Archive for March, 2011
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers,
Today I had a chance to check out Sony Ericcson’s newest android smart phone, the Xperia Play. You’ll probably know it better as the once rumored PlayStation phone. I ended up being surprised by it in many ways, so I figured I’d let you know about the good and bad things that caught my attention with this quick hands on impression. I will do a full review of the Xperia Play in April, after I get a lot more hands on time with it, but for now here are my first and first-hand impressions of the Xperia Play.
Here’s an image of the Xperia Play in action.
The first thing that caught my attention was the Xperia Play’s size and weight. I was shocked to find that the Xperia Play ended up being slightly smaller than the PSP Go and the brand new 3DS. Actually, it’s only slightly bigger than my iPhone 4 once I put one of those hard plastic Griffin cases on it. That small design also hides another surprise: weight. The Xperia Play is not heavy compared to something like a brick, but you’ll certainly notice it’s weight if you hold it in your hand. I didn’t have the chance to weight it, but the Xperia Play fact sheet created by Sony Ericcson lists the phone at 175 grams. The best I can do is tell you that it felt like it was roughly twice as heavy as my iPhone 4.
The extra weight appears to be a trade off that people will have to accept if they want the physical controls that make the Xperia Play unique. I say this because I was allowed to hold the Xperia Arc long before I ever picked up the Xperia Play. If you haven’t heard of the Xperia Arc, it’s another smart phone that Sony Ericcson will be launching at the same time that they launch the Xperia Play. And according to Sony Ericcson, the Play and the Arc are basically the exact same phone in terms of processing power, features, capabilities, etc. The Xperia Play’s physical controls, and a different form factor, seem to be the only differences between the Arc and Play. With that in mind, the Arc is extremely thin and has almost no weight to it. It’s so light that I could slip it into one of my pockets and literally forget it’s there, so the Xperia Play’s control look to become a literal heavy price which prospective owners will pay.
Here is what the Xperia Arc looks like from 3 different angles.
As for the Xperia Play’s PlayStation controls, well that’s going to be hard for me to explain. You see I still have mixed feelings about them. On one hand the controls just look awesome, and the whole unit feels great in my palms. That’s probably the result of the controls being designed by the exact same team who’s designed the PlayStation 3′s SixAxis and Dual Shock Controller.
Here’s an image of the Xperia Play’s controls.
On the other hand, I am concerned that the dual touch pad controls may be to sensitive for some games. The Gameloft Asphalt title that came preloaded on each of the demo phones was one such example of the Xperia Play controls being to sensitive. From the second I started driving with the dual touch pads, I found myself over correcting the race cars to the point of being out of control for most of the game. Sony Ericcson was also showing a futuristic jet fighter game that played a lot like Star Fox 64. After a few minutes I gave up using the touch pad controls for that game all together. There was just no way to make fine adjustments to my jet’s flight path with the touch pads, and I once again found myself over correcting. However, I also had the chance to play FIFA 10 and the touch pads worked so well then that I could not imagine playing FIFA any other way on this phone.
Having the controls be good for one game and not another could mean that these control issues are actually the result of something that happened at the programming level of each video game. It could also be a simple case of having to get used to new controls. After only 15 or so minutes, I am not willing to condemn the dual touch pads controls just yet. I still remember that dual stick controllers took a while to get used to when they first came out. However, at the same time I also feel that these touch pads still need to prove themselves to me.
I was also happy to find that the directional, X, Triangle, Circle and Square buttons were all working just fine. Each of them felt like they were solidly built into the control surface and all of those buttons were extremely responsive to my commands.
Here’s an image of the Xperia Play’s thickness as seen from the bottom of the device.
So what about the games you ask? Well they look good for starters. According to the fact sheet, the Xperia Play comes with a 4 inch wide HD screen. I didn’t get the chance to measure the screen size either, but the screen felt like it was slightly bigger and as good looking as my iPhone 4.
At this point I really wish I could spend more time talking about the types of games that will be avaliable, but Sony Ericcson has not released a full list yet. I can say that you’ll be able to play games like Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Tetrus, The Sims 3, a multiplayer version of FIFA 10, as well as the mobile versions of Guitar Hero, Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell on this phone.
I also have a list of studios supporting the Xperia Play and they includes:
- Sony Computer Entertainment
- Digital Chocolate
- Digital Legends
- Electronic Arts
- Glu Mobile
- Handy Games
- Namco Bandai Networks
- Trendy Entertainment
- Unity Tecnologies
Here’s what the back of the Xperia Play looks like.
And for those of you who are always happiest with the fine details. Here are the specs for Sony Ericcson’s Xperia PLAY:
1. The Basics
* Size: 119 x 62 x 16 mm
* Weight: 175 grams
* Phone memory: up to 400 MB
* Memory card support: microSD™, up to 32 GB
* Memory card included: 8GB microSD™
* Operating system: Google™ Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
* Processor: 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7
* Phones comes in black or white
* 5.1 megapixel camera
* Auto focus
* Flash / Photo light
* Geo tagging
* Image stabiliser
* Ability to send to web
* Touch focus
* Video light
* Video recording
* Album art
* Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)
* Google™ Music Player
* Music tones (MP3/AAC)
* PlayNow™ service*
* Sony Ericsson Music player
* Stereo speakers
* TrackID™ music recognition application
* Android Market™*
* Google™ search*
* Google™ Voice Search*
* Pan & zoom
* Web browser (Webkit)
* Call list
* Conference calls
* Facebook™ application (from Android Market™)
* Google™ Talk*
* Noise Shield
* Polyphonic ringtones
* Sony Ericsson Timescape™***
* Twitter™ application (from Android Market™)
* Vibrating alert
* Android Cloud to Device messaging (C2DM)
* Google Mail™*
* Instant messaging
* Picture messaging (MMS)
* Predictive text input
* Sound recorder
* Text messaging (SMS)
* Auto rotate Touchscreen
* Keyboard (onscreen, 12 key)
* Keyboard (onscreen, QWERTY)
* Picture wallpaper
* Wallpaper animation
* 3.5 mm audio jack
* Bluetooth™ technology
* DLNA Certified
* Google Latitude™
* Google Location Service
* Google Maps™ with Street View
* Media Transfer Protocol support
* Micro USB Connector
* USB 2.0 high speed support
* Wi-Fi™ Hotspot functionality
* 16,777,216 colour TFT
* Capacitive multi-touch
* 4 inches
* 480 x 854 pixels (FWVGA)
Sunday, March 27th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers!
It’s the launch weekend for the Nintendo 3DS! If you were unable to make it down to Yonge and Dundas Square for the 3DS Launch event, here’s what that launch event looked like during Earth Hour.
And if you were unable to listen to the radio at 5 pm last Saturday afternoon, here is the post-broadcast podcast version of our March 26th episode of Got Game.
This week on Got Game we discuss:
- Our final thoughts on (what I assume to be) the first iteration of the Nintendo 3DS and its launch over the weekend
- NASCAR The Game: 2011, which will launch on Tuesday, March 29th 2011
- The Codemasters’ announcing that they’re working on a F1 game for the 2011 season
- Duke Nukem Forever being delayed again
- The NGP getting more digital than retail versions of games
In our review section, Zack serves up a review of Top Spin 4
And both Zack and Calhoun team up to co-review Crysis 2
Finally, we also promised to post a couple of interviews during our latest show. Therefore, here is Momin’s 3DS chat with Katie Linendoll and Calhoun’s Nascar The Game 2011 discussion with Ed Martin from Eutechnyx.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers!
When you listen to our March 26th show, you’ll hear a much shorter version of my discussion with Ed Martin from Eutechnyx about NASCAR The Game: 2011. Sadly, we were unable to air the whole interview on the show because this is also the launch weekend for the Nintendo 3DS. However, as we promised on the show, you can find the entire 18 minute long discussion that Ed and I had in the audio file below this sentence.
I’ve also posted a video for you at the end of this blog post. As I asked Ed the second question of this interview, I referenced a video of the #18 M&M’s Toyota doing laps around the Daytona International Speedway inside NASCAR The Game: 2011.
Here is that video.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers,
During our last show we promised to post some images of Momin trying out Micheal Jackson The Experience for the Wii, Kinect, and PS3 Move. And if you missed that show, and you have no idea what’s going on, you can catch that whole show in the audio file below this sentence.
Like we promised, here are those images of Momin being a Smooth Criminal.
And to give you a better idea of what the game is, here are some screen shots of Micheal Jackson the Experience. During our show last week we described it as Dance Central with Micheal Jackon, but there is also a big singing component to the game.
Sunday, March 20th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers,
Just so you have a frame of reference, and because we’ll be talking about it on this week’s show, here is the picture of Momin’s face from the day that we got our 3DS review hardware.
Now if you look at that picture and think, “what is up with his creepy grin?” Please find comfort in the fact that all will be explained in the audio file below this paragraph. However, we just call it the post-broadcast podcast of our March 19th, 2011 show.
On this edition of Got Game we discuss:
- Our preliminary impressions of the 3DS that we will review in full next week
- Momin and Christine’s trip to check out Micheal Jackson The Experience
- How Toronto doctors are using a Kinect controller for medical applications
- German students using Kinect controllers to make a personal sonar devices for the blind
- The possibility of another major publisher opening up a studio in Toronto
- Ubisoft’s Announcement of RockSmith
- David Cage’s thoughts on a second Heavy Rain game
[Image of the 2008 Video Games Live concert inside Yonge Dundas Square courtesy of the Video Games Live website]
In our review section, Zack continues his double play with a review of MLB2k11.
And Calhoun joins the resistance to review THQ’s HomeFront.
Monday, March 14th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers,
Just before we start, this isn’t a sad Got Game for any reason. This week Zack said that Momin could not join us for the show and that our thoughts were with his family. I talked to Momin later that same day and everything was fine by then. There is no problem at all, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the post-broadcast podcast of our latest show.
As always you can find the podcast in the audio file below this sentence.
This week on Got Game we discuss:
- EA’s decision to stop supporting NBA JAM
- Saints Row: The Third being announced and the XXX-rated weapons within
- Call of Duty Black Ops becoming the highest selling game of all time
- Angry Birds being the most profitable game ever made
- Why a Pro Wrestler, who has already won the MLB 2k11 million dollar contest, can’t collect the prize
On top of all that, Calhoun spends some time discussing the PlayStation Phone, officially known as the Xperia Play, with Sony Ericsson Canada’s Neil Dutton.
But before our show ends, Zack comes out swinging for his MLB 11: The Show review.
And Christine takes a stab at reviewing Dragon Age 2.
Monday, March 7th, 2011
Hey Got Gamers,
The good thing about being in charge of the show blogs each week is that I can sometimes use them for selfish reasons. This week I feel the need to use the show blog to redeem 3 of my favorite things: the Days of Thunder franchise, video games, and the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. I am going to do that by posting the greatest combination that I’ve ever found of those 3 things. Here’s a 2 part recreation of the final climax Days of Thunder race scene made FMV scenes from the movie and Sierra’s NASCAR Racing 2003. I give you part 1…
and here is part 2…
So why am I posting these videos? Why do I feel that these 3 things have gotten an unfair shake recently? Just listen to this week’s episode of Got Game to find out why, and as always you can find the podcast version of our latest show in the audio file below this sentence.
This week on Got Game we also discussed:
- The iPad2 and the 3DS launching in the same week
- A listener’s email regarding the Smithsonian Gaming Exhibit
- The Avalanche of Nintendo 3DS news coming out of GDC 2011
- Battlefield 3′s awesome looking Fault Lines trailer
- The new Mortal Kombat Challenge Tower
On top of that, we talk to Nir Zahavi about a non-game Call of Duty project that he and 3 other Torontonians made for $8000. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet, but chances are you have. Nir’s project – freemakarov.com – had the whole gaming industry talking last week.
And we have reviews of Bullet Storm
Fight Night Champion
Days of Thunder Arcade
And the Fallout New Vegas Dead Money DLC