Amazon Fire TV Review: A Gamer’s Perspective

Amazon Fire TV Review: A Gamer’s Perspective

Jan 5, 2015

The past couple of years have definitely been the years of the streaming media unit. All the big players have a hat in the Big C, and with good reason: we like content. Lots of it.

Enter Fire TV, the still-relatively-new offering from Amazon.

Amazon provided us a gaming bundle package to check out, containing the black unit, black remote, power cables, batteries, and the optional bluetooth gamepad (one should ensure one has HDMI cable). It’s fairly svelte, a bit smaller than one would guess, coming in at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches and just under 10 oz. It has a quad core processor and 8 GB of storage, and supports output of 720 x 1080p up to 60fps.

Specs aside, there is little to dislike about Amazon Fire TV. It looks good, and is a veritable source of content. It has a lot of the go-to programs that can be downloaded to it: Netflix, WatchESPN, Pandora, Crackle, Showtime Anytime (based on provider) and, of course, Amazon Instant and Amazon Music, among other offerings. Setup is easy, and the included control is definitely a huge positive. On its own, as a streaming accessory, it holds its own against the competition.


What piqued our interest (duh) is the gaming aspect. The Amazon Appstore has grown into a veritable source of Android apps. Buoyed by great publicity, Amazon Coin program and the renown Free App of the Day offerings, it is possible for users to amass quite a trove of apps which can be used on Fire devices and compatible Android hardware in general.

Fire TV gives folks the opportunity to play select games on the TV via the box. The supplied remote can be used with games, but the optional Fire Game Controller can be purchased to really get into wireless gaming. The Controller looks and feels just like a conventional console controller and nothing beats playing Minion Rush on big hi-def screen. I didn’t catch serious lag, and the entire experience was quite enjoyable and shockingly cohesive. there’s also a software app available on the Play Store and Amazon Appstore.


No, not all games are compatible, but more are added everyday. Games that work with Fire TV are marked as such, and for now, there are several dozen available, including Riptide GP2, Prince of Persia, Sonic the Hedgehog, Asphalt 8 and more.

I do find the latent strategy intriguing. On paper, if the catalog of compatible apps continues to increase, it might help the Fire TV overcome any perceived weaknesses when compared to competing streaming hardware; the gaming aspect does take it to a a whole new level. In many ways, because of the things it brings to the table, Fire TV might be able to replicate what the original Nintendo Wii did: create an army of “casual” gamers that are already familiar with Android-based time-wasters.

Ultimately, Fire TV wins because it doesn’t take on too much, and does what it does relatively well. If Amazon keeps its promise to keep up with development, outer space is the limit.

JoyJoy Review

JoyJoy Review

May 15, 2014

Radiangames is back again, this time with a fun shooting game JoyJoy.

With regards to gameplay, JoyJoy incorporates dual-stick shooter methodology, allowing devices to feel like handheld game pads in the way the thumbs (presumably) have to be used. The big virtual buttons are for movement and dedicated shooting, and there are other special buttons present, but the aforementioned big ones are the main controls. The controls are somewhat faint, but quite responsive. The game also boasts Bluetooth control support.

The developer really wants one to play; I mean, how else does one explain the breadth of choice? The gameplay is broken down into Waves an Challenges, and then there are quite a few difficulty levels to choose from that line up with the players temperament and/or ability. Controlling the main unit is easily framed within the play. The joy1playing area is a a smaller rectangle within the bigger rectangle of the screen; within this rectangle, enemy crafts emanate from nothingness. The main premise is to avoid the bad guys, get power-ups and blast the enemy to smithereens.

Navigating the swarms is half the battle, and it’s a fun half. The game engine sends waves of enemy craft that follow the player incessantly, looking to inflict lethal damage. With auto-shooting functionality, it’s possible to concentrate on moving while the game engine allows for the home unit to blast the opposing forces. The power-ups definitely make it feel more arcade-y, with things like special shooting arrays, shields and health packs up for grabs before they disappear.

The game has a simple feel, but does not completely ignore colors; the scenery does change periodically, and the subtle touch works. the animations are pretty smooth, and the game comes together quite well.

It’s decently priced, easy to get lost in and packs a lot of levels.

Fish Tails Review

Fish Tails Review

Apr 30, 2013

Fish Tails was a fun game that I stumbled upon while reviewing Green Throttle Bluetooth Controller.

In this side scrolling aquamarine game, I got to guide my adventuresome koi fish on gold collecting errand. The game made me think of arcade games, with its soft color schemes that made up the background. Visually, it was made up of mostly stills; the animations were not groundbreaking, but they worked. Air was air, water was water and little ambiguity existed. The extras, like fish and birds, were utilitarian in looks and movements.

The gameplay was equally simple. Coins lined the travel path at different levels. I had two touch controls; tap to fish1dive, and multi-touch to increase speed. The trick was a combination of timing the dives to get deep coins, and also getting enough latent energy to arc into the air to capture highly placed coins. When you add in the objects that could slow me down, it became quite the challenge to get a set amount of coin in the shortest time possible. For a side scrolling game, it was not boring.

I liked the different flavors of challenges. Want to race to 10 coins? 100? Fine. Differing levels of difficulty helped round out the playability of the title.

And then there is the Green Throttle Bluetooth Controller compatibility that I hinted at earlier. At the risk of sounding like it has mystical powers, I truly felt the accessory really made the game POP. I do not dare belittle the work of the developers, but I really loved this game when it was played with a conventional-felling controller. Frankly, it makes it stand apart.

For a no frills time waster that works well with Green Throttle peripherals and transforms to a two-player game on the big screen, one cannot go wrong with Fish Tails. It’s lack of frills is a tribute to the inevitable occasions when some basic, mindless fun is sorely needed.

Green Throttle Controller Hardware Review

Green Throttle Controller Hardware Review

Apr 18, 2013

Frankly, I love what is happening in the mobile gaming space. With more powerful hardware and a dedicated corp of eager developers, the segment is booming. And why not? We manage business, control communications and so much more from our smartphones? Why shouldn’t we be able to play console-quality games on the go?


Yes, you can get any of the dedicated gaming devices, but what’s the fun in that, especially when cell-based games sewn so much cheaper?

Enter Green Throttle Bluetooth Atlas Bluetooth Controller. Yessir. 2013-04-12 15.15.21

The pair of review pieces came in a nondescript box that his the well packaged goodies inside. The boxes themselves each came stacked, weighing in with a gamepad, instructions, HDMI adapter and — this really impressed me for obvious reasons — batteries.

To be honest, I was surprised at how light the controller was. It seemed sturdy enough though, surviving two drop tests on hardwood without any discernable damage.

To get the controllers up and running, I had to download the companion app Arena, which not only streamlined the pairing prices, but collated compatible games very nicely. Pairing was painless, and the distances allowed was equitable.

I tried the controller with several compatible games, and the performance was impressive. I didn’t detect lag, and I found the experience quite enjoyable. I thought the re-pairing process was slightly inconsistent, but I was generally back up in seconds anyway, albeit manually.

The added HDMI cables take the whole system to a whole new level by allowing for functionality with big screen TV for portable entertainment.

When it comes to handheld gaming, I liked this item enough to want to splurge on compatible titles. This testament to its efficacy also reveals my biggest quibble: I want more games! Thankfully, with available SDK and an all-call to developers to join the party, I am sure that that specific gripe will be licked soon. Customer service was topnotch in my limited interaction.

In a word? Fantastic. This is an item that is helping change the gaming paradigm, and it is always awesome when great ideas actually make it to consumers. With cost effectiveness and mobility on its side, the Arena Controller does seem like a compelling item.