The official blog of The Daily.
Download the app for the full interactive experience.
Sure, your kid may know how to work your iPad better than you do, but that’s no reason to bypass the toy aisle this holiday season. Here’s our list of this year’s hottest toys and games. To name a few:
Remember Furby, the candy-colored hamster alien at the top of every kid’s holiday wish list back in 1998? Well, he’s back, and he’s better than ever. Furby 2012 even comes with an iOS app that will translate his Furbish mumblings into English. (Parent-sized earplugs sold separately.)
If there are two things kids love, it’s stuffed animals and a nice, restful nap. Pillow Pets are a huge crowd pleaser among today’s toy-savvy tots. Whether it’s the rainbow unicorn or fluffy-fanged T-Rex, their plush animal forms are the perfect nap-time companion.
LeapFrog LeapPad 2 Explorer
The original LeapFrog LeapPad earned the title of No. 1 learning tablet for a reason — it’s a seriously smart, kid-friendly piece of tech. LeapPad 2 doubles the device’s memory to 4GB and features a front-and-back camera/video recorder. Perfect training for kids growing up in the age of the iPad.
WWE Brawlin’ Buddies Sheamus Plush Figure
Who said plush can’t also be tough? With the WWE Brawlin’ Buddies collection of plush fighters, kids can get their fill of rough-and-tumble action without risking any broken bones or bruises. These soft superstars are even programmed to say their signature catch phrase when they throw down.
Nintendo’s new game system, the Wii U, is so in-demand that even we struggled to secure one.
But now that we’ve had a few days to play with the thing, we’re happy to report that, despite a few hardware setbacks, the Wii U delivers.
Read our hands-on review for more details.
Katy Perry isn’t just a pretty face — she’s also a seriously geeky gamer.
So much so that she’s partnered with Electronic Arts on new expansion packs for The Sims 3 with Supernatural and Seasons. We caught up with Perry for an exclusive interview:
How big a gamer were you growing up?
I was such a competitive gamer with my brother and sister that I remember we would rush home from school and we would go straight to the console. Of course, you can play The Sims in so many different ways now. You can play on your iPhone if you want to. So we’re not rushing home from school anymore, but I used to have these blisters on my thumbs. It’s not like when you use a pencil you get this little blister right here, when you play the guitar or if you work out too much you get – I had strange blisters on my thumbs. So I felt a little bit like a circus freak. No offense to all the circus freaks.
What’s it like to see yourself as a Sim?
It’s kind of like seeing myself as a cartoon, and I’m very cartoony anyways. On stage I’m extremely cartoony. So it feels very normal to me. But it’s nice to be able to have a really organized wardrobe in my Sims closest because mine is not as organized. And also I’ve gone through so many different hair colors and changes from short to long, to blue, to purple, to pink that I could not do that these days in real life now. If I ever feel a little bit like I want to go back on tour and wear my peppermint swirl dress and put on my blue wig, I don’t actually have to do it in real life. I just have to play The Sims and it’s right there. I just pop it on.
What’s your favorite piece of technology and why?
I know this sounds really strange, but I love my Sonicare toothbrush. I mean I’m serious. I could never go back to a regular toothbrush and I miss it. I was just on the road playing a show the other day and I forgot it and I used a regular toothbrush and I was so bummed going to sleep. I know that’s like such an adult, boring answer, but I love it.
Grab an alien gun and climb in a Warthog — Master Chief is back! Chances are, gamers won’t think twice before dropping $60 on the newest Halo game, but just in case you do, here’s a bit of our Halo 4 review:
Old foes, weapons and vehicles return, and while they fit like a glove, Halo 4’s combat feels the least revolutionary in this package. New baddies only come in three flavors, and while they have cool moments — like cyber-dogs that eventually crawl in massive packs, or the Knight that can warp and insta-kill unsuspecting players — they don’t force players into new strategies, nor do any of the new weapons and gear.
Two uneven mid-game missions and occasionally glitchy characters will remind you that this is, in fact, a whole new developer in charge, but truly, the series’ new direction makes up for its occasional battle nitpicks. And the impressive main campaign is only the tip of the space station; the old Firefight co-op mode has been replaced with Spartan Ops, which delivers free, weekly co-op missions with wildly varied combat. It’s an unbelievable improvement. Online multiplayer has proven addictive, as well, though changes like a Call of Duty-esque unlock system are hard to judge without thousands of live opponents.
This is the Halo comeback fans didn’t even know they wanted. Take Cortana’s hand, grab an alien rifle and steer straight into the sun.
Is Rovio’s newest game ‘Bad Piggies’ going to go even more viral than ‘Angry Birds’? Not likely. But it’s still a fun romp that perfectly captures Rovio’s unique brand of humor.
The makers of Halo 4 invited us to their headquarters in Kirkland, Wash., to run through hours of solo missions and multiplayer scenarios. Here’s a sneak peek at the hotly anticipated return of Master Chief:
“Wake up, chief!” With that shout, the series’ perennial robo-assistant, Cortana, appears with a new look — softer, more animated, more human — as she worriedly pesters her favorite soldier into escaping a sudden attack. So begins Halo 4’s campaign, which sees the series’ old, purple villains, the Covenant, returning in huge numbers to attack his resting home of the past five years.
Through corridors and air-lock vents, Chief reacquaints himself with familiar weapons and harrowing first-person combat, perhaps as a way to ease players into Halo 4’s first twist: conversation. Though Chief and Cortana talked plenty in prior games, never did they seem so chatty — jokey, even — while riffing on things like unexpected attackers.
Halo 4 is coming! We made a few predictions for the hotly anticipated game based on the newly released cover.
Why just donate to a project when you can invest in one? That’s the premise behind Gambitious, a sort of Kickstarter for video games — except Gambitious investors will actually share in the project’s profits.
“Gambitious is the first equity-based, crowd-funding platform that solely concentrates on the video game industry,” Paul Hanraets, the company’s managing director, told The Daily. “Our model is the first of its kind, providing a new way for small and large investors to directly invest in a wide selection of promising game projects, thus taking home a share in any eventual profits from the venture.”