FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 30, 2006
New-generation video game players land soon
Video game systems and other consumer electronics make news because of their popularity, their advanced technology and their impact on companies selling them. Challenge students to find at least one recent article involving computers, audio systems or interactive entertainment. Invite them to see if the coverage presents useful information they didn’t know.
Newspapers help readers evaluate films, music, TV shows, books, restaurants, vehicles and other products by running reviews, price comparisons, interviews and comments by readers or bloggers. Some papers describe or rate new video games. Assign students to find a consumer guide feature that interests them and discuss its value. Topics can include what a reviewer should and shouldn’t do.
Ads are a vital part of the newspaper business and another source of information, such as a convenient store with new video games at good prices. Send class members “shopping” for an entertainment item or anything else in their community, using ads in recent issues. Perhaps set a spending limit and see what each student finds for up to $50 or $100.
Attention gamers: Two new systems hit stores just in time for your holiday season gift list. Sony has a successor to PlayStation 2, the dominant game platform worldwide, and Nintendo is releasing its seventh-generation game console, called Wii (pronounced “we”).
PlayStation 3, which is supposed to reach stores Nov. 17, has upgraded technology and vastly increased computing power. It comes with 21 installed games and can play Blu-ray high-definition DVDs. The new unit is being pitched as the centerpiece of a home entertainment system, a claim also made about PS2 at its introduction six years ago.
The Nintendo Wii, set for release Nov. 19, has a speaker and rumble device in the wireless controller that provide sensory feedback. It comes with Wii Sports, a collection of simplified sports games that mimic an action in real life, such as swinging your arms to hit a golf ball, baseball, tennis ball, bowling pins or a boxing opponent.
What they cost: Sony’s suggested retail price for PS3 is a hefty $600, while Nintendo’s manufacturer sticker price is $280.
PS3 features: The system, with a sturdier console than PS2, is powered by a new Cell processor developed by Toshiba and IBM. It also has eight 32-bit co-processors to run sophisticated graphics and display super-sharp images. “It is not a plastic toy,” says interactive entertainment industry analyst David Cole. .
Wii features: The Wii Remote controller can be used as a hand-held pointing device and is capable of detecting motion and rotation in three dimensions. A standby mode entitled WiiConnect24 lets the console receive messages and updates over the Internet.
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