Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weekly Special - Juushinden: Ultimate Beast Battlers for DS

Anyone else wanting a PSP special? Oh well, it's another Nintendo DS game special this week and it's quite a cool one ideed. Do you like card games? I do, I think some of them can be really fun to play (such as Magic: The Gathering) but cost a lot of money to buy all the cards and what not. Also finding people to play against and the time to actually finish a full game can be a problem. That's why card games work perfectly on handhelds, all those those factors are easily compensated for. With Juushinden: Ultimate Beast Battlers you'll take a half traditional and half digital approach to the card game. You'll recieve a deck of 40 cards to start with, which you place into the additional accessory included in the package and your card will be read and come to life on screen!

Note, it doesn't work on the DSi unfortunately, due to the missing GBA port and also, the game is in Japanese. Anyhow, this innovative game can be yours to own for the super low price of just $9.90, an astonishing saving of $55! Such a price reduction is unlikely to last very long, it's while stocks last and one per person, so grab it now!

"Think battle card games are over in this digital age? Think again.

Beast Battlers, the ultimate card action game is here. Slip the magic reader into the Nintendo DS and have it turn your 2D beast into breathing monster in your console. You don't have to take the beasts as they are, upgrade their power and other attributes through a power-up card. The bigger the deck you have, the better an edge you have over your opponents.

Each package comes with a pack of 40 cards and a battlefield card. Be sure to get to know other beast battlers to play in different battle fields and keep an eye out on booster packs for the better beast warriors.

Please bear in mind however, that the game does not work on Nintendo DSi as there was no slot on the new console for the magic reader."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gamepark Wiz

If you've been reading along here, you'll know that I'm pretty into the Gamepark Wiz. If you haven't, that might mean that you're new here, so welcome. I'll do a bit of an overview of the Wiz for those of you that are new, then let's talk a bit about the state of things on the GP2X Wiz.

The Wiz is the new portable handheld from GamePark Holdings (GPH). GPH is the Korean company that produced and marketed the GP2X line of portables, and they were started by individuals that quit the company named "Gamepark." Gamepark was responsible for the GP32 hand held videogame console.

The most popular use of the Gamepark Wiz is open-source creations (mainly games but also some apps). The development environment is available free of charge, and there is an great online community supporting this open-source scene at GP32x.com.

Emulation has always seemed to be the most popular application of the Gamepark line (GP32, GP2X, and Wiz). This varies from emulation of older gamesystems like the Game Gear or the TurboGrafx 16 to computer systems such as the Commodore 64. It also includes emulators simulating a broad range of systems like the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (or MAME).

The most exciting recent news is that the Giana's Return freeware game has been released as a public beta on the Gamepark Wiz. If you remember the Great Giana Sisters, then you'll want to check this out. I've heard of people buying a Wiz just for this game.

Of course, emulators like Mame4All continue to get updated and run more games faster. The GameBoy Advance emulator "gpSP" is running well, and of course older systems such as NES, Genesis, and SNES are all emulating smooth. Ported games such as Quake, Rise of the Triad, X-COM, and Quake 2 are rather exciting for the old-school PC gamers. I feel like the Wiz is just hitting its stride, so now is the time to pick yourself up a Gamepark Wiz!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekly Special - Hakuna Matata for PS3

Grab yourself a PS3 bargain this week and get set to explore Africa as you accept missions from others armed with your trusty camera and camping gear. Yep, you're a photographer and what better place to take some nice pictures of wildlife? Using the might of the PS3 to provide some stunning imagery Hakuna Matata can be yours to own for the exceptionally low price of just $19.90, a huge saving of $30! Yep, that's less than half price folks.

You'll be happy to know that the game is completely in English and will of course work on any PS3 worldwide, like every PS3 game out there. Isn't Region Free the coolest? It's time to snap some pictures of wildlife and enjoy the scenery, only while stocks last and only one copy per person!

"You are a photographer stationed in Africa in this adventure, as a professional you will have the newest equipment such as camera lenses and computers.

Accept missions by viewing proposals via your email system, finding and tracking animals are only the start of your mission, you might be asked to take photos of them at unique angles, such as taking a close up shot of a giraffe's face. You'd realize you need a lot of skills to be an accomplished photographer.

You'll have a lot of equipment to choose from, from cameras to your camping gear. Of course these cost money, so be sure to accept as much missions as you can manage, besides, some organizations provide you with useful equipment such as tripods that you can use even after you have completed their request.

The game makes use of PS3's stunning graphical capabilities to render animations of animals to the most life-like degree. Remember how a clip from the game is used as a demonstration of the PlayStation3 prowess during the console's promotion? Now you can see why."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tanabata Monogatari - Tegomass

Being the first temporary duo to release an album is prove enough that Tegoshi Yuuya and Masuda Takahisa's popularity. By debutting in Sweden with the English version of Miso Soup/ Chocolate, the group defined their exoticness.

Music from Johnny's production are pretty much bubble gum most of the time, with Kat-Tun being the spicier type and NEWS being slightly softer.

However, Tegomass does have pretty nice voices, although not extremely powerful, they sing very sweetly. Their hit singles Kiss Kaerimichi no Love Song, Aiai Gasa and Kataomoi no Chiisana Koi are perfect as theme songs for the shojo anime/TV series.

Of course they are perfect for shojo series. Johnny's boys always looked as if they walked out of a Shojo manga setting. That said, the PVs, live performance and fan event video clips are very much worth looking at, just see how they managed to create that sparkly, pastel colored fantasy world.

Aiai gasa was the first, and most sparkly PV I have seen. Sugar level of the song rocketed. But again, that was to be expected. As the theme song of Koei's Neo Angelique anime, what is better than something pastel and sparkly?

Next time the producers of Twilight wants to do apply glitter on vampires, watch the video first. There are things that are more aesthetic than sweat.

Their newest single Tanabata Matsuri was just as sweet, but comfortably less shoji-ish. Filmed with a team of children, dressed in yukatas, the two displayed how fun a Japanese festival is in an innocently traditional way.

Wish fulfillment is very big part of the Johnny's boys' charm. Get Kat-Tun if you prefer something with a dangerous edge, Hey! Say! Jump! if you prefer the bouncy energy and Tegomass if you prefer the sparkly sweet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Giana Sisters Download

Giana's Return Commercial Quality GP2X Wiz GameThe Giana Sisters download is finally available for you GPH Wiz users. This is the recent release from the Giana's Return team. From what I understand, this will be the public beta release to find errors in the code and determine the next steps for releasing it to other platforms.

To be clear, though, this is the full game of Giana's Return. It's quality is that of a commercial GP2X Wiz game! It is being released under the "beta" tag because the team wants gamers to test the game out and submit their opinions. If you have a GP2X Wiz, I would suggest that you take this opportunity to check out this new Giana Sisters download which is hosted over at PDRoms.

If you don't already know about or have a Gamepark Wiz, I suggest that you check out our GP2X Wiz review.

Weekly Special - Slide Adventure: Mag Kid for Nintendo DS

Fancy a new DS game to keep you entertained? This weekly special should do the trick! A fun game with a wierd name for a bargain price. Get yourself a copy of Slide Adventure: Mag Kid for one of the biggest discounts since this blog started. How big? Slide Adventure will set you back a mere $9.90, a whopping $49 discount off the regular price! It doesn't get much better than this, really.

While it is the Japanese version, it will work on any DS console worldwide and many previous buyers say that the game is easy to navigate and play even without being able to read any Japanese. Join Mag Kid in this tilting adventure as you use the slide controller to move him into enemies to defeat them and solve puzzles. Only one per person, so get in quick to avoid dissapointment, this one's gonna sell fast!

"Follow the wacky adventures of Mag Kid as he slips and slides into enemies while solving puzzles. Use the slide controller peripheral to make a stand for your DS and slide it around a smooth surface, making Mag Kid move around the screen with it."

Monday, July 13, 2009

RC Submarine | Sub-Sonic XP

Let's face it, radio controlled submarines are just a cool concept. Silverlit Electronics' remote control submarine named "Sub-Sonic XP" is no exception. I recently got a chance to play with one for a couple of days. Check out the footage of a couple of my friends and me playing with it in a pool while on vacation to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

I should also mention that if you like the music in the above video, it's done by "Owl City" which is a guy named Adam Young. They have a new album coming out in less than a day. In fact, if you use iTunes, log on there because his new single, "Fireflys" will be the single of the week (meaning it's free to download for the week) starting July 14th.

RC Submarine | Sub-Sonic XPFor a small toy submarine, the Sub-Sonic XP is fairly complex. The controller has dual thumb-sticks, each of which control one of the rear propellers. To go straight, you push both up. To go backwards, you push both down. If you want to turn or spin, then you either only use a single thumb-stick or do a combination of one up and one down.

The two shoulder-buttons control the submerge and emerge of the remote control sub. Essentially, there are 3 propellers on the sub. Two control the horizontal direction of the sub, and one controls the vertical depth of the submarine.

The best way that I found to get it to dive was to let the sub come to rest, and then hit the submerge shoulder button. When it was under water about 1 foot, hit the emerge button once (which would stop the submerging). Then, you could start tooling around with the thumb sticks. If you kept submerging, you might get it to suction on to the bottom of the pool (which isn't a problem). We even got it suctioned to the side a couple times. You can drive around with the submerge or emerge propeller running, too. This makes for interesting and fun loops and flips.

Radio Controlled SubmarinesThe Sub-Sonic XP comes with the controller, the charging base, and the mini toy sub itself. The remote controller takes 1 9V battery, while the charging base needs 3 AA batteries. The RC submarine itself has it's own rechargeable battery, and to charge it, you place it on the charging base for about 3 minutes. Then, they say it's good to go for about 3 minutes. It seemed to me that it lasted much longer than 3 minutes, but I would say that after about 3 minutes it would start to get a bit touchy about how close it was to the controller. If you started getting too far away, it might stop functioning, and that range decreased when the battery got lower. After the battery started getting real low, it would start to behave erratically and do things like only operate one of the propellers at a time.

All-in-all, this RC submarine is well worth it's low price. If you like hobby style radio controlled submarines or you're just looking for a fun lake or pool toy, look no further. Play-Asia has the Sub-Sonic XP, and I think you'll find it to be quite impressive and enjoyable.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some PS3 Fimware Updates Optional

A while ago, I complained about the annoyance of the regular mandatory firmware updates. If you didn't update, you couldn't play online or use the chat functions to contact your PSN buddies. Very annoying, especially if you want to play at that moment or talk to one of your friends. Of course if you hadn't played in a while and you finally did find some time for online gaming, you'd be required to do the update which sometimes was horrendously slow. In fact, I stopped downloading the firmware updates through the PS3 and instead used a download manager with multiple connections to get the update from the Sony site. From there, I would copy it to a USB stick and update, although the PS3 doesn't always recognize the contents properly, as I mentioned in the previous article.

This has changed with the 2.80 firmware. Did Sony read my post? Doesn't matter, either way 2.80 is not a mandatory update. Kudos to Sony for making the change.

Here's what Eric Lempel, Sony Director of Network operations had to say in an interview with PC World (Why PC world???): "We actually gave consumers the option to update. What I mean by that is, prior to 2.80 you had to update. So you'd turn on your PS3 and it would say, you know, if you want to to in the store, if you want to play an online game, or go into PlayStation Home, it would say there's an update available, please update before moving any further.

With 2.8 it was an option. Users didn't have to update when it released, and actually weren't prompted to do so because there weren't any costumer-specific functionality. I'd say a majority of consumers out there who just wait to get hit by these updates didn't even know about it. They might still not know about it."

About time, but better late than never. Let's have few mandatory updates please, only if they're significant!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Piano no mori

It's one of those anime that actually makes you feel the summer heat and smell the sweat on the characters. Makoto Isshiki is probably better known for his Hanada Shounen Shi, an urban fantasy(?) about a primary school boy who gained the power to see ghosts through his near death experience.

While Hanada portrays reality through the supernatural, Piano no Mori portrays magic through realistic settings. An unused piano dumped in the middle of a forest clearing alone calls up a picture from the fairy tales. How music transforms Kai's life and how Kai influences the young musicians' lives are nothing less magical.

There are no explosions, almost no violence (there are children and drunken brawls) a perfect movie for the summer and family time.

The main contrast in the film is the young pianists' different approaches to music. Kai portrays the ideal approach that parents want their children to have. Yet what emerges under parental "guidance" (read: pressures) is usually Shu. Both boys are serious about their music, yet Kai's love is simple while Shu's involved a little too much outside forces.

What Shu said at the end of the film "Without meeting you, I surely would have hated piano." resonated. I was one of the kids forced into piano classes. I didn't meet anyone like Kai. I hated the piano and ran away as soon as I saw a chance.

Everybody needs a Kai to remind them what genuine love for a craft means. Kai is available at Play-Asia.com. Come order a DVD and spend some quality time with your children, grandparents and friends you know from piano class.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weekly Special - Battlestations Pacific for Xbox 360

We're back to a console special this week. Ready to experience World War II from different perspectives? In Battlestations Pacific you'll play a whole bunch of different units such as pilot, gunner, submarine captain and carrier fleet commander. Sound familiar? That's because it's the sequel to Battlestations: Midway, which allowed you also allowed you to play with those various different units as you fought the various battles in the campaign mode. It's all aerial and naval combat here folks. If you're tired of playing World War II first person shooters, this change of perpsective may be what you've been craving.

I'm happy to report the game is region free and will work on any Xbox 360 world wide! Grab it for the very low price of just $24.90, which is a half-price bargain, so get it now as its only while stocks last and only one per customer. It also includes the following language options: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish. I'd recommend picking up the first game too, but it's no longer in stock.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Games to Own #9: inFamous for PS3

I've been having immense fun with inFamous on PS3, it really is one of the best exclusive games available. Although Sony has quite a few stellar exclusives now. If you own a PS3 and haven't bought it yet, why not? While Killzone 2 may have not been everyone's cup of tea, I don't see how anyone could not enjoy this game. InFamous is an open-world game like GTA, you play in third person and you choose whether to be a super hero or a super villian. There's an interesting story, great voice acting and most importantly of all, great gameplay with minimal frustration. It's probably one of the first open world games that has caused me almost zero frustration due to the hard work of the developers. I hope but doubt that more games will follow inFamous in the things it has excelled in.

The first thing you'll notice is that inFamous has very quick loading times after you complete the initial mandatory install, which in itself is also quick. Did I saw loading times? The game loads only once when you start the game and it's very very quick. It's unbelievable what a difference this makes. First you see a sony logo, then the sucker punch logo video and finally the inFamous logo at the bottom of the screen as the game loads your latest save and puts you right there ingame in about...10 seconds. Yes, it's that quick. From then on, there is not a single load in the whole game, even when there's cutscene's and videos, well unless actually there is loads if you're in another city, but they're pretty quick. There isn't even a main menu! It really is an awesome feat. Grand Theft Auto IV on the other hand, had a very lengthy initial loading time. I like to be able to get into a game quickly and it's very annoying when you have to watch a whole heap of logo videos and being unable to skip them.

Secondly, Cole's (main character) agility is fantastic in the game. It's easy to scale walls, do jumping puzzles and leap from rooftop from rooftop because you don't have to be exactly perfect with your analog stick and jump button to get the right direction and distance, the computer knows most of the time where you want to jump to and will help you out. No massively frustrating moments like in GTA IV and Tomb Raider where you can't get the character to do what you want. The jumping and climbing in GTA IV still sucked, not a problem here though.

Finally, inFamous doesn't punish you by having you start from the beginning of each mission if you messed up or died and certainly doesn't require you to visit the mission spot again. No, inFamous has a checkpoint system within the missions and if you fail it, you'll instantly be transported back to the checkpoint with no load times, for a very unfrustrating experience.

These two factors contribute tremendously to making the game very enjoyable. It reminds me of the latest Prince of Persia actually, where the Prince is much more agile and easier to control. But, I think inFamous goes even further and controlling Cole is a pleasure and not a chore. A big thanks to Sucker Punch, for making such a polished product and enjoyable adventure. Try it and you'll be surprised how you could ever have put up with long load times, no checkpoints and crappy character movement. The bar has been raised.