.
June 16th, 2014
03:08 PM ET

Virtual reality's new reality

There’s something a little strange that one of today’s hottest trends in technology is… virtual reality.

It’s an idea that seems past its time; sitting alongside household atomic generators and personal jetpacks as visions for the future that seem laughable today. But VR isn’t a joke anymore.

I had the chance to try on the headset that has almost single-handedly revived interest in virtual reality: the Oculus Rift.

For now, the Rift is only in the prototype stage and has some way to go before it’s ready for consumers. Still, even at this early stage the potential of the Rift is incredible.

It looks big and bulky, but once it was strapped to my head I couldn’t feel the weight of the Rift. The whole setup is slightly cumbersome; you have the headset, then you have to put on headphones and find your controller — without being able to see either, because your eyes are covered by the Rift.

My first impressions of the Rift? It’s a little unsettling. I was surprised by the low resolution of the screen, individual pixels reminding me that my eyes were millimeters away from them; I was acutely aware of the edges of the display; and basically, I could feel like I had a big plastic visor strapped to my face.

But then you move your head… and your view of the world shifts almost perfectly with your movement. Move your head to the left, and you’re looking left.

I played a 3D platforming game called Lucky’s Tale (from the creator of Words With Friends). To be brutally honest, it felt a little like a simple Mario clone: You make a cute little fox run and jump along a basic path running from left to right. Then the path turns back to the left… and you find yourself scoping out the way ahead simply by turning your head to look at it.

Video games have allowed you to move your view of the world for years through a controller. It’s not a new idea. But with the Rift, looking around a game’s world is as natural as looking around our own.

That’s when the Oculus Rift experience starts to click, and it all starts to work.

FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Technology
June 12th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

Three standouts from E3 2014

E3 is one of video gaming's biggest events of the year; a three-day gathering in Los Angeles where almost all of the industry’s major players show off their newest titles.

Here are the three games that stood out most to me from E3 2014.

FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Games
May 1st, 2014
07:54 PM ET

Game Faces: Jake Kazdal

It's always special to see a product that truly reflects its creator. GALAK-Z: The Dimensional bears the fingerprints of 17-BIT's Jake Kazdal. FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
April 24th, 2014
11:01 PM ET

Why would Nike kill the FuelBand?

Sometimes it feels like everyone is wearing a fitness band on their wrist, whether it's the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up or Nike FuelBand.

But now there are reports that Nike might kill the FuelBand.

Why would Nike kill an apparently popular gadget?

The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson suggests that Nike might be trying to pull out of dedicated fitness bands before they're replaced by other wearables - such as the much-hyped Apple smart watch.

"Think about the Flip video camera, which was a huge sensation, everyone thought they'd be huge. And then suddenly the iPhone can take videos that are just as good, and Flip went away."

Post by: ,
Filed under: Gadgets • Health • Technology
April 1st, 2014
11:11 PM ET

Game Faces: Vince Zampella

The mark of a good multiplayer game is balance. Ideally, you want it to be fair for everyone who plays your game.

One simple way to ensure a fair fight is to give everyone the same tools. It's the easiest (and most logical) way to level the playing field. If everyone has access to the same weapons and same moves, the only major difference is a player's ability, right?

Titanfall is a multiplayer game built around a unique central concept: Giant armored mechs (Titans) battling with small and agile foot soldiers (pilots).

On paper, it is not a fair fight.

And that's what makes Titanfall so much fun. FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General
March 12th, 2014
12:00 PM ET

World Wide Web turns 25

It started as a project by a British computer scientist to make it easier for universities to share and navigate large amounts of information.

Twenty-five years on, the World Wide Web stands as perhaps our greatest ever creation: A way to access the collective knowledge of humanity.

You can watch our tribute to Sir Tim Berners-Lee's creation above and check out a recreation of the first ever webpage right here.

Post by: ,
Filed under: General • Technology
January 31st, 2014
03:35 AM ET

Saving Nintendo

Nintendo is in trouble.

It's hard to disagree with that after it slashed its forecast for Wii U sales from 9 million to just 2.8 million. Less dramatic but perhaps just as troubling: It also cut its forecast for its market-leading 3DS handheld. Nintendo now expects to sell 13.5 million of them, down from the 18 million they originally expected.

But what's up for debate is how Nintendo can climb out of this hole. By far the most common solution suggested: Nintendo should put games like Mario and Zelda on smartphones and tablets.

I disagree.

FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Games • General • Personal musings • Technology
January 27th, 2014
10:36 PM ET

She made the Macintosh smile

happymac

Anyone with an older Mac probably knows this icon: A boxy all-in-one computer with a simple smiling face on screen.

Like all good symbols, the Happy Mac serves multiple purposes. The official reason it exists is to tell you that your Macintosh has begun the process of booting up without error.

More than that, the Happy Mac was a symbol of intent from Apple: This computer is friendly. It doesn't have an impenetrable interface filled with text you don't understand. The Mac has pictures. And it's smiling at you!

Susan Kare was the graphic designer who created the Happy Mac. She spoke to us about the process behind that and many of the other icons that made the original Macintosh so different to any computer before it.

FULL POST

August 30th, 2013
07:10 AM ET

Game Faces: Josef Fares

Video games aren't always seen as the best medium for storytelling. But I think they should be, for one simple reason: interactivity.

As the player, you're experiencing the story first-hand. Whatever happens to the protagonist of the story is happening to you as a player. How you act and react forms part of the story.

I think interactivity should, in theory, allow people to have a greater connection with the story. But too many games use non-interactive, cinematic sequences to show their most important scenes. At a time when games could hammer home the advantage they have over movies, the player instead puts down the controller to passively watch it unfold without his input.

So it's funny that it took a Swedish filmmaker to make a game that avoids cinematic tricks to tell his story.

FULL POST

Post by: ,
Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Personal musings
August 29th, 2013
10:48 PM ET

Nintendo unveils the 2DS

It's safe to say few saw this coming: Nintendo's latest version of the popular 3DS handheld game console is ditching the 3D screen.

The Nintendo 2DS will play all 3DS (and DS) games - they just won't be in 3D. The upside? The 2DS will cost just $129 in the United States, $40 cheaper than the existing 3DS.

Kristie Lu Stout spoke to Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime about the 2DS, the Wii U's struggles, and Nintendo thinks you should swap Nike FuelBand for Wii Fit U.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Games • General • Titans of Tech
« older posts
newer posts »