In an interesting twist, this E3 has been about hardware and a console middle age. How is that a twist and what do I mean by that? Well, instead of the usual E3 when the focus is on hardware and the usual new, dedicated platforms, this E3 has really been about enhancing two of the three existing platforms with hardware add-ons, and, as a nod to the maturity of this console lifecycle, a rash of sequel-itis from the big three, with new entries in well worn game series. With no sign of either the Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3 being replaced any time soon, it's all about distinguishing your particular platform in a particular manner--Microsoft and Sony went with new, relatively expensive hardware add-ons (and the former one fairly slick redesign), and Nintendo went with its usual franchises. And oh yes, Nintendo slammed the gavel down with full details on the extremely impressive 3DS, the logical successor to the DS line (and thank goodness they went with the 3DS name and not some of the other names being bandied about).
So, let's take a look at what the big three offered up both right before and during E3, and provide some analysis:
Bill and I recently received a flier in the mail from our local YMCA and went to check it out yesterday. The facility is about 3 miles from our home, and having membership there also gives us membership to a facility about 10 miles away. Both facilities have the typical YMCA offerings, including Olympic-sized pools, basketball courts, exercise room with strength training equipment and free weights, and various exercise studios, where you can take a host of classes. As we found out yesterday, their Zumba class is extremely popular. If you do not know what Zumba is, which we did not, it “fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away” per the description on the official Zumba Website. Many people showed up just for that class and left immediately after discovering it was canceled for the holiday weekend; forget about getting physical activity any other way, sadly it was “Zumba or nothing” for them!
The YMCA a little further from our home is slightly nicer and also has an indoor track and a small exergaming studio, which contains a few interactive gaming bikes, one DanceDanceRevolution or DDR (see Chapter 3 of Vintage Games) set-up with medium-grade dance pads, and one Wii console set at an angle by the doorway. While the studio was a little underwhelming and it would have been nice to see a bit more equipment, some exercise accessories (such as weights, step risers, etc), and a slightly larger room, we appreciate the fact that the facility offers an exergaming option. Certainly, it is possible that their set-up is more than adequate. The room was empty when we were there and the equipment looked to be in very good shape, so we would love to know how much traffic it gets. Regardless, its presence is an indication of the ever-growing exergaming trend.
Just a quick bit of breaking news that the Retrode (formerly: snega2usb), a USB adapter for playing Super Nintendo/Famicom and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges legally on your PC, smartphone, laptop, network router, Wii, Pandora, etc., will soon have N64/GB/GBC combi and Atari 2600 plug-in adapters. Great news for a product with an ever expanding feature-set.
Check the official update below for more details or simply visit the Website:
As detailed in my previous blog post and video, Hyperkin is no stranger to creating low cost videogame consoles and portables. Their RetroN 3 Video Gaming System, which is detailed here, claims compatibility with Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), and Sega Genesis cartridges via its three cartridge ports and wireless Sega 6-button controller clone controllers. Hyperkin's previous products were plagued by d-pad issues and game compatibility glitches.
I for one am skeptical of the soundness of its purchase worthiness after my previous experience with their product(s), as my disappointment was primarily due to a poor controller and to a lesser, but no less important, degree on game glitches...
UPDATE: This unit not only has the three different cartridge slots, but also three sets of two controller ports to match the respective original systems. That's certainly good news. Now all they need to get in order is the compatibility, since S-Video output (hopefully across all three systems, not just the SNES and Genesis) is standard (as well as stereo sound) and it actually could be a killer rig. Also, note that the $69.99 is the suggested retail price and the link is ONLY good for resellers at the moment, so there are still some specifics up in the air. I guess we'll know more after it's officially unveiled at E3 in June.
Thanks to Marty Goldberg for the heads-up via Facebook.
Anyone remember the mediocre Donkey Kong conversion from Coleco for the Mattel Intellivision? It was a bookend to the awful Atari 2600 version. While I firmly believe there's zero legitimacy to the theory that Coleco intentionally crippled these releases to make their ColecoVision pack-in look all the better, there's no denying that the programmer could have done a better job. Want proof? Thanks to this thread on AtariAge for the reminder, it looks like Beeslife, of stunning Moon Patrol port and update, Space Patrol, fame, just may be at it again with an equally impressive Donkey Kong conversion (NOTE: As of writing this, there's no word of Beeslife involvement, if any, or if this is simply just a proof of concept, since it's still built off of the original Coleco version, despite the addition of the missing screens). Check out the animated screenshot to the left and be sure to visit the Beeslife Website for more of them. Let's hope it gets finished up (whoever that task falls to) and makes it to a release on cartridge! It would be an excellent companion to the upcoming Opcode Games Donkey Kong conversion for the ColecoVision.
It's Mario! It's Samus! It's...er, everybody! Trust me--you had better check this out. You'll kick yourself if you don't get a chance to play before the copyright police get on it: Super Mario Crossover. Now, I'm going to spend the rest of the day playing this.
This week's episode features Ocarina of Time, a masterpiece for the Nintendo 64.
Hi, folks. I'm back this week with a video about one of my favorite two-player games, Free Fall Associates' Archon (1983).
Also: Check out Bill's amazing response video that shows the original packaging and much more!
Christina Loguidice unboxes a free www.houseparty.com Ubisoft package, entitled "Fun, Fit & Guilt-Free House Party". This package is sponsored by Ubisoft's Your Shape, JELL-O, and House Party. This follows Bill Loguidice's earlier unboxing of the Windows 7 Ultimate party pack. The two most interesting items (assuming you don't REALLY love JELL-O mousse) are the Your Shape bundle and the Just Dance game, both for the Nintendo Wii. Your Shape is a direct upgrade to My Fitness Coach, sort of like Wii Fit Plus is the direct upgrade to Wii Fit. Of course My Fitness Coach is itself a follow up to the earlier Yourself Fitness. "Celebrity" branding aside, where Your Shape trumps them all is with the addition of the camera peripheral (it's also available on PC), though of course lighting conditions and other factors will affect tracking. Finally, Just Dance is an original game for up to four players to dance either for fun or as a workout, with no need for a dance mat.