“I feel like I could … take on the world!”

Update: After I wrote this yesterday, a member of the Facebook group I’m a member of A Streak of Geek posted it, talking about his love for the old Lucasarts games. Reading it made me realise that I’ve also played Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Dig, Loom and Ron Gilbert’s The Cave. How could I forget that I played those. Thanks Peter from A Streak of Geek for reminding me!)

For some strange reason, I never played the original Day of the Tentacle.

Day of the Tentacle Remastered_20160330194408I say strange because I played some of Lucasart’s other great point-and-click adventure games: Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, The Secret of Monkey Island (I still own disc copies of Grim and Full Throttle)  but DOTT passed me by. I’m not sure why that was but I’m making up for that now, thanks to Double Fine’s remastered DOTT on PlayStation 4, PC, PS Vita and Mac.

I pre-ordered the game on PS4 ($23, I think) solely so I could download it onto my PS Vita as well – and the point-and-click game play is perfectly suited to the smaller form factor of Sony’s handheld, and while some of the text might be a little harder to read with my ageing eyes than on a 55-inch TV, Day of the Tentacle just feels right on the Vita.

DOTT has players control the three main characters – Bernard, Laverne and Hoagie – as they attempt to stop Purple Tentacle who drank some toxic sludge behind the mansion of Dr Fred Edison. The game involves different time periods and the solving of puzzles to try to thwart Purple Tentacle.

 

Players interact with items in the gameworld using actions such as “use”,  “pick up”, “open” in an attempt to solve the game’s puzzles.

Like other remastered Lucasart’s games, you can either play it in the new remastered graphic style, which looks really nice,  or – at the touch of a button on the Vita and a press of the touch pad on the PS4 controller – it reverts to the game’s pixellated art style. I found myself flicking back and forth between the two styles, but it really shows how much work Double Fine put into modernising the game’s visuals.

Here’s some video from the PS4 version (no spoilers, I don’t think). The first one shows Bernard in the game’s opening moments exploring Dr Edison’s mansion  while the other shows Hoagie exploring the time period he finds himself trapped in after one of Dr Edison’s Chrono-johns malfunctions

Some of the puzzles are stumping me but I can see me spending a lot of time with Day of the Tentacle Remastered, and that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gravity Rush Remastered: When going upside down helps a lot

cutscene09Gravity Rush first appeared on Sony’s PS Vita handheld console and it made great use of the handheld’s touch screen and tilt capabilities to guide the game’s heroine Kat around a city called Hekseville, under siege by an alien race called the Nevi.

Central to the game is Kat’s ability to manipulate gravity – a power that is given to her early in the game by a mysterious black kitten that she comes across while exploring the city. Kat can manipulate gravity to fly through the air, walk on walls and ceilings and do flying attacks against the Nevi.

Gravity Rush was the perfect game for the PS Vita, thanks to its touch screen and on the PS4 it makes the most of that consoles tilt controls and while the move to the PS4 retains the things that made the handheld version good, it still suffers from the repetitive and tedious combat, especially when battling some of the game’s large boss battles. The boss battle against a Nevi that resembles an octopus which spins its tentacles, revealing its weak spot, provide frustrating in the Vita version for me, and it proved as equally frustrating in the PS4 version.

gravity-rush-remastered-screen-11-ps4-eu-26oct15

The magical black cat that gives heroine Kat her ability to manipulate gravity in Gravity Rush.

Bluepoint Games, the development studio that also did the work on the excellent Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection for the PS4, has done an excellent job creating Gravity Rush for the PS4 and this new version comes with all the DLC and extra content of the Vita version.

Despite its charming cel-shaded visuals and repetitive combat, Gravity Rush is a fun game but having played it on the PS Vita first, for me, Gravity Rush remains better suited to the PS Vita than the PS4.

 

 

 

How Mike Bithell’s Volume has made me play my PS Vita more

Fourteen days into 2016 and reckon I’ve already played my PS Vita more this year than I did for much of last year.

I put that down to two things: a) Going on holiday, so my Vita was a nice portable way to replay some of my favourites like Gravity Rush and TxK and b) I bought Mike Bithell’s (@mikeBithell on Twitter) Volume, which came out on the Vita on January 6. I’ve played my PS Vita more because of Volume.

I can’t express enough joy at what a great game Volume is, not only because of its addictive qualities but that it’s also one of PlayStation’s Cross-play buys, which means if you buy it on PS Vita you automatically get to download it for free on the PS4 (and vice versa).

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_17_37The premis of Volume is simple enough: You take the role of burglar Tom who uncovers a plot involving a military coup and device called the Volume. Using the Volume to simulate high-profile heists, Tom must guide his avatar around industrial environments, avoiding patrolling guards, sentry turrets and dogs while collecting gems. The simulations are broadcast to the internet using the Volume, eventually leading to a stand-off between Tom and the evil Gisborne, who has taken over control of England.

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_25_33Volume is very Metal Gear Solid-esque, with an isometric third-person, top-down perspective, in that stealth and creeping around to avoid detection is to the fore. Get spotted by a patrolling guards (each has a vision cone indicating its field of vision), you have to re-start the level. Each level short – some take less than a minute to complete – but they’re so addictive that you’ll find yourself saying “Just one more. Just one more”.

Bithell is a British indie developer who also make the cutesy game Thomas was Alone, which I like a lot, and Volume has all the trademarks of another hit for Bithell and his team. I initially purchased it for my Vita – and being able to play it on my PS4 for no cost is an added bonus – and if I had any gripe it was the size of the text on the PS Vita version: It’s just too small for my ageing eyes.

So, I tweeted that to Bithell, and guess what? He got back to me shortly after, admitting the text was a little small and he would look at fixing things in a patch. In a simple thing like replying to my tweet, Bithell has proven to me that he’s a developer who cares about his fans and those that pay for his games. That’s something I admire in a developer. Thank, you, Mike.

I’m hoping that 2016 is the year that I play my PS Vita more. It’s a fantastic handheld console but I feel disappointed that Sony have pretty much abandoned it by not supporting it like it should have with first party titles, and left any game development up to third parties.

That said, maybe that’s not a bad thing: Sony is clearly focused on the PS4 and PlayStation VR so perhaps doesn’t want to develop for the Vita half-heartedly. It’s sad, though, that the company hasn’t shown the console more love.

Putting Volume aside (briefly), there are some pretty nice games coming out this year. Games I’m looking forward to include Uncharted 4, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Horizon Zero Dawn, Firewatch, Hitman, Quantum Break, Dishonoured 2, Crackdown 3, Mass Effect Andromeda and Unrave.

Sure, some have already been delayed already and I suspect many some of them won’t make 2016 but it’s a pretty great line up already, don’t you think? It’s a great time to be a video gamer.

What are you looking forward to this year?

 

Two thumbs up to Sony for shrinking Sly Cooper

The Sly Trilogy

From: Sanzaru Games

For: PlayStation Vita

RRP: $55 (physical copy after a search of online retailers)

Before Cole McGrath, Delsin Rowe and the inFamous series came along and swept the PlayStation world by storm, developer Sucker Punch was more well-known for its game series featuring master thief Sly Cooper – a trio of games that appeared on Sony’s PlayStation 2 console.

Pint-sized criminal: Sly Racoon has been shrunk for Sony's PS Vita handheld.

Pint-sized criminal: Sly Racoon has been shrunk for Sony’s PS Vita handheld.

Although I got the PS2 late in its life cycle, I was fortunate  enough to play the Sly Cooper series – and loved them. They were the perfect mix of platforming action combined with humour and great looks. Now, all three have been shrink wrapped into one package for the PS Vita, and this could well be one of the best things Sony’s done for its handheld console.

Featuring master thief Sly and his sidekicks Bentley the turtle (the brains) and Murray the hippo (the brawns), the trio appeared in three games: Sly Racoon, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves and they were great games, featuring exotic locations, dastardly villains and some genuinely funny moments. In 2010, the games were ported to the PlayStation 3 by Sanzaru Games, and went down a hit with fans of the franchise.

Of the three, Sly 1 was probably the weakest – and it’s the same here with this Vita port. Sly 1 saw Sly, Bentley and Murray having to retrieve a Cooper family heirloom – the Thievious Racoonus – from a band of rival thieves (led by a mechanical owl).

Perhaps the best game of the trilogy is Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves as not only does it look the best it also makes the most of the Vita’s touch capabilities: Namely the back touch pad to activate an in-game GPS-like ping – used so that Sly knows which direction to go. It’s simple and it works. The front screen is also used to activate Sly’s binoculars or Bentley’s tranquilizer dart.
2013-12-10-195128_1396878187The Trilogy looks great on the Vita, with the series’ trademark cartoony look vibrant and colourful on the handheld’s OLED screen. The only downside with the graphics I could see was during the cut scenes, where there’s some low resolution compression making itself present.

For a series that first appeared in 2002, Sly Racoon has become one of Sony’s most recognisable mascots, much like Crash Bandicoot, Jax and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, and while to the cynical this could be seen as Sony just  re-issuing old games with a new lick of paint, it’s a great opportunity to play a great series for those who missed out first time around.

Oh, and as if in a nod to its heritage and how much it owes to Sly Cooper,  in Sucker Punch’s latest game, inFamous Second Son, there are a few hidden references to the Sly games. I won’t reveal where they are but if you’ve got Second Son, explore and see what you stumble across.

 

 

Fez review: Weird and mesmerising but a must-play

Fez: a game that started out on consoles and PC but seems perfectly suited to the handheld format.

Fez: a game that started out on consoles and PC but seems perfectly suited to the handheld format.

Say what you like about Fez creator Phil Fish (who spectacularly quit the game development industry last year and cancelled Fez 2 after a Twitter spat), indie game Fez is one of those games that is a delight to play, not only because of its twisted perspective but thanks to its 16-bit graphics style and some innovative game play features.

Fez was one of my most favoured games of 2012 and with the move to the PS Vita, I think it’s perfectly suited to the handheld.

The game sees main character Gomez in a flat 2D world but after stumbling across a giant gold polyhedron suddenly finds he can view the world in 3D. However, the polyhedron is shattered, the 32 cubes it’s made up from scattered about the game world and it’s up to Gomez to find them all, bringing order back to the world.

At first, Fez seems a simple 2D/3D puzzle game where the player guide’s a pixelated hero from place to place, collecting the shards from the exploded polyhedron, but then in an instant, thanks to the ability to rotate the game world 90 degrees creating a 3D playspace, the game opens up new possibilities to tackle problems.

But how?, I hear you ask. Like this: being able to change perspective on-the-fly using the Vita’s left and right shoulder buttons means suddenly a platform that was moments ago out of reach is now accessible. It’s mind-boggling and means that jumps that were seemingly unreachable before are suddenly much closer when you rotate perspective.  In a world punctuated by waterfalls, lighthouses, shacks and precarious drops, and where entering one door can lead to a completely different dimension, a change in perspective can literally mean the difference between one step closer to a wayward cube and a drop to the depths below.

Fez is a game that can be mesmerising and confusing at the same time, and often that confusion can lead to some frustration, especially when you get lost and aren’t really sure where you should go next. Some of the puzzles, too, might see you scratching your head (there’s one with a bell early on) and heading online for a walk through to help you solve them.

Minor frustrations aside, Fez was one of my most loved games when it came out on console and PC and now that it’s out on Vita, I can see it being one of my most loved and most played on Sony’s handheld. Fez + PS Vita = a gaming partnership worth discovering.

 

 

Tearaway preview: where paper replaces sack cloth

2013-11-08-135040Tearaway, the new game from Little Big Planet creator Media Molecule, is a game that made me smile.

My biggest smile came as Iota, the cutesy lead character in PS Vita game Tearaway that has a head that looks like an envelope (you can also play as a female character called Aoti, if you want), was riding on the back of a pig – that I was controlling – as it ran riot through the game’s brightly coloured world, a world made entirely out of paper and cardboard.

At the end of the piggy rampage, the pig spotted a female pig and the pair trotted off to a barn, a giant question mark hanging over Iota’s head. Tearaway is a game that will make you smile till your face hurts. Earlier, I’d had to make the pig cuter for its owner, attaching a false moustache to his piggy lips (do pigs have lips?)  I took all the photos in this write-up using my Vita’s image capture function but in hindsight, I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the pig.

Tearaway is a game where your face – yes, the face of the player – plays a starring role, captured by the Vita’s front-facing camera and pasted on the game world’s sun (there’s a photo here where you can see my ugly mug staring out), elevating you to the lofty heights of a god that the world’s inhabitants revere. You’re referred through out the game as “You”.

It’s a game where you use your fingers (and the rear touch pad) to punch through things to move obstacles, pull open ribbons on presents and beat drum skin-laden bounce pads that propel the game’s star, Iota to higher levels. It’s a game where you’ll use your fingertips to open presents and trap doors.

2013-11-08-135000Tearaway is a delight of a game that takes the magic developer Media Molecule crafted into Little Big Planet and plasters it liberally in a world with dancing apple cores made out of paper open and close when you approach, squirrels throw acorns at each other and paper plants unfurl their leaves when you walk through them.  It’s magical.

Iota is a messenger sent to safe the world from an unknown evil and as Iota explores, the world comes to live.  When he stands on a bounce pad (it looks like a drum skill), tapping on the Vita’s rear touch pad, propels him into the air, landing on platforms above. Bridges made out of green paper unfurl as he approaches them, carnival music blaring in the background. Paper plants pop up as he walks by, and concentric circles radiate from his feet as he walks through a stream, made out of paper.

It’s a platformer at heart, with Iota/Aoti jumping and rolling about the game world but the fact that you have to use your fingers to manipulate the game world for your character to progress is just genius. There’s combat, but it’s basic, basic stuff where you roll into enemies (Iota/Aoti can turn into an orb) called scraps, knocking them senseless, then pick them up and toss them.

I could wax lyrical about Tearaway for much, much longer but I won’t. I’ll stop here but it’s been one of the most enjoyable handheld gaming experiences I’ve had in a long, long time.

It’s games like Tearaway that make it worth owning a PS Vita, a fantastic handheld console – with an amazing screen – that has been neglected for too long by Sony, but it seems that with this year’s Killzone Mercenary and now Tearaway,  Sony are actually giving the love back to its handheld. Tearaway creates the same kind of magic that LittleBigPlanet did and for my money, Media Molecule have another hit on its hand.

Right, enough waffling: I’m off to guide Iota on his next quest. I wonder what wonders will unfold before my eyes?

Tearaway is out on PS Vita on November 22.

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Sorry about this: Oh, look it's my ugly mug staring back at me (and now, staring back at you).

Sorry about this: Oh, look it’s my ugly mug staring back at me (and now, staring back at you).

Killzone: Mercenary – the review

Killzone Mercenary (PS Vita)

Looking good: a screen grab from Killzone Mercenary taken from my PS Vita.

Looking good: a screen grab from Killzone Mercenary taken from my PS Vita.

Killzone: Mercenary, where have you been all my PS Vita’s life?

Mercenary is a shooter that you’ll actually want to play. It’s the shooter that my PS Vita has been crying out for. Oh, sure developers have tried FPS games on the Vita before but let’s face it: They sucked. Pure and simple (I’m looking at you Black Ops: Declassified and Resistance Burning Skies. You were shit).

Killzone Mercenary is the real deal. And if Mercenary had been available earlier,  my Vita would have seen more action over the past few months rather than pretty much gathering dust, sitting unused.

Why, Sony, why has it taken it has taken so long for a great first-person shooter to appear on the Vita? Not through lack of talent as there are plenty of talented people in your development studios. There was really no excuse for it. I mean, the Vita has two analogue sticks: It’s made for the FPS, right?

Placing the player in the shoes of soldier-for-hire Arran Danner, Killzone Mercenary is set between the events of Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 and interestingly, in a first for the series, the player will fight alongside both the ISA and Helghan after a twist near the end. Danner is a, after all, a mercenary so he goes where the green is.

Let’s get the visuals out of the way first, though: they are stupendous. The two images with captions are screen captures I did during game play. Looks pretty good, right? It’s like the developer took the PlayStation 3’s Killzone and zapped it with a shrink ray: It really does look that good. Is is too much to say this is the best looking game the Vita because I think it is. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful and really is the best looking game on the Vita.

But good graphics does not a game  make, it needs a solid story to back it up. Well, Mercenary’s story is nothing we haven’t seen in countless shooters before (filled with betrayal and backstabbing) and you can see what’s coming a mile off but it’s a shooter, after all: It’s not a Shakespearean play filled with enlightened exposition and wonderment. It’s a game where you shoot people to earn money and complete objectives. I also found the controls took a bit of time getting used to – crouch and sprint are mapped to the circle button which makes things interesting during an intense firefight – but things fell into place soon enough.

Killzone-Mercenary-Preview-03-600x339Mercenary uses the Vita’s touch screen cleverly, too, letting you melee kill foes by tapping the triangle button then following an on-screen prompt indicating which way to swipe.

Being able to do that means you’ll use it – and I used it a lot, against both normal Helghast grunts and heavily armed heavies. In fact, I probably used it too much (and handily, many of the Helghan turn their back on you when you melee them), but there’s just something satisfying about swiping the touch screen to kill a Helghan (although, does Danner really have to stab some of them in the balls before knifing them in the head? That just made me squirm)

The touch screen is also used to set mines (placing each thumb on the screen then rotating them charges the mine) and kills earn valour, or money, which can be used to buy new weapons, ammunition, better armour and other gadgets  from black market weapons chest conveniently dotted about the game world. Every kill earns you money: headshots earning you more than a shot to the chest.

If there’s one thing frustrating about Mercenary’s game play, it’s its checkpoint system, which isn’t very good. I would have liked to have seen a more robust save system and while yes, the Vita has a good standby mode, if you quit a level mid-mission expect to have to start again from the beginning. It’s annoying.

I’ve only touched on the single player campaign here because, well, I haven’t had a chance to try any online yet. I got a code to do that but haven’t had the time. Perhaps when more people are playing it I’ll give it a whirl.

Airborne assault: Flying in a Helghast ship to assault an ISA cruiser.

Airborne assault: Flying in a Helghast ship to assault an ISA cruiser.

OK, to round up. Yes, Killzone Mercenary shows little innovation when it comes to game play (and Killzone is a stupid name for a game) and yes, the story is cliched and yes, if you hate the Killzone series then this portable version isn’t going to change your mind, but it’s a freaking console quality shooter on a handheld and it’s a good one  –  and that should be celebrated as far as I’m concerned (and if it was shit, I would tell you as much).

Not so long ago I was thinking Sony had forgotten about the Vita completely and hoped no-one would notice. Well, we did notice  but if Mercenary is Sony’s way of saying, “Sorry about the previous shit Vita FPS games. Try this for size” then I forgive you, Sony. I forgive you.

Game Junkie Verdict: buy, buy,  buy.

The Tuesday usual: game talk with Radio Wammo

Before we launch into the “It’s the Tuesday usual (but on a Wednesday)” direct your attention to the photo on the right. Yes, that one. The one with the writing all in caps.

I know we all make mistakes.  Heck, sometimes even I, a journalist of many years experience and hugely respected around my own home (mostly), makes the odd one in my writing (but just ignore them until nasty people constantly point one out then I shift my feet nervously a little, look to the ceiling and hope that they forget about it and go away) but after the Resident Evil Revelations typo on some 3DS boxes recently, I thought Capcom might have paid more attention to what gets printed on its boxes.

It doesn’t look like it, if the photo of a review copy of Azura’s Wrath is anything to go by. I took the photo after my 12-year-old son noticed this on the back of an Xbox 360 copy of the game:  “RELENTLESS ACTION AND NEAR IMPOSSIBLE CHANLLENGES”.  Impossible chanllenges? I guess they’re much harder than normal challenges.

Anyway, I thought it was kind of funny. IMPOSSIBLE CHANLLENGES.

OK, yesterday was Tuesday (but I’m filing this on a Wednesday as I attended a PS Vita launch in Auckland last night) and that’s the day I chat with Glenn “Wammo” Williams about games, games and more games. Yesterday, we chatted about Uncharted Golden Abyss, a launch title for Sony’s PS Vita which gets released in New Zealand tomorrow.

Also, on Tuesday night I attended the New Zealand launch party of Sony PS Vita handheld, which goes on sale here tomorrow and tonight I downloaded some social networking apps for it (Four Square, Facebook and Twitter). The Twitter app is quite cool, and it’s incredibly easy to read on the big screen, but the one thing that bugged me was that it recorded that I’d made a tweet 59 minutes ago – but it was more like 59 seconds. Mmmm, not sure what’s going on there.

The Tuesday chat: we speak PS Vita and Tim Schafer’s crowd-sourced initiative

If you watch today’s segment with Glenn “Wammo” Williams and I sound a bit clearer and crisper than usual it’s because I was trialing a new headset/mic: Turtle Beach’s PX3 wireless headset. I’m pretty sure Glenn said I sounded sexy using the headphones/mic – he’s probably right, but I took it as a compliment!

I’ve been using the PX3 set-up for the past week or so and I’m impressed: they hook up easily to my PC and Xbox 360 using a USB-connected receiver and provide excellent sound, especially when I’m playing a game with the volume turned up and my wife is watching TV in the other room! I’m considering buying myself a set as they’re much more comfortable than my usual Microsoft-branded headset and mic.

Anyway, today on the segment we talked about Sony’s PS Vita, which launches in New Zealand on February 23 but embargoes on the hardware and reviews lifted for journalists today, and we also talked about Tim Schafer’s incredible Kickstarter drive last week to raise funds for his next game. I haven’t checked for a bit but I understand it’s around the $US1.7 million mark already.

One thing: I think I told Wammo the wrong prices for the Vita in NZ: I think I said it was $349 for the Wi-Fi model and $449 for the Wi-Fi/3G. I’ve checked my write up from today (which I’ll post later) and the price is actually $449 for the Wi-Fi model and $549 for the 3G/Wi-Fi. Sorry about that.

E3 2011: Sony’s PS Vita takes centre stage

For me, and perhaps many other people, the highlight of Sony’s press conference today was the PS Vita (the handheld formerly known as the NGP) and the games for it.

Sony announced that the WiFi version of the Vita would sell for US$250 and the 3G model would sell for US$299. New Zealand prices aren’t available yet, and expect them to be significantly higher if pricings for other hardware launches are anything to go by.

However, if Sony has it priced right and it’s comparable to Nintendo’s 3DS then we could have a handheld console war on our hands!

Sony’s Jack Tretton opened the conference talking about the recent PSN outage, apologising for the outage and saying it was a very humbling experience for the company. “We want to convince you why Playstation’s stronger than ever, but not just us telling you but you experiencing it yourself,” he said.

Nathan Drake’s triumphant return

A demo of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception started things, and it blew me away. Uncharted developer Naughty Dog says the game is raising the bar for PlayStation 3 games and it showed game hero Nathan Drake on what looks like a luxury liner as he makes his way to the bowels of the vessel. He takes two bad guys out from behind then punches out a patrolling guard.

Drake moves deeper into the ship. Now he’s in a lower deck but gets ambushed by baddies: there’s a fire fight. An explosion. “I gotta get outta here,” says Drake, as he tries to escape the ship. The ship starts listing from side to side, and Drake gets trapped under a metal object under water. He frees himself and is now swimming underwater. He’s out, climbing through a hatch, and seems safe but suddenly a huge torrent of water appears from behind him. The demo ends. The game is due out in November. “Amazing guys. We’re going to sell a few copies of that bad boy,” says Tretton.

Insomniac Games shows off Resistance 3 and Sony says PlayStation 2 games, Ico and Shadows of the Colossus, are being remastered in HD and coming out this year. So far, everything we know.

Then Sony throws in something I didn’t know about: a new PS branded 24-inch 3D display that sends two images simultaneously to two pairs of 3D glasses: each person sees a full-screen view on the same monitor rather than a split screen. I think I’ve got that right. It’ll come with a pair of 3D glasses, HDMI cable and Resistance 3 thrown in. It’s going to retail for US$499.

Other games announced include NBA2K12 for PlayStation Move, a new Sly Racoon game and Bioshock Infinite, which will have some form of PlayStation Move support. There will also be a Bioshock game appearing on the PS Vita.

Vita: apparently it means life

Now it’s time for information about the Vita. Sony’s Kaz Hirai says the PlayStation Portable was central to the evolution of the digital living room and Sony had high expectations for the PSP in the years to come but the PS Vita brought new ways to interact with “your world, your friends and your entertainment”. Hirai said Vita meant life and the front and rear cameras would provide Augmented Reality experiences and the Vita “blurs lines between entertainment and your real life”.

Games for the Vita – 80 are in development – include the poster game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and it looks like an Uncharted game on PS3 has been shrunk down and stuck into the handheld. You’ll be able to use a conventional control method to manipulate Drake around the game world or the Vita’s 5-inch OLED touch screen or the rear touch-sensitive pad to make Drake jump to ledges or take out enemies. Or probably a combination of both. I wonder, though, how much using your fingers will obscure your view while playing.

Other Vita games include Modnation Racers (where you’ll be able to rub the touch screens to build tracks or manipulate the environment), Wipeout 2048, Little Big Planet (you use the touch pads and tilt function) and Street Fighter vs Tekken, which features a playable Cole Mcgrath from Sucker Punch’s inFamous series.

That’s day one of E3 done: tomorrow it’s Nintendo’s turn to wow the gaming world with the expected showing of Project Cafe. I see that the press conference is at 4am, New Zealand time. I don’t know whether my body can take another full-on work day with a start that early but we’ll. I’ll take the laptop and see if the wireless signal reaches my bed – then I can watch it under the comfort of my duvet.