Xbox One: Hands-on Impressions

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one tourThe Xbox One Tour has been making its way around the US.

Naturally, we at Once & Future had to see if the Microsoft’s new living room entertainment center was everything we want in a next-gen gaming console. We had Taylor K. (who is buying an Xbox One) and Joe H. (who is buying a PS4) both go to give us their biased fanboy personal hands on impressions.  Hit the jump to see what we thought.

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Is the Obamacare Fight Necessary?

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No. At least, not in the real world. On Capitol Hill, however, it may be political life or death.

It would be nice to say that we face a brand new day. That Congress came together and the government did not close up shop. More than nice, it would be fantastic. But of course, America is stuck with this shutdown for however long it takes Congress to reach an agreement, though we can hope that the effects are not likely to be completely disastrousContinue reading

Next Gen Launch Lineups Compared

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Killzone vs ForzaI want to talk about games. Not hardware, not TV functionality, not fancy-shmancy voice control… GAMES. The PS4 and the Xbox One are being released in 1 ½ months. It is important to know what you can look forward to and the game philosophy each console is practicing. The most evident thing is that, just like the current economy, the mid-tier developer is dead; AAA and indie will take next-gen.

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The Red Button of Doom

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1529784087_1373614272Five days away, we’re still shufflin’. I think that we may lose our minds, and nobody will have a good time.

Some are calling for the government to go ahead and shut down, to get the biggest fights over with. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) quoted Dr. Seuss in his attempt to grand stand against the CR in the Senate. But then, the House considered moving the Obamacare conflict to another bill, pushing this fight back only a couple of weeks. Continue reading

So Long You Rapscallion Assholes

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Trollface2It’s no secret that the Internet brings out the absolute worse in people. The New Yorker joked that, “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”. But as the Internet becomes a mainstream utility, many digital dogs relish in being rabid.

Perhaps the worse places on the Internet aren’t the dark corners littered with drugs and pornography. The worse place to tread can be found below any article. That’s where the “trolls” live. Their hovels are dank and loathsome. Scrawled on the walls are filth and obscenity. The detritus and the bile mix to form a toxic atmosphere. If you must go through, you hold your breathe and hope for the best. But it’s never for the best. Continue reading

Media is a Message

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Media is the Message, McLuhanFaith tells you that an impure thought is just as sinful and wrong as an impure action.  Then they pardon actions so impure it’s unfathomable, and place judgments that are the antithesis of the tolerant lifestyle they stand for.

Pop-culture tells you that a ninety second clip displaying a minor mistake, indiscretion or lack or judgment can last a lifetime, and that those who “let go” and lose track of “what’s acceptable” for so much as a moment will forever be haunted.

Society tells you to be kind to others, be accepting of others, and… BE YOURSELF!  But… society is judgmental, unkind, unaccepting of and unwilling to change.

So what the hell are you supposed to do? Continue reading

The Shutdown Hoedown

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Federal Government shutdown is forcing closures.

We regret the inconvenience. Photo by Associate Press

Addressing legislation in Congress is like a barn dance. The caller’s voice rises and falls in cadence and dancers do their favorite do-si-do. But instead of a colorful show, we repeatedly see discord and conflict. Dancers are out of step. Each side of the aisle aims to trip the other. There is certainly no friendly competition.

When rivalry takes precedence, the often artful choreography of politics becomes an eyesore and the American people are the ones who suffer. We have seen this dismal dance before. Continue reading

PayPal moves one step closer to replacing your wallet with new iPhone, Android apps

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Originally posted on VentureBeat:

After discussing its vision of a digital payments future over the past few years, PayPal is finally making it a reality today with the launch of its new iPhone and Android apps.

The apps (free on iPhone and Android) offer some innovative new features, such as the capability to order and pay for something before you even step foot in a store as well as pay right at the table in some restaurants. But its biggest upgrade is pretty simple: It makes all of PayPal’s existing services far more easy to use.

For example, now you can easily switch between using your payment sources for every transaction; PayPal no longer pushes to use your bank account for everything. Sending money to friends is easier than ever. And PayPal has also added more extensive integration with its Bill Me Later service. Now you can apply for Bill Me Later…

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Why we should stop calling it “The Console Wars”

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We are in the midst of a war. No, this is not the wars that we have seen on the news and we are not invading another country for ill-gotten reasons that most cannot explain accept by saying “Yee-haw” and shooting a gun in the air.

I am speaking of the “Console Wars”.

Yes Sony and Microsoft have announced their prize ponies to be peddled in front of the passersby and with Nintendo bringing up the rear there is the question that comes up with every new console cycle:

“Just who will win the console war?” Continue reading

Influence and Power in the Age of Proximity

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Influence and Power in the Age of Proximity

A smart man once said that advertising is inherent a medium of information (stop looking forward to Cannes, you art assholes and sell something). Just as adcraft affects the transmission success of information messages, communications media equally affects advertisements. Sending a round message through a square hole doesn’t work.  Continue reading

Like What You Like

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“It’s not like I listen to country.  I don’t even like country, you know that.”

A friend of mine said this to me the other day, and I could only stare blankly back.  I hadn’t intended to insult him by asking if he’d heard ever heard “Online,” but he sounded insulted.  This confused the hell out of me, because while I do know that he doesn’t listen to (much) country… he’d been humming a country song when I asked.

The only thing I can figure, is that this is a conditioned response.  We’ve all certainly heard someone say (or perhaps you’ve said yourself) “I’ll listen to any kind of music… except country.” Continue reading

If War is Not the Answer, What Is?

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As you by now must know, President Obama petitioned Congress to attack Syria on the grounds that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against civilians (though the exact origin of the attack is in question). Secretary of State Kerry cited numerous examples of evidence—civilian videos, hair and blood samples, and voice recordings—and called Obama’s move courageous. Though the evidence is yet uncertain, and much of it remains secret, the allegations of chemical warfare have to be addressed. In this, I agree with the President’s goals. But in Syria, war is the problem, not the answer. It is the substance of the President’s proposition with which I have issue. Continue reading

Is Perdue Using Deceptive Tactics to Entice Consumers?

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Have you seen this commercial? My husband and I were watching television last night when I saw this Perdue advert for the first time. At first I was uninterested. Ugh, Perdue, I thought to myself. I try to avoid buying anything from this company, especially after watching Food, Inc. However, this commercial wasn’t like other Perdue commercials featuring chairman Jim Perdue. This commercial featured cute cartoon characters, whimsically sweet music and used buzzwords like “100% vegetarian diet” and “no added hormones or steroids”. But what really piqued my interest was the claim that they feed their chickens marigolds. Unless you raise chickens, you probably wouldn’t care why marigold extract (also known as calendula) would be given to chickens. Marigold enhances the egg yolk pigment and gives the skin of the chicken a nice brown color when cooked, perhaps to make the chicken seem more appealing at the grocery store the same way ground beef is dyed red. But my question is, why is Perdue using marigold as a selling point along with words such as locally sourced, no animal byproducts, and vegetarian fed? To an unassuming consumer the use of these certain words might be enough to get them to buy the product. I feel it is to dupe the consumer into thinking they are selling a “natural” product. Perdue touts hormone free chicken. Not a big deal considering hormone use in poultry is illegal in the United States. Perdue brags about cage free chickens but cage free simply means they weren’t kept in a cage.

The Things We’ve Lost

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CloudA memory card the size of a fingernail can hold 8-12 games, 24 movies, 6000 pictures and 8000 songs. New media allow individuals to share ideas, merchandise and actions. With all these advances that are allowing us to do things easier, faster and with more information, I can’t help but feel like there’s something lost with all that we’ve gained. Continue reading

The 2DS: A Handheld for Toddlers and Teenagers

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The biggest gaming news this week was undoubtedly Nintendo’s surprise announcement of the 2DS. I was speechless. Was it dumb or smart? Is this real? Well yes it is real and after pondering it for a while, I have come to the conclusion that it was smart of Nintendo to put out this 3DS step-brother. Continue reading

How Microsoft has already Won the War for Your Livingroom

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  With only a few more months until the consoles launch I could not think of a better thing to do then stipulate on circumstances that no one knows the outcome of. So I sat down and wondered what I would write about. Would I write about how robust the PS Vita’s game lineup is even though it’s sales were far from superior to the PSP? Then it hit me. What is the one thing that units fanboys and destroys friendships: Which console will be better this holiday season? I thought it would be difficult to try to decide who would win console supremacy this holiday season (I won’t call it the “Console Wars”, though). Yet, with the lackluster performance of the Nintendo’s WiiU and the core-centric approach of Sony’s Playstation 4, Microsoft has all but cashed the check for this holiday season. I definitely advise you to read another valid opinion by my colleague Taylor Katcher over at in the Gaming Column (after you read mine of course).

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The Truth About Baby Carrots

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Is it just me or do baby “style” cut carrots have an odd after taste? I used to be a baby carrot eating maniac for obvious reasons; they’re convenient (no cutting involved), snack bag sized and only about 4 calories per carrot. However, on a whim at the grocery store the other day, I grabbed a bag of organic whole carrots with the intent of cutting them up and letting my son snack on them while at school (he is allowed to bring two snacks to munch on during class and a water bottle, which I think is fabulous and all schools should adopt this idea). Anyway, I ate one and I was surprised at how different it tasted compared to baby carrots. It tasted…well, natural.

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Out of the Closet

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For too long, I have been ashamed to admit this to anyone. I have always been different, have always felt different. I have tortured myself trying to fit into a world that would shun me if I betrayed their norms. I’m sure my wife always knew. I’m sure a lot of people know. I have just never admitted this out loud.

Listen, I understand that there will be outrage. I have been living a secret life and pretended to be something I’m not. But today is the day I come out of the closet.

Dear O&F readers , I — Joseph Mack — am a proud pants-wearing American. Continue reading

Listen to Everything

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No, I’m not going to talk about the VMAs. Yes, I know everybody else is. But I discussed it last week, before the ceremony aired, and continuing the hatchet-job of criticism seems pointless now. Everyone else is doing a fine job of bashing the awards, and continuing at this point would be little more than the perfunctory “I told you so.”

So I’m carrying on, as we all should… in search of something better. Continue reading

State(s) of Disrepair

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North Carolina SignWelcome to North Carolina, the beautiful Tar Heel state! With open arms they will receive you…unless, of course, you enjoy modern policy that is inclusive and fair. North Carolina holds a special place in my heart. However, the policy changes there are endemic of what is keeping democracy from truely flourishing.

It is here, as well as in many other “conservative” states, where politicians work to keep governance in an eternal disrepair as long as it benefits the [rapidly shrinking] majority. Continue reading

The Biology of Oversharing

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Mindsharing

We put our lives online and share it with whoever is out there. I know a lot of things about my friends. For instance, I know that my 1 year old niece plays with shotguns. I know the views this dim-witted meathead in college has on libertarianism. I know that the friend asking me for money just blew 3 grand in Vegas last week. I know the daily happenings of a friend’s dog. I probably know what you eat for dinner last night. We are driven to overshare and it is becoming a problem. Continue reading

How the XBOX ONE Stole My Living Room

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xbox belongAfter E3, I, like most of my gaming friends, cheered for Sony as they gave us everything that Microsoft “took away”. I argued with my Xbox loyalist friends about how the always-on DRM would prevent people less fortunate than I from even playing the console. Not to mention the men and women fighting wars in other countries who have no way of connecting their consoles to the internet, or the wonderful indie game support the PS4 was providing. Oh what a wonderful company Sony was for not doing what Microsoft did and for $100 dollars less! (Well, $40 dollars less. The price to include a New PlayStation Eye is $60, which would make the bundles equal.)

I pondered pre-ordering the PS4 right after all the E3 hype, but then realized I didn’t want any games that were releasing for it. Yet today I write this article about how I am now going to pre-order the XBOX ONE. My mind had been mulling over the many arguments on each side, archiving the articles I read and arguments with my friends. And it dawned on me that this was the right choice for me. Continue reading

What Man Of Steel II Must Do To Not Suck Like Its Predecessor

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Ben_Affleck_Batman

For those of you not in the know, Warner Bros. recently revealed that the next Superman film would feature Batman in a very prominent role. The press conference announcing this fact was peppered with references to Frank Miller’s famous  The Dark Knight Returns, which has been cited as a major influence on the upcoming Man of Steel sequel. Returns followed an older, jaded, out of shape and out of practice Bruce Wayne as he attempted to don the cape and cowl once more in order to protect Gotham and, by the end of the comic, beat down the Man of Steel himself.

Last night Warner Bros. shed some more light on the project and announced their casting for Batman: Ben Affleck. Continue reading

Apple of Our Eyes

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Mad Men 800x100There nothing like a good ol’ fashioned brand war to get the consumers evangelizing for a product. You’ll find the fiercest of them all in the tech world. Want to know who’s a friend or your mortal enemy? Ask them are they a Mac or a PC. And then step back and put on some galoshes. Nerd spittle will fly.

Today on What You Missed, our Ad of the Day is a Windows commercial that compares their tablet (OS really, mistake #1) with the serial category killer of tech, Apple, and their aging iPad. Continue reading

Build it for me, by me: Moto X and the Future of Customization

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This is my first official consumer electronics post on Talking Tech! If you like what you read please come back for more and read more of my articles on the site.

Moto X in Wood Grain – The Ultra Sexy

On August 20th the Motorola Moto X dropped on AT&T and I couldn’t be happier. This dual-core phone has octa-core style (that was terrible, I know) and gives users the ability to customize things that they never thought possible. Users are able to build their phone on the Moto Maker website and have it shipped from the Texas building location in a few days time.

Users can choose the color of the back of the phone, the volume rocker and the circle around the camera cover. Users can even customize the welcome message and wallpaper that will be seen on first start up of the phone. This is not a review of the Moto X because I do not have the phone (I would love a demo unit Motorola) but more of a jumping off point for a discussion on where the future of user customization will go. Continue reading

The Morality of Aid to Egypt

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egypt-grunge-flag_19-134169To intervene or not to intervene, that is the question. The United States has to walk a fine line when addressing power struggles and politics in other countries. As we turn to Egypt and the debate in Washington about monetary aid, the most important point is what message the US is sending.

The US gives about $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt; much of this aid goes to the Egyptian military, which is currently in control of the country. This money is the focus of much debate over the last few days. Some say that withdrawing the funds would mean the US losing influence in the country. Others say that this relatively small amount (small relative to the monetary aid of other countries) does not afford the US much leverage in the first place. Continue reading

Healthy Baking Swaps

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3378_07_13_2012__15_06_15_700I’m always considering ways I can incorporate healthy eating habits into my daily life. One area I feel I’m lacking is in the baking department. You see, I’m a fledgling baker who tends to just stick with what the ingredient list dictates. I’m not one for being adventurous but sometimes change is good.

I tend to do a lot of baking in the fall and winter and with Thanksgiving and Christmas only a few months away I feel compelled to get educated about healthy baking alternatives. Normally, I use what I have in the house: all purpose flour, granulated sugar and vegetable oil. However, I know that these aren’t the healthiest choices to be made in the kitchen. I haven’t eaten white bread in more than a decade so why am I feeding my family refined grains under the guise of banana bread? I’m revamping my baking arsenal and there’s no looking back. Continue reading

5 Theories For JJ Abrams’ Mysterious “Stranger” Trailer

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Originally posted on Jon Negroni:

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 2.58.05 PMJJ Abrams, director of the recent Star Trek movies and upcoming Star Wars sequel (AKA the busiest person ever), recently released a mysterious trailer simply called “Stranger.”

The trailer is black-and-white, confusing and shows a man with a stitched mouth staring at us with horror-movie eyes. Speculation has erupted (at least in my mind), which is all part of Abrams’ classic marketing ploy, which he calls ”the mystery box.”

That said, I have 5 barely concrete theories on what this movie is actually about. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out below:

5. The Twilight Zone

Back in June, Abrams’ production company announced they were making a mini-series based on one of the last scripts of The Twilight Zone, which could be called “Stranger.” They have not yet announced the story or details for this production, making this a top contender.

4. S

In October, Abrams…

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Xbox One Launch Lineup

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Gamescom_Logo

Microsoft revealed the games available at the launch of the Xbox One at Gamescom. This list is a glimpse of what everyone will get to see this holiday, with a few next-gen exclusives. The most notable to be Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Lococycle.
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MTV Video Music Awards to Praise Music?

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MTV Video Music Awards 2013Last week you got a list:  The Reverb’s Songs of Summer 2013.

This week, you’re getting…

A list.

MTV’s Video Music Awards are going to be showing August 25.  For those of you without a calendar, that’s this coming Sunday.  So what does the public (or at least the public that still watches MTV) have to say? Continue reading

Why Tay Allyn’s Song Mass Text is the Newest Viral Publicity Stunt

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My name is Chris Gatley and I normally write for Talking Tech. After reading this why not hope over there and see the latest happenings in consumer technology (please and thank you).

For those who haven’t heard it yet, we have a new queen of YouTube pop stardom. Her name is Tay Allyn and besides from being on TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” (if you don’t know what the show is about, think harder), she one of the mastermind’s behind the newest YouTube sensation “Mass Text”. The video was uploaded 2 weeks ago and features just over 905k views as of this writing. The song deals with the perils of high school and the ego deflation that is being left out of a mass text message, even though she is apparently in his contacts list. Continue reading

The United States of Surveillance

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United States of SurveillanceBig Brother is watching you.

The fear of being oppressed by an all-powerful totalitarian government is a justified paranoia. History bears a dark (and repetitive) record of a ruling villainy holding nations hostage, by means of brutal enforcement through intimidation and violence to Draconian tactics that regulates the free flow of information.

Yes, the fear is real. Fact is we are being watched online; our personal information, conversations, habits and interactions are being recorded and stored. Our government is collecting digital intelligence on millions of U.S. citizens without probable cause or warrants. Even private corporations can’t be trusted to keep our data private; they bow under the pressure of government inquiry. In this trove of free information, there are insights, connections… and power. This is Big Data. Is it the new Big Brother watching over us in the United States of Surveillance? Continue reading

Domestic Violence: A Victim’s Response

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I struggled with this title, and I want you all to know that.  I still feel a little shaky about it.  I want to go back and put “ex” in front of that hated V-word.  But that would be dishonest.  There’s no such thing as an ex-victim.  As a compromise, the phrase “one-time” comes to mind, but that’s just a matter of semantics, and.. at least in my case, even less true.

I don’t like thinking of myself as a victim, but that is a part of who I am.  I can sugar-coat it, could tell you and try to convince myself that I’m not a victim, but instead a survivor…  That too, would be a form of deceit.  Truth:  I am both.  Surviving violence does not erase the victimization.  The effort required to pull yourself out of the victim-mentality and into the mindset of a survivor is long, difficult, and draining.  It is, like life itself, an ongoing process. Continue reading

My Reaction to and Analysis of The Xbox One Discussion

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Xbone talk[NOTE] This is a continuing series of articles discussing Microsoft and the Xbox One policy reversal. You can follow the conversation here, here and here. Explore the comments as they provide deeper discussion! – O&F Desk

When I saw all the discussion on the page, I read through it all and felt compelled to throw in my analysis. The initial debate boiled down to the evaluation of the Xbone’s relationship with privacy, innovation, and abusive business practices. The subsequent issue became the future of the industry and Microsoft’s significance as the only thing preventing a stagnant Sony monopoly. Continue reading

Editor Round Up: #5forFall

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I, along with a few other Once & Future writers are excited about the upcoming gaming season. So after I wrote about my top 5 most anticipated games coming out this year I asked them which ones they were looking forward to as well. It seems the only things we can 100% agree on are GTA V is a MUST and “next-gen” can wait. Continue reading

A Debate is Building

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Talking Tech[NOTE] I ask you to read the original article I had written and then read Max’s rebuttal before getting into this. – CG

My colleague Max Dempster posted a rebuttal to an article I had originally posted about how the Xbox One will not be requiring the use of the Kinect peripheral and how a price drop was in order. In the article I did touch briefly on the fact that some believe government intervention was going to be BELIEVED to take place if the always-on Kinect hit living rooms. Notice how I use the word “briefly”. While I respect Max and his opinion, there was one line that had my heart flutter when I read it: 

“The rest of the article developed into a defense of Microsoft and displayed a willfully blind futurism that could only have its roots in tragic, helpless fanboyism.”

Fanboyism.  Continue reading

Why I Love NOT Dying in Hotline Miami

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[NOTE] We love Hotline Miami at Once & Future. A previous article was about the benefits of dying in this game. But only n00bz die. – O&F Desk

Put on your mask. Walk through the front door. Pull out your knife; burst into the first room you see, using the door to knock out the unaware armed guard while simultaneously throwing your knife at his now alerted buddy holding a shotgun. Quickly scoop up his shotgun before more enemies come through the door. Fire shot after shot into the stream of incoming enemies. Shit, out of bullets. You throw the shotgun at the last remaining enemy, knocking him to the floor and slowly walk over to him and break his neck. This is Hotline Miami.

Earlier this week Joe wrote an article about “Dying in Hotline Miami” and I wanted to post this follow up to discuss why I also feel this game deserves praise and your hard earned dollars. Continue reading

The Indefensible Xbox One, Or How To Microshaft Your Customers

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hal9000[NOTE] This article is written as a response to an OF article from earlier in the week: Xbox One to not require Kinect Sensor; New Pricing to Follow. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. -MD

Microsoft revealed earlier this week that they will be removing the requirement of a Kinect in order to operate their new Xbox console. This is just the latest step in the frantic, back pedaling embarrassment that has been the Xbox One’s announcement and pre-release period.

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