Lightsaber-style foam swords log your battle scores

Remember those telescoping toy lightsabers? You used to do battle with your siblings or friends, but nobody could ever agree on who actually won the fight. There won't be room to argue if you're using Sabertron foam swords from Kickstarter.

The glowing swords each have a health meter above the hilt, marked by strips of green, yellow, and red LED lights. When the swords strike blade-to-blade, they make a clashing sound. When the sword hits anywhere else, like on your opponent's arm, the health meter goes down. Run out of health and you lose the match.… Read more

Finding Android games sans in-app purchases

When you look at a mobile game for iOS on iTunes, there's a very handy at-a-glance tool that lets you know whether or not it's supported by in-app purchases: a bar on the left-hand side that shows the most popular purchases.

Google Play, unfortunately, is a little less clear. You can never be sure, when you're looking at a game, if it's completely free, ad-supported, has a free demo but the full game can only be unlocked with a one-off purchase, or if it is filled with sneaky bits of content that can only be unlocked … Read more

The startup that won itself a Super Bowl ad

So you're a little startup.

You employ 15 people and you think you've got a great idea. Oh, and then someone has the bright idea to run an ad during the Super Bowl.

Are they insane? Not at all. All you have to do is enter a competition against 15,000 other small businesses, sponsored by Intuit.

But then GoldieBlox wins, and it feels like the three bears might eat its lunch.

GoldieBlox is a company that makes engineering toys for girls. The company became something of a love object for Kickstarter donors in 2012 and now looks … Read more

Nintendo: Smartphones? Blech! It's all about the consoles

Things have been a bit rocky in Mario land. A day after Nintendo announced disappointing earnings, including a 30 percent decline in profits and lower Wii U sales than in 2012, its president, Satoru Iwata, on Wednesday held a strategy briefing in Tokyo to discuss a strategic turnaround.

Iwata kicked off the briefing by insisting he's not pessimistic about the outlook for gaming consoles. He also said that Nintendo doesn't plan to give up on its hardware business -- game consoles will continue to be the center of its strategy.

"Lots of people have said we should … Read more

Blizzard releases first-ever Warcraft infographic

World of Warcraft. It's an enigma. It's not only the biggest MMORPG in the world, it has consistently kept a massive player base for more than nine years -- with a subscription model that has stayed strong where pretty much every other MMORPG has failed.

The game will turn 10 in November of this year, and developer Blizzard has just released its first-ever infographic unveiling some pretty interesting stats that have accumulated since the game's launch in 2004. Among them, that the game has had more than 100 million subscribers, more than twice the population of South Korea -- with just over half of those players on the side of the Alliance. … Read more

Nintendo: No plans to bring minigames to smartphones

Nintendo won't be bringing Mario an Luigi minigames to smartphones, after all.

In a statement to Engadget on Tuesday, Nintendo denied an earlier report that suggested it would offer free minigames on smartphones that will act as demos of full-priced console and 3DS games. The company, however, reiterated that it's willing to use smart devices to promote products.

"However during such past announcements Mr. Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on … Read more

Nintendo's Wii U sales down, revenue disappoints

Nintendo on Wednesday released its financial earnings for the nine months ended December 31, and once again, there appears to be trouble in Mario land.

The company posted revenue during the period of 499.1 billion yen ($4.8 billion), representing an 8 percent decline compared to the previous year (PDF). Nintendo was able to post a profit during the period of 10.2 billion yen ($99.6 million), but that was down 30 percent compared to the same period in the prior year.

Nintendo acknowledged its troubles during the first three quarters of the year, saying that its Wii … Read more

Build with Chrome is a virtual Lego time-suck, but worth it

You really, really want to build something out of little plastic bricks, but you're stuck in your office, far away from your Lego stash. Lucky for you, Google has just unveiled Build with Chrome, a virtual Lego playground that gives you access to all sorts of pieces for building online.

You can jump right in, or take some lessons first. The Build Academy sets you against a series of challenges to train you to be a master builder. You're guided along by a virtual hippy-wizard Lego minifig, a character that ties in marketing-wise with the upcoming Lego movie. It starts off basic with learning how to rotate your baseplate and gets increasingly more complex as you hone your skills.… Read more

Angry Birds maker Rovio: We don't share data with NSA

Angry Birds maker Rovio found itself in the middle of another NSA kerfuffle on Monday, leaving the company on Tuesday to try and clear the air.

Several reports cropped up on Monday, saying that popular mobile apps, like Rovio's Angry Birds, are being used by the NSA and other intelligence agencies to cull user data. The agencies are, in some cases, using "leaky" data collected via ad networks to obtain information from the programs, papers leaked by Edward Snowden and reported on by The Guardian and The New York Times on Monday, suggest.

In a statement on … Read more

Long-rumored Amazon console set for 2014 at sub-$300 -- report

Yet another company is getting into the console space sometime this year, according to a new report.

Amazon will launch a console later this year that will run on Android and allow for both streaming and downloading games, gaming news/reviews site reported, citing multiple sources. It's not clear what kind of games will come to the console, but VG247 says that Amazon has been showing publishers popular Android and iOS games as demos for the console.

Although VG247's sources don't say for sure when the console will launch, those folks confirm that it will … Read more