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BWB TV Review: BlackBerry Z10 (Video)

Published by on Apr 9th, 2013, 2 Comments

BlackBerry-Z10-video-review

BlackBerry has left their fans without a premium phone since the Bold 9900, and instead focussed their efforts on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The day has finally come that we can spend some hands on time with their new Z10 handset, which is major shift for BlackBerry. Gone are services like BIS and BES, but BlackBerry has finally caught up with its competitors with decent software and a great new gesture based user interface.

So is a BlackBerry without BIS and the lack of a physical keyboard still retain what makes BlackBerry a great device? (more…)

Review: Angry Birds Star Wars

Published by on Nov 26th, 2012, 1 Comment

Two of my favourite things: Star Wars and Angry Birds have combined to create the latest game from Finish game developers Rovio.

The fifth Angry Birds game is out for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Mac platforms meaning unless you have a Blackberry you should be catered for.

Angry Birds Star Wars mixes two styles of gameplay meaning it’s some of the original Angry Birds where you simply fling birds at pigs and Angry Birds Space where you had to navigate gravity and fling your birds around planets. There are currently two episodes set on Tatooine (complete with two suns) and the Death Star.

Rovio have been clever with the new birds and making the pigs into stormtroopers, TIE fighters and even Darth Vader pigs that can manipulate the force.

The birds have had a massive makeover as well with the red bird being played by Luke Skywalker and now wielding a lightsaber that you can use to reflect blaster shots and slice the piggies with.

(more…)

Wii Play: Motion – successor to the Wii Play, in South Africa June 2011

Published by on May 5th, 2011, No Comments

 

OK, so if you bought the Nintendo Wii (and apparently there are a lot of you), you might want to look out for the upcoming release of Wii Play: Motion. The original release of Wii Play only used the standard Wii Remote, but later Nintendo released the Motion Plus add on which greatly improved accuracy of the remote. A few games have supported the Motion Plus add on until now, but now Nintendo is releasing this bundle of mini-games which will specifically use this type of controller. However, this time Nintendo is building the Motion Plus component into the controller, renaming it Wii Remote Plus.

Wii Play: Motion will be bundled with this new controller, in an exclusive red colour. This red colour remote will only be available for separate sale in Japan, in Europe (and SA) it will only appear in red and white if purchased seperately. All the Wii Play: Motion games require the motion plus add on if used with the original remote.

 

Screen shots are still a bit scarce right now, but the popular original formula is followed again – users control a “Mii” character on screen, with relatively simple graphics, but it does result in a lot of fun. You only have to go watch a few kids play Wii Play in a mall to see what I am talking about.

The good news is that Wii Play: Motion will be launched in SA on 24 June 2011, in line with the European release. We will keep you posted once more details are released.

Find Press Release Below:

As you make your way through the 12 mini-games which have multiple game modes for added depth to gameplay, see every swing, tilt, hit and spin of your Wii Remote Plus come to life as it becomes faithfully replicated on your TV screen with exacting precision. From Treasure Twirl – where the Wii Remote Plus acts as a “winch” to collect deep-sea treasure, to Cone Zone – where you tilt the Wii Remote Plus in the correct position to balance ice cream within a giant waffle cone and stop it from falling, whilst extra scoops are being added –- there’s a minigame for everyone to enjoy.

 

Each of the 12 mini-games included can be played in single player mode, yet if you fancy a different experience and want to get your friends and family involved, then the multiple game modes of a selection of Wii Play: Motion mini-games allow for up to 3 other people to join in on the fun, ensuring your game play experience is always a truly unique one.  For example in the mini-game Skip Skimmer where you can skip stones along a lake, there is a Score Mode in which up to four players take it in turn to skip stones through a series of rings with the aim of getting to the target at the end. By strategically angling the Wii Remote Plus you can compete against your friends to get the highest score in order to win the game.

 

If you and your friends fancy becoming ghost hunters then Spooky Search will see you working with up to three of your friends to apprehend and collect wayward spirits that have escaped through your TV screen – and into your living room. Using the speaker on the Wii Remote Plus, you are up against the clock to try and locate the ghosts. By pointing your Wii Remote Plus off screen and anywhere around your living room – whether that be above or behind you, your goal is to snare as many ghosts as you can and ‘drag’ them one by one back into your TV screen.

 

Good news Xbox fans: Microsoft slashes 50% off LIVE subscription with purchases

Published by on Apr 8th, 2011, No Comments

Starting this week, Xbox South Africa is teaming up with its local retailers to offer 50% off a 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription with any Xbox game or console purchased.

Xbox LIVE brings an unbeatable entertainment experience to Xbox 360. Connect with friends, download and play games, and access a huge library of games in an instant. Xbox LIVE Gold members get the V.I.P treatment, allowing you to play games online with friends or family in your province, your country or on the other side of the globe. Gold membership gets you early access to game demos, exclusive discounts, Facebook and Twitter, and more.

Visit your nearest Incredible Connection, Musica, Look & Listen, CNA, Hi-Fi Corporation, Dion Wired, BT Games or Makro for this Xbox LIVE Gold membership special, while stocks last.

This might push me to finally take the dive! Might grab it when Gears of War 3 arrives…

 

MIH Swat releases Naval Strike for iPhone

Published by on Apr 6th, 2011, No Comments

 

Here at Bandwidth Blog we want to promote local developers and we recently learned about Naval Stike – a relatively simple but very addictive game from the folks at MIH Swat. Based on the idea to gain proficiency in a few key areas, their team set out to build a classic strategy game which uses modern multiplayer methods that modern smartphones use.

I tried out the game – and I have to agree it is quite addictive. While the graphics are simple, the multiplayer portion is especially fun. Users can compete with nearby iPhone users using Bluetooth, or using Apple‘s Game Center. Bluetooth worked well, to both iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Game Center integration is a bit more tricky, because you have to have friends who have the game loaded, or it will automatch you to an opponent. I eventually gave up because it took a while. Pretty sure it will become quicker once more users have it installed.

MIH Swat also put some interesting notes up regarding the development process they used, including their experience with the Apple Appstore review process. It seems it was pretty smooth sailing for them

Despite the academic / research focussed nature of the game, it works well. If you have your iPhone handy simply go and find it in the Appstore or click here.

Gears of War 3 – out September 2011

Published by on Feb 28th, 2011, No Comments

Get your calendar out, get a pen, and mark the 20th September 2011 as the day when Gears of War 3, one of this year’s biggest blockbuster titles, launches worldwide.

Gears of War 3 is the glorious conclusion to one of the most memorable sagas in video games’ history and this is a date you certainly don’t want to miss.

The story takes place eighteen months after the events of Gears of War 2 and the loss of the human stronghold of Jacinto.  Marcus, Baird, Dom and company continue their fight to save human civilization, as they battle the Locust and face new threats from within the planet throughout the campaign mode.

Here is what else you can expect from 2011’s most highly anticipated game:

  • An enthralling cinematic story that captivates players in an intimately intense action game
  • Five-on-five multiplayer experience as well as four player campaign co-op experience
  • New Xbox Live multiplayer game modes including ‘Beast Mode’ – offering a new twist to the game where you take on the role of the locust horde and their assorted variations!
  • New maps including: Trenches which features an impressive sand storm that reduces your visibility, as well as Overpass, Mercy, Checkout, and Thrashball.
  • New weapons including: The Bayonet Charge, The Retro Lancer, The Sawed-off Shotgun, The OneShot – a heavy sniper rifle that shoots through shields or cover for a surprise one shot kill, The Incendiary Grenade, The Digger Launcher and a few subtle tweaks to old favourites Hammerburst and The Classic Lancer. And don’t forget that each weapon now has its own execution move!

Stay tuned for more updates, and keep your eyes peeled for more news on the Official Multiplayer Public Beta coming soon!

Follow South Africa’s local Xbox 360 Twitter page @Xbox360ZA and on the Facebook page Xbox 360 South Africa.

Quick Hands-On Review: Microsoft Xbox Kinect Peripheral and Games

Published by on Jan 4th, 2011, 1 Comment

Guest Post: With many people getting their hands on the Kinect this past holiday, we decided it might be a good idea to get some hands-on experience with the device. Is it worth it? Is it kids only at this point? Hans Haupt will be helping out Bandwidth Blog in future with some gaming related reviews... Expect to see some more in future! You can follow Hans on Twitter at @hanshaupt .

The simple truth is that the Microsoft Kinect is a winner. It is also remarkably addictive. From the moment you turn the device on, you will not want to put it off. It usually performs so well that extended periods of use make other methods of controlling media feel instantly dated. In addition to offering you a new way to play games and interact with your television, the device is also a great showcase for the latest in facial recognition, voice interaction and motion tracking technology. That is, when it works.

Like most new products, Kinect is not perfect. It has its kinks and flaws but when it works it generally does so with aplomb. Considering the device is only a few weeks old and has already sold well over 3 million units, not to mention the strides those in the open source community have made with hacking Kinect, we can give Microsoft’s latest gaming peripheral the benefit of the doubt. Although the steep price may keep some people away at first, Kinect is hands down the best option for motiongaming. Bar none!

In addition to the innovation Kinect brings to gaming, the device also changes the way you can interact with the Xbox dashboard. From subtle voice commands like “Xbox Open Tray” to “Xbox Recommend Movies” within the Zune interface, to waving your hands about a la Tom Cruise in Minority Report to navigate around menus, dress your avatar or view achievements; what Kinect does it does supremely well. In fact, prolonged use of Kinect began to make handling an Xbox 360 controller feel alien and unnatural. This is a great sign, for it means that Microsoft is on the right track with Kinect.

Several launch games are currently available in SA for Microsoft’s latest peripheral. However, because Kinect is new, game developers have yet to harness the obviously untapped potential of this new device. Therefore, although Kinect’s launch line-up does a fair job of offering a taste of what Kinect is capable of, there are no mind blowing titles on offer. With that said, the games which are currently available for Kinect are fun, easy to play and can be enjoyed by many.

So which games should you get? Here is a quick overview of some of Kinect’s launch titles:

Kinect Adventures:

Kinect Adventures is the game which ships with every Kinect unit and serves as a fantastic introduction into the Kinect universe. The set of games which make up Kinect Adventures are bright, well-paced, fun, easy to play and are surprisingly well polished. It is the perfect way to become acquainted with controller free gaming, which can take some getting used to depending on your level of coordination or fitness levels. The game is loaded with a variety of unique activities, each with four difficulty settings, multiple levels and the ability to earn a variety of interesting and interactive achievements. Surprisingly, Kinect Adventures is the kind of game that you will end up playing again and again, especially with friends and family!

Kinect Sports:

Kinect Sports is very much like Wii Sports, only controller-less. The game offers a variety of sporting games to play, either alone, with friends or even via Xbox Live. Although not playing with a controller can be quite an odd sensation, it makes for interesting and intuitive gameplay. As fun and entertaining as this sporting game can be, and it is, it does suffer from the occasional motion tracking glitch. This is by no means a deal breaker but it is annoying none the less. However, the overall quality of the game does save it from the occasional glitches and, as a launch title, it is a worthy and enjoyable sports title to own.

Kinectimals:

There are no delusions that children were the intended audience for Kinectimals. Kids will love having their own cute panther cub to care for and literally play with, while they spend hours exploring all that the Kinectimal Island has to offer. With that said, the game does have plenty of extras to keep even the most seasoned of gamers entertained. It will mesmerise gamers of all ages and it will bring out the kid in pretty much anyone who plays. If nothing else, Kinectimals is a great showcase for all that is Kinect.

Kinect Joyride:

Kinect Joyride is a simple arcade racer at its core with the primary difference being that you use only your arms and upper body to play the game. Lean back for boost, push your arms out to activate boost, spin around or lean to your sides to perform tricks, and always remember to keep your arms out to hold the imaginary steering wheel. It is a simple game which offers only a few moments of pleasure throughout the games very short campaign. Sadly the game is a rather barebones racer and pales in comparison to the other much more accomplished launch titles on offer. If you are desperate for a Kinect inspired racer then give it a go, but it would be advisable to wait for future racing titles before ‘jumping in’.

Dance Central:

Dance Central is probably one of the best and most polished games in the Kinect launch line up. Think of it like Rock Band, except you are the instrument. In addition to the game exuding graphical eye candy it also features one of the most intuitive and easy to use menu systems in a Kinect game. As good as the game is, however, it could have been so much better if the developers had just added a few additional modes, some extra features and more than just a handful of songs. Even so, the core mechanic of the game works flawlessly, making this a must have title for every Kinect owner or aspiring ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ competitor.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved:

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is basically your very own digital personal trainer. It aims to be your one stop home workout solution, which is able to track and audibly correct your movements as you progress through the various exercises and activities. The title is certainly innovative and offers a great showcase of the technology while implementing one of best interfaces for a Kinect game, but any fitness buff or regular gym goer will probably not really benefit from what this game has to offer. For everyone else, however, expect plenty of sweat and many sore muscles after each intense and fun workout or activity. The potential for a good home based video game gym solution is ingenious and is no doubt a sought after idea. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is therefore a good indication of the future possibilities of the technology offered by Kinect.

Kinect and Xbox LIVE officially launched in SA!

Published by on Nov 10th, 2010, No Comments

One of the most highly-anticipated pieces of consumer technology in recent years, the revolutionary Kinect for Xbox 360, goes on sale in South Africa this week – bringing with it an era of controller-free gaming and entertainment.

Kinect and the long-awaited Xbox LIVE service were launched in Sandton last night to more than 200 media, customers, evangelists and fanatics. Both products will be available locally from 10 November.

Unlike any other consumer technology available today, Kinect lets people use their bodies play games and access entertainment, literally turning the user into the controller. It locks onto people and follows their motions. Players activate it with a wave of a hand, navigate menus by moving their arms and then run, jump, lunge, lean and dance to direct their on-screen avatars.

“For us, this is a really big deal,” said Yvette van Rooyen, product manager for Xbox in South Africa. “Kinect literally transforms entertainment and introduces the Xbox 360 console to millions of new people — families, friends and people of all ages. There’s nothing like it on the market.”

Launching along with Kinect in South Africa is Xbox Live, an online service which allows Xbox users to play online against people around the world and get access to premium content and services.

Deemed a “breakthrough innovation” by Popular Mechanics, the “best of what’s new” by Popular Science and awarded the US National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Award, Kinect for Xbox 360 promises to usher in a new era of entertainment.

Kinect removes the “wands, gadgets, and gizmos” that sometimes act as a barrier, making Xbox games and entertainment more approachable, social and interactive so everyone can enjoy them, said Van Rooyen.

“Once it meets you, Kinect recognises you. With just a wave of the hand, Kinect comes to life, bringing games, movies, TV, music, exercise, dancing and sports to your fingertips,” she said.

5 games will be launching with Kinect – Kinectimals, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, Kinect Joyride and Dance Central.  In addition, there will be 10 3rd Party publisher titles in line with the launch too.  These include : Your Shape, EA Active 2, Zumba Fitness, DanceMasters,  Adrenalin Misfits, Motion Sports, Sonic Free Riders and on the 19th November we will see the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 as a Kinect ready release.

Kinect for Xbox 360 is great value for the whole family. The all-in-one Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect includes the new Xbox 360 4GB console, Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures,” priced at R3699. For those who have an Xbox 360 console already, the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor is priced at R1999, and includes the Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures”.

Sharing the limelight with Kinect at the launch was Xbox LIVE. Speaking at the launch event, Robin Burrowes, Xbox LIVE product manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa, said Xbox LIVE is about “building communities and connecting people to each other and to great content”.

With an Xbox 360 and broadband internet connection, users can now connect and join LIVE for free to access their personal profiles with Gamerscore, Gamertag, Avatar; access the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace; and access free game demos. An upgrade to Xbox LIVE Gold membership allows users to play games with their friends online, including great new Kinect titles, or video chat with Video Kinect. It also allows users to receive early access to content and exclusive Gold discounts.

An Xbox LIVE Gold 12-month membership will be available for R599. A 3-month membership will cost R199, with numerous launch specials available.

“This is an exciting step forward in the experience we can give our loyal and committed Xbox communities,” said Burrowes. “Xbox fans in South Africa will now be able play the best games in the industry with the 25 million other Xbox LIVE users across the world who have made this their online gaming destination of choice.”

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