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Phone reviews: EVO 4G vs. Epic 4G

Phone reviews: EVO 4G vs. Epic 4G

By JONATHAN FRASER

aztecpress@pima.edu

 

The Samsung Epic, left, and HTC EVO are Sprint's flagship cell phones. Photo by Jonathan Fraser

With so many choices available, buying a new cell phone can leave some fearing buyer’s remorse. How do you know if you have the best device out there?

That’s what we set out to discover as we compared two Sprint flagship phones: The HTC EVO 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G. We scored each phone on a 10-point scale in five categories, and used the average to determine a winner.

STYLE:

The sleek EVO sports a candy bar design. Its all-touch screen boasts an impressive 4.3-inch LCD display.

The Epic keeps pace with rounded edges and a slider design equipped with one of the best QWERTY keyboards on the market. Samsung has found the sweet spot for screens with its gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED display.

Both phones did feel a bit large, though. Some people won’t like that.

Scores: EVO: 7.5 / Epic: 9.

NAVIGATION:

Navigating was smooth and easy because both phones come with 1-GHz processors. Both phones have seven customizable home screens and the ability to add shortcut widgets for apps.

The difference comes down to user interfaces. The EVO runs HTC Sense while the Epic uses TouchWiz 3.0. Sense is more polished and visibly appealing. TouchWiz 3.0 has a smaller learning curve because it is set up very much like the iPhone layout.

Scores: EVO: 8 / Epic: 7.5.

FEATURES:

These are two of the most feature-packed phones on the market.

The EVO features an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with dual LED flash and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video calls. It records high definition video (720p), supports 4G connectivity, has a HDMI out port so you can watch videos and pictures on your HD TV, and has a kickstand to prop up the phone. This phone was made to act like a TV.

The Epic screen helps conserve battery and provides screen resolution comparable to the iPhone 4’s Retina display. It supports 4G connectivity, a 5 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, a 0.3 MP front-facing camera for video calls and Swype texting (where you drag your finger over letters instead of tapping them on the touch screen). It also captures HD video (720p).

Scores: EVO: 10 / Epic: 8.

MULTIMEDIA:

The EVO is a multimedia beast. Watching videos is amazing and HTC’s music player is by far the best on Android. It benefits from running on the Android 2.2 operating system because it supports Flash Player online. With Flash, you can view embedded videos directly on the web page. Keep in mind, Flash isn’t all the way there yet so this does cause slower loading.

The EPIC is no multimedia slouch either. Videos are also amazing on the Super AMOLED screen. The music player is nothing special but gets the job done. Unfortunately, the Epic still runs on Android 2.1, so there’s no Flash support. But, the Internet runs smoothly and the phone is expected to upgrade to 2.2 by the end of the year.

Scores: EVO: 8 / Epic: 7.

RECEPTION/BATTERY:

Call quality was great on both devices and there were no reception issues.

When it comes to battery though, the EVO seems to be at a disadvantage. Moderate use (calls, texting, Internet, music player) can drain the battery in about 6-7 hours. You’ll definitely want to invest in a car charger or extended battery.

The Samsung EPIC benefited from a much better battery. Moderate use on this device did drain the battery, but it lasted an entire day.

Scores: EVO: 7 / Epic: 8.5.

THE RESULTS:

The results were almost a photo finish. The EVO score averaged 8.1 and the Epic averaged 8.

WINNER: HTC EVO.

Avoid holiday fail: check out these video games

Avoid holiday fail: check out these video games

Every year dozens of games get released right before the holidays. Because of this trend, people tend to just buy what is most popular without doing any research. Luckily we have two full-time nerds doing the work for you and have constructed a list that will make any noob into a knowledgeable tool. With this list, we can put an end to day after Christmas trade-ins at Gamestop.

By DARCY ARIZMENDI

‘Sonic 4: Episode 1’

Do you remember when Sonic games were actually fun? Few do, since it hasn’t happened for almost 15 years. At one time the blue hedgehog neck-and-neck with the plumber in red. Then Dreamcast happened. After Sonic lost everything, it tried to crawl back into people’s hearts by whoring out. Sonic’s now out of rehab and running right. This game feels like the ‘90s classic but is in glorious HD.

‘Dead Rising 2’

Once upon a time, I actually almost had a life. Then “Dead Rising 2” came out and took my love away. Anyone seeking a more forgiving sequel might want to find a priest, because this game is sacrilegious when it comes to modern design. Everything you hated from the original is back: super-hard boss battles, restarting games at higher levels, tons of side missions, thousands of zombies. The game will make you forget that sunlight exists.

‘Castlevania: Lords of Shadow’

Hardcore fans who turned their backs on this reboot have no idea what they’re missing. The graphics alone prove that HD games are the new standard, and the action is non-stop. If you’re a fan of “God of War” but wished the game was three times longer, this game is for you. 3-D Castlevania titles have usually been lacking but, with the help of Kojima Studios, LOS has the strongest combined elements of any adventure game in one package.

‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’

This PC-only downloadable title is the most underrated game of the year. You try to survive inside a gothic castle overrun by demons. You get no weapons, so must use your wits. You can hide from the demons in the darkness but that will make you go insane, which causes hallucinations. Or, you can simply try to run away. The game’s sound design will leave scratches in your head. Another bonus: it only costs 20 bucks.

By DAVID MENDEZ

‘NBA Jam’

I love basketball, video games and unapologetically absurd sports games. Therefore, NBA Jam put me into a joy-induced coma. This remake of the classic includes everything I’ve loved since childhood: impossible dunks, fast-paced action and little-to-no defense. Even better is the inclusion of secret characters and teams – NBA legends, pop culture figures and even politicians. Personally, I can’t wait to dunk on Sarah Palin with Barack Obama.

‘Rock Band 3’

As a failed guitar player with delusions of grandeur, Rock Band 3 is right up my alley. If I had invested as much time and effort to play a real guitar as I spent on Rock Band, I’d be at Open Mic Nights getting all kinds of poet ladies. With Rock Band 3’s Pro Guitar mode, I’ll have that chance. Pro Mode allows players to plug in their electric guitars and actually play the songs, note for note, along with the game. It’s a whole new way to pretend to be famous!

‘Halo: Reach’

This final entry in the Halo Saga series is the best yet. Gameplay is fantastic in both multiplayer and campaign modes, actually requiring strategy to outsmart and kill enemies. Firefight (surviving an onslaught of increasingly difficult enemies) and Invasion (multi-level gameplay) improve online multiplayer mode. Armor Abilities, which let players sprint, fly and activate limited invulnerability, provide another reason to suit up as a Spartan.

‘Fallout: New Vegas’

I’ve been hooked on the retro-futuristic, post-nuclear wasteland series since fourth grade. In “Fallout: New Vegas,” you play a courier who is shot and left for dead in the desert. Your aim is to figure out who shot you, why, and how to get back at them — if you want. The beauty of Fallout is you can do just about anything you’d like, for hours on end. I’ve owned “Fallout 3” since 2009, and still haven’t finished everything. “New Vegas” provides more of the same.

‘Black Ops’ serves up tasty game play

‘Black Ops’ serves up tasty game play

By D.J. OCHOA

aztecpress@pima.edu

When it comes to video gaming, first-person shooters have become a commodity on all platforms. From “Fallout 3” in the Halo franchise to old-school “Golden Eye,” FP shooters give gamers their needed fix.

No multi-platform game franchise has been more successful than Call of Duty. The latest version, “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” set entertainment launch records when it was released Nov. 9, selling 5.6 million copies in 24 hours.

“Black Ops” incorporates the elements that made its predecessors, “Modern Warfare 2” and “World at War,” so successful: exciting campaign and indepth multiplayer modes.

Oh, and did I mention killing Nazi zombies? That always makes for a fun afternoon.

The game takes place in 1960s-era battlefields, including the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam.

Campaign mode is the first slice from a delicious platter. You start the game as Alex Mason, a war-torn soldier being interrogated by someone who sounds like Jigsaw’s brother.

In campaign mode, gameplay jumps around during the roughly 10 hours it takes for completion. However, “Black Ops” does a good job of tying up loose ends before the curtain closes.

COD nuts will be pleased that all the same mechanics are present in this installment.

You’ll find the same over-the-top, jaw-dropping combat that made the COD franchise so successful. The only problem I had is that your team tends to run around like rookies with their heads chopped off.

The second entrée in “Black Ops” is the newly refined Zombie mode. The mode made its debut on “World at War,” and remains enjoyable this time around.

Something about running for your life as you kill wave after wave of zombies makes gamers lose track of time.

The final course, multiplayer, is a mouth-watering, fulfilling meal.

Developers from Treyarch faced an immense challenge trying to live up to “Infinity Wards MW2,” but did a fine job.

“Black Ops” tweaks the multiplayer with new additions. Players can still level up and customize weapons, but now they earn COD points for customization.

Kill streaks have been dialed down to 11 instead of 25 like on “MW2,” which means no nuking in this COD game. But, there are new kill streaks like an exploding RC car and a napalm air strike.

Contracts have been added that allow players to invest their points to complete small objectives, such as a five-kill streak in one game or three head shots before dying.

The contracts change every 24 hours, which makes multiplayer more indepth.

“Black Ops” is everything and more that a player can want from a FP shooter. Grab your sticks and let the prestige begin. Over and out.

Grade: A+

Sonic 4 Episode I fun, but expensive and lazy

Sonic 4 Episode I fun, but expensive and lazy

By JAMES KELLEY

Console version

After years of substandard 3-D games, 2-D Sonic is back on consoles with a boom, even if the price is steep and the “game” is short.

The world’s fastest video game mascot returns in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, for iPhone, Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Although broken into episodes, Sonic 4 is a direct sequel to 1994’s Sonic & Knuckles.

Sonic 4 boasts great graphics and catchy music. The gameplay is addicting, but you just can’t help but feel ripped off. The console version costs $15, which is $5 more than other retro revival games like Mega Man 9 or Castlevania The Adventure ReBirth.

There are basically four zones with three acts and one boss act, where pretty much all you do is fight the zone’s boss. The bosses are mostly retreads from Sonic 1 or Sonic 2.

The game lifted so many elements from old Sonic games, even the last boss, that many are calling it a remake. So we waited 16 years for a “direct sequel” and it is a remake? It just reeks of laziness.

In 1994, Sega couldn’t fit Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles into one game so made them two full games. That’s what they should have done with Sonic 4. It feels like we are paying more than full price for less than half a game.

There is also no multiplayer and though Sonic’s cast of characters is pretty unattractive, like the Emo Sonic, you can disappointingly only play as the blue speeder in Sonic 4. At least they could have put in the good secondary characters like Tails or Knuckles.

Still, it is hard to mark it down because it is just plain fun.

It is a unique game, more of a cross between the first four Sonic games and DS games, but old-school gamers will feel at home.

Sonic purists won’t much care for the homing attack feature, but it is a fun and welcome addition. It wouldn’t be a modern Sonic game without people complaining about it.

Some have criticized the physics but, other than the fact that Sonic is a blue rodent who often runs upside down, I can’t figure out what they are talking about.

Sonic 4 is the second-best 2-D revival game of late, though a distant silver to New Super Mario Bros. Provided there are at least two more episodes, Sonic 4 will be a worthy addition to its 2-D catalog.

Grade: B-

iOS version

As disappointing as the game is for consoles, it is near perfection on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

In addition to being portable, the iOS version solves the price problem. It started at $10, a standard price for elite iPhone games and has already dropped to $7. You can bet it won’t cost much when Episode II drops.

The iPhone version is hands-down the best virtual controls I have played. If you play one after the other, you will have a hard time telling the difference, except for the well-done motion controls on iOS.

It is light-years ahead of the first and second Sonic games, which have already released in the App store.

The controversial mine cart level, stripped from the console versions, is really fun and the controls are precise. It feels more Donkey Kong than Sonic, but the control works well.

The bonus levels are much better on iPhone as it uses motion control to steer the Sonic 1-esque chaos emerald levels.

Grade: A

Even Linkin Park can’t save ‘MOH’

Even Linkin Park can’t save ‘MOH’

By Darcy Arizmendi

aztecpress@pima.edu

“Medal of Honor” has to be the most pretentious game of the year. It’s almost as if designers assume the player has never tried “Call of Duty” and will be amazed at the gritty setting.

If you have played “Call of Duty,” there is no reason to buy MOH. If you have not played COD, buy it instead.

The “Medal of Honor” story is so bland that it makes “The Last Airbender” seem coherent.

Basically, you play as a member of a tier-one squad, killing “bad guys” and changing perspective throughout. After getting split from your squad, a commander of sorts comes out and says things to the other general that make him mad. Eventually the general ignores him to save his men.

That synopsis resembles “Call of Duty,” but even the nonsense story of COD had a plot twist. Here, there is nothing even in the realm of a twist.

Electronic Arts also promised that MOH would be realistic and have grit like never before seen in a game.

Some of the “realistic” elements I found include:

  1. Pistol never runs out of ammo.
  2. A.I. partners cry like pansies for ammo.
  3. If you ask any A.I. teammate to give you ammo when you are running low, you usually get about 1,000 rounds.
  4. A mortar can only be affected by huge missiles, even though it weighs about eight pounds.
  5. The Taliban is now called the “opposing force” (EA raised the white flag on that one).
  6. Red barrels always mean big boom.

To make things even worse, your teammates will get stuck in walls. The graphics have tons of pop up, and the slowdown can almost ruin the entire experience, or what little experience there is.

MOH does have multiplayer, but it’s nothing more than a “Bad Company 2” clone minus the fun.

This game brings no honor to our soldiers. It shames itself even further by the end, when it plays the new track from Linkin Park while stating the game was made for our troops.

Grade: D


Playstation Move: Like Wii, but with balls

Playstation Move: Like Wii, but with balls

By Darcy Arizmendi

Back in 2006, Nintendo came out with the Wii, which has gone on to sell more than 70 million units worldwide. Now Sony offers competition with its Move system.

At first glance, Move seems to be a Wii clone. However, one must imitate to innovate. If Audio Highway had never invented the MP3 player, Apple would not have made the iPod.

Move is different from its competitor because it uses augmented reality. That means Move movement takes place in a 3D space.

Here’s how it works: Sony uses a Playstation Eye camera, which comes with the Move bundle.  The camera tracks the Move controller via light coming from a ball on the controller’s tip.

The tracking is better than any experience I have ever had on Wii, and is about as close to 1:1 movement as you can get.

Another selling point for Move is that you can dual-wield two motion controllers at once. This feature really shines when you play the bundled gladiator-style fight game, “Sports Champions.”

Despite the impressive technology, a few drawbacks leave this hardware just shy of revolutionary.

To play games with Move, you need room and lots of it. The games I played recommended having at least 6-8 feet of free space.

In addition, each game suggests different space ranges. This gets old after playing five games or so.

Lastly, support. Move launched with only a few titles. Even fewer seem compelling or engaging. So far, the title I have had the most fun with is “Tumble.” Surprisingly, that’s not a retail game and can only be purchased digitally on the Playstation Network.

The Move is a device with all the potential of a good slap of clay. It’s flexible and can be molded into something special. That means we must rely on the developers at Sony and third-party companies to create worthy experiences.

Grade: B+



‘Halo: Reach’ well polished

‘Halo: Reach’ well polished

By D.J. Ochoa

Since the beginning of the Xbox console era, there has been one title that captured countless fanboys’ attention and deprived them of sleep.

That game title is Halo. With the new release of Halo: Reach (exclusively for the Xbox 360), fans of this beloved series will be proud of the work that Bungie put into this game.

Since this will be the last Halo that Bungie works on, it’s no surprise to see how well polished Reach is.

From the vast level design to customization options, Reach will have gamers spending hours indulging themselves. Players can earn points during play that allow them to customize their Spartan with vast armory.

What I found most impressive is how each mode (campaign, firefight and multiplayer) complements the other.

The campaign, played either solo or online with a four-player co-op, begins with you playing as a rookie named Nobel 6 of Nobel Team.

You are set in the planet Reach (hence the title of the game), fighting the good fight against the Covenant.

The story line of the campaign plays as a prequel leading to the Halo trilogy. The campaign takes roughly 9-10 hours to complete. It is filled with enormous battle sequences, crazy vehicles and the first aerial combat in the franchise.

Other great additions are features like sprinting, jet packs (yes, you read right — jet packs!) and invisible armor.

Firefight mode, introduced in Halo:ODST, lands in Reach with great additions that help it meet its full potential. Players have numerous options to customize their firefight mode while taking on wave after wave of enemies.

One of the most entertaining parts of Reach is the multiplayer. Halo is known for its multiplayer, and Reach has not done much to change it.

So, get your hands on Reach and start racking up those killing sprees.

Try downloading Flipboard

Try downloading Flipboard

By Jonathan Fraser

You know the routine. Pick up a magazine or newspaper, skim through it until you find the articles you want to read. Meanwhile, the rest of the publication goes to waste.

Developers at Apple think it does not have to be this way. They now offer a free Flipboard application through the Apple App Store. While not perfect, the Flipboard shows great promise.

The idea is simple yet effective. Gather all the links and images that interest you and your friends, and display them on your iPad in a magazine-style layout.

Imagine getting all of your Facebook and Twitter updates in a visually appealing form, full of links and images, instead of simply scrolling through feeds.

Better yet, you get a picture and summary of each link or article. If you decide to open the link, you’re taken directly to the source.

Flipboard debuted in June, with mixed reviews. Apple has since released a software update that corrects several issues.

You can now add 21 sections (such as Twitter, news feeds, etc.) as opposed to nine.

The update also allows the user to save content for offline browsing and includes automatic refreshing as new content becomes available.

For Facebook and Twitter, you can now leave feedback and comment on either account straight from your Flipboard.

If you have the original version of Flipboard, the update is available from the App Store. All you need is an iPad running iOS 3.2 or later.

If you do not yet have Flipboard, I would highly recommend downloading it. It is a fun and entertaining way to keep up with all of your social networks, media and news.

Grade: B

Something Silver, Something Gold - Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver

Something Silver, Something Gold – Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver

By Taylor Bock

Many of us have fond memories of our days when we collected Pokémon cards and played the video games. We could tell you the names of all the original 150 Pokémons, give you their types and number, describe their strengths and weaknesses. Hell, some of us can still do that.

Some Pokémon veterans have been disappointed with the last few games. Each is relatively the same as the last.

Collect, battle, go through the thin plotline and eventually become the reigning champ. The formula doesn’t change, and the Pokémon you pick up never really holds the same charm as that original generation we grew up with.

Well my friends, “Soul Silver” and “Heart Gold” give us a chance to go back to those original generations that obsessed us so.

Both games come with the new Pokéwalker accessory. This is basically a pedometer that you can load a Pokémon into and walk with.

The more you walk with your Pokémon, the more it begins to love and respect you. This may not be important to everyone, but if you’re the type with an active imagination, it can be fun.

Be forewarned: buying the game new will run you nearly 40 bucks. So, if that Pokéwalker isn’t really that interesting to you, you might as well wait to find the game used. Or, just grab an old Gameboy and play one of the older games.

I won’t lie to you, this is pretty much the exact same game you’ve played a hundred times before.

New features include an improved battle system, better graphics and animations, plus an entire other region to explore when you defeat the Elite Four. In addition, the Pokémon in your first slot will follow you around in the game world, just like in the original “Gold and Silver.”

If you haven’t played the game in a while and you’re looking to revisit the old school, then give the game a shot. If you’re just looking for a quick Pokémon fix, you’d be better off just getting a used copy of Diamond, Pearl or one of the older GBA games.

Chatroulette latest Internet fad

Chatroulette latest Internet fad

By Mike Hawkins

Internet fads sweep across the Web like a tornado in the Texas panhandle. Appearing out of nowhere, they tear across the pop culture landscape leaving hapless onlookers in their wake. Before you know it, your parents are calling to ask if you saw it.

Chatroulette.com may be the next big storm on the Internet’s horizon.

The site can be described as Internet speed dating. Your webcam broadcasts your image to some random person and vice-versa. You can chat like you normally would on the Web or, occasionally, actually speak.

When you’re done, you click ‘next’ and repeat the process with another random person.

You can access the site without a webcam, but I wouldn’t advise it because everyone will just ignore you.

In case you’re new to the whole business, I should make one thing explicitly clear: Chatroulette will expose you to all the penis you can handle. Erect or flaccid, constrained by briefs or out in the open, lonely or being lovingly stroked, this site always seems to offer another phallus.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you may as well stop reading now and get after it. If you’re feeling repulsed, Chatroulette is definitely not for you. If it doesn’t matter to you one way or the other, you may be able to gain an interesting experience from the site.

The main thing that happens on Chatroulette is that new people get flashed up. Sometimes they skip you for whatever reason and sometimes you’ll skip them because you can’t see the feed from their webcam. Some people just look too funny to converse with. If you like people watching, you’ll probably enjoy Chatroulette.

After that, the most common thing you’ll see is a penis. I’m not exaggerating about this and you shouldn’t underestimate the sheer number of guys who want you to see what they have.

You’ll see more wieners on Chatroulette than a Fourth of July cookout. You’ll see more wangs than a Chinese phone book. More dongs than a doorbell. I could do this all day and still not overstate it.

But every now and then, the chat gods will smile down from on high and bestow upon you an interesting person to converse with. I’ve chatted with people from all over the United States, as well as folks from Australia, Greece, Germany and quite a few more countries.

These occasions are where Chatroulette is at its best. More personal than a traditional chat room, but still anonymous, it’s a completely different experience than any other I’ve had on the Net.

In case you get tired of all the penis, or if someone is berating you, there is a handy ‘report’ button. If someone gets reported enough, the site bans them for a few minutes.

The problem is that you too will be banned and Chatroulette won’t give a good explanation as to why.

I’ve been banned three times in the last couple of days and I wasn’t doing anything outrageous. Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe if I had unsheathed Excalibur, I would have garnered more positive responses.

It could be that penile exhibition is the life blood of Chatroulette and I’m just not showing off enough.

That’s what Choatroulette does to hook you: it gets you thinking about nonsense. It supplies you with more “wtf” moments than you know what to do with, and just when you’re ready to give up on it a worthwhile person salvages the experience.

Whoever runs the site is going to have to make a few changes before Chatroulette can really take off, but it could turn out to be the next YouTube. Or, it could vanish like AOL.

Vigilante sites promote real-life crime fighting

Vigilante sites promote real-life crime fighting

By Taylor Bock

We’ve all had exposure to superheroes, growing up with Superman, Spider-man, Batman and countless others.

Some people wish they could suit up and fight crime too. Today’s your lucky day, true believers, because an obscure Internet subculture wants you to slap on some spandex and join up.

Web sites like worldsuperheroregistry.com and reallifesuperheroes.org keep track of active vigilantes around the world.

As “Citizen Prime” says in a history of RLSH, “Today, the world needs heroes more than ever.”

When you visit the sites, you’ll see a gallery of pictures, masks and aliases. You can read up on where they are and what they do. While some look silly and some are downright impossible to take seriously, they’re all real people.

You might be disappointed when you read the bios in the registry. Names like “Phantom Zero,” “Scavenger” and “Silver Sentinel” conjure images of tough crime fighters. What you get are very committed people who watch over their communities and help whenever they reasonably can.

Most carry items like stun guns, zip ties, flashlights and pepper spray. They tend to help homeless people, break up fights and stop vandalism.

There are some, however, who get more involved. Some, like “Dark Guardian” in New York City, have confronted drug dealers and other potentially dangerous situations. Others, like “Death’s Head Moth” in Virginia, train in martial arts and really do fight local crime.

The ones who do choose to fight not only risk their lives, but risk arrest as well. Laws for citizen arrests only go so far, and authorities don’t take kindly to random vigilantism.

That may explain why so many on the registry stick to small-scale crime and only carry legal weapons. Most help organize fundraisers, support charities and work toward the general health of their communities.

For example, Mr. Ravenblade says in his registry bio: “I am a RLSH operating in the Seattle metro area, who seeks to organize and participate in charity events, fight crime whenever possible, and above all make my community a better place to live.”

Those who feel like joining the opposite side of the spectrum can explore ROACH, the “Ruthless Organization Against Citizen Heroes.” Visit their Web site, www.joinroach.com, for more information or to check out member profiles.

Fair warning: they make those in the superhero registry look normal in comparison.

Tucson’s ‘Boneyard’ photos seen across globe

Tucson’s ‘Boneyard’ photos seen across globe

By Jacquelyn Montaño

Tucson’s Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group has been put on the map, so to speak.

After a British newspaper found photographs on Google Earth of the Tucson landmark known as the “Boneyard,” news affiliates around the world buzzed about the images.

The aerospace storage and maintenance facility adjoins Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Google Earth photos show rows and rows of airplanes neatly organized on brown desert dirt.

News reports called the images “never-before released” but Google spokeswoman Kate Hurowitz said the photos were actually taken by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2007.

The photos gave Tucson’s airplane graveyard recognition in places like Britain, Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Romania, Russia and Vietnam.

The Boneyard is home to more 4,200 military aircraft. Many of the aircrafts are vacuum-packed, waiting to be either restored or recycled.

The F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat, seen in the Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun,” are among the historic planes laid to rest. The Boneyard was recently featured in the movie “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Tucson was chosen as the Boneyard’s location because its dry climate leaves planes less vulnerable to corrosion. Six inches of topsoil also make it easy to park and tow the planes.

The Boneyard gets up to 40,000 visitors every year but with the new-found interest, that number is sure to increase.

God of War 3 worth the hype

God of War 3 worth the hype

By D.J. Ochoa

After three years in development and with gamers counting down the days until they can play God of War 3, the wait is finally over.

GOW3 marks the finale in Kratos’ search for vengeance towards the gods and the end of this exciting tale.

With the development team at Sony Santa Monica working countless hours on the trilogy, the big question is if GOW3 was worth the hype? The answer is, absolutely.

This is definitely a GOW game. The development team has not made any drastic alterations in the fighting mechanics, which is a good move on their part.

Like the old saying goes, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” GOW3 takes that to the core of their being by polishing the combat system.

If you have picked up any early versions of GOW, you will be happy to know that not much in the fighting sequences has changed.

The same hack-and-slash combos are still relevant, but seeing the Ghost of Sparta dismembering his foes on the Playstation 3 platform is a wonder in itself.

With no computer-generated scenes in the game, GOW3 is profoundly the best looking game to date.

The only game that can measure up to its visual stature would be “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,” which is also a PS3 exclusive.

For those searching for revolution in the fighting design, you might be sold a little short. However, this latest installment in the franchise will have gamers in sheer amazement.

What has worked brilliantly for the franchise in the past still stands strong and ahead of any other video game. GOW3 has revolutionized the meaning of “scale” and brutality from beginning to end.

There are some moments in the game where Kratos scales titan creatures that are visually larger than any New York City skyscraper. The eye-popping visuals of these moments is nothing short of astonishing.

Playable sequences that take place in real time while riding these enormous creatures is both enjoyable to watch and play.

The first level will surely leave gamers with jaws wide open when the Ghost of Sparta climbs Mount Olympus on the back of the titan Gaia with an entourage of titans by his side. However, it will not be the last time you will be amazed by the game’s visuals.

The brutality gives GOW3 a well-deserved ‘mature’ rating.

Countless scenes of blood, gore, body parts being dismembered and Kratos’ body being stained with his enemies’ blood make this GOW game more gruesome than its predecessors.

The brutality takes a larger leap, as the player can perform moves on enemies that are stunning and will make you want more.

However, the brutality is nowhere near over-the-top because Greek mythology was a time filled with gruesome torment.

Combat in the game will have any action junkie coming back for a second helping.

Kratos has four primary weapons that he acquires down his path, and all of them work very well together. The weapons include his infamous Blades of Exile, the Nemesis Whip, Nemean Cestus and the Claws of Hades.

Each weapon is fully upgradeable and has its own unique magic powers.

The only weapon that works differently from the others is the Nemean Cestus, which looks similar to a pair of boxing gloves carved out of iron in the shape of a lion’s head. The rest of the weapons have different moves and looks, but each work the same.

One attribute that is very handy while dealing with a mob of enemies is the ability to change weapons in real time.

At one moment a player can be slicing and dicing advisories with the Nemesis Whip, and the next can be pummeling them with the Nemean Cestus.

This makes the gameplay extremely enjoyable as the player can rack up combo moves while switching between weapons.

There are also more enemies that appear on the screen for the player to battle against, and it’s very fun to grab one and use it as a battering ram to kill the rest.

With out-of-this-world visuals, a compelling story line and gameplay that will never be forgotten, GOW3 is undoubtedly the most memorable game that has been released this year.

GOW3 will make fans of action games save up their hard-earned money to play this classic fable.

Gamers seek volunteers for March 27 NAMI Walk

By Conrad Pursley

Members of the East Campus gaming club, Gamers Unite, plan to turn off their consoles and put down their gamepads for Tucson’s March 27 NAMI Walk.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. The NAMI Walk is a 5-kilometer fund-raising walk designed to raise awareness of mental illness.

Aaron Holley, president of Gamers Unite, said the group is always looking for service opportunities.

“Whenever we find opportunities to go to things like that, we always try to,” Holley said. “They’re really a lot of fun and as long as we go as a group, everything’s fun for us.”

Last year, Gamers Unite members joined more than 3,000 others in the NAMI Walk, and helped raise more than $178,000.

This year, Holley is reaching out for more walkers and donors, by requesting that clubs from each Pima Community College campus help promote the event and form their own NAMI Walk team.

Holley said his group enjoyed Eegee’s snacks and other tasty treats last year during the walk. Hang out with friends, get a little exercise, eat free food and all for a good cause: who would say no to that?

“It’s a day in the park,” Holley said. “Walk for 15 minutes and get free food nonstop, why not?”

Gamers Unite will sign up people interested in the NAMI Walk in East Campus’s mall area, in front of the cafeteria.

The NAMI Walk will be held at Sam Lena Park, 2805 E. Ajo Way, on March 27. Check-in time is 7:30 a.m., with a start time of 9 a.m. Although donations are encouraged, they are not mandatory. Arrive early to find available parking.

For more information on how to sign up for or donate to the NAMI Walk, visit your campus Student Life Office or go to namisa.org.

‘Dante’s Inferno’ a hellish journey

‘Dante’s Inferno’ a hellish journey

By D.J. Ochoa

How far will people go to save their one true love from spending eternity in the land of the dead?

The newest development by Electronic Arts uses the classic literature of “The Divine Comedy” to create “Dante’s Inferno,” a slash-‘em-up video game that takes players through the nine circles of hell.

You play as Dante, a young crusader who has been engulfed by war for years. He longs to be reunited with his beloved fiancée, Beatrice.

When he finally does return to Florence, he finds his home destroyed and his love lying lifeless outside. As he approaches Beatrice’s corpse, the fallen angel Lucifer appears and drags her screaming soul into the depths of hell.

Fueled by rage and his love for Beatrice, Dante chases them. As he travels downward through the circles of hell, Dante faces his own demons before the final showdown with Lucifer.

The game doesn’t follow the classic literature exactly, but does give the player incentive to rescue Beatrice from the horrid fate placed upon her. It offers a story that is both interesting and compelling.

The game is rated ‘M’ for mature audiences, and pushes the envelope through hours of gameplay. It includes countless scenes that will make anyone want to attend church, so they do not suffer what hell has to offer.

Players pass pools of souls being tortured, experience jaw-dropping violence and see loads of nudity through the levels. Much of the violence seems over the top, but this is hell you’re venturing through. There are no fields of daisies on the horizon in this game.

In any action game, combat is the most important component. Dante’s primary weapons are a demonic scythe and an enchanted cross. Both weapons can be upgraded while obtaining souls.

You might notice gameplay similar to “God of War.” If you have ever picked up GOW, you will have no problem playing “Dante’s Inferno.”

However, “Dante’s Inferno” adds originality by giving players an option to either punish the demons or absolve their souls.

If you choose to punish, Dante performs a punishing maneuver that will surely have you saying, “Oh my god!” By punishing the soul, you gain unholy points to upgrade your scythe.

If you choose to be virtuous and absolve souls, Dante uses his cross to set them free. This gives you holy points that will upgrade the cross.

The combat is very entertaining, especially when you mix up combos with both the scythe and the holy cross. Although the game play is fun, however, there is no real complexity to it. For the most part, there will be a lot of button mashing throughout the game.

“Dante’s Inferno” also offers puzzles that will have players using their brain in order to proceed. It is entertaining, but that part of the game really feels like a knock-off of GOW.

It is as if “Dante’s Inferno” is the younger sibling of GOW, trying to fill its shoes but getting left in GOW’s enormous shadow.

The game is not a complete failure. “Dante’s Inferno” gives a gruesome interpretation of afterlife in the land of the dead, and is enjoyable to play from beginning to end.

However, its resemblance to GOW prevents the game from standing out in a pack.