Turtle Beach releasing entry-level Ear Force NLa, N11 stereo headsets for the Wii U faithful

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Turtle Beach, the company that builds high-end audio gear for gamers immaterial of their bank balance is pushing out a pair of headsets for Nintendo's latest baby. The Ear Force NLa is an entry-level headset that's been customized to work with the Wii U GamePad, while the EarForce N11 is a little more serious -- with angled 50mm speakers with extended bass. Both units are also compatible with the company's DS and 3DS handhelds and will arrive in Q4 of this year, with the NLa setting you back $35 and the N11 a marginally heftier $50.

Update: We've also heard that the NLa will be available in the UK in November, costing £40, while the N11 arrives in early 2013.

Continue reading Turtle Beach releasing entry-level Ear Force NLa, N11 stereo headsets for the Wii U faithful

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Turtle Beach releasing entry-level Ear Force NLa, N11 stereo headsets for the Wii U faithful originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NPD: Xbox 360 ruled a steadily declining video game empire in July

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Microsoft must sometimes feel like its lead in the game market is a Pyrrhic victory. The Xbox 360 once again topped the NPD Group's hardware charts in July, claiming a near-majority 49 percent market share of consoles -- but the 203,000 units sold were a steep drop from the 257,000 units that traded hands in June, and a far cry from the glory days that would have given a victory more meaning. Nintendo and Sony haven't shared their own figures, although the analyst group notes that only Nintendo's 3DS and DSi had any kind of increase in the month. The industry as a whole was unmistakably feeling the combined effects of the pre-holiday doldrums and a console generation that's long in the tooth: hardware revenue was down 32 percent in the month to $150.7 million, while the games in question saw revenue dip 23 percent to $260.7 million. If you need a culprit, earlier reports for the second quarter had credited similar shifts to sales of physical game copies declining faster than digital sales could replace them. Hope remains in the usual fall spike; even so, the July figures suggest the big three platforms might be living on borrowed time.

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NPD: Xbox 360 ruled a steadily declining video game empire in July originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:26:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nintendo DSi gets Matte Red and Matte Blue finishes, shrugs off sunshine glare

Nintendo DSi gets Matte Red and Matte Blue finishes, shrugs off sunshine glare

If glossy handhelds covered in fingerprint mess aren't your thing, then Nintendo's recently-announced matte finish DSi consoles might appeal. The games maker took to Twitter to announce that both the red and blue options could arrive in stores by the end of this week -- presumably with that tempting $100 price tag. However, if you're holding out for some extra-large 3D gaming, there's still a few weeks to go.

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Nintendo DSi gets Matte Red and Matte Blue finishes, shrugs off sunshine glare originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 01 Aug 2012 17:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Joystiq  |  sourceNintendo America (Twitter)  | Email this | Comments

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Nintendo announces $199 3DS XL with 4.88-inch top screen, available August 19th

Nintendo announces extra large 3DS LL with 488inch top screen

Folks holding their breath for a "3DS Lite" might want to exhale -- Nintendo has decided to go a different route. Company head honcho Satoru Iwata revealed the 3DS LL this evening on Nintendo Direct, featuring a 4.88-inch and 4.18-inch top and bottom screens, respectively. The new hardware adds over an inch to the current 3DS' display, and ships with a 4GB SD card, to boot. The oversized handheld doesn't adopt the Circle Pad Pro's second analog input, however, retaining just a single thumbpad on the console's port side. Japanese gamers will be able to pick up a 3DS LL in white, as well as in two-tone red / black or silver / white on July 28th for ¥18,900 (about $235). In the US, of course, the handheld will be rebranded as the 3DS XL, just like its predecessor's supersized variant, hitting Yankee shores (in red and blue, no less) on August 19th for $200.

Nintendo announces $199 3DS XL with 4.88-inch top screen, available August 19th originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 21 Jun 2012 23:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Puzzle Quest: a role-playing gem

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This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity.
Puzzle Quest a roleplaying gem
Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords is one most inspiring role-playing games of recent years. It tends to fall out of the conversation compared to more traditional, big-budget fare like Skyrim, Dragon Age, The Witcher, or Fallout. But that's to be expected - big money means big marketing and more discussion. But while the blockbuster games can be great, but so can the surprising little games.

This is part of what made Puzzle Quest so exciting - there would have been no expectation that a small, (initially) handheld hybrid puzzle game would be something special. As an underdog story, it's compelling to see such a game have such success, spawning ports, sequels, and spinoffs. As a long-time PC gamer, I also enjoyed watching the world of Warlords III depicted in a surprising new fashion. And, of course, the game itself is excellent.

But those aren't the main reason that Puzzle Quest is worth examining for this column. That would be its combat system, a form of Bejeweled-style, "Match Three" puzzle gameplay. This use of puzzle-based, abstract combat created a new dimension of role-playing combat. Traditional models of tactical, or hybrid real-time/turn-based, or action-style systems didn't apply to Puzzle Quest. It was both something new, and, by following Bejeweled, something already respected and comfortable.

Continue reading Puzzle Quest: a role-playing gem

JoystiqPuzzle Quest: a role-playing gem originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 15 Jun 2012 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nintendo may have supersized 3DS with 4.3-inch screen in store for E3, Mario never looked bigger (update: Nintendo response)

Nintendo may have supersized 3DS with 43inch screen in store for E3, Mario never looked bigger

Nintendo might have more up its E3 sleeve than just final Wii U hardware and a boatload of franchise games. According to Nikkei, the Japanese console legend is readying a version of the 3DS with a big 4.3-inch main display. That's smaller than on some smartphones we've seen, but a more than substantial jump from the 3.5-inch original. We might not even have long to wait: the trade paper claims that this biggest of all Nintendo handhelds could be ready as soon as the summer, just in time to squeak in some vacation playtime (and prepare us for Luigi's Mansion 2). As always, rumors such as these aren't guaranteed roadmaps; don't be surprised if we just see a regular-sized 3DS in plaid instead. If the plans are real, however, expect the DSi XL to develop feelings of inadequacy.

Update: Nintendo has been irked enough by the claims to issue a response, although it's non-commital in what it's denying: it says there's a "number of mistakes" in an article that's "entirely speculation," but it won't say what's wrong and is careful to stress that it hasn't unveiled anything yet. We'll add an extra grain of salt to the rumor, but we won't completely rule it out.

Nintendo may have supersized 3DS with 4.3-inch screen in store for E3, Mario never looked bigger (update: Nintendo response) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 04 Jun 2012 17:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota turns to Nintendo DS as in-car GPS remote, won’t guide you to Princess Peach

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Let's say you liked adding GPS to your Nintendo DS. How about adding a Nintendo DS to your GPS? Toyota is trying just that through a new Smart Navi GPS unit in its Estima Hybrid minivan that will let passengers control the mapping system. Load up the Bluetooth-equipped Kuruma de DS cartridge and you can enter directions from the back seat instead of waiting for the driver's next chance at a red light. The automaker is also hoping to cut the "are we there yet?" levels of ennui to a minimum by providing trivia questions, hand-drawn map notes and a surfeit of tourist info. Mii characters speak out text information, and you can even use the car as a speaker system in the event your Starfox game needs that much more audio immersion. Estima buyers can get the new Smart Navi and Kuruma de DS in Japan on June 1st, although the $2,586 equivalent price for the GPS, the $92 cartridge and the cost of the Nintendo console itself might be too rich when you don't need a navigator to tell you that the princess is in another castle.

Toyota turns to Nintendo DS as in-car GPS remote, won't guide you to Princess Peach originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 17 May 2012 04:55:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Kotaku  |  source4Gamer.net (translated)  | Email this | Comments

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Nintendo patent application tech tracks your DS from above, serves as tour guide

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Nintendo is already guiding you through the Louvre with a 3DS, but a newly published US patent application takes that kind of tourism to a very literal new level. Legend of Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto's concept describes a way to direct lost tourists by beaming position information through an overhead grid of infrared transmitters to a mobile device (portrayed as a DS Lite) held by the confused visitor below. The handheld then talks wirelessly to a server that lights up floor displays with maps and directions, and a helpful app on the device lets visitors pick their route while they read up on sightseeing tips. Like with any patent, there's no certainty that Nintendo will act on the idea and start wiring up museums with IR blasters, but the January 2012 patent may still be fresh in a frequently inventive mind like Miyamoto's.

Nintendo patent application tech tracks your DS from above, serves as tour guide originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 04 May 2012 11:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The delightful smoothness of classic Japanese role-playing games

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This week, Rowan Kaiser and Kat Bailey have switched roles -- with Rowan taking lead in this week's column focusing on the wonderful world of Japanese role-playing games.
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I was only defeated once in Suikoden. Even that was an accident - I thought it was a fight I was supposed to lose. Calling the game "easy" is something of an understatement. With a little bit of planning, you can win virtually every fight in the game, including the final boss battle on auto-pilot using the "Free Will" option in the combat menu. Yet, despite this easiness, Suikoden is one of my favorite Japanese role-playing games. "Easy" isn't the right term for it exactly. Instead, Suikoden is smooth.

"Smoothness" isn't a common criteria used to judge games. If anything, it's the opposite. Getting the difficulty level just right, so that the game seems like a challenge but is completable with practice, seems like it's an ideal. Or, you can use Sid Meier's model of games as "interesting choices" - but if the game isn't challenging, those choices don't seem to matter, right? I think acceptance theories like those are part of the reason that Japanese role-playing games are considered less important than they used to be.

Continue reading The delightful smoothness of classic Japanese role-playing games

JoystiqThe delightful smoothness of classic Japanese role-playing games originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 12 Apr 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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