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Take Control!

March 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Everybody knows about the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. It's often that people compare each consoles graphics power and stability, but rarely do they consider the pros and cons of the controllers themselves. It is the controller that links you to the game, with out it gamers would be lost. A lot of work can go into making a good, accessibly comfortable controller. So, overall, how does each controller compare?

Microsoft Xbox Controller

When the original Xbox released in 2001, it came with the initial controller now known as the Duke Controller. As Microsoft soon discovered, the Duke was way to big and bulky, and hurt people's hands. So the Controller S was released, a model that is very similar to the current Xbox 360 controller, only the Xbox 360 version is the most comfortable and easy to use model by far.

Yes, the Xbox 360 has a great controller overall, but you may be surprised to know that the one thing that gamers have never forgiven Microsoft for is the absolutely abysmal control pad. There is no excuse for it. Every other current-gen console has implemented the pad perfectly. Microsoft apparently wanted to stand out as different by having a control pad that does not work, but it is a huge price to pay for such decidedly unprofessional behaviour. If such a flaw were to be fixed, the Xbox 360's controller would be near perfect.

Sony Playstation 3 Controller

The current Playstation 3 controller is not as new to the game as you might think. It is basically the PS2's, only with certain internal modifications. The original PS3 controller, which had a new look, sort of a boomerang shaped thing, and control scheme, was cancelled. The reasons for this are clear: the controller didn't work as well as the time-tested PS2's did. Perhaps it was a good decision, but I doubt that Sony will get away with doing the same thing over come the next generation of gaming. One feature that was, and still is, lacking from the PS3 controllers is the combination of the six-axis controller and the DualShock 3 controller. We all know Sony thought that having a rumble function was not the future, but we gamers demanded it. So, why could they not combine the two together? Who knows, maybe in the future.

The PS3's controller works as well as ever, even if we can't have both six-axis and DualShock together, but gamers are going to start wanting something less familiar and more original soon enough. Truth is, the way Sony is now, I doubt gamers will get what they want.

Nintendo Wii Controller

Lastly there is the Wii. The Wii's Wiimote is hard to compare to the controllers of other consoles. It pushes the boundaries of controllers far beyond what Microsoft or Sony have ever done. It is more innovative, original, and advanced than any controller that has come out in almost two decades. Perhaps longer.

It is an amazing piece of technology that has all the potential to take gaming to a whole new level. With all the hate towards the Wii's lack of powerful hardware, at least the console has it's Wiimote going for it.

Gamers everywhere should look forward to what the eighth generation of gaming controllers will bring.  Who knows what innovations will be brought to the table and take gaming to the next level?

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Old School Gaming, Give it a Go!

March 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Games have changed dramatically over the decades that have been around. Older games do not have the advanced gameplay and pleasing graphics of today's games. However, some of them are monumental in the history of video games, like Space Invaders or Pac-Man. They can still provide hours of fun for nostalgia's sake - to relive the glory days of one's youth. Even todays youth can enjoy the older games as a welcome diversion to today's fare.

Here are four options to explore for those wanting to play classic games.

Online Games

Not many people would think to look on the internet for old video games, but with the massive uptake of Flash and Java, old video games have had a rejuvination. There are many sites which offer Flash or Java based games. You can find almost anything you want: Frogger, Donkey Kong, Centipede, and on it goes. There are hundreds of games available online. Many of these sites are advertising supported, that is how they offer these games for free. Just be careful as some sites falsly advertise these games, and instead send viruses or even trojan horses. Therefore, make sure you have good virus protection loaded onto your system and keep it up to date.

Just Google "classic games" or something similar to find these sites.

Console Emulators

Another option is console emulators, which are programs one can run on their computer that mimic video game consoles.

As with the online games, many options are available for emulators and games. In most cases, the games are not exact clones but do fairly closely mimic the gameplay of certain games. The Nintendo Super Mario franchise is one which has many cloned games available. When dealing with emulators, there is a legal issue to be aware of. When downloading the games to play on the emulator you have to actually own the a copy of the game, otherwise you are breaking the copyright laws.

Multi-Game Consoles

There are many variations of this, and the idea is that you can purchase a new console that has one, five, ten or more games preloaded onto it. These units have been available for years and continue to sell well. Check Amazon our your local stores and see what goodies they have.

Buy Older Video Game Machines

This last tip is an activity that could consume a great deal of time if you choose. But ultimately is the best way. Not only does it bring back the full nostalger of playing the consoles again, but you can play the games the way they were meant to be played. You can simply buy used consoles, games, and controllers and hook them up to your television.

Popular choices include the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The first place you should check is eBay, where you can often find an entire package including the console, controllers, and ten or more games for under $50. This would be everything you need until you decide to purchase more games, and hundreds or even thousands are available for sale at any given time.

If you would rather not buy your used video game equipment online, many people have good luck locally. You can try the following:

* Craigslist (if you know how to use RSS feeds, these searches can be automated).
* Nickel-type papers.
* Yard sales (don't be afraid to offer less than the asking price).
* Second hand stores.

Here's a tip about the last item, second hand stores. These types of stores get inventory in all the time, especially non-profit stores where individuals make donations of goods. What you want is someone on the "inside" who will call you when specific items arrive that you might want. If you can get this kind of help, it will save you a lot of time. Otherwise, you will need to check back with the stores on a fairly regular basis. Also, when buying from a second hand store, they only accept consoles or games that work, so when buying from these places your almost certain to have a product that works.

No matter which option you choose, you can find classic games for free or for the fraction of what you pay for games these days, and enjoy them almost as much as today's games!

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Bionic Commando Returns!

March 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Those veteran gamers amongst us may remember a title for the NES named Bionic Commando. In this action platformer, the player utilized the titular character's impressive stretching abilities through his bionic arm, leading to a gameplay reminiscent of certain early Spider-man games, as you swing through the cities. However, Bionic Commando also utilized a host of heavy artillery with which to dispatch your foes. Well, Bionic Commando is set to return to Next Gen and PC in a big budget extravaganza.

This time around we join Nathan Spencer (Bionic Commando) ready to await his execution for a crime he (obviously) didn't commit, but not before the city has been completely ravaged by a terrorist attack. It's upto you to foil this deadly occurance using your trusty bionic arm and just a bit of righteous fury. When Nathan encounters enemies, he has many abilities at his disposal with which to eliminate such threats. The game's physics are advanced enough that you can tug a chunk of building down on top of an enemy, or throw large boulders at them, sometimes even simply punching at large boulders in a way that sends them flying the direction of your enemies. These are all abilities that utilize the bionic arm however, and alternatively there's a whole host of new weaponry and firepower to make use of.

51yrIiiHMoL. SL160  Bionic Commando Returns!

As befits this day and age, Capcom have added a multiplayer function to this reboot. Not only that, they have added a number of little quirks which work extremely well in-game, such as characters shooting over their shoulders when pursued, the ability to fire at people in midair as they are swinging around, and even use sniper rifles to take people out from a distance. Therefore multiplayer cans can be as fun and varied as ever.

Bionic Commando is slated for release summer of 2009, and has been in development for a few years now, showing that Capcom are lovingly crafting this title to perfection. Fans of all action platformers, this could be just the thing for you!

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The Developer Conundrum

February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

In the games industry there are three distinct development parties. These are third-party developers, second-party developers and first-party developers. Third-party developers are not generally associated with any particular console or corporation other than themselves, whereas second-party developers have signed contracts with a console manufacturing company and release platform exclusives. First-party developers, however, are different all together. They are part of the console manufacturing company and often carry the company's name.

With the different types of development companies out there, games have been developed for various platforms. This provides another dilemma for gamers when choosing a console. We not only have to decide on the quality of the console itself but also the franchise that are available on that console.

Microsoft: Halo is undoubtedly Microsoft's main attraction, with Halo 1 and 2 released for the original Xbox. It was one of the main reasons people bought the Xbox and for many current Xbox 360 owners, Halo 3 is one of the main reasons they bought the 360 as well. There are many other fantastic games for the Xbox 360, but without Halo, there would have been much less Xbox 360s sold.

Halo is not the only franchise exclusive to Microsoft's platform, Epic's Gears of War series and Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham series are both exclusive to Microsoft.

Sony: One of Sony's biggest and loyalist second-party developer has been Insomniac. They have been a second-party developer for Sony for more than ten years, and have released a gamer, almost every year for their platforms. Even today, for the PS3, the company releases games annually, and on the odd occasion twice yearly. Insomniac is an extremely reliable company for producing quality games, and would be proud to own the console they develop on. This generation, Insomniac is best known for the Resistance series, a highly acclaimed first-person-shooter) and the Ratchet and Clank series (a brilliant third-person platformer / shooter).

Naughty Dog are also a primary second-party developer for Sony, with the Jak and Daxter series, and most recently the Uncharted franchise for the PS3. Also it is worth mentioning that for a decade, up until recently, every core Final Fantasy game released was exclusive to Sony platforms. Final Fantasy developers, Square Enix, continue to dedicate itself to the PS3 with exclusive game rights.

Nintendo: For the Nintendo Wii, first-party exclusives include Mario games, such as Mario Galaxy and Paper Mario, and Wii Sports. Wii Sports is a very popular game for the platform and best exploits the innotive features of the Wii Remote, or Wiimote. Many more first-party games have been created for the Wii, such as Excite Truck and Disaster: Day of Crisis. One first-party developer for Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, was founded by former employees of Nintendo's Research and Development division. Intelligent Systems is responsible for great games like Metroid and Famicon Wars.

This kind of information in most likely lost on casual gamers, but for those who are interested in the games industry and are serious gamers it is important to keep track of where games fit in with the developer hierarchy. This knowledge sets the level of expectation for each game and ultimately the success of a console system.

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Wii Sports- Why so popular?

January 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Wii Sports- Why so popular?

Originally shipped as part of the Wii package, Wii sports has become a runaway success for the console and the poularity has grown and grown. Owing huge success to the content and playability rather than graphical edge, Wii Sports is so popular due to the dynamic and interactive gameplay.

For example, to hit the ball in the tennis game, one merely swings the controller to the left or right. One does not have to fiddle with a small controller pad to play the game. To hit a  baseball, one holds the controller similar to how one would hold a baseball bat. This is the most realistic game play we have ever seen for sports video games.

The games included are tennis, baseball, boxing, bowling, and golf. The boxing game requires a separate "nunchuck" which plugs into the controller.

All games include training, standard play, several multiplayer choices, and the ability to create your own characters.

The training allows one to hone in on one of three different actions for each sport. Just as in real life, training or practice helps to improve your performance. In tennis, one can focus on returning the ball or placing the ball within a specific area. In baseball, one can practice pitching or batting. Boxing training is useful for learning how to duck and weave and throw your punches at just the right moment.

Single player mode involves competing against the computer in order to gain experience points, which are in turn utilized to raise your level.

The multiplayer option allows two, three, or four players to compete against one another. This is Wii Sports at its most immersive and rewarding. Its one thing to pit your skill against a challenging computer player, another to play with living, breathing people whose real-life movements (as well as yours) directly correspond with onscreen gameplay. Of course, each player must have his or her own controller.

With Wii Sports, you can create your own characters and save them for later use. To create your own character, one simply starts with a character from the "Mii channel". The character can then be customized to one's own liking. Some of these characters can be used in games other than Wii Sports.

Many gamers enjoy saving their Wii Sports characters to the Wii remote controller, and will take them to a friend's house, and insert the character into the game at the friend's house. This adds greater personality to the gaming experience.

With raving reviews and even a few awards in the bag, Wii Sports remains THE game for the system.

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