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Archive for June, 2011

Sale on Wii Consoles at Best Buy

Okay, if you’re reading this blog chances are you already have a Wii (and like me, paid through the nose for it). But for a limited time, Best Buy has one of the best deals I’ve seen yet. Perfect if you want to set up another Wii in another room (mayhaps a special Wii connected to that old TV you’re not using anymore in your home gym), or if you have a friend who’s coming to your house and always saying that he or she “has got to get one of these”

The promotion is a free $30 Gift Card with Select Wii Consoles.. “Select Wii Consoles” means a black or white Wii with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and a Wii Remote Plus (a Wii-mote the size of the original Wii-mote, but with the MotionPlus gyroscopes built in already). It’s on sale for $149.99, plus after the $30 gift card, you basically get it for $120. Not a bad deal. But hurry, there’s no indication of how long this deal will last!

Clip to Attach Playstation Eye Camera to the TV Securely

It’s happened to me, I’m sure it’s happened to you too. Your Playstation Eye is perched precariously on the small ledge on top of your LCD HDTV. You make a sudden movement and BAM, the camera falls to the ground. At that point you remember that the Playstation Eye is an intricate piece of optical equipment with fragile parts, pick it up, and kiss it to make sure it has no boo-boos. Then, you put it back on your TV.

One of these days, the Playstation Eye may have boo-boos which you can’t kiss away. And that’s where the PS3 Eye Camera Mounting Clip comes in very, very handy. This is a clip that’s hardly noticeable, and yet it fastens the camera to your TV so securely that even an earthquake (or worse, me playing Get Fit with Mel B) won’t be able to knock it off its ledge.

Get one today. Your PS3 Eye will thank you for it!

Playstation Move Heroes Review

PlayStation Move Heroes is a game which uses the Playstation Move, and also features characters from several previous popular Playstation franchises by Sony, including Rachet and Clank, Sly Cooper, and Jak and Dexter. In all honesty, the game’s weak storyline has little to do with any of those three franchises–Sony obviously just conveniently brought them all together in an obvious hope to get existing fans of all three franchises interested in the Move.

I wouldn’t call Playsation Move Heroes an exercise game per se, nor would I call it a platformer in the sense that the three games from which the game’s heroes come from are. Still, it is a great representation of what is possible with the Sony Move. The implementation of Move controllers is phenomenal, and again shows how the Move’s precision is far superior than the Wii or even the Xbox Kinect.

The game consists of mini-games which take you through each respective Heroes’ world. The games are all “first person shooter” point of view, where your character runs through the worlds. I’d say that the Navigation controller is a must-have for this game, as you’ll be controlling the characters’ motions using the joystick–it’s possible with the Dualshock but not nearly as comfortable.

Within the game you’ll wield various “weapons”.

– The Whip – This is an electronic “whip” which you’ll use Indiana Jones-style to whip enemies (mainly clueless-but-vicious robots), as well as grab them and use them as objects to bowl over other enemies and objects.

– Bowling – Here, you wield an explosive bowling ball which will bowl over everything in its path before you detonate it by pressing the Move button. While it ball is in motion, you can control it using the Move controller with unprecedented accuracy.

– Sword – This game feels a lot like the swordfighting game in Sports Champions. Again, you’ll face off against robots by wielding the sword. The motion controls again are one-to-one and extremely precise.

-Flying Disk – Here, you flick a flying disc like a frisbee (as in Sports Champions, you hold down the trigger button and release it as you flick your wrist). As with the Bowling weapon, you can control the trajectory of the disc as it flies through the air with your Move controller and detonate it with the Move button.

– Gun – A good old fashioned shooter where you hold a gun and blast everything in your path. Great for releasing stress.

I’ll be honest, the storyline is not even worth talking about–it’s some weak premise not even worth trying to describe here. But the star of the game are the motion controllers, which really show off the capabilities of the Move, and where the Move currently excels over the Wii and the Kinect, i.e., in its precision, if not in its immersion (Kinect) nor its overall fun (Wii).

The co-star of the game are the graphics. They’re rendered in beautiful high definition (720p) and do justice visually to each of the franchises it’s borrowing its characters from.

If I had complaints about the game, it’s just that the first-person element of the game can be a bit confusing and even nauseating at times. It takes a lot of getting used to it running and then trying to turn towards the enemy when one is close (you supposedly can press the “L2” button to automatically center on the enemy, but I’ve found it to be hit or miss, especially when you’re surrounded).

To sum up, I’d give the Playstation Move implementation a solid 5 of 5, the graphics a 4.5 of 5, the exercise value a 3 of 5, and the entertainment value (i.e. the storyline) a 2 of 5. In short, I’ll give the overall game a 3.5 of 5…not a game you’ll necessarily want to rush out and get solely because you’re a fan of any of the franchises, but certainly a fun set of mini-games to play in a party setting to show off your Playstation Move.

Special on Playstation Move Starter Set at Amazon

For a limited time, Amazon has a great deal on the PlayStation Move Starter Bundle. Purchase the bundle (which includes one Move controller, one Playstation Eye camera, and the Sports Champions game) and receive $25 in promotional credit.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting a Move controller, now’s a good time to jump (and twist…and punch…)

Upcoming PS3 Fitness Games in 2011

In addition to the exciting announcement of MiCoach which is slated for release in 2012 there are a couple PS3 Move games that were recently announced that give me hope that developers are starting to see the potential of the Playstation Move for active motion gaming.

Here are the upcoming titles in 2011 that look the most promising:

Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest is slated for release on October 18, 2011. From early videos of the game, it looks like you’ll be placed in a world where you’re actively throwing stars, wielding your sword, and performing archery. It’s based on the same mechanics that Sony used for “Sports Champions”, so you know the controls will be spot-on. As exergames become more and more littered with subpar dancing games and sports games, it’ll be nice to have a truly unique game like this one.

Ubisoft hopes to cash in on its mega- successful Just Dance franchise on the Wii by releasing Just Dance 3 simultaneously on the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. It will be interesting to look at all three of these versions head-to-head to see which platform handles dancing accuracy the best, and if Ubisoft’s very late entry into the field can outsell Dance Central on the Xbox and the upcoming Everybody Dance on the Playstation 3. This “dance battle” will be fun to watch.

As I wrote in my review of Singstar Dance, Sony’s first entry into dance games left something to be desired–maybe because dancing seemed almost like an afterthought to the singing portion of the game. Everybody Dance, set for release on October 18, 2011, is Sony’s attempt to cash in on the “pure dancing” genre. Again, it should be interesting to watch if Sony can keep up with Dance Central on Xbox, the current front-runner in next-gen dance games.

Speaking of dance battles, Dance Battle Vs. is a new game by Hyperkin due for release in Winter 2011. Reportedly, it will feature dance styles like capoeira, salsa, trance and even belly dancing. I don’t know too much else about the game now, but we’ll see how successfully the hardware manufacturer enters the world of software distribution. Seems that there won’t be a shortage of dancing games to choose from for Christmas 2011.

Motionsports Adrenaline is Ubisoft’s first foray into motion sports titles, after the decidedly lackluster Motionsports game released exclusively on the Xbox 360 last year. This time, the sports featured will be wingsuit proximity flying, kiteboarding, whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, free fall skydiving, ETRM skiing, and jungle parkour. Let’s hope that this game will live up to its name, and get your heart pumping in simulating those extreme sports. Due for release October 25, 2011.

My Body Coach 2 (Big Ben Interactive): If you’re racking your brains trying to remember what My Body Coach 1 was, the answer is, it was a game that was released only for the Wii and only in the UK. Developed in conjunction with popular fitness coach Valerie Orsoni, this title will feature 130 routines, two-player capabilities, the ability to play your own music (no more awful generic video game music), nutrition features, and will also include two 1-pound dumbbells to put your Move controllers in.

So, those were the highlights for me. There were also announcements of other core games such as Resistance 3 adopting the Move controllers, but I get the sense that those games will use the Move controllers in ways that don’t involve a whole body workout (but leave a comment if you hear differently).

In short, there are decidedly fewer motion games to be released for the Playstation than for the Kinect this year, but as we’ve seen with the Wii, more does not necessarily mean better. If the developers for the Playstation can focus on the things that make it strong, the pinpoint accuracy of the controls, the arguably superior graphics capabilities (including Blu-Ray and 3D), and the existence of buttons, these few Move games will shine. On the other hand, if they just churn out port after port which just uses Move controllers as a formality, Sony will have a lot of catching up to do. Whatever happens, it’ll be fun to watch.

2011 Wii Fitness Games Announced at E3

This year’s big news at the 2001 E3 conference was the development of the sequel to the Wii, the Wii U. But there were a number of Wii Fitness games announced for release later this year.

You’ll notice there are a lot of “2s” and “3s” (in fact, since the last version of Dance Dance Revolution was a “reboot”, this version is really Dance Dance Revolution 6–and probably won’t be too much different from 2!). It’s a shame that game developers are getting more and more skittish about developing brand new innovative titles; on the other hand, hopefully in the re-releases of popular titles like Just Dance and Zumba Fitness the publishers are working hard on correcting a lot of the inaccuracies and flaws of those games, rather than just rushing out another version to try to cash in on us users.

I’ll, of course, post details and links to purchase as they become available on the list of upcoming Wii Fitness Games.  And if you hear of other upcoming games not on the list, please leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to add it to my list of games to review!

Interesting PS3 sports training video games announced by THQ

We’ve had a bit of a drought with PS3 Fitness games lately, but recently, THQ has announced some pretty interesting ones. UFC Personal Trainer is going to be released in a few weeks, on June 28. Here, you’ll be brought through the regimen of an “ultimate fighter” with training of the type that a mixed martial arts athlete goes through.

Also just announced from THQ was MiCoach Premium – Move and MiCoach Basic, due to be released in March 2012. This looks like it’s going to be amazing. Working with Adidas, this is going to be an interactive experience which will feature athletes from various sports, including Dwight Howard, Kaka, Tyson Gay, Jrue Holiday, Josh Smith, Jessica Ennis, Ana Ivanovic and Eric Berry. Each of the athletes will guide gamers through training programs in their respective sports, receiving real-time feedback on their actual in-game performance during their workouts when wearing a miCoach heart rate monitor. This is one I am definitely looking forward to.

Long story short, while the lack of Move games has been a bit disappointing, hang on, reinforcements are coming! Check out this video of Dwight Howard talking about the game:

The Wii 2 is the Wii U! About the sequel to the Wii

At the E3 Expo yesterday, Nintendo finally made the biggest announcement since they announced six years ago that they were releasing a new sequel to the Nintendo Gamecube called the Wii. The new Wii is called the Wii U, and it’s going to look like this:
wii u hardware

It looks a lot like the Wii, right? Happily, a lot will stay the same. The new Wii will be fully backwards compatible with all your current Wii games, as well as all your peripherals, from your Balance Board to your MotionPlus controllers.

There are differences of course. One is that the Wii will finally have HD output, meaning you will be able to play high definition games that are on par with the graphics on the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360.

The biggest innovation is going to be the introduction of a brand new kind of controller.

wii u new controller

The new controller is 16.2″ x 6.2″. Aside from being a controller with buttons you can use to play games, the new controller contains a microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble, camera, and stylus. It also has a touch-screen LCD display you can use to play games if the TV is taken, or which in some games will serve as a second display.

The burning question for us on Nutwiisystem, of course, is whether Nintendo will continue to improve its motion controls. Microsoft now has a number of impressive Xbox Fitness games, and even Sony has a few games which can be used for PS3 Fitness.  Question is, as the Wii U  innovate new things like the tablet controller, will it continue to innovate the Wii Remote to make it more precise and accurate? Hopefully we’ll know in the coming months.

To be alerted when the Nintendo Wii U is ready for ordering, visit Amazon.com

Playstation Network “Welcome Back” Annoyances: Error 80710D36 and the disappearing FREE PS3 GAME 1

PSN Welcome Back free game download screenIt’s been kind of a dry spell for Move games in recent months, but I promise I’ll be back in the coming weeks with more reviews.

In the meantime, what is obviously occupying Sony’s time is trying to recover from when hackers got into Playstation Network and stole all our personal information.

If you haven’t heard yet, Sony is offering anyone who had a Playstation Network account before April two free games from a selected list. To download your free games, just go into the Playstation Store. They’re also offering “free access for 30 days” to Playstation Network Plus, but I won’t spend time covering that here because frankly, I see this as an insulting way for them to use their foul-up to try to upsell us to their paid service.

But if you’re like me, you’ve gone onto PSN and have faced even more headaches. Long story short, the  “Make Good”  is not so good, and is making Sony look even more buffon-like. Sony had better get on their horse and do a lot more if they expect us loyal Playstation users not to defect to the Xbox.

To help you through the morass, I’ve put some of the most common answers and questions (and annoyances) about the Playstation Welcome Back program here.

Q: What games should I choose of the five free games (InFAMOUS, Dead Space, Little Big Planet, Super Stardust HD, and Wipeout + Fury)

A: The best reviewed games on the list are Infamous and Little Big Planet–those are must-haves if you don’t have them already (Infamous is a mature “open world” game where you fight your way through a post-apocalyptic world; Little Big Planet is a fun little vertical scroller/puzzle game where you dress up your own “bag boy” and walk him through some really innovative worlds).

If you have either of these already, the next best choice is Wipeout, a fast-moving spaceship racing game.

I’m not a fan of Super Stardust–it’s a Robotron-like game which is much too complex for its own good. Also not a fan of Dead Space–it’s just another zombie game. If you like zombies, maybe you’ll get a kick out of it, but no thank you. I like my undead dead.

Q: I keep getting a message that says “An error has occurred. (80710D36)

error 80710d36

The dreaded (and dreadful) Error 80710D36

A: This is likely caused by millions of Playstation Network users flooding the system. Just press O to go back and X to try again, and keep doing that until it works (it could take 5-10 tries). Or, if that gets too annoying, just wait until a time with less peak traffic (e.g., after midnight).

Q: I selected my FREE PS3 GAME 1, but I’m unable to go back and choose an actual game. What do I do?

A: How annoying is this? You follow the instructions to check out with the FREE PS3 GAME 1, only to receive an error message AND to find that the option has disappeared when you return. Sony really should have delayed the launch a few more days and got a usability expert to test these things, because it’s a simply awful user experience.

Happily, there is a way you can claim your free game.

1) Exit out of Playstation Store and click “Account Management” on your main screen under “Playstation Network“. (It’s the icon of the square smiley face with the pencil in front of it).

2) Choose “Transaction Management” and then “Services List“. If you get the 80710D36 error, just press O to back out and try again.

3) You should see an entry called SCEA Promotion / Sony Computer Entertainment America. Click on it, and again, keep backing out and trying again if you get the 80710D36 error. Eventually you’ll see a “Welcome Back: Free PS3 Game 1” entry. Select it.

4) Click “Select Content“. Once again, keep going back and trying again if you get “An error has occurred”.

5) You should eventually get to a screen where you can select Dead Nation, inFAMOUS, Little Big Planet, Super Stardust HD, and WipEout HD.