Did you ever pull your hair out and bang the door every time your phone would give out in the middle of that all important conversation or your digital camera would turn off just when you were about to take pretty little Emily’s photo on her first birthday.
If that’s what you feel then welcome to the club. We feel you buddy because that’s what we’ve been through. But before you slam your gadget against the wall, think about the Eneloop USB Booster Stick, a portable device that can be compatible with your phone or camera and keep it from turning off.
Sanyo decided to gift gadget freaks on the move with the charging stick. We decided to find out about the gizmo that backs up other mobile small electronics and here are our impressions.
What you’re looking at…
The Eneloop USB Booster Stick is a sleek, slim, featherweight charger for all devices with USB charging cable. The Eneloop Booster Stick comes with 2 Eneloop Nickel-Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries that power it. This nifty little gadget charges or supplies power to devices for 90 minutes at an output of 5V/500mA. With its batteries, it weighs just 76 grams, which is just about the perfect weight of the average ghost. The size of the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is 5.82 x 0.7”.
The Sunny Side…
- The great thing about the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is that it can back up most of the useful portable electronics like portable game consoles, music players, and, oh of course, mobile phones.
- Certain phones and other devices require high current for proper charging. Apple’s I phone is one such example. The booster stick delivers power to such devices by regulating the charge current sent to that device.
- Don’t be sad if you don’t like the number 90. The power of the booster stick can be extended for an indefinite amount of time by carrying extra batteries.
- 45 U.S. dollars. That’s all Sanyo is asking for this ultra useful charger. All that hard work for just a small price tag.
The Shady Side…
- Toys that are not USB charge enabled won’t be charged with the Eneloop USB booster Stick. We really wish this were not so. It would have been cool if the stick was multifaceted. But with many devices becoming USB enabled we can’t say we are going to be sad for long.
- Doesn’t come with a USB cable of its own so you can’t do anything if you lose the USB cable (and your banging the door would be justified in that case) of any device you want to boost up. But then again, what are the chances of that happening huh?
Besides missing a couple of things we talked about, the Eneloop USB Booster Stick is a great, must-have complement to your portable electronics collection. You can finally go out on that long trip somewhere far far away without wondering what you’re going to do if your gadget’s power ran out. The sleek silver stick will give your device the right amount of inspiration that will get it back up on its feet again. That piece of aluminum almost makes us want to write a letter to dad. “Dear Dad. I need a charger really really badly”.
Honda Driving Simulator-Driving Like You Have Never Driven Before
Get real! Are we sitting inside a real Honda or just a simulator? We thought we could answer the question but we just didn’t. Why? It’s as real as it gets that’s why. Finally we could accidentally hit that dog crossing the road without hurting anyone. Ooops! The Honda Driving Simulator is here with some upgrades. Find out why we are on our toes aching to get on that fake 4-wheels and learn something we missed in driving school.
What you’re looking at…
If secondary students want to learn some real useful skills and develop reflexes vital to driving then this gadget is their best option. For the sole purpose of traffic education Honda has been making simulators for bicycles, motor bikes and, of course, cars for nearly a decade. Secondary schools have their eye on Honda’s latest toy and we think their investment is worth it. The Honda Driving Simulator is built specifically to help driver trainees detect potential threats on the road and develop reflexes to react to them in time.
The Honda Driving Simulator comes with 2-axis motion base type as an addition to the original 6-axis motion base type.
The Sunny Side…
- The high definition 42 inch LCD display is one of the reasons for the realistic driving experience we enjoyed. Looking at the screen, you’re not going to want to take your eyes off the road and your hands off the steering wheel.
- The touch panel monitor is user friendly. How could Honda miss that? Remember, this is a Honda toy don’t forget it.
- So did you pass or flunk? Yup, the Honda Driving Simulator displays the results of your performance at the end of the simulation. You get comprehensive feedback on what you’re doing on that virtual road.
- The Honda Driving Simulator also features “night mode”, “fog mode” and “highway experience mode” for a total and realistic simulation. You’ll be an ace veteran after sitting on this thing in no time.
The Shady Side…
- Driving simulation differs from real world driving with a driving teacher sitting beside you. If you made a mistake the trainer would immediately correct it. This is because of direct communication.
- There are certain scenarios where we thought a trainer was needed but the database and the broad array of situations the machine can create more than makes up for this. There is no doubt that driving simulation is the modern safe way to learn driving.
- The 2 axis motion base costs a huge $ 66,000 while the 6-axis version will cost you an eye-popping $104,540. It seems we won’t be bringing home one of these to keep beside our game consoles!
Every time we drive on the road we risk our lives. There’s no doubt that driving simulators like the Honda Driving Simulator are invaluable tools for safely learning driving without endangering the lives of others or risking your own neck. Some people give the Honda Driving Simulator two thumbs up and others give an A+. But if we are asked what we would do, we would take our hats off saluting Honda and that’s it.
A Look At The Aluratek Libre
We were wondering what to do while waiting for a friend. We had to show to the doc for a bad case of flu. We couldn’t exactly laugh out loud with some of the funny text messages we sent to one another.
This is a hospital for God’s sake! We were just about to get infected with a bad case of boredom ourselves. And then a light bulb just turned on.
What would reading with an Aluratek Libre be like? We decided to find out. But one thing’s for sure, it would surely beat dumb text messaging.
What you’re looking at…
Book maniacs and read freaks are up for a real treat with the Aluratek Libre. Finally, there is a respectable way to be a book worm. Many are under the impression that for reading ebooks they might have to turn to Sony, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The Aluratek Libre ebook reader is an affordable alternative.
With 117 MB RAM, 5” display, expansion slot of up to 32 GB and a battery life of 24 hours with 2 weeks standby time, the Aluratek Libre is a pretty package packed with user-friendly and reader-friendly functions. Heck, it’s not too bad to look at either with the charcoal colored plastic casing that isn’t stained with finger prints or smudges.
It’s like you took it right off the shelf. There’s more in the bag. The Libre comes complete with ebook reader pro, a USB cable, a power charger, a hand strap, earphones, a carrying pouch (and you thought it was naked or something), a quick start guide, and warranty and registration cards.
The Sunny Side…
- Wow 179 bucks! That’s great! Mommy can’t say no. You get a cocktail of functionalities with a friendly price tag.
- The 2GB SD is preloaded with 100 ebooks so after getting the gizmo you can pretty much get lost in the world of black and white.
- The refresh rate is faster than an electric shock.
- You can turn the page fast and read on with crystal clear resolution.
- In the desert, the Aluratek Libre is your best friend. That gizmo can last for 24 hours before the recharge indicator lights up. The device can last 2 weeks to a month on standby mode.
The shady side…
- We missed some of Amazon Kindle’s functionality like Wi-Fi which isn’t here but the price tag more than makes up for this.
- The Aluratek Libre has no internal storage but the 2GB SD card fills up the gap just fine.
- Sometimes we wished The Aluratek Libre had a screen as big as the Kindle but we forgot that wish real fast after listening to some MP3 background music while reading. You enjoy this facility in the Libre.
We welcome the Libre to the ebook revolution.The Libre hits its competitors with a friendly price tag. It’s not too much to ask for all its offering. All in all we wouldn’t go to a gizmo store for the Aluratek Libre and walk out empty handed and neither should you.
The Motorola Droid
There’s nothing really motor about the Motorola Droid. In fact the functions it brings to your pocket for your pocket money is pretty much high tech and easily summed up with the “Droid” part of Motorola Droid. It’s multifaceted and there are bright sides and dark sides to it but at the end of the day you want to answer the question: Is it worth your buck? We pretty much think so.
What you’re looking at…
The droid leads the pack in being the fastest Android device for Google so far. It’s not surprising to know that the web browser is fast as lightning on this thing. The device boasts better messaging and contact management. You could talk for long periods without sensing any ill effect on call quality.
The sunny side…
Motorola Droid is sure to cultivate fans with a beautiful high resolution screen. Coupled with smooth scrolling and a great implementation of the virtual keyboard, the result it shows could make any owner a happy camper.
-We loved to browse using the Motorola Droid.
The zoom is absolutely awesome and you can’t miss a thing with this kind of a feature.
-Fans won’t go on an empty stomach with Google and uploading issues. Motorola provides its users with turn by turn navigation on Google absolutely free, plus there is a wide array of mobile applications to choose from. Owners won’t own an empty phone.
-If you want to share memories with folks worldwide or just make a mini documentary, this is the phone you want to turn to. The video recorder is wonderful and uploading to YouTube is as easy as biting a banana.
-The width and thickness of the phone will remind you of the I phone. Processor responsiveness will put a smile on your face for sure.
The shady side…
-The keyboard is made a bit too flat so it’s not too hot for typing but it gets the job done. Also, sometimes you wished your thumb was on the other side if you were a right hander and tried to open the keyboard because it opens up the wrong way.
-Physical buttons for calling, hanging up and mute for phone use are missing so you might be slowed down when trying to perform these functions.
-Sometimes, only sometimes we missed a few calls while having the phone in our pockets because the vibration function is a bit weak. Sometimes you wished it vibrated a bit more. There’s also that minute camera lag.
-You’re going to need some patience on your side while playing videos on you tube.
Verizon customers won’t be disappointed with this smart phone. Fans will cling to the good points while critics will hang on to the bad ones. The shady angles however are not shady enough to keep your wallet in your pocket. Overall a pretty package, the Motorola Droid leads previous droid devices and will not only serve your cause, but it will also look great near your wallet.
I am Dadmin. I have three children varying in ages from 1st grade to high school, so I’ve been dealing with strategizing on the best way to exercise my geekery to keep my kids safe. I use a few different items to ensure I am keeping abreast of my children’s online lives.
- I talked to them about proper online safety. Things like : Don’t talk to strangers, don’t publish things like your last name, address, or phone number, don’t accept any files from anyone, and you must give me a current password for any accounts you want to have. Like any good EULA, I make them agree to all my demands before they get access to anything. I also let them know that I will be tracking them. What they say, who they talk to and where they go. This is the most important step and involves no technology whatsoever.
- Open DNS. Domain Name Servers are utilized as a sort of phone book for the internet. You enter www.zmogo.com and your internet browser goes to the DNS server and looks up the IP address (ex: 10.1.1.1). Open DNS is a free service that I can point my broadband router to that also allows me to control what sites they can and can’t get to. Setting it up is simple. Just go to http://www.opendns.com and follow their instructions. It takes just a minute or so to do. Then log in to the Open DNS account and begin to limit the sites your home network can get to. It took us a bit of time to fine tune it to our needs. I entered in some sites that were not adult, but just not where I wanted them to go, plus selected some categories to prevent large sections of adult material and such from being accessible to them. This covers a majority of the items I didn’t want them getting into.
- Real VNC. (http://www.realvnc.com) Commonly used for remote administration of computers, I set up a Real VNC server on each of the computers so I can take a peak at what they are doing at any given time. I made them all aware that I can do this and that they wouldn’t know I was there watching, so even if they were doing something to negate my other strategies, I could catch them red-handed and punishment would be revocation of Internet privileges.
- Since our oldest is a fan of Instant Messaging, I required that all his conversations be saved to a server. I did this in a setting that said something like Archive conversations and then you choose a location. I can then track actual conversations he’s having with his friends and can ask questions about people he chats with online. Sure, he can turn off the archiving on his computer, but if I stop receiving updated message logs on the server, I know he did it and can reprimand him, and turn it back on. Every instant messenging system is different, so find out where this setting is on the tool your child uses.
- Keeping the computer in an open space is always the best idea. This makes it far less tempting to try to get around the controls that are in place is someone is watching.
- Lastly, I install a keylogger, which captures all the keystrokes on that computer. It is done silently behind the scenes and ensures I can see EVERYTHING that is going on on that computer. I like keyloggers like Home Keylogger (http://www.kmint21.com/keylogger/) or KGB Keylogger (http://www.sharewareconnection.com/free-kgb-key-logger.htm)
I am sure to let them know that I am tracking their keystrokes as well and using any software or hardware to avert it is in direct violation of the EULA we agreed about prior to accessing the internet.
Yes, I may have gone a little overboard and utilizing all these avenues is not for everyone, but if using this to keep tabs on your kids who are hiding things from you can prevent big problems, then I am all for it. Honestly, just showing them what I can do to track them is enough to keep them out of trouble because they know they can’t get away with anything.
Jon Peddie research has just capped off a five year study of the sales, profits and strength of the PC gaming hardware market. According to the research firm, which specializes in graphics and multimedia studies, the PC gaming industry is looking stronger than the console gaming industry, despite the current recession. Over at Macworld they’ve taken the study at face value, but some might find it a bit hard to take seriously.
It is widely advertised that the videogame industry seems to be recession-proof. While most people have cut back their spending on indulgences like vacations and eating out, the desire to satisfy the videogame indulgence is almost as strong as ever. Overall sales of videogames and videogame systems have only seen a relatively small drop compared to the significant hit that other industries have taken.
The strength of the videogame industry is not news to most people, but Jon Peddie research has thrown a bit of a curveball regarding this trend. According to their latest study, PC gaming hardware sales are holding up better than console sales.
This may come as a surprise to some people. While PC gaming will always be a strong industry, the release of next-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 has put a serious dent in PC gaming’s chunk of the market. Gone are the days when the PC had an exclusive claim to the best graphics, online play, and genres like the first-person shooter. Nowadays the console provides just as impressive HD graphics, online play, and much more affordable prices than the PC. If anything, many people would find reasonable the claim that the PC gaming industry has been losing steam compared to the booming sales of the console market.
So what exactly did this study find that has so defied our expectations? According to its own site, The Jon Peddie study is a:
unique analysis that does a bottom-up forecast of systems based on GPU and PC shipments, and a macro-economic top-down forecast based on the eco-demographics which covers 36 countries.
There are at least a few hard numbers given by the study firm. According to the site, PC hardware sales only dropped from $20.07 billion to $18.65 billion in 2008, and the study’s forecast for 2009 predicts only a $1.4 billion drop, which is less than the forecast for the console market. According to Jon Peddie research, this shows the value customers place on the product.
Fair enough. But how did they come up with the numbers for this study? This is where things get a bit muddy. According to the study’s site, console sales include money spent on consoles, accessories, and a factor for HDTVs to play the consoles on. Likewise, PC sales include money spent on PCs, accessories, after-market add-ons, and a percentage for a monitor, since the same monitor might be kept through the life of more than one PC.
Right off the bat a couple of things about the study’s use of factors and percentages demand looking into. How much is the factor for an HDTV compared to a monitor? How many accessories are presumed to have been purchased for an avergae gaming PC compared to a console? How much after-market modification do they assume someone does to their PC? If the percentages for a PC monitor are higher than for and HDTV without good reason, for example, then the numbers could be heavily skewed; a small percentage multiplied over millions and millions of sales will add up to a very significant difference.
The study’s unexpected findings are made even more incredible with a forecast that predicts that PC gaming sales will reach $30 billion in 3 years. Despite the current recession. And despite the fact that PC gaming hardware has caught up to the demands of most games and most PC gamers don’t need or want enough super-cutting-edge hardware to warrant such a massive boost in sales. At least some people might think this, without having a look any real hard numbers related to the PC and console gaming industry.
Unfortunately, there are no readily-available hard numbers, and also no answers to our questions, because the specific details of the study are not open to the public. All we are given is a somewhat half-hearted attempt at an explanation for PC gaming’s supposed market strength. Jon Peddie Research states that:
The conclusion the researcher at JPR have come to is that people are staying home more, less movies, less dinners out, postponed vacations, and turning to other forms of entertainment. PC Gaming is a very economical form of entertainment, a $50 game can provide hundreds of hours of play, and it’s not uncommon for players to replay a game. Also, purchases of a PC for gaming can be shared since the machine can be used for watching (and creating) videos, as well as office work and web browsing, something consoles can’t offer.
But this is a bit of a non-answer. A $50 dollar console game can also give hundreds of hours of play and replay. Further, consoles can and are used for watching movies. My household has all but written off the DVD player, opting instead to watch movies through the Xbox 360. Finally, gaming PCs being used for office work and web browsing does not account for sales of things like gaming accessories and high-end graphics and memory sales; any PC can be used for such things, and PC gamers are not going to spend more on gaming-related hardware as a result of their computer being able to do word-processing.
Overall, this study seems to hit us with some counter-intuitive conclusions. The signs are out there for anyone to see: console games are more popular, affordable, and powerful than ever, whereas PC gaming has fallen from its former days of gaming supremacy. Yet JPR’s study apparently found otherwise.
Is JPR’s study skewed towards giving the PC gaming industry a favourable look? Were more accessories and costs figured in for PC gaming than console gaming, and was there justification for such a choice? It would be nice to see the details of the study and find out, but unfortunately a copy of it costs $5000.
If consumers are willing to pay a price like that for a JPR study, then apparently the PC gaming industry isn’t the only one doing unexpectedly well.
Media hype again has people buzzing over the introduction of Windows 7, Microsoft’s latest operating system. But Microsoft’s errors are finally giving Linux an edge in the race of operating system supremacy. Linux began gaining ground with the release of Microsoft’s Me. To say that Me had some problems is like saying the present economy seems to be lagging. Microsoft made up some of the ground lost by Me with the introduction of XP, but there has been a series of ups and downs along the way.
The public has already become skeptical of the operating system that once essentially WAS the computing industry. I’ll go through the reasons why a shift to Linux is now not only possible, but maybe imminent.
Through the releases by Microsoft throughout the years the only thing that was truly reliable was that there was no reliability. Windows 95 truly did turn the industry on its ear and set a new standard. Windows 98 was an attempt to capitalize on 95′s success and was a complete failure. Windows Me managed to outdo 98′s failure and today is largely unknown. At least Microsoft is trying hard to forget it. Windows NT was solid and would have certainly counted as an up for Microsoft had it not been so incredibly difficult to work. Windows XP was the operating system that put the bounce back in Microsoft’s step. It seemed both simple and brilliant and was a bridge back to what Microsoft had accomplished in the first place. And then Windows Vista came close to toppling all the success of XP.
By looking at this progression of Microsoft’s up’s and down’s, I don’t think much should be expected from Windows 7.
Linux, on the other hand, has been far more consistent. Linux has been gaining ground at a pretty constant pace. Nearly each one of their releases has had the tendency to get better with age. Their key components of desktops, security, servers, admin tools and end-user software have seen improvements as time has gone on. Linux’s each new step gains ground instead of occasional steps back, exactly as they are supposed to do.
Additionally, Microsoft continues to make price increases. Some price increases can be seen as needed, but when they seem to come only as a reach for more cash out of greed, particularly in this time of a troubled economy when people and businesses need to hold on to every dime that they can, Microsoft comes across looking very bad indeed.
A good example is Microsoft’s decided licensing fee for Exchange. It is now necessary for anyone who uses Exchange to have a license for it. This can be hassle for the individual user, but for companies with 500 people who need to use Exchange the price really starts to add up. At a time when companies across the globe are cutting back on costs, the idea of Microsoft making this change is reprehensible.
Linux has not been known to make any cash grabs like the Microsoft Exchange licensing fee. Everything for Linux has been across the board and when people looked for a replacement for Exchange many have opted for EGroupware and Open Xchange. Both excellent groupware tools offering larger feature sets than the Microsoft equivalent that are secure, reliable and, aside from the hardware to install them, free.
One of the reasons for Microsoft Vista’s failure was its incompatibility. People had to shell out more money for new hardware to run the operating system. Hardware that would run just about everything else on the market would have trouble with only Vista. It is easy to see why this would cause a negative perception of Microsoft. Whereas Linux continues to advance in hardware compatibility. X,org can even allow the X Windows server the ability to run without the x.org.conf file used for configuration because the system has grown so good at detecting software. Distributions such as Fedora 10 from Linux are making configurations a thing of the past.
With the impending release of Windows 7 we also get more of Microsoft’s promises. They seem to make the claim that they will catch lightening in a bottle and revolutionize the computer industry with every release. Vista was supposed to be invisible, but was constantly a noose around everything. Me was supposed to take 98 and make the average user look like he was anything but average. Instead it made just about every other functioning system unusable except e-mail and a browser leaving everyone pretty average.
Seeing this time and time again the public has grown so wary of Microsoft that most of the public probably hasn’t even heard that there is an impending launch set. The media will no doubt push the launch, but most computer users will continue to use XP until it become unusable. And no one can really be sure of when Windows 7 will arrive.
Linux distribution has always been virtually transparent. All of their release candidates are open to the public because of the nature of open source. And time lines are always available to anyone who wants a look. This is due to the fact that Linux distributors work under a full-disclosure model. With this we see very little false ad leaks and there is no false rumor mill associated with the products. Linux holds back on claims and promises and lets the users decide for themselves.
The upcoming releases are for Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Linux’s Fedora 11. Here’s a look at the features of both.
- Windows 7: OS X-like docking; multi-touch screen; mapping application similar to Google Earth; hypervisor visualization; location-aware apps; user-access control improvements; sidebar removal
- Fedora 11: Boot time of 20 seconds; Btrfs file system; better C++ support; Cups PolicyKit integration; DNS security; ext4 default file system; fingerprint reader integration; Ibus input method replaces Scim to overcome limitations; Gnome 2.26; KDE 4.2; Windows cross-compiler inclusion
Both of these systems certainly seem exciting. But Fedora 11 may be ahead by the fact that it is already on a great operating system where Windows 7 will require new hardware.
There are still many questions that are unanswered for Windows 7, but it seems imminent that it will not be useable in the netbook market. With XP on the way out it appears that the netbook market will belong to Linux.
We will see if the public has become too jaded by the past empty promises of Microsoft to let Windows 7 be a success and shine over the failures of Vista or if this will be another victory for Linux. Stay tuned for further details.
Today Derby, England based Strawdog Studios announced their first iPhone title, called Turbo Duck.
Strawdog Studios are the makers of the upcoming XBox Live Arcade title Bounce, which we wrote about earlier in an article about 9 XBLA games to watch for, so we can most likely expect Turbo Duck to be a light-hearted and enjoyable game.
Turbo Duck will be Strawdog’s first foray into the iPhone/iPod touch world. In it, players will control Turbo Duck, a duck that can turbo, not surprisingly. The goal is to guide Turbo Duck through a bathtub obstacle course in a race against time.
Of course, Turbo Duck will make use of the iPhone’s unique accelerometer and touch screen controls, allowing players to navigate Turbo Duck into flags, which give you extra time, and around hazards like toy boats and mines, all by tilting and touching the iPhone.
According to the Strawdog press release, Turbo Duck will include:
20 Levels of bath-time fun
Submerging (and surfacing) submarines
Bonus Bread (Ducks like bread!)
Overall, Turbo Duck sounds like it is going to be a silly and fun game that is perfect for the iPhone, giving players a light and entertaining game with simple but fun mechanics.
After Turbo Duck is released, iPhone gamers can likely expect more Strawdog games on the Apple hardware. According to Dan Marchant of Strawdog Studios, “The guys in the office think the iPhone is a great piece of technology and a fun platform to develop games on. Turbo Duck is our first dip in the iPhone pool but certainly won’t be our last.”
Turbo Duck will be available in English, French, Italian, German & Spanish for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. It will be out at the end of March 2009 priced at $1.99 / £1.19/ ¢â€šÂ¬1,59.
The Wii had so much promise when we first saw it in stores. The possibilities were exciting and a few amazing games gave us hope for a bright future. Sadly, what we have seen is an exorbitant amount of crappy party games and family-oriented software. The hardcore games were few and far between; the mature games were almost nonexistent.
I believe our cries have finally been heard, our calls have been answered. Not only are there a good number hardcore games being released this year that anybody can play (Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Arc Rise Fantasia), but there are some great mature games coming out as well. Below I have highlighted a number of these mature games, though I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. Feel free to mention any I missed in a comment below!
Mature Wii Games for 2009
Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop
Release Date: February 24, 2009
Nobody expected to see this graphics-heavy zombie slasher franchise make its way to the Wii, but it is a welcome surprise. The Wii game probably won’t be seeing hundreds of on-screen zombies at once like the 360 installment, but Capcom promises to deliver a spectacular and bloody adventure for the Wii via the Resident Evil 4 engine. The Wii-Mote IR control will give gamers the opportunity to blast zombie brains with pixel-perfect precision, letting you live out your zombie apocalypse fantasies with even greater realism.
Release Date: March 10, 2009
You’ve probably heard about Madworld by now, it’s been one of the most talked about Wii games the past few months. This murderfest is the answer to your savage cravings of mayhem, brutality, and gore. The game is presented in a Sin City-esque black and white style, littered with spiked objects and sharp edges. Players take control of Jack, a relentless mandman anti-hero (Marv?), who must kill all other contestants in a game show called Death Watch. This game is a must buy if any of the following sounds appealing to you: tearing through body after body with a chainsaw, impaling people upon a wall of spikes, stabbing a street sign through someone’s head, or ripping a person limb from limb with your bare hands.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Release Date: TBA 2009
World at War was released last year and it received some pretty good reviews. Modern Warfare 2 looks to improve upon the gameplay mechanics and take a step forward in the graphics and audio departments. We all know how CoD games work by now, so I don’t feel it necessary to dive into what the game is (you’re in a war). Previous online and extra feature offerings have been lacking on the Wii versions of CoD games, but this year I am anticipating a solid and well-rounded effort that will be on par with the PS3 and 360 as far as extras and features are concerned.
Release Date: June 2009
This is going to be your favorite Wii game of the year (if you believe the hype). High Voltage Software and SEGA are bringing an exclusive first-person shooter that is promised by many to trump all other Wii FPS attempts thus far. With a system that is so perfectly made for FPS titles, the Wii has been seriously lacking. The futuristic world of The Conduit presents some of the best graphics yet to be seen on the Wii and tight control mechanics to go with it. The shooting controls are reportedly the best ever seen on the Wii and the game contains a rich online experience that is complemented by WiiSpeak. You’ll be blasting through the alien forces that are invading Washington D.C. in supreme quality and style.
The House of the Dead: Overkill
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Overkill will give you an experience like no other on the Wii. The mature story and over-the-top language is enough to leave grandma crying in the corner, but the thousands of mutilated zombies, creepy locales, and abominable bosses take you back to the time when killing zombies meant getting your face melted off in horror and disgust. There are a wealth of extra modes that extend the replayability of the game and a crapload of weapons that will truly make you feel like a badass as you mow down those ugly brain-suckers.
Red Steel 2
Release Date: TBA 2009
Okay, so the first Red Steel wasn’t all that great. Ubisoft has had a couple of years to figure out the Wii and have the capability to bring Wii owners a much more solid offering this time around. The game will utilize the Wii MotionPlus for 1:1 swordplay precision and a few other things. The presentation of the first game is still pretty good compared to even recent Wii titles and will be further refined for the new installment to the series. If you are unfamiliar with Red Steel, it is an FPS that shares guns and swords. You can pop-a-cap in your enemy’s ass or slice it off, your choice. I’ve got some high hopes for RS2.
Sin & Punishment 2
Release Date: TBA 2009
Sin & Punishment was developed on the N64 and was never released in the US. The hardcore crowd demanded the game for years, and Nintendo finally released it for everyone to experience on Wii’s Virtual Console. Developer Treasure and publisher Nintendo are now bringing us a sequel to the fast-paced shooter. The game may not have the most realistic graphics or be ultra bloody, but the storyline is very mature. If you haven’t played the original yet, you need to. You’re going to want this game.
Overlord: Dark Legend
Release Date: TBA 2009
Codemasters and Climax Studios are bringing an all new exclusive Overlord game to the Wii. This is your chance to be evil, Wii owners. You’ll get to control a limitless arsenal of little minions that will do your every bidding as you build up your reputation as an evil tyrant. You’ll be destroying lives and demolishing homes in your quest to become supreme ruler of all that you are cruel enough to handle. Spread fear and gain power with the Wii-Mote in your hand and little minions at your side.
Release Date: Q2 2009
This survival horror game entrenches you in the mystery and serenity of the Himalayas. You take control of a mountain climber who is searching for his lost brother somewhere in the frigid, white mountains. Supernatural beings and events scourge the landscape and torment you throughout your quest. Things don’t look too good for your lost brother as this otherworldly infestation turns for the worst and blankets the mountain tops, villages, and lost ruins in a sea of death and decay.
Dead Space Extraction
Release Date: Q3 2009
Extraction is a prequel to the sci-fi survival horror game that hit big on the PC, PS3, and 360. Mutated monsters will be wreaking havoc and EA promises that this Wii entry will be every bit as bloody and gory as the last Dead Space game. The title was built from the ground up to take full advantage of the Wii hardware and controls. EA says that the innovative motion control they implemented will create a new action-packed horror experience that you’ve never been a part of before. The game features a co-op mode so you can blast away with a friend. Core gameplay mechanics remain the same; you’ll be focusing on strategic dismemberment and skillful shots as well as utilizing telekinesis and more. The Dead Space series should see a warm welcome on the Wii.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Release Date: TBA 2009/2010
The original No More Heroes is an extremely violent game that put you in a highly stylized world that was both unique and a little clunky. The game was packed with humor, style, and blood. No More Heroes 2 will offer no less and should fix some of the overworld issues that the original installment had. In the original game you took control of Travis Touchdown (a lethal assassin wielding a lightsaber) and killed other assassins for money and pride. NMH2 will take on a more serious revenge story this time around, yet will retain its sense of humor.
Here’s to a bloody fun 2009!
As we go about “realizing” our New Year’s resolutions were maybe just a bit too stringent, I’m going review the top five games in Linux. Once the great downfall of the platform, gaming can now only be considered a strength, in the hopes you take up this guilty pleasure and wait for 2010 before you give up on gaming. May I present the premier Linux gaming software with the best from each genre.
This FPS (first-person shooter) game is portable on all main operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac) and is built using the Quake engine.
Players choose between two races: aliens and humans. Both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and both are opposing teams on the same map. Whilst uncommon for an FPS, Tremulous allows you to build working structures that serve many functions, the most important being “respawning,” whereby if a player is killed, he reappears at a respawn site. Kills for your race earn you credits. For humans, this means better weapons or upgrades; for aliens, kills enable them to evolve into more powerful beings, the most powerful being the “Tyrant”. The objective behind the game is to not only kill all players of the opposing team (i.e. race) but also to destroy their “respawning” site(s), so that they can’t reappear. With an average of 400 users online at a time, there won’t be a moment left in the day to regret the amount of time you spent playing.
According to SourceForge statistics the game has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times as of 16/10/2008. It was also voted Player’s Choice Standalone Game Of The Year in the Mod Of The Year 2006 competition.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://tremulous.net/
Meaning “roast meat” in German, this C++ written FPS runs on the main operating systems (Windows, Macs and Linux) and is built using the rendering engine Cube 2, for those of you who aren’t keen followers of the Quake movement (as with Tremulous). The main distinction to make between Tremulous and Sauerbraten is the ability to edit the geometry of the map ingame. Coupled with an emphasis on 6-directional gameplay, this dynamic is going to keep you hooked. It supports both Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes, and the latter of the two offers three possible gameplays: Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, and Capture (whereby teams fight over certain areas of the map). For the Singleplayer mode, there is plenty to keep you busy, unlike in Tremulous. You have the option to play scenarios split into episodes, Deathmatches with bots ganging up on you, and the game even goes so far as to provide levels where you can fight in slow-motion.
MacWorld UK gave it four out of five stars, whereas Games For Windows: The Official Magazine mentioned it in Issue 3 with the reference “perfect for both stingy and creative gamers alike.” But now for an organization whose opinion matters… Phoronix, a purely Linux-orientated hardware and software reviews gave it a positive rating due to “several enchancements to its underlying “Cube 2″ engine”.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://sauerbraten.org/
Warzone 2100 (Strategy)
If you liked StarCraft, you’ll love this. The “3-D cross-platform real-time strategy” denotation doesn’t do justice to this once-proprietary program. This game is highly customizable, allowing everything from a wide array of camera angles, to the ability to customize drive systems (e.g. wheels/track) of your units. Warzone 2100 follows an episodic gameplay structure, following a sequence of scenerios whereby you have a time limit to complete the objectives stated using construction, upgrading, recruitment, etc. for the availability of the manpower required for the task. The latest stable version was released January 12, 2009.
Warzone 2100, once developed for the PlayStation (rating of 76%) and Windows, is now praised by the likes of IGN and Gamespot, which had the following to say about the game:
“Warzone 2100′s highly navigatable 3D engine, unique campaign structure, and multiplayer gameplay should please most real-time strategy fans”.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://wz2100.net/
This Spanish game, developed using Glest Advanced Engine, is basically a cross between Tremulous and Warzone 2100. It imitates the 3-D, real-time strategy idea of Warzone 2100 but with a medieval theme. It mimics Tremulous in that there are two opposing factions, Magic and Tech, both with their own strengths and weaknesses, both fighting each other on the same map. The Tech team is composed of conventional warriors with medieval weapons at their disposals, with their own unique set of units, buildings and upgrades. The Magic team is targeted at more experienced users where most of their army is “morphed” or “summoned.” Whilst lacking close combat skill, it makes up for it in brute power and versatility. For those of you who loved StarCraft on Windows – this is the game for you.
Like all great software, it’s open source and can be readily made available to you from the follow link: http://glest.wikia.com/wiki/GetGlest
For those among us who miss hearing the upbeat music of Level 1 SuperMario, may I present SuperTux. It’s the classic side-scrolling adventure game we all played in our childhood, only now, instead of Mario you have “Tux”, the penguin mascot of Linux. With “Penny” captured by bad guys, it’s up to Tux to rescue her.
Receiving Game Of The Month award by HappyPenguin.Org when it first came out, SuperTux went on to celebrate eight version updates and the SuperTux Development Team and Blizzard Entertainment are eagerly working to bring you Supertux 2. The beta release reiteration of SuperTux really brings back memories of SuperMario with multiple “Worlds”, a variety of monsters and a complimentary, childlike plot.
I hope these referrals introduce more users to the variety of games on the Linux platform. While much remains to be accomplished, we can at least revel in the progress made up to 2009, and look forward to what this year will bring for us.
By Mihai Marcas