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. is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

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.

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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:


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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