Just when you thought Wii peripherals couldn't get any crazier...

...they prove you wrong.

Introducing the latest peripheral from the crazy minds at Nintendo... the inflatable Horseback Riding Saddle!

*Cue cricket noise*

...Yeah, I figured that's the reaction I'd get.

So yesterday this patent for a new peripheral from Nintendo surfaced. Siliconera was the first to find it, and from what I've seen in the patent, it looks (there are concept sketches in the patent) and sounds...odd.

So how does it work? Well it has a small pocket for the Wii remote to be put, which allows it to pick up on the users movement through the Wii remotes accelerometers. Thus giving the user the feel that they're riding an animal. To further convey that feeling, the nunchuck is used to convey the feeling of holding the reins.

And according to the GameSpot article, the device also can incorporate force feedback (also known as, vibration) via "haptic feedback transmitters, which would vibrate in response to occurrences within the game."

So how could this be used? Put simply, a multitude of ways. The most obvious one being the horseback elements of the Zelda series. Using this while riding on horseback in-game, could result in the player becoming more immersed in the game.

Though considering the devices versatility, it could also be used for something like Mario Kart (credit for the idea goes to Siliconera). I don't know how that would work, though, but it's intriguing idea nonetheless.

I'm not quite sure what to think of it yet. The concept, and how it can be used are definitely intriguing, but I'm not sure if this is something I'd want to, you know, use. I'd much rather sit on my couch instead of some small inflatable gaming peripheral while playing videogames. Why? Because I imagine it'd much more comfortable to sit on a couch instead of the aforementioned device.

Though there is one question that remains: Will this actually see the light of day? There have been many patented items over the years, and most of them never come to fruition. Will this suffer the same fate? Or will we actually see it used for something? Only time will tell...

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More crazy claims from Activision's CEO

As should be obvious to everyone now (unless you've been living under a rock for past few years), this console generation brought quite an increase on videogame prices. And while the standard console title costs about $60 U.S. dollars, special edition versions, and the Guitar Hero, and Rock Band games cost well over $100 U.S. dollars -- sometimes even more than that! But guess what? According to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, they aren't high enough.

In a earnings call yesterday, he stated the following: "... You know if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further."

My reaction to this was something along the lines of, "further?! Are you nuts?!". ...Okay, that's not true. My actual reaction was more like, "further, eh? I doubt that would go well."

Why, you ask? Well if you consider the already high prices of games, and the fact that not everyone has the money to go and buy 'em at full price, this could only result in more people resorting to the used game market for game purchases. Which would only hurt them, as they don't make money off used game sales. Which any smart person (not that Bobby Kotick isn't smart) should notice.

So what should they do? Simple. Keep the prices where their at. Or better yet, lower 'em. Though the latter doesn't seem very likely. As they -- like every other developer/publisher out there -- are gonna try to make as much they can off their games, especially when you consider how much they spend making the game. And the best way to do that? Sell 'em for $60.

But thankfully, this probably won't be happening for the foreseeable future. Why? Well, if payed attention to what he said, you'd notice he said "if it was left to me," (emphasis added) which implies that he has no control over such things.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't ever happen. As if Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is right about the cost of development during the next console cycle, then a price hike is almost certain. As that's what happened at the start this generation, so what's stopping it from happening again?

Still, I doubt increasing prices would go down well consumers. We already spend a lot as it is on games, anymore and I bet we'll start seeing sales drop. As for some (such as myself) who can't buy games very often because of how expensive they are, it would become nigh impossible for them to buy games at full price.

Which is precisely why I think that prices of games should -- if anything -- be lowered. As that would allow more people to buy game at full price, which leads to higher sales. But unless we can somehow stop the price of development from climbing, that probably won't happen.

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Knights in the Nightmare Impressions

Sense I can't come up with a good way to start this post (I guess that's what I get for not posting much blog entries this month), I'll start with an abbreviated version of my thoughts on the game so far (I'm starting to think this will a regular thing in these posts): it's good. Rather difficult at times, and a tad complex, but good nonetheless.

Now then...with that out of the way, I'll move on to the longer and more in depth version:

So I got this game from GameFly a couple days ago. I've seen the title a few times around the 'net, but I didn't really consider playing it until I heard about it on The HotSpot. Brendan (the host) described it as a tactical role-playing game (like Fire Emblem, Disgea, etc.), mixed with Geometry Wars. And that's all took to catch my interest. After all, with a concept like that, how could I not play it?

And after playing it, I have to agree with that description. As that's what it is basically.

For the most part, it's your basic tactical RPG. You take multiple units into battle, each with a different class and order them to attack enemies with various weapons, and all that other stuff you'd expect to see. The catch, however, is that this all happens in real-time, and in addition, you can't move your units, thus forcing you to think more carefully about where you position them. And to further add to this, each class can only attack in certain directions. This makes strategy a very important element to achieving victory. As without the right units in the right spots, failure is almost certain.

While strategy is important, swift movements are key to victory as well. As if the Wisp (that's you) takes to many hits, the amount of time remaining in your turn decreases. This is where the Geometry Wars aspect comes into play. Throughout the battle, enemies will shoot projectiles of varying shapes and sizes at you. These projectiles (or "bullets" as the game calls 'em) only affect the Wisp; your units, thankfully, are safe from them. Of course, that doesn't make the game any easier, as you still have to make the Wisp dodge the bullets. Which is by no means easy. If any of you have played something like Gradius, then you'll know what to expect. For those who haven't, just imagine bullets everywhere, with very small gaps which you must guide yourself through to stay alive. That's pretty much how it is this game.

As previously mentioned, there are turns in this game, but not in the way you'd expect. Rather than having the player and the artificial intelligence take turns attacking each other, the turns are stages of the battle. The number of stages varies with each battle, but the purpose of them never changes: they act as time limits. These conditions are always the same: defeat enemies to make a line -- horizontally, vertically, or diagonally -- in the "enemy matrix" with the specified number of turns. Boss fights are similar, except for the fact that the "enemy matrix" is not present. All you have to do for those is defeat the boss within the specified number of turns. Simple. There may not be much in terms of variety, but I'm still pretty early on in the game, so that could change.

So then, on to the combat (which is probably the last thing I'll talk about before I end this blog). Again, it's what you'd expect from a game like this for the most part. Each class has their own attack range, that expands when you charge up the attack. The ranges vary from a straight vertical or horizontal line, to wide ones that encompass large portions of the map. These ranges will change depending on what the current phase is. The two phases are Law and Chaos. You can switch between the two on the fly, and each one will affect the attack ranges differently depending on the knight's class. These phases will also affect what weapons can be used to initiate a special attack, which are necessary in order to defeat enemies. The standard attacks simply force enemies to drop crystal-like stones which give you magic points, which are needed for you to use special attacks. You can only take four weapons into battle with you, so you must take much consideration into what ones into battle with you. This may sound rather confusing (it did to me when I was doing the tutorial), but it's pretty easy to get the hang of after you've done a few battles.

So overall, I'm liking it so far. It's a tad on the complicated side, but not as complex as I thought it would be. I probably should have mentioned some of the other parts of the game, but at that point, I might as well make this a review. Which is not something I'm about to do, seeing as I haven't beaten it yet. I'll get started on one once I have, though, so keep an eye out for that.

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Bit.Trip Beat comes to the PS3 in the form of Retro/Grade

Just saw this awesome trailer for Retro/Grade -- a space shooter that's played in reverse -- in this article here on Giant Bomb.

If you don't get what I mean by "reverse" (and you probably don't), it basically means it's a rhythm game -- much like how Bit.Trip Beat was. As you must line up your ship with the shots you have fired, and shots you will fire which only further complicates things.

It's a tough game to describe, so if you still don't get it, I'd suggest watching the trailer (which can be found here, if you forgot where it was), and then watch this video of Bit.Trip Beat (which is embeded below), and then you'll see the similarities between the two.

  

Get it now? Good.

One other interesting (or crazy) thing is the fact that you can use a guitar controller to play the game. Which sounds both intriguing, and downright ridiculous.

No release date was mentioned sadly. But hey, at least there's a demo available through Steam. Which should further help anyone who still hasn't quite grasped the concept the game.

I'm definitely picking this up when I get a PlayStation 3. I loved Bit.Trip Beat, so why not this?

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Remember that Slim PS3 rumor? Well it's starting to sound true...

...thanks to an article from Ars Technica.

How does that article do this, you ask? Well the info comes from a very reliable source which they refer to as "The Mole." Who has given out details regarding things like the PSP Go with superb accuracy.

According to this "Mole," the price of the PlayStation 3 will be lowered, and in addition they'll release the Slim PS3 this fall. There were no specific details included, however, so things like the price it'll be dropped to, or whether this will affect the current SKUs on the market remain a mystery.

So how's this make the rumor more probable? There are few things responsible for that. First of all, the PS3 has been having a lot of trouble (or rather, more than usual) at retail. The cause of which analyst Jesse Divnich believes is due to the consoles "reaching saturation at current price points." A likely cause considering that the consoles (specifically the PS3, and the Wii) have stayed around a certain price point sense launch. Which in the PS3s case, is the reason for its bad performance at retail.

Second, the images leaked prior to E3 help prove "The Mole's" claim of the Slim PS3 coming this fall. As the images looked legit, and after said images started appearing on various gaming sites, a letter was sent to all the sites that posted them and asked that they be removed. Which further makes it seem like they're working on it. Especially sense the manufacture of the system (MainTek) also asked that they be removed form the from the original source -- a Chinese forum.

With those things in mind, I'd say the chances of this actually happening are rather high. And the evidence supports the claims made by Ars Technica's source. That and Sony isn't in a very good position in terms of sales, so this might (and probably will) help them immensely. So I highly doubt that this will end up being false.

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