Nintendo Announces Wii U Gaming Console

One has to hand it to Nintendo for being willing to take risks. It kick-started the motion gaming revolution with its Nintendo Wii in 2006. Last year, it made a bold move by announcing the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld gaming device with glasses-free 3D display. Now, it is trying to shake things up again with the Nintendo Wii U.


Nintendo Wii U is the successor to the massively popular Nintendo Wii. Once again Nintendo is targeting casual users more than hardcore gamers. In fact, Nintendo is officially calling the Wii U a “home console” instead of a “gaming console”.

As you might expect, the Wii U boasts of significantly improved hardware. It has an IBM Power based multi-core CPU, and a custom designed AMD Radeon HD GPU. This means that Wii U games will look at least as good as current PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games. The Wii U also supports full HD video output, and has a front-facing camera. The console will have internal flash memory, but you can use an ordinary SD card or an external USB hard disk drive to expand its storage. However, the real draw of the console is not its powerful hardware, but its innovative new controller.



The Wii U comes with a tablet-like 6.2-inch touchscreen controller, which also has all the traditional controls, including two analog Circle Pads. The touchscreen can replicate the image being sent to the television, and can be used to continue gaming when the television is unavailable. It can also provide entirely different perspectives and can add an extra dimension to gaming. It’s difficult to describe in words exactly how this controller works. Check out the trailer video embedded below to understand the full potential of the Wii U controller.

Nintendo Wii U Trailer Video

The Wii U supports all Nintendo Wii controllers and up to four Wii Remotes can be connected at once. However, Nintendo hasn’t yet revealed how many Wii U controllers can be paired.




What the Wii U is trying to pull off is ambitious and bold. It will be up to the game developers to leverage the Wii U in an intuitive and ingenious manner. If they succeed, then Nintendo might have another huge hit in their hands. The Wii U is slated to be released in 2012.

Tech Demo Demonstrating the Graphics Prowess of the Wii U

Sony Trumps Nintendo 3DS with PlayStation Vita, the PSP Successor

PlayStation-VitaA short while back, Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai officially announced Sony’s next generation handheld gaming device the PlayStation Vita. Vita, which was originally codenamed NGP (Next Generation Portable) will succeed the ageing PlayStation Portable, which was announced way back in 2004.


The word Vita means Life, and Sony believes that Vita has the muscles to be able to blur the differences between entertainment and real life for the first time on a handheld console. The Vita has a 4-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and a 200 MHz SGX543MP4+ GPU. In short, it blows away Nintendo’s 3DS and other handheld gaming devices like the Xperia Play. The powerful hardware will be well complemented by the 5 inch OLED capacitive multi-touch screen (with rear touch panel) that boasts of a resolution of 960 x 544. The combination of larger than average size with a mightily impressive resolution means that everything from games to HD Videos will look stunning on the Vita.

Vita Announcement Video

Besides the standard PlayStation buttons, the Vita has two analog sticks and a D-pad. The device also has front and rear facing cameras, stereo speakers, six-axis motion sensor, GPS, and Bluetooth connectivity.


Sony has tied up with over 150 developers, and there should be an impressive number of titles available at launch. Games for the Vita will be distributed on NVG cards, which will be available in 2 GB and 4 GB sizes. Some of the games that have been announced include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The Vita will also be capable of playing existing PlayStation Portable (PSP) games.

Sony is pushing augmented reality and location-aware games along with social gaming on the Vita. A feature called “Party” will allow gamers in the same room to voice chat with each other. Another feature called “Near” will allow you to connect and play with other gamers around you.

Sony will release two editions of the Vita a Wi-Fi only version for $249, and a Wi-Fi+3G version for $299. In the US, Vita will be exclusive to AT&T. It will be launched during the holiday season this year.

Vita Trailer Video

Vita’s closest competitor is obviously the Nintendo 3DS, which impressed us in last year’s E3. The 3DS’ biggest selling point is obviously its ability to support glasses free 3D imagery. However, when it comes to raw power the Vita absolutely owns the 3DS. Once again, it appears that the Nintendo’s offering will appeal more to the casual gamers, while Sony’s VIta will appeal to enthusiasts and hardcore gamers. However, at $249, the 3DS might be too expensive for casual gamers, but the Vita might be perfectly priced for gaming enthusiasts.

MAXX Mobiles Launches The MAXX GLO MX388 Gaming Phone

MAXX Mobiles recently launched the a new gaming phone MAXX GLO MX388. This handset comes with more than 250 preloaded games and dedicated gaming buttons. MAXX GLO MX388 is specially targeted at youngsters and mobile gaming enthusiasts in India. This handset is packed with games across categories like action, racing, puzzles, adventure, fighting, shooting and sports.

Ajjay Agarwal, Chairman & Managing Director, MAXX Group says, Gaming has developed at a rapid rate in India and we expect significant growth in the coming years. The tech-savvy Indian youth are now demanding entertainment at their fingertips even when on the move. We would like to take advantage of this trend by reaching out to the Indian youth with yet another cost-effective mobile phone that promises to satisfy their craving for mobile gaming.

maxx mx388

MAXX mobile phones have always been known for being value-for-money. We never cease to innovate for our customers basis their needs,concludes Ajjay Agarwal, Chairman & Managing Director, MAXX Group, MAXX Mobiles aims to be recognized as a brand that personifies not only quality at affordable prices, but also as a strong service backup. Currently, MAXX has a strong network of service centers already operational across India to ensure every customer gets the best service.

MAXX GLO MX388 comes with a Dedicated gaming buttons, 250 preloaded game, 3 changeable A-cover shell, 1.3 megapixel camera, 8 GB expandable memory, MP3/MP4 player, FM Radio, Bluetooth, JAVA enabled, Free 2 GB memory card and a 800 mAh battery. It comes with different games such as Super Mario, Pacman, Race, Trojan, Battle City, etc.

MAXX GLO MX388 will be made available in Mumbai first, followed by other cities in India. This handset comes with a price tag of Rs.2361. Are you planning to buy this entry-level gaming phone? Let us know your views in the comments below.

Minecraft Franchise Forthcoming?

Minecraft is going places; its developers are working on mobile versions and now creator Markus Persson (aka Notch) says that in the future console versions with trophies and achievements will be developed. All this before the real game has officially been released. He also says that he is surprised (O RLY, Notch?) at the amount of interest his game has sustained even after the price increase (or, should we say decreased discount on the original price) when the game shifted from the alpha version to the beta version.


The Java based sandbox game has developed such a huge following online. Many such Minecraft communities have put their minds together to develop mods (changing the game’s source code to allow for new kinds of gameplay a shortening of the word modification) and texture packs (skins) for the game’s graphics. Persson, who is quite delighted with the creativity of these mods, one day hopes that his game’s modding community achieves the prominence of the Half-Life 2 modding scene that is quite popular.

Console games, on the other hand, have specific achievementsor trophies(badges for doing certain things within the game that allow for bragging rights). Persson likes achievements. So much so that he believes that in the future he might work on an Xbox version with trophies and some specific goals within the game. In an interview with Gamasutra he says that achievements can serve the dual purpose of being badges of accomplishments as well as goals towards which players work:-

Well, it could converge into a big task, like kill a dragon or something, which would put a kind of narrative into the achievement tree.

With all these elements at work, it would be hard to ignore the force of Minecraft as a franchise on the PC as well as the consoles.

Preorder Battlefield 3 and Get Expansion Pack Free

Well it’s about time if you ask me. Electronic Arts’ successor to the 2005 hit Battlefield 2 has just posted the the preorder incentives. Preordering Battlefield 3 gets you the first digital expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand absolutely free! The expansion features a lot of the old, beloved, maps from Battlefield 2:-


Pre-order Battlefield 3 to receive the digital expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand at no extra charge! This themed multiplayer expansion pack includes four legendary maps from Battlefield 2 boldly re-imagined with Frostbiteâ„¢ 2 physics, destruction and visuals. Completing the package are classic Battlefield 2 weapons and vehicles, unique rewards, new achievements/trophies, and more.

The Frostbite 2 is the new game engine that is powering Battlefield 3. The visuals introduced by the Frostbite 2 engine along with the physics (as detailed above) give quite the realistic feel of a battle being fought around you. I can only imagine how this game would be if I were to play it on one of those high-end rigs:-

Battlefield 3 introduces Frostbite 2, the incredible technology that takes animation, destruction, lighting, scale and audio to new heights.   Built upon this powerful game engine, Battlefield 3 immerses players physically and emotionally to the world around them like never before.

To find out more about Battlefield 3 and its immersive engine, do check out the EA UK site.

Steam Client Updates with Screenshot Manager

(Sigh: If only this were present while I was writing about my first impressions of Dragon Age II.) Valve’s Steam client for digital distribution games just got updated to its newest version. With the latest client, gamers can easily take screenshots and also sync it with Steam’s Cloud (about 1GB of personal space) and display it on their Steam Community profiles. This is similar to what Xfire has been doing for quite a while now. This functionality is available on any game with which Steam’s Overlay works (i.e. even non-Steam games with the Steam Overlay enabled will have this functionality enabled.)

The use is very simple start up a game (wait for it to load), load your save file (wait for that to load) and then start a really cool battle or something (and wait for the enemy to come close to you, become impatient) and then press the mighty twelfth Function key (F12) to hear the beautiful sound of the miniature Steam camera clicking:-

BEHOLD! The mighty Rhodok Lord in a massive assault! Also blotchy JPG.

Sadly though, in some games (such as the above: Mount & Blade: Warband), the F12 key is bound to the autosave function. Although the autosave does not work during battle with Mount & Blade, in other games you might just see a shot of the save-screen when you press F12. Solution: re-bind the autosave to some other key.

The Screenshot Manager is quite a wonderful little thing that sits below the News Itemsfor the currently selected game. Here you can see the screenshots from different games, or your last session. It is here that you can describe the screenshot and upload it to your Steam profile. (For example, this screenie can be seen on my profile here).


Good stuff from Valve we’d like to see cross-platform Instant Messaging next!

Abe’s Exoddus Completed by Blind Gamer

As the video title says, this is one of the greatest achievements in video games. No, it is not collecting every little piece of a broken sword in a fantasy game, or collecting and solving puzzle cards in an adventure game. No, sir it is completing an entire adventure game without ever looking at the visuals. Terry Garrett is a 23 year old mechanical engineering student who completed Abe’s Exoddus while being completely blind. All he needed to complete this were the game’s sound effects, some tips from his brother and a trial-and-error method of solving puzzles that he developed on his own.

Garrett has completed the beautiful platformer/puzzle game multiple times. Considering that this was one of tougher games of the past it is quite heartening to know that all of this was accomplished with just audio cues:-

When I start playing I track sound landmarks (foot steps, objects, sound of running or pushing against walls). After this, I start exploring to see what does what. Always looking for land mark sounds to get my orientation down (sound of water, sound of footsteps changing from grass to dirt).

Finally, I have a great sense of the minds eye. Once I know what is in an area and how they are laid out, I can make a real time picture of what is going on in front of me just through sound. even in 3D. If this is hard to picture I know, I can’t explain it better than that.


The game has several of its own unique audio quips for different functions, and Garrett’s practiced hearing coupled with the game’s excellent auto-save feature also helped:-

When I start each screen, it was to listen to see if I could hear a chat orb, a Slig, a mine, or a buddy to save, which always make noise. There are even sounds to tell you that there is a Slig in the next screen over, so not to just run in like an idiot.

When I need to find a lever or door to go in, or ledge to pull up on, I go step by step, pushing either control or ‘up’ in each spot until I find it. Then I remember the number of steps to find that ledge again. Sometimes, this is in the same room as Sligs or other things that kill me, which makes the save state so useful.

The entire interview and other niceties about the blind gamer who completed Abe’s Exoddus is quite a worthwhile read on the Oddworld website.

A Look at What Dragon Age 2 Will Offer

The hefty 1.9GB demo of Dragon Age II contained quite a lot of things, but leaves much to be desired (as is the case with most demos, which is why they are called demos, right?). The demo contains some fairly decent story pointers and sticks to the previous games’ difficulty spikes. Considering that Bioware has gone the Mass Effect way with this game (fully-voiced main character, previously saved data importing and others), it will be worthwhile to check out if the game is actually a beacon of shining light towards the new path of Role Playing Games (RPGs).


The game does not reveal much in the way of story (except for the lone important character from Dragon Age: Origins making an appearance towards the end of the prologue chapter). The fairly overused You are the savior of the Worldtrope comes into play here. As Hawke, you will be the Champion who one day saves the world from [insert obligatory evil person/thing here]. You can choose between three classes (Mage, Rogue or Fighter) and play either the male or female version of these. The story is fairly straightforward except when you reach Kirkwall wherein the narrative gets totally flummoxed and you just flit between skirmishes. The artwork style is quite brilliant with a washed out hand drawn feel to it.


The dialog options are akin to Mass Effect‘s radial option dial. The dial shows the gist of what Hawke will actually say and there are four main kinds of responses that Hawke might have a peaceful response, a neutral/comic response, an aggressive response and an investigative question. These are extremely simple to understand and actually make you wait and listen to the entire dialog instead of Esc-ing through the long drawl of the player’s talk.


The gameplay, on the other hand, has taken a completely different approach from Dragon Age: Origins. With a camera behind the main player overseeing an extremely fast battleground, it can be daunting task for RPG-lovers used to an overhead camera to come to terms with this new approach. The fighting is absolutely chaotic and without the assistance of a pause options, it would have been well nigh impossible to coordinate attacks. Players playing as a mage will most likely be hit upon by the Darkspawn and other enemies spawning faster than their magical abilities refresh. The game is as hard as it used to be and without carefully coordinating the attacks and the AI of your party characters, it will be difficult to win many battles, if not impossible.


With the prologue seeing the same battle being fought twice due to an unreliable narrator, it is hard to miss the similarity between the double-take in Dragon Age II and The Witcher 2‘s initial gameplay impressions.

In short: Mass Effect + Dragon Age: Origins = Dragon Age II. It is really hard to look at the game’s gameplay without comparing it to Mass Effect. Yes, there are still vast differences between them (the tweaking of the AI tactics being the most prominent) but the main game will tell how Dragon Age II really matches up to its predecessor.

Angry Birds Flying To Windows Phone 7 Devices

One of the most popular mobile games , which is also available for desktops and netbooks is finally going to be on Windows Phone 7 devices soon.

Angry Birds

Microsoft has had a few problems with the developers; Rovio Mobile; when they had jumped the gun during the WP7 launch and said that Angry Birds would be coming to their devices. Rovio had categorically denied those rumors and even asked Microsoft to refrain from using them as promotions.

However, few months down the line and Microsoft has officially announced that Angry Birds would be coming to Windows Phone 7 devices. In addition to Angry Birds a few other popular games will also be made available for WP7 devices, they include:

  • Doodle Jump
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Hydro Thunder Go
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I
  • geoDefense.

The new games will start arriving in the Windows Phone marketplace starting April 6, 2011 and will include support for Xbox Live allowing users to post high scores and track leaderboards.

These games will definitely add some spice to the Windows Phone marketplace, but Microsoft definitely needs lot more apps in there before it can even be considered on par with the market and Apple App Store.

Tiny Wings Displaces Angry Birds as Top Paid App in App Store

I am not sure since when, but every time I have visited the Top 25 app section in the iTunes App Store, I have always seen as the top app in the paid section, however, it looks like it took another Tiny Bird to displace those Angry Birds.

Tiny Wings - iPhone Game

Tiny Wings is the top paid app in the app store as of today. To be frank, this is the first time I have heard about the app, but climbing to number 1 position is no small feat. The game was released on February 18, 2011 and it took the app 6 days to topple Angry Birds off the top.

Tiny Wings Top iPhone App

Tiny Wings is developed by an individual developer named Andreas Illinger and seems to have leapt out of nowhere to reach the top position. The game play is navigating a tiny bird over hills by jumping, sliding, flapping wings and flying.

Though I haven’t played the game yet, the gameplay sounds fun and I’ll definitely try it out in the near future. I have sent out a note to the developer of the game for his thoughts on this and will update this post once he gets back to me. In the meantime, you can enjoy the top selling game/app; Tiny Wings by visiting the iTunes store.