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Entries Tagged ‘Gadgets’:

Hi-Def Nintendo DS a Tentative

Because having 2 variations on the original Nintendo DS handheld system wasn’t enough, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has announced a new DS varient that will sport high-definition visuals, as well as motion-sensoring. Squinting at your DS screen will now be a thing of the past.

No official release date has been mentioned, so we could be waiting a while. Given the sales of the DS in North America, as well as how popular motion-sensors in things like iPhones and Nintendo’s own Wii console, you’d hope they’d be pushing for a release sooner rather than later.

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Sega’s Return to the Hardware Industry

It’s been nearly a full decade since the former video game development giant SEGA has released hardware of any kind into the market. The last console was the Dreamcast, which despite being a strong system with good games, was beat into the ground by Sony’s Playstation 2 a year after the Dreamcast was released. Sadly, the console was discontinued a few years later, and SEGA has since survived merely as a third-party publisher for software and games.

Now it seems SEGA’s renewed strength as a software publisher has given it enough of a confidence boost to try and test the waters of hardware production yet again. SEGA announced the release of a new portable media player called the Vision PMP.

The new handheld will actually be less of a portable game player, and more of a multimedia device. It will only be able to play Java-based games, but will also function as a TV tuner, a movie and music player, a video camera and recording device, as well as an eBook reader. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it very well may be. The design of the Vision is bulkier than both the PSP and Nintendo DS, and looks more like it’s failed handheld elder brother, the SEGA Nomad. We also have not heard about a price tag to go along with the portable player, and I can tell you that many people probably won’t bother with it unless the price is right.

Regardless, 2009 does mark a significant date for SEGA as its return to the hardware industry after being in the proverbial darkened corner of the video game scene for so long. Will it be a taste of things to come, or a complete bust?

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HD-DVD’s Key Hacked, Runs Wild

digghddvd.jpgIn a bold display that proves you can’t control information, social news network has been over run with the code to decrypt HD-DVD, the high definition video format.

The code went up on digg mere hours ago, and the site was served a cease & desist order. Digg CEO Jay Adelson let it be known Digg would comply with the order to avoid the lawsuit. This level of censorship of course drove the millions of nerds who basically run Digg without much actual control or supervision all day completely crazy and the code began appearing in virtually every story submitted and gained millions of hits. In case you didn’t know, on Digg, users submit links which are then approved by other users when they “digg” them. A few hours ago, over 50,000 digs had been counted toward various HD DVD code submissions.

Now Digg Founder Kevin Rose has bowed to his users. Digg will go down fighting.

Gutsy move, sure, but the only option Digg had unless they wanted to monitor all stories and have them go through an editorial process. I hope it works out for the best.
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Obscure Find of the Week – FC Twin Gaming System

FC TwinThere have been many consoles that people would consider “god systems”, that pack convinience and multitasking into one console. Well, another one has recently hit the market, in the form of a console that plays *both* 8-bit NES and 16-bit SNES games! Whodathunkit?!

The FC Twin Video Game System was released on November of 2006 by the manufacturer known as “Yobo”, but only has recently become any kind of known in the gaming world. This system has separate circuitry and separate slots to play both Nintendo and Super Nintendo cartridges, which can be switched between the two types with a double throw power switch to toggle back and forth. It also utilizes two SNES compatible controllers, which can also map to NES controller inputs. (B maps to Y, A maps to B).

Sounds like the perfect grab for anyone whose current retro systems are failing, and don’t want to shell out for the two separate systems, right? Well, there are a few drawbacks. one being that the system can’t handle the NES zapper lightgun for games like Duck Hunt. Another downside is that a few certain games made for either system will not play for the FC Twin, such as Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse – one of the reasons I actually bought the system in the first place…. *mumble*. See wikipedia’s entry for a list of the games for both NES and SNES that cannot play on the Twin. Also, some sounds for the NES may not sound exactly like their originals, but SNES sounds seem to work fine. And don’t even think about trying to use Super Famicom games.

Despite the downsides, the FC Twin system itself is a neat toy for any gaming enthusiast, and comes at the eye-catching price of around $40-$50, which would make it generally less than buying clean copies of both original systems that it emulates. So if you’re looking for a good backup system for either of your original Nintendo consoles, like I did, then picking up the FC Twin might be a decent investment.


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WIRED 40 for 2007

WIRED Magazine has just released their annual list spotlighting the best and brightest companies in tech.

The Wired 40 this year puts Nintendo on the list for the first time at an astounding #6. Microsoft, unstoppable juggernaut of the industry they are, barely made the list at #40. Don’t feel too bad for them: Sony didn’t make the list at all. Google and Apple retain their 1 & 2 spots from last year.

Bonus: a lenticular cover featuring The Office‘s Jenna Fischer.

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R2-D2, the Entertainment Center

R2-D2 seems capable of so much with his rockets and all that stuff. Well what if someone configured him to be used as a home theatre system? Just your luck! The fine people at Nikko Home Electornics have done just that.

The R2-D2 Communication System, a 1/5 scale version of the droid, is a complex audio communication device equiped with radio, sounds effects, phone, webcam and is controled by a Light Saber remote! All this for a somewhat affordable $350.

The larger 1/2 scale R2-D2 Mobile Entertainment System is quite a bit more elaborate. He is equiped with a 2D projector (no crappy hologram?!), can play DVDs, CDs and many file types, has a dock for an iPod, has USB slots, memory card inputs for viewing photos, a number of audio/video inputs, radio and sound effects. And this is controled by a Millenium Falcon remote. This one will cost you quite a bit more at $2500.

Check out this clip of the larger MES model in action at CES courtesy of Shiny Media:

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Apple shows iPhone, Motorola screams bloody murder

iphone.jpgIt’s the toast of the town already, but in case you were under a rock, Steve Jobs got up on a stage and felt alive again today. His computer company will soon bring us the most comprehensive piece of pocket-sized electronics ever marketed to normal people.

As you can already see in vivid color on Apple’s web site, the iCameraNewtonBrowserPhonePod, or “iPhone” for short will do everything but link up for multiplayer on your old GBA games.

It’ll be godawful expensive, but I look forward to seeing fewer Razrs on the street.

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Official Wireless Controller for PS2 Guitar Hero now widely available

Wireless HeroOne time, I saw a TV commercial for Guitar Hero II. In that commercial, two young men are shown playing different controllers side-by-side. One hero holds the Cherry version of the SG controller, which has been available through various means since the original Guitar Hero game came out, and is now commonly bundled with Guitar Hero II. The other player is shown holding a strangely-shaped white and black guitar that I’d never heard of before, and never heard of again until I saw it at my local Target store.
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