Word all over the Web is that on September 29, 2010, Nintendo will finally reveal pricing details for its upcoming 3DS handheld gaming console, and also give it a release date. Or at least that's what everyone is reporting from all corners of cyber space. We did a little digging and it appears the source of this inside info is someone inside Bloomberg's Japan operations, who claims to have heard the news during a phone interview with Mr. Yasushi Hiroshi Minagawa, a Nintendo spokesman.
The big selling point of the 3DS is that it will produce glasses-free 3D visuals using some type of parallax barrier display technology. Other features include a motion sensor, a gyroscope that willl likely be used to adjust perspective in 3D landscapes, tilt-sensitive gameplay, and a persistent Wi-Fi connection capable of downloading games in the background.
While it looks like we'll have to wait until late September to find out exactly when the 3DS is coming, speculation has the release date pegged for sometime in the first quarter of 2011.
I’m amazed you’re even reading this. Not because the quality of the prose is lacking in this week’s roundup of open-source and freeware applications, mind you. Rather, if you haven’t noticed by the coverage (and advertising) permeating just about every known tech site in the universe right now, Starcraft 2 just came out. It’s a miracle I’ve been able to tear myself away from defending humanity to write this but, well, my heart for free software is just too strong.
While it would be awesome to give you some kind of “Top 5 ways to get Starcraft 2 for free” article or something like that, it’s just not happening. And no, before you ask, there really aren’t any launchers or applications specifically designed for the game that can give you some kind of competitive edge or awesome third-party tie-in just yet. Wishful, if not silly thinking, no?
However, that’s not to say that applications don’t exist that could otherwise enhance your Starcraft 2 gaming experience in some capacity. Like I said, nothing’s been written specifically for the title, but there are a number of useful, free apps that you can use to otherwise bolster your gaming-life-that-just-so-happens-to-be-Blizzard’s-latest-title. I apologize for the tongue-twistedness of it all; simply put, you can use the following 5 apps to make Starcraft 2—or any game—rock just a little bit more.
Let’s say someone’s just given you a jack-in-the-box. He then motions for you to crank the handle, so you give it a whirl. Round and round it goes until—boom—out comes a platter with the world’s most delicious cake on it. Awesome! Before long, you want more cake, so you crank the handle again—only this time, a fist rockets out and punches you right in your cakehole. You try again. Another fist. Again. Fist. But then, finally, cake.
That’s Alpha Protocol in a nutshell. More often than not, the game rewards your efforts with a frustrating menagerie of awful design choices and glitch-ridden combat. But every once in a while, everything comes together, and you get a tiny, shimmering glimpse of what it might feel like to actually be James Bond or Jason Bourne.
Starcraft is arguably the most popular game of all time, and certainly one of the most enduring. Will the sequel live up to the original? Blizzard certainly thinks so, which would explain why the developer has spent over $100 million on the project thus far, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
"There is no shortage of consumers for Starcraft," Activision Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in an interview last month. "For a game that is more than 10 years old, there's millions of people still playing it.
Despite the big budget, Activision-Blizzard fully expects the Starcraft franchise to rake in up to ten times as much in profits. Kotick described Starcraft as one of the company's seven "pillars of opportunity" during an analyst meeting last month, and said that each pillar could deliver between $500 million and $1 billion of operating profit over its lifespan.
Interestingly, Starcraft II won't use a subscription model in the U.S., though the game will carry a monthly fee in other markets, such as Korea, WSJ reports.
Who says adventure gaming is dead? With a handful of exceptions, the adventure game genre might not be particularly lucrative anymore, nor will the Call of Duty crowd ever understand what all the fuss was about. But for those of us constantly looking over our heads for three-headed monkeys (or "look south" for you Zork-anites), we're pleased as punch to see fellow fans keep the genre alive.
Such is the case with Phoenix Online Studios, a collection of fan developers who at one point received a cease and desist letter from Activision for their work on a fan-made sequel to King's Quest called The Silver Lining. After extensive discussions and a recognition of "the overwhelming community support," Activision eventually caved and allowed the project to go on.
Eight years in the making, the first chapter in The Silver Lining is finally available for download, and not only is it free, but it gets the nod from Roberta Williams, the famed game designer responsible for the original King's Quest series.
"Now, there is a chance that many can truly find out what happens to the royal family of the Kingdom of Daventry," Williams is quoted as saying on The Silver Lining's site. "This game is very true to the original series and features many of the storylines and characters, especially of King's Quest VI. I found it beautiful and fun to play. I, too, like many other fans, would like to see how this story unfolds!
Robert, like the rest of us, will be able to do that through five episodes, the first of which is available now.
You can add short attention spans to the list of ailments that affect frequent gamers, suggests a new study published in the July issue of Pediatrics, Television, and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems.
The study, which was conducted by Edward Swing and his team of researchers at Iowa State University, examined two different age groups, including middle schoolers (third to fifth graders) and 2010 college students. They wanted to see if there was any danger in exceeding the 2-hour max limit for TV viewing and videogame playing as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Those who exceeded the AAP recommendation were about 1.6 times to 2.2 times more likely to have greater than average attention problems," the study concludes.
This isn't the first study to link screen time with short attention spans.
"There may well be a relation between television viewing and attention problems," said Dr. David Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University.
There is little I enjoy more than coming to Maximum PC each week to dish out a new dose of freeware and open-source software for all to enjoy. But, I confess, it's been tough times as of late-I feel as if I've covered every inch of the ol' PC ad nauseum and, as such, am running low on witty or interesting themes with which to structure these freeware roundups.
But before I would work myself into a tizzy over my failure to compartmentalize this week's apps, I remembered something: You, the readers, are awesome. So much so, that you've actually gone and done a great job of coming up with some awesome applications all by yourselves. From games, to apps to utilities, you've left few stones unturned in your various replies to my weekly freeware roundups.
And, thus, I am writing this week's freeware roundup in your honor. Not only am I profiling some of the awesome programs you've recommended, but I'm profiling the recommenders as well! And by that I mean that you, too, could be enshrined in the hallowed halls of the weekly freeware roundup-just keep leaving program tips in the comments!
Boutique system builder iBuyPower on Thursday announced a interesting piece of proprietary software called "MAGIC," or "Multi-touch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control." The software was developed in-house, and according to iBuyPower, it allows users to play any game under the sun with multi-touch controls.
"Mutli-touch is one of the fastest growing PC gaming interfaces," said Darren Su, Executive Vice President of iBuyPower. "Our motivation behind creating the Multi-touch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control -- MAGIC -- is to instantly expand compatibility of multi-touch interfaces to nearly every application you can imagine."
So how does MAGIC work its, er, magic? As iBuyPower explains, MAGIC links multi-touch gestures to pre-existing in-game commands, and is really a fancy way of emulating commands by mapping mouse clicks or keystrokes. MAGIC supports the use of profiles, as well as Tap, Pan (Drag), Rotate, and 2 Finger Tap actions.
Ready for the best part? iBuyPower is giving MAGIC away as a free download.
Somewhat ironically for a game titled Conviction, rendering a verdict on superspy Sam Fisher’s latest skulking, sneaking, neck-snapping adventure is actually pretty difficult. Here’s the problem: There are two ways to judge Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction—as a longtime series fan, or as someone who thinks a Splinter Cell is something that needs to be examined by a doctor before it becomes infected. The good/bad news, depending on which camp you fall into: Conviction is fast-paced, action-packed, and prone to bouts of random, violent explosion. Sorry, longtime fans.
Assassin’s Creed II, like its predecessor, is an ambitious third-person action adventure game with a clever conceit: You’re a modern-day bartender reliving your assassin ancestors’ adventures. But where the first game fell short—in repetitive, sometimes-monotonous gameplay—the sequel soars. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but it’s one hell of a fun ride.
This time around, you primarily play as goofy-charmer-turned-hooded-murder-machine Ezio Auditore. He’s got personality in spades, but that has its drawbacks—the first few hours of the game devoted to Ezio’s character development come at the expense of any truly exciting or pulse-pounding moments. Folks who want to leap straight into the face-stabbing will have to stow their bloodlust for a bit.