Archive for the ‘Console Accesories’ Category

Halo: Reach (Legendary Edition) ProductLimited Edition

Most limited or special editions are filled with a few trinkets of questionable worth. This, however, is actually a pretty cool set of goodies, all for just an extra $10. Inside the larger box, you’ll find a black DVD case that will make Halo: Reach stand out in your collection. That’s a nice touch, but it’s only the start.

You’ll also find an “artifact bag” that contains notes from Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartan program and blueprint for Cortana. This bag is a must for any real Halo fan. Inside a hardbound notebook, you’ll get tons of inside info made to look like it was handwritten by the good doctor, a patch, a mock UNSC security badge, a color map and a whole lot more. Play Halo: Reach and then go back and read through the manual for a deeper understanding of what happened in the game.

Last, but not least, you can find a code to get a special armor set for your Elite multiplayer model.

The Halo: Reach Limited Edition package is a great one, and one that I would recommend to anybody that wants more than the base game but can’t quite afford the very expensive Legendary Edition. It may smell a bit funky when you first open it (seriously), but it’s a great buy for serious Halo fans. (ign)

  • Published by: Microsoft
  • Developed by: Bungie Software
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Release Date: US: September 14, 2010
  • MSRP: $79.99
  • M for Mature: Blood, Violence

Halo: Reach (Legendary Edition) ProductLegendary Edition

The Legendary Edition contains everything the less expensive Limited Edition comes with, plus a lot more to justify the $150 price tag. It’s all housed inside a special case made to look like an ONI security container. This is a pretty substantial set of bonus content, so let’s get right to it.

Like the Limited Edition, the Legendary box has a special black DVD case to house your copy of Halo: Reach. It’s a nice touch, though not as sweet as the Halo 2 metal case I still proudly display on my shelf.

The other crossover content with the Limited Edition includes an “artifact bag” that contains notes from Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartan program and blueprint for Cortana. This bag is a must for any real Halo fan. Inside a hardbound notebook, you’ll get tons of inside info made to look like it was handwritten by the good doctor, a patch, a mock UNSC security badge, a color map and a whole lot more. Play Halo: Reach and then go back and read through the manual for a deeper understanding of what happened in the game.

Inside the disc case, you can find a code to download several exclusive pieces of content. There’s a special flaming helmet armor affect for your Spartan (previously only available to Bungie employees), a cool Elite costume, and a Falcon Avatar accessory. This code also gives you two free days of Xbox Live Gold and a behind the scenes video delivered in a unique way. Rather than putting the video on a disc, it can be watched through Halo Waypoint after redeeming the code.

Make sure you play the game before watching the behind the scenes video. It’s two hours long and filled with spoilers, according to the descriptor. It wasn’t available for us to watch in Halo: Waypoint pre-launch, so we can’t comment on its quality.

The crown jewel in the Legendary Edition is the hand crafted statue of Noble Team. This limited statue will surely make your friends jealous — it’s made for the true fan and collector. It’s sturdy, well-crafted, and exactly the sort of thing that will make the Halo fanboys cry tears of joy. (ign)

  • Published by: Microsoft
  • Developed by: Bungie Software
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Release Date: US: September 14, 2010
  • MSRP: $149.99
  • M for Mature: Blood, Violence

Kinect Product

Microsoft set aside the bulk of its presentation at the Tokyo Game Show to announce several new Kinect titles. Four brand-new titles were shown, all slated for release in 2011.

The first game shown was Haunt, a first-person perspective horror game with a cartoony art style. Players will use a flashlight to point at objects as they explore what looked like a haunted mansion. The game is being developed by famed Parappa the Rappa creator Masaya Matsuura.

Up next was Project Draco, by Phantom Dust creator Yukio Futatsugi. His studio, Grounding Inc., are developing a game that includes dragons and flight. Not much else was revealed about the game except a teaser trailer.

Later in the presentation, Suda 51 of Grasshopper Manufacturetook the stage to announce his new game, Codename D. He described the game as “hardcore, punky, and casual,” and it will not be using guns or swords. This is being made for the hardcore gamer, Suda said. The live-action trailer revealed few details about the gameplay, only showing men dancing around at a carnival-like setting wearing animals masks.

Microsoft also showed off a fourth Kinect title, Dr Kawashima’s Body and Brain Exercises from Namco Bandai, but that game was revealed last week. It will launch in North America and Europe next year.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi later took the stage to reveal a new level fromChild of Eden called “Beauty.” He said Child of Eden won’t make the launch of Kinect this November, but added it’s coming next year and promises to work very hard until Child of Eden is ready to be played.

SEGA later announced Rise of Nightmares. This horror title is aimed at the hardcore audience. The teaser trailer shown contained screaming girls and scary, flashing images.

Last but not least, Capcom announced Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, a revival of the classic game from the original Xbox. Infamously known for its large controller, this new title will use Kinect motion controls. (ign)

  • Published by: Microsoft
  • Developed by: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Genre: Hardware
  • Number of Players: 1-2
  • Release Date: US: November 4, 2010  , Japan: Q4 2010
  • MSRP: $149.99

PlayStation Move Review

Posted: September 1, 2010 in Console Accesories, Playstation 3
Tags: ,
After spending the last several years on top, the momentum of the Wii is slowly starting to wane, and now both Microsoft and Sony are getting in on the motion control action. Microsoft is going bold with their controller-free camera solution, Kinect, but Sony has taken the middle ground, blending the best elements of both; maintaining the familiarity and precision of a controller, but integrating a camera for full body tracking and augmented reality applications. Has Sony simply reinvented the waggle or have they perfected the concept of motion control? The answer falls somewhere in between.

The Move definitely draws significant inspiration from the Wii, and when it was formally unveiled at Game Developers Conference, many were quick to make that comparison. However, it became quickly apparent that the system expands upon the Wii by incorporating a wider array of motion tracking technologies. The Wii relies on infrared and built-in accelerometers to detect motion, orientation, and tilt with pretty solid results, but the Move adds angular rate sensors, magnetometers, and LED marker tracking to the mix for true one-to-one tracking.

The system uses real-time motion data from the inertial sensors built into the Move controller, and combines it with information that determines its position on a three-dimensional plane using the PlayStation Eye. It may look silly, but the glowing orb at the top of the controller is actually the key to the Move’s precision. The camera uses the illuminated orb as a means of determining the distance of the Move controller from the screen by using its size within its field of view as a gauge.

With all of that data coming in at once and being reproduced on screen in real-time, it’s a wonder that the PlayStation 3’s processors don’t buckle under the strain. But much to our surprise, there seems to be no substantial lag or graphical degradation when the Move is being used. But that isn’t to say the system isn’t without its issues. The Move, like all peripherals, is only as good as its supporting software, and unfortunately, many of the titles being prepared for the launch have some serious flaws.

When the system launches on September 19, it will accompanied by games like EyePetKung Fu RiderSports Champions, andStart the Party. We had an opportunity to check out these titles and witness the motion tracking in action, and depending on how well developers adapted their games to the motion tracking system, performance ranged from true one-to-one motion detection to glitchy and delayed results.

The games that represented a player’s motion best seemed to be EyePet and Sports Champions. EyePet is a great demonstration of how the Move can measure 3D space, with the EyePet intelligently interacting with not only players, but the environment around them. It also demonstrates how well the system can impose fully rendered 3D graphics over the controller on screen. Sports Champions is a better example of how well the game can replicate a player’s movements and position with an in-game 3D character. Though there are certainly some exceptions, Sports Champions manages to accurately represent a player, down to the tilt of their hand or leaning of their body.

Start the Party, like EyePet, uses augmented reality-type gameplay and layers 3D graphics over the incoming video feed from the PlayStation Eye. While the orientation tracking was comparable to EyePet, there seemed to be slightly more delay. Kung Fu Rider, a more traditional 3D title, however, seemed to be the least responsive and had the most delay between player motion and in-game action.

The sharp contrast between titles is a bit disheartening, because by every indication, there is no critical flaw with the hardware itself – motion tracking is accurate, there is no serious processing speed or graphical degradation posed by the incoming data, and in some games, it performs exceptionally well.

The only significant issue we found with the hardware is that the camera can be a bit sensitive, due primarily to the poor video quality of the PlayStation Eye, which features a max resolution of 640 x 480 and some rather lackluster light sensors. As a result, the whole system can be a bit temperamental depending on the environment. Well-lit rooms seem to have the best results, but those with large windows, lots of external illumination or otherwise conflicting light can experience issues. While the built-in inertial sensors aren’t thrown off by the setting of a room, the 3D tracking that uses the Eye and glowing orbs relies on being able to clearly identify the controller on the incoming video.

How can this be problematic? Well, if there is a lot of conflicting light coming from behind a player, the Move controller’s glowing orb can be washed out and the system won’t be able to differentiate it, thus limiting its ability to determine its distance from the screen. Obviously, dimming rear lights or closing the blinds on your windows will eliminate these issues, but it is still a less-than-ideal solution. Projection systems are also difficult to integrate the Move into, as there is typically a lot of light coming from the rear and nowhere else in the room. Subsequently, the only thing we would change about the PlayStation Move would be to make use of a higher resolution, or possibly even high-definition camera instead of the PlayStation Eye to enable it to adapt to more diverse environments.

As for the PlayStation Move and Navigation controllers themselves, both have been designed and produced to a standard comparable to the DualShock 3, with responsive action buttons, d-pad, and triggers. Obviously the design and uses of the PlayStation Move require uniquely shaped and arranged buttons, and Sony has done so in a way that seems fairly intuitive for the user. The action buttons are raised and the d-pad is curved, making tactile recognition easier, while Start and Select are placed on the sides to avoid unintentional depressions. Similarly, the Home button has been regressed into the center of the controller to prevent mistakenly pulling up the XMB menu. The trigger on the Move controller features more of an inward arch, providing better grip, and the Navigation controller’s thumbstick is practically identical to the DualShock 3 in terms of shape and resistance.

Both controllers feature lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which is a plus; avoiding frequent tedious battery changes. Battery life is decent, with both controllers achieving about seven hours of average battery life on a single charge. Connecting USB cables to each controller in order to recharge a whole set is far from ideal, but most of the industry’s biggest accessory manufacturers are already working on multi-controller charging stations for the PlayStation Move for release later this year. Sony itself will be offering an officially-branded charging accessory of their own for $29.99, though it only accommodates two controllers at one time.

But the biggest concern for consumers, next to quality, is, of course, cost, and Sony has actually been very smart in their pricing of PlayStation Move. While certainly not a cheap endeavor, the Move has been broken down, piece-by-piece, which allows users to buy only the parts they need. In other words, if you already own a PlayStation Eye and just need the controller and a game, you can do precisely that. The Move controller is being sold separately for $49.99 and the Navigation controller will cost $29.99, while the setup can be purchased with the camera, Move controller, and a copy of Sports Champions for $99.99. Prospective PlayStation 3 owners can even buy a bundle with the PlayStation Move, PlayStation Eye, Sports Champions, and a 320GB PlayStation 3 for $399.

At the end of the day, the PlayStation Move has the potential to be the best motion control system on the current crop of consoles; but unfortunately, the games offered at the moment just don’t do the technology justice. If you’re eager to buy into the system now, don’t expect a whole lot of great content straight out of the gate, but with time and certain kinks ironed out, the Move could prove to be a great way to add new gameplay experiences to the PlayStation 3 and attract new, more casual players. (ign)

In a surprise move it is being reported that PC manufacturer Lenovo has decided to develop a games console for the Chinese market.

The China Daily newspaper is reporting that 40 Lenovo staff have been allocated to the project which will be developed at a new company called Beijing eedoo Technology Ltd.

The console will rely on a controller-less input method just like Microsoft’s Kinect system for the Xbox 360. We won’t have to wait long to see it either, as Beijing eedoo intends to demo the unit in November with a release expected early next year at a price below $300. To sweeten the deal the Ebox will ship with 30 games.

Jack Luo, president of Beijing eedoo Technology said:

We are the world’s second company to produce a controller-free game console, behind only Microsoft. Our product is designed for family entertainment. Ebox may not have exquisite game graphics, or extensive violence, but it can inspire family members to get off the couch and get some exercise

Luo’s goals for the Ebox are relatively modest in a country with over a billion people. Sales of one million consoles per year is the current target. With a price below $300 the console is expected to be in the price range of some 29 million Chinese families. (geek)

Microsoft Flight’s logo, as seen on the game’s website.

Yet upon this release, Flight Simulator has a new name: Microsoft Flight. The game’s website claims that it was ‘inspired’ by the original Flight Simulator series that first launched in 1980 (on Apple’s II), with the last version (Flight Simulator X) being released in 2006.

Microsoft’s original “Flight Simulator”. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Details are scarce at the moment, and the website is live, but has limited information with the exception of a press release and a video. The game is set to appear on Games For Windows Live later this year.


Today, at Gamescom, Sony announced several new PlayStation 3 models with updated storage capacities. The newly announced 160 GB PS3 Slim will retail for $299 — currently the price of the 120 GB model — and should be on sale in the coming days or weeks (it was seen earlier today on Amazon before the announcement). A second model, which can be purchased in the Move Bundle, comes with a 320 GB PlayStation 3 console, Sony’s Move controller, PlayStation Eye camera, and the game title Sports Champions. The Move Bundle should begin to show up on store shelves in mid-September and will retail for $399. The remainder of the show was dedicated to software trailers, announcements, and demos, including: Resistance 3inFAMOUS 2Medal of HonorMAGKillzone 3Gran Turismo 5Virtua Tennis 4, and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. Anyone going to pick up one of the larger consoles?


What do you do when you are a major Japanese video game maker who faces a shrinking home market and sees the social games sector virtually explode at the same time? You make the jump, just like Capcom, the brand behind such hit games like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, or Mega Man. According to Japanese business daily The Nikkei, the Osaka-based company will start offering games for Facebook as early as next month.

Capcom’s US subsidiary (LA-based Capcom Interactive, Inc.) will bring yet to be named titles currently available for the iPhone to Facebook, with The Nikkei hinting that more games are to follow thereafter. At the moment, Capcom is offering just a handful of iPhone apps, for example Street Fighter IV or Resident Evil IV.

The Nikkei says Capcom plans to offer the Facebook games for free but will earn money by selling virtual items, as a lot of other game providers on social networks do. As a start, the Japanese company aims at attracting one million Facebook users from the US and Europe. In Japan, Capcom saw the domestic market for video games shrink for the second straight year in 2009 (minus 6.9% to $6.3 billion).

Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto first announced his company’s move into the social gaming business back in May this year. Expect more Japanese video game companies to follow Capcom soon.


From Virtual Boy to 3DS

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Console Accesories
Tags: ,

If there’s one thing Nintendo isn’t exactly known for, it’s failures. Not that it has a perfect batting average; in, fact far from it. But if something isn’t working out, the giant usually just sweeps it aside with little fanfare, such as the ill-fated 64DD for the Nintendo 64 or the e-Reader for the Game Boy Advance, and the gaming world keeps on keepin’ on without detecting a disturbance in the Force. However, there is one bellyflop in Nintendo history that is simply unavoidable. It was a failure so high profile that gamers still chortle about it today.

The Nintendo Virtual Boy.

This weekend is the fifteenth anniversary of the Virtual Boy, Nintendo’s first foray into 3D technology. Released on August 14, 1995 for approximately $180USD, the Virtual Boy was the creation of one of Nintendo’s resident geniuses: Gunpei Yokoi. Already responsible for such hits as the original Game Boy and Metroid, Yokoi was the perfect candidate for creating what would be Nintendo’s original effort to have a “third pillar” in its product line.

Originally proposed as a portable virtual reality machine, the Virtual Boy ended up being one ungainly piece of plastic “huh.” Resting atop a wiry stand – because it ended up not being so portable after all – the Virtual Boy is a big red set of goggles with an admittedly forward-looking controller dangling beneath it. Players needed to lord over the Virtual Boy and lower their eyes into it. There, they would be treated to 3D gaming.

The thing is, the Virtual Boy actually works. You really do see the action in 3D, although the effect is layered – there is not much of a gradual sense of objects moving toward and away from you. But if the silliness of the Virtual Boy’s design wasn’t enough to put you off, the screen did. The display was as red as the chassis – and only red. To keep costs down, Nintendo stuck with red LED displays so that the Virtual Boy showed only black, red, and every hue in-between. None of the bright blues and greens that made the world of Super Mario Bros. come alive were to be found. The 3D itself was created by projecting the twin single-line displays – one for each eye – on to oscillating mirrors that tricked your vision into seeing a depth of field that wasn’t really there.

Between the all-red display and the somewhat jarring 3D effect, the Virtual Boy gained a reputation for taxing the eyes and causing either headaches or nausea. This was before the explosion of the Internet, too, so these cases were not look-at-me anecdotes ricocheting from message boards to news rooms. These were real issues and even Nintendo recognized them with the most hysterical set of warnings: you should really only play the Virtual Boy for 15 minutes at a time and then give your eyes a rest. And to make sure you did, games were programmed to come to a full stop and warn you of potential harm for not heeding that warning. Oh, and anybody under seven shouldn’t play the Virtual boy because their eyes are still developing. Yep, Nintendo actually had to warn parents that the Virtual Boy may ruin their kids’ peepers. Oof.

The Virtual Boy game library never caught fire. Packed in with the still-playable Mario Tennis, the anemic Virtual Boy library contained no bona fide hits, although there was some buzz around Mario Clash (a riff on the classic Mario Bros.) and Virtual Boy Wario Land. The rest of the pack – including Teleroboxer, 3D Tetris, Red Alarm, and Waterworld – gave no lift to the flagging Virtual Boy.

Unsurprisingly, the perfect storm of bad press and unimpressed gamers took down the Virtual Boy. It was discontinued in under a year – by the following March of 1996, Nintendo yanked the plug on the Virtual Boy in North America. (It gave even less time to the Virtual Boy in Japan, where it was killed off before the end of 1995.) Yokoi took the heat for the Virtual Boy’s failure and eventually resigned from Nintendo. He went to Bandai where he developed the Wonderswan. In a sad denouement, Yokoi was killed in a traffic accident the following year of the Virtual Boy’s premature retirement, 1997.