Monday, August 30, 2010

Lucky BBQ Sale

Are you a bargain hunter? Do you want to be in the chance to win prizes while buying stuff from Play-Asia at a fraction of the original cost? If you answered yes to one or both - and I'm sure you did - then head over to to find thousands of items at discounted prices!

Purchasing any of the eligible products puts you in the chance to win some great prizes. Check it out:


* 1st Place:US$ 250 store credit
* 2nd & 3rd Place: US$ 150 store credit
* 4th to 10th Place: US$ 75 store credit
* 11th to 25th Place: US$ 50 store credit
* 26th to 50th Place: US$ 20 store credit

What are you waiting for? There are thousands of bargains to choose from!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is Vegas cancelled, money wasted

Midway announced This is Vegas way back in 2008. After three years in development and a whopping $43 million spent making the game, it's finally been put to rest. With this kind of wasteful management, it's not surprising Midway was going out of business. Warner Bros. has done the right thing in canning the project.Apparently the game was almost ready to be released last year, but then needed an extra eight months to a year to finally complete it. The problem? The studio was burning through $250,000 per month and Midway just couldn't keep it going.

For such a low profile game (I'm sure many of you have never heard of it!), it's surprising that so much money was handed out to complete it. Still, if it really was near completion, it seems like a waste to not finish the product and release it, but Warner Bros. probably deemed it not worth the money or risk. Check out the trailer and see what you think.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mortal Kombat 9 - So far, so good

For me the ultimate Mortal Kombat game (no pun intended), was Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Throwing in a mass of characters from the first three games to create one massive brawl fest. I remember never getting tired of the game back in the PlayStation days. But then the crappy Mortal Kombat 4 came out, followed by the supposedly improved sequels, which I thought were nothing like the first three games and just a dull fighter.But that all changes with the ninth iteration of Mortal Kombat. While it's still in 3D, the game is distinctly on a 2D plane like Street Fighter 4 and seems to be much closer gameplay wise to Mortal Kombat 3 then any of the previous attempts. The graphics also remind me of the original trilogy. All the old favorite characters will return I'm sure, with the game sporting a large roster and a cool looking four player tag-team mode as well. With series creator Ed Boon on board and a stellar trailer, maybe it wasn't so bad that Midway went out of business after all? Coming 2011 on PS3 and Xbox 360. Check out the trailer below!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Making Starcraft 2 for consoles

When Blizzard releases a game, it's pretty much a guaranteed license to print money. Starcraft 2 was a long time coming, but honestly, I was not interested, at all. I had stopped playing the real time strategy genre many years ago. I think Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War was the last RTS I had played, which was great by the way. Dawn of War removed the need for the micromanagement of resources, but the formula was getting stale.
However, when Starcraft 2 was released, I couldn't resist. Having such fond memories of playing Starcraft with a bunch of friends in a LAN, finally made me take the plunge into the sequel. Was it worth it? Indeed it was! Even though not much has changed, Starcraft was one of the best RTS games ever made. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The campaign is great fun and only starts to get a little stale near the end.

I think the game could benefit from being ported to consoles. You might remember the first Starcraft was ported to the Nintendo 64? That was an odd choice. While the PlayStation had seen the likes of Warcraft II, Command & Conquer, Z and Red Alert to name a few, someone made the decision to release Starcraft on the N64. It didn't sell very well, obviously.

The biggest complaint for RTS games on consoles has always been the lack of a mouse and keyboard setup. On the PS3 this could be rectified with a USB mouse and keyboard, but the lack of USB ports on the console makes this a bit of a hassle. Both are used up in this setup and it's not much fun using a keyboard (let alone a mouse) on the ground or on your lap. But with the Kinect and Move being released, we have new controller opportunities. Would these controllers provide the ultimate precision for commanding your troops, or would it all be a futile attempt of frustration from lack of accuracy and tired limbs from flailing your arms around? We'll know more when the hardware is released.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FunGP, Caanoo & Wiz App Store Now Open

GPH Caanoo WhiteFunGP, the app store for purchasing and downloading games and applications for your GPH Wiz and Caanoo is now open. You can go there, set up an account, and browse through all that they have to offer. There's even a "Developer Center" section for people, like me, that are into homebrew coding for consoles like this. And for those of you that are development-minded, I heard that they're going to have some sort of competition coming soon, so start thinking. If you do create something, I believe that you can add it to the FunGP app store yourself.

So, go check it out. There's not much more for me to say here other than that it has now just officially launched. If you want to know more, just head over to FunGP.

And don't forget that this means that the Caanoo's official release is imminent. Please check out the white Caanoo and the black Caanoo (which is actually a blue Caanoo even though it looks black in most pictures) and see which one is best for you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Street Fighter X Tekken or Tekken X Street Fighter

The news of the Tekken /Street Fighter crossover games sure has pleasantly surprised fighting game fans. For the uninitiated, Capcom and Namco Bandai are each creating their own crossover fighting game titled Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter respectively. They are not joining forces to create one game. It's pretty much the same as Capcom did with Capcom VS SNK, except SNK did not create their own version of the crossover. You may remember that while SNK characters were present, the characters were changed to fit the Street Fighter gameplay and it still felt like a Street Fighter game.
Still, at least both games were 2D fighters and shared some similarity. On the other hand, Tekken and Street Fighter are two very different fighting games, even if you put Street Fighter IV into the equation. So while it's a cool announcement, I was definitely surprised and wonder how each game will turn out. While Street Fighter IV is great, I think that Tekken X Street Fighter might turn out better of the two games.

Another interesting factor is the commercial viability of both games. Fans will see them as separate games, but are they willing to buy both? Will the average consumer know the games are any different? Going by the slight change in the title name, I don't think they will. Releasing two games might bring down sales for both. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Two fighters which would be a perfect crossover, in my humble opinion, would be a Tekken/Virtua Fighter game. Dead or Alive would also be a good fit with either, but is still Xbox exclusive. Still, if these games sell well, another crossover could happen.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Caanoo Review (With Gamepark GP32, GPH GP2X, Wiz)

This Caanoo review is also going to be a bit of a GP32, GP2X, and Wiz historical review. Some of you guys, like myself, may have been following along for years now. This unknown Korean company came out of nowhere and built a handheld gaming console. It was named GP32 after the company's name "Game Park." To the masses, it wasn't anything special, but it was revolutionary.

The GP32 was a new paradigm in portable console gaming. Not only was it able to play commercial games, but it was also meant as a video player, a music player, and an e-book reader. It used standard off-the-shelf SmartMedia cards which allowed anyone that had the desire to create games and applications for the system.

GamePark had problems and ultimately fell apart, but a core group of brains from the company went on to create GPH (Game Park Holdings). While similar to the original GamePark, GPH was a new company, and their flagship product was the GP2X.

The GP2X was unlike it's predecessor (GP32) in hardware. It was faster, used SD cards for storage, included USB support, had TV output, etc. In vision though, it was quite similar, and it expanded on the open-source focus by employing Linux as its operating system. This was another revolutionary move in the right direction, and homebrew developers loved it. The GP2X had a good life going through a few revisions and ultimately adding touch screen support.

About 2 years ago, GPH let it out that there was a new generation coming in their open-source handheld gaming console line. The GP2X Wiz was taking things to the next level.

The Wiz was smaller than anything that came before it. It still included the standard SD card support, ran Linux, and borrowed the touch-screen from its recent predecessor. However, the Wiz now boasted a 533MHz CPU, 3D hardware, and an AMOLED screen (among other things).

Things have gone rather well for the GP2X and the Wiz. GPH has been releasing commercial games, there are tons of homebrew games/apps/emulators, and GPH is opening their app store soon. In fact, the massive GP32Spain coding contest just closed their submission period. Among them are notable entries such as a PSX (PlayStation) emulator, Wonderswan emulator, SNES Emulator, a full remake of Sqrxz by the Giana's Return team, and the original title Polarity by TJ Hooka. Check out screenshots of the GP32Spain competition entries at NewsWeez for more info. Keep in mind that that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as Wiz homebrew goes.

The culmination of the GP32Spain contest coincides very nicely with the release of GPH's latest addition to this long line of unique open-source-minded handheld game consoles. Their new Caanoo handheld and its FunGP app store are already causing a stir.

The Caanoo isn't a large departure from the Wiz. It borrows features such as stylus touch-screen input, expands on things like USB support by adding a full-sized USB port (allowing such things as movie playback from a USB stick), changes it up a bit by replacing the digital dpad with an analog joystick, and adds features like rumble vibration feedback and tilt sensor. The way I look at it, it's more like the Wiz's more grown up and cooler big brother.

I have seen 3 of the Caanoo's original commercial titles: Rhythmos, Propis, and Asura Cross. Rhythmos is an addictive rhythm game set to Korean music. It boasts 2 gameplay modes. One is more Guitar Heroish while the other is more Elite Beat Agentsish. Propis is a puzzle game somewhat in the vein of Bejeweled but with cute anime characters. Asura Cross is a 2D SNK-ish fighting style game. Rumor has it that the Caanoo launch may also see titles such as Rotate Patissier, PGM2010, Redemption Liar, Deicide 3, and an arcade game pack featuring 16 classic licensed arcade titles.

In my first impressions article, I asked for input as to what people wanted to know about the GPH Caanoo. Other than battery life (which you can read about in my Caanoo Battery Life article), there were really two main things. People want to see how certain games run, and people want to see how well the analog stick works.

I have been making videos of these things, so let's take a look.
We started with some real classic games to test the dpad. Zaxxon and Mx. Pacman both played well. The main issue here, though, is with games like Pacman, the original game did not physically allow the player to push two directions (like up and left) at the same time. Modern joysticks do, and often the player will inadvertently press a little in an adjacent direction whenever he means to press true up/dn/l/r.

Some may believe that the analog stick exacerbates this problem, but I (from a developer standpoint) believe that the analog stick gives us a perfect solution to the issue. Now, game/emulator developers can tell if you are pushing a direction just slightly. In the past, all they could tell was if you pushed that way or not. If you mean to push up, you will be pushing it 100%. If you accidentally push to the side a bit, it will register something like 100% up and 10% left. In games like Pacman, it would then be obvious that you meant to go up, not left.

Also shown in the above video is a test of the tilt sensor. I was fairly amazed that Ms. Pacman just worked right away. It takes some getting used to playing a game like that using the tilt controls, but it works. This really opens the doors for new innovative gameplay even on old classic games as shown.

Here's another video showing classic emulated games. As you can see, Mario Brothers, Moon Patrol, Domino Man, Lode Runner, and Missile Command all play well.

Maybe you're getting tired of the videos, but there are several just so you can pick and choose what sorts of things you're interested in. Requests for old-school games seemed to be topping the list, so that was my main focus. I still have some video footage to obtain and upload, so please watch here and at my cfc2ngpc YouTube channel for updates.

I guess there's not much more to say. This review is already much longer than I intended. Basically, if you're here, you are probably interested in one of the following things.
  • Homebrew Coding and Development
  • Obscure and/or Rare Handheld Gaming Consoles
  • Korean Videogames
  • Linux-Based Consoles
  • Not Being a Slave to "The Man" (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, etc.)
  • Classic Gaming
  • Emulation

If any of those items resonate with you, then the GPH Caanoo is a great investment. It builds on the already solid foundations that GPH has laid. The GP32, GP2X, and Wiz have all been successful open-source handheld game consoles. The Caanoo simply adds to this long legacy of portable gaming by upgrading to features like increased screen size, full-sized USB port, tilt sensor, vibration feedback, and analog stick. If you've made it this far through my review, then you're obviously interested in this stuff, and I think you'll be pleased with the the GPH Caanoo.