Windows 8.1: Much Ado About Nothing

Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 8.1 as a free update for Windows 8. I dutifully updated but found it barely worth the effort. Endlessly hyped as the fixed version of Windows 8, the one that would finally realize the original vision and convince desktop users of its brilliance, Windows 8.1 is in fact nothing of the … Continue reading “Windows 8.1: Much Ado About Nothing”

Small World 2 Review

Small World is a strategy game about territory control, similar in concept to Risk yet quite different in execution. The 2009 board game was designed by Days of Wonder, most famous for the Ticket to Ride series. In the evolution of board games, Small World’s closest relative is not classic 1959 Risk itself but rather … Continue reading “Small World 2 Review”

Space Hulk Returns

Space Hulk has recently arrived on Steam, with an iOS version soon to follow. This isn’t the first electronic adaptation of the classic 1998 board game, but unlike the 1993–95 versions it’s an almost literal translation of the board game, of the kind you often see on iOS but very rarely on Windows. Specifically, Space … Continue reading “Space Hulk Returns”

Civilization V: Brave New World

Brave New World, the second expansion to Sid Meier’s Civilization V, is finally upon us. I was quite fond of the original game and its first expansion, Gods & Kings, so I was very much looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I’m somewhat disappointed, as I’ll explain below. But first, here’s a rundown of information … Continue reading “Civilization V: Brave New World”

Eclipse: New Dawn for Strategy Games

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy is Big Daddy Creations’ recent iOS port of the popular 2011 board game. Thematically, Eclipse is a space 4X game and insofar resembles many PC classics of that genre, most famously Master of Orion by SimTex. Mechanically, however, Eclipse is a Euro-style board game, and that’s where things get … Continue reading “Eclipse: New Dawn for Strategy Games”

Zen Pinball & Pinball FX2

Zen Studios makes digital pinball games for a variety of platforms, marketed as Zen Pinball on Apple iOS and Sony PlayStation 3 & Vita, and Pinball FX2 on Xbox 360 and lately Steam for Windows. The popular series boasts numerous licensed Marvel Comics and Star Wars tables. Within the realm of digital pinball, Zen hews … Continue reading “Zen Pinball & Pinball FX2”

Windows 8, the Desktop Smartphone

Should you have made the mistake of installing Windows 8, this is what you’ll see: Look, a gigantic smartphone on my desk! The new Start screen, full of colorful blinking tiles, informs you that the weather in London is “mostly cloudy” and that “aging Yankees face lots of questions.” Microsoft faces lots of questions, too, … Continue reading “Windows 8, the Desktop Smartphone”

EditPad Pro, EmEditor &c

From days immemorial (i.e. for about a decade), Yutaka Emura’s EmEditor was my preferred editor for all kinds of plain text, including HTML/XML documents and source code outside of full-fledged IDEs. Back in the day, EmEditor was one of the first editors to fully support Unicode. Indeed, I switched to EmEditor from two earlier favorites … Continue reading “EditPad Pro, EmEditor &c”

Dishonored Review

Dishonored is a steampunk assassin simulator by French developer Arkane Studios whose previous work includes Arx Fatalis and Bioshock 2, here teamed up with publisher Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3) and creative co-director Harvey Smith (Cybermage, Deus Ex, System Shock). All this sounds too good to be true, but amazingly the game lives up to … Continue reading “Dishonored Review”

LittleWing Pinball Review

The Japanese company LittleWing Pinball has been making pinball games for Macintosh and Windows since 1990, and two of their early classics are now available on iOS: Tristan and Crystal Caliburn II. Neither are cheap by iOS standards, and sadly there are no free demos either. However, they are far and away the best pinball … Continue reading “LittleWing Pinball Review”