Jasmine picks up the slack on Donald's sick day and gets fab producer Jason Howell and "huge" CNET Labs editor Eric Franklin to co-host the latest Crave podcast. We scoured Crave to bring you only the best gems, and this week, we came up with a luxurious $15K speaker from Bowers & Wilkes, some Twitter-friendly dairy cows, a gadget porn crackdown, and the latest Japanese auto innovation. Also, no Crave podcast would be complete without a little something gross to cap it off. Tune in to find out what.Subscribe in iTunes SD Video | Subscribe in RSS SD Video… Read more
Remember the Novophone, that nifty retro handset that plugs into your iPhone for old-school, crook-of-the-neck gab-fests? It was cool, but it was only half the picture.
The iRetrofone completes it, combining a similar corded handset with a big, black, 50s-style base. It looks like something right out of a Humphrey Bogart movie, one with private eyes, dangerous dames, and a big old office desk.
As you can no doubt guess from the photo, the iRetrofone is essentially an iPhone dock. You plug an included cord into the audio jack, connect your existing sync cable to the dock connector (too bad … Read more
I'm always jealous when I see that a friend's laundry room has a sink in addition to a washer and dryer. But getting a sink into the laundry room that doesn't already have the necessary plumbing is an expensive hassle. Which is why this retro-style washing machine with an integrated sink from Smeg is so brilliant. Also, it's pink, and super cute.
With an 11-pound capacity, this machine is smaller than we're used to seeing here in the States, but it's a standard size in Europe.
And by the way, don't let the '… Read more
The year: 1983. I was headed to sleepaway camp at Camp Na-Sho-Pa in upstate New York. "Return of the Jedi" and "Krull" were the big movies that summer. As I got my books and toys packed for weeks in the humid isolation of cabins in the middle of the woods near Bloomingburg, I made sure to take the one portable game system I had at my disposal. Or, rather, two. I packed my Game & Watch collection delicately--they used to cost a whole $20 each--and made sure the watch batteries they took were fresh.
Before the PSP, the Nintendo DS, the TurboExpress, Game Gear, Atari Lynx, or even the Game Boy, there was Game & Watch, Nintendo's first handheld game franchise. The portable LCD games were compact, took watch batteries, told the time--hence "Game & Watch"--and only played one game per unit. This was an age when an LCD game was made by cutting out a series of silhouettes across an LCD screen, which would ping on and off to create animation of a crude sort. Nintendo wasn't the only company to make these types of handheld games, but it was the one that made the very best.
It's fascinating how closely the Nintendo DS design matches the look of those old Game & Watch dual-screen models. It's no accident: the classic Nintendo crosspad was born on these units, and the DS is really the latest step in the Game & Watch evolution.
Pinball was a cherished classic of mine. Dual screens created a long pinball table, and though the ball leaped from spot to spot with bleeps and blips, the overall feel was convincing and better than anything else that existed. Other arcade games, like Donkey Kong Jr., actually created levels out of little moving LCD-block platforms that Donkey Kong could hop over. Some parts of the screen, such as vines to climb on, were actually painted on parts of the background, adding bits of color to what was otherwise a black-and-silver affair.
I remember sinking untold hours into these simple games, which couldn't even be saved or paused. Each game also came with an "A" or "B" mode, which ratcheted up difficulty and tended to throw an additional challenge in the mix.
Nintendo revisited Game & Watch with several collections on the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, as well as two collectors' edition DS games available to members of Club Nintendo. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of the hardest characters to unlock is "Mr. Game & Watch," an LCD stick-man who jerkily moves through an arena that's a montage of the old LCD games. On the iPhone, a few well-made Game & Watch rip-offs were released and promptly removed.… Read more
The first time I saw the Novophone, I laughed. Then I mocked. Then I got a little thirsty. Finally, after thinking about it for a while, I started to develop some genuine interest in the thing. Desire, even. Is it crazy, or am I?
As you can tell from the photo, the Novophone is a handset--a full-size, old-fashioned, haven't-seen-one-since-the-'80s corded handset.
Just plug it into your cell phone, then enjoy a trip down Nostalgia Lane as you cradle it comfortably on your shoulder, stretch and twirl the coiled cord, roll around on the couch, and tell your BFF … Read more
Games on the Wii aren't always pretty. In fact, the Wii tends to celebrate the old, the retro, the kitschy throwback titles so often seen on the Virtual Console. The Wii isn't capable of HD, and its graphics aren't in the same ballpark as the those of Xbox 360 and PS3.
This is why we're often excited by original Wii games that, rather than try to replicate what higher-octane HD gaming systems such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 are doing, instead branch off and lay claim to the Wii's unique qualities. Ubisoft's No More Heroes franchise is a classic example of this, but is the newly released sequel also a good game?
Scott: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a sequel to the equally bizarre original designed by Suda 51, an artist/designer known for an aesthetic in gaming that's as much about artsy statement as it is about "fun gaming." As the game's ridiculous, murderous hero Travis Touchdown, you're off to compete in a repetitive series of boss battles against psychopathic killer-heroes in an attempt to be the No. 1. Each mission tends to consist of a very linear journey through subvillains on the way to this boss attack, and the game's 3D look is angular and even ugly at times. This is deliberate: in fact, No More Heroes 2 is almost a celebration of old-school gaming, down to its Nintendo Entertainment System-era minigames, scratchy, degraded-looking cut scenes, and 8-bit sound effects.
Does the game make sense? No, it's madness. You give your cat a workout in one series of games, and can spend time playing a disturbingly sexual arcade shooter on your character's living-room TV, all of which seems like it's parodying the ridiculousness of "real-world" games like Grand Theft Auto.
Assassination missions are given to you by a big-busted hostess, and the adolescent sexual fantasies and toilet-based waypoints are simultaneously juvenile and funny. The blood-soaked nunchuck-based attack moves, combining motion controller moves with button-mashing, are trigger-quick and satisfying. Ammo upgrades and other unlockables are weird and somewhat useless, but that's what this game is largely about: celebrating the absurdity of video games.
Though the main adventure is on the short side, the library of 8-bit retro minigames are a great bunch of fun as well. It's ugly, it's messy, but No More Heroes 2 is also inspired. Just make sure, no matter what, that you rent or play this game before buying.
Jeff: No More Heroes 2 is certainly one of the Wii's most ambitious franchises. From an aesthetic point of view, it's a visual gem, pushing the hardware limits of the Wii. As an action game, it controls well and provides a solid challenge for any fan of the genre. There's no doubt we love No More Heroes 2; we're just not sure it's accessible enough beyond being the "artsy film" of gaming.… Read more
All that talk of fancy 3D TVs making you long for your simple old analog set? LG is out with a bulky, retro-styled set that features rabbit ears, detachable chrome legs, and functional knobs for changing the channel and volume. You can even switch between full-color, black-and-white, and sepia modes.
But the glossy orange 14-inch set doesn't just look like it belongs in a living room on "That '70s Show"; it uses trusty old cathode ray tube, or CRT, technology with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
The LG Serie 1 Retro Classic TV does have some modern … Read more
You may have already checked it out, but for my last iPhone app post of 2009, I listed most of my favorite games of the year. I tried to have something for everyone and I think it went over pretty well, but I didn't get everything. At the end of the post, I asked if anyone caught any glaring omissions and readers were quick to remind me of some of the best games last year and also tipped me off to a few I never had the chance to check out.
For my first few posts of 2010, I … Read more
LAS VEGAS--DigitTronics demonstrated its RCX4 Star Stryker radio-controlled helicopter to the delight of "Star Wars" fans at CES 2010.
Priced at $399, with a $299 sale price for CES attendees, the Star Stryker includes a quad motor layout with control for lift, cycle, and yaw. The helicopter comes with a custom-fit case, a 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio controller, and is already assembled.
Of course, Lucasfilm's lawyer team is probably drafting their cease-and-desist letter as we speak, so grab one while you can. At least we'll always have the photo gallery, right?
No word on when … Read more
A California-based design studio has dreamed up a deliciously retro desktop PC that looks like it came from the set of midcentury sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet." The Philco PC from SchultzeWorks pays homage to an iconic brand of TV marketed in the late '50s, the Philco Predicta.
The hep PC won top-three placement in a design contest, according to SchultzeWorks. It was designed with Rhino modeling software.
The Philco Predicta was revolutionary for its time but suffered from poor picture quality. It featured a sculpted CRT separated from the receiver chassis and was marketed under the slogan "TV today from the world of tomorrow." Predictas sold well when launched in 1958, but color sets outsold them, and by 1962 Philco was bankrupt. Today, Telstar Electronics makes replica Predictas with color screens.
In styling his Eisenhower computer, Dave Schultze also drew upon antique typewriters for the keyboard design, as well as steampunk objects. He also seems to have been motivated by bland PC design in general, remarking that "most computers are engineered eyesores."
There's no word yet on whether anyone will actually make the Philco PC. For a closeup look at the concept, check out the promo video after the jump. … Read more