20 posts categorized "Gaming"

December 25, 2011

RockSmith Video Game: Finally A Game That Uses Real Guitars!

image from i1137.photobucket.comWhen Clever Girls Collective/Ubisoft asked if I was interested in trying out Rocksmith with my tween son and his rocker friends (who are in a band), I jumped at the chance. Rocksmith is the first video game where you can connect real electric guitars with a standard 1/4” input jack with a Microsoft Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 entertainment system. There is also a Rocksmith bundle that includes a guitar.

image from i1137.photobucket.com
The game has a helpful tuning process and difficulty settings that automatically adapt to your experience level. Experts can play songs from memory, experiened guitar players can play from notes on the screen and a beginner like me can follow easy color-coded strings on the screen.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

Feel like a real rockstar with different backgrounds including a concert theme.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

There are also mini-games and what the Rocksmith website explains as the ability to: "Turn your console into an amplifier and play with loads of in-game effects pedals, amplifiers, and cabinets. String pedals together with nearly infinite combinations and tweak your sound until you're satisfied."

image from i1137.photobucket.com

Some of the tracks include  David Bowie – Rebel Rebel, Eric Clapton – Run Back To Your Side, Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way, Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama, Radiohead – High And Dry, The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry and The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

 Here are some details from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – October 18, 2011 – Today, Ubisoft® announces that Rocksmith™ is now available at retail throughout North America.  The standard edition of the game, available for $79.99, will include the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable™, a unique 1/4” to USB cable that is the first of its kind, developed exclusively for Rocksmith.  This revolutionary cable turns the guitar’s signal from analog to digital, allowing it to be recognized and played through video game consoles for the first time.  The guitar bundle will provide a quality entry-level option for people that have always wanted to play but don’t own a guitar. The bundle, available for $199.99, includes an Epiphone Les Paul Jr guitar, along with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable.  Rocksmith is rated “T” for Teen.  
For more information on Rocksmith, please visit www.rocksmith.com, and follow Rocksmith on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rocksmithgame

But what did my tween son's friends - who happen to play in a band - think about Rocksmith?

Continue reading "RockSmith Video Game: Finally A Game That Uses Real Guitars! " »

October 25, 2011

ESRB Website & Mobile App- Parent's Best Friend For Video Game Decisions

ESRB RatingsFor parents, the job of helping kids navigate the decision process around whether or not a video game is appropriate is not easy. Online reviews indicate the “maturity” level of a game, while a kid’s peers provide a rating of "cool" or “not cool”, and balancing the two is tricky. As a technology blogger and a mom with a tween boy & twin boys in elementary school, one of my "go-to" resources to learn about video games is the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and website. They are the wonderful people who create the rating that shows up on video game packaging (i.e. E for Everyone, EC for early childhood, E10+ for children above 10 years of age, T for teen, M for mature).

I had the fabulous opportunity to talk to Patricia Vance, President of the ESRB, while I was at the CTIA wireless conference in San Diego . The conversation with her helped me learn more about the ESRB rating process, enforcement, and resources as well as some of the newer features like the mobile app.

Continue reading "ESRB Website & Mobile App- Parent's Best Friend For Video Game Decisions" »

August 31, 2011

New Tech Product: Striiv Portable Fitness Device - Rewards Thru Everday Exercise

Striiv Device Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the team and see a demo over at Striiv, a new Silicon Valley Start-Up that developed a portable fitness device for the "rest of us" (Please check out my post at Cool Mom Tech for more details).

What does "rest of us" mean?

There are already great devices for runners but how about the "rest of us" that count running in and out of the grocery store or up and down the steps to their office as their only exercise? Striiv is a device small enough to hang on your keychain but is filled with big features that everyone can use to fit in more exercise into their daily routine.

The device follows your movement (including steps,  cadence and more) assigning points to track personal goals, unlock rewards, progess steps in a gaming environment and best yet contribute to charity in what is considered a "walk-a-thon" in your pocket. Future features inlcude big plans for social.

The age range is from kids to adults, so the whole family can use the device. I will be testing a Striiv device very soon and can't wait to share more details. For now, here is the press release for today's announcement.

Press Release:

 INTRODUCING STRIIV: A SLEEK PORTABLE DEVICE THAT MAKES FITNESS FUN; LAUNCHING THIS FALL
 Silicon Valley Start-Up Unveils Product that Motivates and Rewards Exercise through Games, Challenges and Donations

Continue reading "New Tech Product: Striiv Portable Fitness Device - Rewards Thru Everday Exercise" »

April 30, 2010

Update: Nintendo DSi XL

Listed below are my post details that I provided when the Nintendo XL release was first announced.

I assigned TechBoy (my tween son) the job of taking the Nintendo DSi XL on a test run. He has a way with words(short and to the point) so I asked him for a sentence that I could use on my blog.

TechBoy's Take: "Have you ever herd about the DSi XL? Its the latest Nintendo system since the DSi. What I like about the DSi XL is it has a larger screen, when you go back to using the regular DSI it fells like playing on a cell phone."

He enjoys playing on the larger screen, using the photo/sound manipulation tools and the camera. Overall - there is not going back for TechBoy - he now only uses the Nintendo DSi XL. But that is good news for his 7yr old brother - who was the lucky one to get his Nintendo DSi. And TechBoy's brother is very happy to finally have the DSi - so all is good in the TechFamily house!

*********************************************

Nintendo DSi XL™ 

UTL_A-2_Bronze_RGBNintendo DSi XL™ features listed from the press release:

  • 4.2-inch screens - 93 percent larger then the Nintendo DS™ Lite system screens (improved wider viewing angle)
  • Colors are Burgundy and Bronze, including a matt finish
  • 2 cameras
  • Photo-and sound-manipulation tools
  • Larger pen-like stylus 
  • Parental controls that let adults manage the digital content their children can access
  • The press release states: "With a broadband Internet connection, you can also upload photos directly to Facebook to share with friends or access downloadable Nintendo DSiWare™ games via the Nintendo DSi Shop." Two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio™ are also included.

The release date was March 28 and the suggested retail price is $189.99.

Website: Nintendo DSi  XL

Disclosure: I was provided with a Nintendo DSi XL for long term review use.

March 23, 2010

Soon To Be Released Nintendo Dsi XL and Just Announced 3DS

Two exciting new announcements for mobile gamers are Nintendo's soon to be released Nintendo Dsi XL and the just announced Nintendo 3DS. I have not tried either of them, but the new features are sure to get little and big gamers very excited, especially for those that want bigger screens and input devices or  a 3D mobile gaming experience.

Nintendo DSi XL™ 

UTL_A-2_Bronze_RGBNintendo DSi XL™ features listed from the press release:

  • 4.2-inch screens - 93 percent larger then the Nintendo DS™ Lite system screens (improved wider viewing angle)
  • Colors are Burgundy and Bronze, including a matt finish
  • 2 cameras
  • Photo-and sound-manipulation tools
  • Larger pen-like stylus 
  • Parental controls that let adults manage the digital content their children can access
  • The press release states: "With a broadband Internet connection, you can also upload photos directly to Facebook to share with friends or access downloadable Nintendo DSiWare™ games via the Nintendo DSi Shop." Two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio™ are also included.

The release date is set as March 28 and the suggested retail price is $189.99.

In honor of the celebration, Nintendo has a "What would you like 93% bigger?” application on Facebook® Platform at http://apps.facebook.com/ninetythree-percent and their Twitter profile: @NintendoAmericaI have a feeling gals may answer that question differently then guys...

Website: Nintendo DSi XL

Nintendo 3DS:

On Engadget today I saw an announcement that they caught in press release from Japan: "Nintendo has just slipped out a press release in Japan informing the world that all-new 3D-capable portable hardware is coming, with a full unveiling set for E3 2010 this June. Tentatively titled the 3DS, this glasses-free 3D wonder is pitched as the successor to both the DS and DSi, and will use a "compatible cart" that should ensure backwards compatibility with your vast library of favorites from the older consoles. Nintendo expects to launch the 3DS into retail "during the fiscal year ending March 2011." CLICK OVER to Engadget to see pictures and more details.

3D gaming without the glasses sounds like a good fit for on the go gaming.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post, it is information from press releases and other tech sites.

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January 20, 2010

My Kids Are Awake With Access to Tech, But Pretend Play Is Still King

Kids-technologyThis morning I opened up the New York Times and read the article by Tamar Lewin called "If Your Kids Are Awake, They're Probably Online". Later I saw the New York Times article had made it to Techmeme.

While reading the article I took a moment to look at what my kids were doing. Were my kids using any technology this morning?

So I decided to review the morning's activities: After my 10 year old and twin 6 year old boyBoys-pillow-fights ate breakfast, they went into our living room (affectionately called the "bouncy room" because sofa pillows are used for forts and jumping) for some pretend play before school. They had rolled up paper for swords and were pretending to fend off the "bad guys". A few nerf guns sneaked their way in, but had no bullets so they ended up being a prop as well. When it is was time to leave, my boys put on their little yellow rain boots and rain jackets and went to school.

All of this "pretend play" happened in our house that is full of technology. We have multiple laptops including my 10 year old that has his own laptop, iPod and Nintendo DSi. My twin 6 year olds have Leapfrog moblie gaming units and their older brother's hand me down Nintendo DS's. The TV in our family room may be 10 years old, but it still works great. We have Direct TV DVR's and a Nintendo Wii. We have multiple Nintendo racing, sports and Mario Bros Wii games with lots of accessories and just recently purchased the Tony Hawk Thride game and accessory board. My 10 year old has a simple cell phone that is "Pay as you Go" with no data plan but ample calling and texting. His friends have the Sony Playstation and they enjoy playing Lego Star Wars. We only have one TV in our family room, but multiple computer screens in our house.

The New York Times article "If Your Kids Are Awake, They're Probably Online" brought up some very interesting discussion points about how much time kids are spending on technology each day:

Continue reading "My Kids Are Awake With Access to Tech, But Pretend Play Is Still King" »

September 24, 2009

3 Big Nintendo Announcements: Wii Price Reduced to $199.99, World of Nintendo Sampling Tour and new Mario Bros. Game

Supermario

I had to opportunity to speak with Denise Kaigler, the VP of Corp. Affairs for Nintendo of America on a press call to find out about 3 announcements Nintendo has just made. Here are some key items from the conversation:

  1. Nintendo Wii price decrease: Just in time for holiday shopping, the price of the Nintendo Wii will drop $50 from $250 to $199.99 - effective Sep 27.
  2.  NEW Wii Game out Nov. 15: New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a simultaneous multiplayer game that "offers a combination of cooperation and competition ".
  3. World of Nintendo - Consumer Sampling Tour starting in Oct. and ending in January: Click HERE to see full schedule. The World of Nintendo Consumer Tours are firsthand sampling events that will showcase the diversity and breath of unique product experience. The tour will include Nintendo titles already launched (including the Wii Sports Resort that utilizes the Wii Motion Plus) and new Nintendo products (including the Wii Fit Plus )and is expected to reach 1 million consumers in 35 to 40 markets. The tour will be at different larger venues like Long Beach Comic Con, VGXPO in Philly and Big Apple Comic Con in NYC on Oct 2-Oct 18.

When I asked why Nintendo decided to do the sampling tours Denise Kaigler said "50 million consumers are sitting on sidelines, want to play, but have not been convinced. They are waiting for that reason. Reducing price of the Wii, continuing to come out with fun games and then showcasing these titles will help the consumers experience."

Click HERE to see Press Release included at the bottom of this post:

Continue reading "3 Big Nintendo Announcements: Wii Price Reduced to $199.99, World of Nintendo Sampling Tour and new Mario Bros. Game" »

August 24, 2009

Two New Nintendo Games for DS/DSi: Fossil Fighters and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor_coverWhen it comes to screen time, I enjoy offering kids games that challenge them in different ways.  Two new Nintendo games for the DS/DSi do just that. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box "features a riveting new mystery and more than 150 new brain teasers, riddles and logic puzzles". Fossil Fighters  "incorporates elements of discovery, tactics and strategy as players try to get the best vivosaurs (a type of dinosaur - in the game there are 100 types) on their teams to battle it out on the field." 

Fossilfighter_cover  

Disclosure: I received both games for review. I gave Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box to my chief tester (my 10 yr old son) who has not used it yet because he just came back from camp. My 6 year old twins received Fossil Fighters. One of my twins claimed testing ownership and demonstrated to me how he digs for fossils with the hammer, chip, drill and brush - and Vivosaur battle strategies. My 6 year old was able to understand how to play the game independently and even taught his mother some fossil digging tricks! I receive some Nintendo DS/DSi games as review items but we also buy many on our own...

Fossil Fighter is rated E (Everyone) and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older).

More to come.. The press releases are below.

Continue reading " Two New Nintendo Games for DS/DSi: Fossil Fighters and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box " »

July 09, 2009

Girl (and Mom) Gamers Are On The Rise

Recently I seem to be reading lots about an increase in girl gamers. At SXSW, I went to an interactive panel that discussed getting girls into gaming as a gateway to getting them interested in technology. I also saw that there were lots of activites at SXSW centered around girl gamers.

Today I received information about a NPD study press release that discusses girl gaming is on the rise:

"According to The NPD Group's Gamer Segmentation 2009 report, girl gamers are on the rise.  The study found that females increased by five percentage points to make up 28 percent of console gamers, up from 23 percent in 2008.  This trend can be attributed to the strong sales of titles such as Wii Fit and the recently-introduced EA Sports Active, which allow women to stay active from the comfort of their own homes.  In addition, Wii Sports was very popular among non-traditional gamers, and Nintendo is expecting this momentum to continue with Wii Sports Resort. 

Activision's Guitar Hero and Electronic Arts' Rock Band appeal to young girls who enjoy the interactive nature of the games.  Nintendogs, a puppy simulator and Animal Crossing: City Folk, which allows players to interact with hundreds of animals, are also big with women.  Nintendo will continue to capitalize on this trend with the upcoming launch of Style Savvy this holiday season.  Players become the owner of a clothing boutique, and the game combines creativity and fashion with a collection of trendy clothes, chic accessories and stylish shoes.  In addition, the company regularly hosts Girlfriends’ Guide to Gaming nights, male-free events in cities throughout the country in which young, professional women have the opportunity to experience video games in a social atmosphere.
"

I have seen an increase in my mom friends gaming habits as well in the following areas:

I few weeks ago I went to a press briefing with Nintendo on the new Wii Sports Resort (that has dozen resort-themed activities) and imagine that that game will be used by families for interactive screen time as well.   Wii Sports Resort comes bundled with a Wii MotionPlus - that captures additional movements for more activities (i.e. throwing a frisbee to a dog). Which is really good for me because I told my boys we can't have a pet. So having a frisbee throw with a virtual pet may keep them satisfied for now.

May 12, 2009

Nintedo Press Releases: WiiWare, Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong and eXiteBots

We enjoy using our Wii for screentime fun in our own house. Because my friends know I write about technology, they ask me for information about Wii games. So I decided to add myself to the Nintendo press release site to keep up to date. Here are some recent press releases of interest:

"WiiWare™, the downloadable video game service for Nintendo's Wii™ home console, launched one year ago today. It arrived with a promise to provide a venue for game developers to showcase their ideas, while delivering to consumers the newest, most interesting games available at accessible prices, directly through the Wii Shop Channel in their Wii consoles. With 81 games in its library, WiiWare ensures that there's something for everyone. But beyond quantity, WiiWare offers quality games and experiences for all types of Wii owners.

WiiWare games have been created by more than 40 different development studios, from large companies to small startups. In fact, more than half the games in the WiiWare library were created and self-published by small independent studios, many with five or fewer employees."

Continue reading "Nintedo Press Releases: WiiWare, Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong and eXiteBots " »

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