Nintendo at E3 2015: A letdown?

Mario TennisOkay, you might remember as I talked about what Microsoft and Sony doing at E3 2015, but if you noticed, I didn’t mention Nintendo. I believe that those two companies had their press conferences before E3 2015 officially began, but it looks like Nintendo didn’t start maybe later.

Now, I have already said several times that it is possible that Nintendo’s days could be numbered with the non-success of the Wii U plus, darn it, there really should be a new Zelda game out now. I saw an article that I couldn’t find later about how Nintendo was kind of shamed at what they had on display at E3 2015.

That being said, here’s what they had to offer:

Super Mario Maker: I guess there will be some kind of Mario game that you can construct.

Amiibo comes to Skylanders: This is an odd move, but the Amiibo plastic figures will be for Skylanders for the Wii U and that includes a “Magma” version of Bowser that breathes fire.

Starfox Zero: Well, I knew that a new Starfox game was coming to the Wii U. It should be pretty good.

Animal Crossing, Happy Hoe Designer: Yeah, it is coming.

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes: Man, we can’t get a Zelda game for the Wii U, but for some reason, the 3DS is giving us a multiplayer dungeon-crawler based on the Four Swords spinoff series.

Metroid Prime Federation Force: Yes, it looks like Metroid is making a comeback, at least on the 3DS.

Yoshi’s Woolly World: This is a game where Yoshi lives in a world of yarn and comes out in October for the Wii U.

Mario Tennis: This is a game also coming to the Wii U this Fall.

Well, as you can see, there is no new intellectual property from Nintendo, which means that this company really rides on its laurels from past successes. I’m glad they have Splatoon.


Samsung patents a foldable tablet

samsung-foldable-tablet-1-640x404It seems like big companies like Samsung always have some stuff going on, and it is difficult to keep track of the innovation. Some probably doesn’t see the light of day, such as this foldable tablet.

Apparently, this technology has been around since November 2013, but the Korean Intellectual Property Office has just published it just recently. This is Patent No. 30-0757696, and it is a foldable tablet from Samsung with two seams and a flexible display.

Yeah, that whole flexible display hasn’t been invented yet, but it really ought to be. I don’t know if Samsung really wants to put this out, but man, they really should.


Big announcements from Microsoft and Sony before E3 2015

Right now, E3 2015 is happening right now at the LA Convention Center, and if you aren’t familiar with it, it is the biggest video game conference. Unfortunately, I am not there, but the two big guns of Microsoft and Sony have already made their announcements before the show Electronic Entertainment Expo even started. I’m just going to put some of the highlights in no particular order.

Let’s get started with Sony.

Still no word on the release date for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It should be out by March 2016.

Sony declared themselves the new home of Call of Duty, as Call of Duty III will have exclusive beta availability on the PS4 in August.

This might be long overdue, but the PlayStation 4 is getting a media player.

Final Fantasy VII getting a genuine remake on the PS4.

And now what is going on with the Xbox?

This is a big announcement, but the Xbox One will be reverse compatible with the Xbox 360. So if you have a game online and it is available, just download it on the Xbox One and start playing. Now, if you have the game on disc, just pop it in and it will download so you can play, but it still needs to be in the tray.

You can stream Xbox One games to Windows 10 computers.

Then there was a demonstration of Minecraft for the HoloLens, and now we know why Microsoft bought them.

Well, I’m sure there will be a lot more announced later about all these games.

Star Wars coming to Virtual Reality

Star Wars VRWell, I guess it was a matter of time before this happened. After all, Star Wars is coming back, again, this December, and the Oculus Rift is coming to consumers in 2016. Doesn’t is just make sense to combine these things together?

Apparently, the idea is to create an experience where one could just step right through the screen and enter the movie itself. This way, you can step into the world the movie has created for you, and this is done from our friends from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).

In case you haven’t heard of them, they are the guys that gave us the ground-breaking effects in Star Wars, and a whole lot of excellent films afterward. This is the ILM Experience Lab, or ILMxLab, and I would imagine that one would need a lot of space to make this work.

You know what? I think I see the future. I believe that there will be a huge influx of Virtual Reality, but you will need a place to do this. Also, you will need expensive equipment. The average user might be willing to pay the price of…a movie ticket to have a virtual experience.

So in the future, all these multiplexes will convert some of their theater space to be virtual places. So what will that world look like? Just wait, and you can tell me? Watch this video and see what it could be.


Speculative Fiction Friday: Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury RoadI will honestly say that I didn’t plan on seeing this film when it was in theaters. Some of you might recall my review of the Mad Max original trilogy, I stated that “sadly, they are rebooting these”. Fortunately, they did this right for several reasons.

First of all, they got the original director George Miller to do the job right. Now, I remember reading a magazine back in the nineties about films that were going to be released, and they were planning a Mad Max 4 back then. I can imagine that this film spent twenty years in development hell, and I have to admit that a Mad Max film that was like the ones of the eighties would not work after the end of the cold war. So what you see in Mad Max Fury Road is what the director calls a “revisiting” of it, and it could almost fit in the first three movies.

In fact, there is kind of a sequence to the original Mad Max series. The first film was about an energy crisis that caused society to begin to crumble. The second film was after the bomb, but there was the beginning of settlements. The third film has more advanced settlements, even cities. In Fury Road, there are apparently tribes of some kind, and Max is captured by one of them at the beginning of the film.

The tribe that Max is kidnapped into is essentially a doomsday cult, and by that, I mean a cult after doomsday has happened. A man named Immortan Joe has a fortress and has somehow channel fresh water to make himself a ruler amongst the refugees. Immortan Joe has a harem, but one of his followers, Imperator Furiosa, goes rogue and tries to bring his wives to a new land.

From there, Max is somehow thrown into a chase scene that lasts the entire length of the film. Seriously, the entire film is one chase scene, and it doesn’t let up. This is the second great part of this film, is that it is 90 percent practical effects and 10 percent CG. Most films do the opposite of this, but Fury Road has real cars racing in the real desert. These cars look as post-apocalyptic as they come, often with metal spikes and all kinds of mishmash construction. I will have to say that there were too many shots that one could tell were sped up for the sake of making them look more action-oriented.

I will say that this film is disturbing. The film seems to go out of its way to show things like boils covering a whole body, deformed people, not to mention a lot of blood and violence. Personally, I would have to say that this is very gratuitous, but at the same time, I can’t help but think that a society that has fallen so much would practice very disturbing behavior. This is especially seen in Immortan Joe’s cult, which has a clear hierachy in its organization, in spite of it being completely savage.

The beginning of this film shows the depravity as we see a two-headed lizard that Max eats, raw. There is some narration stating that he once had a daughter that passed away, and a lot of weird nightmarish imagery. In fact, the whole beginning scene where Max is kidnapped by the cult is straight out of a nightmare, which means that George Miller has really embraced the fear that would accompany such a terrifying era.

The problem that I had with this film is that once the chase happens, the audience gets used to it. So much so, that it doesn’t feel like the biggest chase scene in the film is at the end. I think that is all I can say without putting too many spoilers in there. The issue is that Fury Road is one wild ride that I would be glad to go on again, and I highly recommend it.

Consumer version of Oculus Rift coming in First Quarter 2016

Oculus Rift AgainIt’s probably no surprise that I am reporting on this. After all, I have had a lot of love for the Oculus Rift for a long time now. I have been wondering when this technology would be available to the public, and it looks like I, and many others, will be getting their wish in Q1 2016.

The Oculus Rift has finally been made available after years of being some kind of weird project for a private platform. This headset is light enough to lift with one hand, and the user can wear it with glasses.

Sadly, it is not wireless (maybe next version), and you will have to drape a cable over the shoulder that presumably connects to a computer. Now here is some interesting news that shows that Microsoft is involved with the Oculus Rift: an Xbox One gamepad will come with every Oculus Rift headset. The gamepad will be wireless, but the games themselves, like Forza, Halo, and Sunset Overdrive won’t be in 3D.

As an added bonus, Oculus is also working on some kind of motion controller known as the Oculus Touch. This will be wireless, and will use gesture-control to track in a virtual environment.

So far, there isn’t any word on an exact release date or a price, and I’m not certain whether the Oculus Rift will catch on or end up going the way of Google Glass.


Samsung unveils mirrored and transparent displays

samsung-transparent-oled01Remember when I talked about how LG was making a very, very, very thin TVs? Well, it appears that Samsung, their competitor, has some plans for some other unusual televisions.

These displays are both transparent, as well as mirror-type. It doesn’t look like Samsung wants to market these for the average user, but it can be used as ad billboards as well as a possible digital signage. For example, the one with a mirror is good for a “virtual fitting room”, where you can see what outfits and/or jewelry looks like without trying it on.

As for the transparent display, imagine passing by a store window and information appears for some products inside the store. If you like what you see, you can use voice and gesture capabilities to get more ads.

Okay, this isn’t some tech that you will see the next time you walk into a department store, but in stores of the future, this is a remote possibility.


Just Watch the Nostalgia Critic if you aren’t already.

Picture 36Yes, that is me in the middle, and the Nostalgia Critic on the right. On the left is Rob Walker, the Nostalgia Critic’s brother, and this picture was taken at MomoCon 2015 in Atlanta two weeks ago.

Okay, about a few years ago, I remembered hearing of a movie called Delgo, and I had never heard of it. Apparently, it was one of the worst computer-generated films of all time, and I thought that I could probably find a way to watch it for free online. I could not find it, but I found an Internet critic of it. From there, I became hooked on Internet critics, and if you are not familiar with them, it is essentially when a critic reviews a movie by showing quite a few more scenes than Siskel and Ebert, and really makes fun of it.

I found one of the best known as the Nostalgia Critic. The Nostalgia Critic, aka That Guy with the Glasses, aka Doug Walker, is a man that I could easily watch every day, and he has been doing work as an Internet critic since around 2007. In his early years, he would take movies that were not well-received, and he gave these films a deserved beat-down.

Some of the films he has done in the past include Batman and Robin, Space Jam, Patch Adams, and usually a lot of nineties ones that some have considered treasures from their childhood, but Walker disassembles these films for how bad they actually are. He has done other more recent films, and the most recent, to this writing, is Jupiter Ascending.

Picture 50What makes the Nostalgia Critic so interesting is that he has a lot of charisma and excitement when talking about film. He has the exuberance of Weird Al Yankovic, and he can get pretty loud when ranting about how stupid scenes from blockbusters can be. He is at his best when he is reviewing bad films, but he has discussed good films as well, and a few editorial comments where he just shares is opinion. He has also done several Top 11 lists (why 11, because he likes to go one step further).

He has several other running gags on his show, which has really upped its production values since its popularity. It used to be, his show was filmed in his house with a single camera in front of a blank background, but now he has his own office and goes out of his way to create various parody sketches around the movies that he reviews.

The Nostalgia Critic has his own channel called Channel Awesome and there are many Internet Critics that are under his wing including Angry Joe, who reviews video games, Linkara, who reviews comic books, and various other critics who review other mediums. Doug is no one man show on his own program, as he also has a few assistants who work with him like Malcolm and Tamara, as well as his brother Rob.

I have no idea why I like watching the Nostalgia Critic so much, but perhaps it is that is as excited about TV and movies as much as I am, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a way, he shows fanboys like me that we aren’t alone, and we have a voice. Catch him on Channel Awesome with a new video every Tuesday.

YouTube user creates 40W Laser products

laser-shotgunThere is a YouTube users known as styropyro who has created some interesting laser creations, including a lightsaber. He has recently created a 40W laser rifle that makes me wonder about the legality of weapons.

I am assuming that you can just make a weapon like a nuclear bomb, right? Well, I suppose that this laser gun, which uses eight parallel 5W laser beams fastened to a huge heatsink and has a giant diode laser array regulated by 24 LM317 drivers.

You can see on the video how this user can blast things like ping pong balls and wood igniting them until they burn. I have to admit that would come in handy, but it would also kill your eyes, wouldn’t it?

Yeah, there is no reason to have this laser, as an over-the-counter laser should have only 0.005W of power. I don’t think that is enough to burn eyes, but the prototype lasers used by the U.S. Navy have 30,000 Watts of power used to shoot down drones.

This leads me to wonder if someone can just build a weapon like this, and will the law look the other way? I mean, what is keeping an army of laser wielding soldiers from invading?


Bjork’s newest video goes full 360

I have to admit that I might know a few contemporary songs here and there, but I rarely watch videos these days. I also have to admit that I have barely heard of Bjork, but I think I heard that she attended some event in a swan dress.

Her newest video is in 360, and I can’t seem to understand the lyrics, but it is quite interesting to see what can be done with it. I have to admit that it seems very minimalist, at first. It does help to see Bjork walk around the camera as it forces the watcher to pan to see her.

What is really strange is how there ends up being three Bjorks in the video after a while, and I can’t help but wonder how difficult this effect was.

I have said before in my review of the V.360 that this type of video could be the latest thing, and it is only a question of how it will be used. I suppose it feels a little at an early stage.