Tag: Video Games

Why Wii U Is Currently The Best Console

Wii U

I recently bought a Wii U and have really been enjoying the experience so far. Here are the 5 P’s of why I think the Wii U Is currently the best console that your money can buy.

The Previous Generation

I don’t know if you remember this little console called the Wii that came out about 5 years ago and its pretty nice lineup of games but yeah, they are all backwards compatible on Wii U. That includes games like Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Kirby: Return to Dreamland, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Wii Fit, and many more awesome games. I’m finding myself playing my Wii games almost as much as my Wii U games. Xbox One and PS4 are both not backwards comparable at all.

The Pad

At first I didn’t think that the gimmicky GamePad controller had a point. Why would I need to view a screen on the GamePad when I could just see the game on the TV. But the Gamepad does come in handy. For example in the morning while my wife is still sleeping, I can just turn on the GamePad and play a quick game of Earthbound or Super Mario World without bothering her with the brightness of the big TV. I do prefer playing most newer games on the big screen though because they’re more enjoyable in HD.

Super Mario 3D WorldThe Playtime

I’ve seen some of the games on Xbox One and PS4 and honestly I’m not that impressed with the graphics jump from the last gen to the current. I know the systems just came out but I expected a bigger upgrade. Wii U graphics look much better than Wii because this is Nintendo’s first HD game system. And the lineup so far is pretty impressive. New Super Mario Wii U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World (Amazing game!), Pikimin 3, Zombie U and an entire library of NES, SNES and N64 games to download.

The Price

So the Xbox One is $500 which to me just seems like too much considering you need to buy XBOX Live with it every month. At $400, the PS4 seems more reasonable but to play online you need to now buy PSN every month too. The Wii U Deluxe bundle is currently $300 and includes two pretty awesome games: New Super Mario Bros Wii U and Super Luigi Wii U. All of the online features are free on the Wii U. The GamePad having a screen in a way gives you a free portable system which makes the price seem even more attractive.

The Potential

Remember when 3DS came out and everyone thought it was junk? Today it pretty much owns the handheld gaming market. The Wii U has been off to somewhat of a rough start but the potential for this system in the next few years is great. I’m looking forward to many of the games scheduled to come out including Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and Donkey Kong: Tropical Breeze. I’m also curious to see how developers take advantage of the second screen on the GamePad in games.




Kim Jong Un Playing The NES

Kim Jong Un NES

I came across a picture on the internet the other day of Kim Jong Un doing something on a computer with his associates. I started to wonder what he was looking at with them. Then I used my imagination (and Photoshop skills) to go ahead and create this. Happy April Fools!




Five New Video Game Fan Pages

Over the past month or so I’ve been busy creating five new video game website or what I call “fan pages”. The are all for games that I grew up on and enjoyed as a child and still get around to playing once in a while. I went into as much detail as possible on these websites by using personal knowledge and gathering information I found on the web about these games. I also spent some time in designing the layouts of these sites to try to make them have elements that resemble the original games yet still make them pop. Here they are:

  • Arkanoid Fanpage!
    Breakout style video game made by Taito for the Arcade and home consoles. This site is dedicated to the game I used to play in the arcades and for the NES with my special ‘VAUS’ knob controller.
  • Excitebike Fanpage!
    Motocross racing video game made by Nintendo for the NES. This game is one of the first NES games released and is a classic. The site features full shots of the track layouts in design mode.
  • Everything Zelda 64
    Action-RPG video game made by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. This website is based off one of my firest websites I ever created back in 1998. The website used to be hosted on Geocities which no longer exists. Luckly I had all the info saved and was able to port it into the new site.
  • Galaga Fanpage!
    Fixed shooter arcade video game machine created by Namco. This site is mostly based on the arcade version of Galaga found in arcades throughout the country in the 80′s and 90′s.
  • Super Mario Kart Fanpage!
    Racing video game created by Nintendo for the SNES. A website dedicated to the firest and one of the greates cart racing games of all time.



Sony Announces New PlayStation Portable, NGP

Sony PSP 2

Roughly six years ago Sony released the PSP and set the portable gaming world a blaze with the new handheld. The screen was brighter, bigger and had some of the best graphics seen on a portable to date. Today the PSP isn’t anything that’s going to knock your socks off and there were many rumors as of late about the next iteration of the PSP floating around CES this year. Those rumors have proved to become true because Sony has just officially announced the PSP2 at an event in Tokyo. For now however, Sony is calling the portable device by its code name ‘Next Generation Portable’ or NGP for short.

Fans of the PSP have been dreaming of dual analog sticks for years and they finally get them in the NGP. It will also feature a high-resolution, touch-sensitive OLED screen that’s larger than the original PSP screen, tilt-sensitive SIXAXIS controls, dual analog sticks, front and back-facing cameras, and a touch sensitive back panel. This new touchpad back panel will make most of the device interactive unlike anything seen before. Sony claims that the new NGP will be as powerful as the PlayStation 3.

There will be no more UMD with the NGP. Sony in introducing a new game medium that’s a small flash memory based card. The cards will be able to hold full software titles plus add-on game content and game save data. Sony also announced ‘PlayStation Suite’ which will allow the games to be played on other Android based devices such as mobile phones, smart-phones, and tablet PCs.

In addition, Sony is introducing a new service called LiveArea that will let your NGP be able to detect others in the area and let you see what they’re playing, chat, see game rankings, etc. It sounds like something similar to what the Nintendo DS has with PictoChat but hopefully this is on a much larger scale. The NGP is expected to be out later this year in Japan. No timeframe given to the U.S. release date yet.

PSP2 Touchpad back

PlayStation Portable 2 NGP

The Full Specs

  • CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
  • GPU: SGX543MP4+
  • External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
  • Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
  • Cameras: Front camera, Rear camera
  • Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
  • Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
  • Location: Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi location service support
  • Keys / Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons
  • Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

The Announced Games

  • Uncharted
  • Killzone
  • WipeOut
  • Resistance
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Hustle Kings
  • Hot Shots Golf

More at PlayStation Blog.




The History of Nintendo Video Games Consoles

Nintendo Entertainment System

NES Nintendo Game Library

Now You’re Playing With Power!

Overview/History

After a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to produce a cartridge-based console. On July 15, 1983 the NES was released in Japan. The system was desNintendo Japan Famicomigned by Masayuki Uemura. Along with the system were three ports of Nintendo’s successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye. The NES instantly became popular.

Because of the NES success in Japan, Nintendo became interested in the North American market. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in June 1985, Nintendo showed its American version of the Famicom, the NES. It then became available to the public in the U.S. on October 18, 1985. Along with the system, Nintendo released eighteen launch titles: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu,Nintendo Entertainment System Mach Rider, Pinball, Stack-Up, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Wrecking Crew, and Super Mario Bros. The following year the NES also became available to the European market.

In the early 1990’s as technology became more advanced and competition from Sega started to hit the world, Nintendo started plans for a new system. The NES’ popularity began to fall because of the newer technology available, forcing Nintendo to phase out the NES and focus more on its next system. Nintendo of America officially discontinued the NES by 1995. It wasn’t until October 31, 2007 that Japanese support for the system was discontinued.

Nintendo has sold over 60 million NES units worldwide making it one of the best selling consoles of all time. It helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1983. It helped set the standard for consoles in many categories including game and console design.

Nintendo Entertainment System Technical Specs:Stack of Nintendo games

  • CPU type: Motorola 6502 8-bit (MOS)
  • CPU speed: 1.79 MHz
  • RAM: 16 Kbit (2 Kbyte)
  • Video RAM: 16 Kbit (2 Kbyte)
  • Picture resolution: 256 x 240 pixels
  • Colors Available: 52 colors
  • Max colors at once: 24 colors
  • Max sprite size: 8 x 8 pixels or 8 x 16 pixels
  • Max sprites: 64 sprites
  • Min/Max Cart Size: 192 Kbit – 4 Mbit
  • Sound: PSG sound
  • Picture Scroll: 2 h.v

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Super Nintendo

Super Nintendo with super mario

Overview/History

In the late 1980’s, Nintendo’s NES was starting to get dated. It was a very successful system but with competition starting to heat up from companies like Sega with its Genesis, it was time for Super Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendo to focus on a new home console. It was very important for Nintendo to focus on the new 16-bit technology that the Sega Genesis already had. Nintendo came up with the Super Nintendo which had advanced sound and graphics but a relatively slow CPU for its time. It also had a “Mode 7? chip built in which helped simulate 3D rendering.

In August 1991, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super Nintendo for short. The price at release was $199. It was a redesigned version of the Super Famicom which was released a year earlier in Japan. The Super Nintendo was later released in Europe a year after it was released in North America. The Super Nintendo system shipped with a copy of the game Super Mario World. The other games available at launch were Pilotwings and F-Zero. The game Super Mario World came out with great reviews and was a system seller.

Super Famicom in JapanThe Super Nintendo picked up right where the NES left off as far as popularity. In Japan, Super Nintendo sold out the 300,000 units Nintendo shipped to retailers within hours. In North America it was similarly as popular. It wasn’t all glory for Nintendo however. They had much fiercer competition this time around. The Sega Genesis was marketed towards older gamers and sold systems. About a year after the Super Nintendo came out in the U.S. it was equally as popular as the Sega Genesis. For the next few years a 16-bit battle between Nintendo and Sega went on. Nintendo eventually prevailed the 16-bit era largely in part to amazing 1st party games. In the mid 90’s as the technology started getting dated again Nintendo started to focus on a new system. Super Nintendo’s were still being made and Nintendo released the SNES2, a redesigned version of the SNES. Nintendo finally ceased production of the SNES in America in 1999.

Super Nintendo Technical Specs:

  • CPU: 16-bit Custom 65C816 running at 1.79, 2.68 or 3.58 MHz (changeable)
  • RAM: 1 Mbit (128 Kbyte)
  • Memory Cycle Time: 279 ms
  • Picture Processor Unit: 16-bit
  • Video RAM: 0.5 Mbit (64 Kbyte)
  • Resolution: 256×224, 512 x 448 pixels max hi res and interlaced modes
  • Colors Available: 32,768 colors
  • Max colors on screen: 256 colors
  • Max sprite size: 64 x 64 pixels
  • Max sprites: 128 (32 per line)
  • Min/Max Cart Size: 2 Mbit – 48 Mbit
  • Audio RAM: 512 Kbit
  • Sound chip: 8-bit Sony SPC700
  • Sound channels: 8, uses compressed wave samples
  • Controller Response: 16 ms
  • Pulse Code Modulator: 16-bit
  • Power Input: 120V AC, 60Hz, 17 Watts
  • Power Output: 10V DC, 850 mA (NTSC), 9V AC (PAL)

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Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64 ad

Overview/History

During the mid- 1990’s Nintendo needed to start thinking of a sucessor to the Super NES. Again competition was fierce with Sony’s new Playstation system and Sega’s new Saturn system. Nintendo Nintendo 64 with controllersteamed up with Silicon Graphics (SGI) and focused on designing a powerful system. Originally Silicon Graphics was going to team up with Sega to make their next console but Sega passed. In the early stages of design, the project was named “Project Reality”, then changed to “Ultra 64? but because of a trademark issue with Konami it was changed again one last time to Nintendo 64.

In February 1995, Nintendo had announced a delay of Nintendo 64 until September 1996 in North America. It was at that time that Nintendo also announced the name change. It was finally released on October 1, 1996. As typical it sold very well at first. However due to the competition of the Sony Playstation it was never as successful as Nintendo’s previous consoles. It did feature some great revolutionary games like Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Both games featured 3D graphics unlike anything seen before in Nintendo games.N64 controller

In the end The Nintendo 64 was successful overall but due to Nintendo’s choice of making it a cartridge based system it lacked some things that other systems had. Although cartridges are much faster than CD’s, they don’t store nearly as much information. The choice of making the N64 cartridge based also turned off developers who dedicated more time to focusing on the Playstation. In 2001, the Nintendo 64 was replaced by the disc-based Nintendo GameCube.

Nintendo 64 Technical Specs:

  • CPU: MIPS 64-bit RISC CPU (customized R4000 series)
  • Clock Speed: 93.75 MHz
  • Co-Processor: 64-bit RISC processor running at 62.5 MHz RCP SP
  • Memory: Rambus D-RAM 36 Mbits
  • Transfer Speed: Maximum: 4,500 M bits/sec. running at 500Mhz.
  • Resolution: 256×224 – 640×480 dots with flicker free interlace support
  • Color: Maximum: 16.8 million colors with 32,000 on screen colors at once
  • Video Output: RF, RGB, and HDTV compatible
  • Audio: Stereo 16-bit/64 PCM channels sampled at 44.1 kHz
  • Benchmark performance: Main CPU clocked at 125 MIPS
  • Controller: Input for four controllers; Analog/Digital; Total of nine buttons
  • Dimensions: 10.23? wide x 7.48? deep x 2.87? high
  • Weight: 2.42 pounds

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Nintendo Gamecube

Nintendo Gamecube

Overview/History

In the late 1990’s, Nintendo focused on new hardware to replace the aging N64. To get more developers on board, Nintendo made the decision of scrapping the cartridge based consoles like the hardware of the past and went with an optical format. At first the system was codenamed ‘Dolphin’ with the GPU codenamed ‘Flipper’ but Nintendo then changed the name to Gamecube. Nintendo’s fourth console was released on November 18, 2001 in North America. When it was released in the states, there were twelve available games including Luigi’s Mansion, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Wave Race: Blue Storm and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.Nintendo Gamecube Picture

The choice of the smaller optical disc format turned out to be sucessful because it meant that no licenesing fees had to be paid to the DVD Consortium and it helped prevent unauthorized copying of games. The main disadvantage of the smaller optical discs however is that it held 1.5GB of data compared to DVD’s 4.7GB. The system has 4 controller ports for multiplayer and 2 memory card slots for saving data. The controller has a wing grip design, designed to fit well in the player’s hands. Nintendo also released the ‘Wavebird’, one of the first wireless controllers that had a great reception by the public.

Overall the Gamecube was not as sucessful as some of Nintendo’s previous systems. It fell to third place in the console war between the Xbox and Playstation 2. The great thing that the Gamecube has however is the same amazing 1st party games that Nintendo has been making for years. Some of the highlights of them are Super Smash Bros. Melee and Metroid Prime. At one point in its life The Gamecube was online compatible by using a Gamecube Modem Adapter or Broadband Adapter. However only four online games ever came out for the system. Today there are over 700 games available in its library.

Nintendo Gamecube Technical Specs:

Central processing unit

486 MHz IBM “Gekko” PowerPC CPU

  • PowerPC 750CXe based core
  • 180 nm IBM copper-wire process. 43 mm² die. 4.9 W dissipationGamecube
  • Roughly 50 new vector instructions
  • 32-bit ALU. 64-bit FPU, usable as 2×32-bit SIMD
  • 64-bit enhanced PowerPC 60x front side bus to GPU/chipset
  • 64 KiB L1 cache
  • 1125 DMIPS

System memory

43 MiB total non-unified RAM

  • 24 MiB MoSys 1T-SRAM
  • 3 MiB embedded 1T-SRAM
  • 16 MiB DRAM

Graphics processing unit (GPU) and system chipset

  • 162 MHz “Flipper” LSI. 180 nm NEC eDRAM-compatible process.
  • 8Gflops
  • 4 pixel pipelines
  • TEV “Texture EnVironment” engine
  • Fixed-function hardware transform and lighting
  • 648 megapixels/second
  • 8 texture layers per pass
  • Bilinear, trilinear, and anisotropic texture filtering
  • Multi-texturing
  • 24-bit RGB / 32-bit RGBA color depth
  • 720×480 interlaced or progressive scan
  • Integrated audio processor

Storage media

  • Matsushita 1.5 GB optical disc
  • Two Memory card slots

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Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

Overview/History:

In 2001, around the same time that the Gamecube was released, Nintendo put some focus on a new form of player interaction. Instead of designing a console on pure power alone, Nintendo decided to focus more on player interaction. There was an idea of putting a touchscreen on the Wiiwii-mote controller but the idea was later rejected. The first time Nintendo spoke of the console was at the 2004 E3 press conference. The system was then unveiled to the public at E3 in 2005. The console was known by the code name of “Revolution” until April 27, 2006 right before E3 when Nintendo announced the name of the system as Wii.

The name was chosen by Nintendo because “Wii” sounds like “we” and it is a console for everyone. At E3, the Wii won the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show and Best Hardware. In September 2006, Nintendo announced release information for many big market countries. Finally on November 19, 2006 the Wii was released. The console instantly had worldwide success selling out at many locations. This new concept of game interaction really caught on to the public and gained much attention. Because the system was designed with everyone in mind, many people of all ages are enjoying the systems interaction capabilities.Wii Console

A distinguishing feature is the wireless controller called the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and can detect acceleration in three dimensions. The Wii is also backwards compatible with Gamecube games meaning that the Wii can play all official Gamecube software without purchasing any additional add-on hardware for the system. The Wii has a built-in operating system called the Wii-Menu which is designed around the concept of channels. There’s the Disc Channel, Mii Channel, Photo Channel, the Wii Shop Channel and additional channels are available for download. Since release, over 20 million Wiis have been sold making it the best selling console of the current generation while competing against the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Nintendo Wii Technical Specs:

Processors:

  • CPU: PowerPC-based “Broadway” processor, clocked at 729 MHz
  • GPU: ATI “Hollywood” GPU clocked at 243 MHz

Memory:

  • 88 MB main memory
  • 3 MB embedded GPU texture memory and framebuffer

Ports and peripheral capabilities:

  • Up to four Wii Remote controllers (connected wirelessly via Bluetooth)
  • Nintendo GameCube controller ports (4)
  • Nintendo GameCube Memory Card slots (2)
  • SD memory card slot
  • USB 2.0 ports (2)
  • Sensor Bar power port
  • Accessory port on bottom of Wii Remote
  • Multi-output port for component, composite or S-Video

Storage:

  • 512 MB built-in NAND flash memory
  • Expanded storage via SD card memory (up to 2 GB)
  • Nintendo GameCube Memory Card
  • IBM’s Wii “Broadway” CPU
  • ATI’s Wii “Hollywood” GPU Slot-loading disc drive compatible with 8 cm Nintendo GameCube Game Disc and 12 cm
  • Wii Optical Disc
  • Mask ROM by Macronix

Video:

  • 480p (PAL/NTSC), 480i (NTSC) or 576i (PAL/SECAM), standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
  • AV multi-output port for component, composite, S-video, RGB SCAR and VGA

Audio:

  • Main: Stereo – Dolby Pro Logic II-capable
  • Controller: Built-in speaker

Power consumption:

  • 18 watts when switched on
  • 1.3 watts in standby



More Nintendo 3DS Details Announced

Earlier this morning, Nintendo held a press conference announcing new details about the Nintendo 3DS, its upcoming portable that can produce 3D effects without the need for any special glasses. Here some of the highlights of the new details.

  • Nintendo 3DS is coming out in the US on March 27 for $249.99.
  • 30+ games will be available in the US during the launch.
  • Systems come pre-loaded with games and applications.
  • Nintendo 3DS will be able to download Virtual Console classic Game Boy™ and Game Boy Color games.
  • Nintendo 3DS will have three cameras.
  • 2GB SD Card will come with the system.

More @ http://www.nintendo3ds.com.




Ion iCade Brings an Arcade Cabinet to iPad

iPad iCadeI’ve always wanted to create an arcade cabinet that plays retro video games through a PC connected to a custom built cabinet. The problem was always the time, money and effort involved in the process of building one. It also required a dedicated PC and monitor to get one going. Here is a brilliant solution. It’s smaller than a classic arcade unit which is fine considering how much room those take up and how heavy they are to move. This thing sits on a table and even better, uses an ipad as the screen and computer guts behind the system. If this thing becomes compatable with games like Ms. Pac-Man and Street Fighter 2, there could be some app buying (and iPad buying) happening in my future.

This actually started out as an April fools joke last year posted up on a website. The response was so good that the iCade was designed in time for CES this year where it is being demoed. It is expected to go on sale this Spring for about $100.




Nintendo DSi XL coming out next year

Nintendo DSi XL

A couple of days ago Nintendo announced that a new DS, the DSi XL will be hitting the U.S. shores next year. The name comes from the fact that the screens will be 4.2-inches, up from the DSi’s 3.25 inches. This will be the 4th version of the DS since it was introduced in November, 2004. It ships with your choice of dark brown, burgundy and natural white colors. The battery will last for roughly 4 to 5 hours. Before coming to the states, the DSi XL will be hitting Japan on November 21st and priced at ¥20,000 or about $221.