Review: Western Digital 2TB Gaming Drive

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Okay, I paid good money for some fanfare music, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Eh, just read the article and have your wallet handy.

One of the more easily solved gamer issues is also something that still seems to stymie some gamers who should already know that a mere 1 terabyte of dedicated storage (which is actually less than 1TB thanks to mandatory system clutter) is far too small once one starts purchasing more content. Demos, DLC, system themes, video footage, screenshots and more all require precious space and yes, that 1TB is very rapidly filled (usually sooner than one thinks). Sure, you can delete content left and right when a new game drops, but this becomes problematic for a few reasons.

Western Digital’s Gaming Drive (available in 2TB ($79.99) and 4TB ($119.99) versions) is a solid, solidly built, supremely easy to use affordable solution to this problem and yes, makes for an excellent purchase for yourself and/or any PS4 gamer on your list.

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Review: MyCharge PowerGame (Nintendo Switch)

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Yep. it does exactly what it needs to do and does a really excellent job in the process.

 

As a recent Switch owner, a few things bug me about the system, one of them being the battery life is somewhat anemic if one tends to play for extended periods of time in undocked mode. I had been poking around looking for affordable solutions and based on some review scanning, there were a few interesting candidates but almost all had some flaws from dangling wires to not enough power for my tastes. Granted, my Switch has generally stayed docked or has only traveled to a few rooms inside the apartment. However, some recent invites from friends to pop by with my Switch to either see it in action or just to play with fellow Switch owners had my eye peeled for something that I could also show off as a solid charger that wouldn’t break the bank and be worthy of a hearty recommend. Well, “Say hello to my little friend (BOOM!)”

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Out of the box and ready for some mating.

 

The MyCharge PowerGame ($49.99) is an absolute must for Switch owners who want a decent price point, portability and most of all, a battery pack that’s packing plenty of power where it counts. Simple to set up and sporting its own kickstand, it’s an accessory that has pretty much no caveats.The 7000mAh battery inside that PowerGame comes holding a charge, so once attached (which took all of ten seconds, but parents will want to show younger kids or attach the battery for them), you’re ready to play. That said, I plugged the included USB-C charger cable unto the nearest USB out (your Switch dock will work nicely) just to top it up for some heavy testing. I really liked the kickstand on the unit because it’s placed in a better spot than the one on the Switch. The only minor (very minor) issue is if you need to add, remove or swap out the micro SD card, you’ll need to remove the PowerGame or do that card change thing before it’s attached.

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The C64 Mini: Some More Retro For Your Early Gamer Gifting (Or Yourself)

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Remember kids, when you retro-trip, wear proper headgear. Falling too hard can be a hazard to your gaming skills. Or something like that.

 

Remember that C64 Mini post from a few months back? Well, the system is now available and it’s got a fair enough price point ($79.99 US) to recommend if your tastes roll towards the old school and you don’t mind a few quirks from the old days of gaming.  There are a bunch of these mini-consoles out already or coming out this year and next thanks to Nintendo’s success with its shrunk-down NES and SNES systems, so we’ll see how well each does among gamers, collectors and anyone just looking for a simple to get into gift for that special someone.

 

 

Yeah, yeah, the emulation only crowd is chuckling away at these to some extent as they cut themselves a nice slice of Raspberry Pi. But if people who just want a fuss-free gift or just aren’t tech savvy enough to grab some sort of emulation device and swipe ROMs off the internet with relish, I say let them spend their money as they please especially if it makes them happy.

EDIT: Ah, I see one issue I’d read about elsewhere has been addressed. This is a good thimg:

 

 

-GW

 

 

Loominoodle: Let There Be (Ambient) Light

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“Hey, kids! Take care of your eyes… OR ELSE!”

loominoodleAs someone who’s done plenty of TV viewing and gaming at night for ages in near dark to pitch black rooms, I’m at that ripe older age where a few things needed to change. For one, a bit of ambient lighting was something I’d looked at for a while on and off, but never quite committed to in that “Oh, I’ll check this out more later” manner us professional procrastinators do so well. Well, not getting any younger and a nice email out of the blue from the PR guy from Power Practical got a Luminoodle Bias Lighting strip sent my way to try out. Before you even ask if it works, yes indeed it does and my eyes are now happier when camped out in front of the TV these days.

The basic Loominoodle ($9.99) comes in white and is fairly simple to install within about three to five minutes (not counting if you need to move your TV off a mounting to dust off the rear panel first or need to remove a few things close to it like a game console or three so you can turn your TV around). All your HDTV needs is a rear USB port to connect to and you’re golden. Note to pet owners: you’ll absolutely want to gently escort them from the room your TV is in into a closed one for a few minutes  before you install the strip. Hey, you try to explain to a over-eager dog or cat that the thing you’re unrolling isn’t a new toy. Notice they aren’t giving a hoot as they try and ruin your installation process?

Anyway, all you do is turn your TV on, look down at the instruction sheet, plug the Loominoodle into the rear USB slot and get to rolling out the strip according to the pattern you’ve chosen. It’s got a very sticky 3M double-sided tape backing that adheres to your set yet is flexible enough for you to overlap edges in order to make perfect corners. Once you’re all done, get that flat screen back in place and get ready to see the difference a little ambient light can bring. In short, my eyes are in love with my Loominoodle and I’d say the rest of me is pleased as well. There’s also a Luminoodle Color Bias Lighting strip ($19.99) that comes with a remote control unit and allows for a number of customization options, so I’m putting that down as a gift suggestion for a few folks I know could use a little extra (ambient) light in their lives.

-GW

Review unit courtesy Power Practical (thanks, Ben!)

Take A Good Look Coming to DVD in October

Take A Good Look DVD Ooh, this one’s been a long time coming, but if you like to laugh it up significantly and like old TV (or hey, just want to see something more fun than the usual modern reality junk), well here you go. Okay, so you have to wait until October, but that’s not too far away, right? Right.

Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now up for pre-order on Shout Factory with the first 1000 copies getting an exclusive bonus disc, Ernie Kovacs: Private Eye, Private Eye. If you’re new to Kovac’s work, you’re in for a real treat. The man did so much to elevate comedy that it’s astounding he only did about ten years worth of work before his untimely death in 1962.

Hmmm… I smell a short press release… it’s minty!
 

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Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now set for release on October 17! This DVD set is the third box set of Ernie Kovacs amazing body of television work (1952 -1962) to be released over the better part of this decade. All 49 existing episodes of Kovacs cockeyed and offbeat gameshow are presented here, fully restored and digitized by the Library of Congress.

Take A Good Look hosted an eclectic mix of guest stars, such as my mom (!), performer Edie Adams, writer/director Carl Reiner, the glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor, comedian Mort Sahl, Our Gang’s Jean Darling, chess world champion Bobby Fischer, Major League Baseball’s Rogers Hornsby, White House Butler Alonzo Fields, Los Angeles Dodgers Chuck Essegian and Don Drysdale, Hawaiian Congressman Daniel Inouye, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, several Olympic athletes, and many mor

-GW

Super NES Classic Edition: You’ll Never Get One If You Don’t Work Hard

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So yep, there will be a Super NES Classic Edition coming in a few months. Even though Nintendo says they’ll beef up shipments for this thing, good luck getting one at retail come September 29. You know the drill: even with increased stock, scalpers are already putting aside funds to grab as many as they can to turn a profit on auction sites or classifieds. Yes, many of you will luck out and be able to wait on a line somewhere to buy one (or more if possible) as gifts or for your own use. But I’m betting a penny that too many folks will delegate themselves to complaining online incessantly about how “impossible” the SNES mini is to find without driving X number of miles or being similarly inconvenienced.

Guess what? If those scalpers are going to beat you at this game constantly, it’s partly because you’re letting them. Starting today, maybe make a few friends at the nearest game shop, mall, or other location you know this thing may turn up at and be as nice as you can to all your new friends without being a stalker. Be 100% straightforward in your request and yep, let them know you want that new Mini and see what happens. Translation: be prepared to work it good and hard if you want to grab one of these things at a decent price. The less you hang out on some message board forum griping about inflated prices based on speculators doing their thing in the usual unchecked manner, the better the chance of getting one sooner than later.

As for me? Yeah, I want one as well, but my finances suck for the next chunk of months and if worse comes to worse, I can emulate stuff I own in a pinch. I’ve no illusions about walking into Nintendo World NYC in a few months and getting one just like that and nope, Nintendo doesn’t send out review product to anyone who asks (although, to be fair, any review I’d write would be pretty boring compared to what you’d see on a video-based channel with millions of subscribers).

Eh, whatever. It’s not as if I don’t have more urgent stuff to tackle. The first of a few follow-up medical appointments is tomorrow, so that’s occupying my mind at the current time.

-GW

Solo Rival Backpack: It’s In The Bag

Choosing a good laptop bag or backpack can be a tricky bit of business what with so many brands to choose from, assorted useful to not so useful features and price points that in some cases seem as if you’re paying for branding over quality. Having recently purchased a larger laptop, I’d initially automatically grabbed an relatively inexpensive bag off a certain popular online shopping site (almost) everyone uses worldwide. That turned out to be a good buy in terms of price, but a not so good of a purchase. While the bag looked good and was functional, it wasn’t as well-padded as I preferred and the shoulder strap wasn’t very well constructed. So, back it went and just as I resumed my hunt (upping what I wanted to spend to under $100), I got a nice note from Solo asking if I was interested in trying out one of their laptop backpacks.

Funny how that timing stuff works, isn’t it? Continue reading

Plantronics RIG 4VR: PlayStation VR Gets A Big Aural Plus

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One key element to a great Virtual Reality experience is immersive sound quality and out of the box, Sony’s PlayStation VR is somewhat lacking thanks to the budget-minded earbuds packed in with the unit. While far from terrible, it’s hard to feel fully dialed in with those teeny buds tickling your eardrums. Fortunately, the fine folks at Plantronics got on the case and have come up with a great solution with their great RIG 4VR headset (MSRP $69.99). Officially licensed, they match the PS VR perfectly, fit over the big headset with an adjustable headband, connect to your PS4 in one of a few ways and yes, sound absolutely great for the price point. Continue reading

Retro-Bit Generations In Action: Or, SOLD!


 

So, yeah. This thing’s getting bought before that NES Classic Mini for sure. Over three times as many games AND SD card support for the same low $59.99 price point? Yeah, that’s a sale and SHOULD be to any gamer no matter how loyal they are to the house that Mario built. Check out the new and complete list of games below:

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Yep, SOLD. Or sold out well before the holidays, I bet.

I’d write more, but I’m still wiped out from jury duty an even though I had today off, I woke up with a nasty scratchy throat and a cough that’s not gotten much better despite most of the day spent resting and treating. Damn courthouses are just as bad as conventions for catching buds, I say. Yuck. Okay, off to bed for me, as I need to drag myself back down to the halls of justice for what I hope is the final day of service. Good night, now!

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Update: Getting Closer As Stiff Competition (And Then Some)


 

I’ve said this before, but after seeing this (too) brief teaser for the upcoming Retro-Bit Generations game console, I’ll say it again. While Nintendo clearly has brand recognition, a years longer and extremely loyal fan base, and an instant smash hit with its upcoming NES Classic Mini, the Retro-Bit may be a better fit for gamers looking to play more classic games, period.

Pre-orders are open and for that same MSRP, you get a more flexible system and over 60 more games including arcade, 8 and 16-bit classics. If the build quality and controllers on this are tight, I’ll be grabbing one of these first and going for that Mini once the frenzy over nostalgia beating sheer value dies down. These days, it just makes sense to go with value first. Well, at least in my book.

-GW