Archives For Gaming

36 Hours with the PS3 Slim

Dave Zatz —  December 23, 2010

We’ll only run ‘deals of the day’ that we personally find of value. So it should come as no surprise that I got in on Amazon’s $100 credit with a PS3 purchase. I’d expected to receive the console on Monday while stuck home all day with the HVAC crew, but it arrived Tuesday evening (insufficiently packaged/protected).

I’ve said it a number of times, but it still stuns me that the computer software company (Microsoft) does a much better job than the consumer electronics company (Sony) at implementing a 10′ interface. PS3 fonts are too small, updates are too time consuming, too much scrolling in dual axises, video apps like Hulu and Vudu aren’t actually found in the “Video” area of the Playstation Store. On the other hand, the PS3 experience isn’t nearly as cutesy as the Xbox 360 has become. And that’s a good thing. Not to mention our living room won’t miss the 360’s massive power brick with fan. Also, the more computer-like experience allowed me to utilize my wireless Lenovo thumboard to expedite various console and application logins. Although, the results were often unpredictable depending on app and field.

My original plan to move the 360 to the basement didn’t last long. Even in a new (old) 5 bedroom home, my gypsy minimalism tendencies persist… Over the weekend, I trucked the majority of my Xbox gear to Gamestop for a ~$120 credit which I used to pick up Uncharted 2 and Sony’s Bluetooth Blu-ray remote. I’ll probably save the remainder of the credit for a Xbox Slim when college football resumes (ESPN3!) – unless MS tempts me sooner with new functionality.

Many EA iOS Games On Sale ($0.99)

Dave Zatz —  December 16, 2010

I always seem to be on the road or otherwise unavailable when the more interesting iOS sales hit. So I’m hoping the deeply discounted Navigon GPS apps come around a third time, so that I may partake. But, in the interim, EA has put over 70 games on sale for 99 cents. And it just so happens that I have a loaner iPad in the house. So I’ve picked up Scrabble based upon a few recommendations, in addition to Tetris and Need for Speed. $3 for about $28 of software seems like a good deal. Although I’m not certain we’ve completely nailed down app ecosystem economics. Regardless, if you too are interested in some inexpensive entertainment, it’s probably worth a look.

Sony has been putting out portable PlayStation devices for a couple of years now, and it looks like the company’s next step will be a Sony Ericsson PlayStation smartphone. But while earlier devices ran a proprietary operating system, it looks like the new phone (aka ZEUS, Z1) will run Google Android 2.3 – with a dedicated PlayStation gaming app.

A few leaked videos of the phone have hit YouTube, and while we don’t have a good look at the gaming experience, we can clearly see that the phone looks like a typical Android slider, but instead of a slide-out keyboard it has a slide-out gaming pad which is kind of ugly, but appears functional. There’s also a PlayStation app which you can pull up to view a list of games.

It’s not clear whether games will be available for purchase through the Android Market or a third party store. But given some of the high quality games already available for Android, I suspect we’ll see some titles with killer graphics and decent gameplay soon enough, and the physical directional pad has got to be easier than the touch-based controls for 3D shooters, RPGs, and other mobile titles which often feel like they were designed for a gaming console rather than a touchscreen phone.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

I don’t know what you did for lunch today, but I swung by Gamestop for what could be the biggest video game release ever. Against my better judgement, I’d pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops. And my suspicions were confirmed as in-store availability looked good. But that $5 deposit was greatly rewarded with a $20 Halo Reach trade-in bonus (on top of the listed $25) bringing my total outlay to $10.74. (I’m a monogamous gamer — at my advanced age, the neurons just can’t juggle multiple titles.)

I had time for two quick Xbox Live multiplayer rounds before returning to work… which was long enough to marvel at the visuals. Wow. And apparently I’m at a disadvantage by not having picked up Black Ops last night at midnight and taking the day off, as I was the only matchmaking level 1 n00b — all others were 12 and above.

For those still stuck in the office and without the game, here are some Call of Duty Black Ops review s to whet your appetite:

Vertigore plans to release a new Star Wars game for the iPhone and iPod touch before the end of the year which features an awesome looking augmented reality mode. Basically, you flip on AR, and instead of playing against a fictional space backdrop, Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner will let you blast TIE fighters flying across real world environments.

Really, the app just replaces the background with whatever your camera is pointing at. It’s not quite rocket science, since as far as I can tell the game doesn’t’ actually react to your environment in any real way. But it looks cool as all get-out.

You can also play the game using more traditional space scenery. Vertigore says Falcon Gunner will have 20 levels and HD graphics. It’s due out this Winter.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

Microsoft is held their official launch event for its new Window Phone 7 mobile operating system today. There aren’t many new details about the OS to report, since Microsoft has been showing off WP7 for months. But now we know that WP7 phones will go on sale October 21st in Europe and Asia and will start arriving in the US on November 7th.

HTC, Dell, Samsung, and LG have all introduced new handsets designed to use the operating system, with displays ranging from 3.5 inches to 4.3 inches in size. Some models have TV out capabilities. Others have slide-out keyboards. Samsung’s models will have the company’s Super AMOLED displays.

Carriers will include AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, Orange, and others.All told, Microsoft says 60 mobile carriers in 30 countries will be offering devices with Windows Phone 7.

EA Games has announced it will bring a series of games to the platform this fall, with Xbox Live Integration. That involves the Sims 3, Tetris, and Need for Speed Undercover. Read the rest of this entry »

After giving up on Blockbuster (and Gamefly) to deliver Halo Reach in a timely fashion, I paid Gamestop a visit. I generally don’t purchase many titles given my short attention span for anything other than Call of Duty. But after 5 hours with Halo Reach, I believe it’s going to work out just fine. In fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface, having yet to take a look at the campaign mode or even visit the armory to trick out my online avatar.

Of course, all this depth is a little bit overwhelming. There are a ton of multiplayer modes and submodes — I haven’t quite mastered the lingo and the game manual hasn’t been very helpful in that regard. Perhaps I once possessed this knowledge, but it’s buried deep within the recesses of my mind after a three year Halo hiatus. (Last played, 10/07.) For the moment, I’ve settled on Rumble Pit, Slayer (free-for-all mode) variants as my preferred match style. Unfortunately, it seems you’re mostly stuck with that variance as players vote on both maps and play mode between rounds. And I really want more time with the new loadouts, yet it could be every third match before I can access those “armor abilities” again.

Despite their label, armor abilities aren’t entirely or necessarily defensive and, any way you slice it, change the combat dynamics in interesting ways. Based on the competition, the jetpack seems to be a favored enhancement. It hasn’t helped me too much, as far as k/d is concerned, but it’s a whole lot of fun! It reminds me a bit of the glider from the older and underrated Shadowrun. Once I get control down, jetpacking could further enhance my love of (and destruction from) the sticky grenade. Lastly, the Mortal Combat-esque close combat fatality animations are fun to watch – even though they’re rendered quickly (as gameplay doesn’t pause) and without much bloodshed.