Coffee Talk is a visual novel about listening to the troubles of people and helping them by serving a warm drink. It’s a game that portrays life as the complex experience it is. Coffee Talk is engaging and soothing, and a reminder that not all problems need your input for a solution to manifest itself. […]Coffee Talk
#SelfCare is one of the most chill gaming experiences you’ll ever have. It’s one of those games that you turn to in order to turn your mind off. #SelfCare has you in bed all day, & you are just focusing on yourself. It brings comfort & meditative experiences. It may open your eyes to other […]#SelfCare
CriticialLitGames is the brainchild of writer turned coder Susan Grey, her focus with CriticalLitGames is to blend her two loves of literature and gaming using Augmented Reality (AR).
CriticialLitGames is the brainchild of writer turned coder Susan Gray, her focus with CriticalLitGames is to blend her two loves of literature and gaming using Augmented Reality (AR).
Coming from an arts background, Susan has been writing fiction from a young age starting off with short fiction and novellas moving on later to writing and publishing plays and poems. Her love of writing didn’t end there but seeped into her gaming life. She told me during her chat that when she was younger, she used to write to gaming companies with her ideas for games that she wanted to see. From this love of gaming leant her to coding where she had picked up Q and Visual Basic realising she may not need the major gaming companies to achieve her dreams. She could make the games herself.
Upon completing her PhD in Creative Writing, she decided to try her hand at Unity. Her first foray
into Unity was in the VR space, but during her testing, she stumbled upon AR. She was fascinated about what she describes as the “breach into physical reality” rather than the separatist nature of VR. She realised that anything could be a host for an extra layer of information over the items we see as commonplace in our daily lives. Her mindthen strayed back to her first love of books. How could she add this layer over a timeless medium without distracting the reader’s attention?
She then drew on the experiences she had as a child and tieing that in with her love of video gaming realised she could create the modern gamebook. Thanks to the technological advancements that have to lead to AR she felt this could add a level of novelty to the everyday.
You can find a demo of her previous work here, and you can follow her progress on Twitter at @CritLitGames, on Instagram @criticallitgames, her blog https://criticallitgames.co.uk, and her Patreon if you want to support what she is up to.
Animal Crossing has always had the same appeal to me as the Harvest Moon series. It’s like good comfort food; it’s regular, consistent and expected. There are no surprises and satisfies a need that I have of getting lost for a few hours doing meaningful tasks in a world that is not my own. This need for getting the comfort food I’m so used to is the reason why I’m so conflicted about Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
I started with the Animal Crossing series late, as I never had a Nintendo 64 or a GameCube growing up (my family was a Playstation household growing up – bar handhelds). So I missed the original Animal Crossing, and my first fling with the series was with Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo DS and it was love at first play. I loved the character style, the size of the map, how you interacted with the characters and the overall flow of the game. It has a Sims or Harvest Moon effect – where you tell yourself you’re only going to play an hour max of it and suddenly it’s 4 am.
So I was equal parts thrilled and concerned when Nintendo announced that they would be releasing a mobile version of Animal Crossing. The one thing that I didn’t want was it to be completely overrun with prompts to hand over my money to get apples from a tree. (You can find more about my thoughts on microtransactions over at Noobist.com http://noobist.com/gaming/microtransactions-questioning-noise/) It turns out that those fears are only half realised.
When you first start out in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, you’re greeted by the regular faces. You’ll be first greeted by K.K. Slider, and then Isabelle, who’ll get you up and running in your campsite. From then on, everything goes mostly as expected; you’ll be befriending neighbourly animals, collecting fruit, hunting bugs, and customising your campsite & minivan. Most of these events are set up via timers, so you can only do a set amount of things in a certain amount of time. This means that there isn’t as much of a time commitment so its perfect for waiting for a bus or queuing for your shopping but it isn’t so suited for more extended play sessions.
There are things you can do to extend your time should you have extra time to kill. For instance, fishing can be completed in one of two ways. Firstly, is the traditional way where you go from area to area catching fish with a rod. Or you can skip the fishing for a net which catches multiple types of fish at once the catch is (ha!) that it costs leaf tickets. This is where the game begins to get a bit cash happy as this is the games premium currency.
So, for those who unwittingly spent their tickets early on in the game during setup – I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Leaf tickets are a strategy in themselves, a balance of what you want versus what you’re willing to wait for. You can acquire Leaf Tickets in-game at the beginning with relative ease given the stretch goal systems. They give you tickets readily and freely in the beginning just for getting simple tasks done. But the good times don’t last forever I’m afraid.
There become barriers to entry to specific areas like the ore mining camp without payment of some leaf tickets. Or having to pay for trees to regrow, fishing nets, upgrading your bays to purchase more than one piece of furniture at a time. The list gets long and endless, and as a result, loses its sweetness. It forgets that spark that made it go to comfort food, something that you can sit down and relax with to something that is more a convenience snack. Enough to keep you going, but not enough to fill the void.
That’s the best way of summing up what Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is something to play when you’re just casually waiting for a bus or a way to pass a little bit of time. However, trying to get the full-bodied experience of Animal Crossing game will not be found here, or at least not without serious investment.
Consider this an item ticked off my bucket list! I made it to the Pocketnow Weekly with my very good friends Juan & Jules. This is a bit of a rollercoaster of a podcast, so I hope you enjoy it!
About us: Pocketnow has been a key source of mobile technology news and reviews since its establishment in 2000. With offices on three continents, Pocketnow offers round-the-clock coverage of the mobile technology landscape, from smartphones to tablets to wearables. We aim to be your number-one source for mobile tech news, reviews, comparisons, and commentary. If you love mobile as much as we do, be sure to subscribe!
When I was planning on myself and Splinters honeymoon this year, there was something that I was adamant about, and that was that I was going to be as tech-free as possible. I was not going to take my smartphone with me (at least, not my daily driver) and I was going to take a hiatus from all forms of social media and internet dependency.
This leads to a couple of issues while travelling; firstly how were you going to get from place to place if you couldn’t book a Lyft to the airport, and when you get to the airport how were you going to get through security without your boarding pass? These were all challenges I was going to have to face without having a handset on hand to do all of these tasks for me that I would have just taken for granted. What I learned is that I certainly do take these things for granted, my iPad served as a grading surrogate for a lot of these unusual tasks. However, it all got done, and our honeymoon went relatively unhindered as a result.
For the honeymoon, myself and Splintor went travelling a fair bit of it. We went to New York to see some of the Pocketnow crew for a few days, then we went to Orlando for five days to go and look at the parks and finally a week in Cancun to rest from all of the running around of the week prior. It leads to a fundamental problem – how am I going to call people or arrange to meet people while I’m over there? If myself and Mark are going to book a reservation for a restaurant, how are we meant to do that completely phone free? Turns out that bit, we can’t.
So, we had to come to some arrangement. How could we remain connected and disconnected at the same time? The solution to that question came in the form of the LG B470, a dumb phone surviving in 2017.
As an AT&T exclusive, it’s not got the highest specs in the world, nor does it have the best camera.
Screen Size 2.2 inches
Screen Resolution 220 x 176 pixels
Battery Capacity 950 mAh
Camera Resolution 1.3 MP
Other Features Text & Multimedia Messaging, Mobile Web, Text to Speech
Though, as laughable as the concept may be for $25 per handset including the prepaid credit that was already on the phone it served our needs perfectly. We could make calls, tell the time, (an unexpected hindrance of continually being attached to a smartwatch. When you don’t bring the smartphone, you tend not to bring the smartwatch either!) and text people were required.
I remember trying to walk out of Best Buy to text Jules to see which Starbucks near Central Park we were meant to meet and struggling tremendously with the concept of T9. Stopping in the middle of the shop, swearing under my breath as this was something I hadn’t done since my early teens and it had escaped me. I felt like I’d blasted to some point in the future when technology will at some stage get away from my grasp, and I had the confusion I see in my elders. It hit me with the full force of that knowledge, and I was angry that I’d lost that part of my ability. I remember being able to text without looking under my desk in class (Sorry, Mam) and being able to write perfect messages because I had everything down to muscle memory.
It slowly came back, like riding a bike, and over those few days, I discussed with my tech friends the concept of reverting to something like this for the two-week process. People were curious how were we going to document our experiences without something there always at hand for us to use. There was a sense of nostalgia looking at a flip phone like this and lamenting for a simpler time.
I don’t think that lamentation is misplaced, and it is a simpler place to be. A simpler place to sit. A simpler place to just exist. I found myself not wanting to be anywhere else except where I was. It gave me an opportunity to be present and with the people who were around me. That’s not something that I get to feel in everyday life; there is some much that is around us that calls for our attention regularly. So, for me at least it was a beautiful gift to give not just to myself but for the people around me. It was what I hoped to get from spending my time being disconnected from the digital world for a bit.
I would highly recommend it, even just for a little while. To force yourself to tune out and turn off. Give yourself and the people you love the time just to be. It just goes to show that sometimes, going a few steps back can push you a few steps forward.
Should you care about Smartwatches in 2017?
To buy or not to buy?
The world of smartwatches is a treacherous place right now, you only need to check the news to tell you that. Fitbit is buying everything or that projections for the future are grim. There is a lot of variety with smartwatches & even more confusion about what it will do to enhance your life.
It just happened that my very first watch The Sony Smartwatch. It was something that I loved, and while I was working as CEA for an Online company and being full time in college, it became an essential asset for me to keep on top of everything. It enabled me to be able to get away from my phone or laptop and gave me the ability to find time. However there were compromises with the unit, and now that many years have passed since its release and indeed, that particular watch is already on its third rendition – has the technology changed enough to get you into the game?
What would you want it to do?
- Give you some time back from a busy day – so notify you appropriately if there is like an emergency meeting on Skype. Or if an urgent phone call is coming through.
- Limited response features on the device itself – you may like the ability to be able to send an automated message to people calling me to tell them I’m in class or unable to take a call by a touch of a button and not have to stress about missing the call.
- Selection of apps – If you want to start using a Bluetooth headset you may want to be able to control the music and volume with it.
- You may want it to be both Andriod & IOS compatible – herein seems to lie the majority of the difficulty.
Can anybody find me, somebody, to love?
Easily the most expensive option out of all of them is the Apple Watch. Prices ranging from £299 – £15k (€472) makes it a heavy hitter regarding finances. There was a lot of hype about the watch, and none of it enticed me about it except the built quality. It looks significantly more respectable and mature than some of its Andriod rivals. My biggest gripe about it except from the price point is that average usage is cited as being a day at best. While I have no issues with charging my gadgets nightly, I’d have to have a good enough reason to be sure that it is an “I can’t function properly without this device.” before spending that level of cash on something that I could put down and not bother with. Your mileage may vary of course, but if you don’t like to charge your phone nightly, then you may want to skip on this as an option.
Pebble had been a company I’ve been taking an active interest in for a while. Their original Pebble was a fantastic success and something that I had initially dismissed as being a bit crappy with its plastic build and obnoxious buttons. It took me a long time to realise the pure ingenuity behind having something so simple. At a time when the device was €99, it was an enticing prospect for anyone looking to get into the smartwatch game, who didn’t mind the geek-chic that the watch had to offer. One of the biggest things that the Pebble time had to offer was the 7-day battery life. Which would be the main reason why a lot of consumers would be interested in it with the ability to swap between IOS and Andriod the formula is was set to be a winner. Right now, since its acquisition by Fitbit taking it up as a newer investment wouldn’t be wise. However, it’ll be fascinating to see the results of what will rise from the ashes.
Yes, before you ask. Razer is in the smart watch movement – sorta. They presently have two devices. Only one is available as the Nabu, and it is something that maintains to be actually rather difficult to get a hold of. Razer says that they’re doing something about demand but time will tell whether or not the peripherals company will manage to pull anything else out of their hat. The Nabu has some unique features, like the ability to swap contact details when you shake hands with someone who also has a Nabu. I can imagine for Gaming conferences like PAX or DreamHack that this would be super useful. It’s also more discrete than traditional smartwatches, with the screen on the inner wrist side it makes for more subtle notification delivery. However, if the Nabu is unavailable, the only option available is the Nabu X, and that isn’t a bad thing. I personally prefer the design of the Nabu X and at the price point of €59 with free delivery makes it a no-brainer for those who are looking for something to keep them going. The three dot display isn’t for everyone, and apps are limited – could be a reason as to why the Nabu X isn’t selling as well as the first Nabu. This does give someone an option who already is brand loyal a way of keeping connected.
Traditional Watch Brands
While the future may be perceived to be bleak, there are a lot of traditional watch makers who are getting in on the action. Most of these watches are running Andriod Wear, for instance, Casio has their own range of smartwatches geared towards the more outdoor activities. With built-in GPS they are watches that are geared towards hiking rather than anything more suburban. Fossil has offerings that are far more traditional in style but has the added benefit of being run on Andriod also. So it just goes to show that in the Andriod Wear space, there is an enormous amount of variety, so it’s very easy to find something that suits your style.
What do you think?
Do you have any suggestion? Is there any major player who I’ve missed out on? If you know of any, please feel to drop a comment down below! Keep an eye on Should You Care? YouTube for the video version of this blog!
My journey from couch to 5k.
Just finished week 2 day 1 of #C25K® on #Android with @c25kfree! #everymomentcounts #run #running #health #fitness #workout
Ok, today was super tough, I got cramps in my side and in my knee. So I had to walk a little bit through some of the 90sec bursts. I did manage to beat my time overall again today, so I’m happy enough.
I think that may have had to do with the fact that I didn’t eat before I went out today, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye on it moving forward. I’m not certain if I need to do more stretches, but I do feel like I’m warning up solidly before going out for the run. Though it may just be one of those things.