Blog Posts by Chris Morris

  • Forget Wrestlemania - the real battle of titans this weekend was held at a Marriott in Stamford, CT.

    The event: The 38th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The combatants: Tyler Hinman and Dan Feyer, the reigning kings of crosswords for the past 10 years.

    As most expected, the three-day tournament came down to the two men. Each has won five consecutive titles at the event. This year was the tie-breaker.

    Read More »from Crossword champ Dan Feyer beats rival by a half-second to win sixth straight title
  • The cure for VR sickness? A virtual nose

    Concerned that VR gaming will make you queasy or lightheaded? Researchers at Purdue University may have sniffed out the solution.

    David Whittinghill, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Department of Computer Graphics Technology, says 'simulation sickness' could be nipped in the bud by simply sticking a giant fake nose on the screen.

    Yep, virtual Groucho glasses provide a fixed visual reference, which you brain can latch onto to prevent you from experiencing vertigo or motion sickness. It's the same reason you're less likely to experience sickening sensations in a flight simulator, since the game's cockpit gives you a similar reference point.

    "The problem is your perceptual system does not

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  • Playing 'Space Invaders' with real lasers is scary and awesome

    Thirty-seven years after its debut, it's still a lot of fun to watch the iconic Space Invaders aliens blink out of existence when your shot lands on screen.

    But watching them catch fire? That’s better. Way better.

    Using a laser cutter, an Arduino mini-computer, and a terrific sense of imagination, a hobbyist in the U.K. has created a real-world version of the arcade classic that literally burns the aliens up when your aim is true.

    "It’s got aliens, lasers and general destruction so what’s not to love, especially if you could replicate most of that functionality in the real world," said creator Martin Raynsford.

    The project took about four months to conceptualize, but once Raynsford knew

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  • These lucky cities are now 'Monopoly' properties

    Take a hike, Boardwalk. Pierre is moving in.

    On Thursday, Hasbro revealed the results of a fan competition to choose which cities would appear as properties in Monopoly: Here & Now. March 19 marks the 80th anniversary of the classic board game.

    Some 4 million votes were cast over three weeks by board gamers in 182 countries. The big winner? That honor goes to the unlikely choice of Pierre, South Dakota, which topped the votes in the U.S. (Lima, Peru was tops for the global edition.). Pierre takes over Boardwalk, the most coveted property on the Monopoly board.

    So how did a city of just 13,984 people beat out significantly bigger cities like New York and Boston? It came down to a coordinated

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  • Nintendo finally announces plans to make mobile games

    If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

    Nintendo has fought long and hard against the rise of gaming on smartphones and tablets, but the company reversed course Tuesday by signing a deal with Japanese mobile giant DeNA which will result in Mario, Donkey Kong, and the rest of Nintendo’s rich stable of characters making their way to Android and iOS devices.

    Read More »from Nintendo finally announces plans to make mobile games
  • 3DS drives big video game system sales in February

    Argue all you want about the impact of smartphones and tablets on dedicated handheld gaming systems, but it’s hard to argue with Nintendo’s latest numbers.

    The company’s New 3DS XL system – buoyed by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D – led the video game industry to a terrific February, with sales of both hardware and software handily beating the 2014 totals. Totaled together, the various models of the 3DS topped the hardware chart for the month, with nearly 400,000 units sold.

    [Related: Review: Time flies and you're having fun in 'The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D']

    Overall, the industry was up 8 percent, with brick and mortar sales totaling $955.6 million, according to The NPD

    Read More »from 3DS drives big video game system sales in February
  • Nvidia’s Shield is a 4K Android console

    Add Nvidia to the list of companies that want to rule your living room.

    At the Game Developer’s Conference Tuesday night, the company announced the Nvidia Shield console, an Android-based set-top box built for gamers. It’s due out in May for $199.

    The Shield, which is capable of 4K playback and will ship with a game controller that Nvidia claims has a 40-hour battery life, will be powered by the company’s flagship Tegra X1 mobile chip. In showcasing the power of that chip, though, the company didn’t compare it to modern consoles from Microsoft and Sony, but instead baselined it against the 10-year-old Xbox 360, saying Tegra X1 offered twice the visual performance.

    The curious comparison was

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  • You'll need a prescription to play Ubisoft's newest game

    While your parents might insist that too many video games are bad for your eyes, one particular game might be just what your pupils are looking for.

    Two years after a landmark study showing that video games could be beneficial in treating patients with lazy eye, game maker Ubisoft has partnered with medical developer Amblyotech and Montreal’s McGill University to create Dig Rush, a game designed to help people suffering from the disorder.

    Clinically known as amblyopia, lazy eye involves the loss of vision in one eye that otherwise appears normal. The disorder affects between 1 percent and 5 percent of the population.

    Traditional therapy for amblyopia over the past two centuries has required

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  • Report: Smartphone and tablet gaming outpacing handheld systems

    Over the past few years, we’ve seen smartphone and tablet gaming take bigger and bigger bites out of the handheld gaming market. In 2014, it took the biggest bite yet.

    Last year, game spending on iOS and Google Play in the fourth quarter exceeded that of handheld game systems. Put another way: Even though your favorite 3DS or PS Vita game commands a premium price, more people were buying game apps, and spending cash within those games.

    The data comes from a new report from App Annie and IDC, which points to an ongoing tidal shift in how we game on the go.

    There was a little good news for handheld systems. Game spending in the fourth quarer of last year (when most of the money changes hands

    Read More »from Report: Smartphone and tablet gaming outpacing handheld systems
  • Nintendo’s Amiibo toys are turning into serious collectibles

    Nintendo characters like Mario, Kirby, and Link have long thrilled fans. But these days, it isn’t just their games that have players rummaging through their wallets.

    It’s their figurines.

    Introduced in November to coincide with the release of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, Nintendo’s Amiibo toy line lets players access new features, abilities, and characters in various Nintendo games. And it’s ballooned into a bona fide hit, creating a hot secondary market for the company’s products.

    Nintendo has been coy about specific sales numbers, but according to their Q3 financials, the company sold 5.7 million Amiibo figurines globally through the end of 2014.

    At about $13 per Amiibo, that’s hardly

    Read More »from Nintendo’s Amiibo toys are turning into serious collectibles

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