Snail Games under legal fire…

Snail Games USA, well known for bringing its MMO hit, Age of Wushu, to the Americas in 2013 is currently being sued by its former Director of Game Operations, David Runyan. Snail Games is one of China’s first companies to bring rich, 3D gaming to the mass market whilst costing the gamer absolutely nothing to get up and running. It seems, however, that the ones truly paying the price for its blockbuster titles are the company’s employees under leader, Mr. Shi Hai.

During Mr. Runyan’s employment, Shi Hai apparently accused David Runyan of faking a work-related injury. Mr. Runyan had to work from home for two weeks while a back injury healed. But Mr, Shi Hai was so upset about Runyan claiming to be injured that he voiced his displeasure by sending Runyan a hostile email. In the e-mail, She Hai calls Runyan an abnormality to the typical American employee for allegedly lying about his injuries. The e-mail goes on to call Runyan a “liar” and terminates his employment. Runyan’s lawsuit also claims that Shi Hai showed blatant distrust of non-Chinese employees, including Mr. Runyan himself, who is white. Cleary, Mr. Shi Hai has not been using his Wushu powers for good as Runyan his since filed a lawsuit for, among other things, wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry and ultimately physical disability, all of which are very serious claims.

Word on the street is Mr Hai intends on making Snail Games biggest hit, Age of Wushu, more accessible to the U.S gaming community. However starting that quest with a discriminatory case against one of its own creators is clearly not the way to win over your new target audience. Mr Shi Hai is no stranger to the spotlight and Runyan’s lawsuit even mentions how Hai tends to treat major game conferences such as E3 as a personal celebration worthy of rockstar status. Runyan’s lawsuit gives us a glimpse into life working for Shi Hai at Snail Games USA. “Difficult” and “volatile” are two of the words used to describe Mr. Shi Hai as a boss. Additionally, Runyan’s case claims that working for Shi Hai leaves employees vulnerable to snap judgements on major decisions based on pure emotion instead of sound business practices and what is best for the company. Apparently, executives are not immune to this sort of treatment either as it seems they come and go at an alarming rate at Snail Games USA. High turnover at upper levels of management is indicative of a system that is either broken or manipulated by a leader who seems to think that he is invincible. Snail Games USA also seems to be notorious for going dark when it comes to supporting its customers who have filed equests and or inquiries regarding account lockouts and access and can be seen by the numerous complaints filed online to BBB like websites by frustrated gamers who have zero access to their accounts sometimes containing e-funds paid for with actual money which then becomes a very serious issue. Common to Google results are Age of Wushu customers complaining of questionable practices of Snail games regarding their financial information such as not being able to remove their credit card information once its used initially seeing as it is in fact very difficult to actually play Age of Wushu without shelling out cold hard cash which leaves many games frustrated. Mr Hai would be wise to reconsider his current business practices here in the West should he really intend to win over the hearts of his Western followers.

The lawsuit documents can be viewed via this link

* Image copyright and courtesy of Chinagame.178.com

** Mr. Runyan’s case is pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. I obtained of copy of the Complaint. E-mail me if you would like a copy. The lawsuit notes that Mr. Runyan is represented by employment attorney Janeen Carlberg who declined to comment “at this early stage of the proceedings.”

Rehood on sports Nov 7 – 9

It was a tough weekend for sports, especially if you were me..

Lets start with Formula One and the Brazilian Grand Prix. There was nothing prestigious or grand about this years Brazilian GP as the F1 season no longer wraps up here anymore however the track was completely overhauled and just like it’s locals it looked beautiful however the newly laid asphalt presented a couple of issues with tyre degredation taking the spotlight. As with any newly layedasphalt it requires a few weeks to completely allow all the oils and chemicals to rise to the surface and eventually be washed away either by rain or actual use of the track however this weekends asphalt was so new that those oils hadn’t had enough time to rise and run off. This presented a handful of slips, slides and off track excursions during practice session 1 however as the track dried and more rubber was laid down, lap times improved. Hamilton seemed to be competitive all weekend however couldn’t seem to better his teammate Rosberg sometimes by as little as 3 thousands of a second. This unfortunately transpired to the race and we were unable to continue the amazing win streak of 10 in a row. Come to think of it, whether we won or lost Interlagos didn’t really matter all that much when looking at the broad championship scope as we would still be in the same boat we are in right now points wise with Rosberg being able to snatch the title with a win or a loss in Brazil so I’m not to terribly concerned about this loss although naturally it would of been nice to keep the streak going. Abu Dhabi is where it’s all at and where all my heart and focus is on right now. I’m going to be so Amped and wired up come race weekend that I don’t plan on even blinking as I don’t want to miss a live moment. Preparation plans for project “ULTIMATE VIEWERSHIP” has begun as cases of redbull (I know but Mercedes doesn’t have an energy drink) have been ordered, Pizza and other essential snacks placed in storage ready to be within arms reach at the start f practice sessions one. Abu Dhabi is going to be a very special race for many fans around the world as unlike previous years, we could see any of two drivers crowned champion even though the intelligent fans know Lewis will be lifting that trophy on the 23rd. I didn’t get to witness Hamilton snatch the championship away from Felipe Masa at Interlagos thus securing his title in 2008 so there is no way in hell I’m going to miss the show this time around when he gracefully destroys Rosberg with pure class and godlike driving skill in Abu-Dhabi, seriously its going to take a major act of god to make me miss this race…Let’s go Team Lewis!!!

Another small let down this weekend was my beloved Reds losing to the skillfully purchased Chelsea squad who have so much money it falls out their pockets every time the run up and down the pitch. Im not going to lie, I had high hopes for a draw once the whistle sounded and witnessing brilliant one touches and movement a few minutes in I honestly thought we could cause an shock win at Anfield that day. Ten minutes in and we put one in the back of the net and that draw soon became a wishful 3 points however Diego Costa happened. Costa managed to upset many of our defensive players, especially Skrtel whom I thought was seconds away from laying Costa out but thankfully it didn’t come to that as I wouldn’t want to have Skrtel out for any amount of matches. I would, however like to see someone land a solid punch square center between the eyes of Costa as that bloke could genuinely benefit of a touch of reality and by touch I mean a punch. Costa is lucky he has so much skill to fall back on as his 80 year old monkey face could sure use a good ol’ English beat down along with a warm slice of humble pie. Ever since joining the blues, Costa has an arrogance about him which make me salivate at the thought of the next time the Blues meet Everton. Im talking Costa Vs Howard as we already know they almost came to blows the first time they met but the ref luckily stepped in and intervened however the next time I think Howard won’t be so forgiving to Costa’s antics and I cannot wait to see this rematch.

“Striking” up a conversation about Liverpool

Now that the cat is out of the bag and the possibility of Isco joining the Reds is more closer to the side of “it could possibly happen should the planets all align and do the Macarena” as opposed to “there is no way in hell” , we need to take a look at what Isco joining the squad could cause. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have #Isco on my roster but we need at least one more top rated striker to encourage a fight for the coveted striker position on the LFC squad because as of right now with Sturridge out we have Balotelli and Borini and neither seem to be giving that 110% seeing as they know it’s going to be either of them filling the striker role for the time being. Origi still on loan (unfortunately) but I have high hopes
Continue reading

Fast & Furious 7 is coming…

I’ve been a fan since the very first F&F and it truly saddens me that #PaulWalker is no longer with us to play his anchor role in this pioneer ultimate boyhood racer series. Say what you will about the Fast and the Furious collection but the bottom line is this series still manages to thrill and surprise its audience, both young and old with it’s automotive attention to detail on what’s currently hot and happening in the scene of street racing / car modding as well as it’s over the top “no way he didn’t!” style stunts sometimes performed by the occasional big name cameo who inevitably become full time characters. The box office numbers don’t lie and prove this series still has a captive audience and loyal following and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so in the mean time enjoy this awesome montage of Paul and the rest of the crew showing off some of the best moments of the franchise up until Paul’s unfortunate DNF in the race of life.

#RIPPAULWALKER

Game Review – Alien Isolation (PS4)

Alien Isolation PS4

Alien Isolation PS4


Lets just get right to it and let someone else beat around the bush, this game is a bit of a let down especially considering all the material, blockbuster movies and previous game releases the developers had to work with. Alien Isolation hails itself as a Next-Gen, first person adventure however a few obvious and very noticeable flaws appear within the first hour of gameplay:

– Start the game and immediately take a look down at your feet and tell me those proportions are accurate? (no wonder the Alien wants to kill her)
– Why is the voice over audio so poorly done and scripted that enemies all sound like moody, petulant teenagers?
– Why do all the voices have the same volume whether you are standing right next to them or running away two rooms down?
– Why does the flash light look like it was dragged right out of a N64 game? In fact, I’ve seen better flashlight attempts in some Nintendo games so I shouldn’t insult them like that. I found myself opting to crawl around blindly in the dark rather than using that poor excuse of a flash light as it just looks like someone left their cold beverage on your tv screen for too long and its now left a few water stains.
– Why does the main character NOT HAVE A SHADOW? Are you serious? This is still so puzzling to me as even inanimate objects like boxes and crates have shadows cast by light sources in the game (be they static or dynamic) however the main character doesn’t? You telling me the PS4 or Xbox One couldn’t handle rendering this? Take a look at Destiny on either platform and see how a shadow looks like when it is done right.
– Who codes a million save points into their games these days? Why do we have large hard drives built into our consoles if games insist on using 80’s, save manually every 10 steps architecture? “Auto Save” for pete sakes!

Im sorry but SEGA has to have some large ones to charge $60 for this conglomeration of old, cliché and hackneyed gameplay, how utterly brave of them! I now believe I know why they chose not to release a demo as buyers would of clued up to the poor title they were considering purchasing. This is not Next-Gen and this is not worth $60, Xbox 360/Playstation 3 $49.99 maybe but PS4/Xbox One Next-Gen this is not I’m afraid.

Not to be completely negative (even though its really easy to be after playing this game) one of the few aspects that looks good and works well are the cutscenes as they are done via the in-game engine and look mighty impressive for a console that costs about the same as a decent PC video card. However even these cutscenes are hindered slightly by frame rate drops every now and then but not enough to be a major distraction luckily as I did find myself not skipping these at all. At certain times throughout the game it does provide a feast of eye candy and gorgeous visual effects especially if you know what to look for and what it takes to render such things however the annoyances I mentioned earlier always seem to snap you right out of the immersive world the developers tried so hard to create.

I will have to give the sound engineers and programmers a huge round of applause as the audio of Alien Isolation when pumped through a decent 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system is scary good. Dolby 7.1 shines especially well if you set the audio to “Full Range” in the options and you can literally hear the Alien running above and below you along with the usual front, rear and side channels doing a fantastic job as well with solid low end effects handled by the subwoofer but not so much that it drowns everything else out. A job really well done and probably some of the best sounding audio I have heard from a video game in a long time.

The story’s first few hours is slow as it builds up characters, locations and the serious danger the Alien poses and how reliant you are on stealth as you will be spending most of your time in the game running around trying to do everything as quietly as possible. Im ok with a bit of stealth gameplay every now and then but I also love me some kick the door down, hold the trigger and spray the walls full of bullet holes kind of gameplay, but that sort of approach will get you killed quick. The story and gameplay seems to gain momentum towards the last few hours of the game but naturally you will have to put in many hours of frantic running, hiding, box investigation and manual saving to reach this point.

At the end of the day thankfully, I didn’t shell out $60 for this game and can happily send it right back to GameFly and tell SEGA thanks but no thanks, what’s next though 😀 ?

To AV or not to AV, there is no question…

antivirus-buying-guide
I’ve had quite a few ppl ask me what I recommend for a decent Anti Virus program and whether or not it is worth shelling out a few bucks each year to renew the subscription and well, the answer is simply YES.

Surprisingly, however, after just saying “YES” to paying the man (the antivirus provider) yearly for his protection services, my go to software is first and foremost the completely FREE tool provided by Microsoft called the “Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool” I’m going to assume you are on a PC as 99.9999999% of all malware is on PC’s.
This particular anti malware tool is updated monthly to snag any newcomers to the scene that may have surfaced in that particular month and it does a pretty awesome job at detecting and removing the infected files without needing to have a computer degree to accomplish said removal and best of all, it’s a tiny, free download available from Microsoft for Windows XP and upwards.

– Rest of post lost during upload, my apologies, still trying to figure out where in went! Perhaps I have a virus 😀

Two new features I love in iOS 8…

Not that these are new or mind bending features to the smartphone world in general but soon it will be a stock feature for all iPhone / Mac owners around the globe. What am I going on about? I’m talking about reading and replying to your text messages via your computer without the use of 3rd party software or apps (Mac only for now in this case but still, score right!)

Here’s a real world scenario for you:
Imagine you are a successful executive and attending a hugely important business meeting and your adorable eight year old daughter, who is daddy’s girl, feels it’s absolutely necessary to inform her daddy about her “OMG day” at school. Now usually she does this immediately after school via txt (SMS) and you, being the awesome dad that you are, reply to her on the fly and without hesitation thus reassuring her that her choice in you as the worlds greatest dad, is a solid one. This is how it normally would go down but today it’s the annual fiscal meeting from hell and you are left with two choices for handling this situation, you either silence your beloved by using the iPhone’s DND feature and face the wrath for ignoring her later that night at the dinner table or brave whipping out your device to send her an “OMG what happened tell me everything smiley face reply and suffer a stern scolding from your boss should he bust you not paying attention to his “brilliant” speech on this months numbers. Apple aims to solve this scenario with a service called iOS Continuity or SMS Forwarding which eliminates this conundrum by forwarding incoming text messages to your Mac in real time where you will be able to read, reply or delete said messages and thus avoid either one of those awkward scenarios and everyone stays happy!

The feature is in its final stages of testing but will undoubtedly roll out in time with the iOS 8.1 update in two weeks time along with a host of other new features and fixes (not to mention MORE new iPad models! I can’t keep up with them all)

Naturally I’m really looking forward to this feature as well as its cousin call forwarding which currently works brilliantly as of iOS8 and together are both long overdue updates to the Apple family of connected products.

Ps: YouTube, I’m still looking at you, update your app for large screen Apple devices already!

IMG_2379.PNG

Apple and Samsung go at it again…

This time around things are getting physical. All it took was a single user, a pair of tight jeans and an #iPhone 6. The end result was a viral outbreak of concerns regarding questionable build quality and design as users around the world found it easy to bend their iPhone 6’s. Respective tests of other similar devices from other brands such as the #Samsung #Galaxy S4 and S5 found similar results. Here’s a news flash for those still in total shock and disbelief and on the boarder of total anarchy, if you want slimmer and larger devices, well, you’re inevitably opening the door to more bendable materials and designs, that’s just the nature of the beast for now until the next generation lightweight metal (or plastic ) comes along. This has got me pondering who’s going to be the first major company to release a carbon fiber phone for the masses that doesn’t require a bank loan? Get on it T.Cook!

The ultimate reason the Samsung Note and other phones similar to its dimensions don’t bend as easily comes down to exactly that, it’s dimensions. Now the reason I say “ultimate” is that Apples choice of an aluminum body may also have a roll to play in the bend factor here but what it all boils down to is the actual thickness of the device for everyday users like you and me. The Samsung Note 3 comes in at a thickness of 33mm whereas the iPhone comes in at 27mm. That 5mm difference seems to be the major factor here as Apple chose to go where no 5.5″ device had dared to go before (large and thin) and probably for these exact reasons.

The mere fact that one can use his own hands to bend the phone pretty easily it’s quite surprising. It’s not shocking to me personally as I for one do not use my phone like a gadget killing monster, I love and respect all my toys and always have my phone in a case immediately which greatly improves its rigidity. From the day I opened my first iPhone back when in June 2007, I’ve never treated it as a bulletproof device even back then when it was hefty, bulky and sure felt like it could take a bullet. Heck even Hollywood used the iPhone as a life saving device in a few movies so why anyone would think that things have improved in the strength department after shaving the thickness almost in half is #facepalm worthy! Did they not pay attention in physics class?

However, I do agree that one should be able to place ones phone inside ones own pocket and not have to worry about it coming out looking like a piece of elbow macaroni but let’s be realistic here, If your body tells you your jeans are too tight (aka you require assistance to get in and out of them) and you go and slip a phone in there, chances are it’s going to bend. Bottom line here is for something as beautiful and slim as the iPhone 6 is and as not to mention expensive, why not pay a little more attention to it and don’t just shove it in any old hole. Case it up, they make them so slim and in such a variety of colors now that you really have no excuse not to anymore and just like that your #bendgate problems are solved, k?

Can we move the focus on to iOS8 apps so the developers will get to it and update them for our larger screens already! Yes I’m looking at you #YouTube!