It's that time of the year. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and college basketball is in full swing. Thankfully, ESPN has updated its Bracket Bound app to bring fans up-to-date with the latest scores, conference standings, and forecasts for the 75th NCAA Tournament. As before, you can quickly access game results, schedules, player and team stats, video clips, and team-related discussions on Twitter. With this release, ESPN has also added a customizable list of shortcuts in the navigation menu for your favorite teams. But you will have to be signed into your Facebook or ESPN accounts to configure those selections.
Manufacturers are sticking Bluetooth into everything these days: washers, dryers, ovens, cars... even a basketball. Thanks to a company called 94Fifty, the smart basketball of the future is a thing that you'll actually be able to buy fairly soon.
The ball features internal sensors that monitor everything from your dribble strength, backspin, shot arc and speed, consistency, and how long you hold the ball with one hand while dribbling. It then sends all this info back to your Bluetooth-connected smartphone with the 94Fifty app, so you can see the results. This, of course, will help you see areas where you need to improve as a player of the game.
Good news, basketball fans. Google has been gradually upgrading the Now service to include a wider range of sports teams, and today Division I NCAA basketball teams from all over the US can be manually added to your personal Now results. Go into the Google Now settings page, tap "Sports," and search for your favorite school. Only basketball is supported at the moment - here's hoping that football teams are added before the season starts.
Previously, a few NCAA teams were showing up in the Sports card dynamically, if you searched for them enough. Now you can make sure that you'll be alerted whenever your guys hit the boards.
One of the most often requested additions to Google Now's card system is college sports for the US, and it looks like at least some people are finally starting to see it. A very small number of Google Now users have seen cards appear for their favorite NCAA football and basketball teams (sorry, women's ice hockey fans, no dice). The results seem to be entirely contextual at the moment; you can't add college teams in the settings menu yet, but a few sports fans are seeing the relevant cards appear after they search for their team.
Unfortunately, even that little bit of information doesn't seem to be live for everyone.
Well, that didn't take that long at all. Less than a month after we first heard about Shaquille O'Neal starring in a post-apocalyptic game that features mutant zombies (yes, you read that right), it's already released! The not-quite-sequel to Shaq Fu, a game so bad that people devote actual time and money to liberating it from existence, brandishes an entirely different gameplay style. Whereas the original was a fighting game along the lines of Mortal Kombat, this game is closer to the second week of Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World. That's exactly the kind of feeling I was hoping for going into this game.
I'd like to start this piece Peter Jackson style: with a longer-than-necessary flashback to provide background on this story. Back in the 90s, kids were all about two things: basketball and fighting games. We loved Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Space Jam and Shaquille O'Neal. Or so the legends go. As a result, in 1994, some genius marketer aimed to put the two together to create Shaq Fu. It did not fare well. In fact, it was so bad that there is an organization devoted to "liberating it from existence."
Now, 18 years later, the developer of Go Ninja wants to resurrect the...
Bringing a new entry to the successful NBA 2KX franchise, 2K Games recently released NBA 2K13 to Google's Play Store. Like its predecessors, NBA 2K13 is built on the NBA 2K engine, with improved graphics and a new one-finger control option to give players "the ultimate NBA experience while on the go."
Besides the option to use 2K13's new one-finger control system, players can revel in some nostalgia while reliving some of the best performances "in NBA history, including Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance in 2006."
Players can also play through multiple NBA seasons with the same team in order to establish them as "a new dynasty," while enjoying a television-style presentation including full commentary.
Here in the States, we call it soccer, which actually makes little sense. Our neighbors across the pond have a more accurate term for the game, however: football. To be honest, I'm not really sure where the crossing of terms came into play, but football in the U.S. is definitely not the same game as football in other countries. Regardless of what you call it, EA just released a new game for all who love the thought of kicking a ball into a net: FIFA 2012.
FIFA '12 brings everything you love about soccer (football) directly to your mobile device, including 22 officially licensed, playable teams and more than 15,000 players, controls schemes that let you handle your players with precision, and 360° player movement.
Gaming on Android has been accelerating at the same mind-numbing speed as Android hardware, and we have quickly gone from having a limited number of decent titles to having more good games than we can track. In some cases, these games stand out for their amazing new gameplay; in others, they stand out for their high level of polish. Stardunk is one of the latter.
There have been several Android games that let you play a quick game of basketball, essentially just choosing an angle and power, and letting the ball fly. Stardunk is that plus multiplayer competitiveness and customization with a healthy dose of polish.
Earlier today, a tip about a new augmented reality game called HoopsAR hit our inbox. Since augmented reality is a relatively new and kind of cool subject, I decided to take a deeper look and go hands-on. Before I could play the game, I needed to print out a basketball "ticket" which serves as the game board. The phone's camera then scans it and overlays the court on top of it in 3D.
If you're still a bit confused about how it works, don't worry - I whipped up a quick video hands-on in order to explain the overlay function and simple controls that make this game worth checking out.