07 August 2007

Transformer Blockheads

Make your own Transformer Blockhead figurines!

Optimus Prime

Bumble Bee

25 July 2007

Nintendo Wii brings the gym to you with Wii Fit

by: Karen Bennett

Nintendo has announced a new fitness game Wii Fit which is a full on exercise product set to give you more of a workout than Wii Sports, while still retaining all the fun of gaming. Wii Fit will help to keep you physically fit via a dedicated peripheral, a wireless balance board which comes with the game. There are over 40 different activities, including hula hooping, ski jumping and heading soccer balls.

The hula hooping consists of, as you’d expect, gyrating your hips with a virtual hoop onscreen and then as the game progresses, characters will throw more hoops for you to catch and rotate as many times as you can until the time runs out.

The skiing game gives you two chances to make the longest jump you can whilst keeping your balance when landing. Players can increase speed by leaning forward, the more you lean the faster you’ll go, and upon reaching the jump, you stand up straight ensuring your weight is evenly balanced for a good landing.

For the football game, you will need to balance on the board moving from side to side whilst balls are fired at you to hit back on to the field and avoiding other objects that are thrown at you at the same time.

Training falls into 4 categories: Aerobics, muscle conditioning, yoga and balance games. Players can assign their height to a profile to measure body mass index and Wii fitness age as well as monitor progress and record performance statistics.

The calorie busting fun could appeal to couch potato kids as well a non gamers, perhaps using the Nintendo Wii as a slimming tool which would be a move into the lifestyle category rather than gaming, covering the market from another angle.

Nintendo hasn't given a release date yet for Wii Fit, although its thought to hit the highstreet in early 2008.

20 July 2007

DS Lite now in rose and silver

The Nintendo DS Lite has recently come out with two new colours in Japan. Who knows when it will be available to the rest of the world, knowing that icy blue was only released in Australia yesterday. None the less these two new colours named "Metallic Rose" and "Glossy Silver" definitely stand out from the bunch.

The pricing of these two in Japan are 16,800 Yen which is equivalent to AU$156. You can get these on ebay for about AU$200 not including shipping.

19 July 2007

The New Sony PSP

Due Spring 2007 is the new Sony PSP. Well, not really "new" but somewhat redesigned. The differences are that the PSP is slimmer, and you can connect your PSP to your TV. Other features are that it may have a hard drive which you can purchase to store more media and the like for an arm at a leg, priced at US$199, you could buy another PSP with that.

Unfortunately Sony still haven't figured out that the UMD format just doesn't work - they need to stop milking the dead cow. The PSP is still a great multimedia gaming machine but in terms of this being a "new" PSP is quite disappointing. Sad to say the is no dual analog stick and the analog stick is still placed in an awkward position which would be nice if it was more designed for adult hands. As for being able to connect your PSP to a TV... well how useless, who would want to play a PSP game on tv or watch a movie? You would lose all the graphic resolution. Unless you don't already own a DVD player or playstation then fair enough, but if you don't have one I suggest buying a playstation over a PSP any day.

The price of the new PSP has not been announced yet but if you already own one, I wouldn't think about scrapping your old for the new as not much has changed.

How to play PSP backup games

This is probably one of the first things on everyone's mind once they have got their hands on a PSP. There are many places online in which you can download PSP games which can then be transfered to your PSP so you can play the game off the memory stick. Assuming that you have some backups to load on, these are the steps you need to take in order to play them.

Firstly, the things you need to have are:
- PSP, obviously with the firmware downgraded to v1.50. psp-hacks.com contains an abundant of information and utilities which will be of use for this process
- Memory Stick Duo
- Backup game file which you downloaded
- USB mini cable
Step 1: Unzip the backup game if it is in *.zip format. After this is down there will be a folder which looks something on the lines of "ULJM06002_DATA".
Step 2: Connect your PSP to your PC. After this is done click on your PSP directory in My Computer and at the top level you should see the folders "MP_ROOT" and "PSP".
Step 3: Go into the "PSP" folder where you will find folders labeled "GAME", "MUSIC", "PHOTO", "SAVEDATA". Click on "SAVEDATA" and copy your backup game into this folder.

That's all there is to it, and now you are able to play downloaded games from your PSP!

Nintendo DS Lite VS Sony PSP Show down

When it comes to choosing a hand held gaming console for yourself, it will be either the Nintendo DS Lite or the Sony PSP. Choosing one between the two can be a hard choice as they both have their pros and cons, so this is a guide which will help you decide which is the system for you.

Technical Specs

Size: (closed) 13.3cm(5.2") wide, 7.4cm(2.9") long, 2.2cm(0.85") tall
Weight: 255g
Screen Size: 3" top and bottom
Battery Life: 5 to 19 hours

Size: 17cm(6.7") wide, 7.4cm(2.9") long, 2.3cm(0.9") tall
Weight: 237g
Screen Size: 4.3"
Battery Life: 2.5 to 8 hours

The DS clearly is more compact and has a longer lasting battery life as well as a touch screen, but the PSP weighs less and has a larger screen.

DS: The DS is the first hand held gaming console which uses a touch screen. The bottom touch screen opens a new world of innovative gameplay. For instance, being able to draw pictures, write notes, chat to players through WiFi and doing many other things with the stylus. There are many DS tailored games to play which make good use of the stylus, and we must not forget that the DS is backwards compatible, allowing us to play GBA games as well.
PSP: The gameplay of the PSP is very much like the PS2 with degraded graphics. Many of the games on PSP are ports or sequels from PS1 and 2, but it is handy to be able to play your favorite games on the move. The controls are familiar as the PSP is like a Playstation controller with a wide screen merged in the middle.

These are the cheapest quoted retail prices in Australia.
DS: $184 at Eb Games, but you can ask for a price match for a few dollars discount as they are quite generous with their price matching. The price of new DS Lites on ebay are the same as in stores. The DS has a very high resale value and you will find on ebay.com.au that a second hand console with a few games will easily go for over $200.
PSP: $274 for the console and $344 for the multimedia pack at JB Hifi. The Multimedia pack contains a 1gb memory card and a multimedia program for your PC which syncs to the PSP. a second hand PSP with a few games goes for about $220 on ebay.com.au as a new one goes for about $230 not including shipping.

Other Features
DS: Built into the DS is a little program known as "Pictochat" which is a wireless communication system where players can write draw or type messages and pictures to each other in chat rooms for up to 16 people. Although you need a strong signal to be able to use the DS WiFi system effectively, it is definitely a nice feature. You can challenge players or friends who are overseas or use the multiplayer function which is predominantly a LAN feature. Aside from the gaming features, the DS has the usual alarm, clock and calendar.
PSP: Besides being a gaming console the PSP serves as a multimedia player. It can listen to Mp3s and watch movies. It is pretty much a gaming console, portable DVD player and Mp3 player built into one and for $274 it is not a bad price for a sleek and stylish looking machine.

The Mod scene
Not everyone has the money to buy all the games, so here are the options to play backup games which are downloaded copies.
DS: To play backups on your DS is a simple process. All you need is a flash cart which is basically your DS game cartridge replacement, a 1gb/2gb MicroSD card which goes in your flash cart and you are all set.
PSP: It can get a bit messy trying to play backups on PSP as you need to downgrade your firmware to 1.50. This process can get technical especially with the new PSP that have their firmware upgraded to the latest version.

The DS has the advantage in the gaming field with the innovative touchscreen and probably is the better gaming system. On the other hand, the PSP is more than just a gaming system as it plays music and videos, although you could argue that the battery life doesn't utilise the portability of the PSP. It all comes down to what you are looking for in a hand held system. If it is endless hours of fun playing games, online or with your friends then go for the DS. If you like the idea of having the options of video and music play then PSP maybe the choice for you.