Defiance game combines MMO with television

As I mentioned before, I am at the Penny Arcade Expo here in Seattle, a big video game convention. Sure, I like reporting on video games as much as the next guy, but what Trion Worlds and SyFy are doing is very different.

Defiance is a game that is a “multi-platform shooter MMO”. For those that aren’t familiar with video game terms, it means that you are playing a game where you are basically shooting things and players from all over the Internet get involved as well. What makes Defiance different is that the MMO is directly tied into a television series.

The Defiance television show will premiere on SyFy later next year, about the same time as the game’s release. The show is about an alien invasion, and how the Earth has been “terramorphed”. I am told that writers from Battlestar Galactica and Farscape are involved, and so it should be quite cool as it is “the biggest thing that SyFy has ever done”. That was a quote from the booth.

What is really interesting is that Trion tells me that the events in the Defiance game will alter the plotline of the show, and vice versa. I am a little skeptical about how these two mediums will work together, but I am excited about the prospect. I believe that this is the first time that something like this has ever been tried, and I hope that it works well and won’t be a failed experiment. I recall The Matrix tried to spread out in mixed media like video games and the Animatrix, and it didn’t insure a long lifespan for the franchise.

Zotac Mini-PC Series

Right now, I am at a big video game convention in Seattle known as the Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX. Yes, there are a lot of big video games companies showing off their stuff, and occasionally you will see something that even non-gamers will love.

Such is the case for the Zotac ZBox. These are stand-alone computers that come in a box that is quite small, taking up less space than the Wii. For example, the ID80, seen here, has an Intel Atom D27000 dual-core, NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 GT 520M GPU, with NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology.

It also has other stats, and I will allow you to visit the Zotac site for more information. There are also more ZBoxes that I could ever write about in one posting. Some of you might not know what the above stats mean, and that is completely okay, because I am somewhat of a stranger myself. What you really should know is that these Z-Boxes are all the computer you will need, provided you have a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and any other type of accessory. You can connect it via HDMI and there is 6-in-1 memory-card reader.

In short, the days of the tower are numbered as the Zotac makes computers for the desktop like a laptop. The lowest price that I can see for one is about $239.99, and I hope that we can try one out so we can recommend it.

Smartype keyboard has a little screen for typing

When I was first learning to type, I did so on an electric typewriter that had an LED screen so you could see what you were typing before you hit “Enter”. This enabled you to catch mistakes before they were typed.

In the same manner, this Smartype keyboard from KeyView displays exactly what you are typing to see exactly what you type without having to move your head, and it might end up speeding up how you type.

You should be able to avoid looking back and forth between the keyboard and monitor, and the Smartype also has some apps for pop-up notifications of email or even displaying weather.

The Smartype is only available in Israel, for a price of about 100 dollars. I would like to see if this catches on, and perhaps all keyboards will have this little screen. I don’t see why not.


Sony HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer

Though I did not see this for myself, I am told that Sony had a Personal 3D Viewer at CES in January. This Personal 3D Viewer is essentially a virtual 150-inch display with two 0.7-inch OLED screens.

There were many complaints that this 3D Viewer was too heavy, and the Sony HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer is much lighter without ear cups. In its place are ear buds, and it also has a dual output switcher to allow others to watch media while you play games.

I have not idea what this will go for as far as price is concerned, but the first generation Personal 3D Viewer is about $800. We’ll see how this compares to the Oculus Rift or the MiRAGE.


AppQuiz iPad Accessory

I have seen some interesting iPad accessories that look like they can be used on gameshows. For example, the Duo Pop from Discovery Bay Games.

The AppQuiz iPad accessory is much like the DuoPop, but the buttons are not wireless. As you can see, this octopus-shaped thing puts the iPad in the center, while up to four contestants hit the buttons to answer questions.

There is a free application that features a game show host appropriately called Chuck Boldhart. I can just imagine how someone with that name would speak.

You should be able to pick up the AppQuiz for about $48, and yes, it is compatible with the iPhone.


ARCHOS unveils the GamePad for Android gaming

In case you were not thrilled with the ARCHOS 101 XS tablet with Coverboard, you might want to check out their first gaming tablet, the GamePad.

The GamePad has a 7-inch capacitive screen, and it has a bonus for those that don’t like the touchscreen. It has access to Google Play for Android gaming, and it has physical control buttons as well as analog sticks.

In addition to the automatic game recognition and mapping tools, it runs a dual-core processor at 1.5 GHz with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU. By the way, you will be able to access the Internet, email, and other apps besides gaming ones thanks to the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on board.

You should be able to purchase the GamePad at the end of October for a price of 150€.


CT-S Electric Scooter

I don’t know if you saw last summer’s Men in Black 3, but there was a scene where their car got crushed and they happened to have two scooters that were essentially one-wheeled vehicles. These vehicles served as interesting alternative forms of transportation when the main one is incapacitated.

I suppose the CT-S electric scooter could be viewed like that device, or I might just be off. I didn’t really even like that third Men in Black movie. Imagine some device that would be in the trunk that charges using a standard 12 volt socket. It is apparently inspired by Lexus’s L-FINESSE, and I don’t know whether it folds up or not.

This is just a concept here for now. I really think it can really be used for the “last mile journey to the office”. Let’s see if we can get this made, please.


Hasbro takes Twister into Dance Mode

I have never been a big fan of Twister before, and I suppose it is about time that it is about time it got technological. I’m sure that you could easily turn the spinner into something electrical, but what about combining the power of Twister with dance?

This is exactly what Twister Dance is designed to be. The game that you see here comes with a speaker and spots that you put on the floor. The speaker plays songs that it comes with like “Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears or “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha. While it plays the songs, certain colored lights come on from the left and right side, signifying what foot to put on what spot.

Does that make sense to you? I hope so. I have seen this Twister Dance advertised as a “game”, but I am not certain whether or not I would call it that. It isn’t like the spots that come with Twister Dance have any sensors on them. In other words, this isn’t like Dance Dance Revolution or any other music-based game where the game records whether or not you took the right step.

In other words, this could have been a real game with some sort of automated sensors, but it doesn’t have them. The good news is that the speaker part can be used as a speaker for any MP3 Player, and it will create a dance tune with flashing lights.

Twister Dance costs about $34.99 on the Hasbro site.

OwnFone could be the future of kid’s cell phones

I think we all know that our kids are going to have all kinds of cellular phones. If you can’t afford a smartphone, you might want to pay a small price so the kids can have a “dumb” phone.

This OwnFone is probably a “dumb” phone, but it is unique and it is prepared for the real world. Chances are, you have a kid who wants a cellular phone (like I do). You probably don’t want that kid accruing huge bills from downloading apps or long-distance charges, and that kid only wants to call a handful of people in the first place.

The OwnFone allows customers to choose from 2, 4, 8, or 12 contacts that can be pre-programmed into the phone itself. You can see that each of them are represented by a number like “Mom” or “Dad”. It also has a button for emergencies.

Yes, this is probably a phone designed for the young, but it could probably be made for the old as well. I’m guessing that many senior citizens don’t make a lot of cellular phone calls.

Unfortunately, this phone is only available in England for a price of £55. I can’t help but wonder if this will work out well for OwnFone and it will come to the states and other countries as well.


EcoXPower lights a bicycle light, charges a cellular phone, with pedal power

I remember when I was a kid I rode my bike to school, and it was often before the sun rose. I had a bike light, but it was battery powered, and these batteries tended to drain rather quickly. Here is the thing I don’t understand: a bicycle has pedal power, and there is a lot of energy going to waste by just pedaling. Shouldn’t this energy be used to power a bike light? How about charging a cellular phone?

That’s right, this device, the EcoXPower can do all those things. I am told by my Source that this is the first device of its type that can power a headlamp, a red tail light, and power a lithium-ion battery. I am told this attaches to the bike’s front tire with a universal mount. From there, a USB adpater cable can run up the bike’s fork so it can power devices.

You should be able to bike up this device for about $99.99. I would say it is a good invention.