March 07, 2014 | 2:37 p.m.
It was Valentine’s Day, and I was afraid someone was watching me die. On a night when most are finding ways to celebrate (or curse) romance, I had opted to spend the evening curled up on the couch with a game, a first-person shooter. At least I wasn’t alone. I was one of many worldwide who were playing “Titanfall,” a game in beta testing that Microsoft has declared the showcase title for its recently released home console, the Xbox One. Connecting to strangers via Microsoft’s servers, many of whom were engaged in midgame conversations, I was outgunned, anxious and nervous about letting down my new teammates. In eight minutes, I would be killed 11 times by people I will never speak to. Once, a giant robot stepped on me. Moments later, a giant robot fired a rocket into my chest. […]
Nov. 21, 2013 | 9:44 a.m.
The Xbox One hits stores on Friday, and the reviews are pouring in. Game critics are weighing the pros and cons of Microsoft’s next-generation video game console, and, much like last week’s reaction to Sony’s PlayStation 4, the reviews are overall positive, with a few notable shortcomings. Critics praised the Xbox One’s ambition, its relatively seamless integration into existing media centers, its launch game lineup and its potential as an all-encompassing media hub, while complaining about its seemingly uncreative console design and several flaws with the Kinect’s voice-recognition capabilities. Reviews were divided on the elegance and functionality of its new user interface. The Times’ own Todd Martens notes that the PS4 and the Xbox One focus on different aspects of a video game console’s potential. “Their presentation — the arguments they put forth about how games can and should be […]
Nov. 20, 2013 | 5:07 p.m.
With the release of the PlayStation 4 and XBox One consoles a week apart, the few undecided gamers who haven’t thrown their support behind one console or the other may have given rise to Machinima’s newest mini-movie, “The Console War.” The piece starts off with Master Chief, a popular character from XBox’s “Halo” franchise, taking out Kratos, a popular character from PlayStation’s “God of War” series. It’s a battle that parallels consumer console wars that are sure to erupt during this holiday season when the new generation of consoles — including 2012′s WiiU — will be pitted against one another. The video only focuses on PS4 and XBox though, and follows Machinima’s narrative productions of “Halo Reach,” “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” (and the sequel), as well as live-action fan pieces like the Skyrim project and the “Dead Island” video game trailer. […]
Nov. 20, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
“Go ahead,” the screen on Microsoft’s Xbox One will tell you, “say ‘Xbox.’” “No,” you may very well think, “I am an adult, and I will not talk to my video-game console.” Oh, but you will. That’s because Microsoft’s $500 all-in-one entertainment system is the first video-game console ever made that can utilize your voice to go from zero to playing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video in 47 seconds. One simple command, “Xbox on,” brings your hardware and television to life; three more commands and you’re on YouTube watching her get fierce with a sledgehammer — all without pressing a button. The Xbox One terms such ability “automagical,” and while that’s a marketing buzzword that probably shouldn’t be attached to anything that doesn’t involve Tinker Bell, it’s admittedly pretty neat. But what does it have to do with games? Well, […]
Nov. 15, 2013 | 1:29 p.m.
It was one hour after the West Coast’s midnight launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4, and there were 100 channels live-broadcasting the event. On one, a “Call of Duty” player confessed to just randomly pushing buttons, and on another a group of college-age kids engaged in trash talking in “NBA 2K14.” Riveting stuff? Probably not to most, but arguably no console out-of-the-box has felt as laser-focused on its audience as the PS4. New for the PS4 is a button on the controller labeled “share.” Players can use it to upload video to Facebook or tap into Twitch, a popular streaming video site. This new generation of video games may not offer the knockout graphics that once heralded a new console epoch, but the content will be televised and shared. Though communal gaming is just one feature in the PS4’s tweaked and […]