Cloud Gaming Powering The Future Of Gaming -- From The Web To The PS4 And Beyond

Cloud gaming looks a lot less like “pie in the sky” this month, as Sony bought on-demand gaming service Gaikai for an impressive $380 million. What’s even more impressive than that figure, however, is the technology behind Gaikai and the game-changing possibilities cloud gaming could bring to future consoles like PS4 and Xbox 720.

Currently, Gaikai’s cloud gaming service can stream full, console-quality games through browsers: FireFox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer -- they’re all compatible. This accessibility is convenient, but it isn’t what has us most excited about the venture. No, the revolutionary part comes into play when you realize that cloud gaming could eliminate both the weight and the wait. Goodbye bulky hard drives needed to fill up GBs worth of game data. Goodbye the time spent idling in front of a progress bar while the entire game downloads.

Gaikai (pronounced “guy-kai”) is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “Open Ocean.” Like the name suggests, there’s plenty of untested waters to explore when eliminating a user’s need for high-end hardware without sacrificing quality gameplay and graphics. Let’s take a look at both the bright and sunny and the stormy future of cloud gaming.

Pros: Gaming On Cloud 9

Cloud Gaming Powering The Future Of Gaming -- From The Web To The PS4 And Beyond

As Easy As YouTube
Gaikai says that it makes “playing a game as easy as watching a video on YouTube.” True enough, I was able to instantly play Bulletstorm -- on my MacBook Pro Late 2008 model. This hardware isn’t prime for gaming, especially not the action-intense gaming brought to you by the teams at Epic Games and People Can Fly. On top of that, Bulletstorm isn’t even on Steam for Mac. Yet with an Xbox 360 controller plugged into my outdated, non-gaming OS, I was able to start shooting my way through this really fun FPS game within thirty-seconds.

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Nerdsourcing finds you the best crowd sourcing projects from Kickstater, Indiegogo, and other such sites, and brings them straight to your wallet. Give, help spread the word, or just find out what’s going to be the hot new thing in the future; nerdsourcing is there to help support the dreamers out there looking to make the impossible a reality or those looking for the next big thing an edge on the competition. Time is limited to fund these projects so don’t wait to long.

Fangamer Retrowear

In one of the most well-made Kickstarter videos, Fangamer Retrowear breaks down the campaign to bring gaming shirts to gamers that don’t look like something you would be embarrassed to be seen in. They’re minimal designs that gamers will immediately notice, but others will just see as a cool shirt. It’s a project about creating something for the fans that looks and feels great, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Fangamer has been making these shirts for a while, but they’ve sold out of nearly every design that they’ve made. The Kickstarter campaign will allow them to make new designs, reprint old designs (and make them available in more sizes like ladies!), and continue to have new shirts available, without having to wait for pre-orders or customer interest. Each shirt is $22, no matter the size or the design.

Reward: You can choose any one of the cool t-shirt designs in any size for a $22 pledge.

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  • Cheats and Walkthroughs

They say high school is the best time of your life, but no one really accounts for the other kids, zombie outbreaks, or general nastiness of those formative years.

But as dangerous as all that sounds, think about how entertaining life as a high school student in a video game must be. Plenty of juicy drama, monster hunts, and hijinks -- it's almost enough to make us want to gather up our books and go back. Almost. But for those of you who aren't keen on returning and starting back as freshmen, we're going back for you in style, exploring the best high school moments in gaming, just in time for our younger readers (and parents of said readers) to fully enjoy that back to school rush!

Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw

School: San Romero High School

Juliet Starling's titillating zombie-slaying exploits begin at the cleverly titled San Romero High School, where the entire student body has been turned into members of the living dead. Zombies lazily slide down hallways looking for fresh meat. The football team rushes at Juliet looking for a peek up her skirt, or a quick bite to eat. Even the teachers are particularly miffed, and you can't trust a teacher who wants to throw a desk at you. Is it test anxiety or some kind of peer pressure bid? Nope, everyone's just hungry for brains.

From shooting zombie basketball with freshly beheaded zombies to meeting up with old cheerleader pals, San Romero High is one bustling academy, even if there doesn't appear to be any learning going on. Seeing Juliet prancing around in her bloodstained cheerleader uniform really drives the illusion of the high school routine home too, since she's still dressed up and ready for practice. San Romero isn't featured as long as we would have liked in the campy, carnage-happy creep-fest, but it still gets us pretty nostalgic.

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With the Kill Bill Revenge Double Feature airing on Labor Day (2:30/1:30c), we decided it was about time to find some women from the video game world that could be role models for anyone who wanted to kick ass and take names like Black Mamba.

Forget princesses and cutesy romances. There's a wide world of female role models out there who behave like real-world women actually might in the situations they find themselves in – they don't cry for help while trapped at the top of an ivory tower or prance around in their skivvies while doing absolutely nothing to assist those around them. They simply get things done, no matter how high the stakes are.

In a world where the female characters are usually treated as simple counterparts for their male brethren, it's hard to find great examples that set a trend for women who accomplish great things. But after scouring the annals of gaming history we've come up with some of the best female role models of the medium – and if you've got any better ideas, as always feel free to let us know.

Half-Life 2

Alyx Vance

Game: Half-Life 2

The quintessential greatest female character you usually hear about when running down the list makes her debut in the Half-Life as an invaluable asset to Team Freeman. The daughter of Dr. Eli Vance, Alyx is both a proficient hacker and handy with a pistol as well. She's a deeply caring individual with compassion for all those around her, and if you cross her there's no stopping her from exacting some likely well-deserved revenge.

As she's traveling with Gordon, wrestling headcrabs off unfortunate souls and taking up shotguns and other armaments to gun down the opposition, it becomes obvious that even if Alyx is upset or afraid, she hides it in order to appear strong for those around her – highly relatable, because who doesn't try to hide their moments of weakness in order to appear stalwart and capable for those they care about? Loyal, multitalented, and deadly when necessary, we know Alyx always has our back, as well as believable motives and a great personality.

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That iPhone in your pocket is good for something besides playing video games and taking pictures and texting with your friends, you know. You could actually do something productive with that iPad. You could download a bunch of free apps that will help you be more productive and organized and thrifty, meaning you’ll have more time to play video games and have more of them to play. It pays to be efficient!

Five Free iOS Apps To Get Organized For School

Orchestra To-do will run on your iPhone, iPod touch, or your iPad provided you’re running iOS 4.0 or later. You can add items to the list manually or use voice recognition and speak your to-do items out loud. You can upload your to-do list onto the Orchesta website and keep your smartphone and the site in sync so that you can make changes in either location. You can set reminder alerts for when it’s time to do something. If it’s a task you have to commit repeatedly on a regular schedule, you can set up recurring task alerts.

Orchestra isn’t just a tool for individuals. It can also be used to help groups organize their efforts. Real-time chat supports multiple simultaneous users. You can set up different groups, like one for your family and one for your classmates and one for your World of Warcraft guild to assign tasks accordingly, share lists, and collaborate more effectively.

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Star Wars Celebration 6: Behind The Scenes Of The Toy Hunter

I was sitting in my Florida hotel room last week preparing for the onslaught that would be Star Wars Celebration VI when an ad came on for a new Travel Channel series called Toy Hunter. The show follows host Jordan Hembrough, founder and owner of Hollywood Heroes, as he checks out fan collections in a never-ending hunt for the rare, the obscure, and he one-of-a-kind.

In a random twist, I received an email pitch just hours later offering me the opportunity to chat with Hembrough at his Hollywood Heroes booth on the show floor at Celebration. Intrigued by the idea of this sort of toy-focused take on Antiques Roadshow, I immediately said yes and set a time to chat.

There on the crowded floor of the Orange County Convention Center, surrounded by hundreds of people dressed in outfits that mirror our favorite Star Wars action figures, Hembrough laid out for me exactly where his passion comes from.

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Tags: Features, Movies, Toys, TV

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Do video games make you smarter?

Studies have indicated both yes and no, however, we like to side with all of those positive, “potion-jar-half-full” researchers out there. They have concluded that games can change your brain efficiency for the better, which of course means every game-loving employee at G4TV is an overachiever when it comes to Xbox 360 Achievements.

Our ultra-efficient minds are also good at putting together streamlined, well-organized lists, like this one for the most mind-intensive video games on the market. With the new school year fast approaching, here are the top video games that we think will make you smarter and help your brain score a few extra points this semester.

Brain Age

12. Brain Age: Train Your Brain In Minutes A Day
Nintendo calls its Brain Age games “entertainment,” but the concept behind this mind-exercising DS series still has us hoping that we can reverse our decline in neurons through video games. After all, we’ve put a lot of time into solving its fast-paced quizzes over the years in an effort to retain long-forgotten math and reading comprehension skills. We wouldn’t be naive enough to keep working at it if it didn’t work - our brain ages are a ripe 20, the best possible score according to the game’s Dr. Kawashima. There’s no way we could be wrong.

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What You Need To Play At The PAX 10 And The Indie Megabooth -- That Indie Column

PAX Prime showcases some of the greatest indie games out on the market or about to hit in the near future. Anyone with a hunger for creativity, originality, and those who hunger for something more from their gaming experience will not be turned away once they reach this gathering of indie games from around the world. Anyone and everyone who love indie games will get their fill this year with the PAX 10 and The Indie Megabooth as nearly a hundred titles await your eager hands.

Except me. I’m on home team this year.

I can’t say that missing one of the grand indie galas of the year isn’t a bit tough. With They Bleed Pixels and The Basement Collection coming out this week, I will be happy enough with a stale bag of chips and soggy hamburger to celebrate the extended weekend. For everyone else, I present to you the games you need to play when you hit the PAX floor. And for those left behind, I give you a small taste of some of the indie goodness so you won’t go hungry as your read about the amazing indie titles you’re not playing.

Sit back and relax as we take a look at the lineup for The Indie Megabooth.

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Back To School Tech Checklist -- What You Need To Survive College Life

College-bound students, you have enough stress on your hands right now, packing up your belongings and saying goodbye to family, hometown friends, and pets. One thing that you don’t have to say goodbye to, however, is your favorite cutting-edge technology, which is becoming increasingly important on modern campuses regardless of your major. To alleviate some of that decision-making anxiety, we put together a checklist of the best tech a student could ask for this semester.

Here are ten gadgets and gizmos that’ll set you on the right foot academically and make your college peers’ dorms seem inferior.

How James Bond Takes Notes

Back To School Tech Checklist -- What You Need To Survive College Life

LiveScribe Echo
The LiveScribe Echo smartpen is the note-taking tool that I wish I had as a journalism student. Having to listen to speakers and quickly jot down exact quotes while maintaining consciousness of the next thing they were saying was a chore. Likewise, carrying around a clunky digital recorder was a hassle. Hours after the event (the first problem), I was searching an old-school Windows Media Player timeline back in my dorm not knowing where that perfect quote was in an hour-long discussion (the second problem). The LiveScribe Echo eliminates the complications of both methods. The smartpen records audio as you take normal ink-based notes on a normal-looking (though special) paper notebook. The genius is in the pen’s hidden IR camera and the notebook’s micro-dotted paper. You can go back, tap anywhere on the notebook and play back what was said at the moment you wrote it down. This works flawlessly in all sorts of situations on campus and can actually ease the amount of notes you take, as the audio can pick up the details for reviewing later on.
Price: $130

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Tags: Features, Tech

Darksiders 2 Side Quest Guide -- Locating The Wandering Stone And The Hellguard In Light Of The Fallen

Darksiders 2 is about a bajillion times larger than its predecessor, and that's a good thing. But that also means side quests. And while every side quest is a reward in its own right, some can be downright tedious or difficult. That's why we've come up with this handy Darksiders 2 side quest guide, to point you in the right direction. Today we're going to find the locations of Oran's limbs for the quest “Wandering Stone,” as well as all trapped angel locations for Uriel's side quest “Light of the Fallen.”

First, we'll help out the golem known as Oran. You can help out this half-broken construct after clearing the Drenchfort and obtaining the Maker's Key. Head to The Fjord, and jump into the harbor. Swim straight forward, past two rising slopes and an overhead rock formation, to the shore where you can see Oran's crumbling body. Activate him with the Maker's Key, and he'll ask you to find his missing limbs so he can be whole again.

There are four, and thankfully, they're all in The Forge Lands! No traveling to other realms here.

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Transformers Fall of Cybertron

Fall of Cybertron was just released and it has one of the best implementation of Horde Mode out there in Escalation. In order to help you clear all 15 waves on each map, I dove head first into it to find a few tricks to help you out. There's More Than Meets the Eye to this game mode.

The very first thing you're going to want is a full team of four people. Unlike other Horde Mode variants in other games, you really can't solo a full 15 waves in Fall of Cybertron, even on Easy. Each map has four unique transformers, each one designed to fill a particular role in combat.

In order to beat all 15 waves, each person should use their abilities properly. Keep your medics protected, have your ammo supplier in a central location, and use your sentry and tank to help absorb damage. Escalation is really built around teamwork, like most Horde Modes are, and lone wolves are really going to have a tough time making it work.

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Star Wars 1313 Revealed And It's All About Bounty Hunters

Just so we're clear: if you've been keeping up with the latest news on Star Wars 1313, then you shouldn't expect to learn a whole lot of new information from the game's recent appearance at last week's Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Florida. The panel devoted to LucasArts' third-person shooter went into a fair bit of detail, but the actual in-game content that was demoed amounted the same stuff that the developer first showed off at E3 2012.

Don't despair, there are previously unrevealed facts ahead. I just want to make sure you temper your expectations. There's still no word on the game's story beyond the Coruscant underworld setting, and the identity of the main character remains a mystery.

First, here's a brief refresher of that E3 demo, which game director Dominic Robilliard played through twice on a beefy-looking gaming PC built into a Cooler Master tower. The controller even malfunctioned on the initial playthrough, a seemingly unintended hiccup that was spun for the gathered audience as hard evidence that the showing was indeed a live gameplay demonstration.

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Dragon's Dogma

Whether it’s high school or college that demands your attention, unless you’re planning on flunking, you’re going to have less time to play video games come September. It might be a good idea to finish up games from earlier this year so that you can spend your precious gaming time on the Fall releases that are about to flood your PC, consoles, and the rest of the your free time.

Today, we’re focusing on four RPGs and a dungeon crawler. These might seem like obvious choices due to the length of the gameplay, but it isn’t only about time to completion. RPGs encourage getting into a rhythm as we learn the combat mechanics. The longer you put the game down in between play sessions, the more likely you are to lose the story thread and not remember what’s going on.

Here are five games we think you ought to get cracking on and finish before going back to classes, homework and projects.

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Tech Junkies -- Razer Mamba Mouse

The Razer Mamba mouse is a utilitarian wireless mouse with flashy packaging, a host of special features, and excellent battery life. While not being ambidextrous it fits well in a wide range of hand sizes and is designed after some of Razer's most successful mice. As with most of their new mice, the Mamba can be used both wirelessly and also in a wired mode if you suddenly find yourself running short on juice.

This time Razer has removed the wireless/wired mode switch leaving the bottom of the mouse clear of any extra or unneeded buttons. If you want to charge your mouse just place it gingerly on the base. I didn’t find myself having to charge as often as when using the Naga Epic though so it has exceptional battery life.

As mentioned there are a two buttons on the bottom of the mouse. A power slider makes sure that if you’re traveling with the Mamba it isn’t waking itself up with every time you take a step or hit a bump in the road. There’s also a connect button which will allow you to sync the mouse to the base, but this is usually only needed once when setting the mouse up for the first time. On the side of the Mamba are three red/green LED diodes that note battery level and optical sensitivity. Using the two extra buttons at the top left of the mouse allowed me to change sensitivity on the fly and I could immediately see which level I was at by watching the LED diodes go up or down.

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The Pitfalls of Kickstarter - When A Good Idea Goes Bad

CW&T had a great idea: make a stainless steel high-quality pen so small that it fits into a custom ruler. This two-person team only needed a little dough to turn their dream into a reality. Enter the Kickstarter campaign that well exceeded their expectations nearly a hundred times over. Over 4,000 people agreed with CW&T that the world needed a high quality pen. And for only $50, backers were promised their very own pen that would later retail for nearly double that amount. You would have been a fool not to send them your money.

At this point, the story should have gone something like this. All that idea-supporting money goes into processing, delivery expenses, and making sure that everyone at the company doesn’t starve until they can get the product into retail stores. Backers receive their pens soon after the first batch is made, money exchanges hands, and capitalism lives for yet another day. But in the case of Pen Type-A, CW&T, and all of their backers, this is far from what actually happened.

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Tags: Features, Tech
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