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Agasicles Stamas
Works at Geeks with Wives
Attended Stevens Institute of Technology
Lives in Central VA
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My Gaming Diary for Monday, 27 July, 2015 - Nitro Nation (LG G3), Asphalt 8 and Asphalt 7 (Toshiba Z10t-A2110) - It's the beginning of the week, so that means that a couple of in-app purchases are allowed. Other than that, it is apparently wheels week in the GearWERKZ, although not entirely intentionally.

Nitro Nation (Android) - Despite its generous 32GB of onboard storage, I do not have that many games loaded on the LG G3. Nitro Nation is only the second. While simplistic in nature, Nitro Nation offers good visuals and gives that simple glee you get from mashing a button at just the right time. While I normally eschew drag racing games, something about Nitro Nations combined challenge coupled with ease of use, has me interested.

Asphalt 8 (Windows 8.1) - tonight was the first time that I felt like I saw a performance hit in any of these Windows Store games. I knew that Asphalt 8 was one step up on the punishment scale from Asphalt 7 no matter what hardware you choose to run it on. The game is wired to make you really incentived to pay to progress. At this stage, I have to go back and execute perfect runs in each of the six races on Season 1 to progress to Season 2. While I might normally consider this tedious, I look forward to it in Asphalt 8. I needed to finish a race tonight, including doing a barrel roll and triggering a perfect nitrous boost, both challenges that required more effort than simply zoning out around the track would allow.

Asphalt 7 (Windows 8.1) - there are a few things mixed up in this game that, after experiencing them, makes me glad that they got the game to run at all. The Asphalt series of racing games hails from the mobile scene, so I am not surprised to see some bugs here and there.Controller support is a bit wonky, as using the gamepad in the menus is implemented as a virtual pointer, requiring you to scroll around the screen with the left joystick. In-game, things work well, although having the nitrous button be one of the shoulder buttons feels awkward maybe 50% of the time. Still, great fun racing these track and cars as always.
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My gaming Diary for Saturday, 25 July 2015 => Halo: Spartan Assault and Hydro Thunder: Hurricane (Windows 8) - I got some time this afternoon while the girls were sleeping to squeeze in about an hour of gametime. This was my last session in both of these games for the week before hardware turnover tomorrow night. I had an added bonus in this session in that it was time to convert my workstation back to the standing rig. I also moved the Toshiba Z10t back into its docking station, connected it to the Viewsonic 27" IPS LCD, and went back to using my Logitech T650 Touchpad for mousing control. I can't wait to move into the new place and get back to my normal workstation cfg's.

Halo: Spartan Assault (Toshiba Z10t) - I am just past the two-thirds point towards completing this game. I am seeing the tougher missions crop up more frequently, so it's a good idea that I made an in-app purchase last weekend for credits to expend towards better mission equipment. I don't know my Covenant lore, but those enemies that swing the warhammers are showing up more and more. One hit from those guys is an insta-kill, and pretty much the only thing they will respect and pay attention to is a Rocket Launcher or Spartan Laser

Hydro Thunder: Hurricane (Toshiba Z10t) - I am still incredibly impressed how well this game renders on a Core i5 machine with an integrated Intel GPU. And I paid less than $500 for this machine. We're way past Minesweeper and Solitaire, folks, with what a Windows machine can do out of the box without any special gaming hardware in it. Those people claiming PC gaming is too hard...think about it. Hydro Thunder is absolutley great for quick, cheap thirlls. I caught a solid five minutes of air this afternoon between the three races I ran. I finally cracked open a Pro-series boat for an unlock, and that is just tasty. All of the speed of the Miss Behave, with the maneuverability of the Vector. Makes running a Gauntlet a lot more of a joy. 
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E is for Extinction #2 review is up - over at GWW. Checkitout!!
A fresh creative team takes takes pen, pencil, and ink to a legendary Marvel tale with their own unique riff on an old theme. Extinction can be good.
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My Gaming Diary for Thursday, July 23rd, 2015: more Halo: Spartan Assault and Hydro Thunder (Windows 8) - I struggle a bit with what to call these games. i do not want to call them PC games; they're not from Steam and they couldn't be installed from a disc-based executable. I am using the Windows 8 games label for now. Maybe I'll go back to calling them Metro games. I really wish Microsoft had stuck with that branding for apps from the Microsoft Store. One additional note, that I am very pleased that I got those rubber grips for my XBox 360 Controller for Windows. I do not remember these controllers being this slippery back in the XBox 360 days, but the PC version sure as heck is. I've also been playing with configuring and costing a custom gaming rig to replace the Lenovo G505s when it goes end-of-life later this year. The Origin Eon17-xPro that I've targeted rang up at just shy of $3k. Time to start saving pennies.

Halo: Spartan Assualt - I am continuing to play this on the Toshiba Portege Z10t-A2110. It plays great. Damned smooth and feels just like being on a console. I ran into some trouble on the penultimate mission of section C-4. Protecting those snipers was undoing me when I got to the last sniper, who gets charged by suicide grants wearing explosives. Mixing up my weapons loadout, specifically bringing a Spartan Laser on the mission, evened the odds. 

Hydro Thunder: Hurricane - Playing this on the same 2-in-1, the Toshi. I am starting to unlock more levels and get a few more boats. I am not really a fan of how this game forces you to incrementally play the other modes as you build up more unlocks. In other words, you can only get through 2 Races before you have to go play Gauntlet mode, and then complete two Gauntlets before you can play Ring mode., etc. I like to play one mode in a session, generally, in racing games. This model is forcing me to hopscotch back and forth across modes, sometimes to the point of only running a single race before you are forced to go play another. Still, on track the game is rocking fun, although Ring mode is my least favorite. And despite the fact that some boats are seen as level ups, they are not necessarily progressive in terms of how they perform in a specific event. I wound up finishing my Gauntlet events in the first boat, the Vector, after failing it several times in the 3rd unlock boat, MIss Behave.
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My Gaming Diary for Sunday, 19 July, 2015: Halo: Spartan Assault and Hydro Thunder: Hurricane - I've known about and been an advocate for Windows 8 gaming on PC's since the OS launched. But the truth is, I rarely make time in my schedule to play those games myself. By Windows 8 games, I mean the games you buy from the Windows Store in the Metro interface. Many of these games are wonderful, and look just great on any PC. My business-oriented 2-in-1, a Toshiba Z10t-A2110 is transformed into a gaming rig similar to an XBox 360 on a PC when I boot one of these games up. Despite being outfitted with an integrated Intel GPU, pulling these games down gives me a highly portable traveling arcade on hardware that no gamer associates with PC games. The games are just as viable and just as fun as the average game on a console or on Steam. The best mileage comes from playing with an XBox 360 Controller for the PC.

Halo: Spartan Assault - I've been putting time in on this title in short sessions over the past couple of days. An orphaned game from my backlog, it is no full-blown Halo title, but it is jam-packed with fun nonetheless. I am about 2/3d's of the way through the game, and have played a few levels where you can enter both the Covenant and UNSC style tanks. Driving one of these in top down view and wrecking Covenant fools is sublime. One down-check is that making in-app purchases were not immediately recognized. in fact, the game initially told me that the credits purchase had failed. But the points showed up a few minutes later, allowing me to buy upgraded hardware for my Spartans.

Hydro Thunder: Hurricane - developed by mobile game experts Vector Unit, you can readily detect the Riptide DNA in this title. It is a barrel of rip-roaring fun, although the on-track AI does not offer much of a challenge. But the tracks, scenery, rock slides, and water are beautiful. I never played this game much in the arcades, but always enjoyed watching other people playing it. Unlocks, consisting of new boats and new tracks, keep me interested.
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Whooooooo!!!! GWW Radio's What's Your Issue Episode #2 is posted - Check out our talk show about the week that was in comics for the shipping week of 08 June 20151
The weekly Geeks with Wives Radio show where we discuss everything that we've read in single issue comics for the past shipping week.
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The Geeks on Screen crew breaks down Ant-Man - an all-star cast from the Geeks with Wives writing staff enters the spoilercast arena. It's a barn-burner in the tubes tonight as we explore everything from casting to the end-credit scenes!
The GWW Crew come together for a spoiler filled discussion on the latest Marvel Studio's film: Ant-Man
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My Gaming Diary for Friday, 24 July, 2015 - Alpha Wave and Asphalt 7 (nVidia Shield Portable), God of War HD (PS3) - the Shield Portable continues to show its worth, yielding plenty of great gameplay in a portable package and with a physical controller.

Alpha Wave (nVidia Shield Portable) - I guess I discovered that levels within a difficulty band, do end. Like, they do not start over or go on forever. That's fine, it just shifts my focus on leaderboards to individual races and how I did overall and my top score per level. Either way, this is a great game. I also realized just how loud the speakers are on the Shield Portable while retaining a solid amount of bass. Glad I've held onto this one.

Asphalt 7  (nVidia Shield Portable) - Despite the fact that the Shield Portable refuses to turn off screen-tilt in this game, I still love it. I've learned to tilt my head a little, like I would on a tablet or phone, and that works.Engines roar, decals and other customizations for the cars, pretty visuals rendered on the Shield's display...what's not to love here?

God of War HD (PS3) - arguably the most engaging title I am playing right now, I am getting some quality time in with Kratos. This is before elements of controversy, both public and internal, led to changes at Sony Santa Monica. And that is great. Seeing and experiencing the story through the eyes of the original creative team? Priceless. 
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My review of All-New Hawkeye #4 is up - Check it out!!!
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My Gaming Diary for Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 - Alpha Wave (nVidia Shield Portable) and God of War HD (PS3) - The nVidia Shield Portable is definitely one of those devices that has driven me to start monitoring how much time I put in on a given device. A superbly exquisite gaming platform, the Shield Portable was the first piece of hardware that showed me what nVidia could do with Android as a gaming platform. But overall I have not put that much time in gaming on it. With the wife and kids out of town, this week has been a good week for catching up.

Alpha Wave (nVidia Shield Portable) - While I was a horrible arcade gamer back in my youth, I absolutely love this game. I tend to shy away from anything that looks, smells, walks, and talks like an '80s arcade game, but the devs at Hardline Studios have put all of the eye and ear candy needed to bring me over that divide. Alpha Wave is pure Cold War era gaming bliss. My hands sweat. My heart rate goes up, and I frequently die just when I thought I only needed another split second to trigger a bomb or a hyper weapon. The best thing about this game is that it is one of those mobile titles that lets you play for 5 minutes or 50.

God of War HD (PS3) - Sony has been hacking me off with some of the firmware updates that they have been doing to the PS3 that actually take some capabilities away. But I could not resist grabbing this title, which is on sale for $14.99 this month for PS Plus subscribers. In preps for the move, I did some downsizing, and got rid of my 2006 launch window PS3 which had the hardware backwards capability built in, as well as my copy of God of War for the PS2 that I had. I never finished it, and this is one of those console generation defining games that I regret not having played. This is a chance at redemption, and to correct that error. While I am still cranky about what it took to defeat the Hydra this morning, I plan on putting more time in on the game tonight. There have been a few tidbits added in the remake, and, most importantly, they've added trophies. 
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Apps I'm Into => Daily Notes (iOS) - I've been writing posts in this series for a long time. Not frequently, but it's been a thing on my blogging tasklist for the better part of the last 5 years. I realized today that, while there are these "apps I'm into" from time to time, those are mostly apps that I'm just getting around to finally using, or bona fide new apps. But those are both beasts of a similar pelt. Then there is an entirely different category of apps that I don't just revisit from time to time, but that I am actually religious about.

Daily Notes on iOS is one of those. If I were the type of person who would ever settle down on a static number of apps that I would use consistently (ya know; like normal people do), then this one would definitely be in the kit. You see, I did not hate skeuomorphism. I staunchly differ with those who have declared such design sacrilegious and that everything has to be flat. One thing that entirely flat design does, particularly in notebook apps, is that it removes much of the differentiation between the various controls. And that leaves complex apps an entirely muddled mess.

Penultimate is an absolutely shit-app, for instance, since it went chasing after the flat design. It is entirely confusing how to navigate around that notebook environment. So I applaud apps like Daily Notes that have held onto their skeuomorphic design and presented me a day planner design that pretty much functions like a day planner.

If you are someone who organizes data in their head chronologically, then Daily Notes' daily diary approach will be welcome. Zap in new tabs to compartmentalize areas of concern by topic. When I have used an iPad as a BYOD in the workplace, I have set up tabs for each major project or area of responsibility that I've had and used those tabs as my daily running tasklist and status capture. The app is also aesthetically pleasing and I get a warm comforting feeling whenever I open it. I reckon it would work well in an academic environment as well, or as a household management app. I love it, and strongly recommend you check it out.
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Robin: Son of Batman #2 Review is posted - Over at GeeksWithWives of course. Patrick Gleason may be the one who turns Damian Wayne into a character that I can read and still keep my food down. This is good stuff!
Robin with a Hood rocks! We follow Damian on is journey to South America, and through adolescence as well. He's learned a lot, but now he's on his own.
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Have him in circles
38 people
Dan G's profile photo
Andrew Barton's profile photo
Gamers Sphere's profile photo
Evan Podlaseck's profile photo
Will Elizondo's profile photo
Seth Engelhardt's profile photo
Joe Barhoum's profile photo
CasualAdultGamers's profile photo
Elemental “Elementalstorm” Storm's profile photo
Education
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
    2013
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Freelance writer, blogger, and columnist for tech, games, comics, and entertainment
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  • Geeks with Wives
    Writer and Podcaster, present
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