I admittedly didn’t know very much about the Minecraft toy and game selection until Halloween, when my uncle sent a photo of the costume that he had made for his son; who am I kidding—I knew nothing until then! My cousin Carson is a 5 year-old obsessed with the stuff! At the time, all I knew was that Carson could make anything look adorable, and that he had clearly moved on from trains and into this world where players can build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3-D generated world. I can’t even begin to understand all of the insider ins-and-outs of Minecraft, and it seems as though the name represents an entity of games and licensed products. I do, though, like to get as involved as I can with Carson, as I am much more aware of the favorites of his sister, Kennedy, since they were the same as mine: all things pink. Man, girls are simple! In time for the holidays, I took the game home to see what this Minecraft business is all about, so I can get those ever-elusive little kid “brownie points” while I’m home for Christmas. [Read more...]
Borderlands 2 launched over a year ago, but 2K and Gearbox Software are still celebrating the game’s success. With the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition coming out on October 8, fame, fortune, and loot—both in and out of the game—are up for grabs in the Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt.
This four-week sweepstakes begins on October 11, at 10 a.m. EST, and a cash prize is not all that’s at stake. Playstation, Nvidia, Turtle Beach, and BrandyGames will each sponsor prizes that fans, and new players, will have a chance to win. Prizes include:
- Playstation Vita handheld entertainment systems with copies of Borderlands 2 Vita once released
- Customized Borderlands 2 XP Seven headsets from Turtle Beach
- Nvidia Shield PC streaming set-up with a custom painted Tiki PC by Falcon Northwest
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti GFX cards
- Lifetime supplies of all 2K titles on Stream—past, present, and future
Loot hunters can enter the sweepstakes by taking down the daily targets once a day for a total of 28 entries. In addition to the weekly sponsored prizes, one loot hunter will win a grand prize of $50,000 and four others will win varying amounts of cash totally another $50,000. Only U.S. players are eligible for cash prizes and sponsored prizes, however all players worldwide can participate in the Loot Hunt. U.S. residents may enter the sweepstakes by mailing a postcard to 2K, Borderlands 2 Loot Hunt Sweepstakes, 10 Hamilton Landing, Novato, CA 94949.
The Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt ends at 5:00 a.m. EST on November 7. Players can join the hunt go to borderlands2loothunt.com, and log in using your SHiFT account information. The official web site has complete sweepstakes rules and prizing, details about daily targets, and daily community goals.
by Rachel Matthews, guest blogger
Not too long ago, the Kidz Bop kids found their way performing at venues in New York and New Jersey. Their collection of poppy, top 40 covers has allowed them to produce dozens of compilation albums, launch a U.S. star search, release books, video games, and toys.
The line-up of the group is in constant rotation as each member ages. Because of this rotation, many a child beg their parents for a singing lesson—especially in New York—after seeing a Kidz Bop performance. The chances of becoming a member is hard pressed as detailed by this young musician, but the combination of their U.S. talent search and brand gives hope to many children within the States.
Of course, aiming to sing for a band such as Kidz Bop is only part of what’s driving up sales in music -parents must by music-related toys to help further their children’s ambitions.
I am, at best, a casual video gamer. I played a lot of Nintendo and Sega when I was younger, but I haven’t been an active video game consumer since the PlayStation 2. Still, I like to keep up on what’s current, even if all the latest controllers vex me with their myriad of buttons, and what really interests me is whether I can download every game from my childhood. So when I was offered a chance to preview the upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (Sony), along with some games that will accompany the launch, I went after it the way Sega’s Altered Beast would have gone after a shiny blue orb released by the death of a two-headed white wolf – in other words, like it was pretty darned important.
About the hardware: Along with the PS4 console looking more squared-off than its predecessor, changes have been made to the DualShock controllers that are intended to improve game play. The thumbsticks, for example, are more comfortable, and the trigger buttons are curved to accompany the index fingers better. More radical changes are the addition of a small touchpad—it’s utilized significantly in Sony’s Killzone: Shadow Fall game, which I demoed, but more on that later—and a Share button that allows players to send in-game images to social media sites including Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.
Other hardware additions include a PlayStation Camera, which works in tandem with the DualShock controllers to let users interact with certain games by simply moving their controllers through the air. (More technical specifics on the PS4 can be found here.) [Read more...]
Activision, developer Infinity Ward, and Xbox gave fans worldwide a sneak peek of the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts via a live, streamed world premiere. Call of Duty: Ghosts features extensive customization and new weapons, maps, and game modes. The game includes a Create-a-Soldier system, in which players can customize their soldier’s physical appearance for the first time in the series. More than 20,000 possible combinations are possible from different heads, body types, equipment, gender, and more.
Players can also enter a new mode of play called Squads, where they can play solo, cooperatively up to six players, or competitively for one-on-one matches. The latter mode pits players and their squads against other players and their squads.
In addition, players can now utilize Call of Duty accounts, secured either free in-game or on the web, to carry their profiles with them, including profile change updates between different Xbox systems or different PlayStation systems. [Read more...]
Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., unveils the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. The company’s slate includes Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny, and Skylanders Swap Force.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is developed by Infinity Ward, creators of the original Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and delivers a new world, setting, and cast of characters, powered by a new engine. Gamers fight as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game will be released on November 5 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is developed for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.
Activision and Bungie, creators of Halo, will introduce the new game Destiny. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system. Gamers battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. Destiny is story-driven and immerses players in a new universe. The game is developed for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 and is not yet rated by the ESRB.
Skylanders Swap Force introduces the dynamic swapability feature. Kids and gamers explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Skylanders Swap Force has 32 never-before-seen characters with unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities—such as flying, climbing, and teleporting—which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of more than 100, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants. Skylanders Swap Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16, and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders Swap Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7. All games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide will come with a free Skylanders toy. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U. The Wii version is in development by Beenox, and the portable Nintendo 3DSversion is in development by n-Space. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.
Sony released its Ratchet and Clank video games collection, which is a re-mastered version of the classic Ratchet and Clank games from PS2 in 1080p with 3D support. The collection includes Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, and Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. The Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal game allows for online multiplayer support. The collection also features full PlayStation Network Trophy Support. Players will also get a free 10th Anniversary Ratchet and Clank Avatar.
Sony also released LittleBigPlanet Karting. Players can get behind the steering wheel and get ready to race through tracks, discover unlockables in 3D environments, and battle in karting arenas. The game also allows players to pick-up items and weaponry and to customize tracks, karts, weapons, and Sackboy costumes using the in-game editor. Players have the option to download designs built by players around the world.
Sony also presents its Journey Collector’s Edition for PS3. The Blu-Ray Bundle features exclusive titles, new content, and previously released digital content. The bundle also features a thirty-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Journey, creator commentary, three mini games from thatgamecompany, concept art, and screenshot galleries for all three games, original soundtrack, PS3 dynamic themes and wallpapers, PSN avatars including 8 exclusive new Journey avatars, official game trailers and developer diary videos, and reversible cover art.
Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios London Studio will release Wonderbook: Book of Spells on November 13. The first title available for Wonderbook, the new PlayStation 3 peripheral that incorporates the latest augmented reality technology as a way to tell and share stories for children and families, Book of Spells contains new and original writing from J.K. Rowling and brings the world of wizardry to life by introducing players to the Harry Potter universe using the PlayStation Move motion controller and the Eye camera.
By bringing the Wonderbook to life onscreen, Book of Spells teaches players how to cast spells based on those from the original Harry Potter series of books, including Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa, Expelliarmus, and more. Players will be able to interact with the Wonderbook and engage with the content as they use the PS Move motion controller as their very own magic wand. With Wonderbook: Book of Spells, the secrets of wizardry and the art of spell casting will be unveiled as players learn and practice exercises, just like the students at Hogwarts. [Read more...]
Today, The Toy Book had a chance to preview PlayStation’s holiday products, including the PlayStation Vita.
The new handheld gaming hardware has a five-inch OLED touch screen, dual analog sticks (for console-like control), front and rear cameras, and Wi-FI connectivity. Some of the most innovative features include the rear touch pad that allows for an updated gaming experience and the six motion sensors that enable the players to really emerge themselves in the game.
ModNation Racers was the game The Toy Book got to check out on the Vita. With the front and rear touch pads players can build their own tracks easily, just using their fingers. Players can also download, at any time, any PS3 user-generated creation, including more than two million Mods, Karts, and Tracks using the Wi-Fi available on the device.
Later this year, Sony will premiere the PlayStation Vita, which will redefine the portable gaming world with an inventive new platform for a heightened game experience.
The device will feature a 5-inch multitouch OLED as the front display and will also incorporate a unique multitouch pad on the back. This technology allow users to interact with motions that were previously not available, such as grabbing, pushing, pulling, and tracing finger motions. The Vita will also be equipped with two analog sticks, enabling for a wider range of game genres. Two versions of the PlayStation Vita will be available for sale: the Wi-Fi model ($249) and the 3G Wi-Fi model ($299).
Additionally, this fall, the new PlayStation 3D Display will be available at all major retailers. The display is a 24-inch, full HD LCD screen that will give PlayStation users full access to the three-dimensional realm of entertainment. There will be a 3-D Display bundle, including the 3-D Display, 3-D glasses, an HDMI cable, and the Resistance 3 game, available for $499. The 3-D glasses will also be sold separately for $69.99.