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2012 F1 Infographic

April 20th, 2012
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The Year of the Car: 2012’s Big Upcoming Car Racing Games

Every year brings with it a whole new batch of driving-based games, be they racing or combat based or both. Typically, we’ll see new instalments in all of the expected franchises, and 2012 is no exception. That’s not to say that some of those updates don’t look killer, and it’s certainly not to say that there isn’t a healthy dose of brand spanking new high-octane driving action for couch-based petrol-heads to sink their teeth into. Here’s a look at 2012’s vehicular prospects, featuring a mix of perennials and all-new action.

1. DiRT Showdown

This hybrid between a racing and demolition driving game has both single and multi-player gameplay. The game has intense courses with obstacles, pinch points, alternative routes, and ramps to make NASCAR look like child’s play. DiRT pushes the envelope of extreme sports racing with pyrotechnics, unique racing environments, and screeching metal demolition matches.

2. Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage

Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage is a fast paced racing game that incorporates powerful weapons, car upgrades, and challenging environments that demand that you bring your “A” game at all times. Winning races grants you money that can be used to upgrade your car with everything from speed to armor to weapons. The game is currently in open beta testing (you can get the client here) and has already been wowing gamers with an impressive amount of graphical clout. Just check out the video below to see for yourself!

3. MUM: FIM Motorcross World Championship

MUD is a game shaping up to be the definitive motorcross experience. Pulling out the sort of roster you typically expect to see in a football game, the title boasts a full and accurate repertoire of motorcross superstars, teams and bikes. Being the only game to hold the official licenses for the MX1 and MX2 championships, this game will be the only place to get your realistic, up to date motorcross action without saddling up and hitting the dirt. The game features real time terrain deformation that promises to make every race different as the pack of bikes chews up the terra firma.

4. Wrecked: Revenge Revisited

Wrecked: Revenge Revisited is a combat-based driving game with an emphasis on chaos. Players will find themselves engaged in brutal vehicular combat in a variety of different environments, and will have the option to either go it alone in a series of challenges designed to test your speed and weapons handling skills, or otherwise join three other players in competitive or co-op gameplay. The title will boast a wealth of different weapons, each with their own unique traits and will permit players to customise their ride before taking it out of the garage to take on the world. This one should be a must for anyone who was a fan of the classic Twisted Metal games on the Playstation.

5. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

The Need for Speed series has been thrilling PC gamers since 1994 and console gamers since 2002. In January this year, EA announced that a new instalment in the series, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 would be released some time in 2012. Details on the game are still a little thin on the ground at the moment, but you can guarantee one thing: it’s going to be bold, brash, and very, very fast. Definitely one to look forward to. Whet your appetite now with this gameplay from the series’ most recent entry: Need for Speed: The Run.

So there you have it, a look at the biggest upcoming driving games of 2012. If that’s not enough for you, don’t fret, there’s loads more in the pipeline besides, and you know the flow of top quality, max speed racing games isn’t going to abate any time soon.

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April 20th, 2012
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History Lesson Car Stereos Through The Ages

Car stereos make long commutes bearable and prevent people from killing each other during traffic jams. In the 1920s, car rides were long and quiet with just the engine and the road noise to keep drivers company. Fortunately, during the 1930s, the car stereo came along.

The first car stereo was the result of three men’s hard work. The three inventors were brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin along with William Lear. Together, they created a dashboard radio by the name of Motorola, which stood for motorized Victrola. The entrepreneurs installed their prototype into a Studebaker. Later, the Motorola Company sold millions of car radios.

During the 1950s, advertisements appeared on billboards, which displayed happy couples driving down the highway listening to the AM radio. Additionally, rock and roll was just starting to become popular.

Eightrack Tapes
Finally, in the 1960s, drivers gained control over song selection with the creation of eight-track tapes. Unfortunately, eight-tracks suffered from poor construction, which gave riders terrible sound quality. However, they were still popular due to the song selection opportunity they provided.

Philips introduced compact cassettes by 1964 and during the 1970s, the company offered car drivers a much better way to listen to music in their vehicles. However, many drivers held onto their eight-tracks until the 1980s.

In the early 1970s, custom stereos became available, which gave drivers the opportunity to alter the sound system in their car to suit their personal preferences. Also, companies such as Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer began selling high-quality equipment. Unfortunately, expensive stereo equipment became the cause of numerous audio thefts, so the stereo companies began manufacturing receivers with removable faceplates.

CDs appeared on the scene in the 1980s, probably still see one on a used Volvo by the middle of the 1990s, they were a common vehicle feature. The quality sound that CDs provided was superior to prior listening systems. Drivers could select the songs they wanted to hear while on the road. In fact, the only problem was the inability to customize a playlist, which wasn’t available until the digital age with MP3 players. Once the iPod became available, drivers had complete control over what they listened to while driving.

The future…now
Now, with the O series, drivers can control more than their music as the O series can assimilate the iPhone into the vehicle’s stereo system. Furthermore, drivers can safely use all of the iPhone’s technology while in their cars such as an iTunes music compilation, Bluetooth access and the iPhone’s hands-free capabilities. Today, drivers have access to so much more than just music.

April 19th, 2012
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What features to look for in a car stereo

Car stereo and entertainment systems have advanced in multiple ways since basic AM and FM radio tuners. Most cars now come with a number of factory installed features, while containing opportunities for upgrades. A car stereo system basically works around a head unit, and a series of speakers. The head unit will feature displays and auxiliary ports for extras like iPods, phones, and Bluetooth, as well as CD players and radio units. While most of these are integrated into the head unit by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, drivers can also add in docking stations, which can be connected to the head unit. When looking to pick the right stereo features, drivers should consider the following issues:

1 – Audio Quality

Audio quality is a crucial element in car stereos. It needs to be sufficiently high enough to stand up to engine and road noise, while not being too distracting. The quality of the audio input in any car is defined by the speakers connected to the head unit. These typically involve main speakers, bass subwoofers, and crossover filters and amplifiers for modulating the sound signal.

Given the need to locate audio equipment within the car without taking up too much space, it is often difficult to create the right sound quality, particularly for speakers that handle bass signals. Different manufacturers will provide audio systems that have preamp and booster technology, while it is possible to install separate speakers at the back of a car. When doing so, drivers need to consider balancing power, volume, and the danger of overheating.

In the same way, the quality of an audio signal will depend on a radio tuner. Older AM and FM radios typically suffer from more interference than digital radios, which often produce more consist outputs. However, these digital signals will cut out altogether if the car is out of range.

2 – Accessibility

No matter what the quality of a stereo system, it needs to be flexible enough to be easily used when driving. Most tuning and volume features are now integrated into steering wheels, and can also be activated by remotes and voice systems, as well as retaining buttons on the head unit itself. Separate screens can also be added to the back of seats, making it easier to remotely control an output. Some cars now come with dual zone technology, enabling different controls to be used in different parts of a vehicle without causing interference.

3 – Extras

Most car stereo and entertainment systems now come with options for jacking different devices into the head unit, either through Bluetooth wireless or cables. The most common option is to plug in hands free mobile phones and iPods or iPhones. The latter can be used to play music through the car stereo, and can be easily fixed to the dashboard of a car through docking stations. When looking for the right station, it is important to find one that produce an excellent sound conversion through the car speakers, while being easy to adjust through the head unit’s controls.

Guest Post – Helena Malawi – I consider myself to be an audio enthusiast; a decent audio system is a must for your hire purchase cars

April 19th, 2012
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