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  I Held It in My Hands  
Posted 2004-11-25 by Tony Walsh
And it was a brick. The Nintendo DS is every bit as clunky as I knew it would be. It's about 50% bigger than an iPod, and heavier. It's almost as big as the original Game Boy, which is unacceptable in this era of teeny tiny electronics. Because the DS is so big and heavy, you are almost guaranteed to destroy it by accidentally dropping it, unlike the lightweight Game Boy Advance SP which can survive similar impacts.

In addition to its heft, the DS is also edgy. But not "edgy-cute" or "edgy-hip." Edgy with edges and corners. It does not sit well in the hands. The bottom two corners poke evilly into your palms, as if scorning you for buying such an ill-conceived piece of hardware.

Continue reading: I Held It in My Hands
  Nintendo DS Launches Like a Brick  
Posted 2004-11-22 by Tony Walsh
Like a brick launched from a rail-gun, the Nintendo DS handheld game console is making shockwaves across the consumer landscape. Personally, I'm standing by my pre-launch supposition that the DS is pure idiocy in action--technology for technology's sake, and the manifestation of Nintendo's desperate attempt to get something new on the market for the holidays.

Electronics-vendor Lik Sang has cracked open one of their much-coveted DS boxes, and provides a rundown of their impressions as well as product-shots.

Based on what I've read at Lik Sang, and elsewhere, here are my impressions...

Continue reading: Nintendo DS Launches Like a Brick
  Gaming:  Bad for the Knees  
Posted 2004-11-02 by Tony Walsh
Fitness and gaming go together like peanut butter and anchovies, unless you count Dance Dance Revolution, which isn't so much a fitness game as it is a heart-attack game. Charles Van Noland hopes to get gamers off their collective lard-asses with his FPGamerunner invention. The device merges treadmill and gamepad, improving cardiovascular activity while potentially contributing to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Says the official press release: "Steering is natural with handlebars, a throttle handle to look up and down, and control buttons are arranged for thumb and forefinger access. It folds compactly away when not in use, and uses a USB cord, for quick plug and play."

A pic of the device follows...

Continue reading: Gaming:  Bad for the Knees
  Fabulous Pink Game Boy  
Posted 2004-10-26 by Tony Walsh
I don't know what's more gay: A pink Game Boy Advance SP, or a Diesel-branded pink suede belt made for carrying the perky little handheld game unit. Despite the obvious potential for catering to the fabulous community, Nintendo is gunning for young girls here.

According to Nintendo Europe, the GBA has been "seeded" among influential divas prior tp its UK launch. "Nintendo is hoping endorsement will help the Game Boy Advance SP Limited Pink Edition to take its place as the essential must have item for girls. A-list celebrities including Kate Moss, Rachel Stevens, Girls Aloud, Katy Hill, Holly Willoughby, Liberty X and Keira Knightly are already well-known fans of the sleek and stylish console." Ah, but are they fans of the pink sleek and stylish console?
  Nintendo DS Downloads  
Posted 2004-10-08 by Tony Walsh
Well, blow me down. The forthcoming Nintendo DS, which employs wireless local networking to facilitate multiplayer games and chat, will also be able to download content. CNET reports that only one game cartridge will be needed for multiplayer enjoyment since the data is shared between handheld consoles. DS owners will also be able to download demo games and extra content from specific locations, such as at designated theatres showing the next Pokemon movie. Will we see pay-per-downloads or "blank" cartridges for storing media in the future?

Despite the bizarre dual-screen layout and the PDA-like stylus (which you're guaranteed to lose), the fact that the DS can download content is impressive. This, combined with a relatively low price tag and purported backwards-compatibility with previous Game Boy carts, adds up to a tough battle for Sony's PSP.
  GBA SP Canadian Price Drop  
Posted 2004-09-01 by Tony Walsh
Canadians can now snag a Game Boy Advance SP for under a hundred bucks. Plus tax. Plus a game. Plus headphones. The handheld console now goes for $99.95, which is forty bucks less than its previous price and indicates that Nintendo is creating a two-tiered sales plan for the upcoming winter holidays. The Nintendo DS will be at the higher end of the scale, whereas the GBA SP is nearly at "budgetware" levels.
  Filling Up on Adverts  
Posted 2004-06-01 by Tony Walsh
During my commute yesterday I noticed a local gas station has installed LCD screens at eye level on each one of its pumps. The screens play full-motion video advertisements. Doubtless the marketers behind this believe they're doing the public a favour. The same argument was used for placing ad posters at eye level above urinals in men's washrooms around Toronto: "Hey, we've got a captive audience while the liquid's flowing." While print ads at least give a guy something to focus on besides his wang, I'm not sure there's any consumer value to gas-station video ads.

Continue reading: Filling Up on Adverts
  Playstation Portable Specs  
Posted 2004-05-11 by Tony Walsh
Sony's Game Boy killer has been officially announced. The PSP might not be a great handful, but the specs are pretty impressive. From the press release:

PSP comes in a black color, with a 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD centered in a sleek ergonomic design with a high-quality finish that fits comfortably in the hands. The dimensions are 170mm x 74mm x 23mm with a weight of 260g. PSP features a high-quality TFT LCD that displays full color (16.77 million colors) on a 480 x 272 pixel high-resolution screen. It also comes complete with the basic functions of a portable player such as built-in stereo speakers, exterior headphone connector, brightness control and sound mode selection. Keys and controls inherit the same operability of PlayStation and PlayStation 2, familiar to fans all over the world.

Continue reading: Playstation Portable Specs
  Sims Street Cred?  
Posted 2004-04-23 by Tony Walsh
Gigantor game maker Electronic Arts has announced the working title of a new style of Sims game: Urbz takes The Sims out of the `burbs, and puts the little people in the big city, "...where reputation (rep) is everything." [press release] Dude, if you don't know what "rep" is, you're going to suck so bad at this game.

Urbz, which will be previewed at E3 and debut in the fall, will be available for all three major consoles and the Game Boy Advance. The game is said to be "...built on an all-new graphics engine that recreates the essence of living in a vibrant city with distinct districts inhabited by Urbz with unique lifestyles." What this means exactly remains to be seen, but I guarantee it's set to a hip-hop soundtrack.
  Sony PSP: Handful of Candy  
Posted 2004-03-26 by Tony Walsh
Sony's upcoming PSP handheld device can play movies, MP3s, and of course, games.'s Game Over column muses over the powerful punch the PSP could pack. Included in the column is the first image I've seen of the handheld. The lozenge-shaped PSP looks very unfriendly on the hands, and without a cover, that big fat screen is aching to get scratched up. If my Game Boy Advance is any indication of the beating a handheld game console takes, there'd better be some decent "sleeves" or something for this.

The PSP's graphics are said to be comparable to those of the PS2, which for me is not really a selling point. I like the crisp, cute little graphics on the GBA-- if I wanted high-quality 3D, I'd fire up the PS2. To me, it seems the PSP is too big for its britches, but I fancy its chances over the Nintendo DS, even with the PSP's lousy-looking form-factor.

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