Kinect Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Kinect RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Dragon Ball Prints Money, but These DBZ Games Are Crap Sun, 04 Feb 2018 12:34:39 -0500 wlkrjesse


#1: Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku


While I'm told the sequels to The Legacy of Goku range from serviceable to even enjoyable, the first of its kind should not be forgotten. While UB22 and Taiketsu are as awful as they come, they still function. Albeit at a base level, the games do fulfill what the developers set out to accomplish. Sagas is a stunning achievement in coasting, but it might be fun after 20 beers. Even the pathetic Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect can register a kamehameha sometimes. The original Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku is a game that either does not function as intended or functions as intended and is a digital venture into the theory behind Chinese water torture.

Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku starts off more promising than many of the other games on this list, forgoing the idea of immediately rewarding the player with a bad experience as established by previous Dragon Ball Z games. It instead opts for an action RPG setting where you guide Goku through the Raditz and Frieza arcs.

While this all sounds actually okay, don't be fooled and keep your head on a swivel as The Legacy of Goku contains potentially harmful levels of tedium. The melee combat in the game consists of physical attacks with such untenable range and hitboxes that it feels more akin to something like Might and Magic or, more accurately, Hydlide. Yet the game does not accept it would function better as a blobber. Instead, it has the sheer gall to demand you participate in real-time battles as though everything isn't determined by the whim of whatever line of spaghetti code that checks HIT or MISS when you attempt to use a punch. Focusing on melee attacks makes the game near impossible to play.

The solution then, you may be thinking, is to use energy attacks. And you'd be right. There's one you get fairly early in the game called the solar flare. The solar flare is the blind idiot god of The Legacy of Goku. Everything from the wolf you fight in Area 1, up to and including Frieza at the end of the game, have to answer to the solar flare. There will never be a moment in the game where “hit it with the solar flare” is the suboptimal choice, and you get the solar flare in the first leg of your journey. It is an unfeeling, primordial force; one that the player can wield entirely as they see fit, free of all consequences and responsibility.

The Legacy of Goku is a conceptual air ball. The blueprint for this game is one of the cleanest alley-oop's a design team could have asked for, and yet it was botched at every single possible opportunity. This is why it takes the number one spot on this list. The solar flare invalidates the entire existence of The Legacy of Goku to the point where it no longer counts as a video game. It's a creatively designed data entry program.


But, what is the alternative? Return to the melee combat and inch your way through moving traffic on the highway of The Legacy of Goku? This is the true nature of Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku, and it is a grim mask of death. It's the casino where you always win, or where you always lose. You have no middle ground, no recourse to any kind of higher power, nothing to ground you in reality. And then it just ends.


#2: Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect


The reason this entry cannot be number one is it was born to die. Created with the sole instruction of "get the money, get out, no witnesses," Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect is a product of both laziness and incompetence; the Star Wars Battlefront 2 of its kind. Namco-Bandai believed (much like their predecessors did with UB22) that they could take assets from an older game, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, combine it with a rebarbative first-person view and Kinect-based motion controls, and then sell it for $60. They were correct.

This is a game entirely at odds with itself. You can unlock new fighters, but they all play exactly the same way. Even if they didn't, you're in first-person mode more often than not so you can't see the action even if you wanted to. It focuses on slow, deliberate movement largely due to the incompetence of the Kinect, yet everything seems to respond when it god damn well feels like it. The difficulty in this game does not lie with anything relating to the gameplay, but instead lives and dies entirely based on the hardware that it needs to function. You'll fight tooth and nail with the Kinect over every minutia, a never-ending dialogue that leaves you with a realization that you've wasted so much time and money on Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect. Once the fun of the Kinect semi-registering your kamehameha pose wears off, you can essentially consider the game completed because all that you'll have left is a very boring, extremely interpretive Dragon Ball Z themed choreography DVD.

It shares identical graphics and a shot-for-shot copy-paste of the story mode from Ultimate Tenkaichi, so you might be thinking that if you played that game you have absolutely no reason to pick this up. That's close, but the reality is no one has any reason to pick this up. You can indite the entirety of the Kinect's existence off the back of this game alone. This is the game equivalent of a film made by The Asylum. It was designed to take as much money from people as possible using a franchise they liked until they caught on as to how awful the product actually was.


#3: Dragon Ball Z: Sagas


Mindlessness taken to such an extreme it skips over ridiculous insanity and stops dead on lazy cynicism, Dragon Ball Z: Sagas is a tour de force in middling slop.

Beat 'em ups were a dying breed and desperate need of innovation. Fortunately the entire genre was saved by way of Devil May Cry in 2001, so to see Sagas regress three years later, especially alongside Ninja Gaiden in 2004, is uncomfortable at best. Sagas marks new territory for publisher Atari, who made the executive decision that enjoying a bad fighting game for 15 minutes with a friend was far too generous, and instead has opted to replace the laughably bad with the excruciatingly droll. As a single player experience, this game is so unflappably mediocre it's actually less enjoyable than if it was simply a bad game.

Instead, Dragon Ball Z: Sagas heads for the doldrums less traveled and has created a beat 'em up game where nothing feels good. Invisible walls will ensure you're bashing your head through a endless mush of saibamen with a stunningly featureless combat system where your punches, kicks and ki attacks all feel so unsatisfying to use that they may as well just not work and, thanks to the collision detection, sometimes they just won't.


You can purchase upgrades to enhance the combat but they actually do nothing to enhance your experience. Whether it's a purchased ability or one unlocked from the start, every move in the game features a janky animation that takes too long to play out, reducing the already monotonous gameplay to a stuttering mess. This causes everything to feel slow and plodding, which is the last thing you want in a beat 'em up.

Sagas is a game that worships apathy, revels in blase. The graphics match the dull pace of the combat, giving you such two-fifths interpretations of DBZ locations that it staggers the bad imagination. The character models are more than willing to match the speed of the game, coming in as underwhelming as the code can muster. Voice over work in the game could have been done by anybody; it might as well be white noise. There's nothing here. Dragon Ball Z: Sagas isn't smoke and mirrors trying to masquerade as a passable game. It's just smoke.


#4: Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu


From the creators of Ultimate Battle 22, I comfortably refer to Taiketsu as a refinement in cruelty. While we can blame some failure of Ultimate Battle 22 on the console and time of release, Taiketsu receives no quarter.

Released for the Gameboy Advance, Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu is a book that should be eagerly judged by its cover. The graphics push the edge of madness, with the only semi-accurate visual comparison being your first originally created Mugen character. Gameplay is non-existent, an absence of enjoyment that can only come from repeatedly mashing buttons that possess wildly interpretive hit boxes, regardless of what difficulty in name only you've set the AI to. The music is a fever dream, impossible to recall regardless of circumstances. Shockingly enough, the game features link cable support as though you are being encouraged to introduce friends and family to this negative improvement on its predecessor.

Taiketsu's genius is how uniformly bad it is, and how it takes no time introducing you to that world. From the moment you see the Gameboy Advance logo flicker to life, you have entered a carefully structured pocket of unpleasantness. No time wasted.


#5: Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22


A ground zero of sorts for bad Dragon Ball Z games, Ultimate Battle 22's 1995 release date tells you everything you need to know. Featuring sprites lifted directly from one of Bandai's old Super Nintendo DBZ fighters, UB22 throws itself into a cold, uncaring world of clunky movement, defenseless AI and generic Sega Genesis music.

The stages deserve particular attention, featuring vague interpretations of possibly classic Dragon Ball Z environments. The textures are pulled like digital saran wrap over a ceaselessly dull world, attaining an impressively low level of resolution.

Ultimate Battle 22 lives and dies all in a single breath, simultaneously causing feelings of repulsion and confusion. As if made by accident, it could only function as a bad PSX Dragon Ball Z fighting game back in 1995. Now, in the light of modern sensibilities, it instead feels more like a Dragon Ball Z fighting game you'd find in a 100-in-1 bootleg SNES cartridge in a Hong Kong back alley.


Dragon Ball Z prints money. They will never stop making products based on this franchise. When Akira Toriyama dies, his body will be preserved, a la Vladimir Lenin, underneath Toei Company, Ltd. With Dragon Ball FighterZ recently released, it's time to look back at some of the franchise's lower points. As you can imagine, not every Dragon Ball Z game was the prize pick at the fair. Here are five of the worst.

What is after VR? Fri, 17 Jun 2016 16:14:28 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

There have been many different breakthroughs in gaming throughout the years. The biggest breakthrough in the past decade has been motion control gaming. Using the Wii remote as a tennis racket or a baseball bat was revolutionary. It changed how everybody played their favorite games and it lead to the Nintendo Wii being the highest selling console in the past 10 years. 

Xbox and PlayStation both tried to mimic the Wii's success with their own versions of motion control. Xbox released their Kinect in 2010 which let your body be the controller. I bought Kinect the day it was released and I was blown away by the technology. Using my body to steer a raft in Kinect Adventures was exciting to me. 

PlayStation released their PlayStation Move which required the usage of Wii-like controllers. You would have a motion controller in one hand and then a directional pad in the other that would help you play the games. 

The question that was asked a lot during the motion control movement was, "Whats next?" Fans of video games often wonder what the next thing was. That next thing happened to be Virtual Reality. VR would put you in the game using a headset that would give you a 360 degree view of the game you are playing. 

The first big VR project was the Oculus Rift. It was born on Kickstarter and made over $2 million, surpassing their original goal of $250,000. Oculus was later bought by Facebook for a whopping $2 billion. 

The second big VR project was the HTC Vive. Created by HTC and Valve, this headset would be Oculus Rift's biggest competitor for PC gamers.

PC gamers had their choosing of what VR headset they would want to own, so it was just a matter of time for the console players to get their own version. Sony jumped on that and announced "Project Morpheus" which turned out to be PlayStation VR. Working with the power of the PlayStation 4, the PSVR is the cheapest option out of the three VR headsets. It would also reach a bigger audience due to the popularity of the PS4 console. 

2016 has officially been declared as the year of VR with the Rift, Vive and PSVR all releasing at some point later this year. VR was even a big part of the E3 conference, with each developer announcing a few of their own VR games. 

Before you know it, VR will fall into the same category as motion gaming. Soon it will be considered an old toy and people will want what comes next. 

Well, what does come next? VR is still new to gamers but that wouldn't stop us from thinking about the next big thing. Personally, I have my own idea.

If anyone has seen the movie Gamer with Gerard Butler, you know that the movie is about a computer programmer who manages to create a way to control a real person by placing them into a game. The cool thing about how he plays the game is that his whole room is turned into the gaming environment without the need for a headset. He uses his arms to use a gun and moves around wherever he wants. 

That is what I believe the next big thing will be. Everyone wants to feel that they are inside the video game. VR is a step towards that, but you have to wear the clunky headset. Wouldn't it be awesome if the whole room was the environment?

Microsoft was working on something like this with their Illumiroom. The Illumiroom would extend the image on your television and would project the image on your wall. If that same technology could be used for the whole room, the future of gaming can't be that far away. 

There will always be a big thing that gets gamers excited. Whether it is motion control with the Wii or VR, we can't wait to get our hands on the new technology that would make our game-playing experience more enjoyable. So while we can enjoy the VR revolution we are in now, it is never to early to look towards the future and to see the new tech we could be playing with in the next 10 years. 

Microsoft says a 'sizable portion' of Xbox One owners still use Kinect Sat, 17 Oct 2015 15:36:58 -0400 Logan Moore

Two years ago when the Xbox One was released, every console came with a Kinect. Many thought that the new updated version of the Kinect would be an integral part of the new console for the entirety of its life cycle and and Microsoft seemed determined to show the importance of the accessory. Jump forward to today, and now we see that the Kinect is essentially dead. Most versions of the Xbox One now no longer come bundled with a Kinect, but it is now sold as a separate entity instead. 

Despite the quick death of the Kinect in this console's life cycle, Microsoft has recently stated that a large number of people who do own the Kinect still use it regularly. Mike Nichols, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Xbox, spoke about the current use of the Kinect:

"I can say that the people with Kinect still make up a very, very sizable portion and that those people do use it quite frequently. Less for games, but a lot more for biometric sign-in and user interface."

While the Kinect seems to be all but dead when it comes to gaming features, according to Nichols, many still use it to interact and move around their Xbox One dashboard. However, what will this look like when Xbox rolls out the new interface update this Fall? Nichols commented on that as well, and talked about the difficulties of designing and operating system for people who may or may not own a Kinect: 

"Now we're not designing for everyone who has it or everyone doesn't have it. We're designing for a good chunk who have it and use it and some new customers who now have decided to get an Xbox One who don't have a Kinect, at least not yet."

Certain features, like gesture controls, have been completely removed from the new interface. Nichols claimed that hardly anyone used the feature, so there's no real reason to keep designing as though they do.

It will be interesting to see how the Xbox team integrates the Kinect moving forward. They're in a difficult situation right now, and are still trying to please both those who don't own the Kinect and those who invested money in the once thought to be game-changing device. While the gaming functionality of the accessory is all but dead, interface functionalities will still be somewhat present, so at least the huge thing sitting under your TV will be getting some use rather than none. 

'Duck Duck Punch' is a video game for stroke patients Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:14:27 -0400 K.W. Colyard

We don't often think of video games as medical products, but a team of post-graduate students is looking to change that. The Clemson University School of Computing has created Duck Duck Punch: a Kinect game that helps stroke patients recover upper-body mobility and coordination. It's currently awaiting FDA approval, but is already being used in South Carolina hospitals and in patients' homes.

Two Clemson students, Austen Hayes and Patrick Dukes, worked on the Duck Duck Punch project in coordination with School of Computing Director Larry Hodges. Following the game's success, Hayes and Hodges co-founded Recovr, Inc.: a company dedicated to creating games for "virtual rehabilitation." Duck Duck Punch is Recovr, Inc.'s only game so far, and the company received an investment through SCRA's University Start-Up Assistance Program in October.

Duck Duck Punch has received a lot of local press in South Carolina, but national attention has been sparse. Still, the market for therapeutic games is untapped, and Recovr, Inc.'s success will hopefully spark more developers to fill medical needs. 

[Rumor] Infinity Blade May Be Coming to China as a Kinect Game Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:08:15 -0500 Adam Koziol

The popular iPhone title Infinity Blade might be being ported to the Xbox One for a Chinese release. Tencent, a huge Chinese publisher, has been teasing the game on its official site with various pictures. Despite not using the name Infinity Blade itself, the images use characters and weapons that would fit right in with the fighting game.

Some of the images show players slicing through their TVs and another shows a very old Xbox logo. It's therefore not hard to guess that Infinity Blade will use Kinect on Xbox One. Strangely, the game was originally planned as a Kinect title for the Xbox 360 until development was switched to the iPhone.

Created by Chair and Epic Games, Infinity Blade was intended to be a demonstration of what Epic's Unreal Engine 3 could achieve on the Apple smartphone. Upon release, Infinity Blade was the fastest selling app in the history of iOS and it spawned two sequels.

Overall, we think the rumour is pretty reliable. It makes sense for Tencent to publish Infinity Blade as they own 40% of Epic Games. The promotional images for the title promise that all we be revealed this Friday on November 28, the same day as Tencent's Game Carnival in Shanghai.

We'll bring you more on this story as it unfolds so be sure to stay tuned to for more information.

Self-Taught Engineer Makes PS4 and Xbox One Portable Case Mods Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:45:12 -0400 Chris_Lemus

A self-taught engineer is rethinking the way people play current generation consoles by making them more portable.

Ed Zarick, the person behind the Xbook 360, released a lineup of custom consoles called the Playbook 4 and Xbook One. Both machines are modifications of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One that come with a 22-inch 1080p Vizio television monitor.

The consoles are made from his two car garage workshop with tools and parts mostly acquired from Craigslist, according to his website. He holds the consoles together with a 3D printed, laser cut acrylic case.

In addition to including the inputs and outputs already featured in each original console, both the Playbook 4 and Xbook One have a Wi-Fi antenna and internal speakers. An HDMI outlet can be added for $50, and a Kinect can be installed to the Xbook One for $100.

While the television monitor helps make the consoles portable, they are not always accessible. In order for gamers to turn the console on, it must be connected to a wall outlet.

The Playbook 4 and 500 GB Xbook One costs $1,395. Gamers can provide an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for Zarick to use for $1,095. Each console has a minimum non-refundable deposit of $750 with a shipping cost of $75 to the continental U.S

NBA 2K15 Face-scanner Renders Disfigured Faces Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:55:55 -0400 Chris_Lemus

The latest installment of 2K Sports’ licensed NBA video game was released without a glitch until gamers started scanning their faces.

For the first time in the My Career game mode, a face-scanning feature was included in the game. The feature gives players who bought NBA 2K15 the option to stand near the Xbox Kinect or PlayStation camera and slowly rotate their head for roughly 30 seconds. This allows the game to render a 3D image by capturing thousands of points on the face.

Instead, various players took to Twitter with screenshots of their disfigured faces. The final rendering included mismatched complexions, misplaced facial features, and caved in jaw lines.

“@seth_rosenthal putting in my entry for wort 2k face scan,” Andrew Chesley wrote on Twitter. “Pic doesn’t capture the terror of watching him blink.”

Surprisingly, James Dator of SB Nation reported that his 10-year-old chihuahua named Pepper was successfully scanned into the game.

“Sure (Pepper) is missing some teeth and is afraid of strangers,” Dator wrote, “but I thought she was ready for the NBA.”

The 10 Video Game Consoles Worthy of Putting into a Museum Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:33:16 -0400 mchiu

Now that the National Videogame History Museum will break ground in January 2015, I thought it might be fun to speculate what would be 10 home video game consoles that absolutely should be on display.

In researching this article, it brought back a lot of childhood nostalgia. I remember spending hours in front of the TV playing many of these games, and it was difficult to really sort out which would truly make it into the top 10. I really couldn't rank these against each other since each one is truly unique and groundbreaking, that there really wouldn't be any objective way to say any one system is "better" than any other.

So in the end, I present you with this list, which is not ranked, but rather, is listed in more or less a chronological order of video game consoles that should be included in any respectable video game museum.

1. Magnavox Odyssey

This console is truly the grandaddy of video game consoles.  Released in August 1972, and pre-dating Atari's Pong arcade game by 3 years, the Odyssey did not have any audio, was powered off 6 "C" batteries, (or A/C adapter sold separately) and used translucent color plastic overlays that players could put on their TV screens to simulate color graphics. (Yes, the games back then were only in two colors) It came with 2 paddles for controllers. For you younger folk, "paddles" were game controllers that were nothing more than just a knob that you twisted back and forth. Basically, in those days, game movement was restricted to just left and and right, or up and down. Later models of paddles included a button as an extra input option.

Notable Games

A total of 27 games were made available for the Odyssey by way of printed circuit boards (that were called "game cards") that were inserted into the system, similarly to game cartridges in later systems. Some of the game cards had multiple games on them, so there were only 12 different game cards that were released.

When it comes to the older generations, just about every game is notable since video games were so new at the time. For the Magnavox Odyssey, most of the games were essentially different variations of Pong, with games such as Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Soccer, etc.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

I think this one is a no-brainer. This is the console that started it all, and inspired future generations of video game consoles. The machine did not have any brains, however, as it was lacking a CPU. It wouldn't be until 4 years later until a semiconductor company came up with such a console... 

2. Fairchild Channel F

This is a system that I am willing to bet that most people have never heard of. Released in November 1976, this system was put out by Fairchild Semiconductor, which is better known as a company that produces computer chips, and was the pre-cursor to Intel. (A bit boring of a history lesson, but some of the founders of Fairchild went on to start up Intel, AMD, and other semiconductor companies in the Silicon Valley). The system came with an interesting pair of controllers that were like joysticks without bases.

At the top of the controller, was a triangular "cap" that allowed for 8-way directional control, but could also be twisted, so in today's world, it could be viewed as the analog control knobs, but they could also be twisted. This made it so the controllers were both joysticks and paddles simultaneously. As for audio, it made an improvement over the Odyssey, only in that it did have audio, although it came through an internal speaker on the console, and not through the TV speakers.

Notable Games

The system only had 26 games developed for it, and as you might have guessed already, most of the games were variations of Pong. Games on the system included Video Whizball, Bowling, Pro-Football, Video Blackjack, Baseball, etc.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

The Fairchild Channel F is the first video game console to use a dedicated CPU inside, as well as the first video game console to use game cartridges. It was different from the Magnavox Odyssey's "game cards" in that the cartridges contained Read Only Memory (ROM) chips that allowed the games to be programmed by software, versus the game cards which were a series of physical jumpers between pins of the card connector. One other important reason this should be in the museum is that due to the use of the CPU, it was able to produce enough AI for players to play against a computer opponent. All previous consoles required two human players.

The Fairchild F was truly revolutionary, but it never really achieved market success. One other reason it was so important to the video game industry, however, was that it spurred the development of...

3. Atari 2600 (aka Atari Video Computer System)

OK, let me just get the biggest elephant of the room out of the way already. Released in September 1978, the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) basically ate Fairchild's Channel F's lunch, and profited handsomely from it. For mainstream America, this is pretty much where home video game consoles all started. Originally named the Atari Video Computer System, after the introduction of the follow-up Atari 5200, the VCS was renamed to the Atari 2600. It shipped with 2 joystick controllers and a pair paddles. The original units also shipped with the Combat game, however, later models shipped with different game titles. 

Notable Games

In the section below, there will be some discussion of the E.T. game that lead to Atari's demise, but other games notable games on the Atari 2600 include titles such as Breakout, Yar's Revenge, Kaboom!, Adventure, 

Why It Should Be in the Museum

While the Fairchild Channel F was revolutionary as the first console with a dedicated CPU, Atari one-upped them by using a more powerful CPU that was cheaper, and thus, able to offer the Atari VCS as a cheaper alternative. 

Although it was not Atari's intention, it also spawned the market for 3rd party developers. Disgruntled Atari game programmers left the company due to not receiving any recognition for the games they created, nor receiving any kind of compensation for the smash hits they produced, and went on to create their own company that solely made games compatible with the Atari VCS. Atari brought them to court, but in the end, the courts ruled in favor of this new company, Activision. In fact, if you looked at the boxes the Activision game cartridges came in, you will notice that it featured a short bio of the programmer.

At the time, the biggest game in the arcades was Taito's Space Invaders, which Atari had licensed and brought to the 2600. This was the tipping point that brought video games to the forefront of mainstream American society, and Atari continued to license other IP to much success, including Pac-Man. Unfortunately, Atari also licensed the rights to produce a game based on the movie, E.T., and the game did so poorly, that it lead to the video game crash of 1983. 


Also, the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man is also widely criticized as another reason for the downfall. At the time, Pac-Man was a hugely popular game, and  had swept all across America, so the Atari 2600 version of the game was highly anticipated, but was a big letdown when it looked absolutely nothing like the original game. 

In the US, the post-crash hangover lasted until 1985, but when the video game market in the US started to pick up again, Atari was no longer the force it once was, and all the other competitors were nowhere to be found. In fact, it took a Japanese company to revive the video game market in the US...

4. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)/Famicom


Released first in Japan in July 1983 and known as the "Family Computer" or "Famicom" for short, and later in the US in 1985 as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), this machine featured an 8-bit processor, and used a gamepad similar to the ones that we use today. (albeit, a much simpler version)

Notable Games

The NES was able to bring arcade quality graphics home, which helped bring back gamer's confidence in home video games again. As this is a Nintendo console, the most noticeable game would have to be Super Mario Bros. which shipped initially with every console sold in the US. Other notable titles included The Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt, (which made use of a light gun) and Kung Fu. (which was the same game as the arcade hit, Kung Fu Fighter)

The NES also had 3rd party titles such as Konami's Contra, which is where we first see the "Konami Code". (up up down down left right left right B A Start) Also interesting to note is that many of the largest video game franchises today all started on the NES. These include games like Final Fantasy, Megaman, Metal Gear, and  Dragon Quest.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

Aside from the fact that the NES resuscitated the then dying US video game market, unlike its predecessors, the NES was able to capture the arcade quality graphics of video games, and bring them home. 

In order to regain consumer confidence in video games, Nintendo had also set up a strict licensing system that allowed it to approve video games for use on its system. Before the 1983 video game crash, there was no quality control, and video game advertising and box art greatly exaggerated the actual graphics of the game, and set up false expectations. Nintendo wanted to have more control over this, and game developers were subjected to a strict approval process that is still used today by all the game console manufacturers, as well as by mobile phone app stores. 

Finally, Nintendo was the first game console to use copy-protection, that made it difficult for pirates to steal developers' IP and resell them without authorization.

Besides, it's fun to have in a museum and to see kids' reactions to what a real NES looks like.

5. NEC TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine


The NEC TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine in Japan) had a bit of a confusing name. This console was released during the era of 16-bit game consoles, yet it used an 8-bit CPU, but did feature dual 16-bit GPUs. The Japanese version, PC Engine, was considered to be the world's smallest game console with the dimensions of 5.5"x5.5"x1.5". This console also featured a gamepad similar to the NES, and used a very thin cartridge that was just slightly thicker than a credit card, that it called "HuCard."

Notable Games

Although not as popular as other game systems of its time, there were some popular game franchises that made their debut on the TurboGrafx/PC Engine platform. The two most notable would be Bomberman and Bonk's Adventure

 Why It Should Be In the Museum

Aside from the fact that it was an extremely compact system, the NEC TurboGrafx-16 was also the first console to feature a CD-ROM peripheral. The CD-ROM also lacked region lock, so US gamers could play CD titles, though the HuCards had different pin assignments between TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine.

Also, later on, NEC released the TurboExpress, which was a handheld version of the TurboGrafx-16. It featured a 2.6" backlit, active-matrix LCD, stereo sound, and the same CPU, however, it's main draw was the fact that it could play the same HuCards that were used in the home version. 

 6. 3DO

The 3DO Company did not actually manufacture any consoles, but instead, licensed out its hardware design to 3rd parties such as Panasonic, Goldstar, and Sanyo. It featured a 32-bit ARM processor and internal CD-ROM drive. (this was revolutionary in those days) 

Notable Games

Since 3DO did not do very well, part of the reason is that it was missing an exclusive title that warranted someone to want to go out and get the console. Since it was slightly cheaper than buying a full-blown PC at the time, if someone really wanted to play PC titles such as Myst, Star Wars Rebel Assault, Doom, or Alone in the Dark, maybe a 3DO machine made more sense, but obviously, that really didn't happen, or maybe it was too niche of a market to grow out.

Why It Should Be In the Museum

I decided to include 3DO in this list simply because I feel that it should be an example of how not to launch a video game console. While it did generate quite a buzz in its day, it was riding on the "multimedia wave" that was going on in the PC world by providing games on CD-ROM. Unfortunately, due to its business model of licensing out its hardware design to 3rd parties, the price of the consoles were upwards of $599, which were double that of its competitors, namely, the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

The company felt that since it had a very advanced system, the public was willing to pay a premium for it, despite the fact that competitors such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis already had a strong foothold in the US already. While it was ahead of its time, it wasn't that far ahead, and it was more of its arrogance that lead to its demise.

7. Sega Genesis/MegaDrive

Released in Japan as the MegaDrive in October 1988, and subsequently in the US as the Sega Genesis in November 1990, this console was probably the only successful console from Sega. In Japan, it did not do well against its competitors, Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine, but it did acheive success in the US and Europe. This console was a 16-bit machine, and like the rest of the consoles at the time, used game cartridges. 

Notable Games

The Sega Genesis had a huge library games for it, with many of them being arcade translations. Some of the best known games include: Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Battle Toads, Phantasy Star series, Mortal Kombat, Streets of Rage.

Edit: A friend just informed me that the Phantasy Star series started on the Sega Master System (the predecessor to the Sega Genesis) however, it was also a popular title on the Genesis nonetheless.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

In the US, the Sega Genesis was the main competitor against Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Its marketing was geared towards being like the "older brother" of Nintendo with games that were geared towards a more mature audience. While there was controversy over games such as Mortal Kombat, Sega allowed blood to be shown in the game, while Nintendo went on the more parent-approved version of showing no blood in the game. This eventually lead to the creation of the Videogame Rating Council, which was the predecessor to the ESRB ratings we see today. 

8. Sony PlayStation

Released in Japan in December 1994, and in the US in September 1995, the PlayStation was a CD-ROM based console that also used gamepads, however, the gamepads now featured shoulder buttons and four buttons. Later versions of the gamepad included analog sticks and "Dual Shock" force feedback.

Notable Games

At this point in time, we begin to see that in the market, titles on one platform may also appear on another platform. Certain games are available exclusively only on one platform, which makes the console even more popular. For the PlayStation, here are some titles that were exclusive at the time: Final Fantasy VII, Parasite Eve, Parappa the Rapper, Gran Tourismo, Metal Gear Solid, and Crash Bandicoot. 

Why It Should Be in the Museum

The Sony PlayStation kickstarted the 32-bit revolution, and the modern video games we see out today. It was also the first mainstream console to use optical media to distribute games, compared to the cartridge system used before. With CD-ROMs, and subsequently with DVDs, games could be distributed and stored in a thinner form factor, and contain more data for higher quality graphics and audio. The Dual Shock controllers and analog sticks brought a whole new level of play into the mix, as players could have the feedback in their hands through vibrations for explosions, or when they are doing some right or wrong, as well as having more precise control of movements.

Sega soon after introduced the Sega Saturn which also featured CD-ROM, but this is the classic case of the first-mover advantage, where Sony overtook the market. 

9. Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii was unveiled at the 2006 GDC in San Jose, where it was originally codenamed the "Revolution". This console featured a new type of controller that was not only wireless, but also had a motion sensor to allow players to use gestures to control the action in the game.

Notable Games

The Nintendo Wii shipped with Wii Sports, which showed off the capabilities of the Wii, but unfortunately, it did that so well that for the first few years, sales of other titles did not fare well until the novelty rubbed off. Afterwards, other titles started getting more attention such as: Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Fit, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Epic Mickey, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

The controller, known as the "WiiMote" brought a whole new dimension to gaming. While Microsoft and Sony were battling it out with their graphics capabilities and pure horsepower with their upcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, Nintendo realized that it would not be able to compete on this end, and instead, chose to focus on revolutionizing game play. 

At his keynote during GDC 2006, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata noted that in designing the Wii, they wanted to create a system that a young child could easily pick up and understand how to play, as well as something that would not be foreign to an elderly person. The "WiiMote", as the name implies, was meant to look and feel like a remote control, however, it could be used as an extension of the hand, and with a little imagination, could be viewed as a tennis racquet, a sword, etc. while being waved in the air. 

After its initial release in November 2006, the Wii was constantly sold out, and subsequently caused both Microsoft and Sony to come up with their own gesture-based controllers in the Kinect and the PlayStation Move.

10. All Current Generation Game Consoles

At the time of this writing, the current generation game consoles would include the Nintendo Wii U, the Microsoft Xbox One, and the Sony PlayStation 4. These consoles represent the latest and greatest of gaming technology today with some of the most advanced graphics capabilities, as well as the ability to play and purchase games online.

Why It Should Be in the Museum

The current generation of the game consoles should be featured in any video game museum simply to show how far along we have come along. With each generation of home video game consoles come with it a slew of advancements that set a new standard for all future consoles. 

Only the Top 10? Honorable Mentions:

As I was writing this, I realized that limiting to just the top 10 would be impossible. There are so many great video game consoles that were left out of this list that truly deserved to be showcased in a video game museum. If I could have an infinite number of consoles to feature, here are some of the others that I would also include to showcase in a video game museum:

  • Intellivision
  • ColecoVision
  • Atari 5200
  • Vectrex
  • Sega Master System
  • Neo-Geo
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Super Famicom
  • Atari Jaguar
  • Sega Saturn
  • Nintendo 64
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Sony PlayStation 2
  • Nintendo Game Cube
  • Microsoft Xbox

... and this is only the beginning. On top of this, there are also the portable consoles and their predecessors in the handheld game genre, which I have been a big fan of, and have been a bit of a collector. Maybe this would be something to write about in the future.

The home video game console market has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 1970s. As we now cross into this new generation of consoles, and with the advent of cloud computing and virtual consoles, I wonder what's in store for us 5-10 years down the line. Will game consoles still exist as they do today? Will consoles themselves just turn into brands and apps that we can access on our Smart TVs while all of the computing horsepower is done on the carrier side? Buckle up everyone! I think it's gonna be a wild ride!

Women are Playing More Video Games and Here's Why Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:26:31 -0400 Chris_Lemus

A new annual report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) on the video game industry includes a vast amount of figures and numbers, but one set of data is shaking up the gaming culture. The trade association found women are now becoming a more significant group of gamers, being closer than ever to overtaking males.

After taking a slight dip in 2013, the report states 48 percent of all U.S gamers are women, an eight percent increase from four years ago. There are several reasons that explain this increase in female gamers.

One reason for women playing more games is the advancement in mobile technology. The use of devices and smartphones are increasing, with females leading the use of games on these formats. According to a report by Flurry, an analytics company, the biggest group that spends time and money on mobile games such as Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga are women. These types of social and puzzle games combine for 77 percent of all types of mobile games played according to the ESA. With digital format sales surpassing physical format purchases in 2013, women are becoming bigger spenders in the gaming industry.

Then there is the shift away from consoles focusing only on playing game discs and accessing downloaded titles. The idea of streaming videos and music on the same system which access video games broadens the audience of potential buyers, especially to women  since survey research company Nielsen found more females stream videos than men. If video streaming is a draw to women, they would also purchase video games to play in addition to owning a console, which increases the amount of female gamers.

In addition to streaming content, consoles also offer new ways to play games through features such as motion sensors and cameras. These input devices make titles such as Just Dance possible, games great for any occasion or setting such as a party or dorm (or party in a dorm).

But women are not just playing motion-based games. Nielsen also found women were playing games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band in 2009, titles with masculine images and social constructions.

How could the female gaming market grow? Now that women have strength in numbers, the answer lies with whether the video game industry wants to finally recognize them. Regardless of how developers and publishers feel, It is time they finally acknowledge them and represent them in the virtual world.

Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment game producer Fredrik Rundquist revealed to the Wall Street Journal that his group acknowledges the growth in female players. While producers recognize the shift, Ubisoft has landed in controversy for their stance on female characters in their games.

Earlier this year, Ubisoft decided to remove the option to have a playable female character in it’s forthcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity game. After they received backlash for their decision, they introduced a non-playable character named Elise to the story.

Gaming content matters, as the ESA found that 48 percent of gamers “said the quality of game graphics, an interesting storyline…was the most important factor in their decision to purchase a computer or video game.” Not all heroes have to be men, and males are not the only sex with a gene granting them the ability to save the universe from demise by foreign invaders. Females kick butt too, and not only in video games.

Fictional characters such as Jade from Beyond Good & Evil fought for justice against an entire fictional government, while Samus of Metroid actually did save entire universes from their ultimate demise.

Then there are great historical figures such as ancient Egypt’s Hatshepsut who restored her kingdom after invaders attacked and England’s Queen Victoria who not only abolished slavery in British colonies but also shortened factory workdays. With the popularity of historical fiction growing when developing games, figures such as these could easily become major characters in future titles.

To only depict men in video games changing history and saving thousands of people at a time does not recognize all of history. Focusing on one demographic erases the existence of tapping into bringing the personal lives of gamers into a realm of entertainment. Girls want to have fun, and gaming couples want to enjoy a nice date in playing video games with each other. There’s no need to create more Barbie titles like it is a PC flash game made for second graders, but women can certainly share the battlefield with men on their favorite titles.

Xbox One Sales Have Doubled Since Microsoft Removed Kinect Requirement Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:17:49 -0400 WitheredGryphon

Ever since their launches, Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's Playstation 4 have been at each other's necks in sales competition. However, the PS4 started to pull ahead which caused Microsoft to take a step back and analyze why their Xbox One wasn't selling. Originally, the Xbox One would not function without the Kinect being plugged into the console. This had caused a massive amount of controversy among those concerned with the Kinect's sensor and potential privacy concerns.

After going this criticism about the privacy issues of the mandatory Kinect on the Xbox One, Microsoft finally decided to remove it back in May of this year. To do this, Microsoft announced that it would launch a Kinect-less Xbox One for $399, a $100 discount from the previous cost, which would also match the PS4's price of $399 as well.

Since Microsoft removed the mandatory Kinect requirement, and because of the large price cut on the new Xbox One without the Kinect, the Xbox One sales have significantly increased. So much so, that their sales since last month have doubled after the requirement was removed. Not only has this removal affected the Xbox One, but Microsoft's Xbox Wire team has also reported "solid" growth in Xbox 360 sales as well.

You can read more at Xbox Wire's official statement here.

Microsoft Doesn't Even Mention Kinect at E3 This Year Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:00:53 -0400 GameSkinny Staff

Fresh off the Microsoft press conference of this year's E3, Xbox One is looking strong. Damn strong.

And with no help from the Kinect.

The cornerstone Xbox peripheral device has had a healthy degree of controversy ever since last year's E3 including alarmist NSA concerns and price criticism. While the device was a large focus last year, Kinect had zero mention this year. 

Even when a new Dance Central game was announced, the presenters glazed over the fact that the game requires a Kinect. This was possibly the strongest move Microsoft could have made to save face after last year.

Microsoft Brought Their A-Game

With lots of fan favorite franchises, plenty attention-grabbing new games, a healthy 'holla' to the indie scene, a large focus on online co-op & multiplayer, and absolutely zero mention of the Kinect - Microsoft really stepped up this year.

Since last year's Microsoft conference was such a dud, this year's fans were pleasantly surprised to find themselves ooh-ing and ahh-ing quite a bit. Sunset Overdrive took the piss out of modern military shooters with humor and style, the collection of indie games was impressive, the Halo franchise updates have fans foaming at the mouth, and Project Spark's Conker cameo stole the show.

Well done, Microsoft. You had our curiosity for 2014, but now you have our attention.

Microsoft Announces Launch of Xbox One in Japan Thu, 29 May 2014 08:59:05 -0400 Rocky Linderman

Microsoft has decided it's time to reveal the Xbox One's launch and game lineup for Japan. Almost seven months after Sony's PS4, Microsoft will be shipping their new console out to the land of the rising sun on September 4th. 

Two different SKU's will be available for the Xbox One. There will be a Kinectless version and a version with the Kinect included. The Xbox One that comes with Kinect will understandably come in at a higher price, costing consumers ¥49,980/£291/$490. The Kinectless version will cost its Japanese audience ¥39,980/£233/$392.

Microsoft has confirmed the following titles will be available at launch for the Xbox One's Japanese release: Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome. Square Enix also chimed in stating that they will have Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief and Call of Duty: Ghosts ready for the Japanese launch date. 

Originally the Xbox One was released in 13 countries when it launched in November; come this September it will have launched in 26 additional territories, bringing its total number of countries and territories it is available for purchase in to 39. 

Losing the Kinect Actually Makes Xbox One Better, Faster, Stronger Thu, 15 May 2014 02:00:06 -0400 Nick Boisson

With the announcement that Microsoft is now releasing the Xbox One console sans-Kinect, many saw it as both an announcement of defeat against Sony's PlayStation 4 and an admission that bundling the system with the peripheral was not as necessary to the experience as they had claimed during its reveal last year. Well, it seems that not only was the latter statement true, but the Xbox One architecture may actually benefit from the removal of its all-seeing, all-hearing appendage.

According to Xbox's Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Yusuf Mehdi, the Kinect -- like the game operating system -- is given a set reservation of CPU power within the architecture. With the Kinect now not bundled with every Xbox One, what will happen with that set space of CPU power?

Mehdi says this:

"We are in discussions with our game publishers about what we might do in this space and we will have more to talk about soon."

This means the processing power set aside for the Kinect may now be implemented into game operation. As we know, many of the multi-platform titles released since both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 went to market have always fared better on the PlayStation 4 in terms of both graphical capabilities and speed. With this extra processing power diverted to the game operating system, the Xbox One may just catch up to the PlayStation 4.

Don Mattrick during the Xbox One reveal

What do you think: Is the lack of the Kinect going to make for a better Xbox One experience? Let us know in the comments.

Is Microsoft Killing the Kinect? Wed, 14 May 2014 15:17:28 -0400 zoLo567

Microsoft announced recently that they will be releasing an Xbox One package for $100 cheaper than they are charging currently - but the system will not come with a Kinect. While is a good thing for those who were waiting to pick up the console cheaper, it is a bad thing to some. 

Is Microsoft killing original Kinect titles?

According Zumba Fitness developer Zoë Mode, Microsoft unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One "kills the chances of making an original Kinect title," unless that title is a fitness or dance title. Speaking with Develop, studio head Paul Mottram also had concerns. He explained that while he understands the reasoning behind Microsoft removing the Kinect out of the Xbox One bundle, he feels sorry for Kinect developers who have "had the rug pulled from beneath them." He explains:

"We've been closely involved with Microsoft over the last few years and I imagine this decision wasn't taken lightly, but it's understandable as they need to compete with the PS4 on price...However, whilst it wasn't perfect, Kinect helped differentiate the platforms, which can only be a good thing."

He continues:

"From a developer point of view it's a shame, as it all but kills the chances of making an original Kinect title unless it is a major licensed Fitness or Dance product – and even those will suffer as it's unlikely we'll see Kinect 2 units even come close to the installed base of the original now. Even then it was a challenge."
Mottram does have a point.

Now that the Kinect is no longer required, Mottram feels that not many developers will want to make games for a product that will not sell that well. He stated:

"I just feel sorry for those developers who had Kinect titles in development who’ve had the rug pulled from beneath them and may now stand little chance of seeing a return on their investment."

Mottram stated that he hopes to see small developers come up for a "killer use" for the Kinect through the ID@Xbox program. 

The Xbox One standard edition without the Kinect releases June 9th. It will run at $399. 

"I just feel sorry for those developers who had Kinect titles in development who’ve had the rug pulled from beneath them and may now stand little chance of seeing a return on their investment."
I have to agree with Mottram.

Now that the Kinect is not bundled with the Xbox One, I feel that fewer people will be buying it. I always had the feeling that Microsoft bundled the Kinect with the Xbox One to get more of them out there, and to make sure that people had Kinects. Now that you can have an Xbox One without a Kinect, many people will not bother to get one. I feel bad for developers making games for the Kinect right now, as their consumer base will likely drop now that people do not need a Kinect. 

I understand what Microsoft is doing. Now that the Xbox One is cheaper, they can truly compete with Sony, and I feel that Microsoft will soon start catching up with the PlayStation 4. However, the Kinect will likely suffer the same fate it did with the Xbox 360. Not many people will buy it, and those who do buy it will buy it for dancing and fitness games. All other types of games will suffer, and the Kinect will lose a lot of support. Unless Microsoft can come up with a solid reason to buy a Kinect, it will suffer.

Microsoft: New $399 Xbox One Will Come Without Kinect Tue, 13 May 2014 21:28:32 -0400 WesleyG

Microsoft announced today that on June 9th, a new $399 Xbox One will hit the market, marking a $100 decrease in the console's price. The catch? It won't come with a Kinect. Yes, the peripheral once described as "an essential and integrated part of the platform" will soon be demoted to a stand-alone purchase come this fall.

This likely spells the end of Microsoft's love affair with the Kinect. The peripheral was brought in at the same time as the Sony Move controller, both trying to capitalize on the motion control craze started by the Wii.

Unfortunately, the Kinect had a number of issues ranging from input lag to needing a large play space. Microsoft tried again with the Xbox One's Kinect, adding better functionality and a slew of interesting, if not at times creepy, features. A lackluster game library and continued lag problems, however, seem to have put the final nail in the coffin.

Will the price drop finally get you to buy an Xbox One? If you own one already, do you feel like the Kinect is worth the extra $100 dollars? Let us know down in the comments or tweet us at @GameSkinny.

Xbox One Media Remote Unveiled Fri, 21 Feb 2014 15:08:37 -0500 Courtney Gamache

Microsoft is well-known for their Xbox franchise, but as the world becomes more connected, Microsoft is trying to make things easier for everyone. The Xbox One has many gaming features, but also has numerous media features. This of course means they must have accessories to aid this, so Microsoft has released an Xbox One Media Remote to help this conquest.

Give Me The Details!

According to Microsoft, this media remote will be available world-wide in March and will work well with the Blu-Ray features that the Xbox One has. In addition, the remote will help with streaming videos on the console, with buttons dedicated to 'Back' and OneGuide'. You'll be able to sit back and enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies with this handy remote.

"The OneGuide button provides one-touch, quick access to your favorite TV shows and movies through the Xbox program guide,"

The media remote is the small price of $24.99 in North America. The conversion and prices world-wide are a bit unknown at the current time, but will surface in a few days.

Why VR Will Be the Next Big Thing Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:34:03 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

A week ago, I wrote an article about my opinion that the eighth generation of console gaming will be the last, whilst putting out some options on where gaming might go next.

One of those options was Virtual Reality (VR), especially looking at how much hype the Oculus Rift has. But even ignoring the buzz, VR is something I genuinely believe that will be the next big thing in gaming.

Interaction Attraction

Over the past decade, whilst we have certainly bettered ourselves on graphics and processing capability, we have also been looking at inventing new ways to play with games. The biggest innovation was with motion controls.

Both the Sony EyeToy and the Xbox Kinect used imaging technology in two very different ways to do similar things. They would use camera technology to translating players' movements into actions within the game. One of the most succesful and impactful of motion control innovations was Nintendo's Wii.

But whilst inventive, the change these brought to gaming was small. Due to technical limitations, motion control never caught on as a revolutionary interface when it came to mainstream and adult gaming, despite many efforts like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because of this, it still doesn't seem like developers are keen to develop more motion controlled games, despite the Xbox One's ludicrously advanced Kinect. So it looks like we've squeezed as much as we can from motion control. 

There have been other experiments such as the Wonderbook, dance mats, and even the ability to play a game with an actual guitar. But whilst all were popular and fun, none were able to change the face of how we play games. But what all these show is the lust within the industry to push for new approaches. Now that we've tried motion controls and everything in between, VR is the only thing left.

Something Extra, Not Something New

As an eighth generation of hardware has literally only just come it, it would really be silly to have VR come out as an entirely new standalone piece of technology. Leading the way, the Oculus Rift isn't about creating something completely separate to modern gaming, but creating something complimentary and enhancing to what we already have.

How the Oculus Rift works is that the headset merely processes an output from a device. At the moment, Oculus Rift games are being pumped out of desktop machines. So there's no reason why games consoles can't transmit the same signals to an Oculus Rift headset with only a few output and software adjustments.


Furthermore, the Oculus Rift works with current standard controllers. Any Oculus Rift game will still need an input device such as a keyboard or a controller to play them, meaning the headset is all you need in addition to what you already own, and won't work against the current crop of hardware.

Total Immersion

Gaming has always strived for more immersive experiences. The development in graphics really spurred this over the past 30 years. The only frontier left for immersion is to actually place the player in the game rather than sit them in front of it. Of course, VR is pretty much the only tool we have to do that outside of recreating the Holodeck from Star Trek.

VR or Bust

Given these reasons, it's difficult to see how VR isn't going to make it this time. All the conditions are right for its success: the technology is there, and so is the interest and sense of innovation. Indie developers in particular are getting behind it, with ports of games such as Montague's Mount and Surgeon Simulator 2013 already having prototypes available.

"This is the perfect generation of gaming for VR to establish itself within. If it fails, it will fail forever..."

But at the same time, if it can't break the market now, it probably never will. This is the perfect generation of gaming for VR to establish itself in. If it fails, it will fail forever.

So, take a punt and get behind the goggles of this brave new virtual world. It could change the face of gaming forever if it succeeds, and I, for one, couldn't be more bloody excited for it!

To find out more about the Oculus Rift, visit

Big Brother, Spying, NSA & Your Living Room Game Console: Let's Discuss Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:00:09 -0500 Federico Senence

The NSA scare has gone strong for a while now. The gaming community joined in on the conversation when the Xbox One announced that it was coming with the Kinect bundled and needed to be "always on." The rumors began that Microsoft or the NSA was going to get access to the Kinect camera and watch you in the comfort of your own home. 

Well, were the rumors actually fact?

Say what?

Internet Media reporter Ben Swann recently posted on his site an article that cites documents released by the well-known Edward Snowden that the NSA was spying on gamers using Xbox Live and users of the World of Warcraft and Second Life games.

This is certainly adds fuel to the fire of the NSA spying on everyone "conspiracy" that has continually been proven fact more than theory.  So, should we all be worried?

A bit of digging and research actually shows it's not just the NSA looking for information. The British government has joined in on the games as well. This is not too surprising since they are our closest ally when it comes to waging war.

Can you see me now?

Is it even possible to spy on gamers using these platforms or the Kinect? The short answer: yes. It doesn't take much to set up an account on Xbox Live or in the World of Warcraft. Once done you can roam around servers and start conversations with people and slowly start collecting information. That's one method.

The more advanced method is to hack into people's accounts. This is more common than you might think. Once an account has been hacked you can gain access to e-mails and messages and the sort. You can also send a virus to the target computer (don't forget, the Xbox is basically a gaming computer) that can record information, conversations, and e-mails and send back information.

Then of course the accessing of accessories like the Kinect. Hacking the Kinect and accessing it's camera and microphone would put you right in the home of your potential target. If this has been proven to be done on a regular PC you can rest assured it can be done on an XBox or even a Playstation that has an attached camera.

Person of Interest...(I love that show!)

How often do you hear the term art imitates life? Well if your familiar with the show Person of Interest you can get a great deal of ideas on how to spy and of course why to spy on the world. Harold and Mr. Reese do it for the good of saving lives using "The Machine" but the original purpose was to track potential terrorist threats. This of course is the line we hear most when talking about the NSA and spying. 

The technology showcased on the show exists. Cameras, facial recognition, databases full of information, cameras EVERYWHERE, the entire spying game has been around forever!

On that note, are terrorists actually sitting in caves playing Xbox 360 online with other terrorists across the world? What game do they play? Battlefield 3 or 4 lets you play both sides of the battle so I guess that would fit. Or maybe they yell obscenities at each other while playing Madden. Do they prefer PlayStation because maybe they secretly hate Bill Gates and Microsoft?

All joking aside, gaming systems are just as good for conducting conversations as they are for gaming and the 360 and One definitely fits the build with Skype options. So if the terrorists didn't think to use these platforms to converse before then they might now that the idea is out there.

Now Hiring

The question I have is: who is getting paid to spy on gamers?

Is there actually a room full of people getting paid to watch gamers through their own Kinect system? Do they just bounce around hacked systems like Chatroullete until they see someone wearing a robe, a head wrap and carrying an AK rifle? Can you get paid to game while you search for potential terrorist targets? How many of you are going to start gaming naked while you eat Cheetos sitting on a bean bag chair to try to gross out a potential NSA agent?

... How many of you already do that?

Should we be worried as gamers that this could potentially happen or is already happening? Do we unite to fight for our privacy rights or do we keep calm and game on because we know we aren't violating any laws (only violating noobs)?

We know the technology exists that allows this spying to happen, so what are your thoughts on this?

Please comment and let me know your stance and feelings. Is this conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact? Do you even care?

Microsoft Makes The Jump Into Next-Gen With The Xbox One Mon, 25 Nov 2013 21:58:20 -0500 MyNameIsProjekt

The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013 and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one early Friday morning.  My local GameStop actually opened two hours early on Friday morning and I had my Xbox One hooked up by 10:30am EST.

I had followed the Xbox One closely since its first announcement and I was one of the people disappointed by Microsoft's controversial decisions about the Kinect, used games, and 'always online' functionality that was announced at E3 2013.  So disappointed in fact that I had commented that I would not be buying an Xbox One due to the decisions made by Microsoft.

Microsoft soon back pedaled on their decisions due to the negative response they received in the days following E3, and when Microsoft announced the launch date for the Xbox One I was admittedly very excited.  Now, after a weekend of getting to know the Xbox One I can give an honest review of the console.

The Console Itself

First off, the Xbox One is a probably one of the biggest consoles released in recent memory.  The area I had set aside for my Xbox 360 S was not big enough and I had to make room for the Xbox One due to its size.  Also, the console is not exactly light either and it is my goal to not have to move the Xbox One unless it is necessary (based on the console's weight and the fact I do not want to break it...)

The Xbox One features buttons that are similar to those on the Xbox 360 S where a sensor picks up when you place your finger near the button to activate it.  I was taken aback when this happened when I first cut on my Xbox 360 S years ago, and it is something I am glad to see return on the Xbox One.  Not that pressing a button is a taxing event but there were times when my Xbox 360 Elite would slide when I pressed the button, and if it slide off my desk and fell to the floor...not a pleasant thought.

The white Xbox symbol is the Power button and the disc eject is right of the disc drive.

One of the interesting features of the Xbox One is that it has a HDMI out port that sends the signal to your TV or monitor, and it has a HDMI in port that allows you to run a HDMI signal into the Xbox One as well.  This port is intended to allow gamers to run their cable boxes through the Xbox One and use the Xbox One as a media hub.  This is not a feature that I have taken advantage of because I use a monitor to game, but I might run my Xbox 360 through the Xbox One if I even want to play some of my older games.

Xbox One: Better With Kinect?

The Kinect is also quite large and is surprisingly heavy for its size, but the stand that the Kinect sits on is a bit of a disappointment.  The Kinect is meant to sit between two to six feet off the ground, so it could ideally sit on my TV but the stand does not sit well on my TV.  And the last thing I want to do is have my Kinect fall off my HDTV and hit the it sits on my desk and tends to get in the way.

However, Microsoft has said for months about how the Xbox One was going to work better with Kinect...but does it, really?

"Don't mind me...just going to sit here...and watch you."

Actually, besides being awkwardly in the way the Kinect really does make my Xbox One experience more enjoyable.  It may sound gimmicky but being able to control aspects of the console with voice commands works great, and is something that makes me feel way cooler than I really am.  Who can put a price tag on that?

Another cool feature of the Kinect is that when you turn on the Xbox One the Kinect can sign you in if you are in front of the camera.  When you set up the Xbox One for the first time, the Kinect will see what you look like and it will be able to recognize you later on.  This is a feature that I would not complain about if it were not a possibility but it is definitely something that is kind of neat.

More importantly though, the Kinect serves its purpose in several of the Xbox One exclusive titles such as Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3 where voice commands actually perform in-game moves.  The moves can still happen with button presses in some situations but others are triggered only by voice commands through the Kinect, and it makes having the Kinect more worthwhile.

Overall, the Kinect is something I might not have purchased separately (if it were possible that is), but is something that I am glad to have now that I have used it.  I like it so much that I might even invest in a proper stand for it so that it can fit better onto my TV.

The Xbox One Controller

The last piece of important hardware for the Xbox One is the newly redesigned Xbox One controller that Microsoft invested so much time and money on.  But how has Microsoft's investment turned out?

Well, the Xbox One controller is very similar to the Xbox 360 controller in general shape and feel but the changes are clear.  Firstly, the Xbox One controller is slimmer than the Xbox 360 controller due to the smaller battery compartment and it is weighs less as well. 

The bigger changes are in the thumb sticks and the triggers on the controller as Microsoft has made some significant changes in these.  The thumb sticks of the Xbox One controller are taller than those from the Xbox 360 but they are also smaller in diameter.  This change takes some time to get used to and it makes first-person shooters a little more difficult to play at first.

The triggers have also been redesigned as the RB and LB bumpers have been increased significantly in size.  There is no longer any gap between the bumpers and the triggers and it does help the controller feel a little better in my hands.  The LT and RT triggers are also slightly larger and feature a more dramatic curve to them than the Xbox 360 triggers did.

The triggers also feature their own rumble motors in them to give players feedback in-game with the new "Impulse Triggers."  In first-person shooters, firing a gun will cause the triggers to rumble and it is a pretty cool feature.  Forza Motorsport 5 uses a similar mechanic in that the triggers will vibrate whenever you accelerate or use the brakes.

Generally speaking, the Xbox One controller improves upon the finer points of the Xbox 360 controller while still keeping the best parts.  Some of the changes take some time getting used to but overall I like the Xbox One controller more than the 360 controller.


I have really enjoyed learning the new changes that Microsoft has made with the Xbox One and have also enjoyed using my Kinect to operate the console.  I was skeptical about how the Kinect would work with the Xbox One but Microsoft has done an excellent job incorporating the two together.

The newly redone controller takes some time to get used to but feels good to hold.  The more compact design is lighter and the bulky battery pack of the Xbox 360 is a thing of the past.  And finally, the new Impulse Triggers add another dimension of feedback for gamers and is something I hope game companies use more in the future.

Microsoft earned itself some serious criticism with some of its controversial plans for the Xbox One, but it has released a very good next-generation console.  I look forward to seeing what Microsoft has planned for the future and remain pleased with my purchase of an Xbox One.  I give the Xbox One a nine out of ten in terms of the console's functionality and its peripherals.

I will begin to review Xbox One games starting tomorrow so if there is a game that you would like to see me review, then let me know in the Comments below!

PS4 Over Xbox: Why I Bought Playstation Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:55:47 -0500 Amanda Wallace

This is the first console generation where my opinion matters. During the rise of previous generations, my parents still held the spending power -- especially for such large purchases. I could've begged for an Xbox 360 or a PS2 or anything else, but I knew in my house we were going Nintendo. 

But now it's my disposable income, so I put in my research.

Pretty much immediately, Playstation stood head and shoulders above Microsoft. 

This was a complicated decision. I've only recently gotten back into console gaming, and I've been using my boyfriends Xbox 360. I'm most familiar and comfortable with that platform. I love the Media Center, all the apps, and the game library is amazing. But there were a few things about the PS4 that really stood out.

First and foremost, and this really can't be ignored, is the price.

Playstation is offering a competitively similar console for $100 less than Microsoft. There is the argument that the Kinect is vital to the way the system functions and pretty fantastic, but either way, for me it's just an unnecessary accessory. And yes, if you buy the Playstation Eye, it does even out. But I'm not buying a Playstation Eye. 

Secondly is indie support.

From very early on, Playstation set itself apart from the Xbox One by showing immediate support for independent developers. In the current gen, and this is a matter of opinion, the indie library on PSN is better than Xbox Live. With frankly unimpressive launch line-ups from both consoles, it became in my mind, a battle of the indies. But while Xbox talked a good late game about including indies, Xbox One is comparatively empty of solid indie titles. And there was only one independent that was Microsoft exclusive that I am bummed about missing -- Below by Capy Games

All I saw when I looked at Microsoft's line-up was a group of rehashed AAA titles that I was never going to play. I wasn't going to play another zombie game (Dead Rising 3) and Ryse looked plagued with quick time events and then deeply boiled in the hyper-masculine power fantasies that seem to dominate the industry.

Xbox One made a really excellent case for creating an at home media center in one box, and if that's what I was looking for, I would've been sold. But I don't even have cable, and if I want a media center, I'll just use the 360. 

Someday I will probably own an "Xbone," but I can't see that happening for at least a year. 

What do you think? Are you going PS4 or Xbox One this generation?