As we approach the longest break we get here at CNET, I'm preparing to head off for my annual journey to England to stay with the in-laws. These trips are marked by long, quiet afternoons in the countryside, and it's usually when I break out some portable games I've been stowing away all year.
You may have recently gotten or are planning to get one of the three big handheld game systems: the Nintendo DS, the PSP, or an iPhone/iPod Touch (yes, it deserves to be called a game system now). You may be wondering about a few good games to take with you. Well, I happen to own all three, and these are my recommendations. Feel free to take this little cheat sheet along.
Nintendo DS The DS actually comes in two versios: the DS Lite and the DSi. One has a Game Boy Advance cartridge slot, and the other can download minigames from Nintendo's DSiWare shop. Both can play Nintendo's tremendous collection of DS cartridges. For lovers of touch-screen puzzle games and lengthy adventures, or those who want family-friendly entertainment, the DS is perfect for you. Top games this holiday:The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks or Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: a new Zelda adventure that's perfect for fans of the series, and a Mario role-playing adventure with a goofy style. Either one is perfect for long plane rides and snowed-in cabins. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box: the Layton sequel has dozens of brainteasers and a relaxed pace. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: it came out back in March, but if you haven't played it, you must do so immediately. And, chances are, you still haven't unlocked everything in it yet. Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes: we hadn't even heard of this game until recently, but if you loved Puzzle Quest or enjoy adventure games with puzzle strategy, get this. If you have a DS Lite: save a few bucks and shop bargain bins for some used GBA titles like Super Mario 3. If you have a DSi: download some of Nintendo's excellent Art Style puzzles, or try one of the bizarre Electroplankton musical art-toys.… Read more
In many ways, 2009 seems to be the year download-only games hit their stride. Between the iPhone and iPod Touch dominating the portable market with the ever-growing App Store; the release of the completely disc-free PSP Go; and the Nintendo DSi--which also can download games from an online store--portable gaming has started to move beyond the cartridge and disc. Even in home consoles, there's been a continuing focus on lower-cost downloadable games and DLC sold on Sony's PSN, Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, and the Nintendo Wii's WiiWare as alternatives to pricier disc-based titles.
While download-only … Read more
While there's no shortage of handheld game systems on the market--the Nintendo DS and DSi are still selling well and the PSP continues to hang in there, while the App Store expands its catalog every minute--one of the seemingly no-brainer bets in the mobile gaming realm hasn't happened yet: the Zune.
We say "no brainer" for several reasons:Microsoft has a successful gaming platform in the Xbox 360, emphasizing online and downloadable gaming. Microsoft, compared with Sony and Nintendo, is best able to take on Apple in terms of a media-management software store and the ability to build an equivalent music/games/movies catalog, and making that product PC compatible. The Zune HD now plays games.
The first point is obvious. The second is debatable, but we say this because Sony, while having a decent media library on PSN, just isn't historically great at building cross-platform software for syncing the PSP, and Microsoft's global software reach is simply stronger. The third is technically true--Microsoft launched a small collection of completely free-to-play, ad-supported games for its OLED-screened Zune HD last month, and one of them happens to be an adaptation of Project Gotham Racing.
It's an interesting prospect (and one we've wondered about before) because the Zune HD processor, an Nvidia Tegra, has both HD processing muscle and 3D graphics capability. We downloaded and played with all the Zune HD games currently available--all 12 of them--with some curiosity to see if the Zune could compete as a game device. … Read more
Clearly the most notable detail about the PSP Go is the omission of a UMD drive. With Sony opting for a digital-only device, veteran PSP users with UMD discs don't really have much of a reason to upgrade.
From Joystiq comes a rumor that Logitech is developing a UMD add-on drive for the PSP Go. To us, this just reinforces the fact that a PSP Go owner who wants a UMD drive should have bought a cheaper PSP-3000 to begin with. This would just defeat the whole purpose of having a digital-only device.
So let's just get this … Read more
Why the long Face...book? A woman battling depression put some pictures of herself having fun privately on Facebook. Somehow the insurance company found them and cut off her benefits saying she looked happy enough and must be cured. Really? We also get further impressions on Google's Chrome OSD now that we've had more time with it, and YouTube pulls a Hulu, but not in the good way.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1111
Sure, October impressed us with some top-notch video game releases, but historically November has always delivered some of the most anticipated titles of the year. This November is no different, and as 2009 goes out with a bang, we highlight 11 of our top picks for the month.
RPG fans are set for the rest of the year as Dragon Age: Origins has already dazzled us with its thrilling story and addictive gameplay. God of War fans will be pleased to know that both original PS2 games will get the HD treatment on November 17 in God of War Collection. … Read more
While Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS received critical acclaim across the board, the game didn't necessarily sell as well as it should have. Rockstar Games chose to bring the title over to the PSP, and with it, a complete graphical revamp.
We've had the final version of the game for some time now and here are our thoughts:
Jeff: I wish Rockstar Games would take the viewing angle from Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and go back and apply it to the first two GTA games on the system; that's how fantastic of a gameplay experience it provides. Chinatown Wars is by far the best GTA game available on the system because it abandons the ground-level viewing angle that was present in the first two games. From here on out, we think every portable GTA title should control like this.… Read more
First, apologies for the song that will be stuck in your head for at least a week. Blame the chat room. In the news today, the T-Mobile Sidekick outage, the ongoing Facebook outage, the IBM outage that briefly crippled Air New Zealand, and the unbelievable failure that is the PSP Go launch. It's a fun show.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1082
T-Mobile: We probably lost all your Sidekick data http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/10/t-mobile-we-probably-lost-all-your-sidekick-data/ http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10372521-1.html http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10372525-56.htm … Read more