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JVC Updates The Boombox

sjohnson
5 Comments

Posted January 8, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

I haven't seen anyone rocking a boombox since June 5th, 1982, but boomboxes are still around...still around and completely awesome. Check out that pic above. That's one of JVCs just revealed carry-around stereo systems, the UX-GN6.

The UX-GN6 boasts 120 watts of power and features a "wake up" mode that works by waving a hand in front of the system to illuminate the controls and the LED display. Pretty slick. It also features touchscreen controls, an iPod dock, USB support, CD player, radio and video out so iPod video can be played through a connected TV.

Sadly, they don't come with a cassette player, and you'll have to provide your own roller skates.

What do you think? If you saw me walking down the street with that boombox on my shoulder blasting Sugar Hill Gang, would you think I was cool or lame?

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Tags: CES, Music, Tech

Palm unveiled the Palm Pre handheld during its press conference at CES 2009. Featuring the company's new Web OS, the Pre is a sexy slider that will be available exclusively through Sprint in the first half of 2009. A UMTS version will follow after Sprint's exclusivity expires.

On the hardware side, the Pre features a 3.1-inch touchscreen, a slide-out keyboard, a three-megapixel camera, an LED flash, a GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 support (including EDR and A2DP), 8GB of internal storage, WiFi support, and a MicroSD slot. The device will run on Sprint's zippy EVDO Revision A network. It features smooth lines and a reflective back (perfect for making sure my beauty marks are properly accentuated). This is, by far, the best-looking handheld Palm has released in a very long time.

The software side is arguably even more interesting. Web OS has a feature called Synergy, which synchronizes contacts and calendars from multiple sources. Contacts can be synced from services and software like Facebook , Gmail, AIM, and Outlook, while calendars can be matched up from Google Calendar, Outlook, and others. Early reports indicate that Web OS is pretty slick and intuitive. I definitely want to see more of the browser and some real-world interaction before getting too excited about it.

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Tags: CES, Tech

Third-party peripheral maker Nyko is at CES, and the maker of controllers, plastic instruments and other gaming accoutrement is showing off a bunch of cool Nintendo Wii enhancers. Here's the rundown:

  • The Wand: This Wii controller is being touted as "the most advanced alternative to the Wii Remote." What makes it so advanced? Well, The Wand contains Nyko’s Trans-Port technology. It enables control and vibration feedback to be electrically replicated on a compatible attachment accessory. Nyko says this will provide faster and more accurate input response.  The Wand will be available at select retail stores nationwide in April, 2009.
  • Charge Station EX: If you play with your Wii as much as some people play with their Wii, you must go through a lot of batteries. Luckily, Nyko's Charge Station EX will juice up your Wii Remote, and even contains a power meter on the front so you'll know how much juice is left. The Charge Station EX will be available at stores nationwide in April, 2009 and will retail for $34.99
  • Kama Charge Kit: The Kama Charge Kit is an all-in-one charging solution for the Wii. It stores and charges both the Wii Remote and the Kama controllers in one unit. Included with the Kama Charge Kit is a Kama Wireless Controller, a rechargeable battery pack, and a battery cover for both the Wii Remote and Kama controllers to allow for drop-in charging. The Kama Charge Kit will be available at stores nationwide in April, 2009.

In your opinion, what's the most essential third-party peripheral for any system?

Tags: CES, Tech, Videogames, Wii

'Skate 2' Demo Live

sjohnson
11 Comments

Posted January 8, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

The demo version of EA's upcoming thrashing and/or shredding simulator Skate 2 is available now on Xbox Live and will be hitting the PlayStation Network on the 15th.

The demo introduces players to the city of New San Vanelona where, according to EA, "they can skate with style and individuality via access to the enhanced character customization tools." The demo also offers up a glimpse of the game's single-player story and challenges in new locations. If that wasn't enough, The Skate 2 demo features two of the game’s online Party Play modes: Thrasher’s Hall of Meat and Spot Battle.

Skate 2 hits retailers in North America on January 21st, and worldwide on January 23, 2009. It's for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

The imminent release of Skate 2 begs an important question: Which is better, the Skate series or the Tony Hawk series? Before you answer, remember, I mean the whole series, from the first Tony Hawk to the most recent.

Tags: CES, Videogames

Nintendo has announced a cool promotion for tennis' first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open. In addition to hosting a Nintendo Lounge during the event, the company is holding a contest that will give one lucky winner a chance to face off with tennis pro Novak Djokovic in Wii Sports. The promotional site states:

"Have you got what it takes to defeat the defending Australian Open Champion, Novak Djokovic? We are giving you the chance to see if you can beat Novak Djokovic on tennis on Wii Sports. Novak, is currently ranked No. 3 tennis player in the world and won the Australian Open in 2008. He returns to Australia in 2009 to defend his crown. Nintendo are excited to be able to provide fans with the opportunity to play against Novak, and visit the tennis!"

I'm pretty darn excited to "visit the tennis" too! *snicker* If you want to play tennis with "The Djoker", you must be a resident of Australia or New Zealand. If you fall under that classification then you have to whip up 25 words or less on why you should be the one that plays against him. It's a pretty cool promotion, but I wish it were global. I'd love to be able to go to the Australian Open and I'm sure many of you would too.

And one more thing: Aussie Aussie Aussie!!! (Hopefully some of you know the proper response.)

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Tags: CES, Videogames, Wii
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GameStop's revenue from holiday sales shot up 22.3 percent to $2.856 billion. While this exceeded the game retailer's expectations, what did lag was its gross margin rates, due to a "higher mix of hardware sales and the success of [its] value messaging and promotions during the holiday period."

What were the top five game sellers?

Call of Duty: World at War and Guitar Hero World Tour, Gears of War 2, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, and Nintendo's Wii Fit.

Top hardware seller for GameStop was Nintendo's Wii (big surprise!).

It's telling that while we're experiencing the worst economic crisis in the last 70 years, it doesn't seem to be effecting video-game sales. For GameStop, this holiday's average transaction was bigger than the previous year's. Even gift card sales were up 15 percent from last year. While games are more expensive than seeing a movie or buying a CD, they also provide a longer lasting form of entertainment.

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Tags: CES

While most everyone with a beating heart is delighted by Lionhead Studio’s quirky 360-only RPG Fable 2, some had problems with the game’s length. It’s just too darn short. Thankfully, the first expansion pack is on the way. “Knothole Island” drops on January 13th, and will feature three new quests, new dungeons, weapons, outfits, potions, items and specialty shops. It all takes place on a mysterious isle off the coast of Albion populated by peculiar characters for your hero to slaughter and/or marry and have children with.

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Pretty much every day, a reader (several really) of TheFeed says that Sony's PlayStation Portable is "teh doomed". Gamers are a passionate and opinionated bunch that often post rash opinions on the Internet. These opinions sometimes lack rational thought and/or solid data to back them up, so it's easy for me to overlook them. It's part of the game and I get it -- I actually love it when readers take the time to share their thoughts, even if I think they're dead wrong. When other writers in the gaming business say that the PSP is "teh doomed", it irks me. One reader of TheFeed showed me this ridiculous editorial by Yahoo! Games' Mike Smith called "Goodbye, Sony PSP". It's one of the dumbest articles I've read in the last six months.

The article suggests that it's the end of the line for the PSP, going as far as to ask, "Time to put this gaming warhorse out to pasture?" While Smith cites November North American sales figures to back up his opinion, he doesn't consider the bigger picture -- the North American installed base and global sales figures are never mentioned. I guess it's hard to say that a system is dying when it sold more than four-million units in North America and 3.5-million in Japan during 2008. Never mind that the PSP has a total installed base of more than 43-million.

Then there's the software side. Let's forget that Monster Hunter: Portable 2nd G was the best-selling game across all platforms in Japan during 2008. Apparently "software support is eroding". I guess nobody bothered to tell Square Enix this information. The company's lineup for 2009 looks awesome. You have Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Final Fantasy Agito XIII, and Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday. All four games look fantastic and I have no doubt that at least three of them will sell well over a million copies. Throw in games like Patapon 2, LocoRoco 2, Phantasy Star Portable, Star Ocean: Second Evolution, Resistance: Retribution, and Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, and you have quite a lot to be happy about with the PSP in 2009 -- and that's just the announced games!

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A Chicago-based psychiatrist, Dr. Kourosh Dini, has written a definitive book called Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents.

Dr. Dini, a long-time gamer, writes this comprehensive book with great understanding, as well as empathy -- showcasing both viewpoints of the controversy that is video games' effects -- physical and emotional health, educational and social development of a child.

He believes that parents don't always know what is an age-appropriate game for their child to be playing. Whereas one that are appropriate "[multi-player video] games can allow children to learn how other people think -- a key aspect of empathy. Games can also help a child become more comfortable with new and ever progressing technology."

"Video Game Play and Addiction"
also hits upon different game genres and how video games can improve learning and communication skills, effect emotional and mental health, and have adverse affects, as well -- like aggression, motivational and withdrawal issues.

While the media has always been rash in categorically dismissing and criticizing the addictive dangers of extended video game play, we know that the American Medical Association (AMA) doesn't want to label video game addiction as a mental illness, as it believes more study and research is warranted to make that claim.

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See Sony's PS3 press conference here.

Sony is about to start their PlayStation presentation, where they'll be updating us on the latest innovations for the PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Let's go to the live blog for coverage.

11:10 AM: The Co-Directors of SCEA Bend Studio take the stage. It's John Garvin and Chris Reese, here to give us a look at Resistance Retribution for the PSP.

11:12 AM: It's the premiere of the story trailer. Sony really put some old school Hollywood trailer power behind this one. Grayson has a score to settle and he can only do it by blowing a bunch of stuff up, shooting a bunch of stuff and talking to a beautiful woman in a flightsuit. Awww yeah. Looks awesome.

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In a statement sent out to hype the Blu-Ray release of the original Ghostbusters movie, Sony Pictures revealed that Ghostbusters: The Video Game  will be released on the date the disc comes out: June 16th.

The game’s publisher, Atari, has confirmed the info, so fire up the ECTO1 and gets bustin'… unless, of course, you are afraid of no ghosts.

I can’t get my hopes up too high, though. Given the twisted saga of Ghostbusters: The Video Game -- it was dropped from Vivendi's portfolio after the Activision Blizzard merger only to be scooped up by Atari-- I won’t fully believe it's real until the disc is spinning around in my 360. Still, it’s hard not to be psyched after looking at the trailer posted below:

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Trailer »


Ghostbusters: The Video Game will be available on the 360, PS3, PS2, Wii and DS.

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According to a speech given by Harmonix co-founder and CEO Alex Rigopolous at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, there will be no Rock Band 3 in 2009.

“We’ve actually made a choice to break out of the annual release cycle for Rock Band this year,” Rigopolous told CES attendees. “Partly because the annual cycle places limits on the choices you can make as a developer. We’re trying to take a long-term view.”

Rigopolous thinks publisher EA would be willing to market and sell another Rock Band this year if  Harmonix was to deliver it, but they aren’t pushing. “I’m sure they’d take [Rock Band 3] if we gave it to them,” Rigopolous said, “but they know how important this series is and they’re willing to give it the time it needs.”

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Tags: CES, Music, Videogames

It seems that Iron Man 2 has just got its villains. The question remains however, WHICH ONES? Yesterday, E! reported that Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell would be on board for the metallic Avenger's sequel; Rourke as the Russian arms dealer in nuclear-powered armor called Crimson Dynamo, and Rockwell as the multi-billionare industrialist rival of Tony Stark, Justin Hammer. However (here's where the confusion sets in) The Hollywood Reporter later released info that Rourke would be playing the villain Whiplash, who in the comics is an assassin that carries a pair of deadly cybernetic titanium whips and is regularly employed by Hammer. 

Hopefully we will have this cleared up soon, but Rourke as Crimson Dynamo seems to be a more ideal role for him, since Whiplash (later renamed Backlash) is a flamboyantly dressed, younger man in the comics. However, we might also take into consideration the fact that the last Iron Man film already had an armored villain, and to have another in the sequel might be going back to the well.

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Tags: CES, Comics, Movies

Samsung 9 Series LCD TV Review »


With a 1,000,000: 1 dynamic contrast ratio and a $2,700 price tag, Samsung is bringing some serious heat with their new bigscreen HD set. Will the numbers and features add up to a beautiful TV watching experience? We'll tell you in today's Tech Review.

Look below the cut for the written review from Attack of the Show.

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Every year, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation gives out "awards" for the worst movies, worst actors, and worst scripts Hollywood foists on unsuspecting movie-lovers. This year, video gaming's most hated director, Uwe Boll, is up for multiple Razzies, including Worst Picture(Dungeon Siege), Worst Director, and Worst Career Achievement.

Classifying some pieces of art as "The Best" and others as "The Worst" is pretty ridiculous; it's all a matter of taste. For instance, I couldn't stand Crash, and it won an Oscar for Best Picture, and G4's own Fernando Phagabeefy loved Uwe Boll's Postal.

I find Boll's mangling of second-tier video game properties to be much more enjoyable to watch than, say, 27 Dresses, so maybe gamers and movie geeks should cut Boll some slack... and I'm not just saying this because I'm afraid the raging German will punch me in the face.  But you probably feel differently. I hope you will share your feelings in our comment section.

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