Review: Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online

  • November 11, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online, written by Andrew Groen. As Interesting as Ancient Historical Accounts First let me say that I have never played EVE Online. The idea of the game appeals to me quite a lot, but I don’t have it in me to actually put in the effort required to be more than the lowest of roles.

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Review: Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017

  • November 8, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Thankfully, Focuses Mostly on the Animes First, I’ve been a fan of Ghost in the Shell animes since forum posts pointed me to watching the original Ghost in the Shell movie shortly after The Matrix came out, and I wanted to watch more movies like it. I wasn’t expecting much from the new Ghost in the Shell movie, so I wasn’t surprised when it wasn’t that great.

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Review: Fitbit Charge 2 Bands,Fitbit Bands Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Metal Replacement Bracelet Strap, Wristbands Accessories for Charge 2 with Stronger Magnetic Clasp

  • October 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of xinkeji’s Fitbit Charge 2 Bands,Fitbit Bands Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Metal Replacement Bracelet Strap, Wristbands Accessories for Charge 2 with Stronger Magnetic Clasp, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Metal Bands are Better than Plastic Slightly off-topic, but I’ll first note that the name of this product is absolutely ridiculous. I’m not sure how they want people to actually refer to this, especially since a number of companies produce metal bands for Fitbits.

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Review: Wickedly Prime Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Korean Kalbi

  • October 14, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Wickedly Prime Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Korean Kalbi, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Strong in Flavor Having already released products within their AmazonBasics brand, Amazon has started to move into the arena of food with their Wickedly Prime brand. I’ve been a big sushi eater for over a decade, but about a year ago I tried Kirkland Signature Roasted Seasoned Seaweed Winter Harvest.

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Review: 5-Minute Dungeon

  • October 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of 5-Minute Dungeon, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Five Frantic Minutes First of all, 5-Minute Dungeon does not actually take only five minutes to play, since the setup, especially depending upon the number of players, does take a couple of minutes. However, once you’re actually setup, 5-Minute Dungeon does take around five minutes, if not less. Players each select one of 5 character boards (with each board having two characters on it) that will determine their deck and special ability.

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Review: JLHua Silicone Multi-Use Cartoon Cat Trivet Mat (set of 6 Pack) Insulated Flexible Durable Non Slip Hot Pads and Coasters Cup Mats

  • September 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JLHua Silicone Multi-Use Cartoon Cat Trivet Mat (set of 6 Pack) Insulated Flexible Durable Non Slip Hot Pads and Coasters Cup Mats. Yup, Grumpy Cat is Purple We have three cats in our house so you could definitely say we’re cat people. When we wanted to get new coasters to supplement what we had already I took on the task of finding some that looked cool.

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Review: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends

  • September 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Two Games in One I have a coworker and friend who I’ll occasionally play games with over lunch, and for the rare couple nights. She’s someone who you could totally see fighting in the arenas millenia ago, in a previous life. So it was her that I wanted to play Tash-Kalar with for the first time, given how thematic it is, which works out well since the game itself recommends that your first game be a two-player High Form game, with some of the more advanced cards left out.

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Review: Babymoov Dream Belt – Maternity Sleep Support & Cushion for Ultimate Comfort during Pregnancy

  • September 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Babymoov Dream Belt – Maternity Sleep Support & Cushion for Ultimate Comfort during Pregnancy, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Feels Good, When It Works My partner is currently 36 weeks pregnant, but for the last couple of months she’s had difficultly getting to, and staying, asleep. This is naturally part of pregnancy, but we’re constantly on the lookout for products that can help her through the nights.

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Review: AmazonBasics PlayStation 4 Controller Charging Cable

  • September 5, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of AmazonBasics PlayStation 4 Controller Charging Cable, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. An Improvement Over AmazonBasics’ Last Offerings The AmazonBasics line of products has quickly become my go-to for USB, HDMI, and digital audio cables, as well as for Nintendo 3DS/DS and tablet carrying cases. However, the last batch of USB cables I purchased for my Android devices have ended up aging quite poorly, due to what I believe is the small size of the plastic on the Micro USB end.

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Review: Galaxy Trucker

  • September 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Galaxy Trucker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Too Random For My Taste When it comes to board games that I really enjoy playing I definitely enjoy games with strategy, with a bit of luck involved. Galaxy Trucker has pretty nice components, and an interesting enough dynamic, where each player must build a spaceship and then use it during space travels to handle various events.

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Review: New York Slice

  • August 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the board game New York Slice, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Delicious Fun The idea behind New York Slice is actually pretty simple, and something you may have received a taste of as a child. Given a full pizza, or a cake, how do you best slice it so that everyone gets a fair share? Simple: let the person that cuts it select the last piece.

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Review: Enjoy Learning Japanese Kanji: Discover Their Hidden Meanings

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Enjoy Learning Japanese Kanji: Discover Their Hidden Meanings, written by Kun Ho Park and Kyung Yong Kong, and received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not a Book for Beginners Right off I’m going to state that I failed when it came to this book. I have a number of books to help learn how to read Kanji, but as with all of them, despite my best efforts I’ve failed to gain much from them.

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Review: FELINE GREENIES Dental Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor 11 Ounces

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of FELINE GREENIES Dental Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor 11 Ounces, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Mostly Cat Approved Years ago, we started giving Greenies to our cat after the vet had recommended them to help clean our cat’s teeth. Since then I’ve picked up Greenies on an occasional base for my last cat, but never for the three cats I’m living with now.

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Review: CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Salmon Paté Wet Cat Food Trays

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Salmon Paté Wet Cat Food Trays, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Messy to Open, Despite Little Juice We have three cats of varying ages, who mostly free-graze on dry food throughout the day. As a treat we’ll give them varying types of wet food, with one of them just lapping up the juices, and the other two eating what they can.

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Review: AmazonBasics Xbox One Wired Controller

  • July 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the AmazonBasics Xbox One Wired Controller, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. In My Eyes (and Hands) A Much Better Xbox One Controller Note: This item does not yet seem to be available for purchase from Amazon. For these reasons the links point to my review on Amazon. I never owned an original Xbox with the ‘Duke’ controller, but as a longtime PlayStation owner I recall noting how fat the Xbox 360 controller felt in my hands.

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Review: One Night Ultimate Alien

  • June 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of One Night Ultimate Alien, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Another Game in the One Night Series The One Night Series of games consists of Werewolf, Werewolf Daybreak, Vampire, and now Alien. Each of these games can be played by themselves, or can be combined to allow for more players and different experiences. For gameplay, they’re very lite versions of Ultimate Werewolf, as instead of playing over the course of many nights, you effectively play one night and then figure out who, if anyone, should be killed.

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Review: Pfister Weller LG49-WR0K 2-Handle 8-inch Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel

  • May 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Pfister Weller LG49-WR0K 2-Handle 8” Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Looks Nice, But Expect a More Advanced Installation First, I’ve never installed a faucet before I tried installing this Pfister faucet. But now that I’ve tried to install one I’ve done so, but not this model. A month or two ago we replaced the shower curtain rod, toilet paper, and hand towel holder, in the first floor bathroom, with ones that have a brushed nickel finish like this Pfister Weller.

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Review: Sony HT-CT80 Soundbar Home Speaker

  • May 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sony HT-CT80 Soundbar Home Speaker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Working Great in Our Kitchen For a couple of a months we’ve been looking at Soundbars at Costco, and at what Best Buy has on sale each week, to use within our living room. We previously had a 5.1 system in there, but once we switched to a smaller table for our TV stand, we didn’t have the room.

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Review: Petstages Channel Scratcher Catnip Blasted Scratching Post Station for Cats, Large

  • May 28, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Petstages Channel Scratcher Catnip Blasted Scratching Post Station for Cats, Large, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Did Nothing For Our Three Cats We have three male cats at our home who love their cat tree, and scratching up the carpet. With our stairs having recently been relieved of their carpet, they’re no longer able to attack a corner of one of the stairs up from the landing between the first and second floors.

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Review: Anpro Stainless Steel Heavy-duty Fruit and Vegetables Masher, Potato Ricer

  • April 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Anpro Stainless Steel Heavy-duty Fruit and Vegetables Masher, Potato Ricer, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Results in Amazing Mashed Potatoes I’m not much of a cook, so when the Anpro Potato Ricer was available for review I asked my girlfriend, an amazing cook, if she’d be interested in helping me out. She said she had never used one, but would be interested in doing so.

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Review: Bloody B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

  • March 26, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Bloody B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Questionable Spacebar, But Otherwise Quite Nice When I was building my gaming rig a few years ago I picked up a Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. That was my first mechanical keyboard, and still works great, but I don’t do too much PC gaming these days. So when I had the opportunity to review Bloody’s B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard I opted to take it to work, especially since the keyboard I had there was showing its age.

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Review: Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 24 oz

  • March 26, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Contigo’s 24 oz AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Another High Quality Contigo Product About 3 years ago I invested pretty heavily in Aladdin brand water bottles, after a co-worker turned me on to them. Unfortunately, after time I found that the tops were pretty easy to break, and the bottle easily dented from relatively minor falls.

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Review: Mystic Vale Card Game

  • March 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mystic Vale, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fantastic Game First, I absolutely love Mystic Vale. It’s probably my favorite game of the last six months, at least. In Mystic Vale two to four players play as druids trying to build out their starting cards to earn the most points. The cards are the most interesting and fun part, so I’ll start there.

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Review: Grammar For People Who Hate Rules

  • March 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Grammar For People Who Hate Rules, written by Kathleen Watson. A Great Little Book to Help Improve Your Grammar and Spelling Well over a decade ago, at my first job after college, I had the opportunity to work quite closely with writers and editors in a communications department, before my subgroup of web developers was moved over to IT. This experience, combined with the pursuit of a philosophy degree in college, and working with editors in the years since, has lead to me having a real interest in making sure that my spelling and grammar are correct.

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Review: SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 (White)

  • February 24, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 (White), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So Many Wires, But Great With Computers A number of years ago I received the SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 for review. At the time I kept putting off reviewing them since the wires kept driving me crazy when I tried to use it with my Xbox 360.

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Review: DII Natural Coir Fiber, 18x30 Entry Way Outdoor Door Mat with Non Slip Backing - Home Cat

  • February 24, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII Natural Coir Fiber, 18x30” Entry Way Outdoor Door Mat with Non Slip Backing - Home Cat, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So Far Works Great Outdoors First, based upon Amazon reviews it appears that there’s some number of individuals who are selling rip-off and/or copy-cat versions of DII’s doormats. Given the quality of doormat I received, I would highly recommend making sure you purchase this product from an Amazon Prime eligible seller.

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Review: Order of the Gilded Compass

  • February 11, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Order of the Gilded Compass board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Dice Rolling With a Bit of Setup, But Enjoyable First, if you’re not very lucky with dice, you should probably move on as Order of the Gilded Compass relies very heavily upon the luck of the roll. Two to five players take turns rolling dice, assigning some number of them before play continues to the next player.

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Review: London Dread

  • February 9, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of London Dread, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Cooperative and Atmospheric, But Probably Best With A Single Group of Four London Dread is a cooperative board game for two to four players, where they attempt to travel around London over the course of a day or two, investigating areas, tackling location events, before taking on an antagonist, and then eventually moving on to another story.

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Review: Conan Board Game

  • February 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Conan board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Amazing Components, Unique Gameplay, for Dedicated Players/Fans Recently I started really getting into the second edition of Descent, where a single player plays as the overload, and up to four other players take on the roles of adventures in either one-off missions or as part of a larger campaign. So when I had the opportunity to try out the new Conan Board Game, I leapt on the chance.

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Review: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

  • January 17, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A Nice Bump From Mysterium, But Don’t Expect Short Games I picked up a copy of Mysterium back in July 2016, and recently picked up a copy of the Hidden Signs expansion, since my girlfriend wanted to play the game every time we had a game night, and when she’s interested in a game I try to keep her interested in it.

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Review: Microsoft Surface Mouse

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Microsoft Surface Mouse, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Nice Mouse, But I’ll Stick With My Logitechs The Surface Pro 4, by itself or combined with a Type Cover, is already pretty sufficiently covered when it comes to a pointer device. However, since I already had some with my old laptop, I ended up using a Logitech M310, putting the wireless dongle in the USB port.

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Review: Microsoft Surface Keyboard

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Microsoft Surface Keyboard, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. For Desktop Use, Works Great When I purchased my Surface Pro 4 a while ago I ended up purchasing a Type Cover to go along with it. In addition to protecting the Surface’s screen it works great as a keyboard. When given the chance to try out the Surface Keyboard I took the opportunity, to see if it would provide a better experience when at home.

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Review: Magicka Mayhem

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Magicka Mayhem, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Messy Rule ‘Book’ Requires Future Updates or House Rules First, while a friend and I started playing the Magicka PC game, we didn’t get far before quitting. So I have only a minor understanding of the video game that Magicka Mayhem is based upon. However, this game requires no knowledge of the source material.

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Review: Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice

  • January 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Thematic Dice Rolling Game, For Better or Worse I know very little about Luchadors, other than that they wear pretty distinctive masks and attire. And I know something about wrestling having been a young boy in the 80s and 90s. Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice doesn’t require that you know much more than that, as it does a fairly good job of being quite thematic out of the box.

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Review: Citadels (2016 edition)

  • January 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the 2016 edition of Citadels, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A Very Nice Upgrade to the Original Game I originally purchased Citadels, with The Dark City expansion back in October 2014. I played the game a handful of times and generally enjoyed it, although games pretty consistently took closer to 60 minutes than 20 minutes (the box suggests games take between 20 to 60 minutes).

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Review: Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister

  • January 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Struggles with Carpets, and Limited Battery Runtime Having recently torn up the carpet in the first floor hallway and living room (the two rooms having already been done), and finding some really nice hardwood floors, we were excited to see the Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister available for review.

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Review: Grifters

  • January 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Grifters, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Interesting Dynamic Makes for a Fun, Quick, Game I’m familiar with the Dystopian Universe having played The Resistance and Coup. However, no knowledge of the universe is required, and outside of the currency and general aesthetic, this game isn’t tightly tied to the rest. Additionally, while both The Resistance and Coup involve secret identities, Grifters instead involves recruiting characters and then using them either individually for their special abilities, or in a team to complete jobs.

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Review: Onitama

  • December 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Onitama, a board game for two players, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Simple to learn, but very strategic and enjoyable In Onitama each player has a master and four pupil pawns. Then five move cards are pulled out, with the rest placed back in the box. Each player receives two, while the fifth is temporarily set aside, but helps determine the first player.

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Review: Kanagawa

  • December 17, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Kanagawa, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Beautiful game, best learned from someone else Kanagawa, as the box suggests, has some extremely beautiful artwork and components. That’s what appealed to me about the game when I was looking at the product page, and what people I played with commented on. But when I was reviewing the rulebook before the first game I played I was a little intimidated, and was immediately glad that someone else in the group had played before.

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Review: Unusual Suspects Board Game

  • December 2, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Unusual Suspects Board Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. The Game of Stereotypes The first and only game of this I played lasted one round. One round because we eliminated the guilty party. One round because no one wanted to play a second game. Initially I thought this was going to be similar to Guess Who. And it is, but how you determine the guilty party is by looking at the individual’s photo and coming up with what stereotype(s) they match.

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Review: LucidSound LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset

  • December 2, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the LucidSound LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Amazing Build Quality, But Heavy and Tight Having recently moved in with my girlfriend, I’m no longer able to crank up the sound and openly chat with friends during our weekly (or at least when we can now) gaming sessions. While we’ve bounced around a few services, we’ve stuck pretty closely with Google Hangouts.

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Review: Radiance LED String Lights

  • November 21, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Radiance LED String Lights, 5 ft, Silver Wire, Warm White, Battery Powered (2 Pack), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Bright and Flexible The first thing to note about these lights is that they consist of a wire between the lights, meaning they’re easy to bend into place. The lights themselves are additionally pretty bright, with 15 lights on each ‘string.’ The lights are a part of the light, which means they don’t stick out too far.

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Review: Isotoner Men's Microsuede Devin Hoodback Slippers

  • November 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Isotoner Men’s Microsuede Devin Hoodback Slippers, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Best slippers I’ve ever owned In my adult life I’ve only owned two pairs of slippers, both within the last half decade. For whatever reason I never had much of a use for slippers in the past, but as time has gone by I’ve wanted a pair, more for leaving the apartment than anything else.

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Review: Galiva Men's Cotton ExtraSoft No Show Cushion Socks

  • November 10, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Galiva Men’s Cotton ExtraSoft No Show Cushion Socks, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. I’ll stick with my Hanes I’m pretty brand loyal, but when I had the opportunity to try out a pair of Galiva socks, I decided to give it a try. After all, it has been a couple of years since I’ve tried anything else. Initially I was a little impressed, since the socks came in a hard box.

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Review: DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Heat Resistant, Everyday Kitchen Basic Oven Mitt, 9 x 8", Set of 2, French Stripe- Chambray Blue

  • October 24, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Heat Resistant, Everyday Kitchen Basic Oven Mitt, 9 x 8”, Set of 2, French Stripe- Chambray Blue, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. What’s an oven mitt if it can’t keep your hand cool at oven temps? (Since Amazon combines the reviews of a number of other items, if reading this review on Amazon, these are for the 9 x 8” oven mitts, specifically the French Stripe, Chambray Blue, style.

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Review: Raspberry Pi User Guide, Fourth Edition

  • October 22, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Raspberry Pi User Guide, Fourth Edition, written by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, and received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A good basic overview of the Raspberry Pi My experience with the Raspberry Pi is limited to a year of owning three Pi 2s (one that I turned into a backup server, one into a RetroPie machine, and one that never left the box) and one Pi 3 (that I just started to get setup as an updated RetroPie machine).

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Review: Treasure Hunter

  • October 7, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Treasure Hunter board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not as complicated as it first seems The last Richard Garfield board game I purchased was King of Tokyo (and the CCGs Magic and Netrunner a long time before that), so I’m a little familiar with his games. When I saw that Treasure Hunter one plays two to six players in 40 minutes, I figured this would be a perfect game to play during our weekly game lunches at work.

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Review: OtterBox SYMMETRY SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the OtterBox SYMMETRY SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A cross between an OtterBox and a slim case I’ve always preferred slimmer cases for my phones, so when I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I ultimately decided upon the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for my device. However, my girlfriend uses an OtterBox, specifically one of the DEFENDER SERIES cases for her Galaxy S6, and I recently picked up a bike, and we were going to be out biking, with our mobile devices in tow.

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Review: OtterBox DEFENDER SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the OtterBox DEFENDER SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Bulky, but definitely secure I’ve always preferred slimmer cases for my phones, so when I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I ultimately decided upon the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for my device. However, my girlfriend uses an OtterBox, specifically one of the DEFENDER SERIES cases for her Galaxy S6, and I recently picked up a bike, and we were going to be out biking, with our mobile devices in tow.

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Review: tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for the Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Slim, with access to all ports, and feels secure When I first picked up my Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I naturally needed a case for it. My carrier, US Cellular, had a sale going on, so while I normally wouldn’t, I decided to pick up a case for my device in-store.

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Review: K'NEX Beasts Alive Robo-Jaws Building Set (34406)

  • September 9, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of K’NEX Beasts Alive Robo-Jaws Building Set, number 34406, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Complicated instructions The last K’NEX set I helped build was for a large rollercoaster, a handful of years ago, and when I was growing up I was more of a LEGO and Technic kid. So given that I was looking forward to building this set, since the rollercoaster was a lot of fun, and the pieces are generally fun to put together.

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Review: Tally Ho!

  • September 6, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tally Ho!, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Surprisingly enjoyable and fair When I was initially reading the rules of Tally Ho! I was admittedly wondering how fair and fun the game was going to be. However, having now played the game I can honestly say it was both enjoyable and fair. Tally Ho! plays out on a large board, with all but one space filled by a double-sided tile.

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Review: Smugglers Family Board Game

  • August 23, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Smugglers, Family Board Game, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Interesting, but slightly complex with components that may not last First, I own and play quite a lot of games. But I played Smugglers with someone that I would consider fairly versed with games, and someone who is more into ‘classic’ games. I was also going to play this with a child aged near the bottom of the recommended age range, but haven’t had the chance yet, and might skip it based upon my experiences.

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Review: Case Logic Kickback for Surface Pro 4 (CKSE2197)

  • July 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Case Logic Kickback for Surface Pro 4 (CKSE2197), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. I’m pleasantly surprised I’ve had my Surface Pro 4 since November 2015, and have been pretty good about keeping it relatively safe. However, the backing was starting to show a little wear the last few months, so when I had the opportunity to try out Case Logic’s Kickback (CKSE2197), I decided to do so.

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Review: Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwich, Peanut Butter, 5 oz

  • July 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwich, Peanut Butter, 5 oz, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. The cookie just seems off Over the last year I’ve been having some stomach issues, and while tests seem to have suggested I should be fine, I’ve been trying to introduce more gluten free items into my diet. So when I had the opportunity to try Peanut Butter Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwiches I decided to do so.

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Review: DII Home Essential Chevron Luxury Throw for Indoor/Outdoor Use, 48x67

  • May 23, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII Home Essential Chevron Luxury Throw for Indoor/Outdoor Use, 48x67, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Warm and great length, but scratchy and loosing threads First I have yet to use this blanket outside, and based upon what I’ve experienced thus far I probably will not. Not because I don’t think it can handle it, but rather because I’ve found it to be perfect for use on my couch when I want to lay down with a book.

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Review: Panasonic WINGS Wireless Bluetooth Sport Clips with Mic + Controller RP-BTS30-Y

  • May 17, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panasonic WINGS Wireless Bluetooth Sport Clips with Mic + Controller RP-BTS30-Y, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. I just can’t get used to the WINGS A number of years ago I had some fantastic earbuds by SONY. They were very simple, but they fit right in my ear, and featured volume controls on the wired connection. Since then I’ve hesitant to try other earbuds as less and less feature adjustable volume controls, and I’ve never really been interested in Bluetooth ones.

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Review: TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA855RE)

  • May 16, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA855RE), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Works, but only at 2.4 GHz Even in my apartment I have a slight dead zone at the farthest end of my apartment. I’ve tried using a router to extend my connection in the past, but they’ve all required a wired connection to the device itself.

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Review: Alienware Alpha and Steam Machine Carrying Case (A7888952)

  • April 30, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Alienware Alpha and Steam Machine Carrying Case (A7888952), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Nice tight fit for the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK In February of this year I was lucky enough to receive an Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK for review. Since I’ve been trying to be better about putting away my consoles when I’m not actively using them, which I was treating the Alienware Steam Machine as, I was starting to look at picking up or using one of my usual containers for the purpose.

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Review: Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii (2014)

  • March 27, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Kindle version of Brian Ruh’s Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii (Second Edition). An interesting look at Mamoru Oshii’s works Like many others, my first introduction to Mamoru Oshii was via the first Ghost in the Shell movie. At the time I was looking for something like the Matrix, and the Internet of the time highly recommended looking at Ghost in the Shell.

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Review: Amazon Fire 7 (2015 release) Case

  • March 20, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Amazon Fire 7” (2015 release) Case - Slim Lightweight Standing Custom Fit Cover for Amazon Fire 7 Inch Tablet, received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. Not as good a fit, but still nigh perfect Right around Christmas I was out shopping around for a replacement to my second generation Nexus 7, due to speed and battery issues. Within a couple days I had picked up one of the 2015 models of the Amazon Fire 7.

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Review: Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK Desktop Console (Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD) NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU

  • March 1, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK Desktop Console, featuring an Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A weird hybrid First I’ve got to say I’m not sure how to review the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK. Do I compare it to the consoles, as that’s what they’re trying to make (especially with SteamOS being the OS on this machine)?

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Review: ZAGG Slim Cover, Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4 (MC3WKK-BB0)

  • February 20, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the ZAGG Slim Cover, Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4 (MC3WKK-BB0), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Actually on par with the official type cover When I purchased my Surface Pro 4 a number of months ago I opted to spend the extra money to get the official type cover with it. Having used a couple other two-in-one machines, getting used to the keys wasn’t too hard.

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Review: Sennheiser HD 471G Headset with Inline Mic and 3 Button Control

  • February 12, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sennheiser HD 471G Headset with Inline Mic and 3 Button Control, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. High build quality, and terrific sound Probably a decade ago I had a coworker who lent me a pair of her Sennheiser headphones for a couple hours one day. I was looking at picking up some nicer headphones, and she thought that listening to her’s might sway me, I think.

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Review: Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015 release) Case

  • January 25, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015 release) Case - Slim Lightweight Standing Custom Fit Cover with Auto Wake/Sleep for Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet, received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. Nigh Perfect A few weeks ago I was looking at tablets since my second generation Nexus 7 is starting to get rather slow, and doesn't seem to want to hold a charge as well as it once did.

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Review: Verso Fire 7 2015 Case - Sea Blue Classic Slim Fit Premium PU Leather Book Folio Style Protective Case (7 inch Display - 5th Generation, 2015 Release Only)

  • January 25, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Verso Fire 7 2015 Case - Sea Blue Classic Slim Fit Premium PU Leather Book Folio Style Protective Case (7 inch Display - 5th Generation, 2015 Release Only), received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. If only the hinge were better A few weeks ago I was looking at tablets since my second generation Nexus 7 is starting to get rather slow, and doesn't seem to want to hold a charge as well as it once did.

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Review: Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game

  • January 10, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So many pieces, but easy after a week I haven't played any of the previous editions of Fury of Dracula, so I can't speak to the changes made in this third edition. However, as I understand it, the game has changed for the better. This supports 2 to 5 players, with one player controlling Dracula and the others controlling one or more of the hunters.

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Review: Adonit Jot Dash - Fine Point Precision Stylus

  • November 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Adonit Jot Dash - Fine Point Precision Stylus, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not what I was expecting For the most part I'm not yet at the point in my life where I need to use a stylus pen for my electronic devices. My fingers are the right size, and with devices getting larger, I don't need the precision. I'm also not much of an artist, so it's not necessary to draw.

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Review: Panasonic ER-GB60-K Precision Beard and Hair Trimmer for Face/Hair

  • November 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panasonic ER-GB60-K Precision Beard and Hair Trimmer for Face/Hair, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Spoiler: I really like them. Finally, something that works with my beard Right away I'll say that I haven't used these to clip the hair on the top of my head. I have some barbershop-quality clippers from Wahl that I use for that, and I've had no reason to try anything else.

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Review: Homeland: The Game

  • October 20, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Homeland: The Game, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. A sort of board game Resistance Reading through the rules for the first time I kept thinking about the game The Resistance (although there are many games like this). In The Resistance every character is either part of the resistance, or part of a group trying to sabotage them. As the game progresses you start to figure out who's who, in an attempt to score a win for your team.

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Review: Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (2012)

  • September 20, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (2012), available on Steam and for physical purchase. A good way to get into the genre (I played the Steam version of this game, and this review is based upon that.) This was the first real hidden object game I played, thanks to a kind Reddit user who gifted me a key. It was actually quite good, with great artwork.

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Review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Base Set

  • September 15, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Base Set, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Too soon to tell When I saw the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game available from Amazon Vine I jumped on the chance to give it a try. Unfortunately the complexities of the game currently result in this partial review. This review will be updated in the coming days and weeks as we further play the game.

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Review: Dimension: The Spherical Stackable Fast Paced Puzzle Game

  • September 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dimension: The Spherical Stackable Fast Paced Puzzle Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun, but I don't think it'll turn into a staple (Normally I'd work this into my review, but it's a little harder this time. As noted above this is a review of a product I received for free, through Amazon. I try very hard to not let that impact my rating.

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Review: Batman Fluxx

  • September 6, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Batman Fluxx, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not just a minor tweak of Fluxx Ever since I was introduced to Fluxx well over a year ago (I think it was Oz Fluxx) I've been interested in the game. Thus far I've played Oz Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, and Cthulhu Fluxx, having purchased the latter in July 2014. When I saw that a copy of Batman Fluxx was up for review I wondered how the game would play compared to the others, and requested a copy.

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July 2015 tablet recommendations

  • August 29, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is an email I sent on July 23, 2015, to someone who was looking to purchase her first tablet. It's now a month out of date, but I hope it helps someone, or is historically interesting. Fair warning this is a long email, but you don't have to read it all. If you want to skip ahead I've put bold text to help you skip around. You can either keep reading now, or skip ahead to the bold text in parens below.

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Review: Lumo Lift - Posture Coach and Activity Tracker

  • August 25, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Lumo Lift - Posture Coach and Activity Tracker, provided as part of the Amazon Vine program. Works, but Android app leaves much to be desired I'm a web developer. I sit at my desk for much of the workday and rarely get outside of the building I'm in until the day is done. I've always wondered how bad my posture is, so when I saw the Lumo Lift up for review I decided to give it a try.

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Review: George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

  • August 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Can't replace the clam shell models A couple years after college I started hearing about George Foreman's lean, mean, cooking machines. Since I was living alone at the time, and wasn't much of a cook, I decided to try one of the early models, with the plates that could not be removed.

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Review: Sony SRSX55/BLK Powerful Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • July 26, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sony SRSX55/BLK Powerful Portable Bluetooth Speaker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Sounds great to me First, I feel as though any review about audio equipment requires a disclaimer if you're not an audiophile. So, "I'm not an audiophile." That said, after almost a month of using the Sony SRSX55 I can honestly say that it sounds great to me.

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Review: BLU Studio C 5.0-Inch Android Smartphone

  • June 27, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the BLU Studio C 5.0-Inch Android Smartphone, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Very decent entry-level phone First off, as I appear to be unable to use my existing SIM card from my provider with this phone I was unable to use it to make standard calls. However, I did use it for playing music, browsing the web, and Google Hangouts.

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Review: Bang Gang's The Wolves Are Whispering (2015)

  • June 26, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Bang Gang's 2015 album The Wolves Are Whispering. Another beautiful album Warning: I find music to be very subjective and find it hard to explain why it is that I might like a song in words and without being able to sit someone down and let them listen with me. So the number of music reviews I do is very low. However, this album has been out for three days and has no reviews on Amazon.

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Review: MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer Wet or Dry

  • June 19, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer Wet or Dry, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Budget product, that isn't as good as my Philips Norelco For better or worse, this review of the MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer will be based upon my experience with the Philips Norelco BG2040 BodyGroom Pro, which I've had for almost a year and a half.

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Review: Cyberlink PowerDVD 15 Ultra

  • June 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Cyberlink PowerDVD 15 Ultra, provided to me for free as part of the Amazon Vine program. Error 0110 When I was building my gaming PC I picked up a Blu-ray drive after a few weeks, to compliment the DVD player, and so I wouldn't need to power on my PlayStation 3 to watch certain movies. However, despite hearing good things about the free options I found the setup to be too large of a pain.

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Review: Chill Bag - Bean Bags Bean Bag Chair, 5-Feet, Charcoal

  • June 2, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Chill Bag - Bean Bags Bean Bag Chair, 5-Feet, Charcoal, provided as part of the Amazon Vine program. Massive If there's only one thing I could say about the Chill Bag I would simply say that it's massive. While the product name makes note of bean bags, the Chill Bag is instead filled with over 35 pounds of multi-colored pieces of foam, spread out over around 5 square feet, once fully expanded.

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Review: Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch (SE4008-FFP)

  • May 28, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch (SE4008-FFP), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A great basic switch It has been many years since I've used a network switch, as wireless has become fast and prevalent enough that most devices are just wireless now. However, since I'm running into an issue where wired computers weren't on the same subnet due to the usage of a router.

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Review: Just Desserts

  • May 15, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Looney Labs' Just Desserts, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Just Delicious Having played the game with three different groups, consisting of 2, 4, and 5 people, I can honestly say that every group I've played it with has had a great time. I won't go into the actual rules, other than to say that they're relatively simple to learn and pick up.

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Review: TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter, 5Ghz 1300Mbps + 2.4Ghz 600Mbps, Beamforming, 3T3R

  • May 4, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter, 5Ghz 1300Mbps + 2.4Ghz 600Mbps, Beamforming, 3T3R, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. On par with a wired connection, but mind the size I've used one other TP-LINK product, an AC1200 USB adapter, which I generally found to be acceptable. So when I saw this I thought about another machine I could switched from a networked connection to a wireless one.

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Review: Mars Attacks The Dice Game

  • April 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mars Attacks: The Dice Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun, but the theme may be an acquired taste Being a fan of the Mars Attacks movie, I was interested in just how well a dice game based upon it would be. The game actually puts you into the role of the Martians, and does not really tie into the movie.

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Review: Karma Card Game

  • April 10, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Karma Card Game, provided to me by the Amazon Vine program. Simple enough for kids, but fun for all A number of years ago I was introduced to the SET Card Game by a former co-worker. SET is fairly basic game that requires a deal of thinking, and is something I really enjoyed playing. So when I saw the SET name on the box for the Karma Card Game I knew I had to request a copy.

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Review: SET Dice Game

  • April 5, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the SET Dice Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A pleasant twist on the SET card game I was introduced to the SET card game a little over four years ago by a former co-worker. Having more experience than I, she kicked my butt every time we played together, but it was enjoyable, and I still did sufficiently good at the single player variant.

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Review: LG Electronics Gaming 24GM77 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

  • March 8, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the LG Electronics Gaming 24GM77 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor, released in late 2014, and currently available for purchase for a little over $270. The product I received was free as part of the Amazon Vine program. Very nice, but may not be required For context, I have two rather old HP monitors, from 2007, which up until early last year I was using for my PC monitors.

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Review: LibGDX Game Development Essentials (2014)

  • March 7, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of LibGDX Game Development Essentials, written by Juwal Bose, and released in December 2014 by Packt Publishing. Difficult to follow, but not a complete waste of time LibGDX Game Development Essentials is hard to follow along with, and since I'm one of those learners who likes to follow along when I'm learning a technology, that made this book troublesome. On the one hand, I certainly got something out of the book, and successfully got a glimpse of just how powerful LibGDX is.

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Review: Munchkin Panic

  • January 28, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Munchkin Panic, provided for free as part of Amazon Vine. Enjoyable even for solo play Thus far I've only been able to play solo games of Munchkin Panic, so this review will be based upon that fact. I've never played Castle Panic, which this game is a variant of, but I'm familiar with Munchkin. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this game when I got it.

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Review: RADical ROACH Deluxe Edition (2014)

  • January 11, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of RADical ROACH Deluxe Edition, available on Steam and Amazon. Not Rad 'RADical' ROACH is just not very enjoyable. I somehow made it through the first two levels, and recently opted to run it for a little over an hour today to just get the trading cards (which are worth next to nothing in money and gems). I'm thankful I only paid 17 cents for this, thanks to a bundle.

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Review: TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter

  • December 31, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Quite the big boy On a Windows 8.1 machine, the TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter does what it says. Speed tests and usage suggest that it's on par with a wired connection, and I had no issues playing online with it.

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Review: Perfect Fitness Pushup Stands

  • November 22, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Perfect Fitness Pushup Stands, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Makes pushups easy I don't find pushups all that difficult, outside of the fact that I just don't know what to do with my hands. Since my apartment is carpeted, putting my hands into fists results in carpet marks on my ends, and some irritation. As a developer, who works on a computer most of the day, stretching my fingers out causes me some concern as I'm wary of wrist issues.

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Review: Cash N Guns Second Edition

  • November 6, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Cash N Guns Second Edition, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun with a good group When initially reading over the instructions for Cash N Guns I wasn't sure how it would actually play. The idea of robbers trying to split the loot from a heist is pretty easy to understand, but would it play out fairly? Having now played the game in a group of five I think it went fairly well.

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Review: Gray Matter (2010)

  • October 26, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Gray Matter (2010), available for the PC on Steam and on Amazon.com. An enjoyable story, with minor puzzles I find point and click adventures to be generally enjoyable, but the older I get the more interest I have in the story they tell than the puzzles. So when I finally started playing Gray Matter, which I received for very cheap as part of a bundle, my main focus was on the story.

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Review: Mega Bloks Call of Duty ODIN Space Station Strike

  • October 16, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Mega Bloks Call of Duty ODIN Space Station Strike set, provided by Amazon as part of the Amazon Vine program. Call me an impressed Mega Bloks first-timer I'll be honest; I'm a LEGO guy. My sister and I grew up with LEGO, and I have fond memory of them. We did have some Tyco blocks, but we were primarily LEGO. I'm not a fan of Call of Duty, but the set looked pretty interesting, and had a 'less than LEGO' price, I figured it would be worth a try.

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Review: The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation (2014)

  • September 27, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation, published in 2014, and written by John M. Blain. So much information Many many years ago I did quite a bit with POV-Ray and Rhino3D, but as I got older focused more and more on the web. While I'd heard of Blender many times in the past, I had also heard that the GUI wasn't exactly friendly for new users.

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Review: Devil Kings (2005)

  • September 6, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Devil Kings, released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Perfectly acceptable example of the genre There's something satisfying about games of this particular genre. You play a kind of super-powered individual, able to wade your way through groups of the enemies armies, fighting your way to their lord(s), and taking them down. It can certainly be repetitive, yet despite that ... the simple controls, basic story lines, multiple characters, and excited announcer, drives you play each character, and at increasing levels of difficulty.

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Review: Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350)

  • September 1, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of a Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350), which I received as part of the Amazone Vine program. Runs hot, but nice interface and speeds I have a couple routers around the house, but I've always been a fan of Linksys, so when I saw the opportunity to review the Linksys AC1200+ I snapped it up. Unfortunately, while it has a number of good points, I'll ultimately be unplugging it and using an existing device instead.

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Review: Shadowrun Returns (2013)

  • August 2, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Shadowrun Returns (2013), available for PC on Steam. Enjoyable story and gameplay After having the game for a little over 9 months, I've finally beaten the main campaign, Dead Man's Switch, of Shadowrun Returns (2013). It didn't take this long to beat it because the game wasn't enjoyable, but rather because the machine I had until a few months ago wasn't ideal for gaming, so it wasn't until the last three months that I really got into this.

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Review: Still Life (2005)

  • July 29, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Still Life (2005), available for PC on Steam. Great story, interesting puzzles Having liked Syberia (you have to like a game if you've bought multiple copies over the years), when I saw the Still Life trilogy in a bundle (Post Mortem, Still Life, Still Life 2) a few months ago I decided to pick it up. While it's taken me a while to get to this game (not thinking, I played the second in the series first), I'm glad I finally did.

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Review: Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet, Ink

  • July 19, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet, Ink, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Actually like it more than my Supcase case The Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet has a fairly low rating on Amazon as I write this, and has had a low rating since I ordered this a few weeks ago.

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Review: Fearless Fantasy (2014)

  • July 13, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Fearless Fantasy (2014), available for PC on Steam. Enjoyable, but controls are a bit iffy While Fearless Fantasy isn't long (there's only 13 sections), it's nonetheless an interesting game. The combat mechanic is probably more suited for touch-based devices (I found windowed mode makes the game a little easier, than playing full screen in 1920x1080), it still keeps combat interesting. Because of the mechanic, I did find myself having to grind earlier levels for experience, and ended the game with level 17 characters.

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Review: To the Moon (2011)

  • June 28, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of To the Moon (2011), available for PC on Steam. Good story, but iffy controls From the reviews of this game I was expecting a short game with a good story. And having now beat the game in a little over 3 and a half hours (having only looked up if I needed to get off the horse to exit the stage; we'll get to that in a bit), that's exactly what I got.

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Review: Hexcells Plus (2014)

  • June 20, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Hexcells Plus (2014), played on the PC. More of the same, with a bit more complexity Having gone through the first Hexcells rather quickly, I just as quickly started playing the standalone Hexcells Plus. While this game contains the same number of puzzles as the original, it adds additional gameplay dynamics. While I finished the first in less than 2 hours, Steam reports that I put in 8 hours on this version.

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Review: NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000)

  • June 17, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000), which I received as part of the Amazone Vine program. Works perfectly to convert a wired connection, with no loss of speed The NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000) can assist as either a simple wifi router for a normally wired home network, as a wireless range extender, as a protected wireless hotspot on the go, or to convert a wired device to a wireless one.

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Review: Hexcells (2014)

  • June 14, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Hexcells (2014), played on the PC. A short, but enjoyable, puzzle game Ultimately, I recommend Hexcells, especially for the price I paid ($1.25 with the standalone expansion), as I got a around 110 minutes of play. It's a pretty basic puzzle game, with some extra dynamics added in as you progress. I do wish that the puzzles were a little more complex, but I also tend to enjoy this type of game, so the general idea wasn't new to me.

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Review: Radiant Historia (2011)

  • May 30, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Radiant Historia (2011), released for the Nintendo DS. Fantastic music and interesting branching story When I ordered Radiant Historia back in February 2013 I'll readily admit that I played for only a few hours before I let it, and my 3DS, sit and gather dust. At the time the cheapest new copy of the game I could get was $70, so I was expecting much more from the game.

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Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (2013)

  • May 15, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (2013), played on the PC. An enjoyable hack and slash dungeon crawler Having recently built a gaming PC I had to think hard about what game(s) I would initially pick up. Since Diablo II was such an enjoyable game, and one of my most memorable experiences when I was PC gaming, I initially looked at Diablo III. However, the current state of the game, and knowing that eventually the DLC and base game would be selling for half the price, led me to look elsewhere.

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Review: Getting Start with Paint.NET (2013)

  • April 13, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Getting Start with Paint.NET (2013), written by Andros T. Sturgeon and Shoban Kumar, and published by Packt Publishing. Excellent primer for your average user In the past I've used Adobe Photoshop for my own personal use, as well as at work for relatively simple work. However, after losing my discount a number of years ago, I've kept my eye open for good alternatives, especially for those that were asking for my recommendation on software.

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Review: Ghost Trick (2011)

  • April 3, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ghost Trick, released in 2011, for the Nintendo DS. What a very good game A very short while ago I watched a video that featured Ghost Trick briefly, and I fell in love with the graphic style of the game. After ordering it with some other DS games, for use on my 3DS XL, I decided that it would be the first of the batch that I would play, and therefore also one of the first games I had played on the system in months.

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Review: Panavise PortaGrip Phone Holder with Windshield Mount

  • February 18, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panavise PortaGrip Phone Holder with Windshield Mount, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. No suction due to cold, but great grip Right away let me say that I wanted to like this product. Unfortunately, a lack of suction made it impossible for me to fully test this in my car. However, given the weather in Wisconsin, I fully attribute that to the extremely cold weather.

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Review: PlayStation 3 EX-02 Next Gen Bluetooth Headset with Faceplates

  • February 2, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the PlayStation 3 EX-02 Next Gen Bluetooth Headset with Faceplates, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. External speaker is key I've tried two different microphones before this headset: the one that came with Warhawk and the PlayStation 3 camera, and since I rarely play multiplayer games, and PlayStation players are less likely to have microphones that Xbox 360 players, both were just fine.

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Review: Rolodex Mesh Mobile Device Tablet Stand

  • December 4, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Rolodex Mesh Mobile Device Tablet Stand, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Perfect with my Nexus 7 I currently have a Nexus 7 with a case that allows a certain level of tilting. However, since the case is relatively soft, it doesn't work as well as I'd like. I was also looking at purchasing a larger tablet over the holiday season, so when I saw this up for review I jumped at the opportunity.

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Review: Contrast (2013)

  • November 16, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Contrast, released in 2013, for the PlayStation 4. Charming Since Watch Dogs was delayed, I've been thinking about what game would be my first PlayStation 4 experience. Between Contrast, Flower, and Resogun, I ultimately decided upon Contrast, since while I had played flOw first on my PlayStation 3, I had already played (and enjoyed) Flower on the PS3, and wanted something slightly different.

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Review: Alice: Madness Returns (2011)

  • September 8, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Alice: Madness Returns, released in 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A dark masterpiece I picked up a new copy of Alice: Madness Returns for the Xbox 360 back in April of 2012. Since it came with a copy of the original American Mcgee’s Alice, I decided to start with that in May. However, it took me until November of that year to beat that game (it was good, just long), and then I didn’t start the main game until the middle of August.

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Review: D-Link Wireless N 900 Mbps Home Cloud App-Enabled Dual-Band Gigabit Router (DIR-855L)

  • July 21, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the D-Link Wireless N 900 Mbps Home Cloud App-Enabled Dual-Band Gigabit Router (DIR-855L). Very nice, save the short power cord While I just replaced my router with a MediaLink router (since I wanted wireless N), when Amazon Vine offered this D-Link router I figured I would give it a try, since I had noticed issues with my laptop losing wireless and my tablet experiencing extreme drops.

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Review: Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook (2013)

  • June 30, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook (2013), written by Jose Luis Latorre Millas, and published by Packt Publishing. The .NET Framework is just too big .NET 4.5 came out a short while ago, but the amount I’ve been able to do with it has been fairly limited. So when I was asked if I wanted a review copy of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook I went ahead and took the opportunity to do so, to see what I could look forward to.

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Review: Instant .NET 4.5 Extension Methods How-to (2013)

  • May 3, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Instant .NET 4.5 Extension Methods How-to (2013), written by Shawn R. McLean, and published by Packt Publishing. A quick introduction to .NET extension methods In the 5+ years that I’ve been doing .NET I’ve been created my own extension methods twice. I was already aware that LINQ was built on extension methods, but I very rarely found myself needing to extend something that I didn’t already have the code for.

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Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

  • April 12, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tomb Raider (2013). Reboot: Successful I’ve never bought a Tomb Raider game before this one. Actually, I did buy the Lara Croft PSN/Xbox Live game, but that’s not really a Tomb Raider game in the classic sense. I also received a free copy of Tomb Raider: Underworld via PlayStation Plus, but I’ve yet to finish it, and don’t have much drive to. However, Tomb Raider is not only the first Lara Croft game I’ve paid full price for, but one of a very few games I’ve picked up almost immediately after it was released.

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Review: Milwaukee Mafia (2012)

  • November 1, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following if a review of Milwaukee Mafia (2012), written by Gavin Schmitt. Is a picture worth a thousand words? First, I should note that I’ve known the author for around a decade, so my review have some level of bias. Second, having followed the project, and been part of the Kickstarter effort, my experience with the book has been fairly long and diverse. While I was initially expecting a typical, written, book, Milwaukee Mafia, as the fact that it’s part of the ‘Images of America’ series, consists mostly of photos, all with captions, and short introductions beginning each of the six chapters.

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Review: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters)

  • November 1, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters). AmazonBasics: When price and quality matters While a number of retailers will try to sell you expensive cables, I’ve personally found Amazon’s AmazonBasics line to be exactly what’s needed, at an even better than expected price. This isn’t the first HDMI cable I’ve received in the AmazonBasics line, but I don’t believe my previous cable supported ‘ethernet, 3D, and audio return’ like this one promises.

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Review: SimpleSleeve, Premium Neoprene Sleeve for Apple iPad

  • September 16, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the SimpleSleeve, Premium Neoprene Sleeve for Apple iPad. A well made cover; one happy purchaser Seeing as how my Nexus 7 has officially converted me to Android tablets (although we’ll see what Microsoft’s Surface devices are priced at), I figured it was time to finally write a review for the item that’s been keeping my iPad safe for almost a year and a half.

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Review: Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (2009)

  • September 16, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (2009), for the Xbox 360. Ignore the cover, Onechanbara actually isn’t that bad Honestly, I hesitated bringing this up to the counter to pay for it. However, with the 3-point-something rating, new copies selling for over $60, and the store having it used for $6.30, I had to pick up Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. I’ll admit it, as I guy who likes girls sex can get me to purchase something, and Onechanbara certainly promises that.

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Review: Mafia II (2010)

  • May 8, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mafia II (2010), for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. If you enjoyed The Saboteur, you’ll enjoy this While I was playing Mafia II I was constantly reminded of The Saboteur (2009), and since I enjoyed that game, I would consider that a good thing. The game features much of the same, with gun and hand fights (the latter of which plays an important part in the story) and driving.

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Review: Ninja Blade (2009)

  • April 24, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ninja Blade (2009), for the Xbox 360. A lot of quick time events, but an overlooked gem God of War was a pretty good game, but the game made popular quick time events, which I absolutely despised. When I saw Ninja Blade at a used media store I was taken back by how little it cost, for what seemed like a fairly enjoyable game, similar to Ninja Gaiden (note: Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360 is kicking my butt, but I fully plan on finishing it, have picked up Sigma for the PlayStation 3, and am semi-interested in picking up others in the series).

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Review: Yakuza Dead Souls (2012)

  • March 27, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza Dead Souls (2012), released for the PlayStation 3. Inconsistent targeting is easily overlooked in this gem When I first heard about Yakuza Dead Souls I was a little worried. The best part about the Yakuza series is the story, and I feared that they were jumping on the zombie bandwagon (albeit late). However, I should have reminded myself about the multitude of games I have that has the Sega logo on the box, as there was nothing to fear with this iteration in the Yakuza series.

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Review: MindJack (2011)

  • February 29, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of MindJack (2011), released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. MindJack got a lot of grief when it came out, and it hasn’t gotten much better. However, seeing it for under $5 one day, I decided to pick up a copy and see just how bad it really is. MindJack tells the story of a man who’s name I can’t remember (and that I don’t care enough to look up) as he tries to discover what he can, as within the first few minutes of the game he’s treated as something of a traitor.

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Review: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)

  • January 22, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Enslaved, Odyssey to the West (2010), released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A wonderful short story When Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was first being discussed I was keeping my eye on it, as I had picked up Heavenly Sword when I picked up my PlayStation 3 and thorougly enjoyed it. However, after lackluster reviews I opted to wait until I picked it up.

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Review: Programming Entity Framework: Code First (2011)

  • January 5, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Programming Entity Framework: Code First, written by Julia Lerman and Rowan Miller. While I had heard of Julie Lerman and her book Programming Entity Framework, after the release of code first I was on the fence on just how much I would get out of the existing book. With the release of Programming Entity Framework: Code First I knew I’d learn something, so I picked up an electronic copy (PDF) and started digging in.

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Review: Saints Row: The Third (2011)

  • December 17, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Saints Row: The Third (2011) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Over the top antics delivers just what I needed After the bombardment of commercials online for this game, I had it on my list to pick up after the price dropped into the $20 range. However, since PlayStation 3 users can get a free copy of Saints Row 2 by picking it up before January or February of next year, and the price at retailers had dropped to $40, I decided to pick up a copy early.

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Review: Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition (2010)

  • December 17, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition (2010) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Amazing value, for a great RPG A while ago a friend lent me his copy of Dragon Age Origins for the Xbox 360. While I enjoyed the game, I had a number of other games that I was playing, and I returned it without finishing it. With the price drops of the Ultimate Edition, I decided to finally pick up a copy, for the PS3, but it sat unused until a short time ago.

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Review: The 3rd Birthday (2011) (PSP)

  • October 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The 3rd Birthday for the PlayStation Portable. Fairly incomprehensible story, but wonderful game play Way back in 2005 I found a copy of Parasite Eve. While I tried playing through the game shortly after, it wasn’t until many years later that I actually started and finished the game (twice). I also happened to come upon a copy of Parasite Eve 2, but outside of a very little bit of play (less than an hour), I never really got into the game.

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Review: Yakuza 4 (2011) (PlayStation 3)

  • October 1, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza 4 for the PlayStation 3. A masterpiece I picked up Yakuza 4 without having played any of the previous iterations of the game. After looking at reviews online I thought it might have a pretty good story, and provide a good amount of entertainment. After playing a little under an hour of the game I was quite impressed what I had seen. Used copies of Yakuza 3 were available locally, at a pretty decent price, so I decided to pick up a copy of Yakuza 3 and play that first (since Yakuza 1 and 2 were a little harder to find, and more importantly on the PlayStation 2).

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Review: Last Rebellion (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 28, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Last Rebellion for the PlayStation 3. It’s interesting how badly this game is generally rated, yet I didn’t find the approximately 12 hours I put into the game all that horrible. Sure the graphics don’t push the limits of the PlayStation 3, and the game could certainly have been released for the PlayStation 2, but given the current pricing of the game I’d argue it’s worth a purchase.

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Review: Yakuza 3 (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 21, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza 3, for the PlayStation 3. Around the time Yakuza 4 was being released I began hearing about the game, although after further research I do remember hearing about those who had asked actual Yakuza to play a Yakuza game (the 3rd specifically). Either way, everything I had heard about 4 suggested I would like it, especially when I heard it had a great story.

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Review: Eat Them! (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 6, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Eat Them!, for the PlayStation 3, and released on the PlayStation Network. I just recently picked up a copy of Eat Them!, for the PlayStation 3, as it was on sale for PlayStation Plus members. According to some Eat Them! is a Rampage-like game, where you control a monster that lays waste to an area of a city. Indeed, this an extremely apt description, as playing this game brought to my mind fond memories of putting quarters/tokens into the Rampage machine, and later playing it, and later releases (such as for the Nintendo 64) to mind.

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Review: Bullet Witch (2006) (Xbox 360)

  • July 20, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Bullet Witch, released in 2006 for the Xbox 360. It is what it is, and that’s just fine Years ago I was hooked by the uniqueness of the first few levels of Drakengard, released for the PlayStation 2. When I finally found and picked up a copy I found it had hooked its claws into me even more. So when Drakengard 2 came out I of course picked up a copy.

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Review: Dante's Inferno (2010) (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)

  • June 9, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dante’s Inferno (2010), available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Enjoyable, but quick, with some annoying platforming As I continue playing games that received less than critical acclaim, I found myself playing Dante’s Inferno for the Xbox 360. Dante’s Inferno tells the story of Dante who journeys through Hell to save his beloved Beatrice. As we progress through the story we learn more about Dante himself, and why it is that he doesn’t seem so out of place in this land.

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Review: Darksiders (2009) (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)

  • May 30, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Darksiders (2009), available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Darksiders, like Nier, the last game I played through and beat, didn’t get all that much respect when it first came out. But Darksiders features more than just God of War meets Zelda gameplay, it tells a story worth seeing through until the end. The following review is based upon a playthrough on the Xbox 360, on the hardest - Apocalyptic - difficulty.

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Review: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Sixth Edition, by David Flanagan

  • May 23, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Sixth Edition, written by David Flanagan. Also available on O’Reilly Media. Provides a deep dive into JavaScript development JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is not just a complete reference of the language, like O’Reilly’s other ‘thick books,’ but also provides a deep dive into JavaScript development. However, if you’re just starting out and will be using one of the various libraries (like jQuery), this book may not (yet) be for you.

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Review: JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

  • April 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JavaScript: The Good Parts, written by Douglas Crockford. Focused discussion on the parts of JavaScript to learn more about At the beginning of last month Scott Hanselman had a Hanselminutes episode titled “JavaScript and jQuery: Moving beyond Alert().” During this episode he spoke with two JavaScript … (experts? gurus?) users, and this book was mentioned as one to read if you wanted to get a better understanding of JavaScript.

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Review: 30-Minute Mandalas Coloring Book

  • April 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of 30-Minute Mandalas Coloring Book: Active Meditation for the Mind and Body OR Easy Meditation through Coloring. I’ll be honest, I might be missing the point of these If, after reading my review’s title, you haven’t already decided to hit the ‘No’ button next to ‘Was this review helpful to you’ and otherwise ignore my review, thank you. I’ll be the first to admit that I might not understand the point of these.

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Review: Ys Seven (PSP)

  • April 22, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ys Seven, for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Ys Seven, the first Ys game I’ve played, was recommended to me a number of times before I finally picked up a copy. Since XSEED had some hand in the game, I was expecting a fairly good game, and found an excellent one. Ys Seven is a sort of action RPG, with combat taking place on the field, and consisting of standard attacks, dodges, skills, and special attacks.

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Review: C# in Depth, Second Edition

  • April 18, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of C# in Depth, Second Edition, written by Jon Skeet. I’ve been working in C# (heavily towards Web usage via ASP.NET) for almost a handful of years now, with the various Wrox books, and online materials, serving me rather well. However, I never really dug ‘deep’ into C#, and knew that there was a great deal of functionality I just wasn’t using. This book, C# in Depth, comes up a lot during discussions of really understanding C#, or the man (legend?

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Review: The Master Switch

  • April 4, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Master Switch, by Tim Wu. A long while back I had first read mention of this book on a blog I subscribed to, the author of whom writes about technology. He briefly mentioned the book before going on to some related discussion. And that’s about all I remember. He praised the book, but I can’t recall why. Having now finished the book, I can honestly give it some praise as well, but I fear a repeat of what’s happened in the past.

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Review: Smashing CSS

  • March 25, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Smashing CSS, written by Eric A. Meyer. Mixed signals lead to a mixed review I think this may technically be the first Eric Meyer book I’ve ever read. I’ve read a number of his articles online, in various forums, but just haven’t gone out of my way to read one of his books. So I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I do know it was more then I believe I got.

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Review: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

  • January 11, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Having played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 years ago, I skipped most of the other iterations of the Kingdom Hearts series either because I didn’t have the console (DS) or because the games just didn’t seem to have the same appeal (Chain of Memories). Shortly before picking up my PSP I heard a lot of really great things about this game, with most reviews saying it had a good story, graphics, and an improved combat system, but a quirky camera.

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Review: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

  • November 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of the Sony PlayStation Portable game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII was the game that made me want a PlayStation 1. I played Final Fantasy VII briefly after it was initially released at a friend’s house, then my own copies later in college on both the PC and PlayStation 1. So when I ordered a PlayStation Portable (PSP) recently it seemed like a no-brainer to pick up a copy of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII as one of my first games.

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