Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Suprising New Hardware in Next-Gen Consoles

PlayStation 3 and Nintendo WiiHow long has it been now since we first got our hands on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3? If memory serves me right it has only been three rather short years since our lives were filled with motion controllers and blu-ray playing consoles and already there are rumors scurrying all across the web about the newest installments for each console and some of the new hardware each one may be bringing to the table.

Lets start with Sony. According to a report found in the Japanese press, Sony is apparently working on a multi-core design for the PlayStation 4. The PS3 currently runs on a Cell architecture which is one of the reasons the console is hard to develop for. Early on some of the different choices Sony was looking at were Intel's Larrabee and a modified version of the Synergistic Processor Unit. However, that is all over with now as it appears Sony is working with multi-core designs. However, I don't think this is anything to get to heated over yet because Sony also announced that a new handheld is due to come out before the PS4. The PSP2 isn't supposed to come out until 2013 so there is still a bit of a wait.

Switching gears over to Nintendo, rumors have already begun to surface for the Wii 2 as well. It seems that the powers that be over at Nintendo and the suits over at Intel have been discussing hardware to power Nintendo's new console. Word on the gaming street is that the two companies may be talking about using a GPU/CPU combo for the Wii 2, similar to Larrabee. We could very well see Intel powering the new console from Nintendo whenever it comes out.

It seems the only people not discussing a new console just yet is Microsoft. Microsoft still believes that there is a vast untapped potential in the Xbox 360 and that it still has a lot of kick still left in it. With the introduction of Project Natal, among other things, we may very well see the Xbox 360 go up against a PS4 or Wii 2 before we see an Xbox 720 or something like that give it a go.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spike Video Game Awards 2009

Spike VGA 2009The popular, male oriented television network Spike TV has once again hosted their annual awards show dedicated entirely to everything encompassing the video game market. A host of celebrity presenters gave out awards ranging in categories from Most Anticipated Game of 2010 and Best DLC to Best Handheld Game and the coveted Game of the Year Award.

But aside from awards, the Spike VGA's played host to a plethora of new, never before seen premiers of some new and totally amazing looking games. Never before seen clips of games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Halo: Reach, Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, Star Wars : The Force Unleashed 2, Green Day: Rock Band and tons more.

While the game premieres are cool and all, what everybody was gathered for was the awards, so here is the full list of all the awards given out and their winners:

Most Anticipated Game of 2010: God of War III

Best DLC: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Best Downloadable Game: Shadow Complex

Best Voice: Jack Black as Eddie Riggs in Brutal Legend

Best Cast: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Best Performance By A Human Male:
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine: X-Men Origins Wolverine

Best Performance By A Human Female: Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Best Game Based on a Movie/TV Show: South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!

Best Graphics: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Original Score: Halo 3: ODST

Best Soundtrack: DJ Hero

Best Music Game: The Beatles: Rock Band

Best driving Game: Forza Motorsport 3

Best Team Sports Game: NHL 10

Best Individual Sports Game: UFC 2009 Undisputed

Best Multiplayer Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Best RPG: Dragon Age: Origins

Best Action-Adventure Game: Assassin's Creed 2

Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter IV

Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Best Handheld Game: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Best PC Game: Dragon Age: Origins

Best Wii Game: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Best PS3 Game:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Xbox 360 Game: Left 4 Dead 2

Best Independent Game Fueled By Dew: Flower

Studio of the Year:
Rocksteady Studios

And now the moment you have all been waiting for. The most coveted award for any game developer on the planet. No matter how big or how small the awards show is, winning the award for Game of the Year is always an honor. So, if I can get a drum roll please, the winner of the Spike TV Video Game Awards for Game of the Year goes to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

In my personal opinion, I believe most of the titles are deserving of their award. Have a different opinion? Let us know by leaving a comment on the comment boards.

Source: Spike TV

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Picking The Game Console That Fits Your Needs

game consolesDeciding on what game console you want to purchase can be a difficult process. Sometimes the price or the brand or the games available for that system can influence your decision. I just want to present some facts, so that you are able to make a confident decision on a system that best suites you.

So as of now, Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s Playstation 3, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are the consoles you have to choose from. They are all very different and unique. Which you consider the best all depends on your preferences. The Wii and the 360 have not changed their looks since their release, while the PS3 has slimmed down a bit. The internal capabilities of all of the different systems are constantly changing though. Microsoft has initiated a new interface for the 360, the PS3 has featured some minor upgrades and added Netflix this year, and the Wii has had a few improvements and continues to release a steady stream of games. The most welcoming change is the fact that each of the game consoles has dropped in price. Considering how expensive these systems were when they were first released, these consoles are relatively reasonably priced.

Nintendo Wii
The Wii was launched in 2005 and was highly scrutinized for being underpowered compared to its competitors. Quickly people began eating their words. The simple, straightforward gameplay, motion-based controller, and affordable price made the Wii a huge success. The Wii currently leads sales in the gaming world. This is the best possible system families, kids, and casual gamers.

For those who aren’t looking for crazy intense gaming, the Wii offers a variety of fun games. The Wii Sports Resort was added to the Wii Sports family recently and includes archery, fencing, and wakeboarding. Included with the Sports Resort package is a small sensor that attaches to your Wii remote and increases motion sensitivity. The Wii definitely displays the best motion-sensitivity technology and remains the best-selling systems available today for a reasonable price of $199.

Sony Playstation 3
Earlier this year, Sony released the PS3 Slim. This is a thinner, lighter, more energy-efficient version of the original PS3. PS3 has many features that are not included in the other game systems. It features an integrated Blu-ray player and supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and DLNA. As mentioned above, it also has recently added Netflix streaming. Another incredibly important detail would be the price drop from its original $500 price tag to $299. It is obvious that the PS3 is definitely the most feature-filled system on the market.

Microsoft Xbox 360
Now when considering the 360, you must choose between the regular Xbox 360 and the Elite Xbox 360. The Elite ships with a 120GB hard drive, an HDMI port, and a wireless controller for $299. Looks wise, the Elite 360 is a more sophisticated black opposed to the regular white 360.

The $199 price tag on the Xbox 360 Arcade gives it an up on the PS3. It is the least-expensive Xbox on the market. Now with this low price, Microsoft was forced to remove the internal hard drive of the 360, which is a huge sacrifice. If you are looking to be able to play games and enjoy the New Xbox Experience though, the 360 Arcade could be the best system choice for you.

Now what do I think? Personally, I have played and enjoyed all of these systems. I was very skeptical about the Wii, but it really is a lot of family fun. The PS3 is probably my favorite console, but that is most likely because I constantly utilize its Wi-Fi capabilities. The Xbox 360 is a fantastic system to play on too. I think really you have to make your decision based on your own personal preferences or what your budget allows. No matter what you decide, your going to have a great time with your new game system.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fitness Changing the Face of Video Games?

Fitness Changing the Face of Video Games

Are fitness games changing the face of video games? That's what the Associated Press is saying. According to a recent article, the country's largest sports retailer now carries Wii console games. The Sports Authority struck a deal with Nintendo last month and now you can find your Wii games right there between your soccer equipment and your treadmills.

Just a few short years ago, selling video games in a sports store would have been unheard of, but with the new wave of fitness games on the market, the pairing doesn't seem that unlikely. The craze started with the release of Nintendo's "Wii Fit." The motion controller and balance board made it possible to turn games into exercise and "exergames" has taken on a life of its own as a new genre in the video gaming world.

Gaming isn't just for teenagers and bachelors anymore, everyone's mom, aunt and grandma is working up a sweat with their Wii's. According to industry analyst Anita Frazier, sixty, seventy, and even eighty-year-olds are playing fitness games. And of course, this has game publishers working to cash in on fitness game craze, as well.

Electronic Arts, THQ, Ubisoft, and Majesco Entertainment have all come out with their own brand of exercise games, each with their own gimmick. But the biggest competitor to Wii Fit is Ea Sports Active which stars Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer, Bob Greene. "Before I made this commitment to do this project with EA Sports, I'll be honest, I was skeptical," Greene told the Associated Press. "What kind of workout can you really get? I looked at what was already on the market at the time. To me, it was mostly just slow movements and relaxation, which is a great part of overall well-being, however, it didn't actually challenge you."

Other games have celebrity names behind them as well. Jenny McCarthy is the famous face on Ubisoft's "Your Shape," a game that incorporates a digital camera to scan the player's body shape. And "The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels is the face of Majesco's "Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010."

So, do these games actually help players lose weight or tone up? That hasn't been determined but a study by the American Council on Exercise called the Wii Fit a "very very mild workout."

Even so fitness game sales are climbing. EA Sports Active has sold over one million copies since its May release and the Wii Fit has sold over eight million copies. The sequel to the Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, sold over 440,000 copies in October of this year. Next year, the exergame market won't belong to Nintendo alone. Microsoft and Sony are planning to launch motion controllers for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in an effort to compete with the Wii.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Brings Pink and Blue Wiimotes to America

Pink and Blue WiimotesBack in October, all of us Americans sat in envy as we watched folks over in Japan sit down and enjoy some good ol' family fun on the Wii with their brand new blue and pink Wiimotes. Yep, while us yanks were still furiously swinging about our plain white and black Wiimotes, Wii fans in Japan were adding a dash of color to their lives.

We tend to look on in envy sometimes at the technology Japan gets and we don't. But that is no longer the case with these Wiimotes as Nintendo as revealed that they will begin shipping the blue and pink Wiimotes all over the US starting February 14th, Valentines Day.

Some people may be surprised that the Wiimotes are not making it in time for Christmas. But considering the Wiimotes are pink and blue, the typical colors for his and hers, it isn't surprising to see them coming out on Valentine's Day as they would appear to be a perfect Valentine's Day gift for that special Wii-loving someone in your life.

Both the blue and pink Wiimotes will come bundled with the Wii MotionPlus attachment and protective jacket. Nintendo is marketing these new Wiimotes with the notion that if coupled with the black and original white Wiimotes, every person in the party could have their own unique colored Wiimote. One thing that was a little disappointing was the fact that Nintendo does not plan on releasing nunchuks in matching colors as they did with the black Wiimotes. But nevertheless, the blue and pink Wiimotes are sure to be hot items come this February. Pricing hasn't been confirmed but the Wiimotes should cost the same $40 as the others.

Source: Engadget

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Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Great Wii Game Ideas For Christmas

10 Great Wii Game Ideas For Christmas

There weren't a ton of big fall releases for the Wii this year, and that could leave parents of Wii-addicted children and teenagers scratching their head as they shop for Christmas gifts. Never fear, there are still some Wii games out there and here is a list of ten that any Wii gamer, no matter their age, would love to see under the tree on Christmas morning:

1. DJ Hero - There are so many music games out there but for some people, rock music and playing the guitar (which most of the games are centered around) can get a little boring. DJ Hero allows you to be the DJ and let's you work the turntables instead of the guitar, to play several different genres of music.

2. Lego Indiana Jones 2 - There are lots of games in the Lego series now but some say the second Indiana Jones game is the best one yet. Get the most of both worlds (films and legos) as the game centers on all four movies, focusing on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

3. New Super Mario Bros - Has there been a more popular game series than Mario Brothers? For the first time in ten years, Mario is back. Packed with nostalgia and innovation, the new version of Super Mario is great for older gamers who played the game back in the day.

4. Wii Fit Plus - This may not be what your kids want from Santa but it may be what mom wants to help jumpstart her new year's resolutions. If you liked the Wii Fit, Wii Fitt Plus is the new and improved version.

5. Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics - Gamers' favorite plumber takes on gamers' favorite hedgehog in some good old-fashioned Winter Olympic fun. What more could you ask for? This game is fun for the whole family and a Wii gamer favorite.

6. Dead Space Extraction - Steve Boxer of the UK Guardian calls this game one of the best of the year. It seems more like something for Xbox or Playstation, as it's one of the few dark adult games for the Wii.

7. Muramasa: The Demon Blade - This game has been out for a few months and developed a very strong cult-like following. With great visuals and sound, this Japanese ninja, role-playing game is great gift for anyone looking for some adventure.

8. Tony Hawk: Ride - Tony Hawk games have been popular for years and this yet-to-be-released one is no exception. It comes with a new skateboard-shaped Wii control and may very well breathe new life into the franchise.

9. Spore Hero - Spore Hero is a simple game but has a few pleasant touches. If you like to customize characters, this one is great. Based on Will Wright's original version, this evolution-themed game is great for kids, but adults will enjoy it, too.

10. Rabbids Go Home - The Rabbids franchise is a spinoff from Playstation's Rayman and is supposed to be much better than the predecessors. It has been very well-received by gamers and called "ambitious" and "inspired" by critics. This action-adventure game would make a great surprise Christmas gift.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Uncharted 2: Possibly the Best PS3 Game Ever Created

uncharted 2Honestly, it’s difficult to find much fault with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It delivers an impeccably well done sequel and delivers a new standard for all third-person action adventure games to follow.

It is the follow-up to the 2007 adventure of Nathan Drake, who is a treasure hunter, small time thief, and all around lovable rogue. We last followed Drake on his quest to discover the lost treasures of El Dorado. Now we find ourselves being drug along on a expedition to find the fabled Cintamani Stone. This hunt takes Drake from Istanbul to Tibet as he races to find the legend stone before the evil, psychopathic, warlord Zorin Lazarevic and his army.

The fantastic script, voice quality, and overall direction of the game gives Uncharted 2 a very movie-like feel. You easily develop an attachment to the real-to-life characters and will quickly become enveloped by the addictive game. Every single one of the 25 levels (except a level featuring a heist in Istanbul) includes a staggering amount of twists and turns that allows Uncharted 2 to keep its movie-like qualities. You rarely have to suffer from the feeling of aimlessly walking from A to B that typically is found in most games. Now, it’s not like there are huge ridiculously unbelievable events occurring throughout the entire game. There are plenty of smaller, more-reactive based events too. This creates a very welcome balance that allows the game to move on in a smooth fashion. This was accomplished because whenever Nate is walking from here to there he will stop to chat and interact with other characters and react to specific proceedings. This fills any instances when you have to walk between events.

uncharted 2Naughty Dog, the company that developed Uncharted 2, did an absolutely incredible job revitalizing the third-person action/adventure gameplay ideas. The game is infused with a multitude of scripted events, tied to fantastic cut scenes, that keep the gamer hooked. Some say that Uncharted 2 is one of the most gameplay-focused, cinematic games that has ever been created. The game moves with a flawless liquidity that gives it such action movie-like qualities. It is fascinating the way that Naughty Dog was able to incorporate the cinematic qualities while still creating an amazing game with an intriguing yet plausible storyline.

A lot of the game is consumed with combat, but there are also plenty of platforming and puzzles. There is a fantastic selection of weapons to choose from throughout the game which is important as Nate must always be on his toes and on the lookout for Lazarevic’s soldiers. The covering system has been compared to that of Gear’s of War. You can easily duck behind a multitude of objects and move flawlessly between the different objects. Melee combat is made simple by having only one button to punch and one button to counter. Although this may sound like melee combat could become repetitive, the rhythmic based attack system and varied attacks can sometimes be more fulfilling than the games that require the pressing of many buttons for up-close combat.

uncharted 2Uncharted 2 also now features the ability to play the game from a stealth-like position. As you are hiding behind objects, you can creep around behind an unsuspecting guard and break his neck, which is a new addition to Drake’s abilities. He can also hang from ledges and pull guards over banisters to throw them to their death. Now the one disappointing level mentioned previously could have given Nate the ability to put his stealth to work, but unfortunately, the gameplay does not allow for this. The Istanbul museum heist level, which takes place early in the game, is very clinical in nature. The level is a predetermined mission failure, which can be frustrating. This level simply does not fit with the otherwise outstanding features if the game, but hey it’s only one level!

The excellent variation of combat, big scripted events, platforming, and puzzles is presented seamlessly and keeps the game fresh from the start to the beginning. The game as a whole offers an average of between 10-12 hours of gameplay, which seems like the perfect length for Drake’s adventurous tale. From the very start, Uncharted 2 grabs your attention and makes you never want to put down your controller. Even after you’ve beat the game, it’s entertaining enough to make you want to play it again, and if not, there is always the online multi-player mode that I think should keep PS3 owner happy for quite some time. This game has everything a gamer could ever want. With the combat, puzzles, platforming, fantastic storyline, and online play there really is nothing else that you could want or need in a game. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is simply incredible.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
It's been eighteen long years since Super Mario World was released for Super Nintendo and believe it or not, that was the last Mario side-scrolling game released for a home console. After that, along came the 3D Mario 64 and it seemed as though the old games were a thing of the past. Fortunately, the wait is over. Nintendo has brought back every bit of nostalgia from the old Super Mario Bros and combined it with exciting new features that make Super Mario Bros for Wii one of the most anticipated games of the year.

One reviewer called it a "greatest hits" album of games, because the final product is a combination of many previous Mario Bros. games. It is also said to be much like the New Super Mario Bros. that was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS.

It follows the basic story of the old Super Mario Bros. World game. Peach is kidnapped, Mario and Luigi must save her while fighting Koopa Kids, Fire Chomps, Shy Guys, and Goombas along the way, as well as some new enemies such as giant caterpillars and flying monsters. But one major difference is that you can play the game with four players on screen at once, sort of like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. That said, a number of reviewers have said it falls flat as a single-player game.

The 3-D graphics (on the 2-D game) and the ability to zoom the camera in and out so that players can play different parts of the same level are pretty nice additions. While the multi-player aspect can be tons of fun, it can also be tons of chaos. Another player can knock you into a bottomless pit or accidentally kick a turtle shell at you, unexpectedly. You can play with or against your friends. A cooperative mode allows you to work together to pass levels, while a competitive mode (Coin Battle) has each person working to find as many coins as possible.

In cooperative mode, when a player dies, he floats back to life in a bubble and his fellow players must pop it to release him. If everybody is dead, no one can pop the bubble and the level fails. And since it's aimed more at being a multi-player game, levels are more open and linear than previous Mario Bros games so that each player can find their own personal space.

The game is also said to be fairly difficult. This should be great news for old-school gamers who were looking for a new challenge where Super Mario World left off, but not such great news for the casual gamers who are just looking to waste a little time. However, once a level is failed several times, a Super Guide appears and plays the level for you, allowing you to move on to the next one.

Sing-player mode can be fun, but it's nothing like Super Mario World or other games from the past. The game also requires motion at some points, which means using the Wiimote on its side. Something a number of reviewers say makes the game slightly uncomfortable and adds nothing to the overall experience.

All in all, it seems to be a fun game to play with friends but if you're wanting to spend hours alone, unwinding with a challenging game, this may not be what you're looking for. Either way, this $50 game is sure to find its way under many Christmas trees this year, as gamers look to appreciate that nostalgia that is the 2D Super Mario Bros. franchise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friiboard, a new accessory for your WiiFit Balance Board

For fans of snowboarding and skiing games on the Wii, a new clip-on accessory is available to challenge your abilities and your injury resistance.

Its basically curved piece of plastic that you clip on to the bottom of your WiiFit Balance Board. It allows you to rock from side to side, and forward and backwards, to give you a more realistic feel while playing games such as Shawn White Snowboarding or Tony Hawk.

It sounds like a great idea, and for those who are experienced enough with snowboarding and skateboarding away from video games, you know, like outdoors, it may be a perfect match. But for novices or those who have little to no balance skills, you may want to stay away from this one until you are confident you won't be taking a header into your TV. The unimpressive $45 price tag is a bit steep too, especially considering its merely a piece of plastic.