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PlayStation Portable

The PlayStation Vita releases today with one of the strongest launch lineups in recent memory for any console, handheld or otherwise. For all of the new features packed into handhelds these days, without a steady stream of games to play, your shiny new toy can quickly turn into an expensive paperweight. Come with us as we look at launch games of handhelds gone by and see what games helped highlight the novel features of the platform and which ones were nothing but a Band-Aid on a doomed console.

Nugget From The Net: The Game Boy That Survived The Gulf War

Console: Nintendo Game Boy

North American Launch: August 1989

There may have been handhelds that launched prior to the Game Boy, but this was the machine that started it all. Created by Gunpei Yokio, the creator of Nintendo’s Game and Watch series, the Game Boy came bundled with Tetris and launched with just four other games: Alleyway, Baseball, Super Mario Land, and Tennis. Super Mario Land went on to spawn two more sequels and introduce Wario to the world, and continued the tradition of launching a new Nintendo console with a Mario title. As successful Super Mario Land was, the real star of this launch was Tetris. By the time that the Game Boy launched, Tetris had been out for five years and had snared many in its addictive, shape-dropping grip. Tetris was accessible to both kids and adults and was shaped based, thereby sidestepping the Game Boy’s color-less display and, best of all, it was free.

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It's time to get way in-depth about the PlayStation Vita, people. G4's feature editor Rob Manuel and reviews editor Dana Leahy take a long, hard look at the Vita in the video below, showing off the portable's interesting new features, including its dual-cameras, dual touch-screens, dual thumb-sticks and more. That's a lot of "duals" eh?

Along the way, Rob and Dana discuss the machine's price and launch catalog, then answer the big question: Is it worth the price? Check out the video below:

PlayStation Vita Hands-On Preview »


PS Vita

You might have read yesterday that the PlayStation Vita's PS Store is now officially online and ready to accept your money. The current offering of actual Vita games is relatively light, but there are hundreds of PSP and Minis titles available for purchase and/or download. The exact number is 275, Sony reveals in a new PlayStation Blog post.

The update explains the various options users have for getting a PSP onto your Vita's memory card. It's pretty simple, really: either download them straight to the Vita via the built-in PS Store app or download them to your PS3 and then transfer them over using the Content Manager. You can find the full list of games at the source link below, though I can also confirm that LittleBigPlanet PSP, Killzone: Liberation and Echochrome can all be transferred from your PS3 to the Vita as well, and that they all seem to run just fine.

Sony promises to add more PSP titles to the store "in the coming weeks."

Source: PlayStation Blog

PS Vita

We've talked a lot here about Sony's UMD Passport program, which provides cheap digital PSP purchases in the PSN -- now SEN -- Store for those who register their old UMD games. It's the hardware maker's solution to the PlayStation Vita's lack of backwards compatible support for the PSP's UMD-based titles.

Unfortunately, PS Vita owners in the U.S. won't have access to those cheaper prices. Sony officially confirms in a statement to GiantBomb that the UMD Passport program will not be available in North America, with the confirmation coming shortly after Kotaku first reported the news yesterday. No reason is given for the move; instead, the paragraph-long statement shifts gears after the first sentence to talk about how awesome it is that the PS Vita can play upscaled PSP games.

Read the full statement after the jump. I warn you though: it's just going to make you angrier.

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PSN, Playstation Network

Sony announced that PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts will now be renamed Sony Entertainment Network accounts as of February 7th, coinciding with an update to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Other than the name change, there does not seem to be any other changes to service, so rest assured PlayStation fans, all is well online for gaming and PSN as a name should still exist.

"It's just a change in the name of the account," said a Sony Spokesperson. "When PSN users log in after the update, they won't experience any changes in the XMB as they know it." They continued, "The goal is one login in for all Sony devices; It helps clarify the unity between PSN and other Sony Entertainment Network services."

If anything, the rebranding of accounts is perfectly timed for Sony's U.S. launch of the PlayStation Vita, which is aimed not only at gamers but as a cross-media device that offers music and movies as well. In a statement issued by Sony, the company shared:

This transition is based on Sony’s goal to enhance its unique digital entertainment offering. As a series of these activities Sony started last September, PlayStation Network will be aligned with “Sony Entertainment Network.” This helps us get closer to our goal of establishing a global comprehensive network platform of services across games, movies, music and more, all accessible from one convenient account.

PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita system owners will be the only ones experiencing the update. PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners will not receive an update for these devices at this time. Sony Entertainment Network accounts will also enable access to Sony's Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited and PlayMemories Online (currently called Personal Space).

Worthy of panic? No big deal? What do you think of the name change?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or if you have something you'd like to share, get in touch via E-mail.

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Atlus has just announced their newest game, Gungnir, from Sting. Gungnir is a PlayStation Portable strategy role-playing game featuring an epic story with slick mechanics and, "a number of fresh twists." The game has already been released in Japan, and features heavy and intense themes like racial discrimination that aren't very common in strategy RPGs. Check out the trailer for Gungnir below.

Gungnir Opening Cinematic Movie »


Gungnir will be out on June 12, 2012. Will you be picking up this RPG?


X-Play Best of 2011 

Welcome to X-Play's Best of 2011 Awards.

X-Play has, once again, undergone hours and days of testing, in an effort to determine which of the games of 2011 had the right stuff to be considered the best in a number of categories. There were arguments, votes, and a few deaths, but we've finally got a handle on the best games of the year, and, without further ado, here they are.

Do you want to know what the nominees were?  For a look at all the nominees, click here.
 

GAME OF THE YEAR

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best of 2011: Game of the Year »


 

MOST ORIGINAL GAME
Minecraft
 
BEST GAMEPLAY INNOVATION
Rocksmith - Teaching Real Guitar
 
BEST MULTIPLAYER GAME
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
 
BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME
Batman: Arkham City
 
BEST MULTIPLAYER CO-OP
Portal 2
 
BEST SHOOTER
Gears of War 3
 
BEST ART DIRECTION
Batman: Arkham City
 
BEST ANIMATION
NBA 2K12
 
BEST WRITING
Portal 2
 
BEST SOUNDTRACK
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
 
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Battlefield 3
 
BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME
Stacking
 
BEST DLC
Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues
 
BEST RACING GAME
Forza Motorsport 4
 
BEST SPORTS GAME
NBA 2K12
 
BEST PUZZLE/STRATEGY GAME
Portal 2
 
BEST ROLE-PLAYING GAME
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
 
BEST MOBILE GAME
Infinity Blade 2
 
BEST FIGHTING GAME
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
 
BEST HANDHELD GAME
Super Mario 3D Land

BEST GAME
THAT USES MOTION CONTROL

Dance Central 2

VIDEOGAME DEATHMATCH WINNER
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword  

 

BEST PERFORMANCE BY 
NOLAN NORTH

Nathan Drake - Uncharted 3

BEST PERFORMANCE NOT BY 
NOLAN NORTH

Stephen Merchant - Wheatley - Portal 2

 

BEST REMAKE/RETRO RELEASE
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

BEST TRAILER
Dead Island

 

PS Vita

When the PlayStation Vita arrives in Japan in a couple weeks, the UMD Passport program will be there to offer discount pricing on UMD-based PlayStation Portable games to those who register their discs using a special PSP app. Of the 606 PSP titles available digitally through Japan's PlayStation Store, 262 of them qualify as UMD Passport titles (via Siliconera). Content from key publishers like Square Enix, Namco Bandai, Konami and Capcom is notably absent from the list.

It's not a particularly consumer-friendly solution, especially with the seemingly arbitrary pricing going on for the reduced price titles. To be fair, it's still more than we've seen here in the U.S. -- Sony has yet to extend a similar offer to customers outside of Japan -- but with the Vita coming to other regions a couple months after its Japan launch, it's possible that the final list of UMD Passport offerings is still being finalized for other markets. 

I have to ask though: are any of you passionate enough about one PSP game or another to actually spend money on it a second time? No Sony-bashing here; just an honest question. Old school game remakes are quite popular on mobile devices like smartphones; does UMD Passport seem like the same sort of thing to you?

Source: Sony Japan


Television specials would have you believe the Christmas season means holly and presents and pine-trees and whatever, but for many of us, the holidays really mean one thing: Traveling. Endless car-trips and plane journeys to visit relatives in far flung parts of the world. Boring, right? Wrong! With handheld gaming, even the most dull voyage can be fun!  With this in mind, we've compiled a list of the best Handheld Games for the holidays in 2011, perfect to give as gifts so the ride back home will be enjoyable.

Holiday Buyers Guide 2011 - Games on the Go »


Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition

It seems strange that a 2D fighter works so well with the 3D of the Nintendo 3DS, but SSFIV 3D does, plus it's packed with all 35 playable characters from the console game, bonus stages, cinematic Ultra combos and online playability.

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PlayStation Vita Online Modes Revealed: Near, Party, LiveArea, and Activity -- Will This Revolutionize Portable Gaming?

One of the big questions fans started asking once Sony announced the PlayStation Vita was whether it would be backwards compatible with PlayStation Portable games that aren't available digitally. A solution was promised, and now it's here: the UMD Passport program.

Launching on December 6, shortly before the Vita's December 17 Japan launch, UMD Passport involves downloading a special UMD Registration Application from the PS Store onto your PSP, Andriasang reports. You'll then use that to register your game so you can download it to your new handheld... at a discounted price. What, you thought this would be free?

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FIFA 12

EA Sports' FIFA 12 is one of those rare sports games that is so fundamentally solid and entertaining, you don't really have to be a fan of the sport to appreciate it. That's probably part of the reason why the newly released game launched in such a big way, with EA confirming that its 3.2 million sold-through units qualify it as the biggest launch of 2011 and the biggest launch for an EA Sports title... ever.

Note that "sold-through" is not the same as "sold"; essentially, roughly 3.2 million copies of the game have been available in stores since the game's September 27 launch. The number isn't so much a reflection of how many people are buying it, but rather how much retailers are willing to bet that people will.

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Music Game Post

The conventional gaming wisdom about the music game genre is that it's dead genre. With the big players in the field, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, either dead or on life support, it's easy to see where this notion came from, but author Scott Steinberg has a different view, and he should know. Steinberg has written and published Music Games Rock, a full length book covering the music game industry, from its inception in pre video game days to the present. According to Steinberg, the music game is as least as old as video games themselves and will always be with us in one form or another.

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X-Men Destiny Impressions From E3 2011

PS3 Games released this week:

Xbox 360 Games released this week:

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LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 Release Date Announced

Warner Bros. has announced the release date of LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. The end of the adorable yet more mature version of the Potter story is coming out for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, DS, and Nintendo 3DS on November 15.

The game will whisk you away to familiar locations from books 5-7 Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, including Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic and Godric's Hollow. If you want to check out the game early on the PlayStation 3, The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Blu-ray combo pack will come with a demo on November 11.

There are few games out there that are as charming (ha, get it?) as LEGO Harry Potter. I love every single thing about the first one in the series, LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4, and can't wait to get my hands on this one. I love seeing how the story plays out in LEGOs, and I can't wait to collect all the studs. Will you be picking up LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter!

G4 University: Your Complete Guide To Landing a Video Game Job

G4 University Week has concluded its courses, but thanks to the magic of the internet, you can attend anytime you want. We've put together a full guide to all of the G4U content right after the break, so if you happened to miss anything, you can find it below. So get out there, get educated, and get a job!

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