I hate playing chess. I don't hate the game; in fact it's pure strategy, something I love. But despite years of practice, I still almost never win. And now, it would seem, I have further cause to be pessimistic about my chances of a victory, as even robots made out of Legos are here to beat me.
Observe the video below. That's a huge, 156-square-foot chess board and pieces made entirely out of Lego Mindstorm parts--more than 100,000 of them. It's called Monster Chess, and it's awesome.
The battery-operated, Bluetooth-controlled pieces use downward-facing sensors … Read more
LOS ANGELES--I had to hold back a laugh or two as Electronic Arts' E3 press conference kicked off. Not because of its scale, which was quite large in LA's Orpheum Theater, but because it began with a video of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, EA's latest vehicular "chase or race" title that features rural mountain police driving Bugatti Veyrons.
How a sleepy mountain town's police force got itself a $1.7 million supercar was never really explained. But the hiss of turbo, the wild revving of million-dollar engines, and the road signs that frequently went whipping by in a blur of yellow only made it easier to forget. After all, it's EA's world, and after sitting through enough of the company's trailers you just end up accepting it as its own form of reality.
As the video transitioned into a live demo of Hot Pursuit, EA's Craig Sullivan desperately tried to catch up with the bad guy in a Lamborghini Gallardo, who was eventually flipped, totaled, and presumably still alive, despite the epic slow motion crash sequence that sent bits of the car showering toward the camera. In other words, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to happen when you mess with the boys in blue--and their car with tires that cost $25,000.
The pomp and circumstance of the event came just two hours after Microsoft had unveiled a smaller, more feature packed Xbox 360 hardware, and demoed a handful of motion-controlled games that will run on the Kinect platform. EA followed suite, showing off its Active series, which has been designed to get gamers off the couch by turning exercise into a series of mini-games.
The new version of Active (called simply Active 2) comes out in November and works on all three major consoles. However, on stage it seemed to have the best showing on the Xbox 360, which was using a Kinect unit to track the demo player's body movements. The players using Sony's PlayStation 3 and Wii, on the other hand, had to have sensors attached to various parts of their bodies--and even then, the movement looked a little artificial when rendered back on screen.
Casual fitness games were not what stole the show though. Ultimately what got the most applause were… Read more
Comprised of hundreds of LEDs that are physically linked with polished brass and electronically linked by micro controllers, Swarm Light takes audio visualization into the real world using three 3D grids of lights.
Interactivity is based around embedded microphones that pick up nearby sounds. The audio is processed in real time by software and transformed into corresponding light animations that float above you like swarms of choreographed fireflies. The … Read more
Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET editors Daniel Terdiman and Josh Lowensohn. For those of you who just want the updates, we've included them in regular text here.
Ready to get your E3 news fix? CNET is there, live in Los Angeles, to cover the biggest show in videogaming. We'll be using Cover it Live to bring you photos and news as it happens at each of the big three's press conferences.
First up is Microsoft. The company teased its newly named Kinect peripheral (formerly known as Project Natal) at a Sunday night launch party, and we expect it to remain a focal point at today's press conference (10:30 a.m. PDT/1:30 p.m. EDT).
10:09 a.m. PDT: Good morning, everyone. We're here at the Microsoft Xbox 360 E3 press conference. Everyone's still filing in, so it will be a little while before this thing gets going. So please stay tuned.
10:10 a.m. (from reader TyFrank): How many people are at this press conference?
10:11 a.m.: It's hard to say how many people are here, but I'd say right now there are probably about 2,000...And I can't see the upstairs seating. So probably half again that many. … Read more
The magazine, you see, has helpfully published an analysis of the World Cup, written by a man for whom numbers say so much. You might experience conflict with your potato chips when I tell you that the University of Salford has an Economics of Gambling degree … Read more
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) celebrates its 15th anniversary next week, and to kick it all off Microsoft is holding an entire event on Sunday evening just for its Natal gaming peripheral. That in itself is quite telling, considering Microsoft is spending another few hours the next day with its "real" E3 press event.
So what's the big deal with Natal? Well, in short, it's a big adrenaline shot going into the heart of the Xbox 360 at a time when consoles of yesteryear would be close to obsolescence. The once-standard, four- to five-year cycle for consoles has given way to the 10-year cycle--something Sony pioneered with the PlayStation 2, which remains the best-selling console of all time, and is still having new games made for it.
This new, 10-year cycle ends up benefiting hardware makers who are able to develop cheaper, better hardware; developers who can more easily create games that fully utilize the system hardware; and end users who can stick with the same platform and not have to worry about having to upgrade. This last part though, is where Natal comes in. Just two months ago Microsoft announced that it had sold a total of 40 million Xbox 360s worldwide, but more recent numbers from the NPD Group show that to be slowing. Part of that, no doubt, is due to a price cut and redesign of the PlayStation 3 system from Sonyin August that has brought a resurgence in sales.
The answer to any waning interest then is Natal, which promises to bring an entirely new gaming experiences to both a platform and hardware that's nearing its fifth birthday. In short, it may be just be a fancy video camera, but it represents the direction Microsoft intends to take the console for the next four (or more) years.
Let's take a look at some of the things Natal is bringing to the Xbox platform: … Read more
Those who worry that violent video games are dangerous for all youths may want to hear what researchers had to say in a recent journal from the American Psychological Association.
According to the Review of General Psychology, the Texas A&M researchers examined 118 teens and found violent video games are actually quite safe for most youths to play. The only youths who shouldn't play violent video games, researchers found, are those who tend to be "highly neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious." Those who didn't posses those personality traits were not adversely affected by … Read more
Although Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello believes 3D gaming "is a truly wonderful thing," he doesn't think that it will make a real impact on the industry until 2011 or 2012.
"I think before you see a revolution, you have to have an army," Riccitiello told Industry Gamers in a recent interview. "And right now, there's like 12 people in America with 3D television sets. And they're not exactly an army."
Riccitiello, who recently had the chance to play a 3D game EA has slated for release in its 2012 fiscal … Read more
Linden Lab, the San Francisco-based company that manufactures virtual world Second Life, announced on Wednesday that it's going through a "strategic restructuring" that will see about 30 percent of its employees laid off. The company is combining its engineering and product divisions into a single unit, among a few other structural modifications like an overhaul of Linden Lab's customer service team.
"We've emerged from a two-year investment period during which, among other things, we've spent a considerable amount of time improving reliability and the overall user experience," said CEO Mark Kingdon, who … Read more
NEW YORK--"But I'm not famous!" one woman protested as she walked past the bouncer of the massive Chelsea nightclub Marquee on Tuesday night, only to be asked by ubiquitous party photographer Nick McGlynn if she might pose for a photograph on the step-and-repeat--the entertainment-industry term for that red-carpet setup with a backdrop featuring the logos of party sponsors.
"You don't have to be famous!" the ebullient McGlynn, a former Gawker Media video staffer who now runs a photography business called Random Night Out, responded. "Everyone's famous!"