Merge VR Goggles

Why wait until 2016 when you can jump into and experience virtual reality today, at an affordable price? Half the power is already in your pocket with your smartphone. Merge VR augments your phone with their cool and comfortable VR goggles. It is surprisingly simple to use with your phone and creates a comfortable and easily accessible VR experience.

The Merge Virtual Reality headset is primarily made up of a lightweight foam material. A snug slot at the front of the headset allows you to place your smartphone inside – I was surprised that even iPhone 6 Plus was able to work with this. The sturdy headband keeps it snug on you, with an optional top strap for additional support. Consideration in the Merge VR’s construction was taken to allow multiple access ports to things such as headphones and speakers via side slots and a removable piece in the front for camera access when using augmented reality VR apps with it. With your phone tucked away in the front portion of the headpiece, you still have access to interacting with the screen via top input buttons. Those input buttons are attached to left/right sliding lenses which help you to easily adjust the display to your custom fitting. These goggles felt snug to the face, thanks to the foam construction. The comfort factor was excellent. Really an excellent headset piece that is packed in a pretty cool purple package!

Merge VR has many places to send you off via recommended free and for sale applications, here on their website. From VR games to VR movies and VR music experiences, you will be transported to places you’ve never been. Some of the most enjoyable experiences for me came from being taken around a spin of Syfy’s Expanse space station to getting an otherworldly view from the Mars Spirit Rover. There are 3D created worlds to explore too and, of course, some gaming action. The Merge VR headset does awesome in keeping you in the experience by fitting snug on you and keeping the viewing area dark.

Curious what is in the box? See photos of what is in the Merge Virtual Reality package here on Flickr.

The Merge Virtual Reality headset is a fun way to immerse yourself in places and experiences you may not ever see otherwise. It’s a super fun and comfortable escape, at an affordable price with the help of your existing smartphone. Merge VR’s headset is among our 2015 Holiday Gift recommendations, here on our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide.

Merge Virtual Reality Goggles

Thank you to Merge VR for providing the sample review unit to share this experience with GamingBits.com readers!

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Gamers will have plenty to be excited about over the next few months as the 2015 holiday season is upon us. Prepare for the release of long anticipated games and sweet video game hardware bundles. To help guide you with your game gifts (or wishes!), here is a list of some of the hottest video games and killer video game bundles to round out 2015.

Keep this page bookmarked as game titles, bundles and gaming goods will be updated over the coming weeks and months. Do you have any suggestions for the 2015 holiday gaming list? Email alexis@gamingbits.com for consideration on the GamingBits 2015 Holiday Video Game Gift Guide!

See the full guide here!

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Nintendo Experience 2015

Nintendo lands in select malls through December 20th to bring wishful gamers, and parents, an easy and fun way to experience its key holiday video game titles. A variety of Nintendo Wii U and 3DS gaming stations gives players hands-on preview experiences of games such as Super Mario Maker, Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Yo-Kai Watch, The Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes and more.

Nintendo Gurus give gamers Mario Maker hats, as pictured above, and are guided through Nintendo’s diverse and fun holiday lineup.  It’s a great way for parents and friends to learn more about the fun Nintendo game gift giving brings – from the co-op team building The Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes and taste of creativity and game development in Super Mario Maker.

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My Nintendo Guru took me through cuteness overload in Yoshi’s Woolly World – an amazingly colorful platforming game. Visitors can ask to see how Nintendo’s Amiibo interact with the games – as demonstrated to me when a Nintendo Guru took out a Mario Amiibo and brought it alive in a character outfit in Yoshi’s Woolly World. There are quite a few Amiibo on display throughout Nintendo’s kiosks as well.

Amiibo showcase

The star highlights of this year’s Nintendo holiday experience includes Super Mario Maker and Splatoon, which are showcased on large, multiple flatscreen TV walls. No doubt these will be among Nintendo’s biggest hits for the Wii U this holiday season.

Super Mario Maker kiosk

Experience the platforming action, edit and create levels, or download sample levels for Super Mario Maker. You can easily jump into an all-ages Splatoon splat-fest in this multi-screen setup (wow, can I get one of those for home?):

Splatoon

A gift guide is available from Nintendo at the booth. That makes it easy for gamers to drop a hint to parents or friends, or just to digest all of what Nintendo is offering for its Wii U and 3DS for gift giving. Check out at least four games to claim a Yo-Kai Watch prize too!

Yo-Kai Watch

This portion of the Nintendo display allows you to see some of the latest on-going deals, which are updated throughout the time of the display. Several Nintendo bundles are highlighted and there are a few of Nintendo’s Amiibo collection on display as well.

Where can you experience Nintendo’s holiday lineup? Below is the list of participating mall locations where you can find Nintendo showcasing its games:

  • South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts
  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois
  • Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, Texas
  • Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver, Colorado
  • Memorial City Mall in Houston, Texas
  • The Oaks in Thousand Oaks, California
  • Dolphin Mall in Miami, Florida
  • Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, New York
  • King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Washington Square in Portland, Oregon
  • Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara, California
  • Westfield Southcenter in Seattle, Washington
  • Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia

Make sure to check it out and enjoy through December 20th!

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TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025071510

Activision has put out a pretty consistent stream of Transformers games, each one getting progressively better in graphic detail and gameplay. After playing several of the last couple of Transformers games, how can the games continue to be outdone? The answer is take it back to Transformers G1 era with Transformers Devastation. Leave it to PlatinumGames to deliver a strikingly faithful throwback to the original Transformers cartoons. It doesn’t get better than this, playing the Transformers instead of just watching them on TV.

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For the plot line, I won’t spoil it for you but you can pretty much bet that it’s the usual nefarious ways of Megatron that are behind the incursion. Kick it off with the most well known Autobots, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Grimlock and more. Key Decepticons are here, ranging from favorites such Megatron, Starscream and Soundwave, all in faithful character with their personalities intact.

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The voice acting is pretty spot-on to what the original cartoons were, because the original TV series voice actors are here. The faithful cartoon style throws you back to the simple, straight-up Generation 1 nostalgia where Transformers began. Growing up at the peak of the Transformers cartoon, it was joyful hearing those actors again and seeing the cartoon-like graphics. The rock/metal/synth-laden music captures the 80s era cartoon as well, thanks to Vince DeCola’s scoring of the game. What a treat. It took some time, but here is truly the Transformers game as how it was meant to be experienced.

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Transformers Devastation takes place in a fast-paced third-person perspective, putting you in the role of the Autobots. You are able to switch-up and decide whom you would like to use, making gameplay controls and weapon use varied. Speaking of weapons, there are plenty to find, upgrade and research – from blades, lasers, missiles and one of my favorites – Soundwave’s Loudspeaker blaster!  Abilities of your select Autobot can be upgraded as well.

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Missions take place on linear levels, although some offer some optional missions. There’s standard fodder Decepticon soldiers, mid-level Decepticon bosses and some huge boss battles (where multiple Decepticons combine into a larger Transformer such as Devastator). Switching to robot and vehicle form, or dinosaur form for Grimlock, happens at the press of the trigger. Expect several high speed pursuits or vehicle slamming special moves, each unique to the individual Autobot.

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In PlatinumGames’ style (such as in Vanquish) the gameplay perspective changes up, making for some arcade gameplay shooter levels and platform gaming. A fun change up to the primary third-person action view.

Transformers Devastation is a single-player game. You can choose how speedily or deep you want to digest this candy. Where the extended game life comes in is with the Challenge Missions, Autobot upgrades, weapon unlocks, in-game side missions, difficulty settings and unlocking concept art hidden throughout levels. The biggest joy and value that Transformers Devastation offers is in it being a very faithful and fun adaptation of the cartoon classic. Kudos to PlatinumGames for making such a fun and bold throwback to the original Transformers. If you were a fan of the Transformers cartoons that started it all, you do not want to miss out on Transformers Devastation. Roll out!

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Transformers Devastation is available for the PlayStation 4 , Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360. This review was done on the PS4 platform. Disclosure: Activision provided GamingBits.com a review code for Transformers Devastation.

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Destiny PS4

Activision and Bungie today released Destiny: The Taken King, the first major follow up – Version 2.0 (or Year 2), for Destiny. The sci-fi FPS Destiny is one of my go favorite games of this generation. I am excited to see what The Taken King offers firsthand, having successfully avoided all teasers, spoilers and Twitchy live stream previews.

For the fans, here are unboxing pictures from the awesome new PlayStation 4 Destiny Limited Edition (available for purchase here):

See the Destiny: The Taken King Limited Edition PlayStation 4 system unboxing pictures here.

About Destiny: The Taken King, from Activision:
With a new storyline introducing Oryx, Crota’s vengeful father, an all-new destination, three new Guardian subclasses, a massive arsenal of new armor, weapons and exotics, new Strikes and Crucible maps, and the new ‘King’s Fall’ Raid that will put players to the ultimate test, there has never been a better time to jump in to “Become Legend,” particularly for new players beginning their journey as a Guardian. The Taken King major expansion takes players deep into the chambers of a new destination, the ‘Dreadnaught’ ship, to defeat Oryx, and his Taken Army.”

For more details on Destiny: The Taken King, visit the official website at www.DestinyTheGame.com.

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