Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nintendo's 3DS Possibly Damaging to Young Children's Eyes

If you were thinking about buying your preschooler a Nintendo 3DS, the latest information about the gaming device may cause you to want to wait a few years. Nintendo has posted a warning before its Nintendo World 2011 demo that suggests that children under the age of six should not use the device with its 3D functions.

"Vision of children under the age of six has been said [to be in the] developmental stage," stated a note that was posted to Nintendo's Japanese site. It continued saying that 3D content, including the 3DS, "delivers 3D images with different left and right eye images, [which] has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes."

Nintendo is now recommending that parents use the parental controls on the device that only allow their younger users to play on the 3DS in its 2D mode. Nintendo says that the device offers “enough for everyone to enjoy.”

Nintendo is also recommending that 3DS users of all ages should take a break from the 3D content that the device provides every 30 minutes or if users are feeling sick at all. Usually, Nintendo advised gamers to take a break from their hand-held devices every hour, but since 3D causes eye fatigue much more quickly than 2D game play, they decided that the 30 minute intervals were more appropriate for the 3DS.

Nintendo came right out and said, "If your physical condition worsens or you become ill, please stop playing at once."

Kotaku does point out the fact that Nintendo had previously warned parents against letting their younger children use the 3D function on the 3DS, but I guess they felt the need to reiterate their warning before revealing and demonstrating the 3DS at Nintendo World 2011. The event is taking place in Japan from January 8-10. Nintendo will be showing off the 3DS to the public for the very first time. According to Escapist, children under the age of six will not be allowed to use the 3DS at the event due to the warnings about its 3D features.

Right now, the game lineup for the Nintendo 3DS includes: Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D: The Naked Sample, Winning Eleven 3DSoccer, Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Resident Evil Ribereshonzu, and more.

If you’re looking at getting the Nintendo 3DS, you may want to head to your local GameStop store to reserve your device. According to a GameStop manager, the gaming retailer is now accepting pre-orders across the nation. Unfortunately, the GameStop manager was not exactly sure how much the device will cost or when specifically it will be released.

Nintendo initially stated that they would be releasing the portable 3DS gaming device in March. The company claimed that the device would “succeed [the] Nintendo DS series.”

Since that initial statement, Nintendo has announced that they will only be releasing the 3DS in the United States and Europe in March. They also revealed earlier in the year that the device would be selling for $300 in Japan, but they have not yet announced the specific price that the device will cost in the U.S. and Europe.

The Nintendo 3DS is a highly-anticipated portable gaming device. My twelve year old brother can’t seem to shut up about the 3D capabilities of the device. I think that the concept is intriguing, but I can’t really picture how the device will really work. It will be great to see what the 3DS is really all about in March. Until then, we will all have to wait patiently for Nintendo to release the ground-breaking technology that will be featured in the gaming device.

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Pre-orders Now Available for the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DSNintendo completely revolutionized the handheld gaming industry when they released their DS back in 2004. Well, here we are six years later and the company is about to rock the handheld gaming market again with their release of their newest device the 3DS. The 3DS is a handheld gaming device that is said to deliver 3D images without the need of 3D glasses. Another unique feature about the device is that instead of projecting 3D images towards the viewer it concaves images away from the viewer giving a 3D effect.

The device is one of the most talked about gaming platforms this year and is one of the boldest projects to come out of Nintendo since the Wii. According to reports that hit the internet earlier today, people who cannot wait to get their hands on the device can throw down a pre-order for the 3DS at any GameStop location, who are now accepting pre-orders according to an inside source.

According to the source, "Yes, we have started taking reservations, though we do not know what the price will be, what colors will be available or when it will release." That seems to be the gist of all the information on the 3DS. Nobody seems to know when it will release or how much it will cost when it does release. In fact, the only release date and pricing that are available is in Japan where the 3DS will retail for around $300 and will release on February 26th, 2011.

There are a few other things available for pre-order at GameStop including Sims 3, Lovely Lisa, Cartoon Network Super-Toon Rumble and Madden NFL Football. No information has been released about when other retailers, like Amazon or Best Buy, will get pre-order availability, but it is speculated that the 3DS will launch in March 2011. I guess we will just have to wait until Nintendo's press event scheduled to take place on January 19, 2011.

Source: G4TV, IGN
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Great Success with "Black Ops" Despite the Legal Issues Activision is Facing

Activision Blizzard, the video game producer of game franchises like “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” is looking to add Electronic Arts to the already ongoing lawsuit that was originally filed against two former Activision employees. According to Activision, EA tried to “destabilize, disrupt and destroy” their company.

The legal issues began back in March 2010 when Jason West and Vince Zampella, the founders of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” developer Infinity Ward (which was acquired by Activision in 2003), sued Activision. They filed the lawsuit against Activision for allegedly firing them so that the company could avoid paying royalties for the $1 billion game.

Activision claimed that the two men were fired on March 1, 2010 for reasons including “breach of contract” and “insubordination,” and the company even went as far as to have the two men escorted out of their offices during a work day by a security team.

In April the men formed yet another video game studio that they named Respawn. They then proceeded to sign a very exclusive publishing and distribution contract with Activision’s biggest rival, Electronic Arts. After word of the contract got out, Activision then decided to countersue for breach of contract and employee poaching.

According to the document that was filed with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 21, Activision is adding EA to its complaints and is suing for a total of $400 million.

An amended complaint that was posted by Kotaku claimed that Activision said that EA was allegedly funding some sort of way for West and Zampella to poach key talent from Activision.

"Unable to compete with Activision and Infinity Ward, and upon information and belief, enraged by the recent defection of two Electronic Arts executives to Activision (unlike West and Zampella, the executives who left Electronic Arts were not under employment contracts) Electronic Arts was determined to retaliate. Electronic Arts set out to destabilize, disrupt and to attempt to destroy Infinity Ward,” Activision wrote.

EA did not immediately respond to many different requests for comments, but finally spokesman Jeff Brown said, “This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection. Activision wants to hide the fact that they have no credible response to the claim of two artists who were fired and now just want to get paid for their work."
On December 21, the same day that Activision filed their complaints with the California Superior Court about EA, the company also announced that its “Call of Duty: Black Ops” had shown no signs of slowing down and had brought in more than $1 billion in worldwide sales since the game's release in November.

"In all of entertainment, only 'Call of Duty' and 'Avatar' have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly," Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said in a statement. "This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios, including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer, that work tirelessly on the franchise."

As of Tuesday players of Black Ops have collectively logged in close to 600 million hours of gameplay. Most of the people who own the game log on more than once a day and usually play for more than an hour. Activision also said that more than half of that time is being spent playing against friends.

When the game was first released on November 9, Activision sold more than $650 million worth of games in the first five days. This exceeded the previous top earner “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” which sold about $100 million less than “Black Ops.” By the end of the month, Activision had sold 8.4 million units.

Activision is obviously having some problems with all of the lawsuits and counter lawsuits, but they are definitely continuing to do well concerning “Black Ops” and many of their other games. It will take some time for them to sort through all the legal mess, but in the meantime, they will continue to produce incredible games and further their company. They might even possibly address the rumored and highly debated release of Modern Warfare 3 soon. Until then, we will all have to sit back and wait to see what happens.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Dead Nation: Just Another Zombie Game?

The zombie craze continues. Housemarque released Dead Nation, yet another zombie killing game, on Tuesday, November 30. It was given the editor’s choice award at Just Push Start. “Dead Nation is a must buy hands down,” they said. “In a market where the zombie genre is slowly taking over, this game stands above most of them to provide a superior experience.”

Zombie games are definitely prominent in the gaming market. If the undead were ever to attempt to take over, gamers will know to grab their baseball bats, flamethrowers, and chainsaws to take them out. This year there has already been the release of Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and Dead Rising 2, so Dead Nation was a perfect addition to the zombie-focused lineup. The game offers a co-op, multi-directional, twin-stick shooter adventure that is packed full of a variety of ghouls with different strengths and skill levels and plenty of entertaining ways to pick them off.

The premise of the game involves you moving around 10 different levels of streets, parks, and buildings in a fictional town which is overrun with zombies. On the most difficult level the campaign lasts around 8-10 hours. Your character, who can be either male or female, is controlled with the left analog stick. That leaves the right stick for aiming. Your character holds a torch beam that is very useful. It allows you to light some of the dark areas where zombies are often lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. While you’re out slaughtering zombies, you can also search cars for weapons, armor, and a variety of other types of loot.

The great thing about Dead Nation is that you are given the ability to develop your character to suit your playing style. You can decide to focus on pouring the money you collect into upgrading your favorite weapons or maybe collecting the most protective armor.

One of the keys to succeeding with Dead Nation is developing a strategy. It is essential to know when to utilize your dash, melee, or attention grabbing items like a grenade if you have a chance of surviving in some of the later levels.

At the beginning of the game, it is easy for you to focus on collecting loot from car trunks and alleys, but as the game continues, the zombies and the gameplay gets much more difficult. There are tons of different zombies ready to peel the flesh from your bones. There are the more traditional zombies hiding in the shadows like policeman zombies with pistols, clown zombies, prisoner zombies, and a whole team of American football player zombies, but that’s not even close to covering all of the different zombies featured in the game. There are also screamers that call in zombie reinforcements, biological experiments that have knives for hands, zombies that leap off couches and pound the floor to knock you off your feet, and acid spitters that can really cause some problems. The variety of adversaries really keeps the game fresh.

At the end of each chapter, Dead Nation uploads your stats and lets you compare them to your friends. They are also grouped by country so that you can compare your results across the globe and see which nation is the best at taking out the undead monsters.

Playstation Lifestyle, who gave it their editor’s choice award and rated it a 10 out of 10, said, “With endless replay value, a Platinum trophy, and offline and online co-op, it puts together everything that gamers, not just shooter, zombie, or horror fans, will love.”

This is definitely a game that PlayStation 3 owners should check out. If you’re into zombie shooter games, then Dead Nation is right up your alley. Dead Nation is an engaging game that really is different than your average zombie game and is worth looking into.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mass Effect 3 Revealed

Mass Effect 3Every gaming developer has their niche. Rockstar has the whole open world thing and Bungie has Halo, but there is one company that really nails one of the most vital parts of a great game, storytelling, and that company is BioWare. From Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare has delivered some of the most cinematic game experiences to date.

The company has this unique ability to create a game that draws you in with its captivating story and intriguing characters that all build a relationship with you, the main character. Probably BioWare's biggest hit to date is definitely the Mass Effect series. When the first game dropped in 2007, audiences were blown away by the epic story and the amount your character could interact with the people and places around him. Forming relationships with your crew and companions added a sense of depth to the game that is often lacking in games today.

When Mass Effect 2 dropped in 2010, fans came scrambling back to take Commander Shepherd on another galaxy saving adventure. However, what really brought fans back was the ability to import a saved file from Mass Effect into Mass Effect 2, allowing you to continue your journey with your original character. All the choices you made in the first game came into play in Mass Effect 2. The companions you let live, the ones you let die and even the interactions you made with NPCs all had different repercussions in Mass Effect 2. This added a bond that the player could form with not only their character but the entire Mass Effect universe.

There has been no doubt as to whether or not BioWare was going to release a third installment in their Mass Effect series. The only question was when it would be releaseed and when are we going to find out. Well, both those answers have been given to us. Last Saturday on the Spike Video Game Awards, BioWare unveiled the first teaser trailer for Mass Effect 3. Previous screenshots from the trailer have been pieced together and all make sense now.

The story goes as follows: "Earth is burning. From beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepherd, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth and save the galaxy."


When we last left Commander Shepherd, he was trying to find out why human colonies all over the galaxy were disappearing without a trace. When he found the source, Shepherd found an ancient race of aliens known as The Collectors who are hell-bent on destroying the human race. It was your job to stop them and stop them you did. With help from the mysterious Pro-Human group known as Cerebus and its leader The Illusive Man, you were able to stop the reapers and save humanity......or so it seemed.

Mass Effect 3 takes players, for the first time, to Earth. From the trailer and other news we can gather that The Collectors (we think), being controlled by the Reapers, have attacked Earth in a plot to destroy it. With Earth overrun Shepherd must travel to planets all across the galaxy in order to rally the civilizations of Citadel Space, both human and alien, if there is any hope of saving Earth.

Details about gameplay have yet to be revealed though the trailer, as well as rumors, seems to allude to a new multiplayer element to the game. Personally, I pass on the option of multiplayer. One of the best things the Mass Effect series has going for it is its strong focus on single player development. The lack of multiplayer is hardly a negative aspect in my mind.

What I would like is more weapons and a revamped mining system. BioWare took out the slew of weapon choices from the first game and replaced it with an upgrade system, and they also added planet mining, an essential part to game completion. The combat can stay the same. I found the upgraded combat system a much welcome change from the first game.

Like the previous two games, players will be able to import a saved game file into Mass Effect 3, allowing you to finish the epic story with the very first character you started off as. There has been no word on what characters will return, though it does depend on which ones lived for you in your outcome. It is likely that Garrus will return, seeing how he was a major character in both previous games. I would love to see the return of Urdnot Wrex as well as Thane Krios, two of my personal favorites.

Gamers have a lot to look forward to and, sadly, a lot of time to do it as Mass Effect 3 is slated for a Holiday 2011 release date. The game should be coming out on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC simultaneously (or at least close together). If BioWare does it right, this could be one of the biggest and most epic games to ever be released.

Check out the first teaser trailer for Mass Effect 3.

Video courtesy of Machinima.com

Source: IGN.com

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" Announced by Sony and Naughty Dog

uncharted 3
A little over a year after the release of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Sony and Uncharted game developer Naughty Dog have officially announced the third installment of the Uncharted series and have launched an official website for the game. The third adventure of Nathan Drake has been dubbed Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and although the game will not be released until December 1, 2011, you can already go ahead and pre-order the game.

As the previous Uncharted games have been, Uncharted 3 will only be available for the PlayStation 3. Drake will embark on a dangerous journey across the Arabian Desert in search of a lost city. Sony said that Uncharted 3 will feature new and evolved ways of playing the game that include "hand-to-hand combat with multiple opponents, contextual melee attacks, and new stealth options" and "expanded and diverse traversal moves with deeper gunplay."

"'Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception' continues to evolve the core principles we laid out for the Uncharted franchise, most important of which is creating an unmatched and extremely compelling interactive cinematic experience," PlayStation said in a blog post. "In addition to having a compelling story and authentic characters that all of our fans can relate to as key facets to creating this type of experience, we push ourselves and the capability of the PlayStation hardware through constantly redefined gameplay mechanics and technology innovation."

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was a great success after its release over a year ago. It featured incredible graphics, a fantastic new style of gameplay, and the newly added multiplayer mode. According to Entertainment Weekly, the magazine that broke the story about Uncharted 3 on Friday, December 10, reported that more than 3.8 million copies of Uncharted 2 were sold worldwide to date.

“We want to take on the big boys of the multi-player genre," the co-president of Naughty Dog Evan Wells told EW. "It has become something here at Naughty Dog that will become an important part of all our games."

Some more details were leaked about the game, including the fact that the game will be available in Stereoscopic high-resolution 3D, but Sony and Naughty Dog are keeping very “hush hush” about these details. However, Naughty Dog director Amy Hennig did give EW some information about the reasoning behind the setting of Uncharted 3. She said that Uncharted 3 took Drake and his mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan into the desert partially because of the technical and artistic challenge that it would present to Naughty Dog to create a realistic desert environment. I guess they were looking for a real challenge.

Excitingly enough, not only is there going to be a new game added to the Uncharted series but Uncharted is going mainstream. A Nathan Drake novel will be hitting the shelves around the same time as the release of Uncharted 3, and Columbia Pictures is producing a feature film that, according to EW, will star Mark Wahlberg.

All of these latest developments are definitely something to look forward to. Uncharted games are absolutely incredible. The graphics, the story, and the gameplay are all phenomenal, and a book and movie are just the icing on the cake. I can’t wait for all of these new Uncharted-focused products to be released. Unfortunately, it means waiting for about another year, but I will definitely be waiting with great anticipation.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Could There Be a Better First-Person Shooter Game Than the Call of Duty Series?

replacement call of duty
The Call of Duty series is arguably one of the best-selling game series to date. The last title Call of Duty: Black Ops, broke gaming records with its sales numbers. Well, the CEO of Electronic Arts (EA) John Riccitiello claims that he has the recipe to beat the Call of Duty franchise and put a new first-person shooter game ahead of the ever so popular series. Unfortunately for EA, Riccitiello said that it will take several years for him to accomplish his goal.

In a recent interview conducted by the video game blog Kotaku, Riccitiello said that the main factor in beating Call of Duty is to simply “make a better game.” Once a better game is produced, Riccitiello said that his company will need to “make a better game again.”

Riccitiello, who cited Metacritic, said that by next year he really wanted to see a first-person shooter game released by EA that would score higher on the site than Activision’s 2011 Call of Duty release.

"If I had to pick the story I'd like to play out next year, we [would] ship a [game with] a 90 [score on Metacritic] and [Activision] ship[s] an 85," Riccitiello told Kotaku. He continued saying that "the way you unseat a market leader is you make a better game a couple of times in a row."

Of course for all of this to occur, EA needs to find just the right game that will lead to their success. Riccitiello said that he felt that Bullestorm and Crysis 2 were both going to be strong first-person shooter game releases from EA next year, but that he felt “incredibly good” about Battlefield 3. The company released Battlefield Bad Company 2 earlier this year, and Riccitiello proudly pointed out that the game received “the same Metacritic score as Black Ops.”

Bad Company 2 is definitely a high quality first-person shooter game, but it simply could not match the commercial success of the highly anticipated Black Ops.
As I mentioned previously, Call of Duty: Black Ops broke many game sales records. They had the best launch day sales and the best entertainment launch in history. According to Activision’s estimates, the game made $360 million in revenues on the very first day that it was available. During the first five days of its release, Black Ops made more than $650 million, which beat out the first five day sales record that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had previously held (making more than $550 million in revenue).

A new year means new opportunities for both of the companies. Call of Duty will definitely have the advantage going into the new year, but if EA could provide a superior title, they could easily steal away the title of number one first-person shooter game from Activision. Riccitiello seems confident that Call of Duty will not dominate the shooter game category forever. “Over time we can take the lead,” he said.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

2.5 Million Kinects Sell in the First 25 Days

xbox kinect
In the beginning, I can definitely say that I had my doubts about the new motion-based controllers that Microsoft and Sony were releasing for their game systems, but it is now obvious that I was completely wrong about these products. I thought that anyone that was interested in motion-based gameplay would have already purchased Nintendo’s Wii. I also believed that the Xbox 360 and PS3 attracted a crowd that wouldn’t really care about motion-based gameplay, but these assumptions were definitely off-track.

Xbox Kinect is in direct competition with Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s recently released Playstation Move. Although on Tuesday, November 30th Sony announced that they had shipped out 4.1 million Playstation Moves worldwide in the first two months of the Move’s release. Unfortunately for Sony, Microsoft announced on Monday, November 29th that 2.5 million Kinects were sold…in the first 25 days of its release.

"We are thrilled about the consumer response to Kinect and are working hard with our retail and manufacturing partners to expedite production and shipments of Kinect to restock shelves as fast as possible to keep up with demand," President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Don Mattrick said in a statement. "With sales already exceeding two and a half million units in just 25 days, we are on pace to reach our forecast of 5 million units sold to consumers this holiday."

The Kinect and the Move both feature electronic motion sensing technology, but with the Move you need a wand-like controller to be able to direct the game. With the Kinect, as the commercial says about one of the dance games for the Xbox 360, you can “shake everything…except a controller.”

Microsoft reported that it was recording its Kinect sales figures by looking at the sales through consumers, while Sony said that its sales figures represented the number of Moves sold to retailers. They also said that they counted a Move controller as a sale if it was either by itself or if it was sold as a part of the two different Playstation Move bundle packages that the company shipped.

According to analyst Michael Pachter, Microsoft has sold 325,000 Xbox 360s and Sony has sold 250,000 Playstation 3s in October. It is unclear so far as to whether or not these numbers have been influenced by the release of the motion-based controllers.

Microsoft said that Black Friday really helped to kick off the holiday sales of Xbox Kinect. Vice president of merchandising at Target Nik Nayar said that the Kinect was a “top performer” at Target stores during the Black Friday weekend. "We expect Kinect will be a must-have gift this holiday season, so Target will continue to receive consistent shipments of Kinect throughout December," he said.

Although I definitely had my doubts about the Xbox Kinect, I have been proved wrong. Microsoft has a hit on its hands with its controller-free Kinect system. Selling 2.5 million Kinects within the first twenty-five days is quite an accomplishment and not exactly what I expected. I feel that Microsoft’s Kinect will definitely do better than the Move. I believe this because of the new technology that Microsoft has to offer. The ability to be able to control a game without needing any sort of a controller is extremely alluring. Microsoft is sure to do well with this product, and I’m sure that the holiday season will only cause Microsoft’s Kinect sales figures to spike even higher.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PlayStation Move Surpasses 4.1 Million Units Sold

The good folks over at Sony revealed today that sales for the gaming group's motion control device known as PlayStation Move reached over 4.1 million units sold worldwide. This number comes just two months after the device's release in September for North America, Europe/PAL territories and Asia and only one month after its release in Japan. Sony is looking at these numbers as a clear sign of success for the new motion controller as well as positive momentum leading into this year's holiday season and 2011.

The PlayStation Move controller is used in conjunction with Sony's Eye Camera for the PS3 in order to detect the precise movements, angle and absolute position in 3D space of the controller and the gamer. This allows gamers to intuitively play certain games as if they are actually participating in the games themselves. The device also captures the gamer's image to offer new augmented reality experiences in certain games.

In two months Sony has unleashed more than 30 games that are either supported by PlayStation Move or completely dedicated to the controller. Among the many successful titles gamers will find such games as Sports Champions, Start the Party EyePet Move Edition, MAG, SingStar Dance and a ton more. Platform defining games for the PS3 like Killzone 3 and LittleBigPlanet 2 are set to be Move compatible which Sony hopes will "further establish PlayStation Move as the must-have motion experience for casual and hard-core gamers alike".

There are more than 41.6 million PS3 systems around the globe, and the company believes it is poised to set yet another year of record success, despite being a 5-year-old console. The PS3 is definitely making waves in the gaming community with the PlayStation Move as well as support for stereoscopic 3D. However, the PS3 isn't the only system with motion controllers. The Wii from Nintendo was the first to introduce the motion controller to gamers but tends to focus more on family games and casual gamers. The PlayStation Move's biggest competitor will undoubtedly be Kinect from Microsoft. Not only is Kinect a motion control device, it completely forgoes using a controller at all by instead making the gamer's entire body the controller.

Regardless of competition, the PlayStation Move is obviously doing well. However, I feel like we will not be able to get a true grasp of just how well it is doing until after this forthcoming holiday season. Until then, we will just have to sit back and enjoy what Sony has delivered thus far.

Source: Engadget
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Monday, November 22, 2010

“Call of Duty: Black Ops” Sets Records

call of duty black ops
I’m sure most people have seen the TV commercial that has been airing on a lot of different channels lately. The amazing, cinematic “Call of Duty: Black Ops” commercial shows people dressed in everyday clothes involved in an epic battle with machine guns and bazookas firing, attack helicopters whirring, and explosives blasting, while “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones blares in the background. There are even guest appearances on the commercial by Jimmy Kimmel and Kobe Bryant. The commercial is incredible and has certainly gotten the word out according to Activision.

The past few Call of Duty games have been wildly successful, record-setting, action-packed video games that are essential to most gamer’s collections. “Call of Duty: Black Ops” is no exception to the series. Activision reported on Thursday, November 18th that the game had set an all new five-day worldwide sales record making more than $650 million. It even beat out its highly anticipated predecessor “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” which was incredibly successful and sold $550 million in the first five days.

Chief executive of Activision Blizzard, Robert Kotick, said in a statement, “'Call of Duty' has become the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for two consecutive years across all forms of entertainment.”

Microsoft also says that “Call of Duty: Black Ops” has set a record on Xbox Live. They said that more than 2.6 million users signed on just so that they could play during the launch day. Gameplay just on the launch day added up to 5.9 million multiplayer hours logged in for the game.

Although they did not offer any numbers like Microsoft, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Jack Tretton, said that “Call of Duty: Black Ops” caused “unprecedented traffic to the PlayStation Network."

Amazon.com and Gamestop reported that the game was the best-selling game launch of all time for their respective companies.

These reports from Amazon and Gamestop came a few days after Activision announced their opening-day records from the game as well. They said that in the first 24 hours that “Call of Duty: Black Ops” was on the market it brought in over $360 million in North America and the UK alone. In comparison, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” brought in around $310 million for Activision in the first 24 hours.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops” was released in stores November 9th. The game was developed by Treyarch and according to Activision it provides gamers with “the deepest and most intense 'Call of Duty' experience ever.” Players can enjoy playing in single or multiplayer modes in guerilla warfare and covert ops in the middle of wilderness. Treyarch and Activision even incorporated 3D elements into “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” which is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Window PC platforms.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

"Waka waka waka waka waka waka", you hear that? "Waka waka waka waka waka", it sounds like the beautiful serenade of one of gaming's biggest icons. I'm talking, of course, of the always lovable, always incredible (always hungry) Pac-Man. Pac-Man has been one of the most beloved games since its inception and has had the honor of gracing many a gaming console, so when it came to the Xbox Live Arcade, people were obviously excited.

Everybody's favorite dot eater made its debut on the Xbox 360 in the form of Pac-Man Championship Edition. Back then, Pac-Man Championship Edition seemed like the perfect Xbox Live Arcade game........and it was. But did you ever sit back and ask yourself, "Could this game be any better?" Well, the immediate answer to that is yes, and it is known as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.

Gaming's original ghostbuster is coming at us with more mazes, more modes and a LOT more ghosts. The deluxe version of the game (hence the DX) takes all the aspects that made the first one such a success and such a great experience and adds even more fun stuff.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has gamers focused on racking up as high a score as possible. A new addition to the tried and true Pac-Man formula is the fact that all games are timed now which means you need to eat as many dots as possible as quickly as possible. A good factor to the game is that you don't die as often, and you get plenty of extra lives, oh, and did I mention the fact that you get bombs? Yeah, every bomb you drop sends every ghost on the map back to their little box if you need to get out of a tight spot.

You read up top that Mr. Pac-Man has a lot more ghosts to deal with. However, a lot is a definite understatement. Instead of having your traditional eight or so ghosts, players will now have to outwit HUNDREDS of ghosts in order to stay alive and get the top score. A bunch of ghosts will start out as normal, but as you advance through the map you will pass sleeping ghosts who will awaken as you pass by.

If you manage to refrain from eating a power pellet long enough, you could find yourself being chased by nearly a hundred ghosts! That is another thing. Instead of trying to outwit the ghosts, players will be able to simply run away as the ghosts will more likely than not follow you in a straight line. Turning around and obliterating a hundred ghosts in a row is a key feature in getting that top score.

DX has a total of nine mazes, most of which are completely new and unique. What is even better is that each maze has a multitude of different game variations like Score Attack, Time Trials and Ghost Combos. But the true might of this game is in getting the high scores.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX offers many ways for you to see how you rank against other players of the games, including your friends. Climbing through the leaderboards is cool and all but this game adds some other nifty options. Your current ranking is posted up on the title screen, the course select screen, and even within the menu for each maze.

This game also sounds great and looks great. Players will be able to pick from a variety of different skins for each maze as well as different Pac-Man character models, including 3D Pac-Man and the original pixilated master himself. The electronic music, which instinctively gets more intense the more the clock winds down, also adds an feeling of urgency that is both riveting and fun.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, like its source material, combines fun, easy and intuitive gameplay mechanics with a great sound and spectacular presentation to create a game that everybody, not just Pac-Man enthusiasts, can enjoy. For a price tag of only $10 (or 800 Microsoft points) you would be hard pressed to find a better Xbox Live Arcade game. Definitely one that everybody should download as soon as possible.

Source: IGN.com
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PS3 Gets Hulu Plus and NHL Updates

hulu and nhl update
Sony announced Wednesday, November 10 that Hulu is now available from the PlayStation network to all of their PlayStation 3 users. They also said that PlayStation 3 will now support the new NHL GameCenter application that had been unavailable previously.

Before Wednesday, PlayStation 3 users needed a PlayStation Plus subscription to be able to access Hulu Plus content, but a PlayStation blog stated that this is no longer true. On Thursday, November 4 Hulu announced that their Hulu Plus subscription service was no longer invite-only. This means that anyone using the PlayStation Network can sign up and watch anything on Hulu Plus via their console. A subscription to Hulu Plus costs $9.99 per month. It provides full access to whole seasons of TV shows. If you don’t want to shell out a monthly fee, you can still enjoy free access to Hulu.com and all of the recent episodes of your favorite shows.

When Hulu Plus first came out in June, those who were interested in the service had to first be invited by the company before they could purchase a subscription. Director of product at Hulu Rob Wong said, “As we scale our infrastructure throughout the preview period, we want to open the service to a larger subscriber base.”

For PS3 users interested in Hulu Plus, users can download the app by visiting the PlayStation Store and ps3.com/hulu. Hulu Plus is also offered via other devices such as Sony’s Blu-ray players and Bravia TVs. Users are able to access Hulu via Internet connections on the Blu-ray players and TVs. As of right now Sony says that certain Bravia TVs are offering $20 towards a Hulu Plus trial so that customers can give it a try and see if they are interested in it. Hulu is also offered on the PC, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPhone 4, third generation iPods, and certain Samsung TVs.

On a side note, Hulu has just recently added some new TV shows to their Hulu Plus including: “Raising Hope,” “No Ordinary Family,” and “The Event.” They also have added past seasons of “Monk,” “Psych,” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

As of Wednesday PS3 users now also have access to the National Hockey League’s new GameCenter Live app. This allows users to instantly stream up to 40 different out of market NHL games each and every week. Users will also be able to access replay highlight moments and classic games.

If you have already purchased the $169 annual NHL GameCenter Live subscription, you can download the NHL app for PS3 for $9.99. If you have already subscribed to PlayStation Plus, you will be able to download the app for free. The app will be available to download under the video category on the XrossMediaBar.

This app is also available for users with the Boxee Box or Roku for free. The NHL has said, “Simply link your existing subscription to the NHL GameCenter LIVE app on either Roku or Boxee platforms, and you're ready to enjoy live and on-demand hockey action.” They also are promising that a version for the iPad will be available within a few weeks.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

G4 Dropped by Direct TV

G4What is sure to be one of the saddest days for gamers in recent history, the highly popular cable television channel G4 has been officially dropped by satellite provider Direct TV when the two could not settle negotiations. As of yesterday, game enthusiasts around the country flipped on their sets to find that their G4 channel had been removed.

It seems unusual that Direct TV dropped the channel from their program list. I mean, this isn't a typical thing in the television industry to my knowledge. However, G4 did release a statement expressing their profound disappointment with Direct TV's decision to not adhere to the same contract the two companies had agreed upon for the last three years.

According to G4, "We are very disappointed with Direct TV's decision to drop G4 as of November 1, 2010. We have done everything in our power to reach a fair and equitable long-term extension with them to continue to carry our network. This is especially frustrating since our offer to them was the same basic deal that we have had with Direct TV for the past three years. However, Direct TV rejected this offer thereby denying their subscribers the only network dedicated to today's web-inspired, tech-savvy, gamer lifestyle."

G4's statement went on to include a number for Direct TV subscribers to call if they wish to express their anger, dissatisfaction or rage with the company.

"If you are a Direct TV subscriber, please contact them directly at 1-888-9-WeAreG4 to voice your disappointment for dropping the service...We are sorry to our fans who are affected by Direct TV's decision and are hopeful that they will agree to have G4 back up on their service in the very near future. In the mean time, we thank you for your support."

Being an avid supporter of G4 and the entire gaming community I can only say that I am truly sorry for any fan of G4 that is a current subscriber to Direct TV. G4 is one of the most legitimate and highly respected gaming news outlets in the entire industry and in a market where G4 is the only dedicated network channel it is a shame that anybody should be denied their services.

I can only hope that the people at both G4 and Direct TV can resolve this dispute as quickly as possible for the sake of dedicated fans of both companies.

Source: IGN.com
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sony’s PSP Go Just Dropped in Price

sony's psp go
Just in time for the holiday season, Sony has decided to drop the price of their PSP go mobile gaming device. It previously was being sold for $249.99 but has now dropped to $199.99.

The PSP go first hit stores in October of 2009 for $249.99. The device is a downsized version of the original PSP-1000. Instead of the UMD optical drive and game cartridge that was part of the original PSP, the PSP go features 16GB of internal storage, download only titles, and a great, new slider design. The device also features access to Sony’s online download store, so that gamers can search for and download the games that they want.

Many people have said that the PSP go is really best for gamers that are new to the PSP platform. Gamers that have been dedicated PSP fans would do better sticking with the original PSP-1000. It is a little chunkier, but PSP fans will be more comfortable with it. If you want a thinner PSP that still sticks to the original ideals of the PSP-1000, you should check out the PSP-3000. It is great for playing multi-player games. Sony released the PSP go in an attempt to compete with other portable gaming devices like Nintendo’s DS Lite and Apple’s iPod Touch. You simply must consider what you want out of your PSP and what you will be using it for. This will help you to decide which PSP fits you best.

The PSP go fits perfectly in your pocket. It measures 2.7 x 5 x 0.65 inches (HWD). Volume-wise, the PSP go is about half the volume of the original PSP-1000. As I had mentioned, the PSP go has a sliding screen. All of the controls, the analog stick, the d-pad, and the game buttons, are under the screen. The display is bright and the screen itself is 3.8-inches and features 480 x 272 resolution. It also has 802.11b Wi-Fi, which is a great thing to have.
This price drop for the PSP go is coming about a month after Sony’s release of their new PlayStation Move motion controller system. Since its release, Sony has said that they have sold more than 1 million Move units in North America and Latin America. Jack Trenton, the chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment America, told MSNBC that Sony has already had to increase production of the Move twice to meet the demands of the public. “Retail demand is incredibly strong and we're working hard to keep the product in stock,” he said.

The price drop is likely to help Sony get ahead of their biggest rival, Nintendo, for the holiday season. Fortunately for Sony and their sales, Nintendo announced last month that they will not be releasing their new Nintendo 3DS in Japan until February 26th or in the U.S. until sometime in March.

As of now, the device is listed for $199.99 at a variety of online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Medal of Honor: A Huge Success Despite the Conflict

medal of honor
The Medal of Honor games have been incredibly popular throughout the years. The newest installment strayed from the usual World War II theme that the other Medal of Honor games have had and instead set the game in war-ravaged Afghanistan. Greg Goodrich, the executive producer of Medal of Honor, said, “Inspired by real people and real events, the game puts players in the boots of today's warrior.” This was definitely a new spin for the game series.

As of Tuesday, October 19th, Electronic Arts (EA) had sold over 1.5 million copies of the latest installment of the Medal of Honor series. This is quite an accomplishment considering all the controversy and scrutiny that the game underwent before its release. EA released the game on Tuesday, October 12th, and in a mere week the game has already become a huge success.

EA is adding a new multi-player mode to the game on November 2nd. The mode is being called Clean Sweep, and it is free to anyone who purchased the game. There is an online pass code that should have been included in the game's case that will give you access to the new multi-player mode. EA says that the added mode will be an elimination mode where players will have to rely on their teammates’ and their own skills to win. There are two new maps that will be included with the new mode: Bagram Hangar and Khyber Caves. There will also be new redesigned versions of the Kabul City Ruins and Diwagal Camp maps included.

steelseries keyboardSince the release of the game, SteelSeries released a licensed line of products that was co-designed with the EA team from Medal of Honor. They came together to design two different gaming keyboards that were built specifically around playing Medal of Honor. There is the mechanical 6Gv2 keyboard and the SteelSeries Shift keyboard. The Shift keyboard features a Medal of Honor edition keyset, a Medal of Honor Edition Xai laser mouse, and a Warrior Edition Qck mouse pad.

SteelSeries claims that the 6Gv2 keyboard is indestructible. It features 18k gold-plated mechanical switches, an anti-ghosting feature, and SteelSeries media controls for quick access to volume control.

The 6Gv2 keyboard is available for $99.99, and the SteelSeries Shift keyboard is available for $89.99. Both of these keyboards are perfect for playing Medal of Honor on your PC.

The latest version of Medal of Honor had a few bumps in the road to overcome, but they are definitely doing quite well. With over 1.5 million copies sold in a week, a new multi-player mode ready to launch, and gaming keyboards specifically designed with the game in mind, I think that EA has definitely had great success with this game. If you haven’t picked up your copy of the game yet, run to your closest game store and see just what everybody is talking about with this game.

For more information about this game and the controversy surrounding the game check out another article: Medal of Honor Released Despite Controversy.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas Box ArtThe long awaited Fallout 3 was released a mere two years ago in 2008, and when gamers finally got their sweaty hands on it, the game was hailed as one of the greatest open-world role-playing games of the time. Flash forward two years and the unstoppable force that is Fallout 3 adds another title to the franchise in the form of Fallout: New Vegas. This game may as well be called Fallout 3: New Vegas due to the fact that Obsidian didn't really change anything about the gameplay, but then again that isn't really a bad thing and this game definitely doesn't feel like an expansion.

The story of New Vegas focuses on your character, a courier (male or female depending on your choice), who is tasked with delivering a package to the New Vegas Strip. As you can imagine, this simple courier mission is anything but simple. The story throws in some minor twists to keep things interesting, but overall you can pretty much guess what happens. The game does have three possible endings and, like Fallout 3 at launch, you will not be able to continue your journey through the wastelands once you complete the game unless you go back and re-load an old save.

Upon first entering the Mojave Desert, you will notice that the landscapes look fairly similar to the previous Fallout wastelands except now they have vegetation. Most of it is dried up but you are able to harvest fresh fruit, seeds and herbs which you can use to muster up different concoctions like healing powder or stimpacks. The game is fairly hard if you are inexperienced, though the main story does take you through a relatively safe path to the New Vegas Strip. It is here that things start to get really interesting.

Each faction you encounter in the game has its own shades of grey as opposed to Fallout 3's black or white morality scale. For example, the New California Republic is bloated and incapable of providing adequate protection for its people, whereas the Legion runs a tighter operation with slave labor. However, the game does give you karma for killing Legion members and detracts Karma for killing NCR troopers.The primary quest is pretty short, which is disappointing, though you really should not be focusing most of your time on that at all.

Since this is a Fallout game, the amount of side quests you can undertake is staggering, and it is here that the game really shows its true colors. One of the greatest things about New Vegas is that there are few limits on exploration. There is an almost overwhelming amount of locations to discover and nearly every step you take has someone asking for your help. Just when you think you have seen all an area has to offer, an undiscovered sewer system will open up or a new area will uncover itself. Some of the side quests or your typical, short "go get these items for me" type quests, where others are epic tales of adventure that may very well overshadow the main plot of the game. If you are the type that HAS to complete EVERYTHING in the game, then expect to spend no less than 100 hours doing so.

Fallout: New Vegas ScreenshotFallout: New Vegas includes companions just like Fallout 3. Several companions will join you on your quest, each with their own agenda by which to seek assistance from you. Two different companions can accompany you at any time, one robot/animal companion and one human/used-to-be-human companion. Each companion offers a special boost and all of their kills give you experience points though some companions can be more trouble than they are worth.

Players will easily lose track of their companions and tracking them down isn't easy. Their A.I. is also terrible. While it may be nothing for your character to hop over a three-foot fence, your companions will have to trace the entire length of the fence until they find an opening to walk through. But despite their obvious flaws, traveling the desolate wastelands with a companion is better than doing so alone.

Want to listen to some tunes on your journey? Then tune in to Mr. New Vegas, your prime DJ for the game, voiced by the ever-talented Wayne Newton. Newton is far less irritating than Three Dog from Fallout 3, but his songs and stories do have a tendency to repeat themselves which means you want be spending the entire 100 hours of gameplay listening to Mr. Newton.

Transitioning from Fallout 3 to New Vegas is simple for those who have played Fallout 3. Meeting friendly people while killing aggressive monsters and thugs will return to your comfort zone with ease. Heck, you may even decide to kill the friendly peeps and side with the thugs, but do remember to always kill the monsters. Players will encounter new animals out west including Cazadores (giant flying bugs that poison you), giant praying mantises and Nightstalkers (terrifying crossbreeds of coyotes and rattlesnakes). All of the new creatures feature pretty colorful designs but don't let that distract you, always aim for the face.

New Vegas allows you to play from either first or third person perspectives. Third person is nice because it gives you a pulled back view, meaning you won't get crept up on. However, animations in third person are goofy and shooting on the fly isn't recommended. First person mode is more accessible, and though you don't have a full 360 degree view, you can finally aim down your weapon's sight making it play more like a first person shooter while your V.A.T.S (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) recharges. V.A.T.S allows you to pause the action of New Vegas and target specific body parts of your enemy. Blow off limbs and heads galore! The game does make V.A.T.S shots take action points to keep the game balanced.

Fallout: New Vegas Golf Club SwingFallout: New Vegas uses the same leveling system as Fallout 3, S.P.E.C.I.A.L (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck). You allocate points to these categories at the beginning of the game and with each level you build on them, depending on which play style you use. All the same skills are here, and you will have to choose where you spend your skill points wisely. Perks are also available in New Vegas. Perks are fun and can either help build out your character by increasing V.A.T.S. accuracy, level you up again immediately, enable Easter eggs that are otherwise locked away or even let you go all zombie on somebody and eat their flesh to regain health.

New Vegas is obviously a gambling town so there are a ton of new ways to earn caps, Fallout's form of currency. Hit up the slot machines or blackjack tables on the strip or engage in a game of Caravan with some drifters on the wastelands. Caravan is similar to blackjack but requires more skill and allows you to build your own unique deck of cards, similar to Pazaak in the KOTOR games. Play these mini-games or just loot every single house and dead body you come across and you should never run out of cash.

The biggest addition to New Vegas is Hardcore Mode. This makes surviving the wastelands much tougher. So much tougher, in fact, that the game actually advises you against it. The game takes on a sim-like nature, requiring you to feed, water and rest your character often. In addition to this inconvenience, everything in the game, including ammo, counts towards your weight limit. Fast travel is also limited. If your character dehydrates by the end of his/her journey, you will be unable to continue until you rehydrate. It is more realistic and offers a great deal of difficulty that is hard to come by later in the game.

Being that New Vegas uses the same engine as Fallout 3, the same technical issues are found in this game as they were in Fallout 3. Animations have no weight to them, lip syncing is either good or non-existent and the A.I. is really, really dumb. While some of these faults may seem humorous, the choppy framerate and horrible load times are nothing to laugh at. Some load times are as "quick" as 30 seconds, where some can take as long as two minutes! New Vegas can also run smoothly sometimes but does suffer from slowing down as well as sudden freezing, so do yourself a favor and save as often as you can.

The incredibly fun and addicting formula that powered Fallout 3 is definitely intact for New Vegas. Combat is more polished, side quests are of the highest quality and the setting of the Vegas Strip is definitely exciting. However, the Fallout 3 bugs managed to sneak their way into New Vegas as well. Had Bethesda and Obsidian polished up the A.I., improved the animations or even made the game run smoothly, then New Vegas may have felt less like an expansion of Fallout 3 and more like its very own game. Despite all that, Fallout 3 was an incredible game and Fallout: New Vegas is just as good. Looking past the faults, this is definitely one wasteland you want to take a joyride in.

Source: IGN.com
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

AT&T U-verse HDTV Coming to Xbox 360

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 seems to do just about anything. It has been described as a multimedia machine. The fantastically designed console is not just for gaming. It allows users to utilize movies, music, and even TV. To make users' TV experiences even better with the Xbox, Microsoft announced that they will be bringing AT&T’s U-verse to the gaming system. This will allow Xbox owners to have HDTV and DVR capabilities.

Now this isn’t just going to magically occur. The Xbox unfortunately cannot be updated by a simple online downloadable update. In order to take advantage of AT&T’s U-verse service, you must have a U-verse account and a set top box. But wait…that’s not all that you will need. You will also have to purchase a mandatory Xbox kit that includes a 360 remote control but will cost you $99.

You might think after all this ordeal, that U-verse would finally be set to work on your Xbox, but regrettably this is not so. An AT&T cable guy will have to come to your home to get everything set up and installed. Honestly, to me it just seems like a lot of extra cost and hassle, but if this is something that you would find useful, it will soon be available for Xbox owners.

For more information check out the video clip above.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Online Gaming Could Be Threatening the Safety of Your Computer

avast securityOnline gaming is something that just becomes more and more popular. A survey was conducted in June of 2010 by Nielsen NetView about Internet usage. It was discovered that the time that individuals spend playing online games has overtaken the time that individuals spend on their e-mail. The only other thing that consumes more individual's time when they use the Internet is social networking sites. According to the survey, U.S. citizens spend more than 407 million hours of time per year gaming online.

Unfortunately, Nielsen NetView is not the only one that has taken notice of this trend. Cybercriminals have recognized this latest time consumer for Americans as well. They have not only recognized but they have also begun to infect gaming websites. Anything from a legitimate forum and tutorial assistance site to a sketchier download site could possibly infect your computer.

Obviously not every site is infected with some sort of virus, but it is necessary to be careful and to be aware of the possibility of a hacker. Ondrej Vlcek, chief technical officer of the Czech security company Avast, said, “As the gaming industry continues to grow, hackers will inevitably develop more ways to target this massive group.” Avast is an antivirus supplier that constantly gathers data about infected websites. Every month they release a “Most Wanted List” that reveals the very worst sites currently on the Web. On October 6th Avast released their riskiest gaming websites so that customers could be warned before their computer becomes infected. Here is the list:

• Gamesfactoryinteractive.com
• Games-digest.com
• Mariogamesplay.com
• Anywhere-games.com
• Galacticflashgames.com
• Towerofdefense.com

Avast recommends a few simple things to keep your computer from being infected while you are gaming online. One important thing is to make sure that you keep all of your apps and antivirus programs up-to-date. You should also make sure not to turn off your antivirus program while you are playing online games. It can be annoying to have an antivirus program running when you’re playing a game, but you can switch over to your antivirus gaming function so that you can play uninterrupted. One last tip is that you should be extremely careful when downloading games via warez sites because they are known for spreading malware.

Viruses are a huge deal. It is definitely something that you don’t want to have to deal with on your computer. With just a few simple precautionary steps, you can make sure that your computer is safe from threats, and you can still enjoy your online games. Don’t give up your online gaming. Just be smart and safe, and your computer should be just fine.

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Medal of Honor Released Despite Controversy

medal of honor released
The highly anticipated game from Electronic Arts, Medal of Honor, was released in stores Tuesday, October 12th. This newest installment in the video game series is set in war-ravaged Afghanistan. Electronic Arts has been releasing Medal of Honor games for eleven years now, and they have never before strayed from their World War II theme, but that has all changed with the newest release.

Greg Goodrich, Medal of Honor’s executive producer, commented on the game earlier in the year. He said, "Medal of Honor is an authentic look into today's war. Inspired by real people and real events, the game puts players in the boots of today's warrior, from the infantry ground pounder to the Tier 1 Operator. "

EA said that the unprecedented access to the U.S. Army did make the game much more realistic, but they also said that they felt the game was almost a little too real for some gamers. Just a few days before the game's release, EA decided to do away with their Taliban option which was included in the multiplayer mode. They instead renamed the Taliban option and gave gamers the opportunity to be either the American forces of the Opposing Force. EA decided to make this change because of some of the reactions across the country. About a month before the game's release, it was banned from 49 different Gamestop locations and all of the Post Exchanges on U.S. military bases around the world because of the Taliban option. This is why the feature was renamed to a much more generic term. Goodrich said in an EA blog post that this change was done out of respect for the American soldiers and their families.

medal of honor releasesEA faced even more criticism for the violent nature of the game. A former lawyer and current video game violence activist, Jack Thompson, attempted to completely block the sale of the game in the United States. Thompson wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying that he believed the video game should not be sold, “on the basis that is poses a demonstrable danger to our troops by providing a training tool for those who wish to kill them." This was not the only reason that Thompson felt the game should not be sold though. He stated that school massacres have been linked to military killing simulators such as Medal of Honor, and that he was also concerned that EA was allowing anyone to pre-order the game regardless of their age. He said, "I believe the full weight of the federal government should come down upon Electronic Arts and the video game industry's Entertainment Software Association for their allowing, presently and fraudulently, despite promises to Congress, the widespread pre-sale of this adult game to minors throughout the country and around the world."

Despite all of these criticisms and roadblocks, EA has managed to get the latest installment of Medal of Honor on the shelves of video game retailers. The Afghanistan-based version of the game has been the most pre-ordered of all the Medal of Honor games. The game is now available for Xbox, Playstation 3, and PC for $59.95.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops Goes 3D

Call of Duty: Black OpsIf you are waiting for the trend of 3D to finally be over with, then you are going to be waiting for a very long time. 3D is the biggest thing to hit the entertainment industry for a long time, and it is sinking its claws into more than just film and television. The next big wave of 3D comes in the form of 3D gaming. Who hasn't wanted to see the blood-soaked body of your slain enemy sprawled out on their living room floor?

Well, the chance for that dream to become a reality has finally arrived and in no better form than Call of Duty. Treyarch's newest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops, will be in 3D with this technology being available on every system (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) when the game hits store shelves on November 9, 2010.

Two of the games levels were shown off for a demo of how 3D would look with Black Ops: WMD and Numbers. Now, if you haven't seen anything about WMD, then you must not be following this game very well. On the other hand, Numbers is brand new. Some examples of 3D that really wowed people was the look of the crossbow weapon. The weapon and scope are brought out of the screen making the player feel like they can actually peek down the scope.

The other really cool aspect comes in the form of explosions. Particle effects literally jump off the screen in the right situations, and sparks as well as bits of shrapnel look very realistic. And considering this is Call of Duty, expect plenty of explosions.

Another cool feature that is being added to Black Ops is a game mode called Combat Training. Combat Training allows you to increase your multiplayer status and experience points without heading into actual online play. Instead of fighting actual people, players will engage in combat against bots. Players will be able to customize the A.I. If you are having trouble ranking up, then go into Combat Training, set the bots on easy and have your way with them.

The only problem with this game being in 3D is that everything has to be rendered twice graphics-wise which means the overall quality had to be scaled back slightly. On the flipside the frame rate is very sturdy despite the constant action.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is one of the first AAA titles to utilize the 3D capabilities of the Xbox 360. There really doesn't seem to be any difference in quality over the PS3's 3D capabilities. Call of Duty: Black Ops launches on November 9, 2010 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Source: Kotaku
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nintendo's 3DS Release Date Pushed Back

nintendo 3ds
Nintendo disappointed many children with the announcement that they made Wednesday. Their 3DS will not be available by the holiday season for Japan. When they first introduced their 3DS portable gaming system to the world at E3 back in June, Nintendo said that they would be releasing the device to the United States in March 2011, but that they would release the 3DS to its native Japan for the holidays. Now they are saying that this simply is not possible.

Due to this disappointing news, Nintendo's stock has dropped 9.34 percent in the Osaka Securities Exchange. Now I thought that this news would make a difference to the company’s numbers but not an almost ten percent drop!

The Nintendo 3DS has been highly anticipated since its announcement. A mobile device that utilizes 3D technology without the need for 3D glasses, now that’s something to talk about. The tech community was in awe after several demonstrations following Nintendo’s announcement. It was the week after the demonstrations that Nintendo publicized their release dates for the device.

Nintendo told the press Wednesday that Japan would unfortunately not be seeing the device until February 2011. This means that Nintendo will not have any kind of blockbuster device being released for the holiday season. That most likely means that holiday gaming sales will be dominated by Sony’s Playstation Move and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect. Motion-based gaming is expanding to all game systems this year and is set to be a hit. Unfortunately for Nintendo, they will not have a new product to offer for the 2010 holiday season, but I’m sure that many people will still patiently wait with great anticipation for the release of the 3DS, even if they won’t be seeing it under their tree this year.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Halo: Reach Disk Read Error and Freezing Explanation

Halo: ReachImagine you are running through a multiplayer map of Halo: Reach. You just started a game of SWAT, and you are eagerly pursuing your opponent trying to get that oh so satisfying "First Strike" medal and BOOM! Your game freezes. As your team goes on to battle the enemy, you are left with the utter feeling of an Epic Fail as you sit dumbfounded at why this brand new game has suddenly crashed.

If this sounds like you, then you aren't alone. Multiple reports have come in from all over about freezing and disk read errors with Bungie's latest time sucking megahit Halo: Reach. I don't know about you, but nothing frustrates me more than freezing and disk read errors, especially considering that my last Xbox 360 did those very two things quite frequently and at inconvenient times for me.

So, what exactly is happening with probably the most played game at the moment? From information given by users of Bungie's Halo: Reach message boards the problems of freezing and disk read errors seem to be primarily on first generation launch Xbox 360s, specifically those with 20GB hard drives, although a small percentage of Elite owners have also experienced problems.

When Microsoft was contacted for an explanation, they gave an official statement. "We are aware of a very small number of customers reporting that their copy of Halo: Reach is causing a 'disc read' error. Those affected should contact Microsoft customer support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269) for troubleshooting assistance."

Aside from this major flaw, the only other issues reported have been minor, like disappearing avatars, dropped multiplayer games, inexplicable checkpoint placement and the like, nothing too game killing. Halo:Reach was the most anticipated of all the Halo games and is said to be Bungie's last Halo game. While any problem with a new game is bad, this one doesn't seem to be a game killer.

Source: G4TV
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

PS3 3D-Enabling Update

ps3 3d-enabling updateSony has announced that the Playstation 3 will receive 3D capabilities via a firmware update. This announcement was just made by Sony at the Tokyo Games Show 2010 and was confirmed on the European Sony Playstation blog.

James Gallagher, the Sony blog manager, wrote, “It has just been revealed at the Tokyo Game Show SCEI SCEJ media briefing press conference that PlayStation 3 will support 3D Blu-ray 3D Disc playback from 21 September 2010, through system software update 3.50, allowing you to watch movies in stunning stereoscopic 3D.”

Sony is making the switch to 3D on the PS3 so easy. It will be an update just like all of the other updates that the PS3 undergoes. If you own a 3DTV, you will instantly be able to watch 3D movies through your game system, and not only will you be able to watch movies, but also there are certain games on the PS3 that support stereoscopic 3D gaming.

Gallagher states, “PlayStation 3 already supports stereoscopic 3D gaming with games such as MotorStorm 3D Rift, WipEout HD and SuperStardust HD available now and upcoming titles such as Killzone 3 and MotorStorm Apocalypse set to take advantage of this immersive new technology. 3D Blu-ray 3D Disc playback, in addition to stereoscopic 3D gaming and stereoscopic photo support, add up to the…total 3D package for PS3 owners."

3D technology is starting to be seen everywhere. It is a novelty that fascinates many. With the upcoming 2010 holiday season I expect to see 3D technology take off even more. There are new 3DTVs popping up every day. If you’re looking to make the switch to 3D, check out Panasonic’s new line of 3DTVs.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Halo Reach is Finally Here

halo reach now availableFinally, the highly anticipated game, Halo: Reach, is being released at midnight tonight! Bungie’s first-person shooter Halo games have been smash hits, and Halo: Reach is set to be the best of the bunch. Corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios stated, “With Halo: Reach we're delivering on our promise to redefine blockbuster entertainment experiences and ultimately help make this year the biggest ever in Xbox history.”

Tens of thousands of retailers will be ready to supply fans with their copies of the game at exactly midnight. There will be three different packages that will be sold in stores: the $59.99 Halo: Reach Standard Edition, which is simply the game; the $79.99 Halo: Reach Limited Edition, which is the game encased in a black ONI box, exclusive armor set, and an artifact bag; and the $149.99 Halo: Reach Legendary Edition, which is everything from the Limited Edition package plus a McFarlen Toys Noble Team statue, UNSC-themed packing, and exclusive Spartan armor effects.

If you’re a Halo fan, then I’m sure that you’ve already pre-ordered your copy of Halo: Reach, but if not, then you can run out and grab your copy. This game is sure to be a winner, so you will definitely want to check it out. Pick up your copy at any video game store.

Is Halo: Reach not your kind of game? Check out the top video games of 2010.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sony Playstation “Moving” Into Motion-Based Gaming

sony playstation moveNintendo’s Wii introduced the world to motion-based gaming in 2006. The Wii was and continues to be a huge success. Due to the popularity of the Wii, Sony and Microsoft obviously wished to offer some sort of motion-based technology for their systems as well. Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect will not be available until sometime in November, but Sony will start selling their Playstation Move PS3 add-on September 19th.

So how does the add-on package work you may ask? Well, for Playstation Move to work you need two different parts: the Playstation Eye camera and a wireless, Bluetooth enabled controller. The wand looks very much like the Nintendo Wiimote with an illuminated bulb attached to the top.

There are several packages that Nintendo is offering. For those who don’t have a PS3 yet, there is a Sports Champion Move bundle for $399.99. This package contains a PS3 console, a Playstation Move controller, a Playstation Eye camera, a Move demo disk, and a copy of Sports Champion. For those who already have a PS3, there is a package that consists of everything in the Sports Champion Move except the console. That bundle costs $99.99. There is also buy a single Move Motion Controller by itself for $49.99.

Sports Champion Move is PS3 equivalent to Wii Sports. This game includes: archery, beach volleyball, bocce, disc golf, gladiator duel, and table tennis. The motion-based gameplay is very much like that of the Wii. You use the controller in pretty much the same way, and gameplay is very smooth.

Right now there aren’t tons of Move-enabled games, but Sony promises that more than two dozen Move-enabled games will be available by this holiday season. Some of these games will include: EyePet (a virtual interactive pet), NBA 2K11, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, and The Fight: Lights Out (a motion-controlled brawler). It is said that most Move games will be around the same price of regular PS3 games.

So overall, how is the Playstation Move? Well, Sony did exactly what they wanted to do. They have entered the world of motion-based gaming, and they have created a very accurate motion control. It is a little pricey to make this leap to motion gaming, but if it’s the type of gaming that you enjoy, PS3’s Move is perfect for you. It will be interesting to see what type of titles Sony decides to release with Move-enabled on them. I think that Playstation Move is almost guaranteed to be a success.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The GPod: Gaming Made Easier on the iPhone

the gpodNot long ago, Android released the GameGripper. It is an attachment for Android phones that gives you gamepad buttons to use for gaming on your phone. Now, CP Design, an Australian design company, has constructed the GPod for the iPhone. The GPod is a slide-on case that adds a directional pad, four individual action buttons, a start button, and a select button.

As of right now, the GPod is simply a design plan. CP Design is looking for companies that would help them in promoting the product. They also are looking into companies that would make games that support the device's button layout. The first design of the GPod was meant for the original iPhone, but designers are planning new models for the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.

If you’re a gamer, I’m sure the GPod looks great to you. How awesome would it be to be able to take games with you on your iPhone? Although the GPod has not been released yet, it definitely is in the works. It will be interesting to see if it all pans out.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

DSi XL and DSi Price Drop

nintendo ds line price dropOn Monday, Nintendo announced that they will be dropping the prices of their hand-held game systems, the DSi XL and the DSi. Each device’s price tag will be lowered by $20 as of September 12th. The DSi XL will now be available for $169.99, while the DSi will be set at $149.99.

Nintendo of America’s vice president of sales and marketing, Cammie Dunaway, stated, “We know shoppers want to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend. Our new Nintendo DSi prices make it easier than ever for consumers to access the tremendous variety of games, applications, and social tools on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL systems."

Nintendo’s DSi XL premiered in February of this year, while the DSi has been around since March of 2009. Nintendo gave the public a glimpse at their newest edition at the E3 gaming conference this year. The 3DS is a 3D version of the DS system. Unfortunately, it is not expected to be released until sometime this March.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Zhu Zhu Pets Coming to Your Wii & DS

Zhu Zhu Pets Coming to Your Wii & DS

The super-popular Zhu Zhu Pets are coming to your Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS! Activision Publishing, along with GameMill Publishing, Inc., made the announcement earlier this week. The new game, called "Zhu Zhu Pets: Featuring the Wild Bunch," will be based on the popular toys from Cepia, LLC, and it will be released this fall. The game offers new hamsters and wild virtual adventures for fans of the toys.

Though a lot of details aren't yet clear, the new game will allow fans to care for and play with cute new hamsters, as well as some old familiar ones. The Zhu-niverse has been expanded and now includes action-packed gameplay. The Wii version of the game will be a great choice for family fun night because of its multiplayer options.

The game's initial release will be considered a "Collector's Edition," and it will come with a plush chipmunk named Nutters. This limited edition version will retail at $34.99 for the DS and $39.99 for the Wii.

Gary Miller, President of GameMill Publishing, said of the game, "The toy's passionate fans will love the fresh direction we've taken in 'ZhuZhu Pets: Featuring The Wild Bunch,' and it's fantastic that Wii owners can now join in the fun."

In a press release from the three companies involved, Natalie Hornsby, Vice President of Marketing for Cepia, LLC, stated, "'ZhuZhu Pets: Featuring The Wild Bunch' captures the imagination of those who adore our brand. This game is an important next step for us as we continue to evolve the ZhuZhu Pets experience."

The game has not yet been rated, and an exact release date has not yet been set. Zhu Zhu Pets were recently awarded with three toy industry awards: "Toy of the Year," "Girl Toy of the Year," and "Innovative Toy of the Year."

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