[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.]
Steve Jobs spent countless hours working to advance the tech industry, but the thing that I've heard the most about him since he passed was how instrumental he was in bringing sophisticated technology to consumers outside of the enthusiast market.
Before the Apple II, personal computers were seen as something that only borderline-mathematical savants could enjoy. After the Apple II, home computers (and the games that people play on them) began to be seen as something everyone could use. From there, Jobs worked at Pixar to help bring CGI animation from the indie film festival world to the level of blockbuster film. Finally, he returned to Apple, where he was instrumental in transforming MP3 players (iPod), smart phones (iPhone), and tablet computers (iPad) from high-priced oddities to household gadgets. He was probably technology's most effective and evocative ambassador.
Some (like Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson) think that Jobs' ability to sell tech to the everyman puts him in the same league as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, while others hate Apple and Apple consumers, calling them "hipsters" and "sellouts." My question is why do we care either way? Why does it matter to us if the mainstream accepts or rejects technology and/or gaming? That's what I aimed to find out in this week's TtWaV.
You've heard plenty of rumors over the past few months, I'm sure. That's all over for awhile, as Apple has just announced the iPhone 4S at their Let's Talk About iPhone press conference today.
Here's the skinny: The 4S has the same design as the iPhone 4, but inside it has new parts. The new A5 processor and dual-core gfx hardware gives the 4S the power to produce graphics 7 times faster than its predecessor. It also sports an improved antenna, faster download speeds, a 8MP camera, and greatly improved image processing.
Pre-orders start October 7, with the actual release date falling on October 14. It will be available through AT&T, Verizon, and now Sprint. Pricing is as follows, with a two-year contract: 16GB for $199, 32Gb for $299 and 64GB for $399.
Mike Capps from Epic Games showed off this graphical power with a new game, Infinity Blade 2. "We're going to show you visuals that you've never seen on a mobile device," said Capps.
This was announced alongside many new features of Apple's newest mobile operating system, iOS5, set to drop on all iOS devices on October 12. Other new products, like the iPod Nano and iPod Touch, were also updated today with new lines.
The Blocks Cometh, a really cool iOS game that features Mr. Destructoid, had its first full update today since launching, adding a wad of fresh content and four new playable characters. One of those characters, I am quite pleased to reveal, is ... me.
Starting today, I will be an unlockable character in The Blocks Cometh. Unlocking me is quite simple and rather fitting -- just hit the "Write a review" button on the character select page, and my muscular, well-toned body is yours to master. I also throw microphones, like I do in The Jimquisition sometimes. That was my idea!
As well as an appearance by yours truly, the game has thirty new achievements, a Casual and Hardcore mode, a new "Landscape" view, in-App purchases and a bunch of fixes. The game costs $0.99 right now, so pick it up if you didn't already. It's good!
Apple was ballsy enough to hold their yearly Worldwide Developers Conference opposite E3. I mean, they're Apple -- they can do whatever they want and they're still going to rake in the money. And with the announcement of iOS 5, the next version of the OS for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, they're sure to get a bunch of people breaking down and buying an iDevice, since it fixes a lot of minor problems, like notifications.
But the reason you might care is the overhauled Game Center. Yes, it still looks horrible, but Apple is taking a page from Xbox Live and integrating a lot of features from Microsoft's system. The biggest gameplay change comes with the addition of achievement points, which I've come to expect on practically any game system these days.
There are a couple of social improvements as well, such as being able to access friends of friends, which will allow you to find more potential friends and rivals. Game discovery allows you to find new games to play based on who wants to play with you at that moment. You can also display photos in your profile, which, if the Internet has taught us anything, can only lead to bad things.
Finally, Apple made some improvements under the hood that allow game downloads from within Game Center and support for turn-based games like Words With Friends and Scrabble. The changes are nothing mind-blowing, but certainly they're all welcome. Are you ready to start comparing your achievement score against other Apple gamers, or does its inclusion make you roll your eyes?
The rumors of Activision charging additional fees for Call of Duty online multiplayer have been pretty persistent for the better part of the past year. Even when Activision has stated multiple times that they won't be charging for online play, it still keeps coming up.
Well, we can clear the air on this whole matter with the announcement of "Call of Duty: Elite," a free and paid service that is built specifically to take full advantage of Modern Warfare 3 and all future Call of Duty titles. Elite will launch with Modern Warfare 3 but there will be a public beta test this summer for Elite using Call of Duty: Black Ops. The official site will have more details soon.
Activision wasn't ready to talk about a price point, but a number of the features I'm going to detail for you will be part of the free service. As for the paid content, it will cost "less than any comparable online service for gaming or entertainment," according to Jamie Berger, VP of Digital at Activision. The service will also be an all-inclusive one, meaning that all digital content released for Modern Warfare 3 -- such as map packs -- will be delivered to you at no extra cost.
The team behind Elite, Beachhead, is a new standalone team at Activision that is dedicated to "evolving the [Call of Duty] service year-round." The service will provide worldwide, 24/7 programming and customer service for all the features that promise to enrich your experience.
Since I've ramped up my coverage of iOS games on Destructoid, I've had a lot of iPhone/iPod users asking me for recommendations. There's a ton of great ones out there, some of which rival console games in terms of how engrossing they can be. It's difficult to list them all.
For those who get lost in the sea of iTunes, I though I'd make things easier with ten iOS games that I believe really should be on every iDevice out there. Of course, this is only a selection of the games I regularly play and love, so you can expect more of these lists in future. Please bear in mind when you start insulting me for not including your favorite game.
Anyway, fire up iTunes and take a look at the games you need to start downloading.
Many of you will have learned by now that I've started to become quite a spokesman for mobile gaming this past year. I think it's important, and I've been frustrated that I haven't been able to cover it properly. Hence, App Attack!
This is the pilot episode of what I hope will be a new Destructoid series. The editing is rough because I did this whole show on my own and I don't have much in the way of video talent. If it's considered worthwhile, I'll hopefully get someone with skills to help me.
Anyway, check it out and see if you like it. I'll really appreciate constructive feedback, so feel free to let me know what you liked and despised!
Earlier this year, when Epic Games revealed Epic Citadel -- a tech demo for its Unreal Engine running on Apple’s mobile iOS -- heads turned. It was a technically impressive piece of software, demonstrating some truly incredible visuals on Apple’s mobile devices.
It’s certainly a hell of a hook, enough to get the folks at Cupertino flaunting the software every chance it got, but gorgeous visuals don’t make a great game. Fortunately, the first iOS title to utilize the Unreal Engine, Chair Entertainment’s action-RPG Infinity Blade, has the gameplay chops to match.
A new study claims that while iPhone and mobile gaming is on the rise, DS and PSP games are treading water, and the water's getting rather putrid. This is all according to Interpret, who states that market data is signalling dire times for Nintendo and Sony.
"The proliferation of highly multifunctional smartphones and messaging phones is a very real threat to the dominance by the DS and PSP of the handheld gaming market," says Interpret's Courtney Johnson. "Devices which satisfy a variety of entertainment and utility are fast outstripping single-function devices as consumer favorites."
According to a survey of 9,000 people, there has been a 53.2% increase in consumers who use mobile phones for gaming. Meanwhile, DS and PSP use has fallen by 13%.
I've been a proponent of mobile gaming for a while, and I think these figures make total sense. I play with iOS Apps significantly more than I do DS or PSP games these days. Having quick, simple, unquestionably cheap games in my pocket is better than $40 condensed console experiences. I love my PSP and DS, but it's hardly surprising they're getting shown up.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4, originally scheduled for release next month, has today been delayed by Sega. Hardly surprising, considering the release was creeping ever closer with only leaks and speculation to promote it. The game has now been slated for "late" release this year.
"SEGA is incredibly happy at the overwhelmingly positive response to Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I from both press and fans around the world, and wants to ensure that we’re delivering the best Sonic experience possible," states Sega. "With this dedication to quality and the Sonic experience in mind, SEGA has decided to extend the development of the game, and will now release Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I in the latter half of 2010."
iPhone users at least got a bit of good news to go with the bad. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has now been officially confirmed for Apple's portable products. Further details on this release will be coming soon.
Whether this delay is in response to some negative comments following the leaks (most notably the infamous "mine cart" section) probably won't ever be confirmed, but hopefully the delays will lead to some positive development time. What do you reckon? Is the delay a good sign of quality control, or an ill portent?
Ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone and find yourself zoning out, thinking "I wonder what this person would look like if they were the walking dead?"
That's where George A. Romero's App of the Dead for iPhone and iPod Touch comes in. The father of the modern zombie has teamed up with the developer Additive Interactive to make your friend- and family-zombifying dreams a reality.
App of the Dead will allow you to turn human faces from your own images into terrifying visages of the undead, by allowing you to add wounds and other ghoulish facial-deformities. You can even get your zombie "pew pew pew" on, as the app will allow you to "shoot" at your created zombies, complete with a blood-splatter effect. Zombies can be saved and then uploaded to Facebook or even emailed to your friends.
App of the Dead is coming soon to the App Store, so board up your windows, doors, and keep your eyes peeled. Tomorrow we'll have an exclusive chat with Romero himself, where we talk about everything from App of the Dead to his new film, Survival of the Dead. Stay tuned.
"Our 6th tent pole is Game Center. This is a dev preview for OS 4. Gaming is extremely popular on the iPhone and iPod touch. We have 50,000 games. Let's compare that to the competition... the PSP and DS... we blow them out of the water."
Social networking for gaming comes to the iPhone, which means achievements, leaderboards and matchmaking for the Jesus Phone. During the event, a bar graph showed that iPhone has over 50,000 titles to go online with, compared with a couple thousand or so for their portable competitors. Open social gaming for a portable device. The future is here! [Go nuts for or against that last sentence]
Game Center will be available in the iPhone OS 4.0 update coming later this summer.
This is a real thing that's coming this March. It's too early for April Fool's jokes.
We're talking virtual d-pad and buttons and all, with art and assets taken from the console games, shrunk down to fit Apple's little touchscreen. The complete move set is there, including Ultra moves and their crazy animations. IGN says that Capcom has spent months working on the controls, with options for position, transparency and more. I hope they spent longer than they did on the Mega Man 2 port. I'm just saying.
There's Bluetooth mutlplayer support, too. A Dojo Mode will be included for training.
From the images we know that Ryu and Ken are in the roster, but the rest have yet to be revealed. Capcom says that both classic and new SFIV characters will be included when it's all said and done.
Jesus, how crazy is this? I can hear all the hmm, we'll sees now. We'll see in March, won't we?
We knew it was only a matter of time, and now it's finally here. Well, kinda. Final Fantasy proper, on the iPhone. A full-fledged RPG in your pocket. And no, Vay did not count.
Wow, it looks really great! A new Square Enix trailer shows the game in action, with upgraded graphics and all. I'd love to see someone playing this to know how it works, though. I see bigger menus for touch action. That's good to know. And at around :50 in the video you can see the fancy looking virtual d-pad that you'll presumably be controlling your movement with.
This is a Japanese release, of course. The video says that both Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II are coming to the App Store soon.
A couple weeks ago, I excitedly dropped the news that I was going to be a zombified character in Panda Cake’s new iPhone game Pocket Zombie (yay, self-promotion!). At the time of the post, an early version of the game was available, but some minor kinks had to be ironed out. Well, it’s now official: the final version of Pocket Zombie is available on iTunes!
Pocket Zombie allows you to take care of a zombie on your iPhone by feeding it brains, changing its outfit, and leveling it up. I have said it before, but think Tamagotchi meets 28 Days Later. It’s a clever little title that is surprisingly addictive and impressively polished. And, even better, it’s only 99 cents!
Here are the highlights, professional bullet points and all:
Adopt your own pet zombie and gain experience by killing survivors, leveling up, and purchasing upgrades!
5 unique zombie girlfriends including:
IGN's Jessica Chobot
Destructoid's Chad Concelmo
Freezepop's Liz Enthusiasm
Game Informer's Meagan VanBurkleo
Secret “Thriller” outfit for your pet zombie!
Achievements, leaderboards, friends list and more!
Donate to the girlfriends' charities through the main menu!
Yup, I am a “zombie girlfriend” and damn proud of it! (Check the below gallery for my special zombie Valentine.)
If you have an iPhone, you really have no reason to not download Pocket Zombie. It is a really fun game, you can donate to some great charities, and it costs about as much as the spare change jingling around in your pocket right now. You really can’t lose! All the cool kids are downloading it. You want to be cool, right?
*I will be posting five free promo codes for the game in the comments during the day. Check back and grab one!
We've been hearing about it forever now. It's the next "worst kept secret." It's Apple's new big-assed iPhone looking thing, called the iPad, and it was just announced by Steve Jobs at Apple's conference in San Francisco. A "truly magical product," he calls it. It's a digital tablet. It's "between a laptop and a smartphone."
Browsing. Email. Photos. Videos. Music. Games. eBooks. "Way better than a laptop, way better then a phone," says Jobs.
iTunes is built in, as is a QWERTY touch keyboard. You can watch TV on it. A full browser is included. Full multitouch with gestures. Watch HD YouTube videos. Books are handled by a new app called iBooks.
Why do you care? You may not, but as gamers, you should at least take note of what they're trying to do here for us. This device takes your little iPhone/iPod Touch games and scales them up to be played on a bigger surface. WiFi and 3G connections mean that you can pull games and apps down anywhere ($29.99 unlimited data from ATT). The games run with no issue, and can even be "double pixeled" to run full screen. Also, games can also be written to take full advantage of the larger screen. Gameloft brought a beefed up version of their FPS N.O.V.A, showing tight graphics and new possibilities for control schemes. For example, a two-finger slide can throw grenades.
If you're a tech freak or an avid reader, then the device's other features will surely appeal to you. It's part iPhone, part MacBook and part digital reader. It's .5 inches thin, 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7 inch IPS display. It sports a 1ghz Apple A4 processor. There's up to 64GB of storage space, also coming in 16 and 32GB sizes. It has 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. 30-pin connector, speaker, microphone, accelerometer and compass. 10 hours of battery life.
No Flash support yet. Oh, and butterfingers? It's reeeeeally going to suck if you drop this one.
The price is set at $499 for the cheapest model (16GB). $599 and $699 for the 32 and 64GB. The 3G models cost an extra $130, so $629, $729 and $829 for them. The iPad ships in 60 days, or 90 days for the 3G models.