Purple 3DS available next month

True to form, Nintendo is rolling out more colors for its 3DS handheld, and you can get your hands on the newest addition next month.

The Midnight Purple 3DS will hit stores on May 20, the same day as Mario Tennis Open for the system.

This 3DS retails for the usual $169.99 price, and is sold separately from the game (i.e. not in a bundle), despite its release on the same day as Mario Tennis Open.

Source: CVG

Richest Game Developers in the UK revealed

 

The wealthiest game developers in the UK are Andrew and Paul Gower, founders of RuneScape studio Jagex, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List.

As reported by Develop, the pair are apparently worth £102 million. They were the games industry’s top earners last year too, though their cash pile has shrunk a little over the last months – they were said to be worth £145 million in April 2011.

The UK games industry has two other representatives in the list. Jon Burton, the boss of LEGO studio Traveller’s Tales, came in at 908th on the list with an estimated fortune of £80 million.

Rare founder Chris Stamper wasn’t far behind, with an estimated £76 million. He left Rare back in 2007, five years after it was sold to Microsoft for £240 million, and now works outside the games industry.

Another noteworthy name on the list is Neil Taylor – the man who founded struggling retail chain GAME. He’s the 406th richest man in the nation, worth around £189 million. He sold the company back in 1999, well before its recent financial difficulties.

Source: Develop

Angry Birds space has over 50 Million downloads

Angry Birds Space has been downloaded a whopping 50 million times in the 35 days since it launched.

The incredible figure makes it the fastest-growing mobile game ever, and breaks all of developer Rovio’s previous records.

“This has been simply amazing, and the whole Rovio team is thrilled to see such a fantastic reception for the game,” the Finnish company wrote on the Angry Birds blog.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to all fans of Angry Birds everywhere. While numbers like this certainly say something about the popularity of Angry Birds, for us the main goal is to keep creating fun new experiences that everybody can enjoy!”

The 69p app went on sale on 22nd March. It’s currently available for iOS, Android, PC and Mac. A Windows Phone version is in the works.

Source: Angry Birds Blog

Prototype 2 tops UK charts this week

Open world mutant adventure Prototype 2 managed to wrap its tendrils around the UK all-formats chart this week, debuting in first place.

But it failed to match launch week sales of the first Prototype, despite it launching on a Tuesday and therefore having a longer time on sale.

Prototype 2 did however manage to sell more than other recent number ones Kinect Star Wars and Witcher 2 in their respective launch weeks.

Otherwise, it was a quiet week for new releases. Crash Time 4, the only other fresh launch, failed to chart altogether.

Witcher 2, last week’s number one, fell to sixth. The rest of the top 10 remained largely unchanged: FIFA Street remained second, with FIFA 12, Mass Effect 3 and Kinect Star Wars filling out the rest of the top five.

Source: Eurogamer

ASUS to release value P8Z77-V Series 1155 motherboards

ASUS is working on two new value P8Z77-V series socket LGA1155 motherboards based on the Intel Z77 Express chipset.

These are the P8Z77-V LK and P8Z77-V LX. The two are designed to occupy price-points well under US $150. The P8Z77-V LK is the costlier of the two, featuring three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4), 6-phase CPU VRM, six USB 3.0 ports, two SATA 6 Gb/s and four SATA 3 Gb/s internal ports; and display outputs that include DVI, D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

The P8Z77-V LX is probably ASUS’ cheapest Z77 motherboard, with the same 6-phase CPU VRM, but a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot wired to the CPU, a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4) wired to the Z77 PCH, three PCI, two PCI-Express 2.0 x1, all internal ports wired to the PCH (2x SATA 6 Gb/s, 4x SATA 3 Gb/s), and a slightly slimmer connectivity loadout that includes 6-channel HD audio, four USB 3.0 ports (2x rear, 2x front-panel, all from PCH), and display outputs that include DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI.

Source: VR-Zome

Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 1 DLC out on the 8th May

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 1 DLC launches on PC on 8th May, Infinity Ward has announced.

The Collection 1 content drop, which you’ll be able to grab from Steam, includes four multiplayer maps: Piazza, Liberation, Overwatch and Black Box, and two Special Ops missions: Negotiator and Black Ice.

As per Activision’s exclusivity deal with Microsoft, the Content Collection 1 launched first for paying Elite subscribers on Xbox 360 in January. All other Xbox 360 owners got it in March. PlayStation 3 owners got it this month. Now PC gamers get it in May.

Source: Infinity Ward

‘The Pirate Bay’ to be blocked in the UK rules High Court

Internet service providers must block UK customers from accessing popular torrent portal The Pirate Bay, according to a new ruling handed down by the High Court today.

As reported by the BBC, Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must all deny access to the controversial Swedish site.

The move follows a request from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) last November, asking ISPs to voluntarily block the site. They refused to do so without a court order, which the BPI has now obtained.

“The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale,” commented BPI CEO Geoff Taylor.

“Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

“This is wrong – musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else.”

Virgin confirmed that it will adhere to the court’s request, albeit reluctantly.

“As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, to give consumers access to great content at the right price,” explained a spokesperson.

It’s not known exactly when access to the site will be turned off.

Outspoken Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson responded to the news by posting a link on his Twitter feed to a workaround that lets viewers in countries with a block in place to view the torrent hub, followed by a request –

“Please don’t pirate Minecraft, Although if pirating Minecraft helps ensure the bastards don’t get to censor the net, pirate it all you want.”

Source: BBC

Eden Industries seeking Pixel / Sprite artist

Any budding pixel / sprite artists out there? the talented folk over at Eden Industries are looking for something to work on their next title.

Very little is known about the game at the moment, most likely because there is very little of the game, although I recently spoke to Ryan at Eden Industries about his next title, which is set to be a JRPG.

When I asked him for more details about the game he said “I think it’s a very exciting project that any RPG fan would love, at the moment it would be really premature to talk about it or show anything given how un-presentable it is”, so if you think you have the skills to take their project to the next level, albeit one where I can have a look at it, then get it touch with Ryan via Twitter.

Eden Industries are the Indie developer behind the fantastic Waveform, a game which I reviewed recently, so I have a lot of hope for their next title, we’ll bring you more details as the game progresses, watch this space, although I do expect its going to be a little while.

Ryan recently tweeted: “Amazing progress on the next project from Eden Industries, a very exciting JRPG. If you’re a pixel/sprite artist, we want to hear from you”

Popcap games announces first major merchandising agreements

PopCap Games, maker of some of the world’s most popular video game franchises, today announced it has finalized a number of licensing deals that expand its blockbuster properties beyond the digital realm into new formats, mediums and products for the first time in the company’s twelve year history. PopCap’s first brand licensing agreements have been signed with Trends International, Bioworld Merchandising, Funko, MjC International, Jazwares and Walls360. The first products from PopCap’s partners will begin appearing this spring and will be based on the company’s global hit franchise Plants vs. Zombies, with plans to bring Bejeweled and other franchises to fans in early 2013.

The agreements announced today represent the first major partnerships PopCap has entered to license its properties for consumer products in the North American and European territories. Each partnership represents an exciting opportunity to expand PopCap’s franchises into the following new product categories:

  • Bioworld Merchandising will be creating apparel, headwear, bags and accessories
  • Jazwares is developing a series of plush toys, figures and electronic accessories including headphones, USBs, speakers and device cases
  • Walls360 will be offering a starting line-up of wall graphics including individual characters and exclusive bundles
  • Funko will be creating Plants vs. Zombies versions of their distinctive Pop! Vinyl Figurines
  • MjC International is working on adult sleepwear and boxers
  • Trends International is developing calendars and posters

“We’re taking a measured, deliberate approach to licensing our IPs, focusing on quality brand extensions that expand our unique game icons and experiences for our fans in authentic, meaningful ways,” said Brennan Townley, director of brand licensing at PopCap Games. “The partnerships we’ve announced today represent partnerships with some of the most highly regarded licensees in their respective categories.”

Known for its quirky, one-of-a-kind blend of art, humor, polish and attention to detail, PopCap has been a mainstay of casual, mobile and social gaming for more than a decade.  Nearly a billion people around the world have played PopCap’s video games, including the award-winning blockbuster franchises Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, Zuma, Peggle and Bookworm. The breadth of PopCap’s audience is similarly impressive, as its games appeal equally to both genders and all ages.

Source: PR

Gigabyte GTX 680 SOC pictured

Gigabyte’s Super Overclock card has caught the attention of enthusiasts recently thanks to its highly unique cooling design, the Windforce 5X cooler. The Cooler occupies 3 slots in width much like the Direct CU II cooler that we saw on the GTX 580 and HD 6970. Yet the fan design is unique as it seems to be designed for a total earache, at least that’s the judgement many have come too. Featuring five 40mm fans facing upwards exhausting hot air off the card’s heatsink arrangement, which consists of a vapour chamber and five 8mm heat pipes.

To many it would probably make more sense to stick with the efficient heat sink design but with a couple of larger 92mm/80mm fans much like what we’ve seen on previous Windforce cards. It is a well recognised fact that smaller fans have to spin faster to provide equivalent airflow to that of larger fans, faster spinning results in larger noise output. However, we won’t know whether the card truly is efficient or noisy until some testing has taken place. The card comes with a back plate as standard and it is expected to become available in the near future.

Source: Coolaler

Dane Elec announces My Ditto NAS solutions

As part of eTeknix’s ever growing interest in the NAS market as of today we will be working more with the emerging NAS company My Ditto. Expect some reviews on the way. The Dane-Elec owned My Ditto have recently announced a extensive range of NAS boxes.

Dane-Elec offers travelers a way to securely access, share and store all of their files, videos and photos from any computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet or Windows smartphone with its award-winning my-Ditto Network Solution (NAS).

“Whether it’s a vacation or a business trip, my-Ditto offers a unique solution that allows travelers to upload, store and share photos and videos to their personal my-Ditto from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection,” said Sarit Lamerovich, vice president of marketing at Dane-Elec. “my-Ditto keeps users photos and videos secure so they don’t have to worry about carrying multiple memory cards or losing them if their camera or computer is lost. For business travelers, my-Ditto takes the office with them wherever they go so their documents and files are always accessible.”

Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to capture photos and videos when they travel to share with friends and family.  With the free my-Ditto Android, iOS and Windows apps, travelers can conveniently connect to my-Ditto not only from any computer, but also from their mobile device anywhere in the world.

With my-Ditto’s automatic backup feature and direct transfer protocol technology, travelers can rest assured that their files are securely stored. Storage capacity ranges from 500 gigabytes (GB) to 4 terabytes (TB) and with the ability to connect an additional external drive of up to 2 TB, there is plenty of room to grow.

Each my-Ditto device can be configured to allow access by up to 30 people, enabling users to easily share their vacation photos, videos and other files with family and loved ones. my-Ditto gives the user complete personal control of the physical hard drive with the choice to create either private or shared folders, and whether to restrict or enable access to individual files.

my-Ditto users can safely share digital content over the Internet in less than a minute (depending on network speed) with its “Three Easy Steps” set-up process. From streaming music to exchanging favorite songs, viewing memorable photos, and saving important documents, my-Ditto is the best solution to safely storing digital assets.

Pricing and Availability

my-Ditto from Dane-Elec is available from national and online retailers including BestBuy, Wal-Mart, Staples, PC Mall, Mac Mall, Amazon, Buy.com, B&H and J&R with an MSRP of $154.99 for the 500GB my-Ditto, up to an MSRP of $379.99 for the 4TB my-Ditto.

For more information on My Ditto please connect with the Facebook Page or visit the main site.

Source: PR

ASUS introduce the Xtion Motion Sensor

The ASUS Xtion motion sensor brings consumers the first ever whole-body gesture input developed exclusively for PC. It employs sophisticated sensors for precise yet intuitive motion controls, with a user-friendly interface that enables fun and truly interactive gaming, multimedia, and online experiences. Several high profile games offer full Xtion support, with more being added. The dedicated Xtion Store further contains a variety of exclusive games and applications, plus consumers receive a free three-game bundle with their purchase.

Push, wave, and tap: gesturing a new world of entertainment

Xtion works with any PC via USB, making it readily accessible to all desktop, notebook, and ultrabook users. With the focus being on a completely intuitive experience, Xtion supports easy push, wave, and tap gestures to allow for quick access to motion-based games as well as movies, multimedia collections, photo galleries, and web browsers. The simplicity of Xtion usage makes it a fun and convenient interface for all age groups, with easy navigation and large on-screen icons for added clarity.

Custom-designed Facebook, Picasa, and Flickr Xtion applications make social networking and content sharing more exciting and personal with whole-body interaction. Xtion also includes a dedicated YouTube application that uses motion sensing controls.

ASUS has teamed up with Hillcrest Labs to bring the Kylo Browser to Xtion. The gesture-based browser includes direct links to over 30 popular sites, and users can quickly input text via a virtual on-screen keyboard. It also allows all compatible web content to be zoomed in and out instantly as well as rotated with natural gesture input.

Motion-controlled PC gaming with family and friends

Various PC games offer Xtion compatibility. With whole-body active input, gaming becomes more exciting, allowing for greater involvement and cooperation with other players. The intuitive design of Xtion makes for an excellent local multiplayer experience, as users immerse in games with family members and friends. No additional hardware or controllers are required, and the list of compatible games continues to grow, covering several major franchises. These include SEGA’s Virtua Tennis 4, EA’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Street Fighter 4 by Capcom, Fruit Ninja by Halfbrick Studios, and Rovio’s world-famous Angry Birds.

Dedicated Xtion Store offers a range of exclusive games and apps

Xtion users get more content with the Xtion Store, which delivers a wide selection of items. Integrated directly into the Xtion user interface and co-developed with appside, the store features a growing range of entertainment offerings, with games and applications designed to make the most of whole-body interaction on PC. In addition to action gaming, content covers fitness, dance simulators, and sports titles. The Xtion Store will continue to add new items regularly to offer consumers more choice.

Special motion gaming bundle with every Xtion purchase

Xtion comes with a special free bundle that includes three exclusive games developed especially for the new product. Beatbooster and DanceWall offer fun racing and highly active dance action, both with multiplayer support. MayaFit brings a personal fitness trainer to the living room through whole-body exercise routines, detailed progress tracking, customizable training regimens, and much more.

Source: PR

Square Enix set to reveal new game reveal today

A ‘surprising’ Square Enix game is set to be revealed at some point today on the Siliconera website.

While there are next to no details at the moment, Siliconera has said “I can’t say any more for the moment other than this will be a Siliconera exclusive and the game will surprise you,” what that means is exactly remains to be seen, but no doubt all you Square Enix fans will have a few hopes and dreams in mind, although I’ll put my money on it being some naff iOS conversion, setting my hopes low on purpose so not to have them shattered.

Square Enix was known to trade mark the titles “drakerider and “bloody of Chaos” in Europe, obvious hints at new projects, but they could be anything from DLC, possible projects, new titles, who knows?

Could it be something Final Fantasy related? oh that’s right, I’m trying not to get my hopes up!

Source: CVG

Intel cuts 2600K and 2700K prices

As the traditional saying “out with the old and in with the new” would imply, Intel is making efforts to clear the older inventories of Sandy Bridge as it shifts its focus towards the newly released Ivy Bridge. The price cuts Intel have introduced are modest, this is because Sandy Bridge is still reasonably popular even with the arrival of Ivy Bridge but there is still sufficient stock to warrant a price cut for clearance. The i7 2600K gets a €10 price cut now being priced at €255-260/£207-212 and the i7 2700K gets a €15 price cut meaning it falls slightly to €275/£225.

Source: Cowcotland

Decisive Campaigns : Case Blue – Coming Soon

The development team behind the award-winning game Decisive Campaigns: From Warsaw To Paris is back with a new and improved game engine that focuses on the decisive year and theater of World War II! Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue simulates the German drive to Stalingrad and into the Caucasus of the summer of 1942, as well as its May preludes (2nd Kharkov offensive, Operation Trappenjagd) and also the Soviet winter counter-offensive (Operation Uranus) that ended with the encirclement of 6th Army in Stalingrad and the destruction of the axis minor armies.

Well researched and packed with depth, including detailed unit data down to vehicle level and historically realistic combined arms gameplay, Case Blue also features an easy-to-learn interface and a good AI. In the campaign scenarios, next to the victory conditions, you will have to deal with high command orders that can instruct you to hold or take specific cities. Do well and earn prestige that enables you to request reinforcements and influence high command decisions, do bad and you’ll have to be careful not to get sacked.

Once in the battle, players move regiments and divisions, coordinate attacks and manage logistics in what we feel is the definitive game on the fighting in the Ukraine and the Caucasus. There are also unique actions for individual historical generals to give a particular unit or HQ the extra needed push to victory. Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue includes Slitherine’s great PBEM++ system and also editor functionality.

Case Blue is unique in that it aims to not only give you the numbers but also to give you the feel of the time, the theater and its challenges.

Top Features

  • Well researched historical operational simulation that not only gives the numbers and rules but also the atmosphere and feel
  • Dynamic high command orders keep you as operational commander on your toes
  • Proven and mature engine in development since 2005 that keeps getting improved upon
  • 120+ different troop, equipment and vehicle types each with its own detailed statistics and artwork
  • 50+ different organizational structures with their own model OOBs including : Panzer divisions, StuG battalions and militia units
  • 150+ generals with their own statistics and biographies
  • 1000+ historical regiments and divisions
  • Maps ranging from 22×22 hex maps to the large 160×125 hex campaign scenario map spanning from Kiev to Baku
  • Scenarios ranging from playable 8 rounds to monster 160+ rounds
Coming later this years from Matrix / Slitherine games.

 

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770 OC 1GB Graphics Card Review

There has been a huge focus on AMD for the past four months or so as they have steadily been releasing their HD 7000 series range of graphics cards including the 7700 lineup. Within this range of cards are two; the 7750 and the 7770 which both offer ample performance for users on a budget, and that’s what a lot of buying decisions come down to in this climate; price.

An interesting find for us was when we looked at the performance behind CrossFire, and how two HD 7770’s could outperform a GTX 580 from Nvidia for a fraction of the cost, which is where we fast forward back to the present date and see GTX 580’s dropping in price quite rapidly, but some will say this is to make room for the new generation of Nvidia cards, and I guess this is partly true, but we would still like to think that AMD had something to do with it, and we helped.

We also saw more potential from the likes of Sapphire with their HD 7770 Overclock Edition which offered a custom cooler with a pre-factory overclock to give that little extra bang for buck to the consumer, and now we’re seeing the same thing from other key manufacturers and partners of AMD.

Today we have the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770 OC 1GB card which comes with a custom cooler sporting a large 100mm fan and a clock speed of 1100MHz to give that extra performance for those wanting the best, while being restricted due to budget constraints.

As always, we’ll be taking a look at the package that Gigabyte have put together, and then take a look at the card and its custom cooler, before we sling it into our test bench system to see how it can perform at the most popular resolutions including AMD Eyefinity 5760×1080.

Specifications

Gaming Deal of the Day – Unreal Gold

I took one look at this and just new it had to be on Deal of the Day, a true gaming classic, just seeing it brought back many happy gaming memories, I hope it does for you too.

What’s cool about it:

  • Includes the original Unreal game and its expansion – Return to Na Pali
  • Use a wide variety of weapons with many fire modes, some of them upgradeable
  • Great gameplay, superb level design and an interesting story

Overview:

Your prison ship has crash-landed on the fastest, sleekest, most dangerous 3D world ever created. Look around, crystal clear water shimmers, shadows dance and shift, alien architecture fades into the horizon. Discover the secret of this mysterious planet and find out what caused a peaceful race to be enslaved by vicious merciless aggressors.

  • Over 47 eye-popping single player missions
  • 20 multi-player levels with 5 different game types
  • Ruthlessly intelligent enemies, each with unique personalities
  • An arsenal of over 13 deadly weapons…all guaranteed giblet action
  • Includes all of the latest Unreal enhancements and technical improvements
  • Special graphical and performance enhancements for the latest 3D cards

You can buy Unreal Gold Edition DRM-Free here for only $9.99

Deal of the Day – 3TB Freecom External Hard Drive

Keeping your data backed up is vital these days, hard drives fail, things get lost, deleted, you name it, it never hurts to have a spare copy, not to mention some of us just can’t get through the day without knowing we have 3TB of music and photos in our bag, no wonder then why I bring you this stunning deal on an external hard drive.

The ‘Hard Drive XS 3.0’ is the first external hard drive in the world to offer ‘SuperSpeed USB’ technology. Using USB 3.0, Freecom is offering transfer speeds of approximately 130 Mbps – significantly faster than existing solutions – enabling users to back up and upload information in a matter of seconds.

Ideal for both home and professional users who want to transfer large files quickly and carry their data on the move, the Hard Drive XS 3.0 is also the smallest 3.5″ desktop hard drive available, allowing users to reliably expand their storage capacity with a product that is not only the fastest, but is also compact, portable and easy to use.

“Designed in collaboration with acclaimed Belgian designer Sylvain Willenz, the sleek Hard Drive XS 3.0 is covered in a form-fitting rubber enclosure that ensures optimal grip and reduced vibration, combining functionality with refinement. The fanless system means the drive is almost silent and lightweight, it is easy to transport, making sharing data more convenient than ever.”

You can pick up the Freecom External Hard Drive here for only £131.30 ex VAT £157.56 inc VAT

Ivy Bridge heat problems remain even after IHS removal

We recently brought you the news that I.M.O.G from Overclockers.com had come to the conclusion Ivy Bridge was a hotter chip due to the fact there was an additional layer of inefficient thermal paste between the processors Integrated Heat Sink (IHS) and the processor itself which affected cooling efficiency. Naturally the only way to test this hypothesis is with some empirical testing and that’s exactly what a PC EVA forum member has done. Using a Core i7 3770K processor, with a Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler and Prolimatech PK-1 thermal grease there was testing conducted with the IHS on and the IHS off to see if it gave any differences to thermal performance. The testing methodology involved using AIDA64 Extreme Edition for idle and load average temperature monitoring with Prime95 being used to generate the load temperatures. Testing was done at 4.5GHz with 1.2 volts on the core.

The results are summarised below in tabulated format:

As you can see even with the “cheap” thermal paste and additional outer IHS layer removed the cooling performance is still identical within a traditional margin of error of 5%, therefore its safe to say the high temperatures have nothing to do with IHS and are simply a consequence of the way Ivy Bridge’s revised manufacturing process works. In practice this now means Ivy Bridge will typically reach lower stable 24/7 clock speeds than Sandy Bridge but will offer similar performance (for example a 3570K at 4.8GHz is the same as a 2500K at 5GHz) and with slightly lower power consumption.

Source: My Drivers

Ivy Bridge goes on sale across the UK

The Ivy Bridge NDA expired back on April the 23rd and it also appears the retail embargo was lifted at some stage this weekend too. Retailers across the UK have now started listed Ivy Bridge processors and the prices seem fair given the extra clock per clock performance you can get over Sandy Bridge with slight power savings. Currently there is availability of selected Core i5 and Core i7 models, for lower performance and cheaper Core i3, Pentium and Celeron Ivy Bridge CPUs you will have to wait longer, in the region of another month. A full list of prices is supplied below, pricing is courtesy of www.scan.co.uk:

Core i5 

3450S OEM – £140.58

3450 OEM – £141.78

3450 – £143.94

3450S – £147.78

3550 OEM – £158.58

3550S – £160.98

3550 – £161.98

3570K OEM – £170.58

3570K – £173.94 (2500K Retail costs £161.94)

Core i7

3770S OEM – £223.40

3770T OEM -£223.40

3770 OEM – £225.80

3770 – £230.34

3770S – £231.80

3770K OEM – £248.60 (2600K retail costs £227 and 2700K retail costs £239)

3770K- £250.74

**OEM means that a CPU is supplied only, the standard retail versions are boxed with provided stock Intel heat sinks and have a longer warranty period.

 

Botanicula PC Review

This week I have been lost in the world of Botanicula, a bright and colourful Indie title from the talented developers at the Amanita Design game studio, who already have a place in my heart for crating their previous masterpiece Machanarium, another similar style title, which also featured the same creative point’n’click gameplay mixed with hand drawn computer animated graphics. Botanicula brings you into the world of not one but five main characters, Feather, Lantern, Poppyhead, Mushroom and Twig, each with their own unique personalities and skills, who are on a journey to save a tree from the life sucking evil spider-like creatures that have started to over run the tree.

Wandering from branch to branch presents you with various puzzles and challenges for you to help them through, totalling in at over 150 different detailed locations / scenes to explore and enjoy, such is the chilled out style of this game that you can’t help but get lost in this very magical and occasionally dark world that exists on their tree, exploring the world of the tiny insects and bugs that resides in and around it, discovering enemies, allies and creatures in need of your help along the way.

Point and click adventures don’t get the attention they deserve these days, with game development studios putting focus on action and adventure, so its amazing to see so much love going into what has been often declared in the past, a dead genre, so much so that I doubt it was ever a dead genre, more just a forgotten one.

With a stunning and creative soundtrack courtesy of the band DVA, with well scripted and organic music that springs to life as you perform various actions and travel throughout the tree, not to mention the creative use of sound effects, which as the best of time sound like a child making his own sound effects, but it helps create a fun and imaginative tone that really suits the games creative environments and characters.

Not just the sound, but the graphics are wonderfully detailed in all the places it matter too, the characters are imaginative and at times some of the other inhabitants of this world made me think of Terry Gilliams work in Monty Python, the same can also be said of the animation, it makes you want to click on every leaf, creature and flower again and again just to see what it will do, thanks to there being hundreds of unique animations in this game, which means you really never know what is going to happen next, giving you plenty of fun surprises from the most unlikely of objects.

Gameplay is a lot of fun in this game, with clever little puzzles to keep you scratching your head throughout, but not so difficult that you end up pulling your hair out trying to solve them, striking a perfect ballance between entertainment and puzzle logic that helps keep the game progress flowing.

While this may not be the biggest game ever, completion time clocks in at about 6 hours, although I was playing slowly and enjoying everything I could find, I would say its possible to complete this game in 4 hours without too much trouble, but your likely to miss some of the games areas and hidden wonders if you do.

With no text dialogues to slow the pace of the game, instead relying on broad gestures, thought bubbles and big arrows being used to clearly explain just what it is you need to do, simple things are suggested to you, such as “find 3 feathers” and “locate 5 keys”, all of which can be accomplished by solving the number of little puzzles that are scatters around the tree, helping a creature reach some food, getting past a mean little bug, or using all 5 characters to help you reach an object that is normally out of reach, simple ideas, but non the less more fun than it sounds.

Botanicula is one of those games that comes along every so often and gets easily lost in the hundreds of new indie titles that seem to come out every month, and while indie games are often great, it is very difficult to find out which ones are best to spend your hard earned money on, fortunately with this game, as is the case with a lot of indie titles, the price is low, coming in at just $9.99 so its not so expensive to miss out on the “pick up and try” sale, which is something that happens less and less these days with the £40+ retail release games.

This game makes a strong argument for quality over quantity though, with so much polish and love having gone into every moment, combined with the low price point still make this game great value for money, soon as you finish playing it you’ll be wanting your friends and family to try it out too, my 5yr old has had just as much fun playing / watching this game as I did, now I don’t know if that speaks for how accessible the game is, or my maturity level, but I’ll side that this is a great game for all ages.  While there isn’t a great deal of re-playability here, the initial experience is definitely worth your time, its great to see a developer that has a clear passion for what they do, which is why I’m awarding Botanicula our Gamers Choice Award, I couldn’t recommend this title enough.

You can pick up Botanicula DRM-Free here for $9.99

Nvidia announce GTX 690

NVIDIA today announced the GeForce GTX 690, the world’s fastest consumer graphics card — with a bold industrial design to match. Powered by dual Kepler architecture-based GeForce GPUs, the GTX 690 is meticulously designed — inside and out — to deliver the most refined, elegant and smooth PC gaming experience possible.The surprise announcement was made by NVIDIA CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang during his keynote address at the NVIDIA Game Festival in Shanghai, which is being attended by more than 6,000 gamers from across China.

Engineered to reach a new threshold in gaming performance, the GTX 690 also looks the part. Its array of innovative technologies is complemented by sleek materials that contribute to the exotic design of the card, including:

  • An exterior frame made from trivalent chromium-plated aluminum, providing excellent strength and durability
  • A fan housing made from a thixomolded magnesium alloy, which offers excellent heat dissipation and vibration dampening
  • High-efficiency power delivery with less resistance, lower power and less heat generated using a 10-phase, heavy-duty power supply with a 10-layer, two-ounce copper printed circuit board
  • Efficient cooling using dual vapor chambers, a nickel-plated finstack and center-mounted axial fan with optimized fin pitch and air entry angles
  • Low-profile components and ducted baseplate channels for unobstructed airflow, minimizing turbulence and improving acoustic quality

The GTX 690 is powered by a total of 3,072 NVIDIA CUDA cores, all working to deliver awesome gaming performance for ultimate gaming setups. Designed for the discriminating gamer and ultra-high-resolution, multimonitor NVIDIA Surround configurations, the GTX 690 delivers close to double the frame rates of the closest single GPU product, the GTX 680. Plus, it is more power efficient and quieter when compared to systems equipped with two GTX 680 cards running in NVIDIA SLI configuration.

“The GTX 690 is truly a work of art — gorgeous on the outside with amazing performance on the inside,” said Brian Kelleher, senior vice president of GPU engineering at NVIDIA. “Gamers will love playing on multiple screens at high resolutions with all the eye candy turned on. And they’ll relish showing their friends how beautiful the cards look inside their systems.”

The GTX 690 graphics card is designed using GeForce GPUs based on NVIDIA’s 28-nanometer Kepler architecture, following the introduction late last month of the GTX 680.

Availability
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 GPU will be available in limited quantities starting May 3, 2012, with wider availability by May 7, 2012 from NVIDIA’s add-in card partners, including ASUS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Inno3D, MSI, Palit and Zotac. Expected pricing is $999.

Source:PR

Deal of the Day – 2GB GTX 680 Beast (Watercooled)

Every now and then I like to do a deal of the day of something a little crazy, this is no different as I was attracted by the high price and the fact it has “Beast” in its name, reason enough to dig further that this is indeed a thundering 2GB GTX 680 Nivida graphics card from Point of view, if you can afford it and you want to invest in a water cooling system, you’re going to love this graphics card.

• Kepler GPU Architecture
• NVIDIA GPU Boost
• NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
• NVIDIA Surround with Up To Four Monitors
• Two New Anti-aliasing Modes: FXAA and TXAA
• NVIDIA 3D Vision® Ready
• NVIDIA SLI® Technology
• NVIDIA PhysX® Technology

You can buy the GTX 680 Beast here for £489.68 ex VAt £587.62 inc VAT

Game Release Dates – May 2012

May is shaping up to be a great month for gaming, with Starhawk blasting on to PlayStation 3, Minecraft digging in to the Xbox and PC gamers dying of shock that Diablo III is actually coming out, not to mention the interesting looking Sorcery, Ghost Recon and an all new Dirt game, here is a full run down of what you can expect next month:

Handhelds

  • Mortal Kombat – Vita – 1st
  • Mario Tennis Open – 3DS – 20th
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D – 3DS – 22nd
  • Resistance: Burning Skies – Vita – 29th

PlayStation 3

  • Starhawk – 8th
  • Sorcery – 22nd

Xbox 360

  • Fable Heroes – 2nd
  • Minecraft – 9th

PC

  • Tera – 1st
  • Diablo III – 15th

Multi-format

  • Sniper Elite V2 – 360, PS3, PC – 1st
  • Battleship – 3DS, DS, Wii, PS3, 360 – 15th
  • Game of Thrones – 360, PS3, PC – 15th
  • Max Payne 3 – 360, PS3, PC – 15th
  • Dragon’s Dogma – 360, PS3 – 22nd
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – 360, PS3, PC – 22nd
  • Dirt Showdown – 360, PS3, PC – 29th

Gaming Deal of the Day – Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Meet Raziel: a vampire-turned-wraith, who will show you how to have a soul-devouringly good time.

Soul Reaver is technically the second installment in Legacy of Kain series, but practically it’s a beginning of a new adventure. What is important is that the game brought the franchise into 3D and introduced a completely new character while maintaining the uniquely dark and seductive atmosphere. The player controls Raziel, once one of six powerful lieutenants of Kain who was later broken and killed by his former master. Reanimated in the Spectral Realm as a wraith by The Elder God, Raziel serves as the deity’s “angel of death” and will not stop unless his five undead vampiric brothers–and Kain himself!–are destroyed.

The gameplay is flawless, fights are violent and gory, and the game requires you to shift in real-time between the material and spectral planes to solve puzzles and defeat monsters. Raziel, the series’ new anti-hero is a character who feels real despite his wraithlike nature. His striking visual appearance (a wrap hiding his jawless face, radiant pupilless eyes, tattered wings, and claws and feet), tragic nature, personality change throughout the game, and his blue symbiotic blade, made him one of the most recognizable characters in gaming history.

Once you get ahold of the Soul Reaver sword, you will never want to stop hacking and slashing.

You can pick up Soul Reaver – DRM Free here for only $5.99

eTeknix will exhibit at Insomnia i45

It’s not often that I write articles any more as we have a great team of staff who are more than capable, but if something interesting comes along, then I can’t just sit back and not tell you all about it.

As the title suggests, we will not only be attending iseries for i45, but will also be exhibiting with some of our close industry partners including Antec, Team Dignitas and Scottish based retailer; Kustom PC.

We are also sponsoring Team Infused; a leading gaming team and iseries veterans.

If you are popping along, be sure to come to our booth where we will be showing off a few interesting things in conjunction with Antec and answering any technical questions that you may have as well as fitting any hardware that you buy on the day and may have trouble fitting yourself.

We will also be bringing you the latest coverage as it happens throughout the weekend, so be sure to keep an eye on our Insomnia i45 section of the site, for all of the event coverage.

We hope to see you there and get to know you all as the weekend goes on.

Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengance a possibility for Vita

Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance could be on its way to Vita.

This is according to a recently revealed slide from a developer presentation at an AT&T event – Sony’s ‘preferred provider’ of Vita’s 3G service in US.

The slide shows logos of games from ‘3rd party PS Vita partners on board’, all of which have been announced except for one – Metal Gear Solid Rising.

Konami released a short, cryptic teaser for Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance earlier this week which pointed to the announcement of something new on April 30. Could it be a Vita release?

Source: AT&T