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CES 2011

While CES technically wrapped up last weekend, our coverage of the event has been rolling in all week in the form of videos of mind-blowing (and head-scratching) new technology for gaming. Everything from an experimental form-factor for PC gaming to a game about dogs playing football! Check out all of our CES content right here.

We also made our usual slate of exceptional web shows:

  • Feedback looked back over CES and made many funny jokes.
  • Sessler's Soapbox: Adam Sessler looks back on how he got his start in gaming.
  • The MMO Report: Casey Schreiner looks deep inside The Secret World.
  • Fresh Ink: Blair Butler takes a look at Secret Six, Thor and more!

And now the news...

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While the Mad Catz has become synonymous with third-party peripherals in itself, you might not know they they also own the Saitek, Tritton, Eclipse, Cyborg, and other brand names. The result of a company that makes a ton of stuff. At CES 2011, we were able to get a sneak peek at some items, including some exclusives. 
 
Check out the video to see their amBX lighting system, a gigantic flight controller (that is entirely awesome), and a look at the MIDI controller for Rock Band 3, which is finally available now. Yes, it's real, and we got to play with it. Watch the video for all of the highlights.
 

Mad Catz Pro Guitar, Ambx Keyboard, Pro Flight Preview »





Razer's new Hydra motion controller uses electromagnetic Sixense technology to make games like Portal 2 more awesome. Sixense is a separate company from Razer, and their technology will be powering the Hydra controller, which has a base station that emits an electromagnetic field (don't worry, it's weak ... you won't be rendered sterile) to recognize the two handheld motion units. As you can see in the video, using it in a game like Portal 2 is innovative and awesome.

Sixense worked with Valve to create Hydra-specific levels that will be available in a bundle with the controller, hopefully in April. The Hydra is currently PC-only, but if it catches on we hope it makes the leap to consoles as well. Sixense plans on working with other developers to implement the controller, so look for it to appear in future titles as well. Check out the video below to see what it looks like in action.

CES 2011: Razer Sixense Motion Controller First Look »


You know who would hate Jerry Rice and Nitus' Dog Football? Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. In the game, you play as dogs engaged in a game of football, and while we seriously doubt our canine friends can understand the nuances clock management during late fourth-quarter, no-huddle offense, it still a cool idea for a game. Plus, you get a bone shaped Wiimote sheath, so bonus!

Check out the video below, in which Dan Meuller, CEO of developer Judo Baby Inc., shows off the game. It actually looks really fun.

Jerry Rice & Nitus' Dog Football »


 

You know what stands between me and being a pro-gamer? Weak wrists. If I had stronger wrists, I'd be at the top of the leaderboards for every game out there. Luckily for me, Dyna-Flex has created the Powerball Gamer, a device that uses centrifugal force to exercise your gaming wrists. It also lights up for maximum sex-appeal to ladies.

Sure, this is a wild idea, but it might be wild enough to work!  (You know, or not.)

 

CES 2011: Powerball Gamer First Look »


 

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The future of play might be here with a new alternative gaming system called Sifteo. The alternative gaming system is a bunch of blocks that sense other blocks and join together to form interesting, multi-system games that aim to bring what's great about classic games like Mah Jong and Chess to the digital gaming world.

A video, though, is worth a thousand words, so click "play" on the video below in which Jeevan Kalanithi, CEO of Sifteo, guides you through an in-depth demo of this hardware.

 

CES 2011: Sifteo - The Alernative Gaming System First Look »


 

Ever wanted to turn your iPad into a full-functioning arcade cabinet? With the iCade, you finally can. What's really unique about the iCade is that it started out as an April Fool's joke from ThinkGeek. But like the Tauntaun sleeping bag and the 8-bit tie before, this faux product is also becoming a reality.
 
The iCade is a retro-styled arcade cabinet that can hold your iPad in landscape or portrait mode, and uses Bluetooth to tie into the joystick and buttons below. It also comes with a suite of retro Atari classics to get you started. Watch as ION Audio product manager Fred Galpern shows off the features in this video.
 

CES 2011: iCade - An iPad Arcade Cabinet First Look »


 
 


Capcom threw a completely awesome Marvel vs. Capcom 3 party at CES this year, providing pizza, beer, and even cookies (the gamer's staple diet, basically) to Unity members and giving them the chance to square off against each other in the latest build of MvC3. While there was a stellar view of the Las Vegas Strip available through nearly every window, these people were here to pit Felicia against Iron Man, not ogle the landscape.

 

Capcom Talks Marvel vs. Capcom 3 At CES 2011 »


We spoke with Capcom's Jason Allen at the event about the link between Marvel and Capcom, how they decide what alternate costumes to put on characters, and how the game will change e-sports. Check out the interview above, and start blowing the dust off of your fight sticks because this game is imminent. After about 487 more character announcements.

CES 2011: Hands-on Full House Poker, Beyond Good & Evil, Torchlight, Bejeweled Blitz, and Hard Corps: Uprising

One of the video game highlights of CES was the Xbox Live Arcade House Party kickoff event that introduced us to the titles Beyond Good & Evil HD, Bejeweled Blitz, Torchlight, Full House Poker, and Hard Corps: Uprising that will be occupying our spring this year. Like the Summer of Arcade before it, House Party stands poised to dominate the XBLA charts this coming spring. 

All five games were on-hand for hands-on at the House of Blues with actresses Shannon Elizabeth hosting the evening. I admit, it was a headscratcher for me as well until I found out she's a mainstay on the Celebrity Poker Tour. While I did go up against her in Full House Poker, there was no head to head action. Ultimately, I placed out sixth out of twenty which means one thing: no money. 

But we did play all of the XBLA House Party titles, and you can read what we thought about them down below. House Party launches February 16 with Hard Corps: Uprising kicking things off.

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CES 2011: The Video Games of the Microsoft Booth - Fable 3 and Age of Empires Online

Located almost directly opposite the Sony booth at CES 2011, and separated by a distance of more than a football field, Microsoft's booth at the show was primarily focused on tech and software innovation, with only a tiny sliver devoted to gaming. Some front-facing aquarium bubbles provided access to people playing Kinect, and there was quite a long line to demo games that are already on store shelves. Beyond that, pickings were extremely slim. There was one Xbox 360 showing off their newly announced Full House Poker coming to Xbox Live Arcade and Windows 7 phones, and that was about it as far as its console hero was concerned. 

Microsoft did host an XBLA event that we attended, more on that shortly, but the only other games it was showing at the booth were Fable 3 and Age of Empires Online, both for the PC. Fable 3 has been available for the Xbox 360 for some time, but the PC counterpart is "still in development", and no one from Lionhead was on-hand at the booth, and Microsoft had no idea about a release date other than it's "coming soon." I played the game for about a half-hour, although was chastised for checking out the in-game menus to see what resolutions it could pump out. "Please don't do that," a spokesperson asked me, "It took us forever to get that running in full-screen mode." They must have missed the "Run in full-screen mode" checkbox right there in the options.

But how did it play? Read on and find out.

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Of the literally thousands of high tech products on display at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, the most impressive to us was Razer's Switchblade. The concept-computer aims to change gaming by replacing the traditional mouse and keyboard with multi-touch screen, dynamic tactile keyboard, and an user interface that adjusts the configuration and key layout on-the-fly based on game content and user requirements. It's pretty slick, but you need to see it to really understand how slick.  Luckily, we've got a video for ya:

Razer Switchblade Exclusive Hands-On Demo »


I'm sure you're wondering where you can get one and how much it costs. Sorry. There's no price, and no word on when it will actually be for sale. We can only hope it'll be soon.

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  • Screenshots
  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

CES 2011: The Video Games of the Sony Booth - Killzone and and MBL 11: The Show Dominate

Sony's massive booth at CES was dominated by their 3D offerings, while a gigantic screen blared 3D images and trailers, and ladies walked around handing out glasses, cigarette girl style. Even the games were all presented in 3D, although Sony's PlayStation area was fairly modest. They had Killzone 3, inFamous 2, MLB 11: The Show, LittleBigPlanet 2, and a couple of PlayStation Network titles. What they didn't have? The PlayStation Portable or the PlayStation Phone. Plus, the inFamous 2 demo was the same one we'd played last year, although it was extremely buggy and kept dropping frames or chugging through busy scenes. We'll chalk it up to a busy unit of a bad build, but ouch ... it looked bad.

What did look good was MLB 11: The Show, which now has built-in Move and 3D support. 3D Support is throughout the game, but Move only works with Home Run Derby. At first I thought this would feel gimmick, but after finally nailing a few homers into the stands (428 feet, thank you very much), it's something I wish carried over into the full game. It will read left or right-handed batters and puts a bat onscreen held by an invisible batter that you can waggle back and forth. Pointing towards the outfield to call your shot is optional. It takes a few tries to nail the swing mechanic, but once you do it feels natural (and is a workout) and lots of fun. Sony is hoping to bring more Move integration to the next iteration of the title.

And then, we played Killzone 3 in 3D, and with the gun peripheral. Did it rock our world? Read on to find out.

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Top Gaming Gadgets We Wish Existed: Our List of Things We May or May Not Ever Really Need

CES 2011 has got us thinking about gaming gadgets and peripherals. If you're anything like me, your house has become a depot for assorted plastic gaming crap, ranging in usefulness from paperweight to couldn't live without it.

There's something appealing about the thought of owning a bunch of stuff in the name of your favorite hobby, even if it means you embed a broken whammy bar in the bottom of your foot every time you get up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. It's a small price to pay for the thrill of living dangerously.

Even though there's already a myriad of awesome gaming peripherals floating around out there and taking up space in your living quarters, there's always room for more. That's why we've come up with this list of awesome gaming gadgets we wish existed, but don't ... and probably never will.

Achievement Cannon
Xbox 360

Top Gaming Gadgets We Wish Existed: Our List of Things We May or May Not Ever Really Need

Earning an achievement on Xbox LIVE is like getting a flirty glance from the hot blonde in the coffee shop: it's fleeting, but makes you feel all warm and gooey inside your pants. Who wouldn't want to extend the feeling of elation into a full-on explosion? From a cannon? No one! The Achievement Cannon celebrates your completely pyrrhic victory by blasting your living room with confetti (not included) and filling it with the sweet sounds of John Phillip Sousa's immortal classic Stars and Stripes Forever. There's also an optional Polaroid attachment that will take a picture of you at the exact moment you earn the achievement. Warning: have you ever tried to clean up confetti? It sucks. Enjoy!

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Our intrepid CES correspondent Chris Monfette talked to David Dennis, Microsoft Product Manager, about Kinect's relationship with the hardcore gamer, Netflix, ESPN, the future of the Xbox 360 and a whole lot more. Read the entire interview below to get the whole scoop.

Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

G4: Let’s talk about Kinect and the hardcore gamer. Certainly, you’re expanding the technology into the Xbox interface and announcing things like Avatar Kinect, but when is the hardcore gamer going to see the Kinect go beyond the merely casual?

David Dennis: We think that the core actually came out in droves for Kinect. We don’t think there’s a wall between what the core likes and Kinect. Core gamers love games and some games can be fun and casual and some games can be shooters. At the end of the day, gamers want to have fun. And at the end of the day, Kinect games are very fun, very easy to jump in and play. We certainly saw, at lunch, that the core came out and bought the standalone sensor. That sold out within a week and a half. Obviously, we’re going to continue advancing core franchises that aren’t Kinect enabled and bring more traditional core games to the platform…I think you should expect to see a lot of news from us within the next six months or so as we lead into E3.

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Apple iPhone

The iPhone is coming to the Verizon network. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon to make the announcement at an event Tuesday in New York City.

This development will shake up the entire cell-phone world, as the monopoly that AT&T has held as Apple's carrier is set to end, leading to competition for iPhone users' plans, as well as, hopefully, lower prices. Smaller players in the market will be affected as well -- the two biggest players in the industry will be offering the most popular phone, essentially freezing out smaller players, for the time being.

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Tags: CES, CES 2011, iPhone, Tech
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