Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Samsung Series 7 Gamer laptop review

The current generation of laptops have become thinner, lighter and more effecient than ever. They do this a number of ways: smaller processors, integrated motherboards and a minimization of design to name just a few. The benefits of these changes have help bring a balanced experience to many people. One group of people who have been left with fewer choices have been gamers looking for a laptop powerful enough to compete with the graphical and computing power of a desktop without spending upwards of quadrouple the price tag. In order to offer something to those gamers Samsung decided to build upon their existing products and introduced their most powerful Series 7 yet build with gamers in mind, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer.
Someone would be hard pressed if the first thing they noticed about the Samsung Series 7 Gamer was not its immense size. The frame measures 16.1 inches wide, 11.2 inches depth and has a thickness that ranges from 1.29 in the front to 1.96 inches in the rear. All this and its hefty 8.39lbs (11lbs with power brick) adds up to a laptop that tests the meaning of portable, but uses its size to hold a lot of functions and features that make it worth lugging around.

Read the full review or see the embedded YouTube video here:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tales of Xillia designer Hideo Baba interviewed at New York Comic COn

At the 2012 New York Comic Con we sat down with Hideo Baba, designer of Tales of Xillia, to discuss some of their mechanics and how a heavily regarded Japanese RPG (JPRG) might be seen by a western audience. With such success in the Japanese market the developers at Namco Bandai are hopeful to increase western awareness.

Follow the link for more information and a link to the video interview: Article

Friday, November 9, 2012

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Interview with Hiroshi Matsuyama (CEO)

At the 2012 New York Comic Con the floor was a combination of Comic, Anime, Manga and Video Game influences. Booths selling comics were feet from the latest anime series while video game trailers blared in the background. The show floor wasn’t the only place these various medias met. At the Namco Bandai section these same mixes have resulted in an anime video game that combines role-playing game (RPG) and fighting elements to create a unique hybrid of these genres.

Follow the link for more information and a link to the video interview:  HERE

Saturday, November 3, 2012

SuperBeam Headsets and Audio Software Review

An important part of multimedia entertainment, right alongside the visual experience, is the equally important audio immersion. Whether a movie or a game, the sound can mean the difference between just watching and actually feeling immersed. For a gamer, the ability to feel like they enter the middle of the world can be the difference between just playing and enjoyment.
Andrea Electronics makes headsets for schools and audio records. As part of their diverse offerings, they’ve created a new product just for gamers: the SuperBeam 3D Surround Sound Recording Boom Free Headsets.

Read the full review here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Samsung Series 7 Gamer Laptop Preview

While at the New York Comic Con we had the chance to take a hands-on preview of the latest gaming laptop from Samsung: The Samsung Series 7 Gamer. An entry in their Series 7 laptops that was designed with the gamer in mind that packs advanced graphics and the power to use it.

Full Article:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interview with Rooster Teeth at New York Comic Con

At New York Comic Con 2012, there are many vendors, artists, and industry talents. Among these great talents were a group of guys from Austin, Texas known for their live action shorts, animated series, and internet cinematic shows called machinima: Rooster Teeth. We sat down – OK, more like stood next to – their Matt Hullum (Rooster Teeth co-founder, Red vs. Blue writer/director/voice of ”Sarge”) to discuss their latest Red vs. Blue episodes and upcoming Season 10 DVD/Blu-Ray set.

Full Article:

Friday, October 19, 2012

New York Comic Con: Comics, Video Games, and COSPLAY!

The New York Comic Con has been bringing people together to celebrate the work of comics and more since 2006. Since then they’ve expanded to include many other pop-cultural institutions such as Television, Anime, Manga, Video Games and even full feature length films. Due to the large overlap in the interests in 2010 the New York Anime Festival was joined with the New York Comic Con. From a respectable beginning with an estimated 33,000 attendees the comic convention has grown exponentially to take over the Javits Center with an attendance of over 105,000, according to the official New York Comic Con website.

Read the full article with over 150 pictures in the cosplay gallery:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jet Set Radio HD review

In the glorious good ol’ days of the SEGA Dreamcast console, Jet Set Radio became something of an underground favorite – even spawning a sequel in 2002  on Xbox as Jet Set Radio Future.  As one of the first cell-shaded graphic art games, Jet Set Grind – as it was originally known – had left an impression on an entire gaming generation for its revolutionizing visuals, groovy soundtrack and quirky story.

There have been other recent re-releases of SEGA “hits” that have garnered varying levels of graphical and integral upgrades that have removed the nostalgic glow. As the next part of SEGA’s recent High Definition line-up, Jet Set Radio HD learns from the mistakes of their earlier HD attempts, but is it enough to match memories’ rose-tinted haze?

Read the full review:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yahoo! CEO offers employees free phones, Nokia sweetens the deal

You may or may not have heard that Yahoo’s CEO is giving every employee a free smartphone! Their choices of phones are as follows:

  • iPhone 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  •  HTC One X
  • Nokia Lumia 920

While this would be an easy choice for me - being a Windows Phone fan - Nokia wants to help Yahoo staffers make up their minds. Nokia has decided to offer a free wireless charging pad to anyone that chooses the Lumia 920.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How do the Windows Phone 8 offerings stack up? Compare HTC, Samsung and Nokia.

With the next line of Windows Phone 8 handset announced I'd like to take a look at the three main contenders and their flagship Windows Phone offerings to see how they stack up side-by-side.
Note: This picture is from a WMPowerUser article linked below.

While the HTC 8X weighs less and has the highest resolution screen it also has the smallest screen at 4.3 inches, Beats Audio sounds system and only 16GB memory storage. The Samsung Ativ S features the largest screen, a single color option, and the largest battery. The Nokia Lumia 920 weighs the most at 185g, offers a slightly better 8.7 megapixel camera (with the much touted Pureview technology) and offers wireless Q Standard charging. They all feature LTE and HSDPA connectivity, Near Field Communication (NFC) and a dual-core qualcomm 1.5Ghz processor.

Each offers something(s) different for everyone, which one appeals to you? Why?

*Picture from a WMPowerUser article.

HTC introduces the next line of Windows Phones

HTC introduced the latest addition to the Windows Phone 8 lineup in New York City today, September 19th 2012 in their press announcement.
Impressive colors, but do the insides match the surface?

Peter Chou started off the conference to the sounds of booming music and a nod to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. After a brief introduction by Microsoft's own CEO Steve Ballmer the floor was yielded back to Chou. He was sure to mention the over 15years of partnership between HTC and Microsoft, stating "HTC and Microsoft have an opportunity to go bigger and better than ever."

Bigger and better were the themes of the night. After a stunning display of auditory prowess to make an New York DJ proud the darlings of the show were finally introduced: The new line of phones. Under the title "HTC8" these new Windows Phone 8 handsets came in standard and high-end offerings by HTC dubbed the HTC 8S and HTC 8X respectively.
The new 8X color palette.
The high-end HTC 8X offer a 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 display with Gorilla Glass 2 protection and 720p resolution, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 16 GB of storage. While the backfacing camera is an industry standard 8MP it does shoot in full 1080p video. The front-face camera however pushes this with a 2.1MP, 1080p-capable camera with an impressive 88 degree viewing angle. The 8X comes in California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red, and Limelight Yellow as seen in the picture above.

At a slightly smaller 4-inch Super LCD display the HTC 8S features Gorilla Glass, dual-core 1GHz processor, 5MP rear camera, and 4GB of internal storage. In another method to differentiate itself, the 8S comes in a two-tone polycarbonate body and offers four color combinations.

While no mention of price was made at the conference a release date in the November time-frame was teased.

What do you think about these new HTC Windows Phone offerings? Do they compare to the Samsung and Nokia Windows Phone 8 handsets (hint: look for my next article)?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Control EVERYTHING in your house! - 3Days Left!


Kickstarter has introduced a number of forward thinking and potentially revolutionizing ideas. Many of these may never reach the consumer public. I have personally backed a number of these kickstarters. Not because I hope to make a profit or take any credit, but because I hope to encourage this potential.

One such project that has come to my attention is "SmartThings" by Alex Hawkinson. With this technology Hawkinson offers the ability to control and monitor almost every electronic in your house. With the use of this equipment SmartThings turns anything plugged into it to a wirelessly shared hub. Linked to the internet the product can be controlled wirelessly and behave according to information shared on the web.

In an interview with CNN, Hawkinson explains: "Imagine if you wanted to create a sprinkler that knows when it's going to rain," he says. "Amazing things become possible when you connect regular things to the Internet."

By starting small - outlet plugs - SmartThings hopes to build a foundation that third-party programmers and manufactures can build upon. To help get this foundation laid the Kickstarter has been priced to move: A basic kit - one hub and three Thing sensors - currently starts at $174 on Kickstarter. Add-on SmartThings cost $25 to $35 each. Hawkinson plans to eventually charge monthly fees of $5 to $10 for SmartThings' service, but Kickstarter backers will have those fees waived.

Read more about SmartThings and sign up here: SmartThings KickStarter. But be aware this is a limited number of "early adopter" discounts.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Unmechanical Review (PC)

Does a sweeping story and large budget make a great game? Many smaller developers like Teotl Studios and Talawa Games believe a great game – a great experience – can be found in the simpler things. Made on the Unreal Engine, their downloadable PC game Unmechanical is just that – simple.

Contrary to some beliefs, simple does not mean a game has to be unpolished. Quite the opposite in fact. Unmechanical is a beautiful puzzle game set in a 2.5D world. While the foreground is in two dimensions, there are vast areas and stunning levels of detail in the background. Through the five or so hours of gameplay, Unmechanical takes our unnamed flying robot from being lost from being deposited in an underground cavern to strangely biological segments and beyond. The story is simple: keep moving and exploring.

Read the full review here:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nokia’s Smart Shoot is the enemy of photo bombers!

Along with the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 some new features were announced at Nokia and Microsoft's joint Windows Phone 8 conference in New York City. One such feature is the Smart Shoot lens. Lens are applications that utilize the camera. Smart Shoot enables multiple pictures to be taken in short succession and identifies the moving areas. These areas can be removed, resulting in less background "noise" and cleaner pictures. This also means photo bombers might be a thing of the past.

Read the full article here:

Scott Chambers: Nokia and Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 Conference

Scott Chambers writes a great summary of the joint conference held in New York City on September 5th 2012 by Nokia and Microsoft. The conference covered the upcoming line of Windows Phones 8 devices. Along with some new hardware, specifically the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920, some new features and applications were announced as well.

Read the full article here:

I outlined and edited the article and helped write some sections.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nelson Ocampo: Nokia expands definition of PureView. Introduces Optical Image Stabilization

Nelson Ocampo wrote a great little article after the Nokia-Microsoft Windows Phone 8 announcement today, September 5th 2012. In it he goes over how Nokia has expanded the PureView definition to include some great new features.

Read the full article and learn about the features here:

I helped arrange and edit the article for post.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New York Comic Con: Press Pass Notice

Going to the New York Comic Con 2012 as part of the Press Group. I'll have to apply for individual panels and interviews. Once the website is updated with the panel list I'll have to give them the look-over and prioritize. Am more excited than I can convey.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900 Review

Nokia Lumia 900
In February 2011, a partnership between Microsoft and Nokia promised the Finnish mobile manufacturer would make the Windows Phone their primary operating system for its smartphone devices. With the combination of know-how between the software giant and leading mobile handset manufacture, great things were expected.

The following year saw the introduction of the Nokia Lumia handset line in various model iterations. In April 2012 the latest Lumia handset was released, and it promised to the be the flagship Windows Phone. This model featured AT&T’s LTE speeds, quality build in a simple interface, and a much-touted Carl Zeiss camera lens. We will review this product in a variety of areas to determine if the Nokia Lumia 900 lives up to this promise.

Read the full review:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Opinion: Apple vs. Samsung Ruling (US)

Today the jury released their verdict in a surprising amount of time. Besides agreeing that Samsung did not infringe on the iPad the ruling came down solidly on the side of Apple.

The $1.04billion (originally $1.05billion before some corrections of inconsistencies) awarded to Apple shows a strong sign that Patent Infringement will not be tolerated. This ruling will have wide-spanning implications across the industry. On the surface this looks to punish copying (and it does) it also affirms an over-arching interpretation of Patents. The so called "patent wars" just went nuclear. This puts the button in the hands of patent owns against copiers, but they're all patent owners. The litigation hasn't ended, not by a long-shot.

We should all be paying attention to the injunction hearings and keep an eye out for future litigation and the impact it'll have on not only the manufacturers but consumers as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dust: An Elysian Tail Review (XBLA)

Dust: An Elysian Tail brings with it some of the most stunning art style and fluid combination of Action-RPG and Metroidvania genres. Don't let the cutesy "furry" animation turn you away from what is sure to be one of the best XBLA games of the year.

Read the full review:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rigonauts Review (PC - Steam)

“A physics-based strategy game inspired by Frozen Synapse and Gratuatious Space Battles.”

If that sentence makes you smile, then Rigonauts – award winner of Activision’s first Independent Games Competition – by Engient, will be one to look forward to. For those unfamiliar with this genre, think of Rigonauts as an old “windup and release” car and replace it with “loadup and release” battleship.

Read the full review:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Windows Phone YouTube Video How-To's

I've started to create and upload short 30second to 2minute videos demonstrating features and applications on the Windows Phone mobile operating system.

I also have some older videos ranging from the NJHalo Gaming tournament, PAXEast 2012 video interviews and random personal videos. Hope you enjoy and leave comments. Let me know what you like or would like to see more of.

My YouTube channel can be found:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Deadlight Game Code Giveaway

Front Towards Gamer is giving away code for the XBLA Summer of Arcade title Deadlight by Tequila Works. I interviewed the CEO and Creative Director in an earlier post (Deadlight Interview) and even had the chance to review Deadlight (Deadlight Review).

Enter the giveaway here:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tabletop Review: Zombie Dice

My wife reviewed Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games. A tabletop dice game that can be played with two or more people from five minutes to fifteen minutes of length.

For her full review read it here:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deadlight Review (XBLA Summer of Arcade)

Could I survive a zombie outbreak? That’s the question Tequila Works hopes you ask yourself – and answer – while playing their XBLA Summer of Arcade title Deadlight. Deadlight is set in the 1980’s well into the “Massive Mess” that changed the world forever. Already a bleak and ruined world, our protagonist Randall Wayne does what he can to survive – all while looking for his family, hoping they somehow made it too.

A highly beautiful post-apocalyptic 2.5D survival puzzle action game that introduces new mechanics in an homage to old-school platformering. Can it rise above the many trappings of not only the genre but of the Zombies-saturated market?

Read the full Review:

Interview with Raúl Rubio Munárriz: Creative Director of XBLA's Summer of Arcade title Deadlight

In the sea of announced titles, tucked away in the Xbox Booth during PAX East 2012 there was one game which surprised onlookers and critics alike: Deadlight. Set in a dark post-apocalyptic zombie-filled future, Deadlight places an emphasis on the survival lacking in most modern games. It was refreshing to see that the recently formed development house Tequila Works had created a zombie game that still managed to stand out above the rest. The game combines beautiful stylized art and modern mechanics with old-school puzzle platforming. After so many generic survival-horror entries recently, it’s easy to see why Deadlight left people hopeful.

To those who had seen it, it came as no surprise when a few months later Microsoft announced Deadlight would be among the titles in their Summer of Arcade 2012 lineup. To help shed some light on this dark future, we picked the brain of CEO and Creative Director Raúl Rubio Munárriz for some answers in anticipation of their release...

Read the full Interview:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

XBLA Summer of Arcade Review: Wreckateer on Kinect

As the second game in the Summer of Arcade 2012 promotion – and the only Kinect title – Wreckateer has garnered a lot of attention and skepticism. Developed by Iron Galaxy Studios, Wreckateer is at its heart a “high score chase” game in veins of another catapult-to-knocking-down-buildings game. Entering a market wary of cartoonish graphics and casual user targeted Kinect games, Wreckateer tries to launch itself above expectations.

Full Review:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

NJHALO - July 21st 2012

I attended the NJHALO Tournament hosted by my friend Rod Lane in the Morristown, NJ Hayatt Hotel. We had a great turnout of close to 400 people competing in various competitions from Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3, NBA 2K12 and Madden to the fighting matching such as Street Fighter 4 and Mortal Kombat. There were even Pokemon and for the first time EVER, Minecraft was part of a tournament.

Follow this link to the SkyDrive album with all the pictures I took and check out the video of Team Dread participating in the Gears of War 3 match I taped below.  

Check out Rod Lane's Facebook page for all his future tournaments.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Batman Dark Knight Rises

Went with a few friends who really got into the Batman mood.
Went to see Batman: Dark Night Rises last night as part of their midnight release. It was fantastic, really great story and plot. There was plenty of action, and the moments that didn't have action were filled with great plot devices and conversation. The approximately 3hours to see the movie flew right by before I noticed. I'd recommend this film to anyone who enjoyed the previous Batman movies, comic book fans, and action fans. I would recommend parents exercise their judgment in bringing children to see this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cipher Prime Visit 7/18/2012

For those unfamiliar with Cipher Prime they are the local Philadelphia based game studio who created Auditorium, Fractal, Pulse and Splice. Their games are on Mac/PC and iOS platforms.

I was invited to visit their studio and besides having a great time playing games on a 82" projector screen and free drinks, was very impressed with their team. I'll hopefully have time to make a full write-up on their titles and their local Game Dev Nights - where they open their doors to create a mind-share for local developers. Until then, check out their Cipher Prime site and the Steam items (currently on sale).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An XBLA review of [redacted]

Oh dear god... this is going to be EPIC. Can't wait to play [redacted].

Look for my latest review next week. Note: it's not the same as the previous tease.

BestBuy Videogame Deal of the Day

BestBuy Deal of the Day has 'Need For Speed: The Run' on Xbox 360 and PS3 for $4.99 (83% off).

Monday, July 16, 2012

What I'm working on 7/16/2012

Here's a hint at what review I'm working on next

HTC Titan II Review

On September 1st 2011 HTC released one of the first Windows Phone 7.5 phones – the HTC Titan. The Titan earned it’s designation with a massive 4.7inch screen and garnered praise for its well-made design. On January 9th 2012 the HTC Titan II not only brings the same 4.7inch screen, but with two immediately noticeable changes: AT&T’s ultra-fast 4G LTE and a massive 16 megapixel camera to match its screen size.

I break down this review into key areas of interests such as design, camera, and applications to give a better insight on the HTC Titan II.

Read the full review here: HTC Titan II Review