Tuesday, 27 March 2012

GAME closes 277 stores...

Retail giant, GAME has gone into administration today, closing around 277 of its videogame stores across the country. The once popular retail chain had been struggling to compete with online purchases and various Downloadable Content sites, it has emerged.

Over 2000 jobs are now thought to be at risk in the wake of the closures. Another 333 stores are to remain open while a suitable buyer is sought.

Administrators, PwC, have confirmed that the business had been rocked by: "heavy competition from online retailers and ambitious international expansion..." [sourced from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17512143]

 All gift card transactions from both GAME and Gamestation stores have since been suspended, and no cash alternative is currently being offered, leaving many customers disappointed.

Game Group plc has commented on the closures:"This decision [to enter administration] is taken after careful consideration and ceaseless interrogation of every possible alternative." [ibid.]

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Help! My Vita Won't Turn On/Off...

Imagine the following scenario:

You have just purchased, downloaded and installed a copy of the full (£29.99) version of the Unit 13 game onto your lovely new PS Vita. You have almost completed your 'basic training' in the game, and are looking forward to undertaking a co-op mission with friends, when suddenly, your Vita screen goes  completely black.

To your delight, you notice that the PS button is still glowing, so you know that the console must still have power somewhere, right? Panicked, you try to press the on/off switch, but nothing happens...

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, doesn't it? Nevertheless, this is the very scenario which we were confronted with at Mini Gamers HQ recently, and it took our best research to get the console right again, so we thought that we would write this post just in case any of our fellow PS Vita owners experience the same thing.

Now, we should be completely clear in stating that Mini Gamers is still unsure as to what exactly prompted the console to suddenly cut out. We certainly don't want to imply that the Unit 13 download contributed to the failure in any way - at least not without firm proof.

However, it is true that many PS Vita forums have been awash with complaints that the Unit 13 demo version, (not the FULL version which Mini Gamers was playing,) has indeed contributed to some pretty nasty PS Vita failures recently.

Nevertheless, as yet, there is very little evidence at this stage to suggest that the full version of the game is capable of this kind of glitch, and most gamers who purchased the full version seem incredibly happy with it - as well they should, because the little that we did experience of the game, was simply awesome!

As always, the most important thing to do in any crisis is to remain calm. After searching online for answers, Mini Gamers discovered that there is a quick and easy way to get your PS Vita working again after this type of crash. Of course, we cannot guarantee that this will work for every situation, but here goes:

1) if your PS button is still glowing, you need to perform a HARD RESTART. To do this, simply hold down the power button for approximately thirty seconds, until you see the PS button stop glowing.

2) The console should now restart in the normal way. The following Safe-Mode screen will be displayed:

3) Select Option 1 to restart your console. The PS Vita should now operate normally.

Please note, if you feel that your PS Vita database may have become corrupted in some way, then it may be easier to select Option 2 instead. This will restore the PS Vita database before restarting - this is NOT the same as 'resetting' the console, and won't affect things like messages, camera images, or saved data, but may take several hours to complete.

It may also be worth noting that Safe Mode can also be started manually by holding down the Power button, R button and the PS button at the same time until the Safe Mode screen appears. Then select the option you require.


Have you ever experienced a PS Vita console crash before?

Do you know why it occured?

If you have any comments to make about the PS Vita's performance or wish to give or seek advice from other blog readers about this issue, please leave a comment in our comments box below. We'd love to hear from you...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Apple iPad 3 renamed as 'New iPad'?

Here at Mini Gamers, we sometimes like to look at new handheld gadgets, as well as all the latest video game technology, so after our current PS Vita fest, we felt it was the ideal time to take a look at the new Apple iPad 3, which has now been  officially named 'New iPad'.

So, what has the iPad's newest member got to offer us (apart from a slightly mundane  product name)? We have done our best to find out. Firstly, the specifications for the New ipad are as follows:

The processor is an Apple A5X ARM-based unit, which has been designed with quad-core graphics but is still a dual-core based unit, which Apple claims is very fast. The New iPad also has a retina display, which allows you to view apps and photos with wonderful clarity.

As with previous models, there is the trusty  fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, to help safeguard against any mucky fingerprints when using the touchscreen,  as well as support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously, making it the perfect tool for business people.

You can now record full HD videos on the iPad 3 with an iSight camera . The rear camera is set at 5 megapixels and has a 5-element lens plus auto face-detection, an automatic focus lock and image stabilisation for video. Once again there's tap-to-focus included as well.

 A new Dictation app is now included within iOS 5.1 on the new iPad. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard, then give the iPad your instructions and then simply tap  the 'DONE' tab, and iPad converts your words into text. You can use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, which means a lot less use of the touchscreen.

New ipad

Apple has also announced iPhoto for the iPad, which offers some pretty nifty professional photo editing tools. Furthermore, iMovie can now deal with full HD video. iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6 are available today as free software updates.  

There will be separate US models for both the AT&T and Verizon networks. Both CDMA and GSM iPads can now easily roam internationally.

The new iPad delivers the same battery life as the iPad - that's 10 hours - with around 9 hours if you're using LITE (North America only).  Furthermore, all models feature Bluetooth 4.0.

It certainly sounds impressive! There is no way of knowing exactly how successful New iPad will be in the tablet and smartphone market, however, especially as Apple has taken the unusual step of still manufactering  the Apple iPad 2, allbeit at a lower price than the third-generation model, which will put the iPads in competition with one another, but is guaranteed to earn Apple a tidy profit in the bargain.

The iPad 2 price reduction means that the older model is expected to retail at around around £329 in the UK, and the price changes are expected to take effect from the 16th of March 2012, when the New iPad is finally released to the general public.

So, have you pre-ordered your New iPad yet? Let us know what you think of it. Mini Gamers welcomes your comments.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Playstation Network Maintenance Causes Chaos For PS Vita Users

A routine maintainance schedule for the Playstation Network yesterday, caused chaos for several PS Vita users. Although Playstation had done its best to warn users to expect a period of about fourteen hours maintenance, during which, all of its online services including the PSN store, would be unavailable, it appears that many PS Vita fans were left confused after worrying 'NW' and 'NP' error codes began to appear in various applications on their new console.

The maintenance took place between 8pm last night, and 10am this morning. However, PS Vita users were dismayed and worried when they suddenly found that the majority of applications on their console stopped working. This is because the majority of social functions on the PS Vita, including Group Messaging, Party, Online Play, Near, Google Maps and of course, the PSN store all  need to access the Playstation Network.

Within hours of the maintenance getting underway, various online forums featured threads about the error codes, which were preventing users from accessing their favourite PS Vita content. In some extreme cases, users even described how they had restarted their routers several times, or even set up new wi-fi settings for their home network in order to try and get access.

Although many forum users did realise that the the sudden loss of access to the Playstation Network was due to maintenance, it was around 5am before the PS Vita displayed an NP error message which actually stated that the network was currently undergoing maintenance. Things have since returned to normal and Playstation Network access has been restored to most users.