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THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Last Minute Tech Gift Ideas

With one more weekend left before the Christmas holiday, retailers and consumers are knuckling down for the final sprint toward the seasonal-shopping finish line. And if you’re like us, you’re more than happy to have an extra shopping weekend (since you’ve still got presents to buy).

Don’t worry, shoppers! We’ve got the gizmos that will keep the technology nerd on your list thinking you spent all year looking for the perfect gift.

Canon PowerShot SX260 Digital Camera
Canon-SX260HS
Take travel photography to the next level; use the SX260 HS GPS image tagging to track your journey on Google Maps. 

Retail Price: $199
Who’s It For? The photo blogger who likes to travel
Why Should I Buy It: Exceptional image performance

Canon’s PowerShot SX260 HS offers 12.1 megapixel quality via a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor. It also has a powerful 20x Optical Zoom. Add a 25mm Wide-Angle lens, PhotoStitch (which takes photos and turn them into a panoramic image) and GPS image tracking and you’ve got a powerful compact camera. Canons’ optical image stabilizer helps make every shot a winner.

Kindle Fire HD Tablet
kindle-fire-hd-8.9-inch
With a 1.5-Ghz processor and Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics chip, the Kindle Fire HD is able to go toe to toe with the iPad. The $499 Kindle also gives you 16 GB more storage than the iPad, at the same price.

Retail Price: $499
Who’s It For? The Amazon Prime member who hates Apple
Why Should I Buy It: As iPad alternatives go, it’s the best of the bunch.

Want to serve up movies and games beautifully and lightning quick? Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD sports a 8.9-inch display and 4G LTE Wireless. In nerd speak, that’s a dual-band, dual Wi-Fi antenna and a screen that boasts a stunning 1920×1200 HD display. For ebook readers, the tablet has a polarizing filter and anti-glare technology. All this plus free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content, and access to the Kindle library—with more than 22 million pieces of content (only Apple has more)—makes the Kindle Fire perfect for anything.

iPhone 5

The fastest iPhone yet…at least until the iPhone 5S. 

Retail Price: $199
Who’s It For? Anyone who still has a iPhone 3
Why Should I Buy It: Aside from a tablet, it’s the most sought-after electronic gadget going this holiday season.

This is the smartphone that changed the game and now steps it up with 4G LTE. The iPhone 5 features a thinner and sleeker design, plus a new 4-inch screen. Returning from the previous version are the Retina display and Siri. But these are just a few of the things that make this iPhone the greatest one yet. It’s backed by the Apple app store, which recently celebrated serving up its 1 millionth app .

Wii U

Nintendo’s latest video-game console combines a variety of technologies into one amazing interactive experience.

Retail Price: $349
Who’s It For? Your kids
Why Should I Buy It: For the under-14 set, it’s the third-hottest tech gift this holiday season.

Wii U takes Nintendo’s Wii to the next level; what the Wii did for motion controllers, this machine does for gaming options. Play with a big-screen TV or game on the Wii U GamePad’s 6.2-inch, 16:9 LCD touchscreen. The Wii U GamePad has motion control, front-facing camera, rumble feature, microphone and stereo speakers! In fact, there are so many bells and whistles on this thing that even Nintendo hasn’t figured out what they’re all for.

Technology Camp
digital-media-academy-technology-camp-at-stanford
Kids learn how to create the future while using the latest technology. 

Retail Price: $695
Who’s It For? Your 10-year-old Steve Jobs
Why Should I Buy It: To give your kid get a head start on creating the future

This Christmas you can give your child the hottest electronic device and hope that they don’t grow out of it. Or you can really put the technology hook into them with a week or more at a technology camp like Digital Media Academy. Think of it—you’re kids aren’t just playing games, they’re making them, and even getting paid to do it. From learning App Development to Programming and more, a week at tech camp could be a life-enriching experience for your kid. And make you the best Santa ever.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments

E3 2012: Console Updates, New Features for Wii U, Xbox

Welcome to Day 3 of E3 2012, the biggest tradeshow dedicated to the art and business of video games. In yesterday’s Day 2 report we showcased ten of the most anticipated video games of 2012 being shown this week at the L.A. Convention Center. Today let’s look at the console side of things—particularly newly announced features for two game platforms: Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox.


For Nintendo, this year’s E3 show was all about the Wii U.

Wii U: Still Connecting the Dots
For Nintendo, this E3 has been all about the Wii U, the game giant’s next-generation handheld game console. The device is built around a touchscreen controller (as with the Nintendo DS) and it supports the same motion-sensitive gaming that Nintendo’s Wii remote used to transform family dens everywhere into arm-waving, foot-pounding game salons. In addition, Wii U will enable streaming media from content providers like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video. And in a nod to the social-media revolution, Nintendo has pledged that Wii U will deliver features that enhance the experience of connected gaming.

There have been changes to the Wii U controller GamePad that was shown at last year’s E3, although most of the alterations involve tweaks to make the unit more ergonomic and functional (a pro gamer controller—which looks more like an Xbox controller that was also announced). The big selling point for Wii U is the console’s second screen, which can be used to activate different game controls, trigger alternate camera views and switch perspectives. For example, during certain games, players will be able to hold the controller pad up to their television screen and scan for enemies. Similarly, a new karaoke game will utilize the second screen as a teleprompter for displaying song lyrics.


The Wii U will ship with “NintendoLand,” a mini-game sampler with a theme-park feel. 

Despite not delivering more information about the Wii U (such as its price point and its exact release date, although Nintendo assured attendees that the device will be released in time for holiday shopping), Nintendo was able to point to an initial batch of Wii U games—nearly two dozen of them—that will be ready to instantly support the new machine. Nintendo also unveiled a mini-game sampler called “NintendoLand,” which will ship with the Wii U.

Xbox: Ruling the Roost
E3 attendees hoping to get an early look at Microsoft’s much-rumored Xbox 720 (which sources say will arrive sometime during 2013) were disappointed by this year’s show, but Microsoft had plenty of news to keep gamers satisfied. Besides, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still currently winning the “console wars.” And that’s for a couple of reasons—one is the games, the other is Xbox Live being a superior online service. To that extent, a large majority of Microsoft’s announcements were focused around updates to the Xbox Live services:


Microsoft brought famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana out of retirement. He was on hand to promote “Madden 13″ —while R&B star Usher opened the Microsoft press event showing off “Dance Central 3.”

  • Microsoft announced that the Xbox’s streaming media capabilities will be enhanced by the addition of new broadcast networks, such as ESPN and all of the major pro sports leagues in the U.S. Likewise, new media apps from entertainment providers (like Paramount Movies, Nickelodeon and Univision) will find a home on the console.
  • Featuring a reported 30 million tracks, Microsoft’s retooled music service will simply be called “Music” (as opposed to “Zune,” its former title). In addition to Windows 8, Music will be brought to the Xbox.
  • Possibly in response to the intense popularity of rival Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” exercise program, Microsoft announced a partnership with Nike to bring the sports company’s Nike+ training platform to Xbox Kinect. With it, users will be put through their exercise paces by a virtual trainer and will be able to receive helpful fitness reminders directly on their smartphones.
  • Microsoft also unveiled its plans for Xbox SmartGlass, a new application that will let users bridge their different electronic devices (e.g., Xbox, smartphone, tablets and TVs) and enjoy the same content across all of them. For example, via SmartGlass a user could start out watching a movie on their tablet computer, then pick up where they left off by resuming watching on their phone or Xbox.


Microsoft wowed the crowds with the eagerly awaited “Halo 4.”

See Ya Next Time!
E3 2012 will be wrapping up soon, but the news coming out of the show will be rocking gamers for months (and years) to come. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to design video games, check back here for more video games news.

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posted by Phill Powell in Featured and have No Comments

E3 2011: Day 2, The Games You’ll Play Tomorrow

Years back, when the Super Nintendo and Nintendo GameCube ruled the roost, Nintendo’s president at the time, Howard Lincoln, was often quoted as saying, “The name of the game is the game.” What he meant was simply that game machines are nothing without solid games. After all, it’s great content that drives movie studios, television channels, and yes, even game machines.


The jaw-dropping trailer for the Wii U “Zelda” game.

For our second day at E3, we turned our attention toward the games. These are the games that you’ll be playing this holiday and into next year. So as we ducked into booth after booth of eye-popping graphics and sounds, we gathered a list of what we think will be the mega-hits of holidays to come. These are the games blowing the crowds away today, and soon they’ll be wowing you:

Nintendo’s All-Stars
If E3 is rolling into town, that means you can almost set your watch to the appearance of a certain plumber. That’s right; Mario’s back, and he’s bringing with him Nintendo’s stable of franchise characters, Kirby, Link, Kid Icarus…yes, that’s right, Kid Icarus flies again. As will Wii U HD versions of Zelda, Mario and your other favorites.


You can even use a stylus to draw or control a character from the Wii U pad.

Not a Nintendo fan? Discount Nintendo if you will, but Nintendo’s Wii has outsold the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in a shorter amount of time (over 50 million Wiis have been sold to date), and it’s all thanks to Nintendo’s stable of well-known all-stars. For gamers, it’s great to see these characters final enter the high-def age. A short video trailer of a new Zelda Wii U game made thumbs twitch uncontrollably.

Microsoft Sells Kinect & Hardcore Game Experiences
Motion gaming has been a pox on the games industry since the introduction of the Wii. Sure, the Wii-mote is cool… sure, it’s easy to use and even grandma loves it…but Wii games lack depth and replay value. (When was the last time you cracked open “Wii Resort”?)

Do you really want to stand up in front of your TV for hours playing “Portal 2” when you can sit down and play? We didn’t think so, but Microsoft does as they seemingly try to integrate Kinect into every game you’ll be playing on your Xbox. OK, so maybe we’re going a bit overboard, but there were a lot of Kinect games. Games such as “Kinect Disneyland Adventures,” where you can explore Disneyland without leaving the comfort of your home.


Shepard’s story will finally come to conclusion in “Mass Effect 3.”

We were more drawn to new additions to the “Halo” franchise: “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” a “Halo 1” remake. And even more exciting, the arrival of “Halo 4” the first game in a new trilogy. Other awesome games we’re looking forward to on the Xbox 360? “SSX” a reboot of the snowboarding classic and Bioware’s “Mass Effect 3.”

Sony’s Software and The Best of the Rest
Aside from the games for the PlayStation Vita, PS3 “Tomb Raider” fans will be excited to hear a young Laura Croft is returning to your console – this time in an open-world adventure that plays like a cross between “Just Cause 2” and “Grand Theft Auto.” Ubisoft’s “Rayman: Origins” scored major points in the “most beautiful game” category but will have to share that honor with “From Dust,” the sleeper hit of e3 2011. “Unchartered 3” and “Batman: Arkham City” just scored major cool points, but both were already on our must-buy list. Finally, there was “Bioshock Infinite,” a game that takes us high above the watery world we’ve been used to.


“Bioshock Infinite”

Don’t Just Play Video Games – Make Them
Every title being announced this week in Los Angeles represents the work of many creative professionals who come together like an army to bring your favorite game vividly to life. Each of those careers starts with expert training, like the kind students will receive this summer at Digital Media Academy.

DMA offers a wide range of one-week and two-week-long courses in the creation of video games that speak to different ages and levels of expertise. Digital Media Academy’s list of video game summer camps is extensive and comprehensive, and each program is taught by a games industry professional, like the ones at E3.


“From Dust” is a god-game that lets you create an entire world from scratch.

From great introductory courses for kids (like Adventures in 2D & 3D Video Game Creation & Game Modding) to 3D Game Creation in Level Design and Character Design, to even more advanced programs for teens (courses that teach you how to develop games for Google Android devices, how to develop games for the Internet and how to develop games for the iPhone), DMA has a video-game creation program that fits every interests. Don’t just play video games – this summer learn to make them.

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posted by Vince Matthews in News Blog and have Comment (1)