Friday, July 22, 2011


The Wii U has been taking the gaming world by storm.  As the first next-generation console to be announced, a lot of attention has been magnetized toward Nintendo's next big system.

But, their little machine which seems to have a mini iPad as a controller is relatively unknown.  But that doesn't mean we don't know anything.

Here's a quick rundown of things we know for certain, or at least near certain, anyway.

The New Controller

Pictured above, the new controller has really been what's garnering attention for the system.  Instead of the tiny wand-like controllers from the previous Wii, the Wii U has a large controller with a very sensitive 6.9 inch touch screen on it.  Demo videos have shown that this has a camera in it, which allows a Facetime-like video chat system to be used.  It's also sensitive to movement, as seen when it clears the pieces from a go board.  Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of it is that you can turn your television off and actually play the game directly from your controller (although obviously it still needs to be connected to the system).  All of the little gadgets and gizmos in this controller include:  an accelerometer, a gyroscope, rumble support, the front-facing camera, a microphone, and stereo speakers.  The good news is that it's rechargeable, so no more scrambling for AA batteries.

System Specs

For storage, it has internal flash memory, though the amount(s) haven't been revealed.  Storage is also expandable with SD cards and external storage.

The CPU is a 45nm IBM Power-based multi-core processor with embedded DRAM.  It's said to be roughly 50% more powerful than the PS3.

As for the GPU, the Wii-U has an AMD Radeon-based HD GPU that will support up to 1080p high definition.

The only information we've got about RAM is that it's going to have a "large memory capacity".

Interestingly, Nintendo opted to go with just USB 2.0 slots for their controllers, much like the X-Box 360.

That's all the important info we have for now.  Of course, stay tuned for any new developments.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Classic Game Review: BUSHIDO BLADE

And for the inaugural CGR, we'll be looking at one of my personal favorite Playstation games of all time:  Bushido Blade.

Bushido Blade was a samurai-style fighting game the likes of which was never done before, and hasn't been done since.  Developed by Light Weight and published by Square and Sony, Bushido Blade has a bit of a cult following for its punishing gameplay and hair-trigger reflexes.

The gameplay mechanics are fairly straightforward:  there are no health bars.  Just you, your enemy, and an open screen.  Combat is done based on parries and strikes, which have different advantages and disadvantages depending upon the weapon and the stances that come with it. 

To defeat your enemy, you must strike them in such a way that it is a fatal blow.  This could mean one nicely-timed slice to the neck, or five minutes of trying to break through their parrying and slowly whittling them down.  The anticipation that your opponent could get a good parry and lay you out gives the game a sense of addicting necessity, knowing that you can't afford even one strike.

For its time, the graphics were pretty admirable, and the detail of combat was superb.  If you landed a strike on an opponent's leg, he would go limp.  If you caught them in the eye, they'd be seen wearing an eye bandage after the battle, and for the rest of the story mode if that's what you were participating in. 

The story mode can be somewhat hard to grasp at first, as it seems to give you little backstory and throws you into the game with nothing in terms of a tutorial.  In this respect, you had to learn the game yourself, which (while trifling at first) provided a much deeper sense of gratification the first time you thrust your naginata into an opponent's jugular vein. 

Along with Story Mode, Bushido Blade also featured various other modes.  Versus Mode is BB's multiplayer, allowing you to test your true skill against another human's reflexes.  Practice Mode was good for learning the controls before hopping into the story, allowing you to recover from death an infinite amount of times and continue training with no punishment.  Perhaps the most unique mode was the First Person mode, where you would take control of your character from a (who would have guessed) first person perspective, providing a different and, depending on who you ask, a more difficult yet rewarding game experience.

All in all, Bushido Blade is a gem.  Even if fighting games aren't your thing, I would still see if I could check it out— it's simply too unique to pass up.

One small step for man...

... and one giant leap for the more technologically inclined.  Those who prefer to spend their days tinkering behind a computer, or mashing buttons on a controller.  The geeks, the nerds, the gamers— they all have a reason to rejoice!  Geek Nirvana is soon to be your one-stop-shop for all things geek news. 

We cover everything from video games (new and old!) to movies to operating systems, and even throw a curve ball or two in sometimes with comedy articles and even music reviews!

Stay tuned, because this is just the launch.