Ubisoft seems to have an odd fixation with horse-themed mobile games. The publisher made an Android version of the inexplicably popular Howrse, a sort of equestrian-themed adaptation of free PC RPGs like Ragnarok Online. Now Ubi has created its own horsy mobile game, the innocuously-titled Horse Haven World Adventure.
It's terrifying. Completely, utterly terrifying. If H.P. Lovecraft and H.R. Geiger had some kind of genetically engineered offspring with too many initials, it would not come close to approaching the horror that lies beneath Horse Haven World Adventure. To look upon this game is to go mad.
No, not just because it's another fairly brainless free-to-play mobile game - which it is.
If you are using data as a Verizon Wireless customer, Verizon is tracking you. Not only that, but their method to ensure that you can't navigate around it makes your unique identifier visible to every website you visit. The injected data has been called a "supercookie," a term that reflects the fact that it is not removable like a tracking cookie. Now, recent reports show that at least one third-party ad agency has been using Verizon's supercookie to track users after they have deleted cookies or opted out of data collection.
How it works
Technically speaking, what Verizon is using is not a cookie or supercookie or any kind of baked good.
In what I must describe as an almost so-comical-as-to-be-intentional inability to brand itself effectively to consumers, Softcard, fomerly Isis, has come up with a new ad campaign for its NFC tap-to-pay service that should not be viewed by children or those with irrational fears of eyelashes. Meet Tappy. Don't say I didn't warn you.
First, let's get the basics down. Tappy is a tap-to-pay terminal with creepily large eyeballs, humans hands, and shoes. Also, eyelashes/brows/hair-stuff. For days. Seriously, why is there so much orbital hair on this puppet? Oh, and Tappy lights up green when you use him to tap-to-pay, and then emits a not-entirely-unsexual sound.
Are you a Verizon customer? Are you due for an upgrade on your 2-year contract? Well, go in armed with the knowledge that any 2-year agreement signed from today forward is going to have a substantially awful...er early termination clause.
The base fee of $350 is remaining the same - that's the not-bad news (I mean, it's obviously not good news). The problem is that until you're 8 full months into your contract, that ETF doesn't start declining. Previously, you'd shave $10 a month, every month, off your ETF. Eventually, that'd bring you to $120 after 23 months of service, and on the 24th month, the ETF obviously went away because your contract expired.
It's a widely-known fact that Google's unofficial motto when it comes to potential monopolies, privacy violations, and other slightly gray areas of technological ethics is "don't be evil." Lately it seems like Twitter is taking the opposite approach. The latest victim of their incredibly frustrating corporate policy is TweetDeck, the once-loved power app for Twitter that was acquired by the service itself in 2011. In a rambling post on the official TweetDeck website, the developers mentioned that they are ending support for the Android version (as well as the iPhone and Adobe Air versions, and Facebook integration) in May.
The reason for TweetDeck's less-than-graceful exit from the mobile world is obvious: Twitter would rather you use their official app.
To say that DLC is a growing problem would be an understatement. Of the last five games I've reviewed for this site, all of them have had some form of in-app purchases to expand the game or unlock content. Sometimes it's awful, sometimes it's not so bad, but all of them guarantee you only get most of a game. A new service called Pocket Change, however, wants to let game developers charge on a per-play basis. This is beyond scummy.
Going From Bad...
Back before DLC became a common term amongst gamers, we still paid for extra content. Whether we called them "expansion packs", "map packs", or "Pokemon Every Color Of The Friggin' Rainbow", we would pay money for new content to extend games we enjoyed.