Saturday, April 30, 2011

PSN Outage - Press conference tomorrow, in Japan

From VG247:

[Kaz] Hirai will speak at 2.00pm Japanese time (9.00pm PST, 12.00am EST, 5.00am BST, 6.00am CET) about the breach, as well as the firm’s information management system and the schedule to resume services.

Well, with any luck they'll make it clear when PSN will return. I'm really excited for this drama to be over, honestly.

In other news, the bargain bin once again provides! I picked up Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition for $19.99 (for the 360). "Gears of Batman" is what I've nicknamed it. I know I'm super late to the party on this game, but hey - better late than never.

I've only had a few hours to sink into it, but so far? This is a BAD ASS Batman game. It's dark, it's not afraid to be brutal, and the combo system so far is very smooth and satisfying. I really can't wait to see what is in store later in this game....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Warhawk 2/Starhawk revealed next month?!

Oh MAN do I hope this is true!

...the third-person shooter is being build on a new engine, is to be released on disc instead of digitally like previous games in the series, and will contain a full single-player campaign with jeeps, tanks, and spaceships.

The maps will supposedly represent different planets with “small areas for ground combat,” in a universe Earth is not a part of.

3 Words: BRING. IT. ON!

Warhawk on the PS3 was one of the best multiplayer experiences on the PS3 for a long time. A sequel is a day 1 purchase for me, without a doubt.

Speaking of Warhawk - a friend and I were very sad to discover that no one seems to play it anymore. I had set up a game, and left it wide open for the public to join. Sadly, no one did. We sure as hell had a great time blasting each other out of the sky however.

Please let this rumor be true!

VIDEO: Need for Speed: The Run!

Whoa, this seemed to almost come out of nowhere, but earlier this new trailer was posted on the official Need For Speed YoutTube channel:

Whoa! To me it looks like a Need for Speed game with a properly fleshed out story... Clearly there's a bit of influence from the Fast & Furious movies, but I know my interest is totally piqued!

PSN Outage - day 9

Sony has posted a second FAQ regarding this outage. Here are the key Questions and Answers:

Q: Will our download history/friends list/settings be affected by the PSN downtime?
A: No, they will not.

Q: Will trophies that were earned in single-player offline games during the outage be intact when the service resumes?
A: These trophies are intact and will be re-synched when the network is once again operational.

Q: Will my PS+ cloud saves be retrievable?
A: Yes, once PSN is restored.

Then there is this one:

Q: Will there be a goodwill gesture for the time we haven’t been able to utilize PSN/Qriocity?
A: We are currently evaluating ways to show appreciation for your extraordinary patience as we work to get these services back online.

As per prior SCEA updates, we shouldn't really expect PSN to be up at all at least until next Wednesday (so 2 weeks of down time, total). Now, I don't mean to sound greedy, but a full blown digitally distributed PS3 greatest hits title would probably go a LONG way towards rebuilding the relationship with PS3 gamers. I won't get my hopes up on that however. A full PSN game might be more along what SCEA is thinking...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Follow us on Twitter @PixelatedPalace!

Yeah so after an interesting start, Pixelated Palace is on Twitter! Follow us @PixelatedPalace for blog update notifications and other insanity (i'm sure)!

Current Gaming

Well, it's been a while since I wrote up one of these here "Current Gaming" posts, so let's just dive right in!

Currently my gaming time has been split between Skate 3 on the ps3 and Street Fighter 4 on the 3DS.

Now, I know what you're thinking - "Skate 3? That's hardly new!" - And you know what? You're right, it's not. But, when i saw it in the discount bin for $15, i figured why not give the franchise that's pretty much taken Tony Hawk's crown a spin?

Right off the bat, Skate 3's system for pulling off tricks is refreshing to me. You basically use the right thumb stick to perform fighting-game like stick movements, which end up translating into all the various skateboard tricks you'd expect in such a title. It actually ends up feeling really smooth and fluid - I'm really liking it.

The graphics are pretty top notch and do the game justice. I've yet to have a chance to try the online parts of the game, due to PSN being down.

Anyway - If you've enjoyed old school Tony Hawk games, and happen to find this title for cheap, check it out!

Then there is the ever-present Super Street Fighter 4 3D. This is the reason I purchased a 3DS at launch, and ever since it's pretty much been my #1 title on the 3DS. I'm still pretty blown away with the fact that Capcom managed to fit a full featured, online enabled Street Fighter into a handheld. Graphically, I feel SSF43D totally holds its own when compared to the home and arcade versions. (OH and FYI - If you go into the game settings menu, and disable 3D all together - you'll get a nice boost to 60fps in single player mode. It's actually really noticeable!).

SSF43D's online play is about as perfect an experience as one could expect on a portable system. Playing with both random strangers and friends is very simple, and I've only run into really laggy matches maybe two or three time.

SSF43D, in my opinion really comes off as the most polished and complete of the 3DS launch titles - between online play, the streetpass battles (which are FUN!), and the jaw dropping graphics, this is a 3DS title that should be in everyone's collection.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack. I really need to jump in on a few rounds of COD before it launches to get back into the swing of things. The Call of the Dead Zombie map also really looks amazing, I can't wait to give that a try.

I also need to make some time to play Portal 2, I've heard nothing but great things about it so far...

PSN Outage - Day 8 - New PS3 System Update to arrive along with PSN's return

As soon as PSN returns, PS3 users will be greeted with a system update that will prompt them to change their password:

That includes "a new system software update that will require all users to change their password once PlayStation Network is restored." Presumably, that software update will come to both the PSP and PlayStation 3 within the week. Currently, PSN accounts are locked out of the system, making a change to personal information and passwords impossible.

Honestly I'm glad they are forcing this on users - Had they not been prompted to do so, I'm sure there would be plenty of users who'd simply just keep on going with their same password.

I don't think anyone should expect anything in the way of new features with this upcoming firmware release, so don't get your hopes up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Security alert issues by Microsoft - COD:MW2 Phishing attempts

From Xbox Support:

Users may experience difficulties with the following services:

Users may receive potential phishing attempts via title specific messaging while playing Modern Warfare 2.

We are aware of the problem and are working to resolve the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience

This is nowhere near the scale of Sony's current security problems, but it's worth sharing anyway. If you're still rockin' COD:MW2 on the 360, be careful out there!

RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 7 - What you need to know

So, now that we can expect some level of service on PSN "within a week", here are the key bulklet points you NEED to be aware of:

- First off, if you've happened to use the same email/password combo for ANY other website, service, etc - Change that password ASAP.

- Second, When PSN does come back online - Change that password ASAP

- Third, Keep a close eye on your statements from which ever bank or credit card you've had on file with Sony. This part kind of sucks because it's not really a quick and easy fix, and I know I'll be on edge for months...

All I know is I am *very* hesitant to keep my CC info with Sony right now. Hopefully now that this has caught the attention of Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and by extension the US Federal Government, maybe Sony will be more keen on keeping us end users in the loop as this goes on.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RAGEFACE: PSN Outage - Day 6.9 - Uh oh.

From Kotaku:

While Sony discovered that hackers had broken into their Playstation Network on April 19, it wasn't until nearly a week later that the company understood the full scope of the breach, a Sony official tells Kotaku.

The company learned that customer data was stolen on Monday, only after an outside security firm conducted days of forensic analysis, Sony said.


Speaking to Kotaku tonight, SCEA spokesman Patrick Seybold explained the apparent delay in notifying customers.

"There's a difference in timing between when we identified there was an intrusion and when we learned of consumers' data being compromised," Seybold said. "We learned there was an intrusion April 19th and subsequently shut the services down.

"We then brought in outside experts to help us learn how the intrusion occurred and to conduct an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident. It was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach. We then shared that information with our consumers and announced it publicly this afternoon."

Two words: Epic. Fail.

Sony clearly needs to take a step back and reassess if it really wants to be in the modern video game console business. I am really shocked with how long Sony is claiming it's taken their mercenary security experts to discover the leak of customer data. I do not think i will be renewing my PSN+ subscription and will certainly ensure there are no credit card details entrusted to Sony going forward.


RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 6.5 - SCEA SPEAKS!

You know what? I'm bored with this story already.

Sony - get your ass in gear, please? This is getting ridiculous. Get PSN back online, push out a new firmware update - whatever it takes.

Anyway, here's the latest from SCEA:

Valued PlayStation Network/Qriocity Customer:
We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this intrusion, we have:

Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;
Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and
Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports.

(So, in short - once PSN is back online, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD.)

Sony goes on to direct you to some information regarding how to check your credit report... yikes.

At this point I have to wonder what Sony's plan is to gain back gamer's trust. No matter which theory you believe (ReBug, or the official story), this looks really ugly for Sony.

VIDEO: Call of the Dead

I don't even know where to begin with this.... there is too much awesome contained in this video clip for the upcoming Call of the Dead level for COD:Black Ops Zombies (it's part of the upcoming Escalation map pack).

I am on geek overload right now. They even got to work with George Romero on this! Danny Trejo! Robert Englund! Suddenly $15 doesn't seem so bad for the map pack, eh?!

Free Excitebike 3D with Nintendo eShop launch!

Next month will bring the anticipated update for the 3DS, giving us both the eShop and the web browser... But Nintendo has announced that 3DS owners will also be entitled to a free copy of Excitebike 3D!

Nintendo has announced that 3DS owners will be able to download a free copy of Excitebike in 3D when the eShop launches later next month.

Revealed during Nintendo Japan's investor's meeting today, Nintendo hopes the offer with provide consumers with an incentive to download the upcoming firmware update that will add an internet browser and eShop.

Too cool! I do love this trend where Nintendo gives the early adopters a little something extra (Opera with the Wii, and that free app when DSiWare launched).

This update can't come fast enough!

Duke Nuke'em Forever - "Come Get Some" trailer

Here's the latest NSFW trailer for Duke Nuke'em Forever!

2 words... HOLY CRAP! Here is to hoping this kicks as much ass as the trailers lead on...

RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 6

Well, PSN is still down.

I'm guessing there will be no PS Store update or new content for PSN+ members this week. But hey - Sony announced two PlayStation tablets!

Following hot on the heels of the first PlayStation Phone, Sony has today unveiled its first tablet devices that will be capable of (officially) playing PlayStation games.

The S1 tablet, which is a Tegra-powered device and is tapered on one end "like holding a magazine", will be the first Sony tablet device to carry the "PlayStation Certified" label, meaning it can play both PS1 games and other Sony-approved titles specifically for mobile platforms. It has a 9-inch screen.

In addition to the first PlayStation tablet device, the S1, Sony has today also unveiled a second, the S2, a tablet that can fold into a DS-like clamshell.

Meh. I've still yet to be enticed by this whole tablet computing thing - so let's just move on to something else...

This was posted over at Reddit by an admin from psx-scene regarding the PSN downtime:

Ok, I've seen a bunch of speculation of why people think PSN is down, and I thought I should just post what the community knows in comparison to what Sony is telling everyone. The truth is, there was a new CFW (custom firmware) released known as Rebug ( It essentially turns a retail console into a dev console (not fully, but gives you a lot of the same options that usually dev's only have access to). Anyway, this new CFW was quickly figured out by 3rd parties (not Rebug) to give CFW users access to the PSN network again via the dev networks. With a little manipulation of the URL's through a proxy server you could get your hacked console back online. Not that big of a deal, right? Well, it also turns out that some people over at NGU found out that you could provide fake CC# info and the authenticity of the information was never checked as you were on Sony's private developer PSN network (essentially a network that Sony trusted). What happened next was extreme piracy of PSN content. Sony realizing the issue here shut down the network. Now, before you go freaking out about the latest information posted about Kotaku, no ones personal information was accessible via this hack. Not to say they couldn't get it, but no one is admitting to it being available. Anyway, that's the real reason for the PSN downtime. Sony is now rebuilding all of it's PSN servers to be more secure and (hopefully) make sure the CFW users cannot get online anymore.

Well this certainly adds some color to this story... And it really makes me wonder how this will ultimately affect PS3 users as a whole. Sony will obviously fight back, but I feel the average end user will end up having to jump through some hoops to get back onto PSN once this clears up.

Monday, April 25, 2011

RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 5.5 (SCEA chimes in at last!)

And here's the latest from SCEA:

I know you are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.

As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly. We’ll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. We once again thank you for your patience.

Does SOCOM 4 even have an offline mode?

RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 5.5

Tweeted just now by Sony's EU PlayStation Blog:

We're trying to get an update and ETA of when #PSN will be back online, but we're afraid there is no new info. Will tweet when there is.

So more of the same, except SCEE is SAYING "more of the same" instead of just letting us all twist in the wind. Thanks to SCEE for keeping us posted, and a big fat BOO to SCEA for not. Yeah i understand we're in a digital world, but would it have killed SCEA to simply retweet SCEE's post? sheesh.

(heads up - SCEA = Sony Computer Entertainment America, SCEE = Sony Computer Entertainment Europe)

Next-gen Nintendo system to take "new approach" to video game consoles

From Bloomberg:

“We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles” with the Wii successor, Iwata said, without elaborating. “It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.”

So basically - don't expect 3D functionality to be the focus of the new system. I'm ok with that, mostly because I'm not too keen on buying a new 3D tv at the moment.

RAGEFACE: PSN outage - day 5

The great PSN outage of 2011 is currently in it's 5th day. It's been two days from the last official update from Sony via the PlayStation Blog.

Sony needs to update us. Even if it's just another "We're working on it" type updates, they need to keep it's fan base a little more in the loop.

Look, I understand that everyone involved in getting the PSN back online is probably under a tremendous amount of pressure, but c'mon! There must be a manager or suit of some kind who can task a secretary with updating the PlayStation Blog.

CONFIRMED: Wii Successor to be released in 2012

In a rather refreshing move, Nintendo has confirmed it's next-generation home console will be unveiled at this years E3.

Today in Japan, Nintendo confirmed the upcoming release of the Wii's successor. The still-unnamed console will be revealed at this year's E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles in June.

The new console will go on sale in 2012, said Nintendo in an official statement.

Well isn't this a bold move on Nintendo's part? I can't recall a time when a new bit of gaming hardware was pre-announced like this, but with new rumors popping out every day (or so it seems), I can't see any reason NOT to feed us this little tidbit. While this does make the wait for E3 harder, I expect more rumors (and more solid rumors) to come trickling out between now and then.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

PSP Go not dead in North America?

Seems the PSP Go will not be phased out in North America (just Japan and the EU for now)

Today we were told: "We are continuing production of PSP Go for North America."

Er... great? I feel keeping the PSP Go on the market is only going to sap away sales from the NGP by people who simply aren't as "in the loop" as some of us. Speaking of which, as E3 inches closer, i can't get over this feeling that the NGP will retail for $350+. Ugh.

RAGEFACE: PSN outage, Day 4

Sony's Playstation Network is *still* down.

The latest from the Playstation Blog says:

We sincerely regret that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have been suspended, and we are working around the clock to bring them both back online. Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security.

We thank you for your patience to date and ask for a little more while we move towards completion of this project. We will continue to give you updates as they become available.

"Re-building out system"? What the hell? What exactly is going on here? This seems like something more than a simple network intrusion. And what sort of "additional security" does Sony have in mind here? Does this have anything to do with the Amazon EC2 outage?

Basically at this point, Sony needs to make with some real answers. Even for a free service, 4 days of downtime? Over Easter Weekend (which can either be a long weekend or the end of April vacation for some)? Come on! I can't imagine how angry everyone who picked up SOCOM 4 this week has to be right now.

Thank goodness XBL is still up...

Friday, April 22, 2011

RUMOR: Wii successor specs leaked

Well the crazy people over at IGN are claiming they've got a source who knows all about the next-gen Nintendo home console. Here is what they've got to say:

Additionally, IGN has learned that the system will be based on a revamped version of AMD's R700 GPU architecture, not AMD's Fusion technology as previously believed, which will, as previously reported, out perform the PlayStation 3's NVIDIA 7800GTX-based processor. Like the Xbox 360, the system's CPU will be a custom-built triple-core IBM PowerPC chipset, but the clocking speeds will be faster. The system will support 1080p output with the potential for stereoscopic 3D as well, though it has not been determined whether that will be a staple feature.

They are also claiming the system will retail for "anywhere between $350 and $400 based on manufacturing costs" - "will ship from Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, this October, putting the earliest possible retail release anywhere between mid-October and early November."

That's quite a bit to take in, but it sounds like it'll be slightly more powerful than the Xbox 360 & PS3 - and I think that's going to be a pretty kick ass prospect. If the prior rumors of full Wii backwards compatibility are true, then this could be a massive hit. Personally, I really do hope that Nintendo goes out of it's way to court the 3rd party developers - they are going to be key if Nintendo wants to be seen as a real player in the hardcore market again. The addition and total support for a classic style controller is also very key in my opinion. I'm not saying to do away with the Wii Mote and that set up, I'm just asking that Nintendo allow the developers to pick a control scheme that fits the title (and not to fit the title around the control scheme). I'm also asking for a classic style controller "out of the box", and an on board Ethernet port would be a very nice addition as i don't care to use WiFi for gaming.

Allow me to move my existing VC and WiiWare titles to this new system - and keep the VC idea going, it's brilliant.

E3 is going to be a hell of a show this year folks. Let's hope those Mayans were full of shit, because 2012 is going to be a crazy year for gaming...

PSN Still down, bargain bin shopping

So, PSN is still down, and of course I find myself with a nice little score from the bargain bin - Skate 3 for PS3.

Luckily there's plenty of this game that can be played offline, it's just that it feels wrong in some way to NOT have the PSN active on the PS3. More to the point this sucks because it's the start of a long weekend for me, and who doesn't enjoy a little online multi-player violence to celebrate Easter weekend?

Oh well. Back to Skate 3!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version trailer!

Our good pals over at Obvious Winner sent this my way -

This is intended to be a sort of beta test of Mega Man Legends 3 (it's planned to launch with the 3DS eShop), which will eventually come out for the Nintendo 3DS.

Looks like 3D Mega Man done RIGHT for a change!

Thanks for the tip khz!

Just as I'm about to start a long weekend... PSN is down

...and it could remain as such for another day or two.

Here is the official word from Sony:

While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running. Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we’ll update you again as soon as we can.

I guess it's a sign i should spend some quality time with my 360.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation DLC preview

As if this needs any introduction.... Here's a little preview of the upcoming DLC "Escalation" for Black Ops that's coming out May 3rd on the 360:

I know I'll out $15 when this hits the Marketplace...

New Sonic Generations gameplay footage

Here's an unfortunately blurry, yet long video showing off the hybrid game style of Sonic Generations:

Look, i really want to get super excited for this (I do, really!) - But I know the Sonic Cycle all too well... It's just almost too good to be true. But that said, we've got old school meets new school Sonic game play (this could either be really awesome or totally horrible)and no hint of any friends (Tails and Knuckles are always welcome in my dojo).

Don't fuck this up Sega.

(ps- Sonic 4 Episodes 2? is this even going to happen?)

In other news, I managed to score 3 StreetPass tags the other night (standing around a GameStop when people are picking up pre-orders was a good idea!). Two of said tags also had Street Fighter 4 data. I won both figure matches, then promptly blew about 8,000FP on Figure Slots. Once the 3DS reaches critical mass StreetPass is going to be a pretty slick functionality. I'm really excited to see what is in store for this functionality.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


From the oh-that-thing-is-still-around dept...

Sony is halting further production of the PSP Go. I can't say I'm too broken up over this, it was simply too little too late in the PSP's life to do such a radical makeover. Well, that and the fact I've already got 3 older PSPs...

Anyway, I suspect this is just an effort to clear the way for the NGP - I'll be surprised if a release date and final name isn't discussed at E3. I've got a real rotten feeling in terms of the retail price of this beast though...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AHH. Is it just me...

...or are we all just a little starved for new information about the 3DS and upcoming titles?

Sure, there's Zelda - and don't get me wrong it's a Day 1 purchase - but damn it all why is E3 so far away?! I'm already kind really hyped for the Nintendo keynote (Sorry MS/Sony... I'll be watching, but the Big N has me all worked up). Next-gen Wii rumors... And you have to assume Nintendo is going to pull out all the stops for the 3DS as well.

I'm just going a little batty here... waiting. Hitting all the usual spots in hopes of some new nugget of information about the future of my beloved new 3DS.

In the meantime I should beat Street Fighter 4 3D again, and get my ass in gear with Shadow Wars.

On the subject of Shadow Wars, I've at last come face to face with a black screen crash. Happened out of nowhere on my 2nd attempt at a mission - and it was rather annoying (Yes, my 3DS has the current firmware).

Pilotwings 3DS is, thus far, an enjoyable and relaxing excursion. I'm chipping away at the missions in between periods of distraction by the free flight mode. I think the glider is my favorite of the aircrafts so far - it has a neat mechanic where you're able to see updrafts (which are key for any long flight), and you can get pretty high up in that glider (I've topped out around 2.5k feet or so as of this writing).

If Nintendo doesn't at least *tease* a new proper Advance Wars title for the 3DS at E3 (and a new Battalion Wars game does NOT CUT IT) - I will be very disappointed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What the...?

So out of seemingly nowhere, the internet is buzzing with rumors of an imminent pre-announcement this month(?) and a full official reveal of Nintendo's next generation of home console at E3.

Back on April 7th, Kotaku made an educated guess based on the immediate release schedule that new Nintendo hardware was coming soon.

Then yesterday, EVERYONE in the video game press suddenly claimed to have insider knowledge that this WAS in fact the case. Here is Kotaku again with even more details and links.

So - not that I have any insider knowledge, but i'm pretty damn excited at the prospect of a fully backwards compatible next gen Wii (in my opinion, it should be called Super Wii, for old time's sake), with a robust online service.

If Nintendo can manage to really woo the 3rd parties, and get Epic and the Unreal 3 engine on board, they just might win back the hardcore gamers...

We will have to wait till E3 gets close to know for sure. In the meantime, who's up for some Super Street Fighter 4 3D? Here's my friend code 0259-0316-4469 - let me know if you add me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

3DS nitpicks

Argh. So it's been a little over a week with the 3DS and I have one major nitpick.

The battery life kinda sucks.

I don't have any hard statistics that I've collected or anything, but the average 3-5hrs you'll see on any of the major gaming sites is pretty spot on. To be fair, the only thing I've really done to improve this is kick the screen brightness down from 5 to 4 (and i totally leave the wireless on at all times... can't risk missing a streetpass opportunity!) - but seriously, this is less than optimal.

I am debating picking up one of the Nyko 3DS battery packs, but i think I'll hold out a bit longer to see what other 3rd party solutions come to light.

Maybe it's because it's still new and I'm itching to play with it more, but the time it takes to recharge the 3DS is also a bit of a pain. Seems to take about 3-5 hrs to fully recharge...

So nitpicks aside, I'm still loving this system. I've also "learned" how to see the 3D display properly while in 3D mode, which has been a real kick. I do find my eyes getting tired after about 30-45minutes of 3D play, but a short break with 2D mode and I'm ready for more.

Bring on the next wave of titles!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What the 3DS needs

While the Nintendo 3DS is an amazing system, there are a few items that I feel Nintendo must address in future updates.

First - A means to send/receive short messages from my friends list. I honestly don't know how this was overlooked. Have the system alert you with the usual orange light when you get a message.

Second - A means to send/receive pictures, especially the 3D pictures. The 3DS is the optimal device for viewing these pictures right now, and it should be easy to share the cool pictures you take with your friends list.

Anyway... back to Ghost Recon Shadow Wars....

The Nintendo 3DS

Like a moth drawn to flame... there was no way I could resist the launch of new Nintendo hardware.

Let's get one fact right out into the open - I am a life-long Nintendo fanboy. If you're looking for an unbiased opinion/review of the 3DS, you're in the wrong place, and I am sorry for wasting your time.

That said, There is nothing in this world that makes me feel like a kid again more than new Nintendo hardware. The Nintendo 3DS is no exception. The first thing to notice is the 3DS is just about the same size as your trusty DS lite. It's a little thicker, but really, to the naked eye its pretty spot on. The second thing you'll notice is the top screen for the 3DS is quite a bit larger than the DS lite/DSi.

Then there is the glasses-free 3D. Truth be told, this effect doesn't really work on me. I'm a little bummed about this, but it's due to a life-long issue with my left eye - so really, what can you do?

With my 3DS, I purchased Super Street Fighter 4 (which as i said in my E3 keynote post was a must-have), as well as Ghost Recon Shadow Wars. Both are fine titles, but SF4 stands head and shoulders above GRSW because it seems to leverage every cool feature the 3DS has to offer.

So let's talk a bit about the 3DS features!

- Graphics: It's like you've got a portable Wii in your pocket. Seriously - using Street Fighter as an example, these are by far the best graphics I've seen on a portable system. The fact that Capcom pulled off a damn near flawless port of SF4 really blows me away.

- Network Connectivity: Now *THIS* is what WiiConnect24 should have been! With the 3DS you have a single system-level friend code. You're also given a proper friends list and are now alerted any time a friend comes online. This ties into the next item...

- StreetPass: This is a really cool functionality that basically allows your 3DS to communicate and trade data with other 3DS without any sort of user interaction required (the idea being that your 3DS is asleep in your pocket as you go about your day to day life). The 3DS Mii Plaza uses StreetPass, so when you DO bump into another 3ds owner out in the world, you exchange Miis (and other goodies). I was lucky enough to have a random StreetPass encounter while visiting Washington DC and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Street Fighter 4 supports StreetPass in a really cool way - you set up a team of 5 fighters that actually do battle with other SF4 players as you pass them.

- AR Games/Face Raiders: The 3DS comes with 2 Augmented Reality (AR) games - AR Games and Face Raiders. With AR Games, you're given a deck of 6 cards with the 3DS. The main card (it looks like the Super Mario '?' block) is the root of the game - you start AR Games and aim the camera at the card... and suddenly your surroundings are part of the MANY mini games within. Face Raiders uses the built in camera to take pictures of your face, or other faces around you - then incorporates them into a fun AR shooting title, where again your surroundings become the game. This functionality really needs to be experienced first hand...

- Pedometer/Play Coins: The 3DS also has a built in pedometer which keeps track of how many steps you take in a day - but with a twist! For every 100 steps you take you are rewarded with 1 Play Coin. These play coins can then be exchange for in-game items (With Street Fighter it allows you to buy more StreetPass figures, and with AR Games it unlocks more mini games). This feature is seriously going under the radar right now, and i think it's one of the more brilliant parts of the 3DS. It's like a super refined/distilled idea from WiiFit, and the in-game rewards ensure i keep my 3DS in my pocket at all times keeping track of my steps (not to mention for the StreetPass connections).

I gotta be honest here, I'm almost overwhelmed by how awesome the 3DS is so far. This system has a very bright future ahead of it, and I am dying to see what the 2nd and 3rd waves of software hold in store for us. I'm also really looking forward to novel uses of the AR gaming. I plan on writing more about the 3DS as i discover more, so stay tuned.

This is a game-changer - Sony, you had best bring your AAA game with the NGP....

'till next time...