Oh. Oh, dear. While the first full week of the year is rarely typified by outrageous console sales explosions, we certainly didn’t expect to see all seven of our competitors have their sales figures sundered in twain. We imagine the respective companies behind said consoles (and their curiously steadfast cadre of followers) are experiencing a kind of disappointment usually reserved for fans of comic-based movies, so we thought we’d take this week to bust out our prescription notepads, and get everyone hooked up to a 10cc drip of the Feel-Goods.
Hey. You’re doin’ just fine. Sure, the [enter favorite console name] only did half as well as it did last week, but things aren’t completely grim. After all, every other system went down by a similar margin, including the [enter console for which you harbor a feverish, inexplicable disdain], which should jab a thorn into the sides of said console’s foolish supporters. Also, said sales are bound to bounce back once [enter most anticipated title for favorite system] comes out, and completely revolutionizes the industry.
If that didn’t do the trick, we guess you could drop the funds required to purchase the product advertised above. We rarely (if ever) find ourselves investing in compact discs for the sole purpose of self-encouragement, but if Ellen DeGeneres says it’s a must-have, who are we to say no?
We know, these newfangled terms can certainly get confusing, but you’d think a company producing miniature laptops would do a little research before assuming that “nettop” is actually just another word for “netbook.” CherryPal has made it exceptionally easy for us to joke on it by introducing the first nettop we’ve ever seen that actually looks nothing like a diminutive desktop. In fact, the eco-friendly Bing has a fold-up 10.2-inch LCD — you know, exactly like a laptop. Inexplicably launched this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, the machine includes a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports, an SD / MMC / MS card reader, WiFi, dual speakers, a 1,024 x 600 resolution panel, 0.3 megapixel webcam and a headphone jack to boot. Pricing is expected to hover around $250, but for a limited time, users interested in an actual nettop (imagine that, right?) can snag the Bing along with the C114 PC for a grand total of $399.
Put down that blood-soaked cleaver. After quizzing 2,670 “frequent” gamers and conducting four different experiments with more than 300 university undergraduates, researchers at University of Rochester discovered that, cool as it may be, violence doesn’t make games more fun. Except, we assume, for those players who, you know, abhor puppy dogs and rainbows in what they play.
The findings were based on what researchers described as a “good deal of violent content” in games such as Team Fortress 2 (alright), Halo 3 (we’re with you so far) and World of Warcraft (okay, you lost us). According to a report by the Canadian Press, one portion of the study involved using a modified version of Half-Life 2 with brutality ratcheted up and another with violence nerfed, after which scholars found that “on average, violent content didn’t add to motivation for play.”
Only about 5 percent of respondents showed a preference for violent games, individuals who were later quietly taken into the back room and summarily beaten to death with spoons. Or so we’re told.
Tonight, the show is back at 10 pm ET on Talkshoe; however, considering the big Apple news of the week, we’re going to take up most of the show by playing back your audio get-well cards for Steve Jobs — we got over 60 messages of support for Steve and I hope to play many of them tonight. Of course, we’ll also make time for your live comments, questions and suggestions. If the audio playback and Talkshoe don’t play well together, we’ll move the show to Ustream or find another way to include your contributions.
To participate on TalkShoe, you can use the browser-only client, or you can also use the classic TalkShoe Pro Java client; however, for maximum fun, you should call in. For the web UI, just click the “TalkShoe Web” button on our profile page at 10 pm Sunday. To call in on regular phone or VOIP lines (take advantange of your free cellphone weekend minutes if you like): dial (724) 444-7444 and enter our talkcast ID, 45077 — during the call, you can request to talk by keying in *-8. Talk with you then!
Click above to view the GP Limo in high resolution…if you must
With a handful of the teams filling the F1 grid for the upcoming season - including Ferrari and Toyota - having already unveiled their 2009-spec challengers, some have bemoaned the effect the new regulations have had on the cars’ appearances. But after looking at this monster, we have no doubt those qualms will quickly disappear in its shadow. And quite a shadow it casts: you’re looking at what its creators call the GP Limo.
The concept is fairly straightforward: build a grand prix-style race car, only instead of a single-seater, why not give it room for seven: driver plus six ride-alongs. There have been efforts in the past to create tandem or 1+2 versions of F1 chassis, but this is taking it to the next level, approaching the look of a theme park attraction. Stretching the wheelbase to such an extent is bound to wreak havoc on its handling, but its creators are targeting the Bugatti Veyron’s 250-mph top speed. So it may be hideous (and street legal), but between the requisite helmet and the bonkers top speed, nobody will see you riding in it anyway. The project is the brainchild of inventor Mike Pettipas, hailing from - where else - Canada, where they’re apparently desperate to fill the void left by the departure of the Canadian Grand Prix. Hate to break it to my fellow Canucks, but this ain’t it.
Acer’s 10-inch Aspire One isn’t exactly a secret, but we haven’t seen straight-on pictures of it yet — and glory be, it looks like the rumors of a revised trackpad button layout were true. Not only that, but it’s a multitouch model, so you’ll be ready for the Windows 7 party. Nothing spectacular other than that — you’re looking at a pretty standard 1.6GHz Atom, 1GB of RAM, optional 3G, SDHC card slot, and 3 USB ports. More pics at the read link.
There’s a thick cloud of fear hanging over fans of faux-drumming in games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero: World Tour — fear inspired by the near-impossible rhythms which will need to be kept when Guitar Hero: Metallicahits store shelves. We’re not sure how familiar you guys are with the speed with which Mr. Ulrich is capable of producing percussion, but we assure you, his work will be most unpleasant to attempt to mimic.
Thankfully, an uncharacteristically useful pre-order bonus from GameStop will give the game’s quick-to-act reservers an extra bass drum pedal and input splitter. This will allow the player to use both pedals to tackle the game’s more heel-punishing tracks. It’s certainly a better option than splitting your foot down the middle, and training yourself to control both halves independently, which, now that we think about it, would be pretty rock-and-roll.
Barrett-Jackson isn’t the only auction in town this week in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Gooding & Company also set up tent in Arizona and decided to sell a few cars, and it looks like they did pretty well for themselves. Heck, they had sales of eight-and-a-half million on just two cars from two of the greatest car companies of all time, Ferrari and Talbot-Lago.
The Talbot was a mostly original 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS Teardrop Coupe with coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi. These are few and far between, and when they do show up on the block, they generally bring very big numbers. This scarlet streamliner was no different, selling for a whopping $3.52 million. As impressive as that figure is, a certain convertible from Maranello did even better.
The highlight of the show, and the week’s top seller, was an extremely rare 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider from the newly-discovered VanKregten Estate. Chassis 1963GT sold for $4.95 million, making it the most expensive car sold at any of the Arizona auctions all week. Gooding’s total sales were $31.8 million, with seven of their cars breaking the magic million dollar mark. Photo credit goes to Pawel Litwinski (C) 2009, Courtesy of Gooding & Company.
Change is coming…well, there’s always something new and different at Big Download, anyway. Let’s look at all of the news, features and downloads on the site in the past week:
PC games that need a comeback: We’ve seen classic titles get revived and more are on the way, but there’s a host of other games titles we want to see come back. Check out our picks in part one, part two, part three and part four of our series.
Click above to view the RENNtech SLR 722 in high resolution
We’re not about to enter the whole euthanasia debate here, but we are of the opinion that supercars at least deserve to die with dignity. The Mercedes SLR McLaren is being kept alive unnaturally. While most supercars are built for a limited time in limited quantities and discontinued while demand is still high, the joint effort between Mercedes-Benz and its Formula One partners at McLaren first debuted as a concept in 1999, and between the original coupe, the Roadster, the 722, 722 GT, and the new Stirling Moss edition speedster - to say nothing of tuner versions like the Hamann Volcano - has had more derivatives than an advanced calculus class. (Or so we might assume, we never got past CAL1.) And yet it is still here…for a little while longer, at least. Well before the SLR thunders off toward the horizon, RENNtech plans on giving it one last swan song.