What’s In The Box? It’s An iPhone 5s!

It was finally time to upgrade my phone and ditch the Motorola Droid X2 that has the bane of my existence for several months. Actually, my contract was up back in July but I waited until September when the new iPhone would be released. I even ordered it online as soon as it was available. No, I didn’t stay up all night clicking refresh on my browser trying to hit the Apple store as soon as it was available. I was sick as a dog and woke up with a coughing fit ten minutes before the store starting sell the new iPhone. Figuring it would be overwhelmed anyway, I was surprised to find that I was able to log in and process my order on the first try. Even with the immediacy of the order, it still took until the next Wednesday for the phone to arrive. Guess that is what happens when everything is shipped from China. On to the box…and the phone.

iPhone5s.box

If you’ve ever opened and iPhone box before then you really aren’t going to be shocked. Rip off the shrink wrap, pull off the box top, and BAM!!! phone.

iPhone5s.open.box

Then you pull out the phone and the insert below it to find the documentation pack, so to speak.

iPhone5s.contents

You see your headphones, data cable, and power adapter but back to the documentation or the lack there of.

iPhone5s.cards

Seriously??? It’s not even a book, booklet, or fold out. It is two cards. That’s it. I think the stickers are just as informative.

The iPhone 5s looks and feels very very very similar to the iPhone 5. For comparison, you’ll see the “Space Grey” iPhone 5s next to a White iPhone 5.

iPhone5s.front

iPhone5s.back

I guess they are calling it Space Grey rather than black because the back is not the solid black back piece on previous models. If you notice, I caught my fingers in the picture. Don’t worry, that’s just a reflection off of the plastic coating that gets pulled off. The finish is not as shiny as the plastic cover and the grey is slightly darker then the silver backing of the white iPhone 5.

Feels like an iPhone, looks like an iPhone, must be an iPhone. Now that it is out of the box, we’ll get to using it.

Audio unboxing…enjoy…or not.

[audio http://k002.kiwi6.com/hotlink/vq9irdd767/witb-002-iphone5s.m4a]
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Galaga Legions OXOX

Galaga Legions DXIt’s nice to play a refresh of an arcade classic.

If you are not familiar with the arcade original, here is the quick version. You control a spaceship and are trying to destroy all the enemy spaceships to clear the area. Want more detail? In the original, you could only shoot forward, move side to side, and had a limited ability to move forward.

Galaga Legions DX gives you a graphical refresh and slight game play changes. The graphics for the areas and ships have been updated but you have the option to change to several different styles. The original graphics are available as well as a Pac-Man style. In this version of the game, you have the ability to aim your guns in different directions. However, the aiming ability is not always available.

It was fun to go play this game again. My first exposure to this game was on an arcade machine and I probably haven’t played it since. Not much was lost in that time. I still lost hours playing through the areas. I did kind of miss mashing the fire button. This was replaced by using the right analog stick to control firing and aiming but that was just not as satisfying. It did save my thumb from being as sore though.

Best part? FREE!!! – if you are a PlayStation Plus member. If you own a PlayStation and are not a Plus member by this point you really need to take the plunge. Choosing to buy the game and not joining PS+ will cost you $9.99.

Oblivion-ous

OblivionThis is what happens when the same person writes, directs, and produces a movie.

Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper(not Jack Reacher), one of the last human survivors of a massive war with an alien race. The Earth has been ravaged by the nuclear weapons used against the aliens and humans that did survive are preparing to leave for Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, where humanity will try to rebuild. Jack Harper is a technician that maintains the equipment that is harvesting the last of Earth’s resources that humanity will need to make anew on Titan. However, events cause Jack to question what is the truth about the war and finds that things are not as he believes.

The movie starts out with a very interesting premise. As the movie plays on though, the loose threads holding the plot together begin to unravel it. As the details of the war and Jack are revealed, the story begins to suffer a stability problem almost completely falling in on itself. There were too many incidental events used to tie things together to make it truly believable. Some of the explanations were not believable either and other times explanations were not even offered. Predictability became an issue very early on. I was able to clue in on most of the plot line within thirty minutes of the two hour feature. The plot came across as very force fed. I think that if more people had contributed or voiced opinions on the direction of the film it could have been better.

The biggest plus I can say for the movie was that the special effects were really good. That’s about it though.

Trying to enjoy this movie never really panned out. The best I could feel about it was “meh”. In the end, I felt like I had watched Vanilla Sky recut with 2001: A Space Odyssey and styled from the video game Portal.

I borrowed this movie, so I watched it for free. If you really want to see how old Tom Cruise is looking, I recommend renting. If you just have to own every Cruise movie then give Amazon twenty bucks for the viewing trifecta(Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital).

I hear mama telling me to shut up, I better go.

Saints Row, FORE!!!

Saints Row 4Look out, The Saints are back and they have a whole new world of problems to deal with.

Saints Row 4 picks up the story line from the end of Saints Row: The Third. You begin on a covert assassination operation. After successfully taking down your target, you save the United States of America from a nuclear strike. Then you become The President of the United States. The shimmer of being President doesn’t last long when your are attacked by aliens. The government and country are in ruins. The aliens are taking hostages and it is up to you to set things right.

The best way to set the game up is to say that The Saints got sucked into The Matrix. Basically you fight almost all of the battles inside of a simulated world that the aliens have constructed to torture you. This opens the game up for some pretty crazy game play, not that previous Saints games haven’t pushed those boundaries already. You get abilities that allow you to run faster than cars and jump over buildings just to name a few. The standard fare of weapons are available plus a few new ones, particularly from the aliens. For the good old times, event like Mayhem and Insurance Fraud are bask as well.

The scene and feel may very well be reminiscent of The Matrix, but the style and sense of the game reminded me a lot of Mass Effect 2. The campaign lays out as a semi-open world experience in that you have a set story you need to complete but some of it can be done in any order. There are also plenty of side missions to keep you busy too. Roaming around on the spaceship was very similar to Mass Effect 2 given that you could chat and romance crewmates, although the romance scenarios play out very differently in Saints Row 4 than any do in Mass Effect. The fact that there are loyalty missions for each crew member makes the game even more like Mass Effect 2.

Don’t go thinking the game is perfect. I experienced some control issues. There seemed to be some physics problems when jumping up the side of buildings that were not perfectly flat. In one part you are falling and must guide yourself through a tunnel. I died over ten times from bouncing off the walls due to the goofy control scheme while falling. Another instance I found both a control and physics problem. At one point you must deliver a tank and I found that controlling this was problematic. On two play throughs I got it stuck in the same place, on a light post. Really? I can drive the tank through a car but I can’t knock over a light post? Is it just this light post? And how do I hit the same one twice? Whatever you do don’t get the tank stuck either. I got caught in between a building and a guard rail. Think of the scene in the first Austin Powers movie when he is driving the cart. This caused me to fail the mission and hence my second play-through commenced. I also found that some of the alien weapons were underwhelming as they felt weak and sounded bad compared to the regular weapons of the game.

If you are looking to get your money’s worth from this game then you better plan on playing all the side missions and events. I played only the missions required to complete the story and I finished them all in less than a twenty-four hour period. Yes, I did take time to sleep during that same period. However, the humor does make up for some of the potential cost. Along with heavy references and homages to the previous Saints games, there are a ton of references to movies and music from the ’80’s and ’90’s.

Speaking of prices…Amazon is asking $50 for a new copy. GameStop is asking $45 online for a used copy but my local store had copies for $40. Why did I only play the campaign? Well…I played on the really really cheap. I had a free game rental from Red Box to use. Perhaps when the game drops to $20 or so, I’ll grab a copy and finish up all the other stuff in it.