Saints Row: Undercover Playable ISO Officially Released

The Saints Row series is best known for its wacky, puerile comedy and over-the-top gameplay. While the first two games adopted a more serious tone, the developer began to focus on including sexual weaponry, silly physics and a story which doesn’t revolve around gang culture as much. This allowed the franchise to offer a unique open world experience which didn’t simply clone the very successful GTA formula. In addition to home console/PC games, the studio also commission two handheld games.

The first was entitled, Saints Row: Undercover, but also referred to as Saints Row: The Fall. Sadly, this project never came to fruition and was cancelled during development. Initially, the plan was to simply port a working version of Saints Row 2 to handheld devices. However, the project eventually turned into a brand new title with its own story, characters and gameplay mechanics. If you’d like to read more information about the game’s history please visit here for some additional background information.

In a rather surprising move, Volition has created a playable ISO of the Undercover prototype and released it to public. At the time of writing, you can acquire the game from the links below:

Mirror 1

Mirror 2

Mirror 3

The reason I say this is a surprising announcement revolves around the way modern publishers treat their intellectual property. There’s numerous examples of cancelled projects, and fan-remakes being removed from websites, and video services. I have to commend Volition for adopting such a consumer-friendly approach and providing an insight into what the game was all about. Perhaps, some very talented modders could complete the project or update the graphics slightly. In theory, this should work with any PSP emulator on the PC, or on a soft-modded PSP console. However, it’s still early days and I’m sure there’s going to be some problems running it on certain bootloaders or specific models. Thankfully, in time the community will learn the game’s quirks and how to make it run properly.

A Sequel to The PlayStation Vita Looks Unlikely

The PlayStation Vita has been something of an enigma in recent years with such a small library of games, although there is a fantastic collection of JRPGs. Sadly, the rise of mobile gaming has made it an extremely niche device. Furthermore, Sony overlooked the handheld and focused on home consoles during major press conferences. Today, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios discussed the possibility of a sequel at EGX 2015 and said:

“That’s a tough question,” 

“People have mobile phones and it’s so easy to play games on smartphones,”  

“And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start.”

“I myself am a huge fan of PlayStation Vita and we worked really hard on designing every aspect. Touch-based games are fun – there are many games with really good design. But having sticks and buttons make things totally different.”

“So I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming.”

Sony is finally admitting head-on the current mobile market trend and realizes that dedicated handhelds are not a profitable venture. While, the Vita might have a specific audience, it isn’t going to match Sony’s expectations and mobile gaming is such a huge force in 2015. This could mark the end of Sony’s handheld project unless their Xperia range of phones becomes the next line-up of portable consoles.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information. 

CIA Couldn’t Use NSA’s Surveillance Program as Analysts Didn’t Know it Existed

A 2009 CIA document – released courtesy of a victorious Freedom of Information lawsuit filed against the US Department of Justice and published by The New York Times – has revealed the US external intelligence service did not use the NSA’s controversial STELLAR WIND surveillance program, which allowed the government warrantless access to private data that it collected en masse, as CIA analysts were not even aware that it existed.

Dated June 2009, the document from the CIA Inspector General (IG), the intelligence service’s internal watchdog, though heavily redacted, claims that the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP, aka “The Program”) was so secretive that only top-level officials had access to it, leaving “CIA analysts and targeting officers” in the dark.

According to the CIA IG report, three “sets of data” were collected under PSP:

The first set included the content of individually targeted telephone and e-mail communications. The second set consisted of telephone dialing information—the date, time, and duration of calls; the telephone number of the caller; and the number receiving the call—collected in bulk [REDACTED]. The third data set consisted of e-mail transactional data [REDACTED] collected in bulk [REDACTED].

The reports goes on to outline exactly why the CIA did not use data from PSP – because most were unaware it was there, and the few who did had no training as to how to access and use it:

Several factors hindered the CIA in making full use of the capabilities of the PSP. Many CIA officers told us that too few CIA personnel at the working level were read into the PSP. [REDACTED] officials told us that CIA and targeting officers who were read in had too many competing priorities and too many other available information sources and analytic tools—many of which were more easily accessed and timely—to fully utilize the PSP. CIA officers also told us that the PSP would have been more fully utilized if and targeting officers had obtained a better understanding of the program’s capabilities. Many CIA officers noted that there was insufficient training and legal guidance concerning the program’s capabilities and the use of PSP-derived information. The factors that hindered the CIA in making full use of the PSP might have been mitigated if the CIA had designated an individual at an appropriate level of managerial authority, who possessed knowledge of both the PSP and CIA counterterrorism activities, to be responsible and accountable for overseeing CIA participation in the program.

The CIA did not implement procedures to assess the usefulness of the product of the PSP and did not routinely document whether particular PSP reporting had contributed to successful counterterrorism operations.

So, the CIA was reprieved from being sullied by reprehensibly unethical breaches of others privacy through sheer ignorance. That’s something, I suppose.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

PlayStation TV Price Drops to £45 in the UK

While Sony’s PlayStation 4 console is doing very well in terms of selling figures, it looks like its little brother, the PlayStation TV, is not going on the same path as its big brother. The PlayStation TV is an interesting concept, having the console play some PlayStation Vita, PSP and classic PlayStation games.

The best feature for this little console is its Remote Play, but a £84.99 price is a good enough reason to say no, especially if you just want to stream your PlayStation 4 games around the house. The PlayStation TV has been available in the UK for over three months now and even if it did not stand up to Sony’s expectation, the company still sees a lot of potential in it. This is why Sony has adjusted the price to £44.99.

While the price cut is huge, it’s still a long-shot for it to gain a lot of popularity overnight, even if the PlayStation TV sells with a voucher for three PlayStation Vita games. It will remain to be seen if the mini-console will get the appreciation Sony expects after this price cut.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Is Emulation the Best Feature of the Nvidia Shield?

Introduction


Emulation is a popular pass time for many PC gamers, and in recent year there has been a big increase in GPU horsepower in the mobile market, allowing us to enjoy many classic games on the go, not just  on our desktops. The Nvidia Shield is one of the most powerful mobile gaming devices on the market, and this is especially thanks to its Nvidia Tegra 4 GPU/CPU, which is not only capable of running many older games such as those from the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive, but also a lot more advanced 3D titles from consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and more. What I hope to find out today is whether or not these games work well enough to justify using the Nvidia Shield as a dedicated emulation device.

Obviously there are some grey area legal issues when it comes to emulation, most of which focus around the piracy of compatible roms, so I feel obligated to mention that I do not condone anyone downloading games, but that there are also many other ways to obtain these games. There are tools and apps out there which let you rip games you own, and this applies to both cartridge based games as well as disc based games. Fortunately I’ve been collecting games for many years now and can use games I already own and have at my disposal, but keep in mind that you’re responsible for sourcing your own titles how you see fit, as we here at eTeknix take no responsibility for this, nor will be providing sources to where or how you can obtain the games. Boring stuff out of the way, let us get back to the action!

Getting roms configured on your Nvidia Shield, or to be honest any powerful mobile device can be a little tricky. Generally the more powerful your device, the better chances you’ll have of getting your games to run, as the task of emulating hardware can be quite demanding, especially when it comes to more modern titles such as those from the Sega Dreamcast. So while I am focusing this article on the Nvidia Shield, there is no reason why you can’t try this out on your mobile phone or tablet, so long as you think it’s powerful enough to do so.

The Nvidia Shield has a few extra tricks that make it a great choice for emulation, firstly because it has a controller built directly into it, as well as a high quality touch-screen display. You can use USB OTG to connect wired controllers such as the Xbox 360 controller, a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable to put the device into console mode and play on your big screen and more, so you’re not going to be limited to only playing this as a handheld, but virtually anywhere you want, on whichever screen you want (so long as it has Miracast or HDMI).

Today I’ll be taking a look at the Super Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, PlayStation 1, PlayStation Portable (PSP), Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. There are plenty more emulators and formats out there, but I feel the ones I have chosen cast a wide net over what is possible on mobile device emulation. Even older or less powerful systems such as Gameboy, MAME, NES and Master System generally all work from the same emulators I’ll be testing and already have widespread, proven compatibility with most mobile devices, so feel free to experiment with them at your own leisure.

PlayStation 4 Gets Cross-Platform Chat, May Only Be With PS Vita

Sony has confirmed that the part chat system of PlayStation 4 will be “cross-platform”. This means it will work on more than one platform. According to Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida this party chat system will be supported by the PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita.

This is important for Sony as it tries to push its new features like “Sony Remote Play” where you can stream video and audio signals from the PlayStation 3 or upcoming PlayStation 4 to your handheld PS Vita console or PSP (PlayStation Portable). Of course if the PS Vita works with the PS3 and PS4 why shouldn’t the PS3 and PS4 have cross-platform chat with each other? Well it isn’t yet confirmed if this will be the case or not, so we will have to wait for an official comment from Sony about this.

Microsoft have already confirmed that the Xbox One will not have cross-platform chat with the Xbox 360 so we wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens with the PS3 and PS4.

Image courtesy of Sony