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Halo 3 Earth Day Valhalla Sigil April 22, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Happy Earth Day!  Fans of Halo: The Master Chief Collection may know that there are tons of achievements in the game that nod to various Easter Eggs which were sprinkled over the various Halo titles, and what better way to celebrate Earth Day then to go looking for Halo 3‘s Earth Day sigil on the Valhalla multiplayer map?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out now exclusively on the Xbox One.

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Let’s Play Quantum Break Act 5 April 21, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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All good things must come to an end and I’m sad to say that we have come to the end of our Let’s Play of Quantum Break on the Xbox One. How’s the story end?  How did our decisions effect the game?  Will your playthrough be any different?  Watch our play through of Act 5 and find out!

All game footage is provided with full video commentary.

Quantum Break is out now on the Xbox One and PC.

Tales from IT – Setting up Multi-User Access in Quickbooks April 21, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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In an all-new Tales from IT, Maniac tells the story of the first time he ever worked with a small business.

Quickbooks is an important piece of software for small businesses, and about a year ago, Maniac was asked to configure a Quickbooks database for multi-PC access. This isn’t much of an issue until you realize that his client had no Quickbooks server on his network. Will Maniac be able to do the job?  Watch and find out!

Let’s Play Quantum Break Act 4 April 20, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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As promised, we are continuing our play through of Quantum Break on the Xbox One.  Today, we are taking a look at Act 4, Maniac’s favorite act in the entire game.

Alan Wake fans should pay close attention to the beginning of the episode or they might miss out on a hilarious Easter Egg which references Remedy’s previous title.

All game footage is provided with full video commentary.

We’ve got one more act to go, how do you think this will end?  Stay tuned and find out!

Quantum Break is out now on PC and Xbox One.

Tales from IT – Resurrecting an Essential Database April 20, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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We’ve got a new camera and what better way to break it in than to announce an all-new video series for this website, and we are calling this series Tales from IT!

When Maniac was growing up, he was the only person in his entire family with any technical aptitude, and because of that he has over twenty years of computer repair experience. Tales from IT is a compilation of some of his favorite IT stories over the past few years.

Today, we’ll be telling the story of an essential database left running on a decade-old PC. The owner had no computer knowledge, had no idea what kind of software they were using, and kept no backups. It was working fine until the PC eventually failed due to age, and Maniac got the call to fix it.

Did he fix it?  Watch and find out!

More Tales from IT are on the way, please post a comment if you would like for us to produce more from this series!

Let’s Play Quantum Break Act 3 April 20, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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Quantum Break was a really good reason to pick up the Xbox One console and I have to say I loved every second of playing it. After a week of delays, we have finally archived our Let’s Play of Quantum Break on the Xbox One.

After a long delay, we have made it to Act 3, one of the most combat heavy acts in the entire game. Our goal is to find someone who works for Monarch that might be able to help us repair Will’s time machine.  Will we be able to do it?  Watch and find out!

All game footage is provided with full video commentary.

Stay tuned to this site because we will have our play through of Act 4 and Act 5 up soon!

Quantum Break is out now on PC and Xbox One.

Saints Row 2 Free On GOG April 20, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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PC gaming website GOG.com is offering the multiplatform classic Saints Row 2 for free for the next few hours.

To get Saints Row 2 for free, you’ll need to select it from the homepage while logged into your GOG account.  Just be aware, it may take GOG a few minutes to process your order after you place it.

Saints Row 2 is out now on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

She Kills Monsters – Spoiler-Free Book Review April 19, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Reviews.
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Author’s Note:  This is a review of the published book version of “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, and I will not be reviewing any theatrical version of it since I have not seen a live production of the play yet.

As an author, I have always had a fondness for the written word and I have to admit I love theater!  You can tell any genre of story on stage, just as you could with film, television and video games.  That having been said, I’ve recently grown sick and tired of seeing an oversaturation of boring musicals and depressing drama on theatre stages all across my state.  Recently, I asked a peer of mine if there were any recent plays written completely out of the mainstream that wasn’t Spamalot, and he eagerly recommended the play She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen.

Like with some of the other content I’ve done on this website I like to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible. I feel it does a disservice to an author to reveal important details about their story, and I also feel it does a disservice to an audience who would be cheated out of the chance of fully enjoying the first time they experience the play, so consider this review spoiler-free. However, while there will be no spoilers in this review, I do need to talk about what the story is about and give a light summary of the plot.  If you don’t want to know anything about the plot, feel free to skip the next paragraph, otherwise continue reading right along.

She Kills Monsters revolves around a woman named Agnes Evans.  Agnes is a twenty-five year old English teacher still recovering from the death of her parents and little sister Tilly in a car crash.  Agnes and Tilly never had much in common while they were growing up, and Agnes regretted the fact she never really knew her sister while she was alive.  One day, Agnes finds a custom Dungeons & Dragons quest module Tilly wrote for her among her sister’s belongings. Agnes has no experience with Dungeons & Dragons, so with the help of local Dungeon Master Chuck, Agnes is compelled to play the module to discover all she can about the sister she lost.

While the story revolves around Dungeons & Dragons, specifically the editions that existed back in 1995, because the protagonist isn’t an experienced player herself the reader does not need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the core books to understand what is happening in the story.  That being said, the author really did their homework because the rules, races, classes, alignments, and monsters specifically cited in the play do actually appear in the various Dungeons & Dragons editions. You won’t find any mentions of  Gorvilles in this play, thank goodness, so long-term D&D players should feel comfortable reading it.

The book of the play reads like a series of dialog with some minor stage directions.  While there are brief descriptions of battles in the stage notes, I did appreciate there were moments in the stage direction where specific songs or songs of a similar tempo were recommended as background music in certain moments. I will commonly include song notes in scripts that I’ve written and even though I have been constantly told by my peers that is something that is never done, I feel a scriptwriter should be able to name songs in their work as it can greatly influence the audience’s mood.  In this book it is done to great effect, as some of the song choices the author recommends had me breaking down in laughter at certain points, making humorous sequences downright hilarious. 

After reading every word of the play’s book, I found myself moved in a way I had not been in a very long time. When I say this play is hilarious, I mean it.  However, I don’t want readers to think that just because the characters play a game of Dungeons & Dragons during the play, it can only be enjoyed by D&D fans. While there are a few jokes that will be enjoyed by long-term Dungeons & Dragons players, everybody will enjoy the vast majority of its humor.

This is more than just a play that makes you laugh, parts of this play will bring you to absolute tears.  As I write this I’m feeling a bit constrained by my self-imposed spoiler-free guidelines as there are several moments throughout the play that nearly brought me to tears, with one scene in particular still resonating with me days after I finished reading it.  The reader will go through plenty of emotional highs and lows during the story, and I feel that it is because the play is so funny it can make its sadder subject matter even more effective.

After reading the book, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering if I would have preferred to see the play performed on stage and I’m hesitant to give an answer to that question because I’m actually conflicted by it.  On the one hand this is a really imaginative play featuring battles with monsters, dragons and the like, so I really want to see how different production companies would handle adapting it.  On the other hand, having read the book, I have my own expectations for how scenes would look.  With all that said, I think I’m trying to say that even though I already read the book, I would still be interested to see it performed live.

I think what it all boils down to is does this play have heart, and I’m happy to say that it does.  Qui Nguyen has a clear love for D&D, but the specific story she is telling is much more personal.  If you have any interest in geek culture, Dungeons & Dragons, or just unique stories in general, check out She Kills Monsters for an experience you won’t have anywhere else!

Original Starcraft Free to Download April 18, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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What can I say about the classic PC title Starcraft that hasn’t already been said by every online pundit in history before?  I first became aware of the game Starcraft back when G4 was in its heyday.  G4’s Cinematech show featured the original opening cinematic.  A year later, I discovered it was the number one game played in my freshman college dorm.

Today, the original Starcraft is now free to download and play.  You can download it and the expansion pack Brood War for free right here.  The game is compatible with the original retail version, so you’ll finally be able to play against the friends who have bugging you to get the game for over a decade.  Retail owners will just need to install the newest patch for the game (version 1.18), which was recently released.

Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War is out now for PC and Mac.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 and Steam  April 17, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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After the Halo franchise exploded in popularity thanks to Bungie’s incredible FPS games on the Xbox platforms, Microsoft looked into expanding Halo into other genres including Real Time Strategy. In 2009, Microsoft and Ensemble Games released Halo Wars on the Xbox 360, one of the best RTS games designed specifically for the console.

PC RTS fans have been begging Microsoft to port or re-release Halo Wars to the PC for years now, and with Halo Wars 2 getting released on Xbox One and Windows 10 earlier this year, hopes were high the original title would finally see a PC port!

Microsoft has just announced Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, the updated port of Halo Wars remastered for the Xbox One, is coming to the PC through the Windows 10 Store and Steam!

Just keep in mind the game does not allow cross-platform multiplayer, so players who purchase the game on Steam will only be able to play against other Steam owners online.

Anyone who already purchased the Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition on the Xbox One, either digitally or at retail, won’t need to buy the game again unless they want to play it exclusively on Steam.

Halo Wars Definitive Edition is coming to Steam on April 20th, 2016 for a price of $19.99 US.