PIper: Build Your First Real Computer

You know you have created something special when you have Elon Musk’s kids playing and loving it, and Apple Co-Founder, Steve Wozniak espousing how great your product is for young minds.

Piper is a computer kit that kids assemble themselves! The Piper Computer Kit is aimed at youngsters, growing their confidence around being creators of technology instead of purely consumers.

Kids are quite inquisitive by nature – when they are given iPads, computers and smartphones, they don’t see how technology actually works.  Kids may actually think that technology works by magic, and later in life, when the opportunity to learn or build something tech-related comes up, they feel intimidated.

With LEGO and Minecraft on the other hand, you can get started right away. It’s easy. This ease leads to confidence, which in turn leads to incredible creations. The Piper Computer Kit allows kids to create with code and electronics as simply as placing LEGO bricks or craft a diamond helmet in Minecraft. Piper truly inspires the next generation of inventors and creators!

To find out more about this great computer kit, visit the Piper site.

Build it and they’ll come

Build a real computer from 100+ parts and an engineering diagram!

Create your next science project or invent a new smart home device!

Learn to build and program electronics with immediate results!

source: Piper Computer Kit

 

WIN: Atari Flashback 7 Classic Gaming Consoles

Attention peeps: We are giving away 2 x ATARI FLASHBACK® 7 CLASSIC GAMING CONSOLES!

Yep, you read that right, our good friends at Five Star Games have provided us two brand new Atari Flashback® 7 classic gaming consoles to giveaway to our awesome audience!

For your chance to win, head over to our Facebook giveaway and post your most retro gaming related photo in the comments section!

So what are you waiting for, go and snap your most retro gaming related pic and enter the giveaway for your chance to snag a cool console!

If you don’t know what the Atari Flashback® 7 classic game console is, then here is what you need to know:

The console features 101 built-in Atari 2600 games. These games include Frogger and Space Invaders, along with all-time Atari 2600 classics like Asteroids®, Centipede™Jungle Hunt, Missile Command®, and Pong, among many more. The console includes two wireless controllers, styled like the Atari 2600 originals, and two legacy (DB9) controller ports for optional wired joysticks or paddles for that nostalgic hit!

image source: Five Star Games

 

A Retro Gamer’s Stroll Through 80s Yakuza 0

Before we begin, let’s set the record straight – I have never played a Yakuza game! Yep, you read that right. You may throw out a “WTF?” at this point, and you’d be justified in asking exactly that – what the fudge, dude?

Well, I won’t bore you with why I haven’t played any of the previous Yakuza games (you can blame it all on those retro games I keep playing!), but at least you’ll get a perspective from a player experiencing the franchise for the very first time! I come into the Yakuza universe as a total noob, so go easy on me.

The vibrant lights of Pink Street!

So,”What’s this Yakuza 0 all about anyway?”, I ask myself. Well, first and foremost, I had heard that this prequel Yakuza action game, dubbed Zero, was set in the 80s, my favourite decade! That was enough to pique my interest in the game, so I thought I’d jump in the deep end and have a go!

Sobering up some drunkards, the old fashioned way!

Beating up peeps can work up a thirst

From a noob’s point of view, Yakuza 0 eases the player into the game with great cutscene sequences that set the narrative for the protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, or simply just Kiryu. Obviously the title gives it away, Kiryu is a yakuza, a lowly debt collector for the Dojima Family (of the Tojo Clan). Kiryu is framed for murder and is then used as a pawn by a bent crime family lieutenant who aspires to be top dog. I’ll spare you the rest as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Visiting the ‘family’!

No mobile phones in 1988, so pay phones were the best way to conduct business on the streets

I’ll be honest, I really wanted to play Yakuza 0 to roam the streets of 1988 Kamurocho, the notorious redlight district of Tokyo – to explore its karaoke bars, dart parlours and of course, its amusement centres – Club Sega and Hi-Tech Land were high on my list so I could play some (well, a lot of) Out Run! I really didn’t care for the story as to why I was setup for murder and the whole Empty Lot business.

Smoking can kill you! So can a bent lieutenant…

But before I could explore Kamurocho, I would have to dispense some good old fashioned beat-downs to street punks and hoodlums that were dumb enough to move in on my turf. Oh yeah, cash is earned the more peeps you beat up. These fight sections definitely reminded me of classic Dreamcast brawling action games, just like Shenmue. And just like Shenmue, it’s fun to explore the vibrant city you find yourself in.

Giving the vocal chords are work out with some karaoke

What I wasn’t counting on was the game’s ability to suck me into its story-line and its fascinating characters. I had to put the idea of exploration and playing Out Run to one side, as I set my sights on finding the people that framed me for murder and then confronting the bent Dojima lieutenant, Kuze. To say that I was now hooked on Yakuza 0 would be a gross understatement. With about 80 hours of gameplay, I have a way to go, and that is before I even touch any sidequests! So if you excuse me, I need to get back to being a yakuza and kick ten shades out of some really bad people.

Behold, the holy grail of arcades!

Damn, it’s closed. Can’t wait to play some Out Run!

image source: Yakuza 0

Gameband: Kick-Ass Smartwatch For Gamers

WOW! In just over 24 hours Gameband’s Smartwatch for Gamers Kickstarter has gone gangbusters! With the $75,000 goal smashed easily, we can’t fathom how far this Kickstarter will go – and there is still a month to go!

Having stayed up to the ungodly hour of 1:00am for the start of the Kickstarter, it was definitely worth it, as we snared ourselves a Super Early Bird Gameband Atari Edition. Ever since then, the Gameband team have been keeping busy with informing its backers of all the wonderful functions and rewards they will include on this most KICK-ASS of a gamer’s timepiece.

One of the early rewards was to increase the included 5 Atari mini-games to 10 mini-games per Gameband! The 5 additional games are the Atari classics: Tempest 2000, Battlezone, Firefox, Missile Command and Yars Revenge! How good is that!

But wait, there is more! With the $100K milestone surpassed with ease, the Gameband folks wanted to reward its backers (even more!) by including the Terraria mini-game on all smartwatches. Whoa!

Does it get better? Of course it does! Gameband are preparing further stretch goals, which we honestly can’t wait for! It’s truly like Christmas every day on this Kickstarter!

Oh yeah, for those of you that are on the fence – do you or don’t you get one, perhaps this comparison chart will help you make up your mind… It’s pretty easy to see who leads each category. Hop on the Kickstarter now, before it’s too late!

source: Gameband

 

Creating The Playfield With Jersey Jack Pinball’s Butch Peele

Ever wondered how a high-quality pinball playfield is made? We definitely have!

Well, wonder no more as pinball tech wizard, Butch Peel, details the intricate process behind creating a high-quality Jersey Jack Pinball playfield.

Once you finish watching this episode, you may also like to check out Butch Peele’s playfield tours of Jersey Jack Pinball’s groundbreaking games, Wizard Of Oz and The Hobbit – trust us, they are worth watching!


source: Jersey Jack Pinball

 

First Impressions Of Stern’s Batman 66 Pinball Machine

SOCK! POW! ZOK! WHAP! BIFF! OOOOF! NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAN!

We enjoy visiting our friends at Zax Amusements. Not only is it fun to catch up with the Zax crew, but it’s also fun to gawk in wonder at the machines on their showroom floor. One machine that caught our eye was the new Batman 66 Premium Edition pinball table from Stern.

Batman 66 is the first machine that Stern has released with a full colour high definition (HD) LED screen integrated in the backboard instead of the traditional dot matrix display. We were quite impressed with the HD LED screen’s vividness and its animation – it captures the cheesiness brilliantly from the 1966 Batman TV show. We initially thought that the HD LED display was on the small side, but seeing it in action it actually suits the machine to a T.

The visual package of the machine is complete with the awesome artwork by Christopher Franchi. The purple and blue hues of the artwork on the cabinet are eye catching (they stand out from a mile away!) and the equally beautiful backglass (above the LED display) and playfield art just scream sixties kitsch!

Being pressed for time, we only had five games on the machine, so we thought we’d comment on our first impressions on how the machine plays rather than an indepth review on its many play modes and features. First things first, the (software) code is nowhere near complete, which shows. We noticed that there were no callouts at the start or during the game, which obviously took away from the Batman experience – the game seemed too quiet. The playfield lighting about three quarters of the way up was on the dark side, making the ball hard to see, but it wasn’t anything major that detracted from the enjoyment of playing the machine – again, this may be an easy fix with a code update. We absolutely loved the illuminated batphone target and the villain vision TV set magnet feature.

Batman 66 features many cool toys, but the one that truly stands out for us is the interactive KG Bird Crane Co crane toy on the right hand side of the playfield. Once initiated, it takes a hard flip to smash the “wrecking ball” on the crane (a bit like Slimer in Ghostbusters), which sends your ball careening all over the playfield – truly heart stopping play! As mentioned earlier, the animation on the LED screen is great, giving the player lots of feedback on modes and features at play. Each go we had we got a higher score as we got to know the features, modes and the general flow of the playfield.

Batman 66 (Premium Edition) will definitely appeal to Generation X’ers that grew up with the TV show, but it also has the general pulling power due to its brilliant presentation. Once Stern irons out the software code, it will exponentially enhance the cheesy Batman KAPOW experience!

Batman 66 (PE) is eye catching from any angle!

Oo’er, Premium Edition!

Batman In Colo(u)r!

Autographed by none other than Adam West

Taking it all in – it looks so cheesily good!

Flipper button seems in the right place… Love the side art!

The Bat Gadget selector is begging to be pressed!

It all STARTS here!

Let’s give Batman and Robin a hand in defeating their evil foes!

Here comes the villain vision TV set! Watch that magnet lock!

Let’s see what this KG Bird Crane Co can do…

Bash that (wrecking) ball on the crane!

No!!! The game should never be over!

Damn, we didn’t match on the Bat Score-Match-Analyzer. Ah well, another credit…

Thank you to Zax Amusements for allowing us to play the new Stern Batman 66 Premium Edition pinball machine.

Sneak Peek At Atari’s New Gameband Smartwatch

Last week we reported on the imminent new Atari hardware, and now we can tell you a tad more. With just 3 days to go till the official Gameband Kickstarter launch (1:00am February 9th AEDT), some teaser sneak peek photos have emerged of the Gameband Atari and Terraria Edition smartwatches.

As can be seen in the photos (from left to right); there’ll be a straight Gameband Edition (Black, sleek and shiny), an Atari Edition (red, black and retro) and a Terraria Edition (brown, green and indie). Apparently there will be a super early bird price on Kickstarter (starting at $99USD) for a limited quantity – too bad the Kickstarter will launch at the ungodly hour of 1:00am our time :-/

According to Gameband’s CEO, Feargal Mac Conuladh, the Gameband Smartwatches will be “An insanely powerful Smartwatch, wrapped in gaming design and content.”. We shall see!

We reached out to Feargal to state that the launch was going to be at 1:00am on February 9 (our time), meaning a lot of Australians would miss out on the early bird special. He responded thusly:

It’s always good to see a CEO having a sense of humour!