Things of note for the week ending April 11th, 2014.
1. Useful [and timely] Social Media Tips
The Easter break is coming up and, one week out, if you’ve not made the right prep for your social channels, now might be a good time to sort that out. This post, from the endlessly-knowledgeable Stephen Waddington, is a good place to start (and bookmark for future use).
2. A 9hr trip into SNES history
Did you ever own a Super Nintendo? Then you need to [at least attempt to] watch this nine hour epic, showcasing ALL OF THE START SCREENS FROM EVERY SNES GAME EVER.
Yes, they’re in alphabetical order. My personal favourite, Streetfighter II is at 06:45:50 and if, like me, nearly all your old games started with ‘SUPER’ (Super Bomberman, Super Mario World, Super Street Fighter II etc) well they all start at 06:52:45 – enjoy!
3. Sony ad of colour
I’m in the final throes of completely Sony-fying my life (a new TV, amp, and console, with the matching phone arriving next week), so it seems only fitting that we celebrate this gorgeous ad –
4. RANKING EVERY WWF/WWE WRESTLEMANIA MATCH EVER
You need a day to read this.
EDIT: I wrote this list of five things at the start of the week. Between then and now however, it was announced that just days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, The Ultimate Warrior had sadly passed away.
In the list linked above, the first match I ever saw comes in at No. 33. That was Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6 (World Championship vs Intercontinental Championship), it was an amazing match and the image of Warrior Gorilla Pressing Hulkster up above his head became seared on my mind forever.
Your fans thought you were the best thing in the world.
5. Good list of interesting upcoming films
I like films. If you read my blog, there’s a good chance you do too. iO9 has put together a list of upcoming genre movies that aren’t sequels, remakes, or reboots. Stuff to get excited about.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you two brand videos. One from LG Mobile, for the new LG G Flex (actually quite a good phone) and the other from Sony Mobile, for the QX100 lens/camera mobile accessory (a fantastic, if little bulky, hardware add-on).
One of them is the worst piece of branded content I’ve ever seen and the other is quite possibly the best piece of branded content I’ve ever seen.
Back in the day, I was always a Nintendo fan. My first console was the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES and after that, the SNES. Then came the N64 (my first ever release day console purchase – man that thing was expensive). Many a day and night was spent Mario Karting with friends on that baby.
After that, I owned a GameCube [and came extremely close to picking up a Panasonic Q, but that’s another story]. At some point after this, I fell down some stairs and was bed-ridden for a fortnight. It was during this time that I was lent an original Xbox along with a copies of Halo and Burnout: Vengeance. I’d followed the Burnout serious on the GameCube but the Xbox sequels were immense. I could feel a change coming but it was not coming any time soon as, at some point later, the Nintendo fan in me bought a Wii.
But something was missing. Yes I had Zelda and Mario and Resident Evil 4. But I wanted more. I wanted proper online play. I wanted something in high definition. My friend Roger had just got an Xbox 360 and so now I wanted an Xbox 360 purely so she and I could play together.
Six months or so later, towards the end of 2008 my friend Josh gave me his Xbox 360. I fell in love, and all was awesome. I’ve been an Xbox-er ever since.
I have never owned a PlayStation.
But this year, I think that’s going to change.
When the Xbox One was announced back in May of this year, there was a big hoo-hah around how it would become the media centre for the front room. The TV integration, the awesome new Kinect 2.0, everything about it meant that this little baby would be the only thing we’d ever need.
Even after all that PR pain, I was still leaning towards getting an Xbox One. I love my 360, and I love my Kinect too (yes, I really do use the voice activation stuff). The deal-maker for me would’ve been if Microsoft launched the One in the UK with Sky TV as a partner. I’m a Sky subscriber and having the Xbox work well with that, in the same way that it worked in the US partners, well it’d make the whole ‘TV’ thing worth it.
I’ve got friends in the gaming industry, and I know a few reviewers too. Word was leaking: the One is a pain to develop for. The PS4 is a dream. The One doesn’t have ANY media partners at launch. Whispers became louder… and then came the Eurogamer Expo.
The Eurogamer event at London’s Olympia back in September offered up a chance to play the latest games on the latest systems. Geeks among nerds, my friend Matt and I ventured forth. I played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (AC:IV) on the PS4 and Killer Instinct on the One. The former impressed, the latter did not.
In the pub afterwards, more PS4 rumours were afoot. A quick show of hands of the group we were chatting to proved that pretty much everyone was getting a PS4 first and then waiting to see if the One was going to improve after. But by then, it might be too late.
Last night I went along to the #XboxOneTour, an invitation only event where – similarly to Eurogamer – you got to play the latest titles on newest system, but with the obvious focus on the Xbox One. I got hands on time with Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct (again), Ryse, and Forza. They also had FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and some Kinect stuff too but none of that interests me. I must admit, I was surprisingly impressed with Ryse as up until yesterday I thought it looked, and therefore was, rubbish.
Dead Rising 3 was fairly meh, Killer Instinct looks great, but is fundamentally still Killer Instinct at its core, and Forza? I just don’t get Forza. I left feeling quite underwhelmed (not least because the 5pm-10pm slot actually meant ‘turn up at 5pm and stand outside in the freezing cold until 5:30pm’, or because of any every day sexism – not just because of that) mainly because I just expected more.
I really wanted the Xbox One to blow me away and it didn’t. At all.
I played AC:IV for 15mins on the PS4 back in September, and that did more for me than any amount of Xbox One propaganda ever could. It’s a shame. But I’m a gamer, and therefore I want the best system for games. My gamer buddies? They’ve made their mind up. Which means I have too: if I want the best gaming experience and I want to play online where my friends are – there’s only one choice.
I fancy a change.
I’m going to the dark side.
I’m getting a PlayStation 4.
UPDATE: Here’s a 30min podcast where a friend and I go into a bit more detail on what consoles we’re choosing and why.
You have to applaud Sony for going in this direction: basically saying ‘Look, most phones do the same things, we’re not going to sell you the features or the whizz-bangs, we’re just going to sell it to you’ .
It’s an Android phone. The robots in the clip look a little bit like the Android brand. Accident? Maybe. Maybe not.
The kid’s voiceover is a little on the contrived side (the word ‘device’ clunks, terribly), but believable nonetheless.
This won’t make me buy the phone, but it has made me want to know more (which is pretty unheard of for a Nokia purist such as I).
Last night, the Really Mobile team was invited along to The Sports Cafe on London’s Haymarket to celebrate the Sony’s launch of the Zeemote JS1 Bluetooth Gaming Device
Last night, the Really Mobile team was invited along to The Sports Cafe on London’s Haymarket to celebrate the Sony’s launch of the Zeemote JS1 Bluetooth Gaming Device (which means it’s a fancy joystick, in case you were wondering).
The accessory, we’re told, will come bundled with the Sony W705 and available exclusively on T-Mobile with 18mth contracts starting as little as Â£25pcm.
Each purchase comes with Fast & Furious out of the box, as well as an additional two free downloads available from the Zeemote area of the TMOâ€™s Web n Walk portal.
So far so press release.
Let’s get to the good stuff.
First of all – these guys mean business. A three way announcement (JS1, TMO & Sony), the representatives on hand were quite confident in their ability to deliver a truly enjoyable gaming experience.
I had my doubts.
A short chat with the Sony chaps (most of whom were sporting the rather swish 8MP C905) revealed that their 2009 was about to get very interesting indeed (more on this later), and that this new partnership with JS1 was just the first of many announcements over the coming weeks.
JS1 themselves were equally pleased with their road ahead; with Sonyâ€™s backing of the UK launch and a promise of future SE handsets to come with TV-Out as standard (as per most high-end Nseries devices), things are certainly looking up indeed. It was noted that the emerging markets were key to JS1’s success moving forward, citing recent stats about workers in India saving months upon months of hard earned cash to buy the latest portable device, but never â€“ ever owning a home gaming system, aâ€™la Wii or Xbox 360.
Makes sense to me.
When pressed on the competition, namely – Nokia’s N-Gage, my new found friend was keen to tell me that the controller was compatible with Symbian S60 devices too. With a quick visit to their website you can download and install the Zeekey software which makes the Js1 controller magically work with your N95, or â€“ in my this repâ€™s case â€“ the N85, which he uses at home as a media player (bluetooth controller as standard â€“ natch).
Then came the fun part.
Each device comes with the game ‘Fast & Furious‘ out of the box and, to tie in with the evening’s festivities, there was a competition for the attendees to take part in.
A racing competition in fact. Could you, with the slowest car available, finish the first track in the fastest time?
The prizes were as follows:
First Prize: A bottle of champagne and Â£250 towards a day out at top UK race track, Silverstone. (Err.. Wow!)
Second Prize: A bottle of champagne.
Third Prize: A teeny tiny bottle of champagne (that probably has shower gel in it).
As soon I walked into the venue, the above was explained to me at a breakneck pace and I knew instantly that I would have to take part. The Really Mobile reputation was at stake!
First time go: 1:58.00.
A couple of the demo guys, one of which I immediately recognised from a former life, commented that â€“ for a newbie â€“ it wasnâ€™t a bad score.
Nice. I was happy to hear that.
What with being a gaming geek long before I was a mobile geek; I can haz skillz.
Then I checked the leader board, the current 1st place was a guy with a staggering 1:44.58. Amazing. I immediately sought him out, only to discover that heâ€™d been there since theyâ€™d started and was continually playing over again until he got it just right. The guy was a machine.
I would not be beaten. Again I tried, this time coming in at 1.56.32.
I showed the others, thinking I might just settle for third place.
No. I would not be beaten.
I swear I mustâ€™ve sat in the corner (on my own actually), playing and replaying and replaying until I got it right. See what with the game being Fast & Furious, the other racers are actually out to GET YOU. So youâ€™d get mere seconds away from the finish line and POW, someone would ram you off the road.
I couldâ€™ve thrown the damn thing out the window at one point… but still I persevered. This time I hit 1.54.47. Getting better.
Now I had a crowd, â€œHave you beaten it yet?â€ â€“ â€œYou need to submit a time soon Jamesâ€
LEAVE ME ALONE! I NEED TO DO THIS!
I even secretly tried attempting to play the game without the controller, thinking that actually â€“ the buttons on the handset would be more responsive than that of the JS1, but no â€“ I actually scored worse.
The controller, it seemed â€“ works.
One more try…
Race, corner, turn, nitro… and…. Pow! 1.45.80.
A very, very well-respected 2nd place. High fives all round and yours truly walked away* with a bottle of champers.
So, what has this got to do with the launch?
Well, as I said earlier â€“ I am a gamer. Iâ€™ve been a console-fan ever since I first picked up Super Mario Bros on my mateâ€™s Nintendo Entertainment System all those many moons ago but mobile gaming has never really done it for me. My friend Ricky Cadden, of Symbian Guru fame, has oft-argued with me about the awesomeness of N-Gage combined with his TV-Out, to which I laugh. A lot. And letâ€™s not even start on the N-Gage woes I have at the moment, (Iâ€™ll save that for a future Really Mobile feature).
Needless to say, my phone will never take the place of my Nintendo. However, remarkably, with the addition of the JS1 Bluetooth controller, I was v-e-r-y slowly (and almost quite unwittingly) won over.
Iâ€™ll come out and say that I went in extremely sceptical. Thinking itâ€™ll be another failed attempt to â€˜maximise gaming possibilitiesâ€™ in this â€˜new mobile worldâ€™, but no. I was wrong. The smart chaps at TMO/JS1/Sony were happy enough to let me just sit and play, the experience itself wove its own magic.
Weâ€™ve got a review copy here at the Really Mobile offices, of both the Sony W7905 and the JS1 controller, which Iâ€™ll be sending out to the team for a 2nd opinion… as soon as I can beat that last time… 1.45.80
*I say ‘walked away’ – they’re sending it to me in the post. Boo.