Game Of The Year Awards 2010

Over the last month we’ve spent a lot of time catching up on titles we missed, taking notes, and debating the virtues of our favorite titles.

It all culminates in our annual list of worthy titles.

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Game Review: N.O.V.A. (Android/iOS)

Nova1

A good FPS on a mobile platform is very hard to come by. Typically, the touch controls don’t work for me, especially on smaller devices like the iPhone or my Android. So when I decided to pick up N.O.V.A (Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance), I was a expecting more of the same in terms of control, visuals, stuttering as well as poor battery performance, etc.

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Hardware Review: Samsung Captivate

Samsung CaptivateRecently I made the decision to break up with Apple as far as what device I would use for my personal mobile phone (Sorry Steve, it’s you not me). I decided to try out an Android based device and with my contract still being with AT&T, the only Android phone worth checking out was the Samsung Captivate.

The Samsung Captivate is part of the Galaxy S line of phones finally available in the US. Each carrier is getting  a version with minor hardware differences but fundamentally the same phone. Getting used to the Android OS was a major adjustment, not because it was hard, but because iOS is so simple in comparison. You pretty much have to switch your thinking to “what CAN’T I do to customize it?”

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Product Review: Apple iPad

The 60 days following it’s official announcement have passed, and the wait is over.ipad

Consumers can finally get their hands on the iPad in stores and see for themselves whether or not it is all that it has been hyped up to be.

Let’s start with the specs:

Half an inch thin
Weighs 1.5 pounds
9.7-inch IPS display (1024×768)
1 GHz A4 chip
16, 32,or 64 Gigabytes of storage
Wi-Fi 802.11n
Bluetooth
Accelerometer
Compass
Speaker
Microphone

“Is it really just an overgrown iPod Touch?”

Fundamentally, it is. But you will use it in a very different way.

Besides, is that such a bad thing?

Having a lot more screen and speed to work with will allow many applications to be more useful on a day to day basis, instead of  just being nice to have in a pinch. The smaller screens on iPods and iPhones made some applications feel awkward and almost unusable, except when in dire need.

Speaking of applications, the default ones installed are: Calendar, Contacts, Maps, Videos, YouTube, App Store,  iTunes,  Safari, Mail, Photos, iPod, and Notes.

You will notice that the two missing are from iPod and iPhone are Clock and Calculator.

Most likely this is because there are so many different clocks and calendars in the App Store. They seem to be the new “Hello World” program for new developers.

As with all the Apple touch devices, there are very few actual buttons. There are Home, power, volume up/down, and orientation lock buttons.

The iPad is a lot more sensitive than the other touch devices, which makes the orientation lock a very nice addition.

Reading for extended amounts of time is very easy on the eyes and with the different zoom levels, as well as the accessibility options, there is plenty of room for adjustment for everyone.

When in landscape mode, the keyboard is large enough for me type easily, accurately and at a pretty good speed.

Portrait mode is a different story. I would chalk that up to getting used to the size more than anything. Either way the keyboard response is excellent once you find what is most comfortable for you.

Wireless range seems to be a bit shorter, and I suspect that it has something to do with the all-aluminum back.

Speed while browsing and streaming media is quick and I have experienced no lockups or degradation of performance.

Netflix on the iPad is perhaps my favorite app, and it runs like a champ.

Battery life is pretty close to advertised; I have only charged it twice in the week since I’ve purchased it, and I have used it a lot.

Most people have been turned off by the fact that it was not running a version of OSX of some sort, and running the iPhone OS instead. This leaves the ability to install standard applications, multi-tasking, expansion, and media card slots out of the picture.

At least in the traditional sense.

The App Store has some sort of application for whatever you need in some form or another. By keeping expansion out of the picture, software developers do not need to worry about as many variables, only whether a user has a 3G model or not, and can work on making more refined applications (in theory).

Multitasking is being addressed this fall with OS 4.0. As far as the lack of media card slots? This is a pain point with me, but I have come to expect it and it’s not a big issue. If Apple thought they could get away with not having them in their MacBooks, they probably would.  EDITOR’S NOTE: Current baseline MacBooks do not include a media card slot. So apparently the author is correct. No hate mail, please.

Instead, you can buy a camera connectivity kit which will allow you to transfer pictures and video only to the iPad.

While the iPad will never completely replace your laptop, it definitely has a place and has proven quite useful to me.

If your not sold on it or you just want a full featured OS, there are other options on their way.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who let me borrow his the first week he had it (thanks Stig!) for a day and i knew that i wanted one.

I am really enjoying mine and would recommend it. Your best bet would be to find one and play with it a while and see if you can find a place for it in your lifestyle.

Apple iPad – 16GB
Apple iPad – 32GB
Apple iPad – 64GB

Nine Inch Nails iPhone App Gets Apple Approval

We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but we have migrated our site to a new server.

Google searches still seem to be winding up at the old site, but until that gets sorted out, you can find the article you’re looking for here:

Nine Inch Nails iPhone App Gets Apple Approval

Video Game Releases For 5-05-09

You know it’s a slow week when we decide to add PC and Mac games to our release list… although Patapon 2 looks pretty good.

Seriously though, we can now HONESTLY say we’ve got the release list for ALL major platforms.

PC fiends and Mac cultists: you can stop sending me angry emails.

Get the rundown, on the inside.

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Product Review: Nike + iPod

nikeboxMost fitness gear has a predictable life cycle: Religious use, followed by waning interest and excuses/reasons to skip a workout, and finally a dusty grave in a dark closet or corner of the garage.

Being a cynic, a couch potato, and a frequent critic of predatory ‘health and wellness’ experts hawking useless products, and more importantly finding a Nike + iPod unit at a decent discount, I felt it was my duty to see if the device was just hi-tech snake oil.

Full review inside.

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