Posts by Chris Morris
- Chris Morris at Plugged In51 mins ago
The staple of the Sunday newspaper made it to the century mark.
On Dec. 21, 1913, New York World published the world's first crossword puzzle. One hundred years later, the paper is a distant memory, but the puzzles live on.
The first of these famous puzzles was notably different than what we're used to today, however.
It all started when Arthur Wynne, an editor at the World, was told by his boss to think up some new features for the paper's "Fun" section.
After some trial and error, Wynne remembered a word game he'd played as a child called Magic Square. He came up with the idea of a diamond-shaped grid where letters could interlock. Then he wrote up some clues for the words that would fill the boxes and sent it down to the production department with orders to call it "Word cross."
The name was accidentally reversed by the typesetter, though, and the "Cross word" puzzle was on its way to becoming a phenomenon.
- Chris Morris at Plugged-In1 day ago
Embattled NSA leaker Edward Snowden has one high tech defender: Mark Pincus.
The founder of Zynga (and current chief product officer and chairman) reportedly asked President Obama to pardon Snowden at a face to face meeting yesterday. The president rejected the suggestion, according to CNN.
Discussing Snowden wasn't the main reason Pincus and other tech leaders -- including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Twitter CEO Dick Dostolo, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer -- were invited to Washington. Obama and vice president Joe Biden asked them out to discuss ways to improve the still struggling HealthCare.gov website.
Tech leaders, though, had something else on their mind.
"We didn't fly across the country for a discussion on HealthCare.gov," one source, who represents one of the companies at the meeting, told the cable network.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In2 days ago
The Wii U may not be getting tons of attention this holiday season, but that's not stopping Nintendo from playing Santa Claus.
In a Nintendo Direct broadcast Wednesday, company president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aime revealed a number of surprises and updates for both the Wii U and the 3DS -- and even delivered some of them to players immediately.
First up was a Hyrule Warriors, a previously unannounced Wii U game in the works by Tecmo Koei. Due to launch in 2014, the strange title is a mashup of Nintendo’s beloved The Legend of Zelda and Koei’s not-so-beloved (in the U.S., at least) Dynasty Warriors, letting Link take on hordes and hordes of enemies rather than solve dungeon puzzles.
Nintendo also supplied updates for two of the Wii U's most anticipated games. Super Mario Galaxy’s Rosalina and her companion Luma will join the star-studded lineup of the anticipated Super Smash Bros Wii U. The company also showed off two minutes of footage from Mario Kart 8, unveiling a new airport-themed level.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In3 days ago
Mobile gamers were on a sugar rush in 2013.
Apple has released its lists of the top apps of the year, and no surprise here: Candy Crush Saga was the hands-down winner. King's addictive social/mobile was downloaded more than any other free app in the company's iTunes app store, topping both the iPhone and iPad lists.
Among paid apps, Minecraft was the most popular, beating out competitors that included Angry Birds Star Wars and the Temple Run spinoffs from Disney.
Despite being incredibly popular with users, however, neither Candy Crush Saga nor Minecraft topped Apple's own Best of 2013 awards.
The company awarded iPhone Game of the Year honors to Ridiculous Fishing - A Tale of Redemption, which Apple called a "wonderfully absurd fishing game [with] great controls, hugely rewarding challenges and vibrant retro-style graphics." Text adventure Device 6 and Plants vs. Zombies 2 were the runners up.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In4 days ago
The Xbox One has gone gold. Literally.
Harrods, the British retailer with a penchant for making expensive things even more expensive, has introduced a version of Microsoft's console that is plated in 24-karat gold.
The price tag for this ostentatious game system? A cool £6,000 ($9,750). Take that, eBay!
Gold plating aside, there's no difference between this and any other Xbox One you might pick up. It doesn't even come bundled with a game.
Harrods is no stranger to ridiculously pricey everyday items. The store has also offered a diamond-encrusted iPhone case for $111,000, a men's shirt for just under $45,000, and a $10,000 box of Swarovski-studded chocolates, which probably results in the most luxurious ulcer known to man.
Despite its insane cost, the Xbox One is hardly the first console to get the luxury treatment. There's a long tradition of plating game goodies in gold, though there's a not-too-surprising lack of data on who, exactly, is buying these things.
- Chris Morris at Games Blog7 days ago
To say the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are off to a strong start is the understatement of the year.
The November sales of both systems topped not only the first month of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - but sold more units than their predecessors did in their first three to four months following their launches, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams.
"According to NPD data, the PS4 and Xbox One sold through more than 1.1 million and 900,000 units, respectively, in the US during November," said Williams. "In the prior cycle, the PS3 and Xbox 360 took more than four months and three months, respectively, to reach comparable installed bases."
One downside of that success is the tie ratio for systems - that is, the number of games sold with each console - is down, per the NPD numbers. Right now, people buying a next generation system are purchasing two games to go along with it. That compares to an average of three games at the last system launch.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In7 days ago
What a difference a couple new consoles makes.
Overall, when hardware, software and accessories -- including subscription cards for Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus -- were added up, the industry posted sales of $2.7 billion at retail stores last month, a 7 percent increase over 2012, reports the NPD Group.
Much of that can be attributed to the rebounding sales of video game hardware, which were up 58 percent in November to $1.3 billion as consumers snatched up the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
But which one sold better? That depends on who you ask, apparently.
In a statement, Microsoft claimed victory in the early sales race.
“November NPD Group figures released today revealed 909,132 Xbox One units were sold in the U.S. in the console’s first nine days, making it the fastest-selling console on the market in the U.S.” the company said. “Xbox One sales averaged a volume of more than 101,000 consoles per day, significantly outpacing the nearest competitor.”
Sony disputed Microsoft's claim that the Xbox One was the top-selling console in the country, though.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In8 days ago
When Sega first released Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to iOS devices a few years ago, the reviews weren't great.
On Thursday, the company announced plans to remaster the game for mobile users, and in the process made it one of the most anticipated updates around for classic gaming fans.
The reason? The update offers more than the usual minor tweaks. It will include a level called the Hidden Palace Zone that was never officially released, but has become something of a legend over the past 20 years.
Android users will be able to get the game -- and the secret level -- for the first time tomorrow. iOS users will be able to download the update for free.
Initially planned as an area that became available once players collected all of the game's Chaos Emeralds, the Hidden Palace Zone was scrapped midway through development and never made it into the final game. The public only became aware of it when it leaked out via ROMs of the game.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In9 days ago
It's a dead heat between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Microsoft says sales of its next-generation console have topped 2 million in 18 days. That's roughly on par with the PlayStation 4, which sold 2.1 million units in 15 days.
"We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing, Xbox. "We are thrilled to see sales of Xbox One on a record-setting pace, with over 2 million Xbox One consoles in homes around the world. Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers."
The strong sales are a coup for Microsoft, who was considered something of an underdog after the console’s bungled reveal around the E3 expo. The Xbox One costs $100 more than the PS4, and the walkup to the system's launch saw Microsoft scrambling to make major changes in reaction to consumer complaints.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In10 days ago
Today's big game launches are massive media events. Die-hard fans brave all sorts of weather to line up, stores open at midnight, and CEOs hand out the first few copies.
But even the carnival atmosphere of today's biggest titles pales compared to the launch of the seminal, controversial first-person Doom, which made its debut 20 years ago today.
Late on Dec. 9, 1993, a small group of programmers in the id Software offices sat bleary-eyed, staring at a computer. It was almost midnight, and they had just completed a 30-hour QA session, hoping to squash the last few bugs in the game before the its official release date of Dec. 10.
A computer administrator at the University of Wisconsin, David Datta, had agreed to let id upload the game to the school's FTP site so fans could download it and share it with others. When midnight arrived and the team hit 'upload,' it should have launched a new era -- but the upload failed.