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22nd February 2011

Relic Names Intern and Open Media Turns Up The Heat

Reminder: IGDA Vancouver soft-launch and Global Game Jam Post-Mortem takes place tonight. More info on the event’s Facebook page.
Reminder: Ontario companies, get your submissions in for the INplay Ontario Show & Tell Kids Interactive Showcase, the deadline is April 1st. Also note that the INplay Kick Off registration rate for attendees will end tomorrow.
Reminder: There is one week left to get your nominations in for the Canadian Video Game Awards. I nominated at least a dozen, is your favourite Canadian-made-in-2010 game nominated? No? Make it so – nominate it today.

Congratulations to VFS Game Design graduate Zach Williams, who has been named as the very first recipient of the Zach and Jonathan Photo Credit: VFSBrian Wood Memorial Internship, an internship that will be awarded three times annually to celebrate the life of Relic employee Brian Wood, who was killed in a tragic car accident last year. Zach, who has previously worked in the local industry as a QA Tester, will begin a four-month internship at Relic Entertainment.

Relic’s General Manager Jonathan Dowdeswell stated on the VFS blog that “Zach’s personal drive to become a great game developer, his broad skill base across a number of the disciplines, as well as his passion for Relic and knowledge of the culture and practices that we maintain were the things that made him stand out as a clear choice for this internship, he even had a Relic shirt ready to put on when we announced the winner to the class!”

Unless you have absolutely no interest gaming, you will be well aware that today is the launch of the demo for Dragon Age 2, available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Bioware will, as we told you last week, unlock two perks should the demo be dDragon Age 2ownloaded and played by 1 million gamers before March 1st. The key to answering this Call To Arms, as the demo phase has been dubbed, is that you must sign in to your EA account. So in our house, at least, that has been achieved by two of us on two separate Xboxes. I’ve played a few minutes of the demo, and thus far Dragon Age 2 looks awesome – the only part I’m concerned about is that the text is awfully small and sometimes difficult to read on a CRT television, even with a large screen.

Of course downloading two demo files also burned up 3.96gb of our new lower monthly cap of 100gb, and upon checking our nifty new Shaw Bandwidth Monitor we are now at 80gb with two weeks still to go on our billing cycle. Yes, we’ll be over – again. We are such bandwidth hogs – especially since Shaw decided we could do with 25gb less per month, but still pay them the same amount of money. Good thing that Shaw is holding off on charging for overages until after they hold their Customer Consultation sessions. I know there will be one in Langley next month, and Shaw has confirmed that my request to attend a session, but I have not yet been emailed about the exact location and time.  open media

Speaking of User Based Billing, Open Media is still fighting the good fight, and have issued their own call to arms as Rogers and the other obese telecoms meet to find ways to defeat the right of Canadian consumers to have access to fair and affordable internet services. In a post on their site, Open Media asks for the support of consumers in continuing the fight for our rights, and yes, this fight will require funding. We don’t have a huge amount of disposable income in our house, but honestly I would rather help Open Media with a $20.00 donation than pay it to any telecom for an already overpriced cable plan. If Open Media can raise $15 000.00 in the next 48 hours, indie ISP providers TekSavvy and Acanac will match those funds. Please help if you can.

What really, really irks me – besides the high prices for less service, that is – is that the telecoms are telling the CRTC how we internet hogs are clogging up the interwebs so steps must be taken to curb our overuse, yet they continually come up with new “limited special deals” to sign up new customers. If those of us already using the Net are clogging it up, stop trying to sign up more people, because they’re just going to clog it up even more!

While I want to direct you over to Open Media’s site to read their plan in full, here is a quick look at their initial plan of action:

1. Unleash the creativity and ingenuity of Canadians. People from all walks of life — innovators, educators, students, entrepreneurs, and everything in between — are getting together on February 26th for a Day Of Action to educate our fellow Canadians about Internet metering.

2. Put together a united front of public interest groups, creators, indie ISPs, online service providers and half a million Canadians to put forth a well-researched, evidence-based submission to the CRTC.

I would like to add to this plan of action by asking all of you to write your MP and Industry Canada – don’t just accept the bullying of the telecoms as a done deal. We can fight back – we’ve already shown that with the delay of User Based Billing – and we can make a difference. I found an old flyer the other day when I was making an attempt at cleaning up the clutter in my office. This flyer was from our local MP, Mark Warawa (Conservative) and the CIRAheadline phrase on this flyer is that the Conservatives stand up for Canadian consumers. Well? Let’s see some action behind that statement. Not sure how to contact your MP? Check here. And don’t forget – the CIRA-hosted Canadian Internet Forum being held in Ottawa on February 25th will be available via webcast (yup, burning up more of those gigabytes), so remember to tune in and watch the discussion about the future of Canada’s internet and digital economy. There is also an active discussion group on the CIF site, registration is required to view and post on it.

ubisoftUbisoft has finally confirmed a release date for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Those of you who prefer to battle the Templars and Borgia on your computers will be able to do so beginning on March 22nd.  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for PC will be available at retail stores and for digital download in two different versions:

Retail and Digital Standard Edition:

Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance

Digital Deluxe Edition:Assasins Creed Brotherhood for PC

·Main game + Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 and The Da Vinci Disappearance

o Assassin’s Creed® Lineage: discover the story of Giovanni Auditore, Ezio’s father, by watching this three episodes short movie.

o Exclusive additional content featuring the Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood original soundtrack, galleries, Making-of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood…

o Exclusive unlockable content:

* One Multiplayer Character: The Harlequin, a deadly assassin lying behind a gaudy costume and a twisted smiling mask
* One Multiplayer Character: The Officer, a stealthy assassin who can assassinate his targets with a swift and powerful attack
* One exclusive single player indoor map: The Trajan Market
* One exclusive single player outdoor map: The Aqueducts map
* Ezio “Drachen Armor”

Both the Standard Digital Edition and the Deluxe Digital Edition can be pre-ordered at the Ubiworkshop Store.

Microsoft CanadaMicrosoft has announced that it will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit from Microsoft Research later this spring, followed by a full commercial version of the SDK later in the year. This “starter kit” for application developers is intended to make it easier for academic research and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences using Kinect technology. Through its collaboration with the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), Microsoft Research is hoping to support a growing community of academic researchers and enthusiasts who are exploring potential applications built using Kinect.

The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor. Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI), which is a part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us. The fruits of those investments manifesting across many of Microsoft’s products, including Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Surface 2.0, Bing for Mobile and Office 2010 Mini Translator.

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18th February 2011

New DLC For Assassins and Perks In The Dragon Age Demo

ubisoftUbisoft has announced that new downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed® Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 will be arriving next month. This new DLC chapter is called “The Da Vinci Disappearance” and will be available for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99.

The Da Vinci Disappearance will include both single-player and multiplayer content for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. After the fall of the Borgias in Rome, Leonardo Da Vinci is kidnapped by the Hermeticists, an underground cult dedicated to transforming mankind. Ezio will embark on a relentless quest to recover stolen paintings in order to find Leo before it is too late, discovering two new locations and two new gameplay features along the way.

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The multiplayer addition is the biggest expansion to the award-winning multiplayer yet, including one new map, four new characters and two new game modes. The new multiplayer map, Alhambra, is a lush environment set in AlhambraSpain’s Albaicin of Granada and provides multileveled indoor and outdoor areas perfect for predators to lurk in the dense crowd for unsuspecting targets. The four new characters will undoubtedly be a huge hit with Assassin’s Creed fans, consisting of the Dama Rossa, the Knight, the Marquis and the Pariah. The two new gameplay modes, Escort and Assassinate, will provide a whole new gameplay experience for Brotherhood players. In Escort mode, two teams of four players compete in this team-based mode where each team must protect their VIP target or assassinate the other team’s VIP target. In Assassinate mode six to eight players are pitted against each other deathmatch style in one ten minute round.

BiowareEveryone who has an EA account MUST download the Dragon Age 2 demo when it’s released on February 22nd. Why, you may ask. Well, because if the demo is downloaded far cliffs of kirkwalland played by one million EA account holders before March 1st, Bioware will release special bonuses, that’s why.

If the Dragon Age 2 demo reaches the one million milestone across the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms combined, we will all receive in-game items that will give bonuses to our characters’ financial and experience stats. I want The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall, which rewards players with extra money, and I definitely need the experience boost offered by Lothering’s Lament, so you all have to do your part and follow procedure so that Bioware unlocked these perks.

Inlothering's lament the actual demo, we get to play through the prologue of the game, choosing from among three character classes before venturing off to the new region of  Kirkwall and meeting a new romantic prospect, Isabela the Smuggler. Playing through and completing the Dragon Age 2 demo will unlock Hayder’s Razor, a dwarven blade which will provide various ability boosts when the full game is released.

With the perks and bonuses already due to arrive from my pre-orders, and if the Dragon Age community pulls together to unlock these two new perks, my characters are going to do quite well for themselves, I think.

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15th February 2011

A Flood Of Game News Bytes

Dark AcreVancouver indie developer Dark Acre Game Development announced today that its new game, ‘Ball of Steel’ is now available as a free-to-play title via Kongregate.com for gamers with Unity-enabled web browsers.

Ball of Steel is a marble tilt-maze with a twist: in addition to navigating twisting passages, players must guide their ball through high-tech teleporters and avoid burning pillars of scorching flame to clear each table. Players may choose their challenge levels and warp or skip to any of the 20 boards.

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Ball of Steel was built in Unity 3D during two weeks of intensive full-time development. It was developed as an entrant to the Unity Game Contest currently underway at Kongregate.com, and represents the second in a series of free-to-play efforts from Dark Acre. You can check out more information on Dark Acre’s first title on the project’s web page.

frima studioIn the category of receiving the news a day late (honest, I just got this today), Frima Studio apparently celebrated Valentine’s Day by unveiling a host of new updates for Pocket God with Episode III – The Birds! This third episode follows in the footsteps of the recent Episode II: Clash of the Frightened for the social game, which is currently in an open beta and growing rapidly with more than 175,000 monthly active users on Facebook.

The new updates for The Birds include:

* The Return of the Dodo! – While it may have gone extinct hundreds of years ago for being too passive and peaceful, this reincarnation of the Dodo could not be farther from its ancestors – keep an eye out as it will terrorize your island, making short work of your fish and pygmies!pocket god
* New “Dodo Down” Item – Usually there’s a limit on how often you can sacrifice your friends, but with the new Dodo Down power, feel free to resuscitate them and bring them back to life…only to kill them again!
* More Customization – Make Pocket God your own! Players now have the ability to name their individual pygmies so there’s no need to have to settle for the pre-assigned monikers…name them after your enemies and get extra satisfaction from their sacrifice!
* Fat Cupid! – It’s gorgeous, lovely, and quite Rubenesque – it’s Fat Cupid and it needs to be stopped! Band together with your Facebook friends to take down the ultimate evil god.
* Valentine’s Treats – Take a break from drowning your Facebook friends and get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day…send them chocolate treats to let them know that each time you sacrifice them, it’s a gesture of love.

Since its debut on the world’s most popular social network in December of 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is quickly approaching a quarter of a million active users in less than two months. More than 20 million hapless and helpless pygmies have been sacrificed over that time, and one million of those are friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal ways, including electrocution, drowning, shark attack, tornado, volcanic lava and much more! The lucky user who sacrificed the one millionth friend, Jessy Rivas of France, received 350 Pocket Change, the in-game currency for Pocket God!

behaviour gamesWith the city quaking in fear and no help in sight and a rumoured release date of March 23rd*, who ya gonna call? Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, is once again answering the call for gamers everywhere by delivering the first ever Ghostbusters digital title, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. In conjunction with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and developed by Behaviour, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download at Atari.com.
Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.

The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.

* Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime has yet to appear on the Xbox Marketplace or on the Atari store, so the release date as of yet has not been confirmed. Perhaps someone in the know could let me know?

fluik entertainmentEdmonton’s Fluik Entertainment has announced that Gunner Galaxies, the sequel to top-downloaded Gunner Galaxiesgame Gunner will is scheduled for release this March, and will pack new galaxies, new gameplay, fun new unlocks and ship upgrades into this latest chapter. Gunner Galaxies is an asteroid-blasting classic arcade action game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Fluik’s previous game releases include the aforementioned Gunner, Bubble Rainbow (which are free in the iTunes store and now residing on my iPod Touch), the also free Tic Tac Draw and Airport Madness Challenge, Airport Madness Mobile, Will It Fly, and CoolSpell, which all have both free and paid versions.

DreamCatcherToronto publisher DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have confirmed the release date for the official Painkiller Standalone Add-On “Redemption“ as February 25th 2011 – although there is no official page on the DreamCatcher site yet for Redemption, the game will continue the epic Painkiller conflict between good and evil.

The kingdom of heaven is threatened by a ruthless army from hell. Two champions, Daniel and Belial, who we already know as the two previous heroes of the series, combine their forces and join the never-ending battle between good and evil.Painkiller Redemption

“It demands quite a bit of skill to confront the countless hordes of monsters – to vanquish them you can equip some really crazy weapons“, says Markus Reutner, International Product Marketing Manager at JoWooD. “We also have the right soundtrack for the fast-paced action because the atmosphere is particularly important when countless monsters attack you without mercy. An insiders’ tip for Painkiller friends as well as for new fans!“

Features:

· 7-10 hours playtime
· Transform yourself into a demon once you’ve collected enough souls!
· Use the occult powers of tarot cards
· More than 6,000 enemies and up to 1,000 monsters on all of the 6 new maps
· Easy to use map editor for your very own Painkiller experience
· Adrenaline pumping soundtrack

gamerkraftAnother Toronto-based publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has unveiled the latest game to come to their free-to-play gaming platform, GamerKraft. Aida Arenas, developed by Korean developer GalaxyGate, is an “MMORPG Brawler” set in the raucous world of Aida – a land where adventuring, treasure-hunting, and good ol’ fashioned rough-housing are the primary pastimes.

“We are excited to announce Aida Arenas’ arrival on the GamerKraft platform in the first quarter of 2011,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager for Game Bridger Entertainment, “the game’s charming cartoon graphics and whimsical game world, plus its accessible controls and gameplay mechanics, are sure to appeal to a wide range of both hardcore and casual gamers.”

Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters, compete with friends, and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft, where you can Combine elements of the classic beat ‘em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs.

Bioware CorpAnd of course I would be totally remiss if I did not even mention the big Triple A game news of the day, which is the announcement that Felicia Day has written a new web series based on Bioware’s Dragon Age series. The six part Dragon Age: Redemption series will star Ms. Day as elven assassin Tallis. In an article on USA Today, (no, I was not one of the lucky ones who were sent a press release about the web series, I found out about it via Twitter) the story will revolve around Tallis’ personal quest to capture a renegade magician and the companions she enlists into her fellowship along the way.

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14th February 2011

Pikachu Makes Rare Appearance At Metropolis

Pikachu Gets A HugLast Saturday we ventured to the Grand Court at Metrotown in Burnaby to meet up with Pikachu, who was at the mall to celebrate the upcoming release of Pokémon Black and Pokémon White editions with Nintendo Canada – and the five million copies that have already sold in Japan since the game’s launch in that country two months ago. Hundreds of Pokémon fans young and old were given the opportunity to experience the game at the Nintendo DS display, where other activities included free face painting and a colouring page station.

It would seem that the Pokémon tribe has many loyal followers, as evidenced by one young lady who showed up in her own Pikachu attire, spending a good part of the afternoon at the colouring station. Eighteen year old Andrew spent quite some time exploring the game, and stated that he’s been playing since he got his first Pokemon game when he was seven. To date his favourite iteration of the franchise is Pokémon Gold. Kaitlin and Emma

Sisters Emma (12) and Kaitlin (9) were visiting from Kelowna, and between the two of them own ten Pokémon titles for both the DS and Wii. Their Dad will most likely be purchasing both the White and Black editions for his gaming gals, who also have many Pokémon cards that they like to read and organize.

Pokémon Black and White versions offer two different worlds, the Black City and the White Forest, with each game offering locales unique to its environment. Players will be introduced to 150 new Pokémon, Andrew is a long-time Pokemon fanand throughout the RPG style of the game will find new areas and experiences which only become available as the seasons change in the storyline. It is these new features that keep players coming back for more according to Nintendo representative Julie Gagnon, and she confirmed that she’s met many young parents who are now introducing their own children to the world and wonders of Pokémon.

The Black and White editions introduce the Unova region, which is located far away from the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh regions – and will appear differently depending on which game edition you own. Unova is a forested region, dotted with modern cities. People in the Unova region live in harmony with many previously unseen Pokémon, and as most of the Pokémon from other regions don’t appear in the Unova region, visitors are guaranteed to meet many new and interesting characters – some of whom also differ between the two editions. In the Black edition, you will encounter Reshiram, while in Pokémon White edition you will meet Zekrom. You will also find the dastardly Team Plasma, who want to steal all of the Pokémon and aren’t very nice characters at all.

According to Nintendo, when these new game editions launch on March 6th, players Ayahcan get a head start in collecting every Pokémon in the Unova region when they receive the Liberty Pass. The Liberty Pass is an item that is used in-game to hop aboard a ship and sail to a secret location the Mythical Pokémon Victini can be captured.

Victini is a Fire- and Psychic-type Pokémon—the first of its kind. And Victini has the Victory Star Ability, which raises Pikachu Admirerthe accuracy of all Pokémon in battle, so it’s the perfect Pokémon for the new Double Battles and Triple Battles that are introduced to game play with these new chapters in the Pokémon story. Also new is the ability for Random Matchups, where players can battle others around the globe without needing Friend Codes – however a wireless broadband Internet connection and Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection are required to battle others around the globe.

In the Black and White editions you’ll also be able to feel the beat in the Pokémon Musical! Dress Up your Pokémon with various Props, then watch it dance to the music. You can even play the Pokémon Musical with your friends! Just get up to four players together, each with their own Nintendo DS system and copy of Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version.

Both Pokémon Black and White editions are available for pre-order at retail outlets including GameStop Canada, Future Shop and Best Buy, and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

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10th February 2011

The Krabbitworld Conundrum

Editor pre-amble: First, let me clarify that I was asked to review Krabbitworld: Origins last year, and as of yet haven’t done so. I have apologized in the past to its creators, and I will do so again now. I try to approach every game objectively and as though I have little to no gaming experience, except for franchises like Mass Effect or Assassin’s Creed, where I’ve played all of the titles. I have always openly stated that the PC is not my gaming platform of choice, I prefer console, and probably always will. I also try to find positive aspects in every product I look at; the Cavechild has no such compunction. He says what he thinks, and I guess, to an extent, that is also a commendable quality.

Krabbit OnlineMy initial experience with Krabbitworld: Origins was not a positive one, as I had problems with the game’s default command settings, and I honestly was not compelled to try the game again. I was not drawn in by the characters nor by the graphics. I’m not new to the RPG genre, I do play Guild Wars, but Krabbitworld just wasn’t doing it for me. Perhaps I didn’t give the game enough of a chance, I can consider that to be a possibility and easily admit that may be so. Perhaps I should have let the developers know at that time how I felt, and rightly so, but I kept hoping that I would get back to it, and it did cross my mind several times, and as my daughter so often points out, I have little concept of time, and all of a sudden it’s months later.

So why is the review being posted now, and why is the Cavechild doing it? Well, yesterday I posted a small rant on my personal Facebook page about Activision’s decision to shelve True Crime: Hong Kong, and basically stating that I will no longer be supporting the Call of Duty franchise with game purchases, and that no one here has ever liked any Halo title. (yes, I hear your collective gasps over that one). I further stated that we would no longer purchase any Activision title unless it was made in Canada, and that they’d better not be planning on putting the brakes on Prototype 2.

Understand that I personally know people who work at United Front, along with pretty well all of the local game studios including Radical, which experienced downsizing last year. They are “in real life” friends, and I am concerned for them and those who work at other studios, as one would be about friends in any other situation. The reply on that rant by one of the two developers considered my opinion laughable and called into question my support of local industry. I will not go into details, and I do thank other friends in the industry who have replied with positive messages in my defense.

That said, and as I stated above, I am remiss in not giving Krabbitworld: Origins a review, and I am willing to own that. I have two other game reviews also outstanding – one just because I haven’t completed the story, the other because I’m conducting experiments with it (which I have discussed with one of the creators, and he’s good with that). That said – all of these titles have been given promo in earlier posts, so it’s not like I am completely ignoring them, I just haven’t given them as much blog time as I should have.

I know it’s not easy to run a small company or to develop an original IP, let alone grow it; I have lots of experience in that department – however I also try to constantly research and learn, as well as connect with people who may be able to offer some form of advice. I also am able to take other people’s opinions and look at them from both sides and try to maintain an open mind on many issues, whether I agree with them or not. I imagine that there will be backlash to do with this whole issue, but I don’t care for drama, so won’t be going there. As an aside, here is one other review of the game which I found via Google, so you as a reader can easily find another opinion on Krabbitworld Origins.

As many of you already know, The Cavechild is a hardcore gamer – he will take on pretty well any type of game at least once, and has been successful on the competitive level at tournaments, to which James, one of our other reviewers, can attest. He is well-versed in the RPG, FPS and RTS genres and openly very opinionated (and stubborn), so without further preamble and heavy editing, here are the Cavechild’s honest thoughts on being tossed into Krabbitworld: Origins with no background on the game, its lore or much else other than it was an RPG-styled title. I did not tell him why the characters have big ears (as you’ll see), or what type of world the game was set in. I sent him the extra key and the download link and told him to play. He played it for about 30 minutes, which probably isn’t long enough for some circles, but if a game fails to engage quickly, chances are it will not easily make it in the open market.

On Playing Krabbitworld: Origins –

Well, let’s get this review on the way. First thought of playing Krabbit online was “Why the hell does everyone have giant ears?” and I thought this looked like a really bad rip-off of World of Warcraft, though I was wrong. This is worse than WoW, far worse. World of Warcraft looks better than Krabbit, plays better too and also lags less.
KrabbitWorld Ogre
The customization of this game is the worst I’ve ever had to deal with. The colours are messed up and when you choose your character’s colours, they lag like hell while applying the scheme you chose. I made my giant-eared ogre a crimson reddish-looking colour and gave him a dark green vest and ice blue shoes. Now keep in mind I didn’t think I’d be getting a neon coloured ogre on an acid trip from hell, though.. guess what happened? I GOT A RAVE OGRE! BRIGHT COLOURS! Minus the techno music. The graphics however don’t mean much to me, if there is a good community and high player base to do co-op or fight against, then by all means I will play regardless, others should as well. Another thing that bugged me a little bit is that some of the animations are not complete, such as rolling, doing a side flip and such, it was quiet annoying but at the same time, laughable. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd February 2011

Three Different Kinds of Fight From Electronic Arts

EA SportsIf you’ve been itching for a good fight, you’ll be pleased to know that the Fight Night Champion demo from EA Sports is now available on Xbox LIVE™ and the PlayStation®Network. The demo features four of the biggest names from boxing’s past and present and will be the first demo in EA Sports™ history to include head-to-head online play.

In the Fight Night Champion demo, players can jump into the ring for three rounds of action at the famed Boardwalk Hall boxing venue with heavyweight legends, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, or three rounds of welterweight action with current boxing stars, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

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As the first EA Sports title with head-to-head online play included in the demo, players will also be able to take the four boxers online and showcase their skills to the world before the game is released on March 1, 2011.

Fight Night Champion, which is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, introduces a host of gameplay improvements to the long running, critically acclaimed franchise. The refined punching system, dubbed “Full Spectrum Punch Control”, brings the most accessible and responsive controls ever to a Fight Night title. A new anaerobic stamina system tracks individual muscle groups separately, punishing a player’s over-dependence on a single punch and encourages combination punching and diligent stamina management. In addition, improved visuals, multiple control schemes, realistic damage, boxer-specific animations and multiple stun states round out the key gameplay improvements players will experience in the demo.

BiowareBioware has released a trailer for Dragon Age Legends, which according to the game’s information,  takes place thirteen years after a group of warriors led by the Templar Ravi banded together to prevent an abomination from destroying the Free Marcher city of Kaiten in a hedonistic orgy of narcissism and opulence.

The former Viscount Khedra spent most of his life as a venerated ruler, celebrated for his wisdom. Late in life, he started to change, beginning with the construction of a great coliseum where nobles’ chosen champions competed for pride and glory. What began as games of entertainment quickly devolved into great spectacles of carnage punctuated by outlandish pageantry. The lesser nobles of Kaiten no longer settled their disputes in court, instead grievances big and small were decided by sword for the pleasure of an increasingly bloodthirsty populace.

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The Viscount’s nephew, Ravi, and his allies discovered the source of Khedra’s odd behavior: Khedra was possessed by a powerful Pride demon and was now an abomination. These heroes were able to defeat the demon in a fearsome confrontation, and mysteriously, you were there to aid them.

Now, Ravi is the Viscount of Kaiten and you are one of his most trusted allies. When a mysterious set of circumstances begin to form around his son Eiton, you are the only one he trusts to save his son. Biwaore invites you to return to Thedas in Dragon Age Legends with your friends on Facebook, where you can battle demons and darkspawn in preparation for the launch of Dragon Age II next month.

FIFA 10 UltimateTeamEA Sports has also announced a major new update for FIFA 11 Ultimate Team, the new way to play FIFA 11 via downloadable game modes for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360®. The update, which includes new features Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards plus over 50 improvements, will be live on February 17th. This is the first time major new features for FIFA Ultimate Team have been developed after the game mode released, as the FIFA franchise continues to lead the way in digital experiences for EA Sports.

“We have a thriving global community of over two million fans playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team,” said Kaz Makita, Executive Producer for FIFA. “Our commitment to these fans is that we will continue to listen to their feedback to improve and enhance their experience year round. Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards are both new innovations and features requested by the fans, and will enable players to better connect and compete with friends while playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team.”

FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer trading and team building football game . Gamers and football fans are challenged to build a squad of the world’s best players by earning, buying, selling and even trading players with other FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers. Players can take their strategically crafted squads onto the pitch to compete in online and single-player tournaments which are updated weekly. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers can access their console experience from the web for full auction and trading systems.

After only three months, FIFA 11 Ultimate Team continues to grow due to constantly updated weekly tournaments and daily item promotions. According to internal EA date, the game now boasts more than 65 million game sessions played, 171 million trades made, and 275 billion coins spent in the auction house. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is available for free (restrictions and conditions apply, please see back of pack for details) and can be downloaded through the main menu in FIFA Soccer 11 on any connected PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.

The update also includes over 50 additional refinements that were included based on the feedback from the FIFA community. Some of the additional changes include updates to the auctions to make it easier to track auctions or repost expired items, Power Passing assistance is switched off by default in online matches, and a number of general stability improvements as well as the following:

Play A Friend Challenge

* Play A Friend Challenge enables you to test your skills against your friend’s Ultimate Team, even when your friend isn’t online. Take on your friend’s squad whenever you like with the CPU controlling your friend’s squad. Results are recorded and presented to your friend the next time they log on to their console. Now you can prove who has the best Ultimate Team whenever you are ready to play. Plus, when you return to your console, you can see who played your squad, left you a message, and challenge them to a rematch when you want to play.

Friends Leaderboards

* Compare your progress in FIFA 11 Ultimate Team against friends automatically with personalized leaderboards. Regardless of how you choose to play, you can now compete and compare your progress whether you are a trader, expert team builder, top entrepreneur in the auctions, or simply want to compare the value of your club.

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18th January 2011

Zombies Robots Aliens Heroes and Assassins Make For Busy Gamers

endloop xEndloop X has announced their game Please Stay Calm, and the studio claims that you have not played this type of game before. Not only will it amuse you and your online friends, it will also help prepare you for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Well, if not apocalypse, then at least a mild case of zombies.please stay calm

If this sounds like your cup of tea and you have an iOS device for the initial roll-out, feel free to here sign up here as Endloop X is taking applications for early access.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the unique features we are building for Please Stay Calm:

* Innovative co-operative gameplay
* Unique location based exploration that lets you play on-site as well as remotely
* Immersive alternate reality

The team will be rolling out the title city by city, as well as platform by platform. On a side note, Endloop X is looking for a PHP developer to fill a contract position. Know anybody?

thandros mediaHoping to show that not all robots are purely cold and mechanical, Thandros Media presents “Fun With Thandros,” a playful new iPhone app featuring a fun-loving robot who is sure to thrill little ones and big kids alike. This delightful app features four classic games: Play, Maze Quest, Stories, and Twins.

Jeffrey Pierson, the creator of the characters featured in the app, worked with the programmers at Thandros Media and author Mike Jackson. The team understood that children love digital gaming and grasp it at a thandrosfaster rate than anyone else, but for their first app wanted to incorporate a classic style and varied gameplay mode that many apps seemed to be lacking – and thus, “Fun With Thandros” was born.

“I first drew Thandros for my nephew,” says Pierson, “and he really liked him, so I started to think about what he would act like, and who some of his friends could be. It was a lot of fun to come up with this world, and I’m looking forward to adding to it in the future.”

The new app introduces kids and their parents to Thandros, a happy, friendly robot who loves to go on adventures and isn’t afraid to undertake a quest or a challenge. Toddlers can enjoy meeting Thandros in the “Play” mode, where they can tap on the robot and see how he reacts. The preschool set and older can choose “Stories,” with their choices throughout the course of the tale affecting its ultimate outcome, or “Twins,” a matching game that reinforces memory skills. Finally, big kids are sure to love “Maze Quest,” which takes Thandros on a journey through simple to complex mazes in his efforts to halt the evil Professor Stouch’s dastardly plans.

With its colorful, hand-drawn graphics, cheerful music, and exciting sound effects, “Fun With Thandros” is sure to provide hours of entertainment for children of all ages, while teaching them important lessons about sharing, hard-work, and determination. Fun With Thandros 1.0 is $0.99 USD and available worldwide exclusively through the iTunes App Store in the Games – Kid’s section.

UbisoftUbisoft announced today that the Animus Project Update 2.0 downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system is now available on XBOX LIVE® and PlayStation® Network for download for free.

The Animus Project Update 2.0 includes a brand-new game mode and brand new map for Assassin’s Creed Assassin's Creed BrotherhoodBrotherhood Multiplayer. The Pienza Map provides the perfect free-running playground where predators and targets can blend and disappear.

In the new Chest Capture Multiplayer Mode, two teams, comprised of three players each, partner with fellow Templars to either defend or capture Chests. The “Capturers” must use their HUDs to locate and capture the chests, while “Defenders” must use their skills and quick reflexes to track down their foes and protect the chests.

Also included in Animus Project Update 2.0 is the new “Templar Score” feature. To achieve order and maintain competition, Abstergo created the Templar Grade. Updated weekly and based on the users scores of the previous four weeks, the Templar Grade splits recruits in 10 specific slices – each representing part of the hierarchy of the community. The goal is to reward diligent work by Abstergo recruits. Assassins’ Creed Brotherhood is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

Bioware CorpBioWare™ and Electronic Arts Inc. announced today that Mass Effect™ 2 is now available on the PlayStation 3 for $59.99 in North America at retail and on PlayStation® Network*. The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2, which received a perfect 10 out of 10 score from PlayStation: The Official Magazine, will include six hours of bonus content, including ” Kasumi – Stolen Memories”, “Overlord” and the award-winning “Lair of the Shadow Broker”.
Mass Effect 2 for PS3
“The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 offers gamers a great entry point to the Mass Effect experience,” said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect franchise. “We’re extremely excited and proud to now bring PlayStation 3 owners the opportunity to explore the rich and tumultuous universe of Mass Effect and shape the story and events within it by the individual choices they make.”

Mass Effect Genesis, an interactive comic from Dark Horse Comics and BioWare, will also be available today exclusively on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, giving players a high-level overview of the events of the original Mass Effect. The interactive comic offers players the chance to make critical choices that will affect their storyline in Mass Effect 2 and beyond. Mass Effect Genesis is included in the Cerberus Pack, a downloadable content pack included for first time purchasers of Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3. Players who do not have original access to the Cerberus Pack can purchase it for $14.99 on the PlayStation Network. Mass Effect 2 on the PlayStation 3 has a MSRP of $59.99 in North America and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

reverie world studiosInternational publisher 505 Games and Ontario developer Reverie World Studios have penned a publishing deal for the studio’s upcoming massively multiplayer online real time strategy (MMORTS) title Dawn of Fantasy. Set in the massively multiplayer fantasy world of

Mythador which supports its own living economic, trading, development and diplomacy systems, players will be given the opportunity to leave their mark on the land’s already war torn history when Dawn of Fantasy for PC is launched on June 3rd, 2011.

Offering a fresh perspective on the fantasy RTS genre, Dawn of Fantasy will deliver a persistent world war experience like none before.Thousands of Players living, building, exploring and fighting together to crush with AI controlled strongholds and empires, in a rich tapestry of story-driven encounters that help to build upon the already weighty single player campaign experience. In a world that continues to trade and evolve even after logging off, Players will also be able to test their armies’ constitution in matched head-to-head, multiplayer encounters on their road to becoming the biggest city-state in Mythador.

Each of the three different races available to players – elves, men and orcs – offer a radically different playing style based on a carefully balanced system of strengths and weaknesses. With an in-game narrative driven by a dramatic historical background, Dawn of Fantasy will combine rich storytelling with compelling gameplay to provide a strategy experience to appeal to MMO and RTS fans alike.

Dawn of Fantasy“Dawn of Fantasy is nothing short of the next step in the genre, highlighting the best elements that MMORTS games have to offer with just the right level of considered innovation,” commented Ralph Pitt-Stanley, 505 Games. “In what we feel is an underrepresented genre, we’re confident that Dawn of Fantasy will have what it takes to stay in the hearts of MMO, RTS and fantasy fans for a long time to come.”

“As we catch a glimpse of the finish line after many years of development, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with 505 Games,” said Konstantin Fomenko, Reverie World CEO.“Their dedication, ambition, and extensive history in the strategy genre will prove indispensable as we work toward completing our upcoming MMORTS, Dawn of Fantasy.”

Designed with low system requirements in mind, the Dawn of Fantasy engine will nonetheless render armies of thousands of units and hundreds of terrain objects on screen for epic battle encounters. Once the dust settles on the in game campaigns, players can try exploring their creative side by using the powerful map editor to design the fantasy encounters of their dreams.

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12th January 2011

Winter Has No Effect On Canadian Interactive Media Industry

Reminder: The CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa conference is February 16th – 18th, tickets are available online.
Reminder: Desire2Learn RoadShow presentation will be in Toronto on January 26th &  Ottawa on January 27th.
Reminder: CFC Features application deadline is January 28th & the Cineplex Entertainment Film Programme deadline is January 21st.
Reminder: The deadline for nominations for the 2011 Worldwide Short Film Fest are open until February 4th.

Shot In The DarkShot in the Dark Mysteries has launched its inaugural podcast. Hosted by company president and head writer Leigh Clements, this first podcast in the series will introduce you to the concept of mystery parties. Additional podcasts will  offer listeners many excellent tips on planning that special, and memorable, party or corporate event.

The Youth Media Awards, presented by the Youth Media Alliance, are now open for nomination Youth Media Alliancesubmissions. The Awards are open to all Canadian-made, youth-oriented productions originally broadcast or released online in English between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010. Programs and interactive content must be submitted by no later than Monday, February 21, 2011, at 5 p.m. The Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on June 2nd.

Wired WomanWired Woman Vancouver presents a session with Tod Maffin, podcasting pioneer, technology trend blogger and Digital Marketing Strategist on Monday, February 7th. Tod will discuss the 7 successful action steps for launching an impactful and measurable viral campaign using his ASSURED ROI™ methodology. Tod’s energetic, highly entertaining presentation style has audiences captivated, engaged, entertained and inspired. This session will be hosted at the ING Direct Cafe game developers choice awards 2010on Howe Street. Advance registration for this event is required, tickets are $35.00 for members and $40.00 for non-members. Note: membership is free, sign up and save.

Congratulations to the two Canadian nominees in this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards:

Mass Effect 2, nominated for Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Audio, Best Writing as well as Game of the Year, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, nominated for Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced a new pre-order incentive for the fast approaching release of Dragon Age 2. Those who pre-order the game before March 8th (the scheduled release date) will receive access to the following additional in-game content at no extra cost.

* The Lion of Orlais Shield, whose legend begins at the height of the Summer War, when all of Orlais was embroiled in fierce battles, with dozens of contenders for the Imperial Throne emerging. Most are long forgotten except as footnotes in scholarly tomes, but everyone remembers the gallant young lord Emile Deveraux, “The Golden Prince”. Thought outnumbered at every turn, he racked victory upon victory culminating in the Seventh Battle of Roses. While wearing this shield he broke through his uncle’s vanguard to win the day. Never knowing New Shield and Swordthe taste of defeat on the battlefield, this gallant hero is said to have met his end at the hands of a jealous lover in the dead of night. Now you can carry this magnificent shield into battle, adding to your health and XP gained, you can also increase its power with magical runes which will fit nicely into two special slots.

* The Fadeshear Sword, whose core is very old – as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond. This sword has fought the demonic hosts in countless battles, sometimes being held high in triumphant victory. Other times, it has lain broken beside its dying owner. But after every defeat it has always been reclaimed, reforged, and made stronger. Fadeshear has passed through many hands before yours. Now it is your turn to make the demons of the Fade pay for crossing the Veil into the waking world. Make use of the FadeShear Sword against demons and the undead, its power growing as your character levels up.

Original purchasers of Dragon Age 2 will receive:

* A fighting Mabari War Hound who can be summoned by a whistle to fight at your side in battle.
* The Mirror of Transformation which will allow you to change your very appearance. Hair, eyes, tattoos, and more can be changed with the click of a button.
* Access to The Black Emporium exclusive Magic and Crafting Stores that have some of the best equipment and powerful, unique recipes you’ll find in the game. It’s restocked with better items as you progress through the story.

This is a double bonus for those of us who also took advantage of the Signature Edition pre-order incentive, which ended on January 11th, because we also get access to all of this newly announced bonus content. Here is the latest Dev Diary trailer, which talks about story development.

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GamerizonMontreal’s Gamerizon has announced that over 8 Million of its Chop Chop™ games had been downloaded on the App Store in a span of less than 10 months. Each of the six existing Chop Chop™ games – Chop Chop Ninja™, Chop Chop Runner™, Chop Chop Tennis™, Chop Chop Soccer™, Chop Chop Hockey™ and Chop Chop Caveman™ – have received critical acclaim and have reached top ranking positions chop chop cavemanin their respective categories in most countries around the world, with specially strong performances in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.

“We reached the milestone with an incredibly strong performance of 1.4 Million downloads in the last 6 days alone and are well on our way to make the Chop Chop™ franchise one of the world’s best known mobile gaming franchises” said Alex Sakiz, CEO of Gamerizon.

The success of the Chop Chop™ franchise is primarily a function of the unique one-finger gameplay mechanics developed in all games and the innovative hybrid Paid/Free Business Model adopted. Three new games – Chop Chop Rocket™, Chop Chop Kicker™ and Chop Chop Alien™ are scheduled for release in February and March.

Toon BoomEmmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. has entered into a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore’s leading institution of higher learning, to set up a paperless digital animation production hub on their campus, fully equipped with a Toon Boom pipeline.

This first animation hub will serve as a great launch pad for the students in the interactive digital media courses to learn animation and create projects in a true digital production environment. In addition, Toon Boom will collaborate with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology to assist in faculty development, student development, academic and professional networking, as well as in granting prizes of excellence in the form of special awards and scholarships.

“Toon Boom is fully dedicated to the development of the animation industry in Singapore. As a result, our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic represents a great accomplishment in combining Toon Boom’s field proven expertise with Singapore’s impressive creative talent,” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.

EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champion. Setting the stage for a new standard in sports games, Fight Night Champion will deliver the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category. Check out this video about fighter stamina:

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In just a few weeks, Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.

TeradiciBurnaby’s Teradici Corporation, developer of the innovative PC-over-IP® (PCoIP®) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, has announced a strategic investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Teradici PCoIP protocol is an innovative remote display technology that allows the user’s desktop operating system, applications, and data to reside in the datacenter, eliminating the need for traditional desktop workstations, PCs and thin clients, and delivers an uncompromised user experience to each person, anywhere, without incurring the security risks associated with having data reside in remote PCs. PCoIP technology provides high resolution, full frame rate 3D graphics and high-definition media, with full USB peripheral interoperability, locally over a LAN or remotely over a high-latency WAN. It compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenter and transmits it ‘pixels only’ across a standard IP network to secure, stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.

The protocol is implemented in silicon for hardware accelerated performance and enhanced security, as well as in several software configurations, including VMware View™, the industry leading desktop virtualization platform. A growing ecosystem of over 25 third-party vendors provide a wide variety of PCoIP products including server plug-in cards, rack and tower workstations, blade PCs, zero clients, integrated monitors, and IP phones with added PCoIP capability.

CMPAThe Canadian Media Production Association has filed an intervention (PDF) with the CRTC, confirming that it does not support BCE Inc.’s application as filed, to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia Inc. The CMPA disagrees with BCE’s contention that tangible benefits are not payable as a result of this transaction. The CMPA similarly disagrees with BCE’s proposal that the valuation of benefits payable amounts to only $221 million and that a mere $40 million of that amount will go towards supporting the creation of Canadian programming. The CMPA expects to make its arguments before the CRTC when it commences hearings into the proposed acquisition on February 1, 2011.

“The benefits package proposed by BCE represents a very significant departure from the CRTC’s long-standing tangible benefits policy. It is also extremely self-serving and very largely focused on activities that are normal capital expenditures for such a company,” says Norm Bolen, the CMPA’s President and CEO.

In its intervention, the CMPA argues that the tangible benefits policy must be respected. This means that:

* the payment of tangible benefits are indeed fully required in this transaction;
* the quantum of these TV benefits must represent 10% of the total value of all CTV television assets;
* BCE must not be allowed to exclude or discount any of its television-related assets in this calculation;
* a minimum of 85% of the total tangible benefits must be allocated to the creation of Canadian programming;
* a minimum of 75% of the amount allocated to the creation of Canadian programming must be earmarked to third-parties from the independent production community; and,
* the resources allocated to the creation of independent Canadian programming must be administered by a third-party, and must not be limited to projects that are ultimately broadcast only on CTV or its many television properties.

“If BCE’s proposal is accepted by the Commission without considerable modifications it would fall extremely short of what is in the best interest of our broadcasting system and the Canadian public,” says Bolen.

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) have announced that the long-awaited Occupation Mode will be coming soon to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.. With Occupation Mode, M.A.T. gains one of the most essential elements of a competitive title – territory capture and control.

“We are thrilled to offer this intense level of action to our community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “We invite gaming clans of all skill levels to see for themselves just how crazy things can get. Mission Against TerrorWe know that gamers will put Occupation Mode right up there with Old School, hardcore multiplayer classics like Counter-Strike 1.6 and the Battlefield series.”

Occupation Mode brings with it new maps and new opportunities to put that weapon you just bought to work. The real challenge, of course, is to protect yourself and your team as you keep moving forward as a unit, attacking new positions and then defending them before time runs out. When your team holds all points on a map, you win the game. When both teams fail to complete the mission, beware…you can end up spawning infinitely for a lengthy and engaging firefight over a single capture point.

“At the request of the community, we have left it up to the game creators to set just how severe the time-keeping will be,” added Ho. “For those who love a good challenge, this is the mode for you. The two teams are in constant struggle for territory control until the best team finally emerges as the winner, involving not only brute force advancement but also endurance and holding key locations.”

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11th January 2011

Silverfish Gets Big Update From Chaotic Box

Chaotic BoxRecent addition to the iOS gaming galaxy Silverfish from developer Chaotic Box received a major update yesterday, adding a few features and tweaks to its already hyper-addictive play quotient – all for the sale silverfishprice of 99 cents USD. The new Haste mode is described as Reaper mode cranked to 11, and you now have new Parasite and Infected enemies to obliterate. There is also a new Vigor powerup and 6 new Game Center achievements, plus iOS 4 multitasking (fast switching) and automatic game save and restore. Chaotic Box has also provided a highly tweakable D-Pad control option.

Tweaks & Fixes:

– Tweaked crash physics for easier recovery
– Fixed sound fx occasionally getting cut off
– More reliable Game Center offline support
– Refined help and control instructions
– Various performance optimizations
– Lower overall memory footprint

arctic empireAnother recently released and updated title, Forest Frenzy from indie developer Arctic*Empire, which is forest frenzycompatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. This defense-styled game is free today (regularly 99 cents USD), and arms you with a big slingshot to fire at the waves of enemies trying to destroy the forest. Playing as Jeremy Ash, you are an earth loving, planet saving dude sworn to defeat the evil lumberjacks and robots who insist on cutting down your forest.

With your animal friends and trusty slingshot in hand, you must defeat waves of evil lumberjacks, robots, bulldozers and more, protecting the forest at all costs. Forest Frenzy is game centre-enabled and features a fully functional slingshot that shoots a variety of ammo, plus you can start at a level to suit the difficulty that’s right for you. The game also features original sound effects and music with a high replayability factor to keep you occupied for hours. Future updates for Forest Frenzy include Game Centre Achievements, new enemies and weapons, as well as a Target Master Mode, which challenges you to race against time as you shoot down the forest’s enemies.

funcomIn other game news, most of you know by now that EA Partners and Funcom have struck a publishing deal for Funcom’s upcoming title The Secret World. This highly anticipated modern-day MMO has spurred hundreds of thousands of gamers to join the ever-growing community surrounding the game, and have – even without an announced launch EA Gamesdate – become active members in the game’s secret societies: the Illuminati, the Dragon and the Templar.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Funcom, one of the world-leaders in the development of massively The Secret Worldmultiplayer online games,” says David DeMartini, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Partners. “We are very excited to be able to take part in the growing online gaming category with such a highly anticipated title as The Secret World.”

Currently under development at Funcom Montreal, The Secret World is a next-generation massively multiplayer online game for the PC platform, where players are given total freedom to create and progress their characters, unbound by the restrictions of classes and levels. Players will get the opportunity to join one of the three secret societies and fight for power over important locations throughout our own world.  Players will also journey through familiar places across the globe, such as Egypt, New England, London, New York and Seoul and battle monsters of myth and legend.

“We are tremendously excited to be working with what is The Secret Worldundoubtedly the world-leading games publisher for the past decade, and it is also a great testament to the fantastic work of our development team,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “The experience and the knowledge that Electronic Arts brings to the table will be instrumental in allowing us to realize the full potential of The Secret World.”

The Secret World is Funcom’s third foray into the MMO development world, having previously published Anarchy Online and the best selling new MMO of 2008, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.

Youtext Mobile Technologies Inc., a Montreal-based provider of web-based mobile engagement application has youtext mobile technologiesreceived an undisclosed Fondation Du Maire Grant.  The grant was awarded in December 2010 and will open Fondation Du Maire’s roster of companies to Youtext as potential clients.  Youtext Mobile aims to work in conjunction with the Fondation to pitch the platform to Montreal’s highest profile corporations.

“This is a huge step for Youtext and will allow them to benefit from Fondation Du Maire’s  services in every area of business development,” said Denis Karegeya, entrepreneurship coordinator at ‘Fondation du maire de Montréal pour la jeunesse’.

Newspaper DirectThe latest version of PressReader, optimized for the Google Android platform that powers millions of smartphones, is now available for download from the Android Market. Developed by Vancouver-based NewspaperDirect Inc., the Android version of PressReader delivers a visually stunning reading experience for the more than 1,700 newspapers and magazines from 93 countries that are currently available on PressDisplay.com.

Key features of the new Android version of PressReader include:

  • Presentation of complete digital newspaper replicas, often before the print version is on newsstands
  • Automatic download of favorite newspapers for offline reading
  • Browse pages in full-page mode — even before completion of the download
  • Browsing of entire publications with one finger (including zoom, pan and scroll)
  • Fast navigation from article to article, and to a favorite section using the Table of Contents thumbnailsAndroid PressDisplay
  • A rich graphics page view and, for individual news stories, an easy-to-read text view
  • Sharing of articles by email
  • On-demand narration of news stories

“From the moment PressReader hit the iPad, we received countless requests for the same app on Android devices,” said Alex Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect. “With the launch of PressReader for Android, we have opened up a wealth of new delivery channels for our publishing partners. And while publishers enjoy the increased audited circulation and revenues that come with being part of PressReader, SmartEdition publishers can also choose to white-label PressReader for their loyal subscribers at zero operational cost to them.”

PressReader for Google Android is available as a free download from the Android Market. Most newspapers and magazines can then be purchased for $0.99 per issue, or downloaded in conjunction our kids mediawith a paid PressDisplay.com subscription.

Our Kids Media has launched the Private School Locator, a free mobile application compatible with the school locatoriPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The application is available immediately and it is free. Many real estate agents are asked about “schools in the area.” This application provides an instantaneous list of private schools across Canada. Of course, it’s also of interest to parents on the move and anyone else who wants to learn more about private schools.

The application features a variety of content alongside the school locator, including the latest information about private schools in Canada, school events and more. The application can use users’ built-in GPS to determine where they are and serve a list based on their immediate location or users can type a postal code or address into a search field along with the type of school they are looking for.

From there, the application provides a wealth of data about private schools in the area along with phone numbers and driving directions.  The app was developed in partnership with the Toronto location-based service company, Cellflare. Cellflare’s Managing Director Keith Tsao says, “Whether you are in business or just for personal use, the Private School Locator makes it easy to find any private school based on the user’s location or search terms.

Andrew Stawicki, President of Our Kids Media, adds, “We are always happy to move forward into the growing areas of new media and the Internet. We think this mobile app will be tremendously helpful to anyone looking for the best schools in their area.”

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7th January 2011

New Adventures Await

Reminder: The deadline to pre-order Dragon Age 2 and get the free upgrade to the Signature Edition is January 11th.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new companion character for Dragon Age 2. Enter Sebastian Vael, an archer of noble birth. Join the Exiled Prince in his quest to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his family and direct his righteous wrath on your enemies. Sebastian is a full companion character, complete with his own series of side missions. Gain the prince’s allegiance as part of The Exiled Prince downloadable pack included in the BioWare Signature Edition, or available separately for $7 or 560 Microsoft Points.

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Dragon Age 2 is a stand alone chapter in the Dragon Age franchise, and while it is not a pre-requisite to have played through the previous titles, players can import their Dragon Age files and impact how the story unfolds for them in this new chapter. Dragon Age 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled for release to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 8th.

psychicparrot gamesPsychicParrot Games has released a free iPad app for pre-schoolers. My Own Farm is an interactive educational title, as each tap on the screen generates animal movement accompanied with that animal’s My Own Farmsound, in turn helping young children learn about the sounds farm animals make while keeping them entertained.

PsychicParrot is also the developer of Farm Jump, an Open-Feint enabled iOS mobile game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Will’s friends, so grab them when you can.

citeremisQuebec’s Citérémis has released Aztaka Developer’s Edition, with the objective of bringing together the independent developers and the gaming community into our “Quest for profitability.” According to the original game’s description, “Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling actionaztaka developers edition RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to wield both the spear and the spell. The watchful Gods have returned to their slumber and the evil Ehecalk becoming ever stronger is plotting. A mad power struggle to hold the seven Ancient Phonograms will ensue. You are the last hope of your people! Race across your once great land, reunite the Phonograms and restore prosperity to the Aztec Empire!”

Aztaka Key Features

* Plunge into a new and fresh universe.
* Manipulate spiritual energy, through an innovative hybrid control scheme to solve puzzles and vanquish foes
* Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts.
* Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold.
* Acquire potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels.
* Twenty-one unique and detailed levels with grand, richly-detailed backdrops and fluid character animations

Purchasers of this Developers’ Edition will be able to enjoy the latest Aztaka release, the Aztaka OST and the Exotic Your Shape AppFrench Art book, as well as the complete game source code – all for the low introductory price of $9.99, which is 50% off the regular price.

UbisoftIn celebration of the New Year and a “New You,” Ubisoft has released the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App, which lets users view and manage their Your Shape profile and stats on-the-go, allowing them to quickly and easily track how many calories they’ve burned and monitor progress made towards their fitness or weight loss goals.

The Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App is a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Even if you don’t own the game, discover the breakthrough technology used by Your Shape, check out our videos and meet the game’s fitness experts.

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