A smarter way to play: Video games industry analysis, reviews & insight.
It’s never too early to peer ahead and get revved up over what the games industry has planned for us in the coming year. However, 2013 stands to be an odd time: While Nintendo’s Wii U will surely begin to hit its stride, we still have no idea what Microsoft and Sony have planned for their next-generation systems. And what about the robust tablet and smartphone market? How will cheap, downloadable games affect sales of triple-A retail fare?
The coming year looks a little uncertain, but there are still tons of games to get excited about. Here are ten of the hottest new games for 2013.
BioShock Infinite (Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) – This spring, first-person shooter fans will have the opportunity to dive back into the top-notch storytelling that defines the BioShock games. BioShock Infinite plays much like its predecessors, but the game doesn’t take place in the undersea city of Rapture. Instead, players explore a floating city called Columbia.
Rayman Legends (Wii U) – Set to hit the Wii U in February, Rayman Legends is a magnificently-animated platforming game with a great sense of humor. Up to four people can play the game at once, and one additional player can assist the others via the Wii U game pad.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PlayStation 3) – If you’re a fan of RPGs and you own a PlayStation 3, you won’t want to miss Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch this winter. This whimsical game is a co-production between the talented developers at Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, the animators behind Hayao Miyazaki’s epic anime works.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita) – Sly the raccoon is back this February in another adventure game full of sneaking, hiding, and thieving. You’ll also be able to utilize new powers and accessories.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Windows, OSX) –StarCraft is synonymous with real-time strategy games, so anticipation for the March release of StarCraft II is practically boiling over. Players can expect at least 20 new missions, as well as a storyline that continues the struggle against the malicious Zerg.
God of War: Ascension (PlayStation 3) – God of War can always be counted on for solid third-person action, and God of War: Ascension, coming in March, appears to have more hacking, slashing, thumping, and maiming than ever before. Expect tons of new weapons, minigames, and puzzles. Also, expect Kratos to be in a bad mood.
Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS) – Fans of turn-based strategy games will be happy to know that Nintendo’s celebrated Fire Emblem series is making its return in February. The game boasts new options like team-up attacks, and will introduce downloadable content over time.
Last of Us (PlayStation 3) – Fans of post-apocalyptic scenarios should instantly fall in love with Last of Us when it hits shelves in May. This third-person survival adventure game narrates the struggles of two people as they try and stay alive in a world populated by disease-infected humans and wary survivors.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo 3DS) – Maaario! Luigi makes a return to ghost busting this spring with a follow-up to the GameCube’s cult hit. This time, there’s more than one haunted mansion to stumble through, and every single one is stuffed to the brim with ghosts, monsters, and spooks. Good thing Luigi has his vacuum cleaner.
Crysis 3 (Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation) – Crytek’s next entry in this famous first-person shooter series takes place in an alternate New York City that’s been choked by trees, vines, and foliage. The main character, Prophet, needs to untangle the complicated reasons behind the transformation.
As we fade out of 2012 and step up into 2013, we get to look forward to everything the new year will bring us: Prosperity, new chances, and tons of cool gadgets. As tech evolves, we’re granted new ways to work, rest, play, and even exercise.
Here are 10 of the best new gadgets for 2013.
Neural Impulse Actuator – Video games are still attempting to move away from the controller, and one of the latest attempts is the Neural Impulse Actuator. This headband streams your body’s biosignals directly into any PC game, negating the need for a computer or a mouse. That’s right: It is now possible to kill dragons with your mind.
HD media router – If you live in a house that swears by tech, you’re going to need an HD media router sooner than later. It allows multiple people in a household to play games, make VOIP calls, watch streaming movies, and lots more without glitches or lags.
TSir wristband charger – If you’re on the go a lot and you start to feel a little nervous when your phone drops to 40% battery power with no outlet in sight, you’re definitely going to want to consider getting the TSir wristband charger. It powers up almost every portable device that utilizes a USB connection, making it ideal for long trips and extended waits in a queue.
USB hubs – These days, USB hubs are as important as electrical outlets. Guess what: That demand is only going to grow. If you haven’t done so already, use a USB hub to split up one USB connection into several and plug in as many accessories as you want.
Wearable Video Cameras – Remember when you used to have to lug around a heavy camera to capture family memories? Not anymore. Wearable cameras like the GoPro HD Hero clip onto your person and leave your hands free. Said cameras are a particularly good option for extreme sports fiends looking to capture footage of their adventures.
Xbox Next/720 – We don’t know what Microsoft aims to call its follow-up to the Xbox 360, but the “Xbox 720” or “Xbox Next” are popular guesses. The Xbox 360 is nearly seven years old, and we’ll almost certainly hear more about its successor in 2013—if we don’t get to buy it outright. We don’t know what it’ll be like, but given Microsoft’s success in the hardware market, it’s hard not to be excited.
PlayStation 4 – Likewise, we don’t know what Sony has in mind for the PlayStation 4, but we can lay down bets that we’ll hear and/or see something in 2013. What features will the PlayStation 4 have? What lessons did Sony take away from the PlayStation 3’s slow start?
Wii U – Unlike the “PlayStation 4” or the “Xbox 720,” the Wii U is a tangible thing that you can play with. With its unique tablet controller, creative MiiVerse community, and the strength of Nintendo’s franchises, it’s going to be fun to see the Wii U come into its own through 2013.
Wireless Activity Tracker – If getting into shape is in the cards for 2013, you might want to invest in a wireless activity tracker. These devices keep tabs on your exercise regime, including distance, pace, and calories burned. Some models also alert you when you’ve reached your daily goal.
Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle – If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you already know that public water fountains dish out some mysterious-tasting fare, and bottled water isn’t great for the environment. Consider Camelbak’s All-Clear Water Bottle, which makes tap water or natural water more potable within 60 seconds.
It’s obvious that 2012 was a very busy year for technology. Apple upped its game with the iPhone 5 and new iterations of the iPad, but this was also the year that other electronics companies decided they weren’t going to sit on the sidelines and let Apple grab all the pieces of the tablet pie. We also saw Nintendo fire the first shot in the upcoming console war, and Sony rose up to challenge the Nintendo 3DS handheld with its PlayStation Vita. And if Rover strays too far from all this excitement, it turns out you can fit him with a GPS device to bring him back home.
Here are 10 examples of the best technology and gadgets of 2012.
iPad Mini – The iPad Mini is Apple’s answer to its growing 7” tablet competitors. The iPad Mini’s screen is nearly 8”, and the whole thing is compact, light, and supports the same games and apps as a regularly-sized iPad. Needless to say, it’s delightfully portable.
iPhone 5 – The iPhone 5’s aluminum casing is incredibly lightweight. The phone itself boasts a high resolution 4” screen, and offers a larger, clearer picture that previous iterations of the iPhone.
Wii U – Nintendo’s Wii U fired the first shot against Microsoft and Sony in the upcoming console race. The innovative tablet-style controller lets you play games on or off the television, putting an end to living room battles. The Wii U’s online community is called the MiiVerse, and it’s already filled with people scribbling their thoughts, tips, and doodles in real time.
Samsung Galaxy S III – The Samsung Galaxy S III’s power, versatility, and large 4.8” screen has made it a popular choice for Android lovers across North America. The S III contains eye-tracking ability, a Siri-style voice-activated assistant, and removable storage options.
Samsung ES8000 Series LCD HDTV – Samsung’s ES80000 HDTV series comes with some impressive new features that evolve HDTVs to a new level. Its dual core processors allow for swift online surfing, it has voice and motion controls, and, of course, its picture looks great. This is one more big step that blurs the line between computers and the television.
PlayStation Vita – Sony’s follow-up to the PlayStation Portable has two touch screens: One in the front, and a particularly creative addition in the back. Look for lots of great exclusives available at retail and on the PlayStation Network, including new entries in the LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper franchises.
Microsoft Surface Tablet – Microsoft’s sleek and intriguing entry in the tablet market includes a cover that doubles as a keyboard. If you use your tablet for work but detest using an on-screen keyboard, the Microsoft Surface may give you a happy medium. There are two version of the tablet: One runs on Windows RT, and the other is packed with Windows 8 Pro.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display – The 13-inch Macbook Pro with retina display is a powerhouse, and it offers an incredibly crisp and clear display. It’s light, portable, and will gladly take on any task you throw at it—all while looking beautiful.
Tagg GPS Pet Tracker – Nothing causes stress and panic like a beloved family pet that’s slipped its boundaries and gone “exploring.” Tagg’s series of GPS pet trackers lets you find your furry friend with the aid of a computer or a mobile phone.
Google Nexus 7 by ASUS – The Nexus 7 is a tablet computer developed by Google and Asus. It has a 7” inch screen, runs on Android, and is optimized for games and apps on Google Play. At $299 USD, it’s also priced extremely competitively.