The Game Guy

Pokémon symphony comes to life at Heinz Hall

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 01:30 AM Written by

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(Photo Credit: Jeron Moore)

 

Video games and symphony came together on Saturday for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions at Heinz Hall. Princeton Entertainment and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra showcased music from the “Pokémon” series beginning with “Red” and “Green” for the original GameBoy, and working through each generation to “X” and “Y” for the 3DS.

 

This is not the first time the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has played songs from beloved video game soundtracks. Producer Jeron Moore and composer Chad Seiter tapped them in 2013 and 2012 for the Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour. Pittsburgh was just the third stop of the Pokémon tour, with more tour dates and locations being announced in the near future.

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Opinion: The New 3DS deserves a power cord

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 03:30 AM Written by

3DSConsumers deserve better. They also deserve a power cord. Nintendo finally announced the long awaited New 3DS (that's the actual name) for North American markets today. The new device, which will hit stores on February 13, will have a faster processor and an extra control stick that will enhance gameplay. But the package has one peculiar omission. It doesn’t come with an AC adapter.

 

It’s not that the updated 3DS has a nifty new gadget that that replaces the conventional power cord. There is literally no way to charge the device’s battery right out of the box. It requires the same power cord that has charged Nintendo handhelds since the DSi released in 2009. Users will have to hold onto a charger from an old DSi or 3DS. If this is a consumer’s first 3DS system, however, he or she will have to buy a charger separately.

 

As outrageous as this news sounds, Nintendo has been getting away with this practice elsewhere in markets outside of the U.S. for some time. The video game manufacturer sold its 3DS XL in Japan without the power cord.

 

How essential is a power cord for something like the New 3DS? Every handheld owner will quickly tell you that it’s as essential as a charger is for any other electronic device. It’s completely and totally necessary. There’s no way around it. But the real question is, “how essential is it to package a power cord with the New 3DS?”

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TwitchSo you want to play video games while dozens, or perhaps hundreds, or perhaps thousands (!) watch you live? I must admit that it’s an attractive proposition. The idea of being on a live stage while introducing video games to the masses is an intriguing one for anyone who wants to be a content creator

 

But where do you even begin? Maybe you got a new PS4 or Xbox One during the holiday deals. Maybe you’re kicking around the idea of picking up a capture card. There are a lot of different ways to get a polished streaming channel up and running. Some of these avenues are simple, while others are more complex. It all depends on how seriously you want to take the experience. All those avenues begin at Twitch.

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FC4What’s it like to be a stranger in a strange land; to be in a place where both culture and nature are working toward your demise? The “Far Cry” series has always attempted to shed light on this question. It’s one of the rare series that is able to take an earthly environment and make it seem otherworldly.


Ajay is a young American who travels to fulfill his mother’s final wish. She wished for her ashes to be laid to rest in her home country of Kyrat, a fictional mountain country in the Himalayas. What begins as a routine trip to a foreign land quickly spirals out of control, and Ajay finds himself on the front lines of a brutal civil war. It’s the rebels versus Pagan Min, a ruthless dictator who keeps the poor oppressed and kills anyone who opposes him.


Upon arriving in Kyrat, Ajay learns of a bond between himself and Min. Min and Ajay’s mother have a history; one that Ajay will learn more of as the story in Kyrat unfolds.

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Smashcover

The following review has been updated as of 11/21/14 to include a review of online features in "Super Smash Bros." for Wii U. Online features went live at 12:00 a.m. on 11/21/2014.

 

Mario jumps on turtles. Donkey Kong collects bananas and plays bongos. Samus hunts space pirates, and Link is a sword-swinging adventurer. What would happen if you threw this ragtag group into a battle arena along with the rest of Nintendo’s deep bench of characters? The result is the “Super Smash Bros.” series; one of the company’s most successful and beloved franchises.


It has been almost seven years since the release of “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Wii. The new “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U has some serious hype to live up to, and it’s never easy for a game like this one to please its broad audience. It has to wear many different hats. A “Smash Bros.” title has to please the competitive crowd, while being a fun party game for friends. It also has to attract newcomers to the series. There are few games that can pull off this tall task, but “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U just might be up for the challenge.

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LBPcoverWhat is the defining characteristic of the “LittleBigPlanet” series? Most would say it’s the creativity that the game unlocks, or the ability to let imagination run free. While that’s not wrong, I would argue in favor of its charm. “LittleBigPlanet” has always had an intoxicating charm to its stitchwork worlds and characters that keep an everpresent smile plastered on my face.

 

The fourth game in the series, “LittleBigPlanet 3,” is no exception. New developers to the series xDEV and Sumo Digital have kept that charm intact while adding some new wrinkles to the story and gameplay. The series’ structure of running, jumping and typical tomfoolery is all there. While I still believe the Vita’s “LittleBigPlanet” is still the best game in the series, “LittleBigPlanet 3” is a close runner up.

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HaloCover2

The following review has been updated to include impressions of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s” online matchmaking offerings. Find the update at the end of the review.

 

 

What comes to mind when you think of “Halo”? It probably depends on which “Halo” game you’re considering. Each core game of the series ruled its own era, and influenced the entire video game medium in different ways.

 

“Halo: Combat Evolved” proved that it was possible to bring a high level competitive shooter to consoles in a time ruled by PCs. “Halo 2” defined Microsoft’s Xbox Live service as one of the premier gaming services available. “Halo 3” added to that groundwork and helped define the Xbox 360 era.

 

It’s hard to find another series that was or is as culturally significant as “Halo.” To celebrate its long list of achievements, Microsoft and 343 Industries are releasing an unprecedented compilation of all four games featuring the legendary protagonist, Master Chief, on the Xbox One. Since this is new hardware handling old games, each game received its own facelift for the new generation.

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It happens every year at this time. In a span of three months that make up the holiday season, the video game industry has its biggest and busiest time of year. Publishers try to cram their heavy hitters into release dates between October and December. Unless you have an endless supply of cash lying around, you have to make the tough decision of what games deserve your money.

This year seems like a landmark holiday season with releases with huge titles like “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U, and “Sunset Overdrive” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” for the Xbox One. But it’s easy to forget just how packed every fourth quarter can be. I looked back to 2010 and each year in between to see what major releases hit shelves between October and December. Which year took the biggest toll on your wallet?

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