Day Twenty-Eight – Over-Hype

28 01 2010

Yesterday, the iPad was unleashed amid days of rumours and hearsay.

For almost a year before this device was announced, people have been salavating for it. According to some, this device would bring the end of all suffering in the world. I would change how we eat, breathe and think. The world change from the very instance it was announced and we would never be able to go back.

Then it was released and people realized it’s like a big iPhone and not much else.

That didn’t stop Apple from continuing the hype.

The most over-hyped product since the last time Apple announced something.

You need to watch the video in order to understand how over-hyped this product is.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s neat. I’ll probably shell out the $499 for one like everyone else when it becomes available. Though I doubt I will sit there in awe of how many things it can do.

To me, the iPad is just repacking what I already have available to me. I’m typing this on my HP laptop right now. With the iPad, I can do that on-screen! Neat-o!

What they don’t mention is the cumbersome Safari browser I’ll need to use. I’m not a fan of it on the iPhone, I doubt I’ll love it on the iPad.

But wait, they say that it’ll revolutionize email and make it fun. Except I hate their mail application on the iPhone, which pretty much strips everything I’ve become accustomed to on my Gmail account so that I can swipe my emails away rather than click delete.

I can watch movies on it. That’s new. I think I’ve watched 2-3 movies on my laptop in about 7 years. If I’m anywhere near a TV, I’m opting for that.

Don’t get me wrong. There are things that are good about the iPad as well, I just don’t think it’ll change my life the way the video would have me believe.

Gaming, for example, should be a step up from the iPhone. It loses the portability that having a game library in my pocket brings, but it’ll make gameplay itself more enjoyable. The “yoke” based games, such as top-seller Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies should be a lot easier to handle now that my thumbs won’t take up 40% of the screen.

Those poor souls that spent $300+ on a Kindle must be kicking themselves now. eBook readers are neat, but they only have one real function. Now you essentially have a netbook that feels like an eBook reader.

At the end of the day, the iPad is a cool product. I’m just a little upset with the over-hype. It’s good, not earth-shattering.

I got enough over-hype with Avatar.





Day Twenty-Two – My Favorite iPhone Games of the Moment

22 01 2010

I wrote a couple of days ago about the iPhone stealing the handheld gaming market from the Nintendo DS. Here are three examples why I think they have a shot of dethroning the current king:

Super K.O. Boxing 2

Though it’s a pure rip-off of Super Punch Out!, it does so quite well. The gameplay mechanics are nearly identical to that game. Your left thumb controls your blocking and dodging. Your right thumb controls your punches, which include a low, high and super punch. Like I said, identical.

While a complete rip-off of Super Punch-Out, Super KO Boxing 2 is a really good rip-off.

The view is the same as Super Punch Out! as well. You stand behind KO Kid as the cartoon fighters stand directly in front of you. Just like Punch Out!, it’s a matter of finding out the patterns your opponents have. For example, in the first boss battle against Dynamo, you need to let him charge his super punch, dodge and hit him with a hook. Repeat until you get the TKO.

The characters are all very well done. They are animated superbly. They explode with life. The sound effects add to their life. 15 Cent’s chain rattles as he dances around your attempted blows. Dynamo’s lightening charge gives you fair enough warning that he’s about to discharge on your jaw.

Though it’s a clear rip-off of a game that already existed for years, it’s an excellent rip-off.

Dark Nebula: Episode One

This is the iPhone’s version of Super Monkey Ball, though they already have their own version of that as well. You control it using the accelerometer, tilting the playing field to move an orb through the playing field while avoiding the hazards all around.

Using the accelerometer, Dark Nebula is a challenging, fun game.

The music and graphics are good enough, but you don’t really notice when you’re trying to set the high score based on speed, damage taken and canisters collected, that resemble the ooze from TMNT2. The levels are easy at the beginning to get you used to it, but get pretty challenging in a hurry. There’s also different types of levels. I’ve only encountered the regular and the speed zones, but it changes often enough to keep me playing.

It offers Facebook integration, leaderboard and high scores between friends who also have the game. Lots of fun.

Puzzlings

This is an odd little puzzle game that puts the focus on winning clothing and dressing your Puzzling creature. You can take pictures of your Puzzling, which will be saved to your Photo Library on your phone/iPod.

The puzzle game itself is quite fun. The goal is to create sets, much like Tetris Attack/Puzzle League. You can rotate any set of pieces, from two to the entire playing fied, by dragging your finger around the pieces. They spin and you tap the screen to stop it. The goal is to fill your combo meter before it runs out. When it fills, you get four pieces of a circle which you need to assemble to finish the game.

This is the Puzzling monster I created and uploaded through my iPhone

There are eight levels with five stages in each. Three regular. One Challenge, which is an extended round, and one Puzzle, which limits the moves you can use to clear the puzzle.

Though the game is quite short, it’s a lot of fun. Trying to finish the puzzles and set higher scores is quite satisfying. The game is now available for free on the App Store, so it’s definitely worth playing.

Those are just three examples of great games on the iPhone. I’m excited to finally try Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars after skipping it on the DS and PSP.

This is just the beginning of a great set of games for the iPhone.





Day Nineteen – A Gameboy Without Buttons

19 01 2010

I realize that referencing the defunct Gameboy isn’t the cool thing to do, but for my purposes, it works. The Nintendo Gameboy was the last handheld to completely dominate the market in my eyes. Yes, the Nintendo DS isn’t a failure by any means and remains dominant to this day.

The future of handheld gaming can do more than just play games.

I just think the market is shifting.

I recently got the Apple iPhone and after a couple months of using it, I can see it becoming the new handheld king.

Don’t get me wrong. The Nintendo DS is a far superior device for handheld gaming; it’s built with that in mind. Where the iPhone has an advantage is the same that the Playstation brand gave to DVD and Blu-ray. If I already have the phone, I may as well try a couple games on it.

My phone is always on me. My DS is not. It’s that simple. I’ll probably be spending a lot more time playing Flight Control on my phone than I would playing Brain Age on my DS. I can pull out my phone at any time when I’m bored and fire up a game. I need to plan to be bored in order to bring my DS.

At this current moment, the last advantage the DS has is the games. However, that looks like it can change very soon. The #1 game on the App Store since its release last year is Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. This is a game that could have been on the DS.

Today “could have been” isn’t even relevant, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released for the iPhone as well. According to Touch Arcade, it’s pretty much the same game you can find on the DS – at a third of the price.

This is only the beginning for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the gaming realm. The one thing they’ll need to avoid is becoming like the Atari. They need a system to limit the amount of crapware that becomes available on a daily basis. Though the quality will come through, the poorly made games will find there way around as well and creates a danger of defining what the new handheld era will become.

Before I got my iPhone, I didn’t think that a device that’s primarily a iPod and a phone could bring any threat to the handheld market. Now that I have had some time with the device, I’ve been converted.

In a matter of a few short years, I expect to see the iPhone, or similar devices, to be the only handheld gaming devices on the market. Multi-purpose is the future of technology and gaming is no different.

I hope your thumbs are ready.