Tag Archive | "gaming console"

Party Host and More: the Nintendo Wii

The Wii is taking the concept of friendly get-togethers into a whole new realm with its motion gaming controls and multiplayer functionalities. Of course, figuring out which titles to go for is not exactly the easiest thing to do –especially when there are hundreds to choose from. Here are four of our most recommended titles to help you figure out which games would best your party needs.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Sometimes, there is nothing that can hold down the hyperactive needs of a preteen boy –let alone four of them. Fortunately, Nintendo’s four-way beat-em-up 2D fighter promises plenty of fast paced action to keep even the most hardcore player of the bunch focused on the game. Smash Brothers brings back a great lineup of Iconic Nintendo characters such as Mario, Samus, Fox, Zelda and more into a free spirited battle tournament. Parents watching on will appreciate many of the old and new Nintendo franchise cameos ranging from the Game and Watch era to the more recent Animal Crossing and Nintendogs title. Metal Gear Solid fans will also be happy to see Snake pop up as a playable character.

Boom Blox

When EA announced that Steven Spielberg was working on a game, we were wondering what kind of fantastic stories he would be bringing to interactive life. Nobody expected that the man would spearhead the creation of a game that would later take spotlight of any party: Boom Blox. It sounds silly and even the concept is hard to take seriously: you throw balls at blocks. But give the game a quick whirl and after five minutes, you and your friends will be addicted.

The game pits you against your friends in turn based ball-throwing battles where you each pit your accuracy and skill at strategic block knocking. There are various gameplay objectives such as blowing up a specific number of blocks or knocking off blocks in a certain order to win. Highly replayable, intuitive controls and an overall fun gameplay experience makes this title a must have for parties.

Wario Ware Smooth Moves

Of course, when it comes to motion gaming, you have to bring out Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Players take turns as they each try to do various motions in order to achieve the various stage objectives. Each stage only lasts a few seconds or so you players have to think fast about what to do. On a multiplayer game, you and your friends have to communicate fast in order to pass the WiiMote (you only use one) around to the next player. Fun, frantic and certain to tire payers out within an hour or two; this is the best way to whip up an appetite before serving the hors d’oeuvres.

Wii Sports

It is old and comes free with your Nintendo Wii, yet Wii Sports is still a much recommended title for those who want to have various activities without having to change discs a lot. Players get to participate in various sports such as tennis, boxing, billiards, air hockey and more. The best part here is that you can get your friends to make custom Miis to use prior to the game –as each player can select their own Mii avatar to play.

The next time you become the designated host of a party and are stumped on what to do; do not hesitate to fire up the Wii and buy some new batteries for the controllers. This little home console will solve all your entertaining needs.

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Portable Packing: What You Need When You Bring Your PSP

The point of having a portable handheld gaming machine is so that you can move around with it. Bring it out during those long hours of waiting, and be able to send it back to your bag instantly without having to worry. This also means being able to bring your favorite games with you without having to carry a bag full of boxes, in this and many other concerns, the PSP is a great system to have. And here is a quick list of things you will want to have when you travel.

First off, a protective casing; manufacturer Capdase has a large library of solid and soft cases for the PSP’s many variants. The best ones come with their own carry cases as well. Look for a carry case that suits your style (for those with special colored PSP units, a transparent case works best), and ensures that the screen is well protected.

Speaking of screens, invest in a good screen protector. These days, this is as easy as buying a screen protector for an iPhone 4 or an iPad, simply reduce the size with a cutter and a ruler so that it fits your PSP screen. The best thing about these screen protectors is that they are meant for touch screen devices which mean that they are fingerprint resistant. Since this goes directly on top of your screen, it works as a permanent protective layer.

A good microfiber cloth is always recommended. These are small and easy to store so having them around will not be an issue. Best of all, you can easily wipe the screen without worrying about making the typical scratches that from rough cloth and other fabrics.

Speakers are a definite must have, especially if you will be out in noisy locations. The official PSP speakers are simple comfortable earphones with excellent sound quality so there is no need to buy a new one if you are short on budget. But if you really want to get geared up, try some Sennheiser or Audio Technica branded ones for impressive audio quality. For those who want to go for style, Skullcandy has a host of impressive looks to choose from. Sony also has earphone -attached control dock for music fans which is a must-have for those who will be using the PSP as a music player (it also serves as a mini extension cable as well).

For those who spend a lot of time outside (or play games that are heavy battery users), a second battery is definitely recommended. The default PSP battery is small and lightweight to having a second one in your bag should not be a hassle. For those who really spend a lot of time away from home, bring along your charger as well. It should be noted that owners of the PSP-2000 and later models have the option of charging through a mini-USB cable too. There is an official car charger that is available for gamers with access to a vehicle.

Gamers will definitely want to bring their games and thankfully, UMDs are designed to be carried around. Thanks to the non-removable casing, there is very little risk of scratching UMDs; just be sure to avoid touching the exposed area of the disc. Those with plenty of downloaded PSN games (or lots of media) will want to invest in a second memory stick to help make file management a lot easier.

Lastly, bring a small bag! Lugging around the PSP openly could potentially damage the device’s screen if it gets bumped around a lot. A small secure bag with protective padding should do well for handling your PSP and any accessories and games you decide to bring along.

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Wii for Two: Two Cooperative Games for the Win

Everybody loves to talk about the many multiplayer aspects of the Wii, how impressive the system is for entertaining plenty of people and how well it functions for the family in general. But for standard two player games – that is an issue that is often unanswered yet much valued by hardcore players. So today, we are giving you our favorite cooperative games for the Nintendo Wii. Of course, with plenty of great two player campaigns available on the Wii, we’ve decided to serve up a pair of titles that will really want to make you work with a friend: a couple of the best horror games.

Obscure: the Aftermath

Survival horror games tend to lose their fright factor when there’s more than one player –take Resident Evil 5 for example. But there are times when even having more company doesn’t take the fright away. Enter “Obscure: the Aftermath”. This scary little masterpiece is a sequel to the original Obscure and introduces players to the two survivors of the first game and a whole new bunch of college coeds.

The game is scary, disturbing and frantic. When a bizarre sexually transmitted demonic plague starts creeping about the school, players must controls various pairs of characters through obstacles and puzzles as they try to escape chainsaw wielding psychopaths, mutated flying monsters and a whole host of other malicious beings. The cooperative aspect really shines through as players must support and protect each other. Gone are the days when you are safely picking a lock on a door (which often opens up a user interfaces that temporarily halts any enemies). In Obscure, you will have to count on your partner to shoot down any nasty things that might be coming up your back. For the ultimate in a two player scare fest, we definitely recommend playing this game.

House of the Dead: Overkill

Normally, when people talk about on-rails shooters for the Wii, the Resident Evil Chronicle titles (Umbrella and Darkside) are among the first to be mentioned. But when you want to have a little more fun shooting down zombies and just enjoying with your buddy, then you will certainly want to pop in House of the Dead: Overkill instead.

This game features plenty of 70’s inspired fashion; grind house movie visuals and enough swearing to make a B-movie starring Samuel Jackson blush. It is funny, witty and still surprisingly dark. The game is considered to be a prequel of all the HotD games –showing players the early beginnings of lead character Agent G –the heavy language in the game comes from the second main character, Isaac Washington. The cooperative aspect of the game mainly involves shooting everything onscreen as fast as possible –which is certainly easier with two players. For bosses however, a little more communication and planning are required in order to get the best ranks.

Alone, players will still be able to enjoy, play and finish these two games. But in two-player mode, players get to experience a rich and fulfilling cooperative gameplay aspect that the titles have been truly designed for. If you have not had the chance to try either Obscure: the Aftermath or HotD: Overkill, then now is the best time to bring your best friend over for some real gaming action.

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Ad Hoc Party: Multiplayer Adventures With Your PSP!

There are plenty of reasons to love the Playstation Portable, and one of these is the fact that the device has its own built in WLAN feature. Just flip up the WiFi switch and you are ready to go online or connect with other players. While Sony has opted to not allow games to have multiplayer options via the PSN, the PSP does support ad-hoc connectivity –giving players all the more reason to meet up with their friends and play together. If you have been itching for some solid cooperative multiplayer gaming fun, here’s a quick list of our most recommended games to try out.

Phantasy Star Portable

Without a doubt, Sega’s Phantasy Star series is one of the most famous multiplayer games of all time. Even with its initial incarnations on the Dreamcast, the game has already been placing its multi-player feature on the forefront. On the PSP, players get to continue the story of the Phantasy Star universe after the events of the first couple of games, bringing a completely new cast of characters and locations.

The game’s menu driven navigation lets you get around the usual array of shops and mission lists in a flash, with the system waiting only for the host player to confirm the commencement of a mission. Once started, players get to explore the mission maps in a full third person action mode. The ingame combat is easy to grasp and the lock on system feels very intuitive. Overall, this game makes for a perfect starter’s run on multiplayer. For those looking for a deeper gameplay, you might want to check out the next entry.

Monster Hunter Portable

Originating from the PS2, this strange dinosaur-monster hunting game has taken the world by surprise. Capcom has come up with a really good formula: a main town where the player has plenty to do such as cooking, mining, fishing and crafting items. Then top it off with specialized missions that place the player out in search of massive creatures through deserts, forests, ice capped mountains and more.

The hunting theme is quite evident in game, from the concept of having to track down a target monster in a large map to the visual details of the town and character models. In multiplayer, the large variety of weapons and items allows players to join and compliment each other’s fighting styles. Currently considered as one of the most famous multiplayer games on the PSP, this is one game you cannot afford to pass up.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Unlike our previous two series entries, Peace Walker is a standalone game. This epic prequel story to Metal Gear (and sequel to Snake Eater) brings back more of the stealth based action and cinematic storytelling that MGS is known for. But new to Peace Walker is the ability to link and team up with your friends to accomplish missions.

While it is possible to complete story mode alone, the game is best played with a friend or three. As a team, players can utilize varying squad formations, make joint attacks and accomplish missions faster and more efficiently. As a bonus, creator Hideo Kojima has teamed up with Capcom to put in a few special Monster Hunter stages as well –placing Big Boss (and friends) up against some of the meanest enemies on the MH bestiary.

Godz Eater Burst

It may seem like an odd title, but this Namco Bandai game is currently the best cooperative game out there yet. The controls and combat are often cited to be very simplified and we certainly agree –but remember this is not necessarily a bad thing. With multiplayer games, it is quite often that you have to mind a lot of things in the intermission areas. While there is also some inventory management and crafting to be done in GE Burst, these functions are made simple to accomplish and understand.

The result is a game that lets you focus on the fun part: hunting giant monsters. These monsters, or Aragami, are some of the most epic creature we have yet seen in a cooperative game (and we have seen the whole lot that MH has to offer). You, with a team of three will have to work together and take down these nasty beasts. Did we say beasts? Because we meant to, after all, there are plenty of missions in the game where you and your team will also have to face a squad of these titanic monsters. More often than not, players will have to split up and strategize properly to succeed.

There is no doubt that there are plenty more amazing multiplayer genres available on the PSP, some allow for competitive gaming, and others are also cooperative. But there is a certain charm to the third person action hunting genre that makes it hard to resist. Be it the in depth character customization, or the many things you can do in game, or the fact that you can take on some of the most epic monster battles ever made in a game. Either way, you can expect to see of these types of games to appear in the future, and more reasons to stay connected with your friends.

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Getting More Out of Your Wii

Nintendo’s motion controlled gaming console is considered to be one of the top systems in terms of overall entertainment. While its value to hardcore gamers may not be on the same level as the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, the Wii has more to offer to a broader market of casual gamers and of course, families.

If the Wii is currently on the center of your home entertainment system, with the console playing host to friends and family, you might want to consider investing a little bit of money and time to grab these very useful accessories.

First off, the Wii Balance Board –normally, we would not recommend getting a console peripheral that is only useful for one game (Wii Fit), but in this case, the Balance Board is a must have. Not only do you get to do really amusing things on it (you can test which among your friends can balance best on one foot), but there are plenty of useful applications that use the board. These applications mainly improve exercises that help you keep track of your weight –something that many gamers would appreciate.

When it comes to pointless accessories that offer loads of fun, nothing beats the various add-ons to the WiiMote controller. They range from simple items such as a sword, shield, tennis racket and the like. While they do not add any functional value (some even make playing a little harder), it is always fun to see your friends waving a plastic sword at virtual enemies onscreen.

Speaking of playing in front of a screen, get better WiiMote straps. Nintendo’s WiiMote comes with straps that are used to tie the controller to the player’s wrist (which will help prevent people from accidentally throwing the controller). There are already countless tales of various plasma and HD television screen that have been smashed by an over-eager player’s WiiMote. Better straps would help fasten the controller to the wrist better –just be sure to tell all your users to put on the straps when they play!

Aside from the usual array of swords and hammers, there are a few WiiMote add-ons that actually help, such as the steering wheel, the gun-grips and yes, even the Link crossbow (from Link’s Crossbow Training). These do not necessarily help you aim better –as most of us are far more lethal with a remote control style grip. But they do actually enhance the gameplay experience. There is also an additional extra motion sensing device that goes on the bottom of the WiiMote as well –which helps tracking your movements a lot more accurate.

To get more out of your gaming on the Wii, it is a good idea to buy rechargeable batteries. There are two variants. One is the typical AA battery size that replaces the standard batteries. The other is a Lithium Ion based battery that replaces the standard battery and the battery cover. The good thing about the L-ion battery is that is often comes with a charging dock so that you can be sure that every time you play, your controller is all charged up and ready to go.

So the next time you find yourself with a little extra gaming budget. You might want to pass out on grabbing the latest game releases and instead, look for some worthwhile purchases that would enhance your gaming experience with your current library.

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Portable Gaming Redefined: The Top 5 Signature PSP Games

The Playstation Portable is a truly impressive system, with hardware that easily matches that of the PS2 (which was one of the top ranking systems during the time of the PSP’s launch), many hardcore gamers feel that its extensive library of games are a must have for any real gaming collector. Of course, the PSP has had its share of critics and one of the most often raised points against the system is that it relies on ports of major console titles. We beg to differ. In fact, here are several exclusive made for PSP-only titles that games should look out for.

Patapon

Visually deceptive, this cutesy looking title is actually one of the most original games ever to be developed. By combining music-beats with adventure and RPG elements, Sony’s army drumming game has introduced an all original way to play.

In Patapon, players take on the role of the Mighty One, a powerful deity that commands the Patapon army across forests, marshes and deserts. To do this, players must use four drum beats to command their armies to charge, attack, block and retreat. Special drum beats will also allow one to access special deity powers such as manipulating the weather. In between stages, players are able to micro manage their armies by defining the job specialties of the various “-Pon” units and what equipments they will use.

The story is simple, yet intriguing, placing players on top of a bizarre mythos worshipped by oddly amusing eyeball creatures. As players advance through the game, they learn more of the history of the Patapons, their journey to the ‘Promised Land’ and the many obstacles they face.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Gaming legend Hideo Kojima brings the epic saga of Metal Gear Solid to the Playstation Portable in this amazing prequel story to the first Metal Gear game. Following Big Boss’ trail after the events of Snake Eater and Portable Ops, the legendary soldier finally finds a place to call his own and provides a home to soldiers from all backgrounds.

However, earning a base comes with its own strings. In exchange for the high tech facilities, Snake takes on the needs of small war-torn country and their plight from what seems to be an invasion. As the story unfolds, players learn that the invasion is merely a front and that a new Metal Gear project is underway. With nuclear threat on the horizon, the Boss gears up once again to bring down his foes. And this time, it will no longer be a solo mission.

Players now get a chance to link up with friends (thanks to the PSP’s built in WiFi ad-hoc capabilities) and in-game allies to take on this new chapter in MGS. Also, managing the home base will require players to set aside soldiers to manage research, medicine and even prepare some hearty dishes in the mess hall.

Echochrome

Puzzle games are a dime a dozen and very few games in this genre could ever stand out –let alone be defining for a gaming system. But such is the legacy of Echochrome. Story wise, there really isn’t anything here. You control a doll like figure (similar to the ones by artists for posing references) through a series of platforms, stairs and holes as you move from point of origin to the goal.

This is made challenging by the fact that many holes lead to bottomless drops, and the stairs and passageways lead to either open air or dead ends. To get by these players must manipulate the game’s camera to change the way they view the stage. By altering the angle of view, the scene changes; stairs are given an illusion of being connected to an open ended path. And this illusion is more than enough to the game to consider as reality, players are able to walk safely across. The puzzles are original and the solutions are applaud-able, Echochrome and its many challenges certainly deserve all the praise it gets.

The game’s simple black and white 3D graphics allows players to concentrate on the game’s puzzle aspects and the soundtrack is often quiet and thought provoking. With its impressive gameplay, excellent delivery and hundreds of stages, expect to this game pick at your brain for many enjoyable hours on end.

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

Square Enix is taking a new approach to the FF7 franchise by re-introducing the real EX-SOLDIER, Zack. This legendary side character played a bit part in the original series by serving as lead character Cloud’s ideal (he was delusional to the point of claiming Zack’s actions as his own) and through the in-game narrative, we learned that it was Zack who rescued Cloud from the Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim.

But what really happened? Crisis Core answers this question and so much more. Other major FF7 characters are given notice and appear in game as well such as Sephiroth, Yuffie, Aeris and Tifa. Side characters such as Tseng, Rufus, Reno and Rude also make varying appearance and Cid Highwind also gets mentioned in game. For fans of the original game, this is massively nostalgia-inducing game to play.

There is more to Crisis Core than relying on the fandom of the first game however. The game makes use of a unique active combat system that blurs the lines between a hack-and-slash and menu driven RPGs. Players get full, real time control of Zack in combat, and is able to access his entire array of physical attacks and materia skills. As one would expect, SE has provided this game with some of the most amazing graphics seen on the PSP, smoothly combining real-time models with pre-rendered content.

Loco Roco

As much as we love hardcore titles, there are some truly innovative casual games that manage to charm our hearts to unimaginable degrees. Such is Loco Roco. The game is simple, use the L and R shoulder buttons to shake, shift, and tilt the world as your Loco Rocos roll, slide and bounce their way to the goal. As much as we would like to expand more, that is really all there is to this game, and yet it manages to be so good to play.

Aside from its impressive simple yet addictive gameplay, the game features some of the best music to be featured in a game with styles varying from lounge to rock to pop. The stylized graphics provides players with a visual delight as the oohs and aahs of the Loco Roco further endear them to players.

As we said, this is a casual game, but it is still something that hardcore players should not pass up. After all, it is in the innovative titles such as these that the groundwork for even greater games is based.

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are plenty more games for the PSP that are truly amazing to play: Radiant Mythology, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Jeanne d Arc and so much more. The three games above are merely a sampling of the many great choices players have with Sony’s powerful handheld gaming system and the only real way you can know how great these games are is by trying them on your own.

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