Category Archives: Music Reviews

Find which tune fits you with these helpful reviews.

Passion: White Flag [Deluxe Edition] (Music Review)


Official Album Cover (Amazon)

Passion: White Flag is the latest installment from the Passion music series, recorded live at Passion 2012, and debuting commercially March 9th, 2012. During its first day, it climbed to the top of the Gospel Christian charts and achieved a high ranking overall.

It is a thoroughly diverse album, featuring the talents of such artists as Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, and the recently retired David Crowder Band who made their last performance at the live event. Boasting [in Christ] an incredible seventeen songs, four videos (including a sermon by GA Pastor & Passion Pres. Louie Giglio), and song booklet –  the deluxe edition is certainly the best deal financially and in terms of quality content.

Its tone is vibrant – full of energy and passion. Its lyrics are not watered down, but beautiful, powerful, and pertinent. A common thread of surrender [and conformation] to Christ unites the album, hence the name, White Flag. 

The full content list reads as follows:

» Not Ashamed (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
» White Flag (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Jesus, Son of God (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» How I Love You (feat. Christy Nockels)
» All This Glory (feat. David Crowder)
» Lay Me Down (feat. Christy Nockels)
» You Revive Me (feat. Christy Nockels)
» One Thing Remains (feat. Christian Stanfill)
» Yahweh (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Sing Along (feat. Christy Nockels)
» The Only One (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Mystery (feat. Charlie Hall)
» 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord - feat. Matt Redman)
» No Turning Back (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Let Me Feel You Shine (feat. David Crowder Band)
» Who You Are (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
» Jesus, All in All (feat. Charlie Hall)
» Twenty Seven Million (feat. Matt Redman & LZ7)
» How Great Is Our God (World Edition - feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Fearless (Passion 2012 Talk - Louie Giglio)
» Passion 2012 Slideshow
» Digital Booklet

The Adventure Writer’s Blog Rating:

10/10 - Quality, diverse content with something for everyone.
iTunes Music Review (PNG)

Brief Review Summary on iTunes

Jonny Diaz: 2011

Jonny Diaz

Image by susieq3c via Flickr

A short while ago I purchased my first Jonny Diaz album, which I enjoyed quite at the same level as the Passion series. Each song is significantly different from the others, even incorporating a humorous, country-style bonus song about the ever-popular Chick-fil-A.

The album includes such songs as:

01: Delights In You

02: Break My Heart

03: God Is Watching

04: Cross The Line

05: Beauty Of The Cross

06: Figured Out

07: Love I’m Living For

08: How Can It Be

09: Weeps For You

10: Here And Someday

11: What Water Can Do

It’s a refreshing, and most beautiful at times (Weeps for You and What Water Can Do are prime examples), contemporary Christian mix. I must say I’m thoroughly impressed with the Christian passion that is infused.

Gaming in the Third Dimension [3DS Series Finale]

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Nintendo 3DS Logo displayed on 3DS System

The Nintendo 3DS is the latest handheld console released by Nintendo, and it has certainly made it into the limelight – introducing a revolutionary console with 3-D gaming and photography capabilities, promising titles in games (such as Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Kid Icarus: Uprising and Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright), as well as a variety of included applications.

The system has however, sparked quite a bit of controversy over its 3D effects – this controversy does not regard the legitimacy of these effects (as legitimacy has already been established by thousands of “eyewitnesses” [aka gamers]), but rather the alledged harmful effects and ensuing downsides of it. Some owners of the 3DS have reported dizziness and nausea after playing for a short period of time, or even a simple case of having to strain their eyes consistently. Many others, however, have reported no symptoms or complaints whatsoever – jumping into the world of the Nintendo 3DS without a care. More details on 3DS effects and possible solutions for discomfort may be found in issue #001 of my 3DS series.

Various critical reviews highlighted points seen below:

“The 3-D screen is amazing and totally draws you into the games / Once you’ve tried a 3DS for yourself, you’ll be hooked/ …the Nintendo 3DS will blow your mind, and make 3-D gaming a reality for everyone.” -Fox News: Gamer’s Weekly

“Despite its shortcomings, the 3DS is a genuine joy to behold and pleasure to play. Whether you’ll want to shell out for one, or borrow a more affluent friend’s system is another story, however.” –CNN Tech

The Nintendo 3DS requires a hefty price, which isn’t too shocking considering the dramatic changes between the 3DS and previous DS consoles (See: Nintendo DSi vs 3DS for further details). In the United States, the price is set at $250, though many distributors such as Amazon ($25 3DS game credit for select games, as well as trade-in’s), GameStop (bundles and trade-in’s), and Target (5$ gift cards for consumers who purchased 1$ pre-order cards, followed by the 3DS & trade-in’s) have offered perks to lighten the load.

The key to making the 3DS in and of itself worth the big $250 is by using what many critics have referred to as “gimmicks” – many of which aren’t available until an update in May. With this updates, users will be able to begin utilizing the 3-D movies feature on their system, including a Netflix interface – as well as an upgraded 3DS Browser, which may tap into AT&T hotspots and Wi-Fi enabled locations.

The only available “gimmicks” as of April 2011 are the primary features of the Nintendo 3DS – Mii Plaza, AR Games, Nintendo 3DS Sound and some other new features which are explained in detail below.

Your Guide to the Nintendo 3DS: All we’ve discussed & more

OK-Go 3D Music Video: The only available 3D movie until may, which

The first 3D movie clip available on the Nintendo 3DS!

arrived on Nintendo 3DS systems with an update developed in mid-May. The video features trained animals doing a variety of tricks alongside the band – it is only a slight demonstration of the ability of the 3D’s graphics. It certainly quite amusing, and the 3D effect adds a life-like depth to all that is involved. If nothing else, its a quaint little music video for anyone who enjoys watching dogs doing silly tricks.

Activity Log: This app made its debut on the Nintendo 3DS, included with

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Making it a healthy video game experience! ...right.

other preinstalled applications – no update required! With it, you can monitor the steps you take each day, and earn rewards called Play Coins! That is, if you take your 3DS wherever you go (which is why 3DS cases and mini backpacks are invaluable for on the go). You may earn a total of ten play coins a day, one for every hundred steps you make – which really isn’t too hard! Play coins are spent by hiring warriors at Mii Plaza (as well as purchasing puzzle pieces), unlocking additional mini-games and mini-apps on AR Games, and possibly on additional applications that appear with future updates (Read my Activity Log review for more details on this application!). Have to include some incentive to exercise after all that gaming! For more information on Mii Plaza, keep reading!

Mii Creator & Mii Plaza: For Nintendo Wii owners, Mii should be nothing

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An app that keeps on giving, by utilizing Street Pass.

new. Now the wonderful world of Mii is available to owners of the Nintendo 3DS! Take a picture of yourself, choose a few options, and let the Mii creator figure out the rest! Or develop everything manually yourself. Once your Mii avatar is created, you can participate in the preinstalled 3DS game, Mii Plaza.Here you may gather other Mii’s into your plaza via street pass, and trade your Mii with others through Street Pass as well – think of it as the New York Stock Exchange, except with Mii’s… and no fee’s… okay, maybe not like the NYSE. You may further spread the joy

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QR Code for Mii!

of Mii with friends by a share feature available under the QR Code menu. Simply save your Mii as a QR Code, and you share let your friends bask in the coolness of their very own copy of a Mii of your choosing (provides the opportunity of trading Mii’s, or the development of Mii artists who provide custom made Mii’s for people to use). See the QR Code of one of my Mii’s at the right – simply select the QR Code menu from your 3DS, tap “Scan QR Code,” and place the image with your 3DS’s focus (click on the image for full size) – there’s Mii!

Although Mii trading can be fun, there’s another feature, or rather features, even better! Once you’ve collected enough Mii’s via StreetPass, you can participate in the puzzle game (through which you collect puzzle pieces from play tokens and Mii’s which have visited your plaza)- or my favorite, Find Mii.

Find Miiis a mini-game within a mini-game, with somewhat of a story to

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A Hero Emerges!

go along with it. Your Mii – which you worked so hard to create, has been kidnapped! Hire heroes with Play Coins (coins earned from jogging/walking with your Nintendo 3ds – while in sleep mode,up to 10 per day. Earn one every 100 steps) to fight off the ghosts holding your Mii, or invite visiting Mii’s from your plaza to join the fight! As hired heroes will be your primary asset in this game, you should no doubt look into their abilities! Each colored hero (shirt color) has a different power, such

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Hero attack fails!

as – purple for poison, white for light, green for strength, etc. As well as special abilities, heroes are also organized into ranks – Rank 1 & 2. Rank 2 are the most powerful, and should be saved for last. Rank 1 heroes should be used for magic and risky attacks. As a sound note of strategy, I’d recommend using a purple warrior immediately when you begin your battle, to navigate to one, simply select “Next Hero!” Then use his poison magic! This will damage the ghosts each turn during the fight – very handy. Using a brown hero’s magic is also something to consider, by using its “Strength” magic, you can “level up” the warrior immediately after the brown Hero. Another tip! Never attack an armored ghost with the sword of a Level 1 Hero, otherwise the attack with simply bounce off the armor, instead use

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Find Mii Treasure Chest

magic or level up your heroes! Save up your play coins for two days and you’ll have the maximum number of 10 warriors which you may control. More heroes means more variety, so I’d recommend this approach! At the end of every few levels, your hero will discover a treasure chest which contains an item for your Mii! This item may be equipped on the main page of the Mii Plaza application – simply move your cursor onto your Mii, select it, then visit Mii Settings, from there it’s as easy as choosing select hat going customization crazy!

There’s dozens of hats to collect, all of them [from Find Mii I] are listed below (you’ll need to play the game through twice through to earn them all. Then in Find Mii II, you will have to play it through multiple times as well to earn the additional hats. This list is “obtaining comprehensiveness” in regards to Find Mii 2 [II], and will be updated until the last hat is achieved [in chronological order]):

  • Mario Hat
  • Luigi’s Cap
  • ???
  • ???
  • Yoshi Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Toad Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Bowser Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Warp Pipe Hat
  • ???
  • Red Pikmin Hat
  • Blue Pikmin Hat
  • Yellow Pikmin Hat
  • Link’s Cap
  • ???
  • Epona Hat
  • Samus’s Helment
  • Metroid Hat
  • Kirby Hat
  • Donkey Kong Hat
  • Arwing Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Lacy Headband
  • ???
  • Floral Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Pirate Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
  • Panda Hat
  • ???
  • ???
  • Cat Hat
  • Dog Ears
  • Bunny Ears
  • Regal Crown (Finish  Find Mii I 1-time through)
  • Prince’s Crown (Finish  Find Mii II 1-time through)
  • ??? (Princess’ Crown)
  • Ultimate Helmet (Finish  Find Mii I 2-times through)
  • ???
  • ???
BEST TIP: If you have a pink warrior, use their magic at the beginning of the battle – all your warriors will suddenly become much more powerful (x2 [4/5-pt. attack], x5 [10/11-pt. attack], and greater attacks [use a light blue warrior to freeze the ghost/s, then try upgrading a lvl. 2 warrior to lvl. 4 with a green warrior while the pink and blue magic is in effect,  you’ll be able to destroy even powerful enemies like the Ultimate Ghost quickly) UPDATE: In Find Mii II, pair the pink & green warrior tip with the strengthen potion (20 play coins) and teams to have the ultimate combo!

AR Games: The Augmented Reality Games feature could have been marketed

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The famous AR Games mascot!

as a separate video game entirely – featuring six primary applications and additional bonus applications, which are unlocked after each of the primary are engaged and completed. Face against powerful bosses, test your skill in a game of AR golf (AR Shoot), make Mario a model with Star Picks, or unleash your creative side with AR Graffiti – so many possibilities, so little time. When I first got my hands on the 3DS, AR Games was my favorite app, though after a while the excitement tends to die down. Its a great game for displaying the capabilities of the 3DS system, and unlocks new possibilities with the 3DS Camera.

Primary Applications:

  • Graffiti:In graffiti, users may scribble on virtually any environment.
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    AR Games Shooting Gallery

    Try placing your AR Card on a table and use the rainbow pen to liven things up, or even hand it over to a friend, and cover them in virtual dog prints!

  • Star Picks: Set your favorite video game characters in any environment, then snap a pic with the integrated 3DS camera feature! For example, check out my 3DS Photography post!
  • Mii Picks: Same as Star Picks, though this time with your own personal Mii!
  • AR Shot: Think pool, except in a 3D environment with an ever-
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    Catching the elusive dragon of AR Fishing earns you an extra 200 points! And the satisfaction of completing another mini game.

    changing landscape! …and a monster that makes an appearance in just about every AR Game (Archery & Fishing).

  • Archery: Bombs… er, darts away! Navigate your console around the 3D environment locating and firing upon every target you see. As a bonus, try your hand at slaying a dragon!
  • Fishing: Nothing like good old fishing! Whenever you catch a fish, it’ll be added to your “collection,” along with its name and point value. One you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find yourself fishing for sea dragons!

Nintendo 3DS Sound: For players familiar with the Nintendo DSi, they may

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With additional features, such as the "Shuffle All" and "Parakeets Pick of the Day" feature - if youre a music fan, this is sure to be one of your favorite applications.

find all the old features of DSi Sound and many new additions! Now you can organize your music into individual play lists, shuffle your music, let your 3D parakeet companion pick a song for the day, and more!

Nintendo 3DS Camera: With all the fun features of the Nintendo DSi camera comes the 3DS camera! Now with the ability to take 3-D photography, and linked to dozens of applications such as AR Games, this app dominates its predecessor!
Face Raiders: Face Raiders is another fun, interactive game, like that of AR Games. This time, however, instead of playing with imaginary objects, you can take pictures of friends and family and fit them into a cozy battle helmet. Players may be further entertained by blasting the 3-dimensional likeness of the photographed person (or objects! I took a shot of a shampoo bottle logo and had a fairly interesting result… refer to the second screenshot for details.) into oblivion in the Face Raiders mini-game, which has been further brought to life with various animations and moments of maniacal laughter.

Nintendo DSi vs 3DS: How does it match up?


Nintendo DSi
Image via Wikipedia
Flipnote Studio logo Refernces Previous logo: ...
Image via Wikipedia

The Nintendo DSi
The Nintendo DSi, and it’s XL Version as well, brought about a large change to the Nintendo DS line. It started with the simple DS system, and the slightly improved Lite, which enhanced visual capabilities with it’s brightness level feature. Then comes the DSi – the first in its line to introduce duo built-in cameras with corresponding software, a voice-record system with alteration features (such as pitch or echo), and even going so far as to make available the option of a built-in, Opera-based internet browser, along with the animation program Flipnote and its Hatena sharing capabilities – further allowing a SD Card Slot for additional memory. The DSi was certainly developed for personal use, complimented with fun, socially interactive features.

Opera Browser 2.0
Image by Jorge glеz via Flickr

Fun Fact: I’ve recently noticed an increase in web searches relating to DSi Flash player inquiries which have been redirected to this blog. The Nintendo DSi does not support Flash Player on its web browser, nor any other add-on’s. Therefore many online sites such as YouTube, or MMORPG game sites like Club Penguin or Adventure Quest are rendered useless and incapable of operation. This is unavoidable and cannot be fixed.

English: Nintendo 3DS Deutsch: Nintendo 3DS
Image via Wikipedia

The Nintendo 3DS
The Nintendo 3DS features (as Wikipedia words most technically) “push-buttons, D-pad (which operates with similar purpose to the control pad. Allows users to pan through environments, scroll through menu’s, etc.), analog stick, touchscreen, volume slider, 3D depth slider, wireless communications switch, 3DS/DSi/DS and SD Card Slots,” and a variety of programs, including Wii-based features, such as 3DS Sound , Mii Studio, PictoChat, Street Pass Mii Plaza, Face Shooting, Download Service, 3DS Camera, Augmented reality games, 3DS Shop, Internet Browser, an Activity Log, and 3D movie playback capability (with movies by Warner BrosDisney, and DreamWorks). As it’s main attraction, the Nintendo 3DS enables 3-D game play for select games, including a slider to adjust the 3-D graphics at any time. The dramatic effects of 3-D gameplay requires no special glasses or additional equipment as it operates on the concept of autostereoscopy. It certainly ups the ante!

The Nintendo 3DS Update

…has been a most anticipated one, since the system’s launch March 25th 2011. The June 6th update, which was released barely an hour ago, contained a few programs and system tweaks – most importantly, the Nintendo 3DS Shop and Nintendo 3DS Browser.

The Nintendo 3DS Browser is certainly quite impressive, far outclassing its DSi predecessor. As I tap out this post, the browser provides possible words that I may intend to use, much like Google’s suggested search functionality – both checking my spelling and saving valuable time typing, not to mention it is, aside from English, available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The browser has a sleek design, and easy to navigate features, available even when you’re in the middle of a 3DS game or application. Utilizing the SD card and 3DS camera, upload and download functionalities are also available – allowing users to both share their 3DS pictures online, and download images from anywhere on the web for viewing in their 3DS camera gallery. Not too shabby, huh? Unfortunately, the browser does not support YouTube or any other online video or music viewing service for that matter, as popular rumor had us previously suppose. A sad outcome, yet one that can be looked over in light of the drastically improved browser. Now I can finally make decent WordPress entries, tags and all (upload script isn’t supported however).

The Nintendo 3DS shop, which stands currently under maintenance and inaccessible, features two free-for-download applications: a classic 3D racing game, and a 3D Pokedex. Organization is also slightly

Overall, a duely made update.

Check the Adventure Writer Blog for constant updates on the system! For all my 3DS posts so far, check: The Nintendo Series [3DS/DSi] category, which is where all  Nintendo 3DS [and related DSi] posts have been added.

If you liked this, be sure to check out…

Upcoming Nintendo 3DS Games

Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney {Level-5 & Capcom}

Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle

Nintendogs + Cats

Mario Kart 3DS

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Questions & Answers

Is it fairly light? And is the 3D toggle really as much of an eye-sore as people have said?

The 3DS is much bulkier, which goes to say heavier, than previous DS systems. As one BBC reporter describes it, “it’s build like a rock!”  Although it isn’t a tremendous weight, the difference is evident – so no, not fairly light at all! And yes, I would say the 3D toggle is quite an eye-sore. Imagine focusing and refocusing binoculars over and over again – a bit disorienting? Same with the 3DS. If you want to switch from 2-D to 3-D instantly, I suggest closing your eyes, moving the toggle to maximum, then opening your eyes and look at the 3DS straight on – works like a charm.

Submit your own question in the comments below and I’ll answer it here!

Passion: Here for You

“I’d say this album is the Best of Passion so far!”

The above quote is what I said last time about the Passion: Awakening album – now I’ve found another favorite! Passion: Here for You is abundant in energy and religious fervor, coming straight from Louie Giglio’s Passion

Passion_São Paulo

Image by Tiago Cata via Flickr

Conferences. Each song is more pumped up than the last, and that certainly goes for the Passion series as whole. The momentum builds with each song, each one powerful in its own unique way.

  • Here for You – Chris Tomlin
  • Symphony – Chris Tomlin
  • Waiting Here for You – Christy Nockels
  • All My Fountains – Chris Tomlin
  • Shadows – David Crowder Band feat. Lecrae
  • Lord, I Need You – Chris Tomlin
  • Set Free – Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman
  • Forever Reign – Kristian Stanfill
  • Sometimes – David Crowder Band
  • Always – Kristian Stanfill
  • Carry Your Name – Christy Nockels
  • Spirit Fall – Chris Tomlin

Music Review: Glory in the Highest

Cover of "Glory in the Highest: Christmas...

Cover via Amazon

Chris Tomlin’s Glory in the Highest album is one of his best since And If Our God Is For Us… and Passion: Awakening.

Emotionally moving with the sentiment of the Christmas season – Glory in the Highest conveys the feelings of gratitude and reverence at the birth and ultimate death of Jesus Christ (and when he rose again), that we feel mutually as Christians. It takes a new twist on the Christmas carols of old – bringing a fresh, Contemporary Christian vibe to the mix. It’s upbeat, uplifting, and calming of the spirit.

The album also features the voice talents of Christy Nockels, Matt Redman, and Audrey Assad.

My favorite song of the album would certainly be O, Holy Night, not only due to it’s beautiful composition, but of the message that follows with it.

This album is highly recommended, and may be easily and cheaply obtained in a Christmas Bundle from the 268 Store for those interested.

Included within the album are the songs listed below, which, along with Christmas classics, contains some originals of Chris Tomlin and Ed Cash.

O, Come All Ye Faithful

Angels We Have Heard on High

Emmanuel [Hallowed Manger Ground]

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

My Soul Magnifies the Lord

Joy to the Lord [Unspeakable Joy]

Glory in the Highest

O, Holy Night

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Light of the World

Winter Snow

Born that We May Have Life