I'm so used to writing about Tegra-powered Android devices that I'd completely overlooked Windows tablets and laptops powered by Nvidia's game-enhancing mobile processor. The blocky Windows RT TegraZone app is here to remind me.
Along with adopting Microsoft's deep abiding love for squares and rectangles, the TegraZone app of Windows RT collects a number of games enhanced for play with the quad core Tegra 3 processor in one easy-to-navigate app. Judge Dredd vs Zombies, Pinball FX 2, Reckless Racing Ultimate, Riptide GP, Soulcraft, Space Ark, Sprinkle and Vendetta Online and more are available for purchase and play within the TegraZone, making it an excellent place for new Windows RT device owners to find game that push their fresh tech to its limits.
It's also an indicator that I'm going to have to add a Windows RT tablet to my arsenal to keep up with this growing segment of the mobile gaming scene. Thanks a lot, Nvidia.
I've always favored cats over dogs. Cats clean themselves. Cats do not require action on my part in order to use the bathroom. Cats have an intelligent look about them, so when they do stupid things it's even more hilarious. I feel cats are superior to dogs in all ways but one—dogs make better detectives. That's why Relaxed Focus Games' Detective Dogs gets a pass.
A pair of questionably-lovable cartoon hounds find themselves embroiled in a sinister plot hatched by the mysterious C.L.A.W., an organization that might have something to do with cats; I've not gotten that far, and frankly I'm not looking forward to the potential conflict of interest.
What I am looking forward to is 80 chapters of dog-based match 3 variants. The dogs dig. The dogs search. The dogs follow. The dogs fight. It's not the most dynamic match 3 gameplay—I'm used to more bells and whistles, but that would probably have scared the dogs. Stupid skittish dogs.
I'm also looking forward to the bit I won't see—a variable difficulty level that adjusts to players from five-years-old to really old but still able to operate a mobile game.
Dog Detectives is available now on iTunes and Google Play in both free trial and paid versions. Play it before your stupid dog eats your iPhone.
Detective Dogs — $.99 [iTunes]
Detective Dogs — $.99 [Google Play]
Something from Sony's video game hardware offerings found its way into your life this week. Maybe it's a hand-me-down PSP, a brand-new Vita or a skinnier-than-ever PlayStation 3. Whichever it is, you can look at the games we think are the best available on each system.
Count yourself fortunate if you have a PlayStation 3. You're in for a good time.
Sony's home console hasn't enjoyed the same kind of sales dominance as the Xbox 360 or the Wii during its life cycle, but it's home to great exclusive titles generated by what's arguably the best development studio... More »
Sony's first handheld gaming system is retailing for the lowest price ever now. You—being a patient person—have taken advantage of this turn of events. More »
The PlayStation Vita is the $250 handheld that either the world desperately needed or needed not at all. It could go either way in this era of rampant cell phone gaming, where many games are played with nary the press of a button or flick of a stick. More »
Ryota sakamoto, the main character, is an unemployed, college-aged slacker who lives with his parents and does nothing but play games all day in his room. His game of choice is "Btooom!" and he is one of the top players in the world. So, of course, when he is suddenly kidnapped and stranded on an island and forced to play Btooom! for real, this turns out to be an amazing advantage—but only in the mental sense.
While he is a master of Btooom! in game, on the island he is limited by his physical skills. His aim is not as perfect nor is he as strong as his in-game avatar. His advantage is his knowledge of the tactics of the game—as well as his knowledge of the types of bombs and their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, his greatest weakness is that bombs are far from the only way to kill another person on the island.
One of the key points of Btooom! is why these people are on the island in the first place. Players of the game are chosen by someone—usually a close friend or family member—writing the player's name on a form that promises to make the chosen person "disappear." This in turn means that everyone on the island has a dark secret that has sent them to the death game—and they may not even be aware of what it is. This not only makes for interesting characters and great drama but also causes one to ask, "Have I ever done something that would make someone hate me enough to want to send me to my almost certain death?"
Of course, this is not the only dark question the anime explores. It also looks at the themes of murder and betrayal—and asks, "How long could you stick to your normal morals and values in a situation like the death game?"
Of course, as pointed out in the headline, Btooom! is far from the most original of stories. "Boy becomes hero due to game skills" and "kids enter a death game" are far from novel ideas in this day and age. And in a year where Hunger Games swept the world, it seems even less so in comparison.
But while the setting and most basic narrative have been done before (and better), the way Btooom! uses these well-known framing devices to explore our darker emotions is really where the show succeeds—well, for the most part anyway.
Rape is a constant theme in Btooom!—to an insulting degree. The other main character, Himiko, seems unable to escape it. Nearly every single man she encounters on the island tries to rape her at some point (or at least implies that such a rape is coming). Even Ryota is no exception.
After their first (explosion-filled) encounter leaves her unconscious, he actually has to stop and convince himself not to rape her right then and there. I found the implication that "all men want to rape women/will rape women if given the chance" to be insulting, to say the least. It takes an otherwise complex cast of characters, and makes the entire male gender completely one dimensional when it comes to their interactions with the opposite sex.
Btooom! is an odd anime. On one level it can just be looked at as a derivative knock off of other works of "death game" fiction. On the other, it does an adequate job of exploring how the darker side in all of us can come to the forefront in crisis situations. This means that in a lot of ways Btooom! is not really an "enjoyable" anime to watch—because after all, how easy is it to enjoy something that constantly bludgeons you with the dark side of human nature—but it is, nonetheless, an interesting one. So in the end, if you are interested in the themes it explores, or are just a fan of "death game" stories in general, this one is certainly worth a watch.
Btooom! aired every Thursday night on Tokyo MX. It can be watched in the U.S. for free and subtitled in English on Crunchyroll.
The almost appropriately named Dam Toys company, based out of Hong Kong, makes toys you wouldn't expect from Chinese company; they specialize in 1/6 scale action figures of the US Army. That's right, a Chinese company making US Army-themed toys.
Many of the figures produced by Dam Toys are based on different soldiers, everything from regular infantry to marines, but they also make their own line of gangster figures, which are relatively new to their catalog. These gangster figures look almost as if they've stepped out of a Rockstar game.
Perhaps the most awesome thing about these toys is that they're so detailed. For instance, the 12-inch US navy seal corpsman has a medical supply set in its backpack, which opens up. In the medical supply set, there are miniature bandages and tools—the scissors actually work!
While they're currently focusing their toy lines on the US military, Dam Toys says they're looking into expanding their gangster line, as well as designing a Chinese military figure.
Old Nintendo hardware and cartridges may last forever, but the batteries inside some games (used to save progress) do not. With an expected lifespan of only ten years (though they can last much longer), we're obviously well past the point where you can expect all save games to work for a console like the SNES.
So if you're still dabbling with older consoles, you'll need a fix. And this handy guide at Motherboard is just that. With handy pictures and practical tips, it shows you how to crack open a SNES game and replace the watch battery that powers the cart's ability to save games.
While the cart in question is Link to the Past, it should work for just about any SNES game that needs a tune-up.
Note that swapping out the battery won't salvage your old save games; once that battery is gone, they're gone. But with a dead battery you can't save at all, so this fix lets you get back in the game. Well, back in a new game, which you can then save.
How to Replace an SNES Cartridge's Save Game Battery [Motherboard]
You've seen Grand Theft Auto V's real trailer, starring Grand Theft Auto V's real characters.
Now see Grand Theft Auto V's trailer starring Grand Theft Auto IV's characters. And yes, there's a point. The point being, comedy.
GTA V Trailer with Niko Luis and Johnny [Jantsuu, thanks Adrian!]
Yup. Today. Meaning this thing ceases to be a wispy project existing only on your monitor, and becomes a real console. One that'll soon be jostling with all kinds of products for attention and money.
Above, you can see an unboxing of the device, giving the world its first real good look at an actual Ouya. Boy, it's tiny.
It might not have been as saucy as a collection of sexy images, but it still makes for a tale of Christmas heartbreak: according to a report on Fox, a boy from Talladega woke up on December 25 to find a Nintendo 3DS box waiting for him. Only there was no 3DS inside.
Instead, it was... a box full of rocks. Wrapped in tissue paper. While you might think it's a Craigslist scam, it's not; instead, the boy's mother bought it from Walmart, where it seems this is a thing, with scammers buying goods, taking them out, stuffing the boxes with heavy substitutes then returning them, busy/lazy staff not even bothering to check the contents of the goods.
All's well that ends well, though, as once local Walmart staff were informed the boy was quickly given a real 3DS to play with.