Wappy robo-dog needs Tamagotchi-like love

Ever since Sony sent Aibo to the great cyber-kennel in the sky, I've been longing for a new robot dog. Activision and Sega seem to be trying to take pity on people like me with Wappy, a frisky little artificial friend that links to a Nintendo DS.

One of several intriguing new high-tech toys shown at this year's Toy Fair in New York, Wappy's personality evolves as it interacts with its owner, much like the Tamagotchi digital pet of yore.

Wappy is both a video game and a simple robot toy that can sing and dance. They're synced so Wappy is the same dog on-screen and in robot form. The latter was apparently made by Sega, creator of the iDog.

Just like the Nintendogs game, users can play with and train the virtual Wappy on the DS when they're away from home, and then play with the robot when they get back. The goal of the game is to raise Wappy from a puppy, teaching it new tricks and caring for it.

Little Wappy is a far cry from the intelligent, charming Aibo, but I'll take what I can get. It's slated to come out this fall.

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Crave 30: Bathroom achievement unlocked (podcast)

Crave veers toward several drool-worthy--and a couple cringe-worthy--topics this week. In fact, we can't seem to shake the curse of our food-friendly moniker as we check out eye-catching cereal boxes that light up on store shelves, a bus stop decked out to look like a toaster oven (complete with a people-warming electric heater), and an AT-AT that some intrepid soul turned into an ice cream truck piloted by Darth Vader himself.

Also, a ridiculous business offer leads to robot dinosaurs, and a game bows to mind control. Teetering on the edge of acceptability is a gaming urinal by Sega, with the boys finding it more relevant than Jasmine. What's not to crave? Whiskey in a can and BK's new jalapeno and cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse burger--ick.

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Sega Toylet games aim to please

Oh, don't tell me you've never thought about it.

There you are in the restroom. And, just for a fleeting moment, you wish there would be something more you could do than stare at an ad. Or at the graffiti that says Josh loves Ginny. Or Jimmy.

You'd love to be able do something a little more interactive. Sega understands the warmth and depth of your emotions. This is why the company has announced Toylets, video games controlled by your urine stream.

The games are for those who cannot live without being a first-person shooter.

Toylets, according to Japan's Akihabara News, are truly repositories of both pleasure and pressure.

To prevent fulmination during urination, a pressure sensor is slipped inside the toilet bowl. You, the gamer, must focus and direct your urine at that sensor. The display on an LCD screen above the toilet grades your efforts.

To keep it exciting, there are four games, each with its own intellectual stream.… Read more

The 404 730: Where like, whatever, you know what I mean? (podcast)

Natali is back from her burrito-tour of San Francisco and hops back into the studio for the last Natali Thursday of 2010! Today's headlines include a video game controlled by your urine, a porn company making your Microsoft Kinect 3D sex simulation dreams come true, the most successful pickup lines according to geographic location, and we reveal the most irritating word of the year!

Sega finally unveils a video game that non-gamers like myself can enjoy, because the objective is to pee all over the game. Sega Toys is testing a new minigame in Japan called Toirrettsu that comes with a sensor that can measure the speed of urination and score games accordingly.

Japan hopes that the game will encourage people to take better aim in the bathroom, but Jeff tells us that America already has its own version of the pissing match.

You've been waiting for it since the day Microsoft unveiled the Kinect motion control accessory, and we've finally arrived: after two months, adult software vendor ThriXXX released a statement today describing forthcoming Kinect-powered software that will use gestures, spoken commands, and objects in a sexual gaming environment. This segment of the show is worth watching the video for Natali's gestures alone!

According to a survey from online dating site Badoo, the secret of international dating is to spout localized pick-up lines.

The site's "Compliment Success Index" analyzed over 200,000 online conversations in 11 languages to determine the best opening line for women from different countries. So the next time you're in a United Nations Security Council caucus, be sure to compliment that Portuguese woman on her perfect ears!

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Shenmue creator wants to make a third title

For years, Shenmue fans have been waiting to hear that a third installment in the cult-classic will finally be made available. And now, the chances of that happening seem greater than ever.

Speaking to Japanese gaming publication Famitsu in an interview yesterday, which was translated by IGN, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki said he wants "to make [Shenmue] 3 with the same volume as in the past."

He went on to say that he has heard loud and clear from fans that they want to see a third installment in the franchise, mentioning "petitions signed by tens of … Read more

Sega: 'Never say never' on Shenmue 3

Sega fans hoping to rejoin Ryo Hazuki in his fight to avenge his father's death in Shenmue might just have that opportunity.

Speaking to CVG in a recent interview, Mike Hayes, the president of Sega West, said that there is a possibility that the franchise could be making its way back to consoles.

"While at present we have no plans for the franchise [on next-gen consoles]...the Shenmue legacy ignites a lot of passion among fans. Never say never," he told the gaming publication.

If Shenmue does come back, it would be a long time coming. The … Read more

Retro reinvented: Sonic 4 on the iPhone

I grew up with my Sega Genesis, and Sonic was my Mario. I played all the games in high school, and the 2D games still represent the real Sonic to me. Those 3D versions? Not so much.

Sega's newest initiative, Sonic 4, has boldly named itself as the true successor to those old 16-bit gems. Available as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 and PS3 (check out preGame's coverage here), it has also come to the iPhone, available today on the App Store for $9.99.

Thankfully, Sonic 4 plays pretty wonderfully from the starting gun; right … Read more

iPhone console emulators: What's the point?

As a teenager I just about lived in the video arcade (Abbey Road in Farmington Hills, Mich.--anyone remember it?). I owned an Atari 2600, an Apple IIe, an Amiga, a Sega Dreamcast, and just about anything else that was good for games.

You'd think, then, that I'd go ape over something like C64 for iPhone 1.7, a newly updated Commodore 64 emulator that revives such classics as "Boulder Dash II," "Jupiter Lander," and "International Karate."

And you'd be wrong. While I have nothing but fondness for the videogames of … Read more

Sega: Saturn games may come to Xbox Live, PSN

When Sega announced recently plans to bring Dreamcast titles, including Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure, to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, the vast majority of Sega fans were excited. After all, the Dreamcast is one of the better consoles ever released, and many of its titles were outstanding.

But it looks like the company isn't done yet. Speaking in a recent interview, Sega's Yosuke Okunari, who is in charge of bringing Dreamcast games to the new consoles, said that porting Saturn games is a real possibility.

"We're of course thinking about ports of Saturn games," … Read more

Dreamcast lives again on Xbox Live, PSN

I owned a Dreamcast, proudly, back in 1999. I loved Jet Grind Radio and Crazy Taxi. It's with a note of personal affection that I report that Sega's officially releasing Dreamcast games onto both PSN and Xbox Live later this year.

What that means, for now, is that only Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure are making the leap. Sonic Adventure, as one of the first 3D Sonics, is a dubious choice. Crazy Taxi, however, is sheer genius. I always felt that Grand Theft Auto owed a bit to Crazy Taxi's madcap mission-based racing. As a quick-fix arcade … Read more