Archive for the ‘Hardware Previews’ Category

After weeks of debate, weeks of wondering it’s finally here, the successor to the Wii…..The Wii U, and whilst it does sound like an infant making the noise of a police cars siren, it actually looks interesting.

Upon first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Wii U as….well…..a Wii. It doesn’t seem too much different from the Wii, but then you turn it on and you see the difference.

For the first time ever Nintendo are upgrading to HD graphics, one of the big selling points of the more ‘serious’ game consoles. With HD graphics, even games like Wii Sports will look good, and it doesn’t stop at Wii Sports, Nintendo have more planned. Games such as Tekken, Batman: Arkham Assylum and Dirt are amongst some of the titles that are going to grace the Wii U. And for the less ‘hard-core gamer’ there are going to be new versions of smash brothers, and almost certainly an updated, upgraded version of Wii Sports amongst others.

Wii U Console

Wii U console.......Huh!? Looks like a console I've played before

This now opens up a window that Nintendo have never really tried to break into and that is the hard-core gamer market. With titles such as Tekken (And almost certainly other games classified as hard-core) coming to the system this may attract a different type of gamer to the console. However, hard-core gamers may still feel as though the Wii U is still just as ‘kidified’ as Nintendo always have been. But who knows I may be wrong.

But the main selling point of the Wii U, in fact the main thing on show at E3 has got to be the controller. Now Nintendo are nothing new to having different, innovative controllers, and this has to go down as one of the best, whilst also annoying (Read on to find out why). The controller is a touchscreen, yes they have finally jumped on the bandwagon and released a touchscreen controller.  So what can this baby do, what it can’t do is cook you breakfast, but apart from that it’s impressive. If your ‘friend’ or dad wants to watch TV you can take your game onto the controller, good yes, surprising, not really. It’s a motion controller, so you could use it like you did the Wii mote and use it to move your character, or drive a car or anything like that. It has a camera, so you can video chat, and I’m sure some games companies will come up with impressive uses for it too. And whilst this is all great and whilst the preview of what the controller can do is impressive (See it for yourself here) it opens up other questions. For instance, are hard-core gamers going to feel that this is an unnecessary add-on? How responsive is it going to be? Why does it look like an Apple I-Pad? And what the hell am I going to do with this, where’s my controller? And the big one…..How much is it going to cost me if I need another one?

Wii U Controller

Wii U Controller - Flashy, but potentially pricy

Which brings me nicely around to pricing. There has been no official word on pricing, just that it would be ‘competitive’ with the other consoles. Pundits reckon the console will start at $299, whilst the controller will start at $99. My guessing is that the console will start at $299, but I can’t see the controller, because of the touchscreen alone, being any cheaper than $150. And then you have to ask yourself, do you want something where the controller costs as much as the console? This is where most people will be put off. And with the latest attack from Lulzsec being on Nintendo, the only system to not have been infiltrated is Microsoft (But your time will come) and people may be put off by that too.

No actual specification was released by Nintendo, although looking around online we did find a supposed ‘internal’ document outlining the (Again supposed) specification which is (Once again supposedly)

CPU – Custom IBM Power 6 Chip (Codename Fox), Quad Core 3.5Ghz

Graphics – Custom AMD RV770 (Codename Wolf) 766Mhz

RAM – 512MB XDR2 DRAM (Main), 1024 GDDR5 VRAM (Video), 16MB eDRAM

Storage – 2.5″ 250/320GB SATA & Expandable storage via SD/SDHC card up to 64GB

Media – Custom Bluray & compatible with Nintendo GameCube Game Discs & Wii Disc

Display – Composite – 480i, S-Video – 480i, Component – 480/720/1080, HDMI – 480/720/1080

But I can’t guarantee that that is real, to look at the ‘actual’ document then click here.

So do I want one, actually, and quite surprisingly yes, but I also wanted one of the original Wii’s, and after 6 months of playing on it, got bored and bought a 360. I see the same being the case for the Wii U, and as always I am asking the same questions that most industry experts are asking.

Can it compete with the consoles that are already acknowledged as ‘serious’ games consoles? Is this the right time for a new console? Can it actually be ‘competitively’ priced? And are people going to switch from their favourite console to this, just because it is newer? And finally the biggie if the Wii only last 6 years, then what’s to stop this console from lasting only that long? Let us know your thoughts

The Wii U is expected for a release date between July and December of 2012

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From Tuesday people in the USA have had the ability to buy a replica version of the Commodore 64. Not only does this replica play old Commodore games, but it has also had a major overhaul and actually can be used as a modern day PC.

Pre-installed with Linux Ubuntu distribution, the Commodore 64 (Loved by many people in the early to mid-80’s) surpassed everything that was technologically available at the time, including Apple and IBM systems. Looking at the old specification it is hard to see why it was so popular, but as an 80’s child let me tell you you were a nobody if you didn’t have one of these. (Or a ZX Spectrum)

The New Commodore 64 Replica

The New Commodore 64 Replica, in all its beige, retro glory

With a processor running at 1.023 MHz the system used cassettes (And later floppy disks) to run software, applications, saved data and of course games. Now the processor is a lot beefier; an Intel Atom Dual Core (The kind of processor they put in net books) that runs at 1.8 GHz. Memory has also taken a boost from the lowly (But impressive at the time) 64Kb to a 2 Gb DDR Ram chip. Other noticeable upgrades include an NVidia Ion 2 graphics chipset, 5 USB ports and an optional Blu-Ray drive.

The question that needs answering is is there a market for it in the UK and Europe? Commodores USA have said that “It well surpassed our expectations and we’re in our second production run now.” That’s great, but as we in the UK know, the US can at times buy things that are utter rubbish .In the USA sales for the chassis (That’s the case for any less technical fans) and indeed the full, prebuilt system will cost you $250 and between $595 and $895 respectively.

So would I buy one? If the price came down I may just have the money to buy it. I mean it is a classic and a great conversational piece for when I have company. But short of that, I already have a PC, it’s not a beast, nor is it a slow retro PC, but it would easily beat the C64 for power and memory. So for me to buy this it would have to be around the £200-£250 mark (The PC I now currently own cost me £300) and even then I may feel slightly cheated.

Summer Games 2 screenshot

You can keep your Fifa and your COD, Summer Games 2 session anyone?

The one thing that may make me change my mind is that the console/computer comes complete with, what Commodore USA are marketing it as “classic game package” which will no doubt include some games that are a blast from the past. In either case, surely I could just download an emulator and download some ROMs and I’m good to go. (A little illegal possibly, but still cheaper than £250) Saying that, most of the games for the C64 (Such as Summer Games 2) are downloadable on the Wii for a small fee anyway, so I could play it legally.

I would love to own a C64, but one of the original ones, with the slow processor, the low RAM, and the cassette deck, because that’s where retro belongs, that’s why it is called retro and that is where my childhood memories are stored.

What are your thoughts? Amazing technological advancement? A must have gadget? Does anybody but me remember it? What’s your view?

BBC News Coverage – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12997245

C64 USA website – http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx

Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64

 

Like it or hate it 3D is here, and it’s here to stay.

Many people (Including myself) feel as though 3D is nothing but a gimmick for the large movie studios to release (Or worse re-release) some clap trap movie that wasn’t such a good idea the first time around Or wouldn’t have even been made in the first case. (Piranha 3D anyone)

However, it seems as though the latest victim of this is Nintendo with their ‘eagerly awaited’ console the 3DS.

Nintendo 3DS in Aqua Blue

The Nintendo 3DS will be available in Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black on release date

Now Nintendo have recently been releasing a new version of the DS every 6 months or so, so it didn’t surprise me that they would release another version and there you have it the 3DS is born.

Despite my attempts to get a DS for the purposes of reviewing for the blog Ninty decided to overlook my website (Like I’m not good enough for them) so my review will be based on opinions and thoughts of other games and journalists. (Those that have been lucky enough to have been issued a demo model)

The first thing to note is that it uses stereoscopic 3D which is way too complicated to try and tell you how it works, but for those who want to know check this Wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereoscopy) The second thing is that it doesn’t require glasses, so unlike at the cinema you don’t have to wear a pair of glasses every time you want to play on it. The last major difference between the DSi XL and the 3DS is that it has an analogue stick, which supposedly makes games easier to navigate.

Artists rendering. Just kidding

Artists rendering. Just kidding

The question you all want answering is is the 3D any good? The answer is (According to reports) Yes and No. Apparently the 3D effects are stunningly amazing; however, if you don’t get the 3DS in the right place you won’t be able to notice the 3D elements. See for those of you who clicked my link earlier on in this blog post, you may realise that for the effects to work you actually have to have the 3DS at an exact angle. Move slightly away from the perfect angle and you lose the 3D effects, much like if you sat on the left or right of a movie screen. Also, other reports are that after about 30 minutes or so people have been getting headaches and feeling nauseous. Other people have been saying that it takes too long to find the ‘Sweet spot’ and others just turning off the 3D effects all together, which kind of makes the console rather useless.

So is it worth buying? In my opinion no, but although I’ve highlighted the drawbacks of the console there are good points.  Unfortunately for me, these are few and far between, not to mention if you already own the 2D version of a game (I.e. Nintendogs) you will have to buy the 3D version to get your money’s worth out of the console.

3D for me always has been a gimmick and I feel that Nintendo are just jumping on the bandwagon. Let’s hope that when the new PSP gets released (Codenamed Sony NGP) they try and stay away from the 3D effects and concentrate more on game play and originality in its games.

The Nintendo 3DS will be on sale from the 25th of March 2011

Buy Nintendo 3DS Handheld Console (Cosmos Black) from Amazon.co.uk