Tag Archive | "gaming"

Touch Gaming: Our Top Nintendo DS Touch Screen Titles

The Nintendo DS’ biggest feature is the use of a touch screen along with a regular screen. This dual screen gaming handheld has opened up quite a lot of doors in terms of game development and its vast array of titles features some of the most innovative uses of the touch screen user input. Here are our top three favorite touch screen heavy games.

Knights in the Nightmare

Combine a deep storyline with amazing fairytale book artwork and an innovative gameplay approach to tactical RPGs and you have got Knights in the Nightmare. This Atlus made “strategy-shooter” is the first of its kind. Making use of the touch screen, players must navigate their cursor across a bullet-hell of magic bolts and energy wave attacks as they zip through the full menu and unleash their own powerful magics and attacks. Tactics, fast reflexes and quick wit will help players win through the toughest of battles. The story is pretty intensive –players take control of the soul of King Wilmgard, and together with Maria, mysterious Valkyrie, the two try to unravel the mysteries surrounding them.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

The first of the Phoenix Wright series of games, Ace Attorney places players in control of Phoenix Wright, a young attorney who finds himself handling the oddest of cases. Much of the gameplay takes part in the touch screen menu. There, players much study various pieces of evidence in order to help solve crimes and win their cases in the court. The touch screen menu handles most of the dialogue selection and logic based puzzles that will progress players through the game. The story is well written and divided into several inter-linked chapters that build up into a single climactic final act. Those who fall in love with this game will be happy to know that there are also other titles in the Phoenix Wright series that offer a similar gameplay experience –with the exception of the Miles Edgeworth title that focuses more on the investigation part as opposed to the court case.


Now this one is a no brainer. When you have got a several cute puppies on screen at the same time, it is nearly impossible to not try and touch them. This is where the power of the touch screen truly shines. With the stylus, players can pet, stroke and poke their virtual pet puppies to their hearts content. This is also how you manage feeding and grooming them as well. The use of the touch screen in the game is intensive with many of the tricks to be learned requiring you to give gentle nudges on the screen. Walking the dog also requires you to be attentive with the way you “hold the leash”. Overall, it is a very engaging experience. And whether you are tossing a Frisbee, guiding a dog through an obstacle or simply petting your pup for a job well done, it is hard to deny that much of Nintendog’s charm comes from the virtual interaction that you have with your pet.

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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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The Playstation 3 Really is Everything

No hardcore gamer’s home setup will be complete without the powerful Playstation 3. Sporting a large library of amazing exclusive game titles, the most ergonomic and responsive controllers, a powerful hardware setup that makes it a cost effective alternative to computers and a multitude of side functions that can make it the central hub of your entertainment center.

In size, the Playstation 3 is massive. It takes up plenty of shelf space. While a new slimmer version of the original has been launched, both will still require some ample territory. Fortunately, the console can be made to stand upright –which is a great bonus of those living in tight quarters.

But all that size is not without purpose, beneath that shiny exterior (or cool matte finish if you’re using a slim), is hardware that brings plenty of high end computers to shame even several years after its launch.

The system makes use of Blu-Ray media –which is heavily supported by Sony. This new form of disc storage packs in a massive amount of data: up to 25 GB for standard, 50 GB for dual layer and over a hundred GB for the BDXL types. So far, the largest game for the PS3 is Kojima Production’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which make use of the dual layer disc –which makes the game impossible to port to other consoles. This means that games made specifically for the PS3 can be larger and bigger than ever before as developers now have more space to add content.

And to read that content, the PS3 has the hardware to match; a high speed 3.2 GHz CPU runs the whole device –which is part of a more elaborate system that makes use of eight Synergistic Processing Elements which help out with the various load requirements. NVIDIA and SCEI have worked together for the graphics processor, the RSX reality Synthesizer which enables the PS3 to handle games for output in true 1080p HD video. Of course, only developers truly get to enjoy these stats.

Numbers and specs aside, what makes the Playstation 3 shine for players is not the excellent hardware, but the features and games. First off, the PS3’s Six Axis controller is so well made that no other controller fits the grip of the hand so well. Making use of a directional pad, two shoulder buttons, two shoulder triggers, 4 buttons and two analog sticks, the device looks like it will take a contortionist to manipulate. But once you try it yourself, you will realize how natural it feels and how intuitive the manipulation of the controls can be.

Using the PS3 is a breeze thanks to the cross media browser, better known as the XMB. This custom UI has been designed by Sony to make content a lot easier to access –and it complements the use of the controller. This OS may seem simple, but it has a lot of many useful features from media playback to web browsing to system data and save-file management. Periodic updates to the OS allow Sony to add more features and fix any security issues that may arise.

The PS3 also makes use of the Playstation Network, a free online service that allows Sony to provide system updates, mini-social networking, online games, multiplayer sessions and various downloadable content (such as game add-ons and media). Recently, SCE has launched the Playstation Network Plus program, a paid subscription service that provides PSN+ users with exclusive content, freebies and discounted rates for paid content. A supplement to the PSN network is the Playstation Home. This is a free and optional game that allows a player to create a character and interact with other players using the software and also to obtain various Playstation Home exclusives.

Overall, the PS3 is a system designed primarily with gamers in mind. Many of its games concentrate on single player modes and focus more on delivering deep storylines as opposed to catering to those who prefer multi-player gaming sessions. While there are plenty of PS3 titles that offer offline and online multiplayer features, the system’s game lineup is a testament to its value for real gamers. If you have a passion for gaming and prefer high quality games that deliver in story, graphics and gameplay, then the Playstation 3 is your best bet.

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Tweaking Your PSP: Stuff You Can Do Without Modifying Your System

The PSP is a great portable gaming device, and considering its large library of impressive games, there is plenty of reason to have fun with it. However, there are times when a little tweaking is needed to make your gaming life a little easier, and here are a few things you can do with your device without voiding your warranty.

Make use of the quick hibernate function

Instead of turning off your system fully, just quickly slide up the power tab to set it to into quick hibernate. This is perfect when you are playing a game that does not allow you to pause during a certain sequence or event and you have to really put the device down (you either have to stand up from the waiting lobby and meet your appointment or simply need to check the computer for the latest FAQs about the game you are playing). This also lets you continue your game progress without worrying about the battery life so much –speaking of which, when you see the battery light blinking and you might not make it to the power outlet and charger in time, going into hibernate can buy you that extra amount of time.

Switch out the memory stick for single-auto-save games

The great thing about games that the real world does not have: save points -which basically allow you to redo any wrong decision or action you take. But what about games that have auto-save functions? This is where having a second memory stick comes in. Simply copy your original save file into a new stick, and then switch back and forth depending on your needs. Of course, you will need a computer and to carefully back up and rewrite the save files. Keeping tabs of your save backups will also help a lot here.

For classic PSP-1000 owners, watch the battery

While not exactly a trick and more of a maintenance issue, those using the older PSP-1000 models might notice that their batteries may no longer be charging when using WiFi despite being plugged in. This is due to the old battery not being able to keep up with the device needs. Sadly, the only way to solve this is to buy a new one.

Speaking of the battery, set the PSP to save consumption

If you are out on the road and you want to maximize your battery, here are few things you can do. First off, lower the brightness settings. Those little buttons to the left of “select” allow you to tweak audio and screen brightness settings. Even on lowest, the PSP screen is still easy to see so do not hesitate to lower this. As for audio, strap on earphones (they use less power than headphones and the PSP speakers) and set the volume to a manageable level. Lastly, if you are using your PSP as a music device as opposed to gaming, be sure to set the screen settings to shut off after a few minutes.

Lastly, use the lock!

A lot of PSP owners are not aware that there is a key lock function on the device. Simply slide down the power tab and the PSP will not accept input commands. This is actually great if you are watching a cut scene and do not want to accidentally skip it by pressing a button and for those on MP3 mode.

Aside from swapping out the memory stick, most of these tips are in some ways, semi-documented on the PSP’s manual. All you need to do is to read carefully and you might even find out more useful and practical ways to use the various features of this powerful Sony handheld gaming console.

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Tackling Common Playstation 3 Issues

The Sony Playstation 3 is a powerful home console, and its hardware it still among the best that technology can offer despite the fact that it has been out for at least two years. And as one would expect from a system this powerful and complicated, issues and problems are bound to happen. While some are easy to figure out, some will require you to do a little more researching and tweaking. At worst, you might have to send the unit to an authorized repair center. But before you hit the panic button when things are not working as they should be, here are a few things you might want to try out.

If HDMI feed does not work and the video is reset to standard definition, simply hold down the power button until it shuts off. Then, turn it on by holding down the power button for about 5 seconds (a beep will be heard). The great thing about this is that it allows the device to auto-detect the HDMI cable once it boots up again –just be sure that the cables are connected snugly.

For games that freeze and hang up, there is no need to panic or worry. While this is definitely a symptom of something else entirely, the freezing itself with either self-restore (the console will sometimes automatically reboot) or you can do a manual reset. To know the difference, try pressing the PS button on your controller. If the system does not respond and all you see is the frozen game screen, then it is likely that the console will shut itself off. If the XMB appears, it is unlikely that the system will reboot and you will have to hold down the power button until the console shuts off.

Playing your PS2 games; this is not really a problem and is more of a hardware issue since backwards compatibility is not present in all Playstation 3 units. As such, you simply have to check the hardware specs on your device. Also, remember that even if you have backwards compatibility, PS2 games have region coding. Unlike the Blu-Ray PS3 titles (which can be played on any region PS3), you will not be able to play UK PS2 games on your US console –which means that hardcore players will still need to import a PS2 to play OZ.

One major issue that the PS3 currently has is with the system updates. While Sony does bring in plenty of new features with every update, there are many reports of systems that are locking up or freezing due to the OS changes. The problems are more common for users who have swapped out their hard drives for higher capacity ones, which means that if your unit has not been changed at all, you are less likely to have any problems. Naturally, users who have tried to hack their PS3 are most likely to be affected by the new updates. In most cases, this will require users to bring their console to a nearby Sony Center -at which point, it is likely that all files and savegames may be lost.

Of course, it is highly recommended that players back up their data periodically (especially before making a software update). Use the “entire system backup” function to get everything in one sweep. Trophy data cannot be stored on an external drive so be sure to always update your PSN account. If you are a Playstation Plus member and have the 3.60 version update, the cloud storage feature will allow you to individually store locked save files.

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PSP Countdown: Things We will Miss When the NGP Arrives

There is plenty of talk about the Next Generation Portable –basically, the PSP’s successor. As much as we all would want to call it the PSP2, Sony’s official name for the new device is the NGP. And so far, most of the hardware features are proving to be quite impressive and promising. Despite all things optimistic, it is hard to deny that there will be a lot of changes, and most certainly, a lot of features will be missed. Here’s a quick list of some of the things we would wish were present for the NGP.


The universal media disc has its fair share of detractors, limitations and issues. But the bottom line here is that disc based media has always been a key element for the PSP. While modern flash based storage can easily match discs in terms of storage size, there is a certain charm to the UMD that will be lost. Also, there are plenty of reports that the NGP will be hosting save files on the new game media itself. The only good thing here is that Sony will still be selling physical games –as opposed to the PSP Go style of having only download content.


Sony’s Cross Media Bar has been lauded to be an award winning user interface design –and after using it, we can clearly see why. Used in the PSP, the PSX and many Bravia models, the XMB provides users with an easy to use interface for accessing a wide variety of features and controls for Sony systems. Now, a new UI has been introduced for the NGP and it will be making the most of the touch screen input. While impressive, it certainly looks a lot more cluttered and less composed when compared to the more dignified approach of the XMB.

For PSP owners, the XMB has been a major factor for making the device easy to use. Since it is based on the control pad’s directions (up, down, left and right), moving across one set of options to another takes only one tap of a button. Viewing media, managing save files, changing settings have all been made easy with the XMB. Also, a large choice of PSP themes allows players to change the look of the XMB icons and background. Without a doubt, this UI will certainly be missed.

Removable Battery

It may not seem like a big deal for many users, but a removable battery is a great convenience for those us who love to travel. Playing with your favorite games while on the road is a treat that many gamers cannot do without. But sadly, as impressive as any battery capacity may be, games that use plenty of processing power and WiFi connectivity will certainly take a serious drain on your charge. When you are in a location without a decent wall outlet or access to car charger, the only hope you have for gaming is to pack along a second fully charged battery or two. Those of you who love to play ad hoc games will certainly be familiar with how much value a removable battery gives.

In the end, despite all the little drawbacks on the side, there is no doubt that the NGP will still be much looked forward to. After all, with such powerful hardware and a promise of great launch titles, who would not be excited? But the PSP is far from obsolete. With most of the PSP’s major titles just being released, we can expect to see more enjoyable hardcore gaming on this classic Sony handheld before it finally waves goodbye.

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