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About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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Shiny, happy shooter game will ruin your cool by level 3

So lovely. So brutal.

So lovely. So brutal.

Lovely Planet is a twee little game for your Mac (or Linux/Windows box) that distills the essentials of the first-person shooter genre down to the basics: shoot, jump, run.

You’ll do this, over and over, across five distinct worlds and hundreds of levels armed with nothing more than your adorable little bow and arrow and a sense of adventure.

Be warned, though — you’re going to die repeatedly, especially at first, because while the visuals and soundtrack are kawaii as heck, the levels are designed as diabolical tests of your gaming sanity. But please, don’t throw your Macbook across the room when you have to re-start a level for the hundredth time. Maybe take a break.

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Ultra-compact studio monitors deliver huge sound

Big sound, small package. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Big sound, small package. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

If you make music of any kind, or are just looking to upgrade your sound system from the decent-yet-not-audiophile Bluetooth speakers you currently use, you know you want a set of speakers that can handle the highest of highs, the deepest of lows and everything in between without sounding muddy or overly tinny, middy or bassy. You want a speaker set that can handle the deep boom of drum ‘n’ bass and the sweet, high melodies of a Mozart concerto along with any type of loop you can throw at it from your own collection.

Studio monitors are a big deal when making music, as they offer up sound that is as true to the source as possible. You want to hear everything going on in your mix so you can make sure to create the sound that best captures your musical vision, whether during the recording, mixing or mastering phase.

The Reveal 402 studio monitors from Tannoy promise to deliver unparalleled sound and fury without a huge footprint, letting you create music properly on today’s ultra-portable MacBooks. They also let you just plug in any sound source, from XLR to mini-audio jack, with ease, making these ideal for both music creation and plain old rocking out while you’re working.

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Watch a 1984 Mac spin out Guardians of the Galaxy hero

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While we wait for this weekend’s highly-anticipated Marvel movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy, we thought it’d be fun to pass along this sweet speed-painting from filmmaker Matthew Pearce.

It shows an illustration of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, created on a 1984 Macintosh using MacPaint. Now that’s some serious special effect magic, right there.

Check out the video below.

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New Constantine trailer outs your demons

The horror!

The horror!

It’s definitely trailer week, especially for comic book and other genre movies, but here’s one for an upcoming DC television show based on the Vertigo property, Hellblazer. The show will cover the exploits of a certain John Constantine, supernaturally sensitive wizard-type who wears a trench coat, smokes incessantly (in the comics, at least) and does smart-ass battle with the angels and demons who plague us mere mortals.

The trailer really brings on the horror tropes: the creepy bugs on the wall revealing a scary message, the creepy flat-affect kid with the sharp knife, the broken-neck demon in a human body shot. You know, all the hits.

Check out the trailer below for all the creepy footage from what could be the best comic book show of the upcoming season.

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Flickr boosts chances to make money from your iPhone pics

Flickr

Flickr has just jumped into the photo licensing market with both feet, hoping to help you sell your stunning photos to a variety of “photo agencies, editors, bloggers and other creative minds.”

Image licensing isn’t a new idea for Flickr, long a repository for the best in high-quality photos posted by professional and amateur photographers alike. Flickr’s always allowed photographers easy access to creative commons licensing to tell editorial staffers which photos could be used, and for what purposes. It also allowed creators the ability to license their photos professionally via Getty Images and get paid, though the specific deal with Getty was discontinued back in March of this year.

Now, though, the list of places that you can sell the images you take on your iPhone to is even larger.

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PvZ: Dark Ages, Part 2 shuffles in with new levels, plants, and zombies

Image courtesy EA Mobile.

Image courtesy EA Mobile.

Can you dig it? The second part of the new content update for EA’s Plants vs. Zombies 2: The Dark Ages, is now live and wending its way to your very own zombie-infested iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

This new content update has ten new levels and two new plants: the Magnet-shroom and the Pea-nut, which gets you both offensive and defensive capabilities. There are new Zombies as well, with the dastardly Wizard zombie, who turns your plants into sheep, and the King zombie, who can upgrade peasant zombies on the fly.

If you play through the extra levels, you’ll come across a new zombie boss, too, and there’s an additional Arthur’s Challenge to hone your old-school medieval skills with. Check out the trailer below to see some of the new content in action.

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War gets serious in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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“One day I’ll remember,” says Bilbo Baggins. “Remember everything that happened. The good, the bad. Those who survived, and those who did not.”

Thus starts the latest trailer for the upcoming sequel to The Hobbit movies: The Battle of the Five Armies. Check it out below in all it’s glory.

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Ultraviolent Sin City trailer has dames to kill for, plus Lady Gaga

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If you’re a fan of stylish, true-to-the-comics movie adaptations, you’ve probably already seen Sin City. The trailer (below) released during last week’s Comic Con shows us the sequel, based on the second book in the Sin City series by Frank Miller, A Dame To Kill For.

Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City) will produce and Miller (Dark Knight Returns, 300) will direct a script co-written by the two men and William Monahan (The Departed).

Actors returning include Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis. New folks to the series include Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Lloyd, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, and yes, even Lady Gaga, who you can see as a waitress handing over some cash to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character in the trailer below.

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The darkest hour is just before the dawn in True Blood’s ‘Karma’

Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

It’s time for the various residents of Bon Temps to face the music. Karma’s a bitch, and in the latest episode of the final season of this hit vampire romance TV show from HBO, we’re gonna watch most of the main characters deal with the consequences of their past behavior and poor choices. Andy, Holly, Bill, Sam, Sookie: Each of these True Blood staples have to stand up and own their life choices.

This is a pretty expository episode, so we spend a lot of time watching characters explain their situations in sometimes excruciating detail. Let’s hope that our karma for watching the show will be some more action-packed and hilarious scenes in the upcoming shows left in the season, rather than a payback for following the show for so long. We still have faith, though.

Spoilers abound below, so be warned. Find out what happened on last night’s episode after the jump.

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Age of Booty is about strategy, not whatever else you were thinking

Booty as in treasure, you perv. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Booty as in treasure, you perv. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Full disclosure: the publisher of the naughtily-named Age of Booty: Tactics sent Cult of Mac a really nice wooden treasure chest with some fun promotional stuff in it. This usually means that we’d give it a skip, as generally, the better the swag, the crappier the game. We were pleasantly surprised, then, when we found Age of Booty‘s first outing on iOS to be a pretty darn great free-to-play game, with only a few caveats for the novice player.

The original Age of Booty was a 2008 downloadable real-time strategy game for Xbox and PlayStation, developed by Certain Affinity and published by Capcom. This time around, Certain Affinity took the concept to iOS with Age of Booty: Tactics, which switches things up, adding some new mechanics to the strategy formula and putting it into an asynchronous multiplayer format.

The graphics are charming enough, the soundtrack is appropriately pirate-themed, and the sea and boat sounds are nicely atmospheric. It’s in the strategic gameplay, though, that Age of Booty: Tactics surely shines.

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