Gadget Show´s gaming highlights

13 Apr 2011


It’s probably not the hardest strategy game they’ll ever play, but gamers flocking to The Gadget Show Live have taken up the task with gusto – and oh, how the rewards are great.

I finally get my hands on a Nintendo 3DS

Mission objectives: Unfold map of the National Exhibition Centre, mark gaming zone in hall eight with red pen, follow directions and prepare to be blown away by top consoles, awesome games and sneaky previews.

Never one to miss out on the fun, I made a beeline for the Nintendo 3DS stand and got my hands dirty.

The 3D graphics certainly seemed to be an asset on Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D. I’m a big fan of football sims and like to pass the ball around, pretending I’m the Barcelona of the gaming world.

3D gave me a better perspective of where my players were on the pitch, making it easier to string together intricate moves. Until I dribbled it out of play for a throw in, at least…

Nintendo 3DS has also brought augmented reality to handheld consoles. All I needed to do was slap down a card in front of me for the camera to focus on, then begin aiming the 3DS and clicking a button to shoot.

There are variations on the theme in AR Games, with fishing and crazy golf, but it’s essentially pointing and clicking at imaginary objects with a real background. Quite good, but I think augmented reality will be taken further over the coming months.

Strike!! (I can’t reveal how many takes it took for this result)

Next, I moved on to check out Kinect for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Dancing in public isn’t normally something I do unless there’s alcohol involved, but Dance Central tempted me out of my shell (as startled members of the trade and press looked on).

Kinect’s big strength is that it watches your whole body, so you can’t get away with just half-heartedly cocking your wrist to convince the Xbox you’re performing a dance move. I’m no Fred Astaire, or even someone who has appeared on one of TV’s many, many dancing competitions, but it was relatively easy to pick up.

Amid concerns I may rip my jeans performing the splits, I got stuck into bowling on Kinect Sports. Comparisons with Wii Sports don’t just stop at the title, the bowling alley looks similar, but there’s still something fresh about not holding a controller.

The big draw of The Gadget Show Live for many gamers was a chance to play Gears of War 3 ahead of its September release. With some pretty keen-looking gamers sat alongside me, it was a real battle to survive on team deathmatch mode.

I’m engrossed in Gears of War 3, but still not very good at it

It feels a little rougher round the edges than Call of Duty gamers might be used to, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s certainly as bloody as you’d expect from one of the leading third-person shooters on Xbox 360.

Content with the drubbing I had received, I went to see what all the Duke Nukem Forever fuss was about. The guys on the 2K Games stand quickly brought me up to speed – some 12 years in the making and with a fun-but-violent attitude, Duke is going to have a good time, even if it offends.

There’s plenty of opportunity to blow aliens up and wreak havoc, but you can also mooch around chewing bubble gum and play basketball, if trying to save the world doesn’t feature high on your schedule.

Overall, The Gadget Show Live proves there’s plenty to be excited about in the world of gaming.

I was left wondering how far Nintendo could take augmented reality. And how to avoid a comprehensive hiding on next year’s big shoot ‘em up.

Have you been to The Gadget Show Live? What grabbed your attention in the gaming zone? Comment below…