Maybe it was only my radar that this curveball flew under but either way the late SNK Playmore has graced us with an unexpected but totally appreciated version of its famed fighting franchise in The King of Fighters i. That’s i for iPhone and it’s up on the App Store today.
The fact that it’s for iOS isn’t the only odd thing about this KOFXIII port- it includes Billy Kane, who will be a console exclusive character come the game’s October release. Currently, he isn’t in the arcade version or anywhere else for that matter. The game is also strangely-fully-featured. It has wireless multiplayer, unlockable galleries and social network integration all for less than $10. Oh and it beat Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition to the punch with on-screen mini challenges (perform 3 3-hit combos, etc.). Granted they were in the arcade version of The King of Fighters XIII first, but who here has actually had a chance to play that?
As for the game itself, it’s better than Street Fighter IV Volt, its only real iOS competition. I’m an SF4-devout so I think that says it all. The controls are better, the graphics are better and the framerate is smoother. This is the only iPhone fighter you need to play. If I had to find something odd about it it would be that Iori Yagami isn’t part of the game’s 14-character lineup. But if I had to guess, I’d say that he, along with Vice and Mature, and Kyo, Robert and Takuma will likely be the 6 free DLC characters promised us between now and October.
I’m scratching my head as to why The King of Fighters i wasn’t better publicised. Sure a game so adept deserved more press pre-release. Or, if treated solely as a marketing experiment, why wasn’t it released closer to the console release of KOFXIII later this year? I’m not complaining, however. If nothing else, this will be most folks’ foray into the world of KOFXIII, failing a nearby arcade with it or less reputable means. And before you mention that The King of Fighters XII has been widely available for a couple of years already, don’t go there. You don’t want to make me cry over how that game turned out all over again, do you?
To close, go and get The King of Fighters i- I couldn’t recommend it more.
I have finally had enough of T3. I’m used to tech blogs having a playful relationship with the news they report. The difference is that T3 states everything with an absolute journalistic fervour and yet still manages to publish sensationalist garbage like their current string of articles stating ‘iPad 2 SD Slot confirmed’ – most recently in their News@8PM. The scoop is that the iPad 2 has an SD card slot, something that is not only decidedly un-Apple, but would also disrupt the careful price tiering ecosystem of iPad models. Further, this whole rumour is being built on cases at CES from 3rd parties that, by T3’s own admission, are most likely based on those vendors’ best guesses as to what the next gen tablet does or doesn’t have. I know that Apple rumours are red hot for page views and the like, but come on.
This isn’t the only instance where T3 has outrightly stated things that are controversial, speculative or just plain rumours and presented them as fact in a headline and they aren’t the only ones guilty of doing so. This instance is really just the final straw. Far be it for me to ‘un-subscribe’ to an internet source of news but the outrageous writing at a place that purports to be more authoritative than most has pissed me off one too many times. And heaven knows there a million other feeds to take its place.
The last 48 or so hours in the tech world have been pretty interesting- 3 of the biggest companies have had pretty significant public showings of new products and services. While I pre-emptively wrote about Facebook’s mail announcements yesterday, here’s what Google and Apple had to reveal as well;
Facebook – A Modern Mail Service
So Facebook didn’t quite announce a rival to Gmail and Hotmail as everyone predicted… or did they? You can now still register for a ‘@facebook.com’ address once your account receives an opt-in invitation, but this new service will focus on convergence of SMS, Email, IM and other current messaging platforms rather than going head to head with existing providers. The existing concerns remain about Facebook, privacy and email, but guess we know what FB poached that Google Wave dev for now, huh?
Google – The Nexus S, Gingerbread, NFC and Chrome OS
Although Facebook’s revelations largely overshadowed what was going on at the Web 2.0 summit, Google’s CEO had a few almost-groundbreaking things to share with the community. Firstly, he demonstrated Android 2.3 AKA Gingerbread on an unannounced phone many summise to be the elusive ‘Nexus S’ from Samsung. We can’t confirm either way since branding was concealed although a special hardware component was explicitly mentioned – a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. This lead in to what will no doubt be a key feature of the new OS, set to release in the next few weeks, as it enables ‘bump-to-pay’ transactions. Seems like this will be another area where Google and Apple are racing to get a cutting edge technology into consumers’ hands first.
Chrome OS, that bastard topic largely relegated to the background by Google’s more prominent Android, was also given a clear purpose by an offhand comment by Eric Schmidt- it is for low cost keyboard devices. Which rules phones and tablets out.
Apple – iTunes News…?
Apple threw its hat in the ring this week as well teasing an unforgettable iTunes-related reveal on Tuesday. However this hype sizzled out as soon as it was revealed that the Beatles catalogue would be coming to the popular e-store. The Beatles? Who cares. Everyone who gives a damn will have ripped their CDs, bought their audacious USB collection or pirated the stuff by now.
Luckily this was dispelled with the also predicted and highly anticipated iTunes Cloud, Streaming, iTunes Pass, 90sec previews and a redesigned client.
The war for the internet, ad revenue, market share, hearts and minds is very much underway and at this very exciting time in history I dare not call a winner. Especially since likelihood suggests that even if there is one, there won’t be for long. Microsoft is notably absent from this week’s festivities- no doubt working on getting all those missing features into Windows Phone 7.
Android-equipped phones are trickling out all the time. I’ve had my eye on the Droid X and the Desire HD for some time too, desperately wanting to jump from the iOS camp as I am. One thing that I’ve noticed and is constantly disappointing is the resolution. Why does the Desire HD, with its glorious 4.3″ screen still only have a 800×480 res? Turns out that’s Google’s fault.
Only in reading the hype surrounding the pending release of Gingerbread / 2.3 did I notice that Android caps its resolution at WVGA (800×480). Wtf Google? Why in the world would anyone want to impose a software resolution cap on an ‘open source’ OS? I’m taking a purely topline, superficial look at this. It must make technical or business sense to someone but as I see it this bizarre, deliberate choice is having two important consequences;
1) There is nothing with Android to answer iPhone 4’s ‘Retina Display’. The Desire HD is a good phone but there’s nothing HD about it. In fact, it has the exact same number of pixels as the original Desire, the Droid X and just about any other semi-recent Android phone. That this was mandated by software available is sad enough. However the greater tragedy, I think, is that the cocky PR bastards at Apple get to keep parading around their incremental screen improvement, beauiful as it may be, as the best thing since 256 colours.
2) Android needs a new version for tablets. 3.0, whatever it’s called, is billed as the ‘tablet version’. Why is this necessary? Vendors are steering clear of Google’s OS for their tablet offerings in the short term since it’s just not up to snuff. Of course this is in part due to the less-than-great multitouch implementation currently built in, but it also has to do with the res. WVGA tablets just don’t work- Telstra T-Tab or Optus My Tab anyone? I laugh knowing that in those cases resolution is the least of the abismal devices’ problems but they still serve to illustrate the point.
All I can say is I hope Gingerbread comes out this week and I hope it removes this cap. It’s an inexcusable oversight – Google, get it fixed. It’s still a shame that even if we get so lucky we will have to wait for the next generation of ‘droids before we get something rivalling Apple’s overhyped, pretentiously named but ultimately breathtaking iPhone 4 screen. A tremendous shame, actually.