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July 02 2013

YouTube Commenters Debate the Next Best Game Consoles
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In the world of Internet debate, YouTube comments should always carry the biggest weight in your decision-making process.

Oh, wait, that's backwards. If anything, the above video, created by ShesellSheShells, proves that the conversation surrounding the upcoming console wars should not be left to YouTube commenters. Unless, of course, you like laughing at other people.

At E3 three weeks ago, Microsoft and Sony gave more details about the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to live and streaming audiences. There were plenty of choice comments for the "YouTube Reacts" series to pick up, send out to its army of dramatic narrators, and turn into a video. Read more...

More about Youtube, Gaming, E3, Watercooler, and Videos

June 19 2013

5 Tech Trends That Will Change Gaming Forever
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This year's E3 showed off a myriad of new technology intended to enhance our gaming experiences. The impending release of two powerful next generation gaming consoles this holiday season means games are going to become more advanced.

These advancements will not only improve the quality of the games' looks onscreen, but also allow them to interact with the players unlike ever before. From motion controls to second-screen gaming, E3 offered a glimpse of the bright, innovative future to come in gaming.

Of all the technology on display, we've highlighted the five trends we expect to change gaming in the next few years or so. See something we missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Read more...

More about Gaming, E3, Ubisoft, Kinect, and Wii U

June 18 2013

Tour the E3 Show Floor Through Google Glass
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E3 is a crazy place, where you can find everything from a building-sized working robot to real-life zombies trying to escape from behind a fence. Game publishers big and small go all out for the annual conference, making it a sight you have to see to believe.

Curious what it's like to actually be on the E3 show floor?

We shot a video tour of the event using Google Glass. Originally clocking in at over thirty minutes, we sped up the final product, allowing you to see the whole show floor in a little over three minutes. Check out the video above for the result. Read more...

More about E3, Gaming, Tech, Google Glass, and E3 2013
Disney's 'Infinity' Is a Toy Box Like No Other
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When I was a child I used to love to play with all my toys at once. My Barbies went on dates with the Ninja Turtles, and the Ghostbusters were found riding around on the back of a My Little Pony more often than inside the Ecto-1.

Intermixing toys is something we all did at some point in our childhoods, and Disney is taking this practice to a whole new level with its Infinity collection due out later this year.

More than just a video game, Infinity is a platform that lends itself to endless possibilities.

During E3 last week, I had the opportunity to play with Infinity, and was generally impressed with what I saw. Read more...

More about Disney, E3, Entertainment, Gaming, and Apps Software

June 17 2013

'Tearaway' Makes You the God of PlayStation Vita
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Media Molecule is known for pushing boundaries in gameplay. Its LittleBigPlanet franchise was lauded for letting gamers create their own unique worlds, and now, Media Molecule plans to recreate new magic with Tearaway for the PlayStation Vita handheld.

In Tearaway, you form a special connection with a papercraft character and then help her explore the 2D world. The goal is for that character to relay a message back to you, and since the character's message is specific to each player, her message is really meant for youTearaway also uses Vita's hardware to make the experience as immersive as possible. Read more...

More about Gaming, E3, Playstation Vita, Entertainment, and E3 2013

June 13 2013

King's 'Pet Rescue Saga' Launches on Mobile
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LOS ANGELES — King.com launched its third game on mobile Thursday, Pet Rescue Saga. Following the success of games like Bubble Witch and Candy Crush Saga, the Facebook favorite is arriving on both iPhone and Android.

Currently one of the top 10 games on Facebook, Pet Rescue Saga prompts players to destroy colored boxes on screen by placing three or more of the same color into groups — in order to rescue pets trapped within the multicolored block structure.

The mobile version of the game will launch with 72 levels, with more to follow in future updates. Read more...

More about Facebook, King, Mobile Apps, Zynga, and E3
'Plants vs. Zombies 2' Is a Sequel Worth the Wait
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LOS ANGELES — The zombies are coming!

On July 18th, PopCap, a division of Electronic Arts (EA) is releasing Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time! A play on words, the time reference in the name of the game is a gentle jab at how long it’s taken the studio to create the game, as well a reference to time travel, which plays a huge role in its storyline.

Redesigned from the ground up, Plants vs. Zombies 2 offers similar gameplay to its predecessor, while bringing a number of new places and new experiences into the mix.

I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Plants vs. Zombies 2 at E3 this week, and much like the original version found myself almost instantly addicted, spending 40 minutes playing the demo version of the game rather than the 15 I had originally intended. Read more...

More about E3, Popcap, Plants Vs Zombies, Entertainment, and Gaming

June 11 2013

Nintendo Fans Geek Out Over Cat Mario
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LOS ANGELES — Nintendo led the show at E3 on Tuesday, following Monday's news blast from Microsoft, Sony, EA and Ubisoft

Although the live stream got off to rocky start, the company quickly soothed Internet users' fears with a secret weapon: cats.

SEE ALSO: Fan Hack Turns 'Super Mario 64' Into 2-Player Game

Super Mario 3D World, available on Wii U, will feature a new suit for Mario that transforms him and other characters into cats and gives them the ability to run on all fours, climb up walls, pounce on enemies and scratch them with claws

Naturally, the Internet geeked out over the new feline on Twitter. Read more...

More about Games, Twitter, Cats, E3, and Mario

June 12 2011

The Top 5 Nintendo Announcements at E3


Nintendo closed out E3 this year with a bang, thanks to the Wii U and a slew of new game announcements.

The unveiling of the Wii U was the show’s clear winner, stealing the thunder from Xbox Kinect and the PlayStation Vita. The console, designed to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, features 1080p graphics and a unique controller with a 6.2-inch touchscreen. The result is a two-screen gaming experience unlike anything on the market.

Nintendo’s new console wasn’t the company’s only announcement, though. The Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, Super Mario, Star Fox and a slew of other games got plenty of attention, as did Nintendo’s 3DS portable gaming system.

We’ve sifted through all of Nintendo’s announcements and boiled them down to our top five. Without further ado, here is what made headlines for Nintendo at E3:


Gallery: Nintendo’s Top Announcements


See below the gallery for the full list of announcements


1) Legend of Zelda Turns 25




One of Nintendo's most iconic franchises, The Legend of Zelda, turns 25 this year, and Nintendo has decided to celebrate with a bunch of new features and an orchestra.


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Yes, Nintendo actually hired an orchestra and a choir for its E3 press conference.


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A close-up shot of the choir, which sang several iconic Zelda melodies.


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Nintendo had the orchestra play while it showed a video tribute to 25 years of Legend of Zelda.


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Nintendo's first Zelda announcement was that it was going to have a Zelda symphony concert tour. The concert tour will come to the U.S., Europe and Japan sometime this Fall.


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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is also available for download in the Nintendo eShop.


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Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Legend of Zelda, takes the stage.


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Nintendo has also made Legend of Zelda: Four Swords available as a free download on the DSi.


The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening




Nintendo's newest Legend of Zelda Game, Skyward Sword, will be available this holiday season with a special-edition gold Wiimote.


2) The Nintendo eShot Drops on the 3DS




The online store for the 3DS, the Nintendo eStore, has finally made its debut. The store will contain classic Game Boy, NES and SNES games, as well as a few new surprises.


More on the Nintendo eStore




One of those surprises was a downloadable Pokédex with information on the new Pokémon in the Black and White games, as well as the ability to superimpose Pokémon into real-life photos.


More on the Nintendo eStore




A screenshot of the new Pokedex


3) Kid Icarus Returns




Kid Icarus made its debut in 1986, but little has been with the series until now. Kid Icarus: Uprising will be released for the 3DS this year and be the first game in the series since 1991.


More on Kid Icarus




Kid Icarus takes down the bad guys.


4) Star Fox, Mario & More




Nintendo's other iconic franchises are getting games as well. First up: Star Fox 64 3D, a revamped version of the Nintendo 64 game for the 3DS.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Do a barrel roll!


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Luigi's Mansion 2 makes its debut on the 3DS this year.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Mario Kart 3D is on its way, as well.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




You didn't think Nintendo would forget about Mario, would you? Super Mario 3D arrives at the end of 2011.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Super Mario 3D isn't a rehash of old Mario games though, but an infusion of side-scroller and 3D gameplay.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Classic Mario.


More on Nintendo's Upcoming Games




Animal Crossing is back!


5) The Nintendo Wii U




The big announcement though was the unveiling of the Nintendo Wii U and its 6.2-inch touchscreen controller.


More on the Nintendo Wii U




The controller creates a new form of interaction with the TV. In this photo, a user is sketching with the controller and seeing her work on the TV.


More on the Nintendo Wii U




The controller can even stream console games if someone wants to use the TV for something else.


More on the Nintendo Wii U




The Wii U controller compared to the Nintendo 3DS


More on the Nintendo Wii U




The Nintendo Wii U will feature 1080p HD graphics on-par with the PS3 or the Xbox 360.


More on the Nintendo Wii U




Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime departs from the stage.


Highlights: Nintendo’s Top Announcements


1) Legend of Zelda Turns 25
2) The Nintendo eShot Drops on the 3DS
3) Kid Icarus Returns
4) Star Fox, Mario & More
5) The Wii U Revealed


Bonus: Hands-On With the Wii U



Wii U Controller




This is the Wii U controller. It's 1.8-inches tall, 6.8-inches wide and 10.5-inches long. The screen is crisp and the controller is easier to hold than you might expect.


Wii U in HD




A Nintendo representative shows off the Wii U's HD graphics.


Wii U Shield Demo




A gamer is getting the tutorial on how to use the Wii U controller as a Shield


Wii U Battle Demo




In this game, the person with the Wii U controller flies a ship and tries to shoot players on the ground. The other players in the game control their characters with Wiimotes.


Wii U with Wii Controllers




A photo of me playing against a Nintendo representative in a space-themed battle game. I controlled a guy on the ground with the Wiimote and nunchuk while he flew a spaceship with the Wii U controller.


Wii U Console




This is the console. I didn't get to touch it, but it looks like a fatter Wii.

More About: e3, gaming, Legend of Zelda, Mario, Nintendo, nintendo wii, Nintendo Wii U, super mario, Wii, Wii U, Zelda

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June 11 2011

Exclusive: Who Won The E3 Buzz Battle? [INFOGRAPHIC]


Now that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have sung their spiels at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 (E3), let’s find out which company, publisher and celeb got the most buzz during the week.

Webtrends compiled these figures measuring buzz on Twitter, blogs and other social media sources, gathered from Monday, June 6 through Friday, June 10 at 10 a.m. PST.

Who won the buzz battle? Was it Microsoft, which didn’t have any new hardware to show off but flaunted some highly anticipated games? Or maybe it was Sony grabbing the big buzz with its reveal of the PlayStation Vita. Or could it have been Nintendo with its groundbreaking Wii U?

Do you think the amount of buzz each gaming platform got during the week was equal to the importance (and quality) of the products they announced?

More About: e3, electronic entertainment Expo, gaming, infographic, microsoft, Nintendo, PlayStation Vita, sony, Wii U, Xbox 360

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The Top 5 Sony Announcements at E3 [PHOTOS]


Sony may have announced a few games and addressed the PlayStation Network hack, but the company’s E3/a> was defined by the PlayStation Vita.

Sure, Sony pushed upcoming titles such as Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and launched a new 3D monitor for gamers, but Sony the majority of its focus on the launch of the Vita, its next-generation portable gaming system. With a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, a touch-responsive back, and a reasonable starting price of $249, it was E3′s second-biggest announcement (the Wii U was the clear winner).

We’ve combed through all of Sony’s E3 announcements and boiled them down to the five most important ones. So without further ado, here are the top five Sony announcements at E3:


Gallery: Sony’s Top Announcements


See below for the quick list of announcements.


1) Sony Addresses the PlayStation Network Hacking




Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO took the stage this week to address the controversy surrounding the PlayStation Network hacking and outage.


More on the Sony PlayStation Network Hacking




"You are the lifeblood of the company," Tretton told customers at the press conference. "Without you, there is no PlayStation. I want to apologize both personally and on behalf of the company."


2) Sony Doubles Down on 3D




Sony's love affair with 3D continued at E3.


More on Sony's 3D Announcements




Sony's big announcement was the Sony CECH-ZED1, a 24-inch flat-panel 3D monitor that will retail for $499. It comes with the ability to split the screen for two-player gameplay.


3) The PlayStation Move Bundle




Sony kept pushing the PlayStation Move motion controller at E3. Its big news was a Resistance 3 bundle that includes the Move controllers, a PlayStation Eye Camera and a gun accessory for $150.


4) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception




Sony showed off a lot of games (LittleBIG Planet, Resistance 3, etc.), but the best demo was for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. While announced late last year, we got an extended look at the game.


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The demo showed Drake trying to escape a sinking ship, while at the same time taking down the bad guys with familiar stealth moves.


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The Uncharted is also coming to the PlayStation Vita through Uncharted: Golden Abyss.


5) PlayStation Vita




Sony's big announcement was the official unveiling of the PlayStation Vita, the company's new handheld device.


More on the PlayStation Vita




The Vita sports two analog sticks and a gorgeous, 5-inch OLED touchscreen.


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The PlayStation Vita comes in two flavors: Wi-Fi or 3G. The Wi-Fi model costs $249, while the 3G version costs $299.


More on the PlayStation Vita




AT&T will be the exclusive 3G provider for the PlayStation Vita


More on the PlayStation Vita




A look at Uncharted: Golden Abyss on the PlayStation Vita


More on the PlayStation Vita




LittleBIG Planet is coming to the Vita.


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More on the PlayStation Vita




Check out our first impressions of the Vita if you want to learn more about the device.


Bonus: Kobe Bryant Visits E3




Los Angeles Laker and five-time champion Kobe Bryant paid a surprise visit to E3 to try out the PlayStation move controls for NBA 2K12


Bonus: Kobe Bryant Visits E3




He wasn't very good, though.


Sony’s Top 5 E3 Announcements


1) Sony Addresses the PlayStation Network Hacking
2) Sony Doubles Down on 3D
3) The PlayStation Move Bundle
4) Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
5) PlayStation Vita

More About: e3, gaming, playstation, playstation 3, PlayStation Vita, sony

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June 10 2011

Top 3 Gaming Trends From E3 2011

Technology expert Scott Steinberg is the CEO of high-tech consulting firm TechSavvy Global and a frequent tech analyst and gaming expert for ABC, CBS and CNN. He’s covered the field for more than 400 outlets from NPR to Rolling Stone, is the founder of GameExec Magazine and hosts the video series Game Theory, hailed as “the smartest take on the video game industry.”


Electronic Entertainment Expo, the annual video game convention better known as E3, isn’t just the top place to go to watch scantily-clad nymphs, armored stormtroopers and bespectacled businessmen awkwardly mingle. The industry-only event, which drew more than 46,800 rabid enthusiasts to the Los Angeles Convention Center this past week, also offers experts and everyday fans alike the clearest snapshot of where the future of gaming is headed.

This year’s event played host to the introduction of Nintendo’s new Wii U system (featuring 6.2-inch touchscreen controllers), Sony’s supercharged PlayStation Vita portable handheld and the arrival of YouTube and Bing on the Xbox 360. For better or worse, it also cemented what the coming years hold for gaming fans and pros — a roller coaster ride of unprecedented proportions.

Setting all the flashing lights, booming speakers and catchy ad libs by gaming execs aside, here are the event’s main attractions and the revelations they portend.


1. Traditional Gaming and Retail Aren’t Going Away


Despite all the hype surrounding the growth of mobile, social, online, digital, massively multiplayer and free-to-play games, blockbuster disc-based retail releases continue to enjoy a massive fan following. Garnering big interest from both the press and public, potential smashes in the making (and packaged goods) such as Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and BioShock Infinite aren’t a dying breed. Rather, the focus at retail — a distribution channel which, while dwindling, isn’t going away overnight, and should enjoy a considerable presence for the coming decade — is switching to ultra-premium.

Translation: With review scores, competition and overall quality levels climbing, what we’re seeing is a shift to bigger, higher production value games with more expansive solo adventures or multiplayer components. In order to keep pace and justify the $60 price of entry, average and nondescript games are quickly falling by the wayside and being replaced by best-in-class hits. That’s generally good for all parties involved, especially players. It means better titles across the board, including those that begin — not end — at what’s in the box and offer more for your gaming dollar.


2. Motion Control Accessories Are Maturing


Both Sony with its PlayStation Move and Microsoft with the Kinect are doing everything in their power to illustrate why these accessories, thus far confined to largely casual and social applications, are worth the time of “hardcore” gamers. That means incorporating voice commands into Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier so you can simply say “optimize for range” to instantly generate a custom weapon, or making it possible to cast spells with a wave of your hand in the fantasy role-player Fable: The Journey.

But more telling than actual gaming applications (e.g. playing air guitar or lopping off goblins’ heads with a simulated sword swipe) are the vistas these control methods open up for home entertainment. We’re as happy as the next geek that you can chat with aliens by reading off voice prompts in Mass Effect 3. But options to pull up Rebecca Black videos or search for new game demos just by saying “Bing Gears of War 3” feel very promising. It’s the kind of functionality that reaches far beyond standard gaming circles and into general interest digital media consumption.


3. Innovation Is Dead — Unless You Know Where to Look


Most game companies are currently pooping a joystick, as it’s nearly impossible to forecast future sales or predict how to make hits in an era where everything from play habits to the platforms and devices themselves are changing at a breakneck pace. Slow to adapt to the innovations of social, online and free-to-play games, most publishers are reacting the only way they know how: by doubling down on proven brands, franchises, sequels and spin-offs, or spending to acquire well-known Hollywood, TV and comic book licenses.

As such, two outcomes are inevitable. One: Expect to see more familiar franchises returning, receiving reboots or being resurrected in fresh forms year after year (hello Halo 4 and Tomb Raider). In the hopes of mitigating risk, everything old truly becomes new again. And two: Publishers will need to become leaner in more agile in the face of mounting and diverse competition. Staff will be cut, more versatile developers will be hired, and past business strategies will be shuttered as game houses struggle to turn around sinking battleships in the era of light watercraft. That’s not to say doom and gloom is in the air — rather, that insiders have been slow to adapt to innovations they’ve long known were coming, and there’s still some pain to go through before we fully reach the next level.


We’ll close with the biggest gaming trend of all — one that no one seems to want to talk about at a very blockbuster-focused conference like E3. As Internet connectivity continues to proliferate, bandwidth increases, mobile devices boom and the quality, sophistication and availability of on-demand gaming improves, the humble web browser — increasingly available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, TVs, consoles and other devices — may soon become the most popular, and ubiquitous, video game system of all.


More About: e3, gaming, kinect, microsoft, Nintendo, playstation, PlayStation Vita, sony, video games, Wii U

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Nintendo Wii U: First Impressions [PHOTOS]


Nintendo stole the show at E3 with the unveiling of its Nintendo Wii U console, but does it have enough to beat the competition and surpass its predecessor?

The Wii U is Nintendo’s attempt to create a console that will appease the casual and hardcore gaming crowds. Its selling point is a handheld controller with a 6.2-inch touchscreen. The controller’s second screen opens up a new realm of gaming possibilities, some of which Nintendo had on display at its booth on the E3 show floor.

I had a significant amount of time to try out the Nintendo Wii U, hold the controller, and play with Nintendo’s various demos. While I will have more to say about the console and its place in the gaming ecosystem, I wanted share my initial thoughts about the console and its unique controller.

Here are my first impressions of the Nintendo Wii U:

  • Key specs to remember: The Wii U controller has a 6.2-inch touchscreen, is 1.8-inches tall, 6.8-inches wide and 10.5-inches long. It supports up to 1080p HD video, has four USB connector slots, runs a IBM Power-based multi-core processor and is backwards compatible with the Wii.
  • The controller definitely feels big in your hands. It’s bigger and heavier than a handheld gaming system (including the PlayStation Vita), but once you start playing, you really forget about its size.
  • The controller’s touchscreen is gorgeous and responsive. It’s a full 6.2-inches, more than enough for clear viewing and gaming.
  • The controller uses circle pads rather than analog sticks. While this may be a sticking point with more traditional gamers, it didn’t really get in the way of gameplay. I thought I was going to hate the circle pads.
  • The first demo I tried was one where you block shots from pirates from multiple directions. It was a cool experience seeing the pirates shoot from the TV and then defending myself with the controller. The ability to place different content on the controller screen and the TV screen is a killer feature that could lead to some amazing gameplay.
  • The controller works in 360-degree environments. I found this out by using it to fly a spaceship during a battle with a few Nintendo people. It makes for a really intense gaming experience that goes a step beyond what the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita offer.
  • The graphics, from a Legend of Zelda demo I saw, are definitely on-par with what you find on the PS3 or Xbox 360. I reserve judgment on this though until I see a Gears of War or Call of Duty game on the Wii U.
  • The Wii U can also use Wiimotes as controllers, and it makes for a fun experience when you can play the same game with completely different controllers and screens. Because it supports four Wiimotes and the Wii U controller, you can play five-player games. Nintendo wouldn’t tell me how many people a Wii U game will support in total.
  • The console itself simply looks like a fatter Wii. We don’t know how much memory it has or exactly how big it is. I’m sure Nintendo will slowly reveal details about the console as the launch approaches.

Conclusion: The Wii U is definitely a game-changer for the gaming industry. The controller system is crisp and opens up a world of possibilities. The graphics are powerful enough to appease hardcore gamers, who will definitely like the advanced gameplay mechanics the new touchscreen controller enables. It’s still early, but so far I’m impressed.

Check out the photos I snapped, as well as Nintendo’s official Wii U promo pics below. Let us know what you think of the Wii U in the comments.


Hands-On: The Nintendo Wii U



Wii U Controller




This is the Wii U controller. It's 1.8-inches tall, 6.8-inches wide and 10.5-inches long. The screen is crisp and the controller is easier to hold than you might expect.


Wii U in HD




A Nintendo representative shows off the Wii U's HD graphics.


Wii U Shield Demo




A gamer is getting the tutorial on how to use the Wii U controller as a Shield


Wii U Battle Demo




In this game, the person with the Wii U controller flies a ship and tries to shoot players on the ground. The other players in the game control their characters with Wiimotes.


Wii U with Wii Controllers




A photo of me playing against a Nintendo representative in a space-themed battle game. I controlled a guy on the ground with the Wiimote and nunchuk while he flew a spaceship with the Wii U controller.


Wii U Console




This is the console. I didn't get to touch it, but it looks like a fatter Wii.


Nintendo Wii U Promo Pics



Wii U




Nintendo says it chose "U" for the name of its new device to emphasize the personal aspect of the new controller.


Wii U and Controller




The new controller is the most innovative aspect of Wii U, bringing a video screen/touch experience to the console.


Wii U Console




The console looks quite nondescript, gone are the more striking lines of the Wii.


Wii U Sans TV




Although the Wii U controller does require a console, you can play games without having to interface with the TV.


Wii U Controller




The new controller features a camera and a full control pad, in addition to the 6.2" screen.


Wii U Stylus




The Wii U is touch friendly but can also be interfaced with using a stylus, a la the Nintendo DS and the 3DS.


Wii U Controller in Action





Wii U Multiplayer Mode




When four players isn't enough, the Wii U can act as a controller/screen for a fifth friend.


Wii U Touch




The screen is touch sensitive.


Super Mario Bros. Mii




This is a screenshot from the Super Mario Bros. Mii game for Wii U.


Wii U Stylus in Action




If you think this looks like half of a DS, you're not alone. Nintendo is taking what it has used with its portable devices to make its home console even better.


Wii Remote Plus and Wii U





Wii U Portrait Mode




The Wii U Controller has an accelerometer and a gyroscope built in and it can be used in alternate orientations.


Wii U Web Control




The Wii U controller can be used to zoom in and navigate web content on your TV.


Wii U Controller Rear




This is how the controller looks from the rear.

More About: e3, gaming, Nintendo, nintendo wii, Nintendo Wii U, Wii, Wii U

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June 09 2011

The History of Video Games in 100 Seconds [VIDEO]


Commercial video gaming is a battlefield of consoles, franchises, huge corporations and highly opinionated individuals.

In this motion graphic, we get a 100-second summary of the industry, from its genesis in the arcade games of yore to its current milestone: E3 2011.

And along the way, the video’s creators (that would be creative shop Column Five) get into the console wars, handheld gaming, and of course, Tetris.

If you like this clip — you nerdy gamer, you — you’ll love our ongoing E3 coverage. Check out these gaming-related posts with news from the conference:

top image courtesy of Flickr, Regonold

More About: e3, gaming, video, video games

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Kinect Star Wars: First Impressions [PICS]


Star Wars is finally coming to the Xbox Kinect. Will it live up to gamers’ lofty expectations?

Ever since Microsoft unveiled the Kinect, I’ve heard gamers ask about the possibility of a Star Wars game. The thought of wielding a lightsaber or dueling a Sith lord has been something that has captured the imaginations of many gamers. Microsoft officially unveiled the game at its E3 press conference in Los Angeles this week.

I had a chance to try out the Star Wars game in one of the “Kinect Pods” at Microsoft’s booth on the E3 show floor. Here are my first impressions (and several photos) of the game:

  • The graphics are solid, though they aren’t as immersive as Call of Duty or Gears of War. You won’t complain about them, but you won’t celebrate them either.
  • The mechanics for using your lightsaber, using the Force, and moving are reasonably intuitive. I had to get used to using the lightsaber with my right hand (I’m a lefty), but Microsoft promises you’ll be able to switch hands in the full version of the game.
  • The controls are clunky. Using the Force is decent, but you can definitely miss commands because the Kinect didn’t recognize the move. Hopefully LucasArts and Microsoft will improve the controls for the game’s launch.
  • Swinging the lightsaber isn’t a killer experience yet. The lightsaber can only turn so far — there won’t be any 360-degree sword-swinging motion. It’s mostly slash and hack.
  • It’s a mainly linear style of gameplay. Kinect controls aren’t ideal for exploration games (Disneyland Kinect is an important exception). In Kinect Star Wars, you’re moving forward through the storyline, jumping ledges and slashing bad guys. Hopefully the full game will be less linear and more exploratory.
  • The demo ends with two Sith lords activating their lightsabers and challenging you to battle. It was a nice teaser for the lightsaber-on-lightsaber battles that will surely make or break this game.
  • Overall the game feels like it has solid potential, if they can tighten up the controls. It’s still early though; the game won’t be released until Q4, 2011.

Kinect Star Wars: Photos



The Kinect Star Wars Logo





I'm preparing to slash one of my enemies





A couple of Jedi newbies





The droids are coming! The droids are coming!





May the force be with you





Video Teaser


More About: e3, kinect, microsoft, Star Wars, Star Wars Kinect, xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Kinect

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June 08 2011

The Top 6 Xbox Announcements at E3 [PHOTOS]


Microsoft kicked off the E3 with lots of Kinect, Xbox Live and the first trailer to what is guaranteed to be a smash success, Halo 4.

Although Microsoft didn’t have any new hardware to show off (unlike Nintendo and Sony), the gaming giant showed off some highly anticipated upcoming games such as Tomb Raider, Mass Effect 3, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Gears of War 3 and Forza Motorsport 4. Microsoft also unveiled a revamped version of Xbox Live and announced a few other surprises.

We’ve combed through all of Microsoft’s announcements this week and boiled them down to the top five announcements you need to know about. Without further ado, here are the top six headlines for Microsoft Xbox at E3:


1. Tomb Raider Gets a Reboot




Microsoft showed off the new Tomb Raider. It's a prequel exploring the origins of how Lara Croft became the tomb raider. We've known about the game for a while, but this is the first time Microsoft showed actual gameplay.


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In the opening scene, Lara has to free herself from bondage and escape a collapsing tomb.


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We're impressed with what we've seen so far.


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Lara dramatically looks over a cliff.


2. Xbox Live Gets YouTube, Bing, Live TV




Xbox Live is getting a facelift. Director of Programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb (pictured) introduced the new features.


More on the New Xbox Live




Showing off some of Xbox Live's new movie search capabilities


More on the New Xbox Live




YouTube is coming to Xbox Live.


More on the New Xbox Live




Another shot of YouTube on Xbox Live


More on the New Xbox Live




Live TV is also coming to Xbox Live this year. You can control live TV with your voice through Kinect.


More on the New Xbox Live




Bing is coming to Xbox Live. It's not full web search, but voice commands for searching through Xbox Live content.


More on the New Xbox Live




UFC President Dana White came on stage to announce UFC content was coming on Xbox Live.


3. Kinect Disneyland




Disneyland is coming to Kinect. Disney and Microsoft have partnered to recreate the entire park on Xbox 360, and it looks pretty convincing and detailed.


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The rides on Kinect Disneyland are essentially mini-games. In this one, you're flying with Peter Pan on the Peter Pan's Flight ride in Disneyland. You need to collect coins while avoiding cannonballs.


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Another ride they showed off, Alice in Wonderland, goes through the entire Alice universe.


4. Star Wars Kinect




You can finally fling your lightsaber around using Kinect. Microsoft showed off some of the gameplay and a few of the moves.


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It's not just lightsabers, though. You can move objects by moving your arms.


5. Kinect Fun Labs




Microsoft announced a new experimental lab program for Kinect. It's a place for the "leading edge of Kinect innovation." It's essentially a collection of Kinect experiences made by developers that don't quite fit the game mold.


More on Kinect Fun Labs




One of the labs, Kinect Me, scans your body and transforms you...


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...into a 3D Kinect avatar. It definitely wowed the audience


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Another Kinect Fun Labs experiment allows you to draw in 3D. You can draw a sparkling line in front of and behind a person's image on the screen and view it in 3D.


6. Halo 4




Halo 4 is real and it hits store shelves in late 2012.

More About: e3, gaming, kinect, microsoft, xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Kinect

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June 07 2011

Nintendo Wii U: New Gaming Console Revealed [PICS]


Nintendo has just unveiled the Wii U, the gaming giant’s next-generation console. The much-anticipated console was unveiled at Nintendo’s E3 press conference in Los Angeles.

Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata teased the audience before the announcement. He told the audience that Nintendo’s goal with its new console is to make a system that will appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers.

“The goal of innovation is to serve every player — then though each brings to video games an individual appetite, a personal passion and a distinct gaming history,” Iwata said.

The console’s controller utilizes a touchscreen that can play games on its own. Its augmented reality system allows for direct interaction between the touchscreen and the television. It has a 6.2-inch screen with two analog controllers, a gyroscope and a front-facing camera. The controller isn’t a portable gaming device though — it gets its images streamed wirelessly from the console.

Nintendo demonstrated the power of the Wii U controller in a series of videos. One demo showed a user throwing ninja stars from the controller directly onto the TV. Another one showed the controller on the ground and a user using it as a golfing green surface with the Wiimote. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime also announced one of the titles in development for Wii U: Lego City Stories. Batman: Arkham City, Tom Clancey’s Ghost Recon, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3 and Metro Last Light are also in development for the Wii U.

The console is backward-compatible with Nintendo Wii games and the Nintendo Wii controllers. In fact, some games can utilize both controllers, creating a new myriad of gameplay possibilities. The console will be available sometime in 2012.

Christina Warren contributed to this article.


Wii U




Nintendo says it chose "U" for the name of its new device to emphasize the personal aspect of the new controller.


Wii U and Controller




The new controller is the most innovative aspect of Wii U, bringing a video screen/touch experience to the console.


Wii U Console




The console looks quite nondescript, gone are the more striking lines of the Wii.


Wii U Sans TV




Although the Wii U controller does require a console, you can play games without having to interface with the TV.


Wii U Controller




The new controller features a camera and a full control pad, in addition to the 6.2" screen.


Wii U Stylus




The Wii U is touch friendly but can also be interfaced with using a stylus, a la the Nintendo DS and the 3DS.


Wii U Controller in Action





Wii U Multiplayer Mode




When four players isn't enough, the Wii U can act as a controller/screen for a fifth friend.


Wii U Touch




The screen is touch sensitive.


Super Mario Bros. Mii




This is a screenshot from the Super Mario Bros. Mii game for Wii U.


Wii U Stylus in Action




If you think this looks like half of a DS, you're not alone. Nintendo is taking what it has used with its portable devices to make its home console even better.


Wii Remote Plus and Wii U





Wii U Portrait Mode




The Wii U Controller has an accelerometer and a gyroscope built in and it can be used in alternate orientations.


Wii U Web Control




The Wii U controller can be used to zoom in and navigate web content on your TV.


Wii U Controller Rear




This is how the controller looks from the rear.

More About: e3, gaming, Nintendo, nintendo 3ds

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LIVE: Nintendo’s E3 Presentation

Nintendo is just starting is big press conference for E3 2011 and you can check out all the announcements live as they happen.

We’ve got the stream embedded above and Nintendo is also streaming the conference on its website. Watch on to see previews on the new Zelda, Project Cafe and more!


More About: e3, Nintendo

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PlayStation Vita: First Impressions [PHOTOS]


Sony’s next-generation handheld gaming system, the PlayStation Vita, has finally made its official debut. How does it stack up against Apple, Nintendo and the rest of the competition?

We had an extended chance to play with the PlayStation Vita at Sony’s E3 press conference in Los Angeles. After going topsy-turvy while shooting robots in Little Deviants and shooting baddies in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, we have a few thoughts on Sony’s new gaming system and where it fits into the gaming ecosystem.

Here are our first impressions of the PlayStation Vita:

  • The Vita feels big but light in your hands. It’s significantly bigger than an iPhone or even a Droid X or an HTC Evo, but it’s easy to carry. The casing is made of plastic, so it doesn’t have the nice feel of glass or aluminum, but this doesn’t actually detract from the Vita experience.
  • The controls are nice. The analog sticks are smooth, and we had no problem with the touchscreen controls. The killer feature, though, is the touch interface on the back of the device, which opens up a ton of new gaming possibilities. Apple should take notice.
  • The screen resolution is killer. We loved playing games on the device. We could definitely watch movies on this thing.
  • LittleBIG Planet for Vita has some fun game play. Unlike some of the other games we played, it really knows how to combine the analog and touchscreen controls for a seamless experience.
  • The tennis game we played though can be played with just touchscreen controls or just analog controls. Sure, you can use both, but there’s no point. Games need to figure out how to integrate the two control inputs.
  • The $249 price tag will scare some people off, but it’s affordable for a handheld gaming system of this quality. Still, only true gamers will be dropping money for this, especially when the so many high-quality smartphones with gaming capabilities are on the market.
  • The front- and back-facing cameras make for some interesting augmented reality gameplay. Little Deviants is a good example of how to make augmented reality gaming work, though you won’t want to play that game on the train or the bus station.
  • The biggest question: Is the Vita better than the Nintendo 3DS? While Nintendo’s implementation of 3D on the portable is actually pretty good, the Vita feels like a system with more power. If you’re a more casual gamer, you’ll want the 3DS, and if you’re more on the hardcore side, you should get the Vita.
  • Does the Vita bring enough to the table to warrant getting it if you already have a smartphone? It’s all about paying for a deeper gaming experience. The Vita isn’t cheap, and its games will cost more than the standard mobile game. What you get in return are games with greater gameplay and more replay value. Once again, this is a device the hardcore gaming crowd will love, but we don’t think there’s enough to get the casual gaming crowd interested.

PlayStation Vita





PlayStation Vita





AT&T Is PlayStation Vita's 3G Partner





PlayStation Vita





PlayStation Vita





LittleBIG Planet





Street Fighter X Tekken





PlayStation Vita





PlayStation Vita





PlayStation Vita Station




More About: e3, NGP, playstation, PlayStation Vita, sony

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