Ghost Recon?: ? Wildlands

Ghost Recon?: ? Wildlands

Summary: Taking place a few years into the future, Ghost Recon Wildlands empowers players to lead a team of Ghosts, a four-player U.S. Elite Special Operations unit, on a covert mission to destroy the Santa Blanca drug cartel, an underworld force and growing global threat within Ubisoft’s imagining of a beautiful, yet dangerous Bolivia. With hundreds of villages and well-known landmarks, local legends and various factions and regions, players venture into a vast world with which to interact and explore. The Ghosts’ upgradable skills, along with a vast arsenal of weapons, vehicles and drones, help them defeat their almighty enemy. Gamers can play the entire game solo or they join up with as many as three friends in co-op to roam freely in this vast playground.

Metacritic

I picked up Ghost Recon?: Wildlands on the PS4, as I was a big fan of the early releases on the original XBOX, certainly the multiplayer battles.

I ws impressed by the awesome graphics and FMV, usual control system, but there’s just something about the game that doesn’t compel me to put in more hours; and in this day and age where there is a plethora of quality titles to gobble up my limited play time like pacman on a pill binge I’ve returned this game to the retailer.

  • open world like MGS5 stealth, without the firepower and finesse to approach each objective in your preferred way
  • aspects of GTA, without the plot or humour
  • similar to Far Cry objectives, with a mix of Mordor; taking out ranked area bosses, without the vindication and dynamic characters
  • Just Cause 3, without the arcade feel
  • Watch Dogs like drones, moved away from the previous satellite top down surveillance, that had a much more military feel
  • same safe Ghost Recon tactic in single player; tag the enemies and use AI teammates to take them out
  • no online multiplayer? 🙁

Great opportunity for this to work well with real life teams, although I couldn’t find a team mates who would cooperate; everyone seemed to run off and do their own thing. This is cool in vs games but not when you have a shared objective.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Search Engine Optimisation Ranking

I understand Search Engine Optimisation, although I don’t claim to have a clue what is happening with the Google search algorithm; and thus this question?

Why does this site [www.gamer-geek-news.com] get presented on the first page of Bing, DuckDuckGo, and StartPage, when searching for ‘Gamer Geek’; but not Google?

gamer geek (stolen image)

Found an answer

Why do I get different results with StartPage than Google?
Last modified on 16 August 2016 02:45 AM
One of two things may be happening to cause you to receive different StartPage results than what you would receive from Google.

The first may involve Google’s tailored search feature. Google keeps a record of all of your interests, based on things you write about in your Gmail account, things you search for on their search engine, and other Google services you use. They use this information to pre-select what search results they believe you are actually looking for. The result is that you do not receive “pure” search results, but results that have been tailored, censored, and personalized for you specifically.

StartPage does not do that. StartPage acts as an intermediary between you and Google, so your searches are completely private. StartPage submits your query to Google anonymously, then returns Google results to you privately. Google never sees you and does not know who made the request; they only see StartPage. Since Google can’t determine your interests based on your past search history, you receive standard search results, rather than Google’s “personalized” results.

We believe this is a benefit, rather than a bug.

The other possibility is that Google may occasionally provide different results to StartPage than to its direct users. Because we act as an intermediary between you and Google, we are dependent on the results Google sends to us. We do not modify these results in any way, but deliver them to you exactly as Google delivers them to us. We have noted that occasionally Google provides different results to StartPage than they offer to the general public, for reasons that are not entirely clear. We believe, however, that the privacy advantages of using StartPage vastly outweigh the occasional difference in results.

Please note that results can also change based on the settings you have selected on the Settings page. Specifically, the search language, exact phrase, and the web/picture and video family filter options. Changing the server settings, does not influence search results. It merely changes the server through wich websites are shown.

support Start Page

The Truth About “Game of War – Fire Age”

This is the top rated comment on the Amazon Appstore, its a real life example of the South Park Terrance and Philip game!

The Truth About “Game of War – Fire Age”

…Expressly Designed To Addict People And Get Their Money

February 11, 2015 by trapeze “Woo Hoo! Check Out My Website!”

You want the truth about this game? You got it. Here is the full, unvarnished truth about “Game of War – Fire Age”

Game of War (GOW) is a “building game” that has “in-app purchases.” This isn’t new or unique, there are many such games out there. You download the game at no charge to your smartphone or tablet (Mac or Android) and you start with a level 1 “empire” in a randomly assigned “kingdom.” There are many kingdoms, some which are “old” and have been around since the game was created and new kingdoms start up every so often as new players join the game.

The alleged object of the game is to grow your empire to the point where you are the dominant player in your kingdom…or become the biggest and baddest player in the entire game and become the ruler or emperor of all of the kingdoms. Now…can this happen? Sure it can. If you have buttloads of money and a lot of time on your hands. I mean a LOT of money and a LOT of time because, taken to its desired conclusion (that being the desire of the game creators), you will turn over all of your money and all of your time to playing this game.

Here is a warning and I present this with all sincerity: Do NOT download this game if you are the type of person with little self control. The type of person I am talking about is the one who will ALWAYS buy a lottery ticket every single time they are presented with the opportunity because, “Hey, it’s only a dollar and I might just win it all!” You need to understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE to play this game with any success or satisfaction whatsoever unless you are prepared to spend money with little to no regard for its actual value. So…only download and play this game if you have lots and lots of money that is in serious danger of spontaneously combusting in your pocket and thereby presenting you with the likelihood of ending up in the burn ward of the local hospital. Only download and play this game if you do NOT have meaningful relationships with other humans because it will dominate your time.

Why do I present you with these warnings? Because the creators of this game, Machine Zone, have given untold numbers of suitcases chock full of money to psychology consultants with the express intent of designing a game that is highly addictive. They even brag about how addictive it is in their advertising. This should be a huge warning to those among us who have addiction tendencies. There are those who can try tobacco a time or two and say, “Eh,” and never touch it again. I’m not talking to those people. Those people will see this game for what it is right away and quickly remove it from their phone or tablet. I’m talking to the people who can’t walk away from the craps table at Vegas because, “My luck is going to turn around any second and I’m going to walk outta here a millionaire!” You people…don’t play this game. You have been warned.

Upon downloading this game you are immediately presented with the opportunity to purchase a “deal” or a “pack.” And it’s quite a deal. $5 Yep, five bucks. That’s harmless enough, right? And it’s easy, too. You just click on the button and your iTunes or Google account is debited the amount. You don’t need to open your wallet or write a check. Then you are immediately presented with one or two more opportunities to spend $5 again. And these are great deals. These deals allow you to advance very quickly from level 1 up to level 10 or 12 or so. You do this, you buy the cheap deals because, hey, they are cheap. It’s only $5 after all. But after those one or two or even three opportunities you will NEVER ever see a $5 deal again for as long as you live. The next time that you need to get a deal or a pack it will cost you $20. You will be able to buy exactly one $20 deal and then you will never see one again for as long as you live. After that you will see an offer for a $50 deal. One time. After that you might see one again…maybe…more about that in a minute. After that the deals get much more expensive…$100 a shot. At first a $100 deal seems like a tremendous bargain…you can advance in the game and it lasts for many days…maybe a week or two. Maybe even a month depending on how much of your time is sucked up with game play. But now the only deals you are offered are $100. No more cheap deals unless you stop spending for a while. Then you might be offered a $50 deal to get back into your pocket. But for the most part you will only be offered $100 deals. (Note: I am guessing here but I suspect that the really big players in the game are offered deals/packs that are priced even higher) And without a deal you just can’t keep playing.

Why?

Because this game is all about convincing you to part with more and more of your money, more and more frequently. That’s where the psychology consultants come in…they design the game so that you are pressured by yourself and your fellow game players to advance, to be a “team player” and help out the group you are in. When you start playing the very first thing that you are counseled to do is join an “alliance.” An alliance is composed of up to 100 players. When you are in an alliance you receive assistance that helps you to advance in the game. It is impossible to play the game if you are not in an alliance. So, immediately you are under pressure to help the other members of your alliance and that pressure never ends. You might switch alliances but you will always be in one. If you aren’t in an alliance you will be destroyed rather quickly. An alliance is measured by the level of power of all of its members. So, if you aren’t growing in power yourself you are hurting the alliance. The only way to grow in power quickly enough is to spend money. Lots of money. Period.

The game creators are constantly coming up with game “improvements” that are supposed to make the game better. Pro Tip: The improvements are all about new and more devious ways to get you to spend money. Period. The play does not get better. It only gets more expensive. Just when you think that you might have gotten to some sort of acceptable level of achievement the game creators raise the bar which pressures you to spend more money. I could go into the actual game play but that’s not the point of this review. If you want to know how to play well and advance as quickly as possible and spend the least amount of money doing it (although that will still be a ridiculous amount) there are several websites that can help you in that regard.

How do I know these things? Well, I know these things because I downloaded the game, spent a relatively small amount of money (full disclosure here…about $500. This is not a lot of money to me. I knew going in that I would spend about this much to find out what I needed to know) and then interviewed many, many high ranking players in the various alliances that I joined. Game communication is key to pressuring you to be a team player so there is a modestly adequate “chat” feature built in to the game. Through chat I spoke with players who had been playing for six to nine months. Think about that for a minute or two…less than a year these people had been playing. Some of them had spent $3500 and some had spent well over $5000 in that time period. And they had no intention of slowing down. These people were fully addicted to the game and were spending huge amounts of their time and money. And they were good with that. Others were totally disgusted with themselves for taking money which they would normally be spending on their families and pissing it down this rathole. And they were still in the game. They literally could not bring themselves to quit. You hear this over and over…”I can’t quit now, I have too much invested to walk away,” or, “I spend more than this a month on gasoline (or whatever)…this is just entertainment, like going to the movies a few times a month.” Yeah. Sure it is. If this sounds like the words of a problem gambler it’s because it is…the lies people tell themselves…

Doing some research outside of the game I found a news story (which may seem incredible but seems to me to be all too possible and even likely) where a teenage boy used his parents’ credit to spend $42,000 on the game. In less than a month. His parents were not amused and were reported to be attempting to get some or all of this money back, claiming fraud. Best of luck to them. I read not a few forum entries (like most things, there are several websites devoted to this thing where people discuss it) of people who had spent several thousand bucks before getting out. Or not. Spending in the tens of thousands by the top players is common knowledge. This game makes some people (emphasis on “some”) do irrational things, like spend money they do not have to spend on what amounts to “vapor.” Because when it is all said and done you have nothing to show for your time and money but a huge hole in your life. Playing this game does not make you a better person. It does not grant you any wisdom unless you are able to learn the age old proverb about a fool and his money becoming rapidly separated from each other. What it does do is enrich the game creators. For them it is both a virtual and literal gold mine.

I am fortunate. I do not have a personality that is prone to addictive behavior situations. I took this game up for a limited amount of time to experience it so that I could empathize with certain other people with whom I associate. I wanted to know what they were going through. I was able to set a budget for myself…a very unique budget that had a maximum limit (rather than, say, a monthly limit)…and I stuck to it. I have left the game and I will not return…I will not spend another dime on it. I have closed my account and removed it from my device. But I leave behind many, many people who I have conversed with over the last few weeks and months who may never be able to leave the game. Not until they go bankrupt and/or destroyed their personal lives.

There are certain types of people who do not view their fellow human beings as, well, human. They view them as more akin to prey or cattle…not people but things to be exploited, used and then discarded. These are con men, drug dealers and dictators of third world banana republics. The creators of GOW are most definitely in this group of sociopaths. They may comfort themselves by believing that they are bringing people a “fun” experience but that is a lie. They are absolutely no different than con men and drug dealers. They are selling a product (or service) that is expressly designed to prey upon weak minded people and they actually brag about their product as being “addictive” as if that was a positive selling point…a good thing.

If you are one of the precious few in this world who does, in fact, have more money and available time than you know what to do with and you want to play this “game” and you enjoy playing this “game” then more power to you. Enjoy yourself. Personally, I think that your money and time could be better spent on other pursuits but, hey, I’m not here to cast judgement on your choices in life. Go for it. Hunker down over that smartphone or tablet while the world passes you by. If you are, like most of us, a person with limited financial resources and actually have a personal life that you care about…I highly recommend that you stay away from this game. And that is especially recommended if you are prone to addictive behavior situations. If you are currently stuck in this game, like so many people I conversed with in the last few weeks and months, I hope that you can overcome it and move on. I sincerely wish you well.

EDITED TO ADD: If you want verification of what I say above you need only browse through the other reviews…both positive and negative…and you will see a pattern emerge. Those who give it a positive review will frequently use the words “addictive” and complain about how much money they have to spend. Those who give it a negative review will often use the same words in their complaints. Coincidence? What do you think?

A link to Bookmark for Retro Fans

Classic Arcade Games
The Internet Archive Now Lets You Play 900+ Classic Arcade Games In Your Browser

Retro fans need this link: Internet Arcade

A great source of all the classics, and so much easier than downloading each MAME ROM 🙂

The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade.

The game collection ranges from early “bronze-age” videogames, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music. Most games are playable in some form, although some are useful more for verification of behavior or programming due to the intensity and requirements of their systems.

Pro tip from Techcrunch:

It can be a bit weird to figure out a game’s controls in MAME some times. The 5 key lets you insert a coin; the 1 key is usually the Player 1 start button. Arrows are usually used for directional stuff, with CTRL/ALT/SPACE used for the three primary buttons. Beyond that, you’ll have to mash buttons a bit to figure it out [or hit TAB to dive into the key configurations])

Favourites I’ve found so far:

Alpha – Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist

The coolest original content on YouTube, ever: Alpha – Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist

As a fan of the game series, and one who appreciates martial arts, this rocks!

12 episodes of live action Street Fighter 🙂

Written and directed by Joey Ansah (who also plays the role of Akuma), Assassin’s Fist focuses on the early days of Street Fighter mainstays Ryu and Ken. Though perhaps not intentional, this is a clever storytelling decision that allows Ansah to focus on a key piece of the Street Fighter mythos without having to find some convoluted way to include the rest of the series’ cast. It also removes the need to film in numerous locations, a feat the crowdfunded web series likely couldn’t afford.

Joystiq

I am so excited by this production, better than any attempt of Street Fighter films in the past… although including Kylie, as Cammy, was a stroke of masterpiece 😉

It’s an effective motivator to play more shoryuken characters!


Films don’t get any better than this!
Rating: ★★★★★

Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

WordPress database repair
Eek! received an email that Google couldn’t get to my robot.txt file, checked the WordPress part of the site, to find the error: Error Establishing a Database Connection.

I was preparing to hunker down for the afternoon to find a solution, but the first result from DuckDuckGo pretty much solved it for me 🙂

From Beginner’s guide to WordPress: How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

The database may need to be repaired”, then you need to repair your database.

You can do this by adding the following line in your wp-config.php file:

define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);

Once you have done that, you can see the settings by visiting this page: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php

Everything checked out OK, except for the one problem table: wp_options: Table is marked as crashed and last repair failed

My suspicions were confirmed, plugin problems! 😉
I’ve been through the exercise of deactivating / activating plugins in the past, it’s timely and tiresome. This time I found a much quicker simpler solution, from the WordPress Codex

Reset your plugins folder via FTP or the file manager provided in your host’s control panel.

  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, navigate to the wp-contents folder (directory
  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, rename the folder “plugins” to “plugins.hold
  • Login to your WordPress administration menus (/wp-admin)
  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, rename “plugins.hold” back to “plugins”

Sorted 😀
A task I thought that would take hours to fix, resolved in less than 5 mins

Google 40th Anniversay of Rubik’s cube

Rubik's cube
I was so stoked today when I opened up Google, to search out a SQL solution, to find a small Rubik’s cube in the top corner of the screen.

After clicking on the cube I was even more blown away to find a fully scrambed digital cube to solve 🙂

I’ve now have my solve time for a real cube to just under a minute, although I didn’t have time at work to solve the virtual cube… it did take quite a bit of will power to resist!

I didn’t realise that the cube was 40 years old, I thought it was more like 30?

I still now feel old 🙂

Here’s a link to the Rubik’s Google Doodle, untilI find a way to embedit within this page.

google april fool 2014

google april fool 2014, Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge

The Google Maps App for iOS and Android now has a Poke Ball logo beneath its search bar. Clicking on it shows the locations of Pokemon on Google Maps. This is fully functional April Fools' Day prank in the Google Maps App, not just a video, but check out the video below, because it's pretty neat:

To access the Pokemon mode on your phone, tap the blue PokeBall logo under the search bar, where it says Press Start.ign


I can’t see how this is an April Fool, and not a promotion?

Found this cool article from The Guardian more of a traditional April Fool wind up 🙂


Scotland to switch to driving on the right if independence given green light

Current road signage system would also be scrapped under scheme nationalists say helps show country is ‘part of Europe’

Scottish nationalist leaders will attempt this week to give the trailing yes campaign a boost by revealing a series of measures aimed at showing what an independent country would look like.

Seeking to capitalise on the arguments this week about "bullying" England and keeping the pound, they will unveil an ambitious scheme to scrap the current – English inspired – road signage system. M for motorway will be replaced with a new S – for Scotland and the A trunk roads will become N roads – for Nationalist in honour of the new country. Blue will be the predominant backing colour.

The scale of the scheme is enormous: Scotland has 2,174 miles of road, including the 273-mile long A9 stretching from Edinburgh to John O'Groats – known as the "spine of Scotland".

It is estimated that 58,000 signs will have to be replaced – scrapping the famous road sign font known as "Transport" with a new Celtic-tinged typeface, Proclaimer. And it could be that they may take the opportunity to renumber all of Scotland's roads, beginning at one.

...To ease the transition, Scottish transport planners, under strict conditions of secrecy, have begun drawing up plans for a series of spiral interchanges at the major border transport nodes. These will transition drivers to the correct side of the road – whether travelling south–north or north-south – and avoid cross-border crashes – "a PR disaster worse than horsemeat in haggis", according to one planner.

Ubuntu screen real estate

OMG Ubuntu - Smaller Unity Launcher

I love this time of year leading up to a new Ubuntu release (sad eh?), and the next one is a LTS, so even more exciting 🙂

From my RSS Ubuntu feed this OMG Ubuntu article: 7 Improvements In Ubuntu 14.04 LTS That You’re Going To Love tells of how the Unity Laucher icon size can be reduced even smaller!

I didn’t know it could be reduced, and I’ve been using icons the scale and boldness of childs Fisher-Price toys on my desktop 🙂

I’ve now got them set at 32 (32 what?), they look fantastic, and free up heaps of my desktops! win win

diaspora

diaspora

I’ve just discovered diaspora, am I late to the party?

From the site:

diaspora is based on three key philosophies:

Decentralization
Instead of everyone’s data being contained on huge central servers owned by a large organization, local servers (“pods”) can be set up anywhere in the world. You choose which pod to register with – perhaps your local pod – and seamlessly connect with the diaspora community worldwide.

Freedom
You can be whoever you want to be in diaspora. Unlike some networks, you don’t have to use your real identity. You can interact with whomever you choose in whatever way you want. The only limit is your imagination. diaspora is also Free Software, giving you liberty to use it as you wish.

Privacy
In diaspora you own your data. You do not sign over any rights to a corporation or other interest who could use it. With diaspora, your friends, your habits, and your content is your business … not ours! In addition, you choose who sees what you share, using Aspects.

As someone who ditched Facebook a few years back I like the concept of what’s on offer. Think I’ll have a play, it will be interesting to see if any friends or colleagues are signed up yet?

Surprised to see no local pods, although I like the much hated Bootstrap front end 🙂