Nintendo 3DS Release Date: Japan February 26, America March 2011

Nintendo recently held a press conference in Japan, revealing the launch date of its Nintendo 3DS handheld console — February 26, 2011 in Japan and March 2011 in America/Europe.

Longtime handheld gamers will be pleased to learn that Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles will be available for download, similar to the Wii Virtual Console. Super Mario Land and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX were shown as examples.

The Nintendo 3DS will be available in two colors: Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black. The system will come with a 2GB SD card. It will cost 25,000 yen in Japan (around $300), while pricing in other regions will be revealed at a later date.

I know that a lot of you aren’t high on the Nintendo DS or Wii, but I promise you that this handheld will be amazing. I was extremely impressed with it at E3 2010. Once people see what the 3DS can do, they’ll fall in love with it. Nintendo is going to sell millions of these things…which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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3D Star Wars Movies Coming in 2012? Is Nothing Sacred?!?

Just when you thought George Lucas hasn’t done enough to tarnish the Star Wars franchise, it looks like the movies will hit theaters in 3D next year. Yes, Jar Jar Binks and those frickin’ ewoks will torture you in three dimensions. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Sources indicate that George Lucas is set to re-release the entire Star Wars franchise in new 3D conversions beginning in 2012. Though the 3D versions have been rumored for some time, Lucas was purportedly waiting until there were enough 3D screens available to make the release a sizable enough event.

Each conversion takes at least a year to complete, with Lucas personally overseeing the process to make sure each one is as perfected as possible. Lucas has said that the Avatar experience convinced him that Star Wars was ready for the state-of-the-art 3D treatment.

Sadly, the 3D extravaganza will begin chronologically with The Phantom Menace. *sigh* I love the original trilogy. I’m actually scared to see it in 3D. I’m going to try to keep an open mind, but it’s going to be difficult. Until I actually watch the movies, I’m going to keep wondering, “Why does George Lucas insist on ruining some of my most precious childhood memories? Why?!?”

What do you think? Will Star Wars work in 3D?

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Tampa Bay Rays Giving Away 20,000 Tickets

Although the Tampa Bay Rays have been playing excellent baseball for years, they still can’t get fans to go to their games. In a curious PR stunt, the team is giving away 20,000 tickets to its Wednesday night game against the Baltimore Orioles. Will they be able to get fans to stick around for the playoffs? I’m not too sure.

On one hand, it’s pathetic that the city hasn’t supported this fine team. There are lots of young and exciting players that are bringing it at a high level. In that respect, the players have a point when complaining about the lack of attendance. On the other hand, the economy blows and the last thing people want to hear is some millionaire athlete whining about how nobody watches him play.

What do you think of the Rays’ situation? Should the denizens of Tampa Bay be paying closer attention?

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Who Dat? The ESRB Teams Up with the New Orleans Saints

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has teamed up with New Orleans Saints players Marques Colston and Devery Henderson on an ad campaign that educates parents about videogame ratings. Here are some quotes by Colston and Henderson from the press release. Colston said:

I play a ton of video games, and while most of them are OK for kids, some of them are clearly intended for older players. They say the best defense is a good offense, and I know about good offense. A parent’s best defense against bringing home the wrong game for their child is to go on offense and use the ratings every time they buy or rent a game. You’re always better off when you know the play.

Henderson added:

Being a father, I know how important it is for parents to have all the help they can get. The ESRB ratings give us the guidance and information that we need to make sure our kids are playing age-appropriate games. Marques and I are proud to be a part of this effort to educate parents throughout Louisiana and across the country.

You can watch the video on the ESRB’s media library. It’s listed under “statewide and local TV”. (Now imagine how many people could see these spots if the ESRB allowed embedding.)

I know at least one RPadholic will be proud of his players for teaming up with the ESRB. Yeah, I pretty much posted this article for him.

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ATVI vs. EA: Does Trash Talking Embarrass the Videogame Biz?

I don’t know about you, but I’m thoroughly entertained by the executive trash talking between Activision and Electronic Arts. Veteran game journalist Chris Morris — former CNN.com editor and current Gamasutra editor-at-large — feels that it’s bad for the gaming business, recently posting an article called “Opinion: Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry“. Really?!?

Apple and Google have been exchanging barbs for the last year or so. Did that embarrass the tech industry? Former Nokia exec Anssi Vanjoki equated handset makers using Google Android to a kid peeing in his pants to get temporary relief from frigid weather (I love the Finnish sense of humor, btw). Did that embarrass the mobile phone business? In both cases, I don’t think any rational person would think less of either industry and the trash talking got some attention from people that normally don’t care about either field. I believe the children are our future that EA Jeff Brown blasting ATVI Bobby Kotick had the same effect.

That’s just my opinion. What’s yours? Do you think executive trash talking is bad for the business? Do you think it’s good for it? Or are the words just meaningless?

[Confession: I was originally going to call this article “Opinion: Chris Morris is a Pussy”. That would have been way funnier, but some people would have interpreted it as disrespect. I honestly respect Morris’ opinion. I just disagree with his recent editorial. Besides, this is really about ATVI vs. EA.]

Today’s Poll: Which Tablet Computer Are You Interested In?

The tablet computer market is going to be hot in 2011. Thanks to the Apple iPad, the format — once seen as too gimmicky to be entertaining or productive — is here to stay. There are loads of Google Android tablets set for release, HP has promised various Palm WebOS tablets in 2011, and RIM just unveiled the BlackBerry PlayBook. Do any of these products interest you? Kindly take today’s poll and explain your answer in the comments section.

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Sony Adds to PlayStation 3 Greatest Hits $29.99 Library

Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced several additions to its “Greatest Hits” library for PlayStation 3. The following titles will be available in a Greatest Hits box for an MSRP of $29.99:

I’m thrilled that Demon’s Souls is on the list. It gives me warm fuzzies to see an obscure game from a small publisher do well. Go Atlus!

Also, a lot of these games cost less than $29.99 on Amazon. I’m just sayin’.

Any of you going to pick up the latest entries into the venerable Greatest Hits lineup?

NBA Elite 11 Delayed, NBA Jam Standalone Coming in 2010

That bad news is that NBA Elite 11 has been delayed. The good news is that NBA Jam for PS3 and Xbox 360 will be available as standalone products. EA Sports president Peter Moore recently blogged:

NBA Jam will launch on the Wii, as scheduled, on October 5. NBA Jam won recognition this summer as the best sports game at E3 and it’s a blast to play. In addition to the Wii version, we’re going to ship NBA Jam as a standalone product on the Xbox360 and PS3 in time for the holidays. Watch for more news soon on the exact timing of that release.

A lot of my friends are thrilled by this development. They love the arcade-sports style of NBA Jam and don’t give a crap about sports simulation games. I think this is great news too; originally I was going to settle on the Wii version — here’s my NBA Jam E3 2010 preview for Shacknews — but getting the PS3 or Xbox 360 version would be lots of fun to play with you guys online (I hope it supports online play!).

What do you think of the NBA Elite delay and NBA Jam being untethered?

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RIM Announces BlackBerry PlayBook Specs and Availability

RIM has revealed specs for its upcoming tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Coming to America (Oha!!!) in early 2011, the device features impressive multimedia capabilities and the tight corporate integration the BlackBerry brand is known for. Here are the specs, followed by a sizzle video:

  • 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.

The hardware and specs look great, but the software is made by RIM so I’m approaching it with caution. That said, the screens and video of the OS look pretty sharp. I’m more excited by the PlayBook than I thought I’d be. Also, I think WWE Superstar MVP should be required to use one.

What do you think of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Any of you interested?