CES 2008
Posted 1/12/08 , edited 1/12/08
Heres all the gaming news going on there, not much but nice stuff you might find interesting

Yup more wii gear to come in 2008, as reported from the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show going on all this week to be wrapped up on Friday.

"Wii need guns. Lots of guns."

If the Wii Zapper strikes you as too 'gunlike,' then you're probably not going to like these Wii accessories. Brooklyn-based CTA Digital showed off an entire arsenal of gun-themed Wiimote peripherals.

From the pistol-like Magnum Gun to the submachinegun-like Buzz Gun, CTA showed off no less than six Zapper-like Wii gun attachments. The Shot Gun for Wii stood out among them, a hulking, heavy pump-action shotgun accessory. The Shot Gun was a mock-up, and hopefully the final version of the gun will be lighter than the bulky model CTA displayed.

While they look fun, CTA's Wii accessories were questionable at best. Several models boasted built-in laser pointers, which are essentially useless when actually playing the Wii. Along with the company's various other Wii accessories, like Wii boxing gloves, Wii glowing swords, Wii fishing rods, Wii pool cues, and even Wii cooking utensils, the entire display seemed like an attempt to cash in on Wii fever. The most blatant example of this was the Airplane Navigator, a flight yoke accessory in which you fit the Wiimote and Nunchuck... and which no Wii game can actually use very well. So far, I haven't seen any games that involve holding the remote and nunchuck together and waving them around like a flight yoke to move or steer.

CTA had no pricing information for its various Wii accessories, but a spokesman said that units were already being shipped to retail outlets.


"Nyko Wireless Nunchuck takes the wire out of the Wii waggle"

The Nintendo Wii uses a wireless remote to begin with, but that remote still manages to use a cord half the time. Most Wii games use both the Wii Remote and the Wii Nunchuck, an analog stick peripheral that plugs into the base of the remote via a long cable. Nyko first cut the Wii cord with the Wireless Sensor Bar and is taking away yet another tether with the Wireless Nunchuck.

The Nyko Wireless Nunchuck connects to the Wiimote via a little wireless dongle that clicks into the controller's accessory jack. Once plugged in, tapping the connection buttons on the dongle and the Nunchuck syncs them together, letting the Nunchuck work as if it was physically connected to the remote. The Nunchuck runs on two AAA batteries, which Nyko claims can provide up to 30 hours of gameplay. It has all the same features as the original Nunchuck, including analog stick, C and Z buttons, and even an accelerometer for games that use the Nunchuck for motion controls.

I spent a few minutes playing with the wireless Nunchuck, and it feels very much like the original. The shape is nearly identical to the corded Wii Nunchuck, and it sits comfortably in the hand. I'm not sure if it will work with the Wii Zapper, but since the Zapper lets you stash the cord inside it anyway, it's not that important a feature. The wireless dongle only measures an inch or so and keeps the same profile as the remote itself, so it doesn't feel too different from using a bare Wiimote or a Wiimote and corded Nunchuck.

The Nyko Wireless Nunchuck ships in late January/early February and will retail for about $30.


"If you're a gamer, you want this monitor"

Alienware put on what it termed a "technology statement" in Vegas tonight with the aptly named "curved display." That's its unofficial name. It also has no price yet, and no release date more specific than "second half of 2008." What we can tell you is that after the brief minute or so we spent with this monitor, we think high-end PC gamers are going to be excited for it.

The specifics are that it's a rear-projection DLP screen that can run at a resolution of 2,880x900 pixels (wider than a 30-inch LCD, but not quite as tall). Alienware also said it was running off only a single, midrange ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics card. We only sat down (crouched, really) in front of the curved display for a minute, but we were instantly impressed by the level of immersion. The panoramic screen encompasses your entire line of sight, including your peripheral vision. The effect eliminates almost all visual distractions from your gameplay.

As weird as it may sound, this is actually the most practical panoramic display we've seen. You can see from our picture that the screen will fit relatively easily on a desktop. We expect it won't be cheap, but whatever the price, we imagine Alienware will get plenty of interest from the high-end gaming community once the curved display becomes available.


"Viva Las Vader"

Many of us have been decrying the overall lack of gaming gear here at CES, but while there might not be much video game hardware on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center, several video game publishers are in town showing off their latest wares, including LucasArts, Eidos, Microsoft, and Namco.

The latter is perhaps the most interesting, since the title being shown off is the latest iteration of the fighting game Soul Calibur, which first hit living rooms via Sega's Dreamcast console back in 1999. The series features an eclectic cast of medieval Japanese characters battling over a magical sword, and the new entry, Soul Calibur IV, will be available later in 2008 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

We got a chance to spend a little hands-on time with the game, which will look and feel familiar to fans of the series. The most noteworthy part is the addition of two well-known characters to the mix--Star Wars stalwarts Darth Vader (in the PS3 version) and Yoda (in the Xbox 360 version).

While Darth himself and a handful of Stormtroopers were in attendance, and we got to see some prerendered footage of them in action, neither Star Wars character was included in our hands-on demo of the game, so we'll have to wait to indulge in some Samurai-vs-Sith action.


Sony: Skype coming to PSP this month

The rumors were true: Skype is coming to the PSP. The leading voice-over-IP phone service will be made available to PSP users worldwide in a free firmware update scheduled for later this month. The catch? The service will only work on the new Slim PSP model, not the original bulkier "PSP 1000" (which, as of fall 2007, is no longer produced). The press release lists the other obvious caveats: you'll need to have access to Wi-Fi; have a Skype account (it's free, with paid upgrades for calling to and from non-Skype numbers); and a Skype-compatible "audio input device" (a headset).

Gateway updates, brings its FX gaming desktops into the mainstream with the FX7020.

Gateway bowed two new gaming desktops at the show today, the high-end FX540, and the more modest FX7020. The former is an update to Gateway's year-old customizable, semi-high-end Intel-based PCs. The FX7020 packages a quad-core AMD Phenom chip in to a relatively affordable $1,099 package.


Gateway's FX7020 represents the type of PC we expect to see a lot of in 2008: the $1,000 to $1,500 gamer that finally has the graphics horsepower to handle the newest 3D PC games. Dell, HP, Velocity Micro and others will all compete hard in this space this year, but Gateway's FX7020 represents the opening shot. Its AMD Phenom quad core CPU isn't the fastest CPU around, although it is quick enough. But the real horsepower lies in its GeForce 8800 GT graphics card. Until now, few PCs in this price range have been able to handle the likes of Crysis, Unreal Tournament 3 and other new PC games with any kind of decent image quality. This PC, and forthcoming systems like it, should finally deliver the promise of next-gen PC gaming to a wider audience.

As for the FX540, it's not quite the bleeding-edge performance behemoth you see from Falcon Northwest and Alienware. We're glad that Gateway has finally seen the light and moved to an SLI-capable motherboard (which can use two Nvidia graphics cards, rather than two slower ATI cards, like the older FX530), but despite claims of "no-compromise" hardware, the NForce 680i SLI board can't accept Intel's latest Core 2 Extreme quad-core chip, the QX9650. Instead, you're limited to the Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which, while still plenty quick, is a generation old. That doesn't mean you should write the FX540 off. As long as Gateway keeps pricing of this customizable system reasonable, as it has in the past, this system could still offer some decent bang-for-the-buck

You must be logged in to post.