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Flappy Bird is the embodiment of our descent into madness

It was after around the 14th or 15th time I'd seen "Game Over" flash across my iPhone screen in the last maybe seven minutes that I decided that the app Flappy Bird -- an experience so simultaneously simple and maddening that I could already picture it haunting my dreams -- was perhaps the worst smartphone game ever created.

I had hit a high score of 12 on my fifth attempt, finding myself secretly elated at the speedy proficiency of my mindless tapping timing. And then I proceeded to lose after earning a single point -- literally just one successful obstacle cleared -- about 10 times in a row. Before I knew it, I was sitting there at my desk, heat crawling up the back of my neck, ready to shake my phone in frustration like a '90s kid ready to dismantle his NES controller during the "Turbo Tunnel" level of Battletoads.… Read more

The Room Two takes puzzle solving into a mysterious world

The Room Two is the hotly anticipated sequel to one of the most celebrated puzzle games on iOS, and after playing through a few levels, I can tell you it raises the bar that was already set high with the original game. This made-for-touch-screen puzzle adventure includes incredible graphics, a mysterious storyline, eerie atmospheric sound effects, and complex puzzles that will have you pulling out your hair trying to figuring out your next move.

The original The Room won Apple's Game of the Year for 2012, along with several other awards, and the sequel gives you more of the … Read more

How to switch to energy-saving mode on the Xbox One

Powering on the Xbox One by voice command is a pretty cool feature, though you might feel a little silly doing so at first. Responding to the "Xbox on" command is one of the features of instant-on power mode. Instant-on power mode starts up the Xbox One in just 2 seconds and also lets automatic updates occur. For those who frequently play games, watch videos via Netflix and Amazon, or have live TV set up, instant-on will probably be the preferred power mode. For all others, the energy-saving mode may be the better choice.

The Xbox One's … Read more

A three-step plan to save Nintendo

Nintendo is in a bad place.

In case you missed the news this week, Nintendo's earnings are down, and the Wii U in particular is suffering from terrible sales. Nintendo's answer? Well, that really isn't clear.

Promises have been made to make more out of the GamePad -- the console's touch-screen controller -- on the Wii U and also to put Nintendo DS games on the Wii U. And, even, to enter the health entertainment market; not necessarily a bad idea considering what a phenomenon the Wii Fit was several years ago.

But Nintendo, as a … Read more

How to install SteamOS on your computer

Valve, the gaming company behind the hit series Half-Life, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and Portal, is looking to change the industry once again. With more than 75 million users and a market share estimated at around 75 percent, the company's Steam digital distribution platform has already changed the way computer owners purchase and play games.

Unsatisfied with the way the game console market has shifted in recent years, Valve in 2013 announced a new strategy for invading the living room. The company created SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system designed for playing video games.

SteamOS computers, also known as Steam Machines, … Read more

Discless Xbox One would be amazing, but too radical a move for Microsoft

When a NeoGaf user started leaking Xbox One-related bombshells Wednesday night, alarms must have started going off in Redmond.

Microsoft has since come out and confirmed that yes, its first Xbox One dashboard update will indeed come in March, and yes, the company will be releasing its previously employee-only all-white console later this year. The rumors didn't stop there, and ranged from leaked photos of the purported Titanfall bundle to a concise roadmap for the Halo series.

But what was most important to the future of Xbox hardware -- and the console market as a whole -- slipped in … Read more

Xbox One rumors abound: March update, white console, and more

The Xbox One rumor mill is on overdrive. Word has it that the console could come in white, might get an update in March, will arrive in more markets, and could soon be available without a Blu-ray drive.

These speculations come via a report from The Verge, which has been checking out online forums and talking to inside sources. Chief among the rumors is a possible major update to Xbox One's dashboard. Apparently, Microsoft is working to fix various issues with the console's Live service. This update release could come as soon as March.

The Verge has also … Read more

Great smartphone games to get ready for 'the big game'

The big game is this coming weekend, and most Americans will tell you it's a lot more than just a football game. Many people make an event out of the game with parties, barbecues, and betting pools, even if their favorite team isn't in the running. My team lost a week ago, but you can bet I'll be watching just for the fanfare. Even the commercials shown during the game are an event in themselves with advertisers spending huge amounts of money for 30 second and one minute spots.

While you wait for next Sunday's festivities … Read more

Yes, Google does want Glass users to scare you on the street

If there's one thing Google is trying to achieve with Google Glass, it's normality.

It wants you to believe that it's nothing special for someone to walk down the street wearing odd glasses, with a camera attached.

Why, it's even trying to make the glasses look less odd for prescription wearers (with limited success).

Here's a scenario, though. You're walking down the street. In the opposite direction walks a man wearing Google Glass. He is constantly shouting: "Bang! Bang!" … Read more

Tales of Phantasia gets a US release on iOS

Originally released for the SNES in Japan, in 1995, Tales of Phantasia steadily gained a cult following both in its home country and abroad for its creative gameplay system and storyline. So much so that fan-translations of the game became widely famous due to the lack of an official English release. It wasn't until 2006 that Namco Bandai finally released an English voice and text port for the Game Boy Advanced. Eight years after that, we finally see a mobile release on iOS; but the direction they chose to take it in is sorely disappointing.

From a design standpoint, … Read more