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The 5 Things I think about Playstation 3 after having it a week

5. The SIXAXIS controller if very light, but instantly comfortable and familiar. Not having a battery pack strapped to it is an appreciated feature and the USB charge interface is the same for my Digital camera which means no purchasing of needless accessories.

4. I feel stupid for admitting this, but I do miss Achievements. Then again, achievements have chained me to games that I didn't want to play in the past and for what? a higher Gamerscore? Something happened to me over the past year, Microsoft got me with those damn achievement points! I thought they were stupid when I first got my Xbox...then I liked them...and now I'm just not sure...

3. Not including an HDMI cable (~$50) is really annoying...ok, maybe that would be ok if Sony included another type of HD hookup...nope. I can understand not including an HDMI cable but come on! only a basic video hookup! not even S-video? Really annoying.

2. While PSN is not nearly as robust as Live Marketplace, the caliber of downloadable games is fantastic. Not having a size limit certainly opens things up. Calling All Cars and Everyday Shooter are among the best downloadable games I've played. While the store interface sucks compared to Xbox Live...It's Freaking FREE! and you don't have to buy can just pay for things exactly...Thanks Sony. Did I forget to mention the PS3's built in wireless? Great!

1. The Graphics on PS3 PWN Xbox and Wii. You really don't apprecaite the power of a Playstation 3 until you get your HDMI cable and hook it up on an HD set....WOW! First Party Games make Gears look generic. Bravo Cell Processor

The Atari 7800 Video Game Console

First Released: June 1986 (USA)
Gaming Era: 8-bit
CPU: 1.79Mhz
Cost: $139.99
Sales: 1 Million Units
Controller: Joystick
Death: Jan 1992
Life: 5.5 years
Best Games: Pole Position II, Mario Bros, Asteroids, Donkey Kong

The Atari 7800 was too little too late. By the time it was released, the NES already had a firm grasp on the US market and the Sega Master System had the rest. The Atari 7800 was compatible with all Atari 2600 games (making it a valuable collector's item) but it was plagued by a 2 year delay and a complete lack of titles due to many developers exclusive contracts with Nintendo. It should be noted that Atari made one of the Biggest Video Game Mistakes of all time by turning down Nintendo's offer to manufacture the NES in America in favor of the 7800. One can only imagine what the Atari name would mean today if they had the sense to accept Nintendo's offer.

Happy Holidays!

The Atari 5200 Console

First Released: Nov 1982 (USA)
Gaming Era: Early 8-bit
CPU: 1.79Mhz
Cost: $249.99
Sales: Exact Figure Unknown, but very Poor
Controller: Joystick w/keypad
Death: 1984
Life: 1.5 years
Best Games: Space Invaders, Dig Dug, Q*bert, Robotron 2084

The Atari 5200 was a failure despite it's improved graphics. It's big mistake was that it was not backwards compatible with the successful Atari 2600 (this was later resolved albeit too late). Of course there was another big mistake: the joystick sucked - it broke and wore easily and didn't auto-center making games like pac-man miserable. Atari didn't really support the 5200 either, instead continuing to focus on the 2600. Then the Video Game Crash hit...which pretty much killed the 5200. There were 125 games released for the 5200 and they were of good quality garnering a cult following for the 5200. However the 5200, remains one of the first misteps of many by Atari.

Retro Review: Atari Asteroids

You can play asteroids above for yourself. The above is a pretty spot-on translation of the 80s Arcade classic. It seems even more appropriate to review Asteroids since it was just released to Xbox Live Arcade. Asteroids was surely one of the best games for the Atari 2600. The game gave you more control over your ship (compared to space invaders) and while it was only black and white, it featured smooth animations/rotations for the time. The most important thing was that the gameplay was simple yet extremely challenging. As an arcade game this puppy just ate your quarters up and it is still worthy of a couple minutes here and there. Does Asteroids stand the test of time? Not really. The gameplay is too simplistic compared to even NES or Master System games, and while it still controls/plays well, it is clearly an arcade game with limited appeal. Graphics & Sound are pathetic and poor for even 2d games, so while in its day it was king, Asteroids is a little too retro for its own good. It still offers a decent challenge though and of course has that nostalgic flair.

Indie Showcase: Outpost Kaloki

In honor of Ninjabee and it's recent release of Band of Bugs on PC, we are showcasing one of Ninjabee's best titles: Outpost Kaloki. Outpost Kaloki is a simplified Real Time strategy game that challenges you to build a space station. It's a fantasic game that is also available for Xbox 360. We gave it a no fears BUY IT NOW for only $14.95! At the very least Play the Demo below.

The Atari 2600

First Released: Oct 1977 (USA)
Gaming Era: Early 8-bit

CPU: 1.19 Mhz
Cost: $199.99
Sales: ~40 Million
Controller: Joystick
Death: Jan 1992
Life: 14 years 2 months
Best Games: Pitfall, Adventure, Breakout, & Pong

While there are technically earlier systems...they really were more like computers. Atari is the home console that started it all. Before Nintendo & Japan ruled Gaming, a US company started bringing video games into people's homes. While released in the late 70s, Atari didn't explode until 1980 when it brought in profits over $2 billion dollars. It reigned supreme until the video game crash of 1983. The Atari era gave birth to one of the biggest developers today: Activision. Activision's Pitfall! is considered the best selling game ever for the Atari 2600.

Video Game Systems Evolution and Pictorial History

Get ready for a serendipitous retrospective look into video game history over the course of the next few months. With 2008 approaching, it's time to take a look at gaming past. It's time to remember Neo Geo, 3DO, Atari Jaguar, TurboGrafx 16, and many others. The above picture/chart shows the start of home gaming and the evolution of game systems over the years (click the picture/chart to see it full screen). In the coming months, we'll have video game system profiles, console war sales figures, video game medium evolution and much more. Retro Gaming and Video Game History is coming this Holiday Season and will continue into 2008.

Top 5 Games to Watch for in 2008

5. Devil May Cry 4 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Devil May Cry 4 Jumps the ship from Dante to Nero...which definitely bums me out and makes me sceptical. If they follow the DMC3 formula, here's a winner. If they mess with it too much (DON'T Get Rid of Styles!) then we may have DMC2 on our hands. Perhaps only odd #ed DMC are good.

4. GTA IV: Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, Xbox 360)

GTA IV returns to Liberty City. The story looks good, dealing with Eastern European Immigrants and them trying to establish some criminal power in Liberty City. Graphics are OK and what else do we really know about GTA IV? If they don't have some kind of online element...been there done that...but still it's GTA so you have to anticipate it.

3. Castle Crashers (Xbox Live Arcade)
Gameplay: Old School Arcade Beat-em-Up + Great Unique HD visuals + 4 Player Co-op = One helluva a Live Arcade Offering. You have got to love the Behemoth (they made Alien Hominid). A great Indie Studio to keep your eye on for sure.

2. Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii)
This game has been plagued by delays, but they're for the right reasons...options, options, and more options. You can play this game with every freaking controller imaginable and it offers Halo-esque online features such as movie creation and level creation. Definitely an Online Contender.

1. MGS4: Metal Gears Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Sony has held onto this exceptional game. As of this writing and despite all the rumors, MGS4 Remains a Playstation exclusive. With tremendous graphics, an epic story (which will hopefully shed light on MGS2), and the same innovative stealth action with a couple new tricks, MGS4 is looking to be fantastic. It's already a system seller, since I'll be picking up one of those reduced price PS3s specifically for MGS4 and Metal Gear Online come this Spring.

Mass Effect Xbox 360 Review

Mass Effect is a Bioware game, action fans be wary because not that much has changed since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. Mass Effect is definitely an RPG, but it gives action fans something to grab a hold of with a pretty dynamic battle system. This game is not for everyone, but is more approachable and enjoyable than Bioware's previous efforts.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Pros: Much more action focused than Star Wars KOTOR and less button mashing than Jade Empire's real time battles, Dialog system with full speech is awesome and immerses you, engrossing story.
Cons: Enemy AI is suspect...usually just bum rush, Side Missions are repetitive and Ancillary planets are pretty much the same with different terrain skins, Not as Epic as advertised. No real Tutorial.

Graphics: 8/10
Pros: Graphics are gorgeous...just look at a still frame shot of this game in action...
Cons: The problem is that still frame shots don't capture the multiple layers of texture loading visible to the player or the frame rate hiccups and drops.

Sound/Music: 10/10
Pros: Great Orchestral Score, Tons of Dialog all performed (male/female for main character) by great voice actors. Listening to the Dialog instead of reading subtitles draws you so much deeper into the story and experience.

Lasting Appeal: 8.5/10
Pros: Lengthy Core Adventure (~20 hrs) with tons of side missions. Story is definitely worth finishing. Character Backstory, Sex, character class, and Choices greatly affect gameplay and with Achievements warrant replaying the game 2nd, 3rd time.
Cons: On repeated playthroughs, Side Missions will become more and more tedious. Battles can be hard/cheap.

Average: 87.50%
Tilt: +0.50%

Mass Effect is greater than the sum of its part. It is a fantastic Story and literally plays like an interactive movie. It's a shame there are some technical glitches that are readily apparent...and while they do not tremendously affect gameplay...they could've been smoothed out if Bioware was given another month or two. Downloadable Content could greatly expand/improve the game and its side misions if a couple more robust planets/levels were released. If you don't mind a slower paced game or are a RPG fan, then you probably already have Mass Effect. If you're an Action or Multiplayer guy...Mass Effect may offer you enough incentive to buy it, just make sure you play a friend's copy or rent it first.

Verdict: 88%

Indie Showcase: Steam Brigade

Steam Brigade is a fantastic and unique 2D action/Real Time Strategy Game. It has amazing graphics and oozes the style and individuality of the best Independent Games out there. Check out the free demo below or just BUY IT NOW, it's only $9.95.

Parents Don't Make these Mistakes! Top 5 Games to Avoid this Holiday Season

5. The Simpsons Game (Xbox360, PS3, PS2, Wii) - While this game is not a total bust, it is a very short lived experience and hardly worth the $60. Unless the person is a super hardcore Simpsons Fan and collector, pass this one up and get then a blockbuster gift card so they can rent it for the weekend.
4. Blacksite: Area 51 (PC, PS3, Xbox360) - Generic First Person Shooter Please!...that's all you'll get with Blacksite. The game oozes mediocrity, but what makes this such a bad purchase is the fact that you have options such as: Halo 3, The Orange Box, Resistance Fall of Man, etc. open to you.
3. Bleach: Shattered Blade (Wii) - Yes, all the kiddies love this anime show, but even rabid fans will hate this casual and completely botched fighting game. Fans will actually leave liking the anime less than when they first booted up the game.
2. Lair (PS3) - One of the most hyped Sony Gems is one of the biggest flops of the year. While the game is nice to look at, it is a nightmare to play and control. The lesson: just because a game has big cool dragons doesn't make it good.
1. Transformers: The Game (Xbox360, PS3, PS2)- Yes, I know the Movie was great, but the game is utterly pathetic. You'll scrap these tranformers robots faster than you can say "Cybertron."

Whatever Happened to Battletoads?

Talk about a series dying quickly (probably due to the Double Dragon Crossover)! Battletoads was one of the most graphically impressive and extremely difficult games for the NES. It was made by Rare Ltd. which is interesting since they have gone on to make so many hit games. Is it just me, or did this series seem extremely short lived considering its popularity? Oh well...

Nintendo Wii Holiday Buying Guide - Top 5 Games to Gift

5. Super Paper Mario - Perfect for the RPG fan and the more casual gamer alike. This little gaming gem started on Gamecube, but has solid gamepla and a unique "pop-up" book art style. It also lacks many of the "Wii" gameplay gimmicks.

4. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Perfect for the Nintendo Loyalist and the Adventure/Action fan. Twilight Princess is another solid entry into the Zelda story and offers a good mix of classic N64 Zelda action with some great Wii Control innovations.

3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Yet another Nintendo franchise carried over to the Wii, Metroid offers is a great mix of adventure, FPS, and puzzle solving gameplay. Plus this guy wraps up the Prime Trilogy.

2. Super Mario Galaxy- Perfect for anyone with a Wii, this game marks the triumphant return of Mario. With an amazing critical reception, this game is the successor of Mario 64.

1. Super Smash Brothers Brawl- While this game is not technically going to be around for Xmas, Peoples should still take the time to preorder this game. This game has been delayed numerous times, but for the right reasons. Every delay comes alongside the announcement of some great new features. Nintendo is making this THE online brawler, giving it many additional community features a la Halo 3 to keep people playing this game for years to come.

Switchball Mini-Review

Switchball is one of the best looking XBLA titles available (I think Undertow beats it, but that's it). In addition, it is also a very entertaining and rewarding game. I guess you would call Switchball a puzzle game, but you certainly need some platforming skills to successfully roll your ball to the exit. The gamplay a revolves around...switchball-ing (sounds dirty)...switching your ball into other forms in order to complete tasks and move onto the exit. There's the standard marble, the heavy metal ball, a bouncy airball, and a slick multifaceted powerball. The art direction in this game is superb. The world is a beautiful looking DaVinci inspired world with odd gyrocopters and perpetuates the idea that you are one marble in a complex machine or gadget. If you like short but sweet games, Switchball is definitely for you.

4 different balls to control with different abilities
Beautiful Graphics and unique, interesting worlds
Easy Controls! (Analog stick and the A button)

Music/Sound is bargain basement and repetitive
There's only about 30 levels
Time Medals are very Strict

All in all, this game is a great buy for an evening/weekend of relaxing gaming fun. It has a slow pace and easy controls so it can be played by a wide range of people. It's too bad that the game gets frustrating when you start attempting to complete levels for even a bronze time medal. The music/sound could have been easily improved too, but it's about par for other games like this one. Give the game a download and try the demo (on Xbox Live or the PC). If it grabs you, give it a purchase and you won't be disappointed.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Graphics: 10/10
Sound/Music: 7/10
Lasting Appeal: 7/10

Verdict: 83%