Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X1

XPERIA X1Today I did my usual series of iPhone searches in Canada, and like usual, found no information on a Canadian release date. I have never owned a cell phone before, and even though I am a gadget nut, I’ve never really found them all that compelling. Lately though the tides have been turning and more and more I find myself wanting one, but I want a really cool one with lots of features on it. Up until today the iPhone has had my complete attention.

While Googling today I came across the Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X1 phone. It was announced in early February, but I missed out on this news. This phone looks great and is probably a serious contender for the iPhone, but like all great things I want it’s not out yet, and who knows when it will be available in Canada. At least now I have two phones to wait for, and if this phone is all it’s cracked up to be, the deciding factor might be whichever one is available in Canada first.

The XPERIA X1 has a touch screen, but it’s also got a physical key pad which slides out from under the phone. I’ve used the iTouch many times, and I’m not totally sold on the touch screen key pad. Another thing I find is that the iTouch looks so gunky after you play around with it. With finger print smears all over, it looks a lot less compelling, especially in the Apple Store, I feel like I should wear a pair of gloves before I touch it. That’s one thing I really love about my DS Lite, I think a stylus is such a great idea, the screen always stays nice and clean and the precision can’t be matched in my opinion by a finger touch screen. That said, scratches can be an issue. I know that touch screens are the future now and the stylus is probably dead in the water for now.

So basically I’m waiting for an iPhone, or an XPERIA X1 so far, both phones look really slick. The XPERIA isn’t even out yet, but at least it is going to be released in Canada. You can read more about the details on Kris Abel’s blog. You can find more information on Gizmodo’s site, and the official XPERIA X1 site.

Top 10 games of 2007

My personal list of top games for 2007. This is based on games that I played, and coming up with 10 was pretty hard. Until I got a DS Lite the list stood at 8. These are somewhat in order, although a few would be tied.

  1. Call of Duty 4
  2. Eternal Sonata
  3. Crackdown
  4. Super Mario Galaxies
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass
  6. Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
  7. Orange Box
  8. Puzzle Quest
  9. Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
  10. Assassins Creed

Call of Duty 4
By far the winner for Multi-player gaming. It has about 95% of my online gaming attention. The game it replaced was of course Gears of War.

Eternal Sonata
The next game, Eternal Sonata has two entries on my blog, the first review and Eternal Sonata revisited once I finished the game. This probably got the majority of my single player gaming in the later half of the year.

A great single and multi-player experience, even if only two people can play it at once. This game had much fan fair at the time of release, because it gave access to the Halo 3 Beta. I personlly think this game is better than Halo 3, and I played it a lot more. The very definition of this game is FUN.

Super Mario Galaxies
Thi game has literally redefined the platformer genera. You really have to play this game to understand it. It’s one of the first Wii games I’ve played that feels like it was designed specifically for the unique Wii controllers.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass
I have only just scraped the surface of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass and from the moment you load up this game you know it is a top notch DS title. Again Nintendo innovates on every aspect of game play, from using the stylus to move to blowing out candles through the microphone.

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
I had never even heard of this game until I tried it and now I’m pretty hooked. It won’t be for everyone, it’s basically an RPG and virtual life simulation. The depth to this game considering it is a DS title is unbelievable

The Orange Box
What more can be said about this package of 5 games. You get Half-Life 2, episode 1, episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. You have a 1 out of 5 chance of getting a game you like. The sheer value of this game makes it worth it, and the best part is that all 5 games are great. If it wasn’t for Call of Duty 4 I would probably be playing a lot more Team Fortress 2 online.

Puzzle Quest
I actually tried on a friends DS Lite several months ago, and then ended up buying the Xbox Live Arcade version. This game is so under rated. It’s an RPG / Puzzle game combined into one, and it really works well. This is a game that has to be played to truly get it.

Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
While originally released in 2005 the Wii edition came out this year. I had never played the original, and although I haven’t finished the Wii edition, it has been great fun, and it is one creepy game.

Assassins Creed
Here is a game I have very mixed feelings about. If you had of asked me how I felt about it one hour into playing it, I would have said it was the game of the year, but like many gamers, after 10 hours into the game it becomes downright monotonous. I still believe it deserves to be in the top 10 for 2007 because the graphics are stunning, probably the best out there right now, and the game is still a lot of fun, even if you are just looking around the massive cities.

That wraps up my list of great games for 2007. I hope 2008 is as good or even better.

Nintendo DS Lite

Hope everyone had a great time over the holidays. As for me, I got a new toy over Christmas, a DS Lite. I have played with the idea of getting a PSP for awhile, but after looking at the DS Lite and the games, I dropped a hint that I wanted one. The DS Lite is a great little gadget, and the clam shell design is a big plus. It seems that today’s portable devices are designed from the start to either require a peripheral case, or get really scratched up. That said I will probably still get a case in the future if I can find one that doesn’t have cartoon characters all over it. Note to Nintendo and surrounding companies, some adults do actually use a DS Lite.

The first game I picked up was The Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass. This game uses the stylus for everything and just like the Wii, this method of playing games is both innovative and extremely fun. The second game I’ve been playing a lot is Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon.

Zelda is 3D while Rune Factory is completely sprite based. Right now both games have got me really addicted, but I’m stuck in Zelda at the moment and putting a little more time into Rune Factory. Over all I am really impressed with the DS. The graphics won’t blow you away by any stretch, but the games are really solid and fun. Using the Stylus feels natural from the start in many of the games I’ve tried, and the form factor and size of the DS work really nicely. I have already popped the thing out of my pocket to play for several minutes only to have to snap it shut and board a bus or train. Once you get back on you snap it back open and away you go. The only real down side to owning a DS is if you are a reader like me, it may cut into that time, since most of my reading is done on transit. I’ll cover the DS in more depth in the future.