The original Shield Portable is finally getting the bump to Android 5.1 from 4.4, but don't rush right out and download the OTA just yet. There are a few caveats with this one. Yes, you get the latest version of Android, but it will remove several games and features that are bundled with the old KitKat software.
Emulating games is hard, y'all. There are a ton of classic game emulators for Android, and most of them work really well... replicating relatively ancient, low-power hardware for two dimensions. Even something like the 20-year-old PlayStation is difficult (but not impossible) to emulate on the latest mobile hardware, which is objectively about a hundred times more powerful. That's what you get when console makers create more or less customized hardware and software that doesn't have to play nice with any other platforms.
NVIDIA changed the landscape of Android gaming with the original SHIELD. And with that, came top-tier titles of recent years, like Valve favorites Portal and Half-Life 2. Since then, the company has released a slew of killer games specifically for SHIELD devices, including Half-Life 2: Episode One. Today, the saga continues with the third Half-Life game available for Android, Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
HL2: E2 (which is available exclusively for SHIELD Android TV) is joined by a handful of other kickass titles, all of which should be available today in Google Play. Here's a quick rundown, starting with the star of the show.
Remember Bomberman? You know, that cute little maze-based puzzle game that got infinitely more fun when you played it with friends? Right, well imagine a Bomberman game... set in a schlocky slasher movie. That's basically BRAWL, the latest console pilgrim to come exclusively to NVIDIA'S SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Android TV. It's also notably the first Android game we've seen on the Play Store with an "Adults only" 18+ ESRB rating, though that might be a mistake - the game's trailer (which looks like it's taken from the PS4 version) brands it with the slightly less salacious M rating.
In BRAWL, you take control of one of eight characters that seem to have popped out of a Halloween party sponsored by Hot Topic.
NVIDIA's cloud-based game streaming service has been available on SHIELD devices as a free beta for a long time now, but the subscription version of the service was supposed to be arriving around now. According to NVIDIA, that won't be happening for another month, so GRID continues to be free until July 31st. This applies to all three SHIELD devices.
Luftrausers is one of the most intense games to launch with the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, and it doesn't let up from the first moment. You launch your small aircraft into those dangerous skies and start your all-out attack within moments, no tutorial required. And while it all looks great on your HDTV, maybe you could use just a little guidance with some of the more opaque aspects of the unexpectedly dense gem. Here are a few good rules of thumb for new pilots:
Turn down the throttle occasionally - Yes, obviously you want to keep your ship above water to avoid certain death, but that doesn't mean it's always full speed ahead.
NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on. According to the changelog it also improves streaming performance for both Netflix and Google Play Movies.
Tips and tricks for hardest game on the NVIDIA SHIELD by Adam Hartley
It’s a tough life, fighting Russian gangsters in the neon-soaked apocalypse that is the Florida cityscape featured in Hotline Miami, which has been specially re-mastered to play better than ever before on the new NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.
Hotline Miami is a cracking launch title for NVIDIA’s new SHIELD machine, mainly because it is a real “gamer’s game” and never anything less than an absolute delight to play, with its top-down 2D style clearly inspired by the original Grand Theft Auto games and its banging electro dub soundtrack reminiscent of the 2011 Ryan Gosling movie, Drive.
More codecs are always better, especially if you're talking about a device that's (arguably) primarily for watching video. Android TV will get MPEG-2 support when the Android M build comes out - in fact you can check it out right now if you have a Nexus Player - but apparently NVIDIA doesn't want to wait. According to this forum post, an update to the new SHIELD Android TV will enable MPEG-2 codec support within a month.
Why MPEG-2 in particular? Apparently NVIDIA wants to add support for the popular HDHomeRun series of network-connected digital TV turners, which outputs directly in MPEG-2.