Guest Post: From the Mind of the Mad Blogger

Be not afraid.  Here is some guest commentary once again from one of my faithful readers and good friends, The Mad Blogger.

First, he retorted my post about "Too Much Stuff on TiVo."  He writes...

TiVo is the television version of "pack-ratism." Think about it. There are people who actually have SO MUCH STUFF...

..How much stuff do they have...

They have SO MUCH STUFF, they actually pay MORE MONEY to place this extra stuff in storage.

It boggles the mind.

The same mindset can be applied to TiVo. Yes, this is a great tool to watch that episode you missed or to store a show or movie which you plan to see again.

However, I've heard people say that they have over 100 hours of recorded programming that they haven't yet seen. Here is a rule of thumb. If you record a show, and you don't plan on watching this show in the next week, delete the show. If your life is that busy that you have no time to watch that show, that may or may not be a good thing. But, that show will be on again. Trust me on this one.

Then, after I posted my summer flicks picks of 2012, he offered his recommendation for what he claims will be the sleeper hit of the summer movie season.  Read on...

Hello all! Here is my pick for the sleeper hit of Summer, 2012:

Sleeper Hit: Hope Springs

Release Date: August 10, 2012

Plot: Hope Springs is an upcoming 2012 American romantic comedy. After 30 years of marriage, Maeve and Arnold Soames (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) attend intense marriage counseling from Dr. Bernie Fields (Steve Carell).

Why a Sleeper Hit: Although I cannot stand romantic comedies, the all-star cast makes this worth viewing. Plus the trailer is funny. Seeing Meryl Streep try to use a banana in "that way" is hilarious.

Finally, here is another in The Mad Blogger's series of iPad Game Reviews.

This month, I'll be reviewing six games for the iPad. All of these games are enjoyable, and all of them are free.

Blood and Glory (FREE)

Take the concept of Infinity Blade, drop the price to FREE, and put the main character into a gladitorial arena, and what do you get? Blood and Glory. How or why you are in this arena you do not know, and do you know what? It doesn't impact the gameplay one bit. Your goal is to hack, slash, and dodge your way against 40 enemies in eight action-packed campaigns. With each victory, you earn gold which you can use to acquire better equipment, including swords, shields, helmets, and armor. Similar to Infinity Blade, you swipe the iPad to use your sword, and press the arrow buttons to dodge. In addition, you have a Super button, which, when fully charged, allows you to unleash a massive combo strike for intense damage.

If I had to pick two things to complain about with Blood and Glory, it is the brevity and ease of the game. You'll find yourself defeating all 40 enemies within 4 hours. Also, when you are low on energy, you can take a potion, even in the middle of battle, which removes any challenge you may have when squaring off against your opponent.

Still, if you are a fan of Infinity Blade or Dark Meadow, and want to try an arena-based version of these games for free, Blood & Glory is for you.

Rating: B+

Family Feud and Friends (FREE)

Time for the feud. In this game, you and others play against a random "family." However, for each round, you are merely responsible for answering as many correct answers as you can until you clear the board or you get three strikes. Then, you see how your scores rates against the family. Whichever family reaches 300 points wins. Then, you go on to fast money, but your group can only complete the first portion of fast money. You have to ask another family online to help you complete that part of the game.

Personally, I would have preferred it to have you complete online against another family in real time, and follow the gameplay of the actual game. Also, why you need another family to help you win the fast money round is beyond me.

But, as this game is FREE, it is definitely worth playing with your family or friends.

Rating: B

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots (FREE/$1.99)

If you like Fruit Ninja, you are going to LOVE Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots. I'm not a big fan of movie crossovers into games, but the concept of Fruit Ninja remains intact, and Antonio Banderas' voice adds to the humor of the game. There are two modes in Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots: Desperado (which resembles the Classic mode of Fruit Ninja) and an all-new Bandito mode. In this mode, you slice through a series of increasingly exciting challenges. Each stage thrusts you into never-seen-before fruit frenzy adventure: Massive fruit from the Giant's castle, precision and timing challenges, all-out fruit onslaughts with new obstacles. Here, you must put your best blade forward because scoring is based on the number of fruit sliced, ninja reflexes, and slicing efficiency.

The only drawback to this game is the far-too-few number of unlockables. However, if you want to try something new with Fruit Ninja, and you have mastered the Classic, Arcade, and Zen modes of the original, this is the game for you.

Rating: A

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots Lite (FREE)

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots HD ($1.99)

King Cashing: Slots Adventure (FREE/$1.99)

Take the idea of a slot machine and a Role Playing Game (RPG), and what do you get? King Cashing: Slots Adventure. I never thought I could see a game combine these two seemingly different genres of gaming and make it work. Boy, this game sure proved me wrong. King Cashing: Slots Adventure strikes the perfect balance between approachable gameplay of a slot machine with the strategy and depth of a role playing game.

King Cashing takes a lot of inspiration from the basic tenets of role playing games. You play as a king on an adventure to storm the dark castle and take down the evil antagonist. Along the way you will encounter a large variety of different monsters and boss enemies. There is an experience/leveling system, along with a decent inventory system including a wide variety of weapons and items. In addition, there are also side quests in the form of optional monsters that don't need to be beaten to advance, but can offer serious rewards if you manage to take them down (and they are very difficult to actually defeat). Sure, the actual story mode, as well as the majority of the enemies, isn't particularly special, but I think of them as simply necessary game elements in order to keep you playing its unique combat.

Where King Cashing deviates from the normal RPG experience is with its battle system which is completely controlled by a slot machine. Each of the three slot columns have different types of modifiers: the left column has your party characters (warrior, archer or mage), the middle column has your equipped weapons, and the right column has your enemies. In order to attack your enemy, you must match an enemy modifier with a character or weapon on the same row. If you manage to match both a character and weapon with an enemy, your damage output increases. Match a character with a weapon that they're affiliated with, and that damage exponentially increases. Other modifiers, such as extra spins (cherries), experience, gold and misses are also littered throughout the slot field. Simply put, the entire system works extremely well, although it would have been nice to be able to choose how many rows you want to actually bet on per turn (currently you can only place ‘max’ bets for all three rows unless you are down to less than three cherries).

King Cashing certainly isn't for everyone, particularly if you are not a fan of RPGs or the slot-machine mechanic. However, for anyone that is remotely interested, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Its approachable gameplay combined with a decent slice of strategy and standard RPG tropes may get you hooked.

Rating: A

King Cashing Lite: Slots Adventure (FREE)

King Cashing: Slots Adventure ($1.99)

MapleStory Cave Crawlers (FREE)

This simple-to-use, yet difficult-to-master RPG takes place in the land of MapleStory. Here, you play either a powerful fighter or sneaky thief who partakes on an adventure through the forests, mountains, and dungeons of Maple World. You can customize weapons, armor, and skills to use against a wide variety of different enemies as you crawl through five randomized campaigns.

This game really is addictive, and you will spend hours trying to master all five campaigns.

Rating: A

The Mad Blogger submitted a bunch of other posts, which I might share in the future, but that will do for now.