your puzzle skills. Without spoiling anything, I solved a puzzle in one of the main levels by looking at specific elements of the level. I found out the way to solve one of the puzzles was to follow a certain trail provided by the background. Before playing "Treasure Adventure Game," the only other game I played that really challenged my thinking was "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."


The Future of Indie Gaming?

Even the indie gaming hobbyist can feel confident knowing he/she made a quality game he/she put full heart and effort into. Various indie developers often times try to get Kickstarter campaigns going to help fund further development of games. I am not sure as to the financial aspects of developing games, but many indie game developers struggle to try to make quality games with such restrictive budgets. So the request of money to keep games properly funded is one way most developers try and financially survive. Just like some people go through life with so little and eventually come out fine, indie gamers are the same way. More power to any indie developer- solo or an entire team, hobbyist or professional- in trying to financially survive while also creating great games for people to play.

One other thing I question is if enough is being done and if enough is being offered to let future game developers successfully create and complete games. Indie games, more than anything, should be an avenue for people to create more quality games for people to enjoy. Various developers in the indie scene help make this possible in inspiring a newer generation of gamers and game developers. Even if such games are made for certain platforms or seem almost entirely are rip-offs of major titles, at least there is some kind of avenue for indie game developers to announce themselves in the gaming scene.


Now that you have some of my main thoughts on indie gaming, it's time I provide some final thoughts.



--- Independent Gaming: Final Thoughts ---

Most independent gamers and independent developers won't get anywhere near the attention of most mainstream games. Most of them may not even reach the levels of superstar status like Minecraft. Just because indie developers and gamers aren't mainstream types doesn't mean they are worth putting aside. People make any number of complaints regarding indie gaming, as if every game has to be on the level of a "Call of Duty" or "Far Cry" whatever just to be worth one's attention. Indie gaming, if anything, is several wake-up calls for gamers and the gaming industry.

A lot of indie games have more personality than most mainstream titles. This leads to their immense appeal. Such developers and such games are even offered on the likes of PlayStation Network and various PC and mobile platforms. In fact, XBOX Live even has an entire marketplace devoted to indie games called XBOX Live Indie Games (or XBLIG for short). This shows indie games have a both spotlight and recognition as a legitimate gaming market and a legitimate force in gaming.

If you criticize indie gaming in saying that they don't look and feel like anything the average gamer would play, you'd be right to an extent. But at the same time, not every game has to be Triple-A quality to be worthy of a play. Even the "ugliest" and amateur game can still be great fun to play. True gamers would enjoy an ugly game with great gameplay as much as a beautiful game with great gameplay. True gamers would enjoy a great game from a "no-name" developer as much as a great game from a major developer. All indie games and indie game developers prove you can have as much gaming fun from a small developer with a quality title as much as any major game from a major developer. Even if certain indie games lack the quality and polish of a Triple-A title from a major developer, some would argue there is much more personality and character in most indie games as opposed to mainstream titles. Since variety is the spice of life, we need influence from the indie scene to show that us small-time and hobbyists have as much a voice in gaming as any major developer. And I'm sure we couldn't care less if major game reviewers (like IGN, which I sometimes call "IGNore") give the indie scene flak and hate on indie developers and indie games. We can't hear your hate because we are too busy making our own games for people to enjoy.

The moral of the story- indie developers and indie games are just as fun (some if not better) than most mainstream titles. Don't shrug off indie developers or indie games just because they don't provide Triple-A mainstream titles. Don't shrug them off just because their games aren't at the forefront of cutting-edge graphics or technology. Instead, appreciate the personality and charm these indie games and indie game developers provide. If you can and if you are able, please support the indie gaming scene any way you can in ways you are able to.


That's all for this one.





--- Independent Games and Independent Developer Spotlight ---

Most links featured in this list was taken from "John's Creative Space." More may be added in the future. I simply want to direct people to certain indie developers and indie games. Visit these links to learn more about each indie game either created or being developed. Take a look:

Minecraft
Minecraft is perhaps the most popular and most successful indie game on the market today. Its popularity is immense with all sorts of videos and merchandise created in its image. Get to know this title if you haven't the slightest idea of Minecraft or its popularity.

Terraria
Personally, I wasn't impressed with Terraria when I downloaded a demo of it for my PlayStation 3. Terraria still remains a popular indie game. It is a 2D side-scrolling RPG that allows you to build many things and explore the land.

Stonehearth
Stonehearth is a city-building game. Gather resources with your crew and also battle monsters that dare threaten your city and your people.

Build and Shoot
After "Ace of Spades" was sold off to Jagex, dedicated fans made their own re-imagining of "Ace of Spades." "Build and Shoot" is a voxel first-person shooter built in just about the same vein as the former Ace of Spades.

Voxatron
Voxatron is third-person shooting game. It is styled somewhat by games like Smash TV. Players can take part in any number of the different levels and challenges offered. Also, players can make their own levels and characters.

King Voxel
Mostly in the likeness of the very first The Legend of Zelda, King Voxel is an action RPG that will seriously appeal to Zelda fans.

Blocky Roads
This is a driving game where you must rebuild your farm after a hurricane destroyed everything. You'll have to venture out into the world and rebuild your farm piece-by-piece. The goal is to traverse around the terrain while collecting coins to purchase material. Later with progress in the game, you will be able to make your own machines. You can change skins as well as upgrade vehicles and buy new ones.

Trove
An action RPG with a Minecraft style to it in survival and in crafting items. Collect resources and build and maintain a city. Loads of monsters roam the colorful world of Trove. So make sure you're equipped to take on these challenges... or die trying!

Fist Puncher
A beat-em-up in the vein of games like "River City Ransom" and "Double Dragon," with RPG-style customization and upgrading elements.

Drift Stage
An independent racing game with a style that screams '90s arcade racer. It is purely arcade.

Space Qube
This is a shoot-em-up styled like the After Burner series but in space.

Spark Rising
Build and customize ships and take part in battle with this futuristic action game.

DISCOVERIE
Here is a game where you go through a dungeon and try to survive against the many monsters that inhabit the dungeon.

Continue?9876543210
As a failed game character, you are part of a world trying to learn about life before you eventually die. It is a 3D voxel game.

Crisential
This game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. You are trying to survive against a handful of evil people, creatures, and machinery.

The Kindred
This game is allows you to explore and build cities. There are also elements of exploration and survival as you go about creating your cities and living within this realm. (SPECIAL NOTE: I included this title in respect to one of the people behind this project- Nellie.)


Those were all the links from "John's Creative Space." Here are a few more indie games and other related material:


That Dragon, Cancer
Here is one of the most powerful games I've come across. This is an adventure game that chronicles the fight of a little boy who battled brain cancer. Gamers who played it have been emotional at just how powerful the story is.

IndieGames.com
This is a blog devoted entirely to the indie gaming scene and the various games and developers who contribute to indie gaming.

XBOX Live Indie Games
If you own an XBOX system and love indie games, this is your marketplace and medium for which to enjoy indie gaming.

(all OUYA games)
The OUYA gaming console features MANY indie games. Claiming to have more than one thousand games you can try for free and pay for the games you love, this is a basis for which the indie gaming scene has a quite definitive voice. Visit this link to see the many games created mostly by indie developers.

Game Development Tools and Resources (MSDN)
Even though Microsoft discontinued XNA support, this link provides resources you can use to make games for Windows and Windows Mobile.

(all games listed on Kickstarter)
For a showcase of indie games featured on Kickstarter, visit the link above. Give yourself an idea of games and game developers who need funding to help financially support their gaming projects by looking at Kickstarter's game pages. Of course, you can always help fund various Kickstarters if you have money to donate in helping fund games (and other things on Kickstarter besides games).


I just wanted to make a notion to these games to help push the point across about creativity through gaming. I'm sure if you are reading this blog and this blog post, and if you represent any of the games I mentioned; then I'm sure you wouldn't mind giving you a shout-out here, right?


A Quick Note...

One thing to note... a lot of the 3D games I made mention to were constructed using Qubicle Constructor. If you want to read my blog post on Qubicle Constructor, visit this post: "Qubicle Constructor" (John's Creative Space). Another powerful tool in developing voxel models is MagicaVoxel. For more information on MagicaVoxel, visit voxel.codeplex.com/, or see my posts on and related to MagicaVoxel in my creative works blog by going to "MagicaVoxel" posts (John's Creative Space).





This post is over, but I'd like to offer this for discussion:

Do you support indie gamers and indie developers? Do you think they will ever be on par with mainstream games and mainstream developers? What do you think it will take for indie gamers/developers to get the recognition and respect they want to reach?

Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ready? It's #WaybackWednesday! Time to make your Hump Day interesting as December 2014 is here. I'll select almost anything to get you going. It is time to find you all some old stuff (at least 5 years old) for you all... mainly music. But, I may include some other stuff. Welcome to John's Blog Space, everyone!





--- Wayback Wednesday: How it Works ---

Wayback Wednesday on JBS
Welcome to Wayback Wednesday on John's Blog Space!

Most of what I select for "Wayback Wednesday" primarily consists of music videos. Rather than share with fans, I usually share YouTube videos among friends in my Facebook profile. Most of what I share are selections based on a certain group of songs I want to feature. I want to label it as "Wayback Wednesday" for the sake of hashtag usage. The proper person in me knows it is "Way Back Wednesday" rather than "Wayback Wednesday." The main criteria element is that the material must be at least five years old. So as of this blog post, all Wayback Wednesday features material from 2009 or earlier. Nothing from 2010 or later will be featured. All Wayback Wednesday selections go in chronological order from earliest to oldest. So more recent material is featured before going to least recent material. For example, a song from 2003 will be shown followed by a song either from that same year or before 2003.

Here's the quick rundown:
• material that is at least five years old is featured.
• selected material is from more recent to less recent.
• not every selection is music.

This is a sample post:

Wayback Wednesday: (Month Day, Year)

(song arist - song title, or title) (year)
(description)
(link to video)

I decide to post just a link to the video rather than slow down the performance of my blog with embedded YouTube videos. Links to some videos may or may not be available all the time. You're basically clicking at your own discretion in this sense.


Depending on traffic and other considerations, I may start this as a common feature of my blog. Having said all of this... let's begin!



--- Wayback Wednesday: Selections ---

Here are the songs I've selected for this Wednesday. Click on the links to view the YouTube videos associated with the individual songs. NOTE: Certain restrictions may apply to some of the material I've selected- such as (but not limited to) age restrictions. Be wary of this if you decide to click on any of the provided links to this post.

If you like to comment, feel free to let me know which songs you like from this list I selected.


Wayback Wednesday: December 3, 2014

Let's do this!

Pharrell - Show you How to Hustle (2006)
Just because this song came from a video game doesn't mean it is off-limits to include in these posts. Music is music. This was maybe my favorite song from the soundtrack to "Need for Speed: Carbon." A little bit of the beat to this song inspired me when I posted a sample hip-hop beat in a YouTube video. Have a listen. (WARNING: bad language!)


Charlotte Church - Moodswings (2005)
When Charlotte Church decided to take on more pop music apart from being an incredibly talented sopranoist, it was met a bit with skepticism. Even I feared she might not be as enjoyable in the pop world apart from her sweet classical music style. This song is perhaps my favorite of hers since leaving the realm of classical music.


David Morales feat. Lea-Lorien - How Would U Feel? (2004)
Time to change over to electronic dance music. Namely here, some house music. This was one of two different songs I really liked in the mid-2000s. The version I found here is the extended mix. Even if you don't have time on your hands, this is still worth a good listen.


DJ Jonathan Peters feat. Sylver - After All This Time (2004 or 2005)
The other of two songs I liked a lot from the mid-2000s is this one. This time, it is DJ Jonathan Peters with Sylver. Unlike the song above, this one is the Radio Edit. This one is one to enjoy on a Saturday night or so. Go ahead- click the link above and enjoy.


Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing) (1998)
In the 1990s, one of the better hip-hop groups was The Fugees. One of The Fugees is one lady named Lauryn Hill. Here is a fun and cool song of hers that I'm sure you'll enjoy. Great rhymes and some nice beats make this song memorable. This one is a cool song. Have a listen.


Chumbawamba - Tubthumping (1997)
My brother hated these guys! Can you believe that before this song came out, Chumbawamba never had a hit song in about 13 years (or so I heard)? Time for this British group to get you going with this classic. Heck... I sometimes look to this song as a motivator- especially the chorus. Time to rock out!


Olive - You're Not Alone (1996)
Here is a classic in the electronic dance music realm. I've heard several remixes of this one in the past. Songs that get remixed so much are obviously hot enough to where everybody seems to have their own mix for it. What you're going to get here is a lovely tune with some great beats and amazing singing. After all... this one is a classic for a reason.


Los Del Rio - Macarena (1994)
I remember once at a Joe's Crab Shack here in Houston, we were celebrating my mom's birthday. One of the biggest dance crazes of the '90s was the macarena. The '90s are going to hit you hard here. Don't know Macarena? Get to know it by checking out this music video. Click on the link above and enjoy. You're welcome.


Boyz II Men - Let it Snow (1993)
This one is probably most appropriate as we head towards Christmas. Enjoy some Boyz II Men with this smooth and lovely song. This is not any official video. What you're getting here is just this fine song from one of my all-time favorite R&B groups- Boyz II Men. Unless you don't like Boyz II Men, how can you not like this song?


En Vogue - My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) (1992)
Destiny's Child the best female R&B group in the '90s? Four women may respectfully disagree with you. Who are they? Meet En Vogue. One of my favorite songs of theirs is "My Lovin'." These ladies have some great flow and style. Listen for yourself! Nothing like '90s R&B. Where the heck has music gone since?


Sade - Smooth Operator (1984)
Here is Sade with "Smooth Operator." Take it easy and chill out with this classic. Or as Aaron Rodgers famously said this year, "R-E-L-A-X... relax." Or as Joakim Noah famously said this year, "chill the f*** out." You get the idea, right? Just enjoy the dang song already. :)


Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting (1974)
Yeah. Rewind 10 years (I accidentally typed "fast forward" when I'm supposed to take you BACK in time!) from the previous entry. My browsing around on YouTube led me to this original version of this song. Get ready to do some Kung Fu fighting. It's go time- 1974 style!


Flower Drum Song - Enjoy Being a Girl (1961)
Girly-girls, unite! A lot of my audience is feminine. So I'm sure this one will tickle your fancy. One time, I curiously came across this song when I was in college looking around on YouTube. One of my Myspace friends had a little graphic that said "Enjoy Being a Girl." After having a listen to this song, I thought it was a rather cute number. This one goes WAY back- 1961 in fact. Enjoy this one... even if you're a guy! :)

I must warn you the video may be a bit loud. The sound issues aren't too annoying, though.


Gene Autry - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949)
The year 2014 marks the golden (50th) anniversary of the claymation "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" cartoon. In honor of this, my final post for this Wednesday is dedicated to the world's most popular reindeer. This is also the oldest song I've featured in any of my "Wayback Wednesday" posts- even when I exclusively shared YouTube videos through my Facebook profile page. Please enjoy this classic song. Welcome to 1949!




This concludes another "Wayback Wednesday" post of mine. To check out the latest posts in the "Wayback Wednesday" category, click this link: Wayback Wednesday.





I hope you enjoyed this Wayback Wednesday post. Thank you for reading!

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The OUYA is an Android-powered gaming console first released in 2013. I don't own an OUYA, nor have played with one; however, I do have interest in getting or trying one out. Many people have long written off the OUYA console for many different reasons. The way I look at the OUYA, it has potential and plenty of appeal. However, is it appealing enough to justify a purchase? Is it something worthwhile for the long term? I will offer my own personal thoughts of the OUYA- as someone whom has never used or touched the device as of the initial posting of this thread. I invite my readers/visitors to offer their own reaction in case they find my thoughts to be of interest.

BEFORE I BEGIN...

Because I don't own an OUYA as of this post, I am only sharing thoughts on the OUYA based on various impressions I've gotten from others around the Internet.





--- OUYA Thoughts ---

Never seen the OUYA before? Don't know what it looks like? Here is your first look at it:

OUYA
^ from: www.amazon.com - This is the OUYA gaming console, powered by Android.

I have loads of thoughts on this topic. Check out all the different ideas and such I have to share. Each thought of mine is exhibited in each of the headings to this blog post. Have a look around and enjoy your time here...


OUYA: My Introduction.

This is not a formal introduction to the OUYA. Instead, it is the OUYA as I understand it. Here is the OUYA as I understand it...

(NOTE: Some topics mentioned in this blog post may appear again in future blog posts here on "John's Blog Space.")

Circa 2012, a woman named Julie Uhrman founded a gaming console powered by the Android mobile interface called OUYA (pronounced "ooh-yuh"). A Kickstarter was successful for funds to be made to create this system. This console would start being produced and marketed a year later. Throughout its existence, the OUYA has been a work-in-progress for all intents and purposes. It is steadily evolving and steadily trying to find new ways to become a success. Among the consumer crowd at large, however, the OUYA has been a failure. The only people whom have given this console a chance are mostly those who love independent (indie) games and those who play with emulators. Those who prefer industry-level, Triple-A, cutting edge games and technology will be vastly disappointed with the OUYA. What you WILL get, however, is mostly an experience featuring a handful of games from indie developers along with some titles from heavyweights like SEGA.

You may run into problems if you don't have any kind of HDTV because the OUYA only has HDMI output. So if you don't have an HDTV, you may be unable to fully enjoy the OUYA. You may be able to buy adapters and such that convert HDMI input to VGA or various other inputs if you don't have a TV or a monitor that takes advantage of HDMI inputs.

The system allows you to connect controllers to it via Bluetooth. The OUYA controller takes a couple of AA batteries. It has 15 buttons as well as a unique touchpad. If you want to do multiplayer action with the OUYA, you'll need to buy extra controllers. I have, however, heard of people who use a PlayStation 3 controller or an XBOX 360 controller instead as a gamepad for the OUYA. Look around online on how to use those effectively. The OUYA is primarily a gaming device, but it does offer some other non-gaming services like YouTube and Facebook.

I've only mostly found OUYA consoles sold at Target stores. The console sells for about $99 US dollars (excluding tax).


Potential.

The potential of the OUYA is vast. Some people just don't give some things a chance. This is either because they don't want something to thrive or because they don't see much in anything for it to be a success. The OUYA definitely has potential even if it seems like a continual work in progress. OUYA had a celebration earlier this month regarding over 1,000 games you can play on the OUYA. In fact, check this out:


^ "OUYA 1,000 Games"

When something has potential, it means it is capable of much more than what some people may initially think about it. It is usually in response to most critics thinking something substandard is unable to be a success. Think of it like a performance automobile or some device that could do a lot more or perform a lot better than what it is originally capable of. It won't be the best thing money can buy, but with dedication and a vision, it can be become something legendary. Why do you think weak or failing sports teams ultimately become contenders and championship winners? It is because of potential. And in my view, the OUYA has loads of potential. It is just that the OUYA's potential may or may not be realized or recognized among people trying to make it special. The OUYA can remain a "who cares?" piece of gaming junk, or it can be something to captivate and go leaps and bounds among its opposition.

It can take only one person or multiple people to try to make the OUYA into something special. Game developers can make it happen. It can be major companies creating great games for the OUYA. Conversely, it could be indie developers who make games for the OUYA that are every bit as enjoyable and as creative as any Triple-A level developer.

To an extent, I am even tempted to want to develop games for the OUYA. I feel that if other developers can make content for something like the OUYA, maybe I can try my hand at making games for the system. It would be a way just to get myself out there or contribute to the OUYA and its game lineup.

In regards to the indie scene, that leads to my next point on the OUYA...


The Independent (Indie) Gaming Scene and OUYA.

You still have to credit the OUYA as being a competent platform for gaming if developers are making games to be played on the OUYA. At least it shows people actually care and actually want to design titles for a console. I can basically name-bomb a few gaming consoles that failed- one of which I actually wanted back then. At least the OUYA is getting support unlike consoles like... the Virtual Boy (which I actually wanted back then), the N-Gage, the 3D0, and countless other consoles that never became any more popular than they could have been.

I think it is the indie game scene in which the OUYA thrives in. There are people who design mobile games to be run on Android (and even iOS). Some indie games even find their way onto the major consoles. Most indie games and most indie game developers will never garner the attention most industry-standard games and developers. But if to be noticed in any manner, the OUYA offers a great showcase of the indie gaming realm.

A vast majority of the OUYA's lineup of games is developed by independent developers. Some people may probably ask, "why should I care what indie developers make?" This is probably a question that should be answered in a separate blog post. Let me answer that question right here, right now. Indie developers want to make their own titles because they want to offer a gaming experience different from most industry titles. There is a character to indie games that most top-tier developers can't match or better. Not every game has to be at the level of "Call of Duty" or "World of Warcraft" to be worth caring about. I think a variety of indie developers couldn't care less if their games lack the polish and charm of major franchises and systems. Most important to these developers is in providing game experiences outside of the mainstream. The fact they even care to release their material on systems like OUYA shows a level of dedication and respect in wanting to get themselves noticed.


Pay to Enjoy?

One of the first things I am uncertain of with the OUYA is the whole idea of free games, but then have to pay if you want to enjoy the full game. I've heard and seen of prompts by the OUYA interface for you to buy the game if you want to play it for longer or to access more content. This basically sounds like you're getting to play the game for free... up until a certain point. However, and unlike with gaming in the past, you can pay for the game in full without needing to find it in a brick and mortar store. You are getting the full game once you download it to your OUYA- all you are doing is pay for the game if you want additional content or if you enjoyed it. It is similar to buying full versions of games from free trials from PlayStation Network, WiiWare, and XBOX Live.

So how would I explain this? From impressions I've received, you get these digital-only games to play. If you want to fully enjoy each experience, you'll need to purchase the game. I've read a number of stories about poor security of OUYA accounts and trouble regarding the use of credit cards and debit cards to buy games (unless you have OUYA gaming credits you can buy online). This is really the shakiest aspect of the OUYA experience in my opinion. Can I be sure I can enjoy the OUYA for some time to come without feeling my money and/or account are being compromised?

It has been a simple process- if you want to enjoy a full experience from a game that you love, pay full price for it (granted it isn't a completely free game). Most games, from what I've come across in my research of this topic, cost about $2 US dollars to maybe $5 US Dollars. Compare that to paying upwards of between $39.99 US dollars to $59.99 US dollars for games from major companies and developers. OUYA even offers pre-paid gift cards that allow you to buy OUYA games without needing a credit card or a debit card. Unless you REALLY love the OUYA and really want to have a vast library of OUYA titles, you shouldn't have to want to spend too much money to purchase as many titles as you enjoy. What you get for the money depends on what each experience from each OUYA game means to you.


OUYA as a Console Contender.

I think two things make a console unique and respected: (1) offering an experience only it can offer best, and (2) having a list of games that make it stand out apart from others. Where does the OUYA stand in these two departments? According to most people, it doesn't offer much of anything to be worth any attention. It doesn't hit the right notes in being any tour de force in gaming. Let me be a bit more harsh- some people would probably even say the Nintendo Wii U is a bigger force in gaming than the OUYA, since people love taking shots at Nintendo and thinking the company is only a shadow of its former self compared to Sony and Microsoft.

I've always hated the gaming argument of one console and one game. What I mean is, people only buying one console for one game. It is a waste of money if you only get a game console for just one game when you COULD buy a gaming console to play and enjoy many games made for it. Did people buy the Sega Genesis/Megadrive just to play "Sonic the Hedgehog?" No- many bought one for gaming experiences Nintendo couldn't provide. Did people buy an XBOX just to play HALO? No- some love what the XBOX lineup provides that other consoles can't, and of course... XBOX Live. It is all about offering a total experience that keeps people coming back for more. To some people, the OUYA just doesn't do it that well. And therefore- it fails as a gaming console in the eyes of most people because it simply doesn't have that "killer app" or that set of "killer apps" that solidifies the OUYA as a quality gaming console.


These are the various thoughts of mine that I've shared on the OUYA. Time now to bring everything all together and offer some final thoughts.



--- OUYA Thoughts: Final Thoughts ---

My impressions and thoughts on the OUYA point to the fact that this console has plenty of potential and is more than capable of being a better console than most people make it out to be. I have never spent a second using the OUYA in preparing this entire blog post. Despite this, I think the OUYA can really be something special. Many can argue it is already something special as it is. In that case, it can only get better; but HOW much better? It can only get better as people still see potential in the OUYA and want to develop quality games for the system.

One of my other impressions on the OUYA is that it wasn't designed to replace your PlayStation, your Wii, or your XBOX. It is very unlikely the OUYA will be anything to overwhelm the major systems, especially when you consider this is a console running on mobile hardware. I am not even sure this console will be anything to write home about as being anything to trump the major consoles. At best, many people see this as an underrated console mostly good to most people for media consumption rather than gaming. Even still, there is a lot to be had with OUYA as well as a lot to be desired.

The OUYA has immense potential. Its potential alone is enough to warrant a purchase, especially when the possibility exists of it being continually bigger and better into the future. I even have had some interest in developing games and other content for the OUYA. If I ever own an OUYA, I will be sure to look for ways to enhance my experience with the OUYA. The gaming front for OUYA is mostly a showcase of indie gaming. There may be a possibility of more titles from bigger developers, but I don't think the OUYA really NEEDS Triple-A developer support to become marketable. The OUYA has loads of potential that has yet for it to seriously push over the top. Even if just for indie game developers to have their moment to shine, the OUYA is a great platform towards offering such a base for which to be exposed. In fact, here is a quote I heard in a video in regards to the OUYA from one game developer:

"Until now, indie games were still missing a designated hardware platform, an indie console, and that is the OUYA. The OUYA gives indies a home, and we are excited to be part of this adventure."

-Matthias Titze and Felix Möckel of Golden Triangle

The fact the OUYA even has a suite dedicated to helping people build games for the OUYA shows the OUYA team cares about giving developers much needed face time but also to show anyone can make a game that can be enjoyed on the system. OUYA doesn't want to just have big money developers make games for the system. You basically have a chance to be your own top-tier developer and make games for others to enjoy! What creative gamer or game lover wouldn't want the opportunity to develop and sell quality games- even if "relegated" to the indie scene? The OUYA website even said one game was made by an eight-year old! So this is a huge opportunity even if you are a hobbyist game developer.

If you're expecting gaming superlatives for the OUYA, look elsewhere. But if you want a console capable of so many things and has so much potential that most people fail to realize or reach, the OUYA is definitely worthy of at least trying out- let alone buying one.





--- For More Information... ---

I hope you found my impression-based thoughts on the OUYA gaming console to be enjoyable. For more information on the OUYA and all it has to offer, I have prepared the following links for you to visit. Take a look around and enjoy!

OUYA
OUYA on Facebook
Follow OUYA on Twitter (@playouya)!
OUYA on YouTube
OUYA on Google+
OUYA on Instagram

...or you can get one yourself online! Use these:


OUYA on Amazon
OUYA on eBay


If the OUYA Team and/or Julie Uhrman are Reading This...

I have not played the OUYA as of this blog post, nor do I own one. I do have some interest in getting one. People have loved you and loathed you. I am one of the ones who have strong interest in the OUYA as well as in seeing an immense amount of potential for this system. Continue to develop this system to be something truly special- more so than it already is.


And this concludes my impression-based look at the OUYA gaming console.





Before I get to the conclusion, I'd like to know your thoughts...

What do you think about the OUYA gaming console? Do you really care if it is or isn't as capable as the major consoles? Why do you think some people have given up on the OUYA or declare it "dead?"

If you enjoyed your time here and enjoyed my commentary, feel free to Subscribe and Follow my blogging work. I do more blog posts on a variety of topics than this one you just read about. So please take a look at my other blogs to see what other madness I have to offer to the Internet. Thank you for reading!

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