Spring is approaching. Tax season is on the way. Pay off your credit cards. Earn some extra cash over the next few weeks. You are going to want that spending money to bring home at least one of the newest, most exciting gaming products available this year.
Nintendo has their Switch, coming out in March, so that gives consumers a bit of extra time to save. Before that exciting new product hits store shelves though, Sony releases the PlayStation VR (Virtual Reality) headset and Microsoft offers their versatile version of gaming fun: the Xbox One S.
This latest version of the popular home gaming station features ultra-high definition images with 4k streaming. The “4k” designation simply tells you the minimum resolution is amazing and that you will need to own a TV which is capable of streaming images of crisp quality using Blu-ray technology.
This is super-realistic for the stickler among you who is uninterested in gaming unless images are almost too real for comfort. Use Netflix or Amazon Video to watch Blue-ray movies or play a fighting game with friends. The ability to do either one of these things sets the Xbox One S apart from Sony’s PlayStation VR and makes it appealing to a wider audience within the home. It’s more practical.
The IR Blaster
This sounds like some type of joy stick, but IR stands for “infrared” and refers to a remote device which helps you control several systems from one strategic point. Once upon a time each piece of technology needed its own remote and one would invariably go missing, leading to a manic search and the exchange of heated words between family members.
Find one place for a single remote control and use it to set up audio, TV, and cable. Use this remote for watching action movies or listening to music; playing “The Legend of Korra” or watching a TV show.
The Xbox One S is controlled from a single handheld gaming device which is wirelessly connected to your TV via Bluetooth connection. The range is extended too so you can sit a long way back from one of those massive screens so many homes seem to have now. Sitting too close diminishes your enjoyment.
Control the game without dropping your controller during a heated competition, thanks to texture around the gripping area. Even if you’re so competitive your palms sweat, you will still be in control.
While the joy stick seems to be the heart of an Xbox, it is really the console which sits near your TV which operates everything. Microsoft reduced its size by 40%, making the box slimmer than ever, but they increased storage to 2 TB. It comes with a vertical stand so you can keep the console in its correct position while playing games or movies. The Xbox One S starts at around $399.
Games for the Xbox
Search for games the whole family can play or cater to the older audience. Fighting platforms include Sonic the Fighters, Virtua Fighter, and Fire Pro Wrestling. Try a racing game like Toybox Turbos (great for little kids), Mad Trucks, or Doritos Crash Course.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War, Rock Band Blitz, and Takedown: Red Sabre are all classified under Simulation and Strategy games. Microsoft lists a host of potential categories depending on your interests and what will keep the kids busy during the Christmas holidays.
Buying Microsoft Products
Here are two great features of the Microsoft Xbox 360 One S: price and availability. Compared with some of the new products being released this year, Microsoft’s latest technology is affordable. It’s also easy to get hold of one. Many retailers carry it, so there’s a good chance of finding an Xbox 360 One S in time for the holidays from a brick-and-mortar or online dealer.
Check out the latest XBOX Offers Here
Consumers have their pick of new games, but sometimes they want to kick back and enjoy a nostalgia break. That is what they get from the Cybergadget Retro Freak. It uses a 15-cartridge reader to bring you games from your past; games of a simpler, less technically effective kind. Cybergadget does not provide the same technology but creates something very much like original.
Types of Games
Cybergadget lists the following dozen game systems for use with the Retro Freak:
• Nintendo Entertainment System
• Super Famicom
• Super Nintendo Entertainment System
• Game Boy
• Game Boy Color
• Game Boy Advance
• Mega Drive
• Genesis (recently in the news for a retro release)
• PC Engine
• PC Engine SuperGrafix
It’s big business right now making something old new again. No sooner does the computer world introducing gaming that’s almost real enough to be scary than those same video game designers start to feel homesick for their teenage years. From aesthetics to games and even the boxes these come in, retro gaming is really “in” for Christmas 2016. Every element, like the games themselves, is a blast from the past.
A Little Bit of Upgrading
Even so, this device shows how far we have come. The controller is ergonomic with rounded sides, small buttons, and a compact format. USB and other slots let you plug into the TV and play on a screen probably twice the width but 1/10th the depth of what you used to watch while playing Sonic the Hedgehog.
Ports are set up to allow you to play with the Genesis, Game Boy, and a few other machines. It’s flexible enough to accommodate numerous nostalgic 1980s and 1990s games. Add-ons enable you to play assorted cards and the system can read additional information to extend your playing field to include the SEGA My Card and more.
Even though this is a backward-thinking machine, upgrades are available for upload via USB. Storage of 3.1 GB is built in plus the capacity for more, thanks to a Micro SD card (not included).
Retron Game Settings
Retro Freak provides a similar experience to Retron as you once knew it, but games look better than before while providing a close replication of the aesthetic of a bygone generation. There are more settings for audio and video, for example. The interface is more intuitive and agile. Play with greater accuracy than before but still enjoy games from childhood. Load games and take it to a party.
Originally, some retro gaming devices were hard to read on a modern screen. Retro Freak uses HDMI, so this old-style product works with new-style televisions. Images will not be blurry but crisp and clear. Sound will be equally high-quality. On-screen prompts are sensible and user-friendly; easy to understand and to read.
Game Saving Tech
Save the day by saving your game. Retro Freak by Cybergadget provides a Save function so you can resume from where the game was interrupted. Use this to get back to a mid-way point when a mistake would have otherwise sent you to the start again. Retro Freak lets you use this function with any game the console plays.
Compatibility with Accessories
Choose any one of a number of USB controllers including those for PS3 or 4. A wired controller is included. Add a controller adaptor in order to play with even more controllers, but you can start with the Genesis or Famicon varieties to name only two of 5 compatible possibilities.
Customize the Game
Cybergadget created a system the user can personalize so as to play with friends. Alter the way buttons work. Install games and run them without using the cartridge, a great feature for portable game playing. Try the Cheat function, change regions, and select a language from English, Chinese, or Japanese. Watch for more updates to arrive as the popularity of this game console grows.
Sony introduces a response to Nintendo’s new “Switch” with the PlayStation VR. It’s not the Sony equivalent, but a timely competitor in the hot gaming market. Find out what Virtual Reality is really like with this exciting new home gaming device by one of the leaders in family entertainment, released this month, in good time for Christmas.
PlayStation VR: Virtual Reality
The VR is a headset, allowing the user to become completely part of the game he or she is playing, not merely a remote participant. Sony’s PlayStation VR headset is “balanced, comfortable, and adjustable” in their words. It should fit your head and also another player’s head with just a few changes to setting and fit. One size fits all, but that one size can be re-set for comfort.
Two-part Head Gear
Two parts make up the headset: one is the part you actually wear on your head; the other sticks out like a visor, only further away to let your eyes adjust and make room for corrective eyewear as well. It’s not heavy at under 2 lbs.
How does Sony manage to make gaming so realistic? They employ high-definition graphics displayed over an OLED screen measuring over 5 ½ inches. Resolution is 1920 x RGB x 1080. Those letters in the middle simply refer to a color spectrum created by red, blue, and green which can be blended to create thousands of colors; tones that resemble what we see around us every day. That display features a 100° range, about the natural range as far as one’s eyes would move while gaming from the sofa on a large screen with a remote joystick.
Modes and Tech
The Sony PlayStation VR provides sights and sounds with 3D audio and two screen modes: mirror and separate. Play alone or socially. The headset comes complete with an HDMI cable, USB cable, stereo headphones, a processor unit, and a connection cable.
As you can see, there is some gear required in order for the VR to work. First, the PlayStation is not included. Second, you will need at least one if not two types of joy sticks; they don’t come with the VR, but since you own a PlayStation already at least one of them is in your gaming collection. The VR is just a virtual reality accessory which extends and enhances the value of PlayStation, making gamers feel like they are right in the game.
Games, Games, Games
While some home entertainment systems can be used for other purposes, the PlayStation VR is all about games. There was no other motive for making the PlayStation VR than to position players right inside the action they enjoy and introduce them to new games worth that sort of immersion. This is not a new type of PlayStation but the PS improved.
Get right into combat mode with various STAR WARS missions like Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission where your job is to travel into an unknown part of space to pick up scientists conducting research. Games are sold separately.
Other games available for the Sony PlayStation VR include Batman Arkham, 100-ft Robot Golf, Ace Combat 7, GNOG, and Battle Zone. If you are familiar with any of these series, become reacquainted today.
Buying the Sony PlayStation VR
You can probably find this new toy in stores for about $700. That’s right now. With Black Friday at the end of November in the United States plus pre-Christmas and Boxing Day Sales on the horizon, it might be a good idea to save up for the VR just a little bit longer. You might not get it for Christmas but as a post-Christmas present worth waiting for.
Bear in mind that if you’ve chosen not to buy systems like this until now because you were waiting for them to become more realistic, you’ll have to add the cost of a PS plus joy sticks and games to the overall price.
Remember that old gaming machine you thought was so excellent or “sweet” as the kids say nowadays? You would brag about it to your friends and everyone wanted to come to your house after school until all the rest of the class got their own Sega Mega Drive or the next best thing.
Then you had to save up and buy add-ons so your friends would come back. This Sony game console was the precursor to Playstation and the beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog; the Sega Mega Drive or Genesis.
Sega Mega Drive Limited Edition: The Genesis Returns
Image: PC Mag
It’s still black as before and has not been updated to become the high-tech dream of a new Nintendo Switch or the newest Xbox. Sony will release a fifth Playstation in the near future, sooner than expected, yet a certain generation of consumers finds comfort and joy in their pre-teen past when life was simpler and 64KB of memory sounded like enough capacity for files at the White House. There is a microSD slot if you want to play stored information too.
This limited edition, nostalgic toy offers old-style resolution, nothing like the realism consumers are used to. There is an old-fashioned slot for popping in a cartridge and a joystick which, though new, is made to appear ancient (okay, 20 years old). Consumers will also receive pre-installed games along the lines; games they recognize from their childhood.
If you are in your 30s, the Sega Mega Drive Limited Edition console is a Christmas gift made in gaming heaven. Set your clocks; mark your calendars. Only a relatively small number will be made unless demand is huge.
In fact, right before Armistice Day, Americans can get their hands on the Sega Mega Drive Limited Edition gaming console. According to Sony, a lucky few will get to immerse themselves in specially-themed events; there’s going to be a real party where it won’t do to come dressed as any character born later than the age of the Sega Mega Drive itself. Watchers can expect for sales of Sonic the Hedgehog costumes to skyrocket, especially in New York where this event is set to take place.
The famous hedgehog, arguably more famous than Mrs. Tiggywinkle in some circles, will have a graphic impact on many media. Expect him to appear in the media quite a bit and to also become a best-selling plush toy.
Re-releasing a part of the gaming past is all about marketing, of course. There will be mugs, bedspreads, themed birthday party accessories, and loads more stuff related to 80’s gaming. Remember when Cabbage Patch dolls made a comeback? It was big business spawning many spin-offs that were not as quickly coordinated or taken advantage of originally (think cartoons and movies). The Smurfs are another good example.
Back to the Game
Okay, that’s enough about branding and making a huge pile of cash by reviving and selling an old idea. The Sega Genesis Console and Mega Drive will also come with an AC wall cable, a three-button Joystick, an AV cable, and instructions. Images suggest the joystick will not be wireless. Gamers will have to sit close to a screen which begs the question: “will it be better for people to dig out their 1980s TVs too? Surely they don’t want to sit three inches from a 50-inch screen?
There is an SD Card, headphones, and internal power for 110V or 220V customers (US or Europe). The color pallet features over 500 hues, more than 60 at one time. Sound effects are going to help make this an all-around childhood experience.
Expect to hear the same sorts of effects that provided yet another dimension to enrich your experience of Columns, Flicky, Golden Axe, or Jewel Master, all of them (and other games) from the 1980s and early 1990s.
The original Nintendo 3DS provides portable play for kids who can’t keep still on long road trips; children who love the visual stimuli of Nintendo games or people who spend a lot of time waiting and get tired of reading or doing homework. There is only so much math you can do in one sitting and sometimes you run out of books, but with the Nintendo 3DS there is no end to the fun.
Nintendo is known for their Wii home entertainment console which, unfortunately, isn’t much good on the road. You can’t take Wii in the car and use it to play Mario Cart. It’s a home-based, big-screen form of gaming compatible with numerous games. Kids on the road (and also adults who love gaming) need something light, portable, and wireless to use for their days out. That’s where the DS comes in.
Compact and Self-contained
All you need is in one place. Interact by touching the control screen or use control buttons built into the machine. It opens wide but compact with the control screen bottom and viewing screen lifted up. Buttons are intuitively wired, like those of a Wii controller, to do what you always do with a handheld gaming device: move up, down, backwards, turn around, jump, fire, etc.
Nintendo 3DS, $170 and Up
For about $170 you get a 3DS but don’t need 3D glasses to appreciate the graphics. Slide the depth adjustment features to change how much you see if it is all just a little too much to take in. Even use the 3DS to take 3D pictures as well as playing 3D games. This price varies from retailer to retailer; higher prices might tell you a game is pre-installed.
Wireless, Battery Operated
The pre-installed battery gives you up to 8 hours of viewing, photographing, or playing pleasure without needing a wire to connect you to mains power. That battery could last as little as 3 hours if your 3DS memory is in full use or has been operating for a couple of years. Those 3 to 8 hours, however, are usually enough to get from home to your destination with some food breaks and sing-songs in between.
With wireless connection, you can enjoy content via SpotPass or StreetPass; it’s a flexible device, not for gaming only. Employ the stylus, fully adjustable, to interact with what is on the screen and to make Mii. Parental controls are available so you can limit what a small child is able to see online.
Older kids still need controls too, so keep an eye on what they are downloading with Netflix connectivity over their 3 1/2″ LCD screen. Memory is 64 MB. A storage card is supplied to add extra memory if you need it to store those pictures you love taking on the road. In this way, the 3DS is like a Smartphone but better.
New Nintendo 3DS XL, $200
Another exciting Nintendo product is their new 3DS XL for about $200. It is available in various colors with games pre-installed such as Super Mario World in 2D, Solgaleo Lunala, Monster Hunter Generations, and Super Mario 3D Land Edition. Colors for the case are bright and vivid; just what you want for holiday gift-giving.
Nintendo will also be selling a new device called the Switch, but not until March. It’s a cross between the 3DS and Wii because you can use it at home or you take it on the road and enjoy wireless gaming. The system is simple but expensive compared to a 3DS.
A waiting world of gamers was introduced to a new gaming system by Nintendo; the Nintendo Switch. This massive gaming company will bring home-based family game play to a whole new level, but not yet.
They are just preparing consumers and drumming up anticipation for a launch this March, too late for Christmas, but in good time to attract Americans preparing for a long spring break where they will now know what their children can do when not in school. That is, they know what to hope for, but will they be able to afford it?
How Much Will the Nintendo Switch Cost?
Although this system is incredibly flexible, it’s not going to set off a $2,000 bomb that breaks the bank. Tweens and teens with any motivation can easily save up the $300 or so if they start babysitting and raking lawns or shoveling snow now. That’s the projected approximate price according to some gaming experts. They could be out by $50 to $100, but you can expect this to be about right.
About the New Nintendo Switch
Like the Wii and other systems, the Switch will offer opportunities to play alone or with and against others in the home. A mobile format makes it device easy to take the Nintendo Switch to parties or grandma’s house, but you will want to use it on a TV that justifies the expense and the quality of this latest technology in interactive software. Although visually more reminiscent of handheld technology, the Switch is versatile.
Think “Wii” or “DS” only Better
Take the Nintendo Switch home, place it in the dock provided (resembling a dark gray toaster), and connect to the television. Line up your players or settle in to play against the program. Take the Switch out of its dock and it becomes a mobile gaming device, like the DS. It’s a 2-in-1 revelation. Consumers will no longer have to ask themselves, “do I buy a portable system or a home-based one for television?” You get both of them in one package.
Joy sticks or Joy-Con controllers are removable from each side of the Switch. One player uses both of them or two players take one each. Engage more than two using adaptation features. Click the Joy-Cons back into their place at the end of a session so they do not become lost. When using the Switch away from the television, there is an on-board version; the Pro Controller.
Let’s break this down; images are depicting a very sensible, high-tech, but simple design. On its own, the Nintendo Switch resembles an iPod turned on its side; slim, rectangular, and very small. There are slots, one on either side, which hold the controllers. Place these on the Nintendo Switch when you are the passenger on a long journey using this device as a portable gaming tool.
Slide them back out when you are playing at home so the Switch can rest in its toaster/dock and you or a pair of friends can sit back on the floor or sofa to play. These controllers are ergonomic. There are several buttons, mirrored side-to-side, but when they are replaced to the sides of a Switch that mirror is reversed on one side.
If one is playing alone, images suggest that those two small Joy-Cons can be connected onto a console with ergonomic handles. This makes it larger and more intuitive to utilize as a steering wheel, for example. Colors are black and light gray.
Home gaming systems encourage friendly (and sometimes fierce) competition. Friends and family would sit side-by-side on the sofa and play “heats” to determine the final pair of players and, eventually, the ultimate winner. In mobile mode, the Nintendo Switch can also be played against an opponent with his or her own Switch. Play the computer, play against friends at home on the TV, or pit one Switch against another head-to-head.
The Nintendo Switch features over 500 games created by numerous gaming developers like Epic, Telltale, and Saga. It’s too early to tell if this latest and greatest portable/home-based system will also provide internet options the way a Wii does. It wouldn’t take much to build in some kind of multi-media programming, the reverse of a Smartphone which is only sometimes used as a gaming device. The tools are all in place, although this addition might spike the price.