Archive for 'Blog'

Wii U To Make Debut in 2012

Posted on 01. Feb, 2012 by in Blog

Welcome the newest addition to the Nintendo family—the Wii U!

Nintendo has announced the Wii U is scheduled to be released before the end of 2012, in time for the holiday shopping season.

We’ve seen Nintendo consoles go through many iterations over the years. But the Wii U is a video game console unlike any other you’ve seen before.

Perhaps the most notable difference is the tablet-style controller. While the “New Controller” (as the yet unnamed controller is being called) sports the typical 4-button and keypad style, it also boasts a 6.2-inch 1080p screen.

It remains to be seen how this latest innovation from Nintendo will be used functionally with the Wii U console. Nintendo has also not released any information about Wii U games.

The gaming community is abuzz since the console’s sneak peak at E3, but Nintendo remains tight-lipped about details.

Initial reports show that near-simultaneous releases for Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia are planned. But, if Nintendo stays true to form, Japan will likely enjoy the Wii U a few months ahead of the rest of us, in keeping with Nintendo’s release traditions.

For all the hype the Wii U has received, some are skeptical that this is just one more useless device in a dying console market. Others however, believe that this tablet-style controller could be the game changer for video game consoles.

It looks like we’ll have to wait at least until the end of the year to find out!

World’s Largest Game Controller

Posted on 26. Jan, 2012 by in Blog


Do you ever wish that you could relive the scene from BIG where Tom Hanks jumps around on that giant keyboard?

Well, you might just have your chance—except instead of piano music, you could play a video game.

A group of engineering students from Delft University in the Netherlands has built the King of Oversized Gamepads by building the World’s Largest Game Controller.

The World’s Largest Game Controller is a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) controller, and is roughly 30 times larger than the usual controller. It took the Delft team one month and $6,000 to build the NES controller.

Over 12 feet long and weighing over 265 pounds, this isn’t exactly the same controller you would throw down in frustration. In fact, it’s so large that it qualifies for the Guinness World Record for (what else) World’s Largest Game Controller.

To put it in perspective, you would have to stand 150 feet tall to make this controller appear a “normal size.”

The best part? It actually works! The World’s Largest Game Controller can be hooked up to a TV and played by jumping up and down on the keys.

The World’s Largest Game Controller was on display in London’s Liverpool Street station in celebration of the new Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0

Posted on 18. Jan, 2012 by in Blog

If you’re starving for more Nintendo classics to play, then look no further!

The beloved Super Mario Bros. Crossover now has a sequel, to be released in the next month.

In the 2010 fan-made version of the game, players could tackle the Super Mario Bros. classic world with a cast of 8-bit characters from Nintendo favorites. That’s right—Link, Mega Man, Simon Belmont and many more are back together and causing a commotion in retro gaming world.

In the latest version—Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0—kicks things up a notch and heads to Super Mario Bros. 3 land and Super Mario World of Super Nintendo fame.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0 is expected to add characters as well, like Mario’s plumber brother and partner-in-crime, Luigi, and Bass from Mega Man.

Details are a bit sparse right now, but this cult-gaming classic is sure to be a hit with fans. When Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0 is released, it will be available here.

Turn Your iPad Into A Mini-Arcade

Posted on 13. Jan, 2012 by in Blog

Your iPad is the ultimate gaming device, downloading games and entertainment at your will. But now you can take it one step further, turning your iPad into a mini-arcade, too.

Two products—the Atari Arcade Duo and the iCade—can add controllers to your iPad and transform it into a mini-arcade cabinet-style gaming machine.

Both versions have their pros and cons, but ultimately both products make your iPad a throwback to retro gaming. One of the biggest complaints for gamers is that the iPad doesn’t have external controls that allow proper game play—something that both Atari Arcade Duo and the iCade can fix.

The Atari Arcade Duo is a small, compact docking joystick that converts the iPad into an old-school gaming machine that doesn’t require batteries.

The only drawback to the Atari Arcade Duo is that you can only play Atari games with the Atari Greatest Hits app. Granted, that is over 100 games. But if you want to play anything other than Atari games, you’ll be out of luck.

The Atari Arcade Duo is considerably lighter than the iCade, and is transportable. Costing only USD $60, this is definitely the choice for Atari and old-school game lovers alike.

The iCade is slightly more involved, as it not only includes an external joystick plug-in, but also a self-assembled arcade cabinet to complete the retro arcade look.

The iCade connects via Bluetooth, unlike the Atari Arcade Duo which connect via a 30-pin connector. The iCade is also slightly more expensive at USD $99.99.

While the iCade definitely wins in style and look points, it does have the same functionality as the Atari Arcade Duo, only working with Atari’s Greatest Hits app. It does promise future additions that should allow for such other classics as Pac-Man or Space Invaders.

With either product you choose, your iPad is about to turn into a old-school gaming shrine.

The Ultimate Retro Gaming Adapter

Posted on 04. Jan, 2012 by in Blog

Imagine this—while cleaning out the garage as a New Year’s resolution, you find a box of your old Nintendo and Sega game cartridges.

All of sudden, years of gaming glee come rushing back in this wave of nostalgia. How you wish you could play these awesome classic games again!

Well, now you can! Retrode, a USB game cartridge adapter for 16-bit Nintendo and Sega games, can make that happen.

Unlike emulators before, this adapter takes these old 16-bit games off the computer and lets you revive them on your smartphone or tablet, as well as your computer.

Retrode is a simple and versatile and can be used for all games for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo (SNES). Simply plug the adapter into any USB port on any operating system and you’ll be on your way to vintage gaming fun!

The adapter has cartridge slots for each system and also includes ports to plug in the corresponding controllers. You can even combine multiple adapters for multi-player fun with up to 4 people.

Retrode is available January 23 for USD $85.00.

A Shrine To The Digital Arts

Posted on 28. Dec, 2011 by in Blog

When you think of museums, what comes to mind? Stuffy buildings filled with fragile, historic artifacts, right?

Well, not this museum! The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) celebrates the great artistic medium of modern history—the computer.

What exactly is digital art? Since the computer is considered one of the main tools of artists today, digital art encompasses pretty much anything made on a computer. That includes photography, film, audio recordings, and of course, video games!

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment strives to elevate the work of digital artists to a level where casual users, or even those unfamiliar with the medium, can appreciate its glory.

The main focus of MADE is on video games—specifically, the artistry, craftsmanship and inspiration that go into the creation of such digital arts.

While many regard video games as “child’s play”, the creation of a video game is an intense process where concepts and sketches are turned into interactive works of art.

MADE is also working to create a living history of video gaming through their exhibits. Consoles and video games have come a long way in a relatively short period of time, and MADE wants to highlight such achievements.

Perhaps the best part of MADE’s exhibits is their interactive nature. Unlike a museum where everything is enshrined behind glass, MADE exhibits often feature functioning video games that are meant to be played and enjoyed.

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment is located in Oakland, California. Currently, the museum and exhibits are open only for tours, events and educational classes. However, the museum owners do hope to expand quickly into a larger space. Check their calendar for a rapidly growing list of events.

Please visit www.themade.org to learn more about MADE.

Giddyup! Oregon Trail Now On Wii, 3DS

Posted on 20. Dec, 2011 by in Blog

Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers Lewis & Clark and blaze your trail westward!

Oregon Trail—the same game you loved in elementary school computer class—is back. Oregon Trail 40th anniversary edition is now available for Nintendo Wii and 3DS.

Lead your family over 2,000 miles of rough terrain in a covered wagon from Independence Missouri to Oregon. Hunt, fish, and survive the elements on your journey to the promised land of fortune and freedom.

The new Oregon Trail has all the features you loved as a kid—now with improved graphics and advanced features!

For the first time in the game, you are in control of driving your wagon. You can even customize your wagon with different tarps and colors. That’s sure a vast improvement over the original 8-bit game!

Oregon Trail’s 40th anniversary edition lets you complete achievements to unlock special items. There are also 4 unique stories with 3 different time periods that you can play through once you complete the original story.

Originally designed as an educational tool to teach kids about the 19th century trek that changed the West, the Oregon Trail definitely has a place in many gamers’ hearts. While there are more certainly flashier games out there, this latest version may just inspire a next generation of trailblazers!

So, what are you waiting for? Pack up your wagon and start on Westward! Just make sure you don’t die from dysentery!

The $16,000 Nintendo?

Posted on 17. Dec, 2011 by in Blog

You never forget your first love—and for many of us, the Nintendo Entertainment System was it.

Remember the hours spent trying to save Princess Peach from the clutches of evil Bowser, or trying to get a Tetris? And I’m sure we can all still recite the Konami cheat code even though it’s been nearly 20 years since we’ve tapped it into our controllers.

Wouldn’t it be great to have that piece of your childhood back? You’d be lucky to find a working NES these days, since most have gone kaput from years of loving play.

Well, unearthed from the ashes and found on eBay, a pristine, never been opened 1985 edition Nintendo Entertainment System has appeared … for a low, low price of USD $16,000.

It’s a Deluxe Set—which contains the R.O.B. sidekick and the Zapper light gun, along with the console unit, two controllers and Gyromite and Duck Hunt cartridges.

This rare, almost unheard of treasure is not only in its original packaging, but it’s also wrapped in plastic and certified with a near mint (NM+) seal from collectible grading organization Video Game Authority.

How much do you think this piece of gaming history is worth? And does anybody have $16,000 lying around that I could have?

3DS Update Adds Fun Video Features

Posted on 07. Dec, 2011 by in Blog

Nintendo packs a big punch with its latest 3DS update—users will now be able to shoot 3D and stop-motion videos.

The update for Nintendo’s portable device is available for download for all current 3DS owners, and will be included in 3DS packages for future owners.

The new camera features are by far the most exciting of the new features available with this update.

3D recording is a bit of a mixed bag, as 3D images can be somewhat tricky. There’s moving objects that can get a little blurry or out of focus at times.

While this can be attributed to mostly user-error, it does make 3D video recording a bit disappointing. Also, the 3DS is only capable of up to 10 minutes of recorded data, so videos have to be short and sweet.

The stop-motion photography, however, easily makes up for what the 3D recording lacks. For those not familiar with stop-motion, think back to those picture flip books you rapidly thumbed through as a child.

Stop-motion is an animation technique that moves objects in small increments between individually photographed frames to create the illusion of movement when the frames are played continuously.

The 3DS shoots stop-motion with ease, even keeping a ghost image on the screen to help you set up the next shot properly. There’s also a timer option that counts down before each frame is shot, allowing you to work away from the scene.

Admittedly, there is a bit of learning curve. But with a little care and work, there could be a lot of great stop-motion photography to come from 3DS users. The only thing missing is sound, which users will have to add in post-production.

The 3DS update also includes updates to the Mii Plaza. In the Mii Plaza, you can view where all of the Mii you’ve met and their location on a world map. There are also expansions to Puzzle Seap and Find Mii, adding new adventures of the Mii world.

Rayman Origins Is A Rowdy Riot

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by in Blog

Everybody loves Rayman—and it’s hard not to in his latest adventure, Rayman Origins.

While the graphics in Rayman Origins have certainly been updated to modern-day standards, not much has changed with the charismatic Rayman character since his debut in 1995.

Joined by his friend Globox and the two Teensies, Rayman and friends battle the Darktoons that have invaded the Glade of Dreams.

In typical Rayman fashion, the latest installment in the video game series is filled with silly plotlines, horrendous creatures and a whole lot of fun.

Players travel through each level, fighting enemies and rescuing imprisoned Electoons. As the game goes on, players gain new abilities like running, gliding and shrinking in size to allow them into new areas of the game. Rescue all the Electoons and save the day!

Even the critics love Rayman Origins. Nintendo Power called it “a platforming masterpiece”. 1UP.com praised its varied level design and called it “the best 2D platformer not called Mario”.

Rayman Origins is available for PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. Rayman Origins is also available for portable consoles Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.

NBA 2K12: Dream Matchups Come True

Posted on 22. Nov, 2011 by in Blog

Basketball fans (including me!) are starved for some hardwood action. With the NBA lockout stuck in negotiation limbo, where do fans find their fill of hoops?

NBA2K12 might just have the answer. NBA 2K12 is releasing a Legends Showcase DLC that promises some awesome classic hardwood matchups. The downloadable add-on will be released after Thanksgiving and is $10.

NBA 2K12 already boasts NBA’s Greatest mode, where gamers are able to take control of some of the most iconic players in NBA history and put them against other classic and modern-day teams.

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and—my personal favorite—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are some of the legends to grace the court. The 15 basketball legends featured in NBA 2K12 were meticulously recreated with an amazing level of detail, right down to their historically-accurate team uniforms and signature moves.

The downloadable content add-on will bring new features to the game, including 2 vs. 2 Teammate Challenge and 3 vs. 3 Era Challenge. The features also unlock all the players in the NBA’s Greatest mode for use in the NBA: Creating a Legend mode.

A few more legends are also added with the add-on content—Pistol Pete Maravich and Rick Barry to name a few.

So while the action may be paused on the actual basketball court, it can certainly continue on screen. And maybe NBA 2K12 can finally put a rest to the “greatest player of all time” debate.

Nintendo Draws PETA’s Ire

Posted on 15. Nov, 2011 by in Blog

When you think of Mario from Super Mario Bros., what comes to mind? Squeaky clean plumber who risks his life to save Princess Peach, right?

Not according to the folks over at PETA. It seems the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals blasted Nintendo and the loveable Mario for wearing fur.

In the latest installment of the Super Mario Bros. series, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario’s famed tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3 makes a comeback.

This is exciting news for fans who love the tanooki suit’s magical powers. The power-up allows you to fly and glide across levels on your way to keeping Super Mario land safe.

But PETA thinks the tanooki suit—which bears a striking resemblance to a raccoon—sends the wrong message to gamers and kids.

“Tanooki may be just a ‘suit’ in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur,” according to the PETA Mario Kills Tanooki website. “By wearing tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.”

PETA takes it one step further on the Mario Kills Tanuki website. Players can turn the tables on Mario, taking on the role of a bloody and skinned tanuki chasing a surly Mario.

As gamers, what do you think? Do you think that PETA has taken it too far? Or should Mario stop wearing his tanooki suit?

Bond. James Bond: Reloaded

Posted on 08. Nov, 2011 by in Blog

In the eyes of many, Goldeneye is a legend with a legacy all its own—it cannot be substituted or replaced. Fans adore Goldeneye for N64 like they do their favorite actor who portrays James Bond (Sean Connery).

And just like the James Bond movie franchise, you want more action but you don’t want to see 007 lose his charm.

Luckily, the creators of Goldeneye 007: Reloaded were able to take a hint. Instead of making a direct remake of 1997 classic game, Activision crafted an entire new experience that still retained that Goldeneye, James Bond-y feel.

Admittedly that’s a big tuxedo to fill—but Reloaded’s high definition graphics new features definitely do justice to 007.

Obviously, the jump to the Wii system means a high definition console with better graphics. Reloaded’s visuals and light make for enjoyable and realistic game place.

Entirely new to this iteration is the MI6 Ops mode. It’s basically Reloaded‘s take on the challenge room concept. Missions will task you with defending consoles, stealthily taking down opponents or just maxing out the points on your license to kill by eliminating a predetermined of inept guards.

Multiplayer is markedly more grandiose with an array of customization details ranging from player limits to optional “paintball mode.” Plus the multiplayer cap doubles from 8 to 16.

So really only one question remains: shaken or stirred?

Zelda Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Posted on 02. Nov, 2011 by in Blog

Feeling the need for some culture in your life? Maybe you should consider the symphony.

The Zelda symphony, that is!

Nintendo has put together quite the show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the popular game series. A full-orchestra concert series will go on a nationwide tour to delight fans with memorable songs penned by Koji Kondo and others.

The tour kicked off on October 21 in Los Angeles and is scheduled to make stops throughout the U.S. and London.

At the inaugural show, Koji Kondo made a surprise appearance. Playing some lesser-known Zelda tunes at the piano, the exuberant crowd was awed by this tribute to the beloved Link.

While symphonic tributes for video games and movies are not too uncommon, the orchestra’s tribute to Zelda is rather fitting. After all, what other video game shares the same deep connection with music than Zelda?

Mortal Kombat Movie Returns

Posted on 27. Oct, 2011 by in Blog

Looks like a childhood favorite is getting a reboot—Mortal Kombat returns to the big screen for its third incarnation.

Following the wild success of his Mortal Kombat web series and viral trailer, director Kevin Tancharoen will take a stab at a feature-length film.

A self-proclaimed fanboy, Tancharoen produced the viral movie trailer to show he could handle the genre film. It worked, as Warner Bros. agreed to take on the film set to be released in 2013.

Tancharoen will direct the all-new Mortal Kombat movies based on a script from writing partner Oren Uziel. Initial reports say that the new story “will not be an extension of the game or digital series.”

It’s true that the previous Mortal Kombat films released in the ‘90s have not aged well. With VFX technology and the digital age, some watchers could even see the visual effects as “cheesy.”

That’s the best they had back then, but now this beloved video game series is set for a reboot, with a refreshing new look.

Good news for Warner Bros.–their gaming department is planning a video game release to coincide with the film’s release. Warner Bros. acquired Midway, the original makers of Mortal Kombat in 2009.

This project certainly has potential to spark a whole host of reinvented gamer movies, so let’s hope it does not disappoint. As a fanboy, Tancharoen should be capable.

3 Incredibly Cool 3DS Consoles

Posted on 22. Oct, 2011 by in Blog

Nintendo revealed 3 new geekalicious hardware options for their portable 3DS console.

These special 3DS units are modeled after classic Nintendo characters-Mario, Princess Peach and Toad.

Nintendo is not selling these consoles to the public. Instead, you have to win them through a special promotion.And there are only 3000 units–1000 of each type.

The consoles are only available to Club Nintendo members. Club Nintendo members can enter two Club Nintendo codes that come packaged with games to get a chance at winning one of the consoles. The offer ends Jan. 15.

Nintendo also revealed some new features available on their updated 3DS console available in November.

The most notable addition to the portable console will be the 3D camera–it will be possible to shoot up to 10 minutes of 3D footage. Another cool feature will be the ability to shoot stop-motion photography, allowing users to make their own stop-motion masterpieces.

The update will also allow for large batches of data to be transferred from one 3DS to another.

The actual date of the new 3DS updates has yet to be announced by Nintendo.

Study: 91% of Children Play Games

Posted on 12. Oct, 2011 by in Blog

Video games are often regarded as child’s play—much to the chagrin of adult gamers.

A recent study by NPD Group shows that 91% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 play video games. That amounts to about 64 million American children!

Not only is there a 9% gain in the number of children playing video games, there is also a strong increase in video game play amongst the 2 to 5 year old age group.  Their “gaming incidence”—as the study categorizes it—is 17% higher than measured in 2009.

These findings shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since computers, smart phones and video game consoles and portables are put in children’s hands at earlier ages than ever before.

This is great news for video game companies who are already counting their profits, but you know parents’ groups are already thinking: What about the children?

While some computer and video games have educational purposes, does excessive game play have long term effects?

Studies have linked high-volume video gaming with attention deficit disorder. But it’s hard to tell if it’s exclusively gaming that is causing these conditions. A number of factors—high-volume television watching or lack of parental guidance, for example—could also affect a child’s attention span and behavior.

As a gamer since the age of 6, I don’t think it would be right to deny children of video games. The memory of my first video game console (NES!) as a present from my grandfather will always live with me. And I have to think—as many may agree—I  grew up with video games and turned out a relatively normal individual!

But at what point does gaming stop being a hobby and start becoming a danger? I suppose that’s a point to be hotly debated as long as there are parents and children.

25 Years of Killer Vampire Fun

Posted on 29. Sep, 2011 by in Blog

Simon Belmont has had quite the career slaying Dracula and keeping humans safe from evil.

When Castlevania was first released in 1986, it was a mystery if this game would capture gamers the way Super Mario or Contra did.

But Belmont’s “Vampire Killer” whip, open-ended story line and hints of iconic horror cinema brought visitors back to Castlevania time and time again.

Innovative in many ways, Castlevania for NES became Konami’s flagship game.

25 years later, it is one of the most acclaimed and prolific video game series. Over 30 different versions of Castlevania have been released for various platforms.

The success of the Castlevania series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008. These records include “Most Games in an Action Adventure Series”, and “Largest Number of Platforms for One Series.”

Gamers continue to remain faithful to Castlevania game, but the reason remains as much of a mystery as Dracula himself.

What is your favorite Castlevania title from the video game series?

Sonic Spins Into New Trouble

Posted on 20. Sep, 2011 by in Blog

If you thought spiky hair and bad behavior only happened at the Jersey Shore, think again.

The original bad boy hedgehog with a blowout is back!

Sonic Generations—billed as the ultimate Sonic gaming experience in 20 years—hits stores in November.

Spin out of control through Sonic’s universe. You’ll encounter some infamous bosses from the past and make some new enemies along the way.

Iconic environments come to life in beautiful HD for the ultimate Sonic adventure, each revisited, recreated and re-imagined with stunning results. There’s even a younger, classic version of Sonic!

Sonic Generations will be released for Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360 and Playstation. Just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Mario Kart 7 Release Announced

Posted on 13. Sep, 2011 by in Blog

Yippee! Nintendo has announced that Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS will hit stores on December 4.

The loveable cast of characters is back in the newest installment of the Mario Kart series.

Join Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi as they zoom through race courses, dodging obstacles and vying for the coveted Number 1 spot!

The latest version draws from the traditional Mario Kart game series, but does introduce some exciting new game play features.

One of these includes a hang glider attachment which allows players to drive off ramps and fly through the air in order to clear across obstacles or take alternate paths throughout the course.

Another new feature is the ability to customize a character’s kart, such as changing its tires which affects its handling on certain surfaces. Driving underwater adds a propeller to the kart, offering a different style of handling.

A feature unique to the 3DS is the ability to play the game in first-person mode using the gyro sensor.

So, in the words of the Mario–”Here we go!”