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Archive For May, 2011

Mario Was Once A Chicken And A Demon

May 28, 2011 6:00 AM | Matthew Hawkins

chickenmario.jpg

Over a year ago, someone at the immensely popular message board NeoGAF posted scans from a pamphlet that Nintendo handed out to prospective talent at universities. Which then spread like wild fire across the internet. Well, us reporters clearly should have stuck around, because not long after, the image above of Mario plus the two Toads from New Super Mario Bros in chicken suits was passed along and no one caught it until today.

What The Heck Are Microsoft Up To With Kinect?

May 28, 2011 3:00 AM | Ryan Langley

xboxkinect11.jpg

It has been an amazing week in terms of classification leaks, particularly for Microsoft products, but a lot of them don't seem to be for games, but instead applications.

Kinect Me and Kinect Googly Eyes were shown earlier this week, but now Build a Buddy and Bobble Head have all been rated in the past week, all kinds of strange names, none which seem like they could be retail games, or even Xbox Live Arcade titles. There has been talk of a Kinect Fun Lab, but having multiple ratings like this means each of these are a separate downloadable pieces, and not a single "Lab" app.

Applications like Build A Buddy sounds like you could very well make new Avatar-like characters outside of your own, perhaps like the Wii's Mii characters so you can play as a variety of characters without the need to re-skin yourself each time. It would also make players pay for even more Avatar gear.

Bobble Head and Googly Eyes on the other hand I just can't fathom. They just sound like Avatar gear, and even as applications I can't think of how they could change the Avatar experience. What could it all mean? This next week up to E3 is starting to get pretty weird.

Worms Readying For Ultimate Mayhem

May 28, 2011 1:01 AM | Ryan Langley

wormsmayhem.jpg

Team 17 went all out back in 2009 with Worms 2: Armageddon on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, featuring the most feature rich Worms experiences yet. Now after a year of working on reviving the Alien Breed franchise, it looks like they're set to head back to the ol' money maker.

The Australian Classification Board has rated a game called Worms: Ultimate Mayhem. with no specific console noted, but Team 17 are completely focused on digital distribution now, and have released all their games on Xbox Live Arcade first.

What could it be? How could they change things up this time around? Well here's a little bit of speculation: Worms 2: Armageddon nicked the Armageddon name from their previous 1999 classic. Incidentily, Mayhem was the tag line for Worms 4, which was their 3D iteration. This would mark the first foray into 3D Worms on a HD console, which would mean for some awesome deformation technology.

I actually had a ton of fun with Worms 3D back in the day, and I'd be up for playing some more on XBLA. Pure speculation, of course.

The Hand Eye Society To Take Part In Random Hacks Of Kindness

May 27, 2011 6:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

hes.jpg

While not grabbing the flashy headlines that similar entities might be enjoying, The Hand Eye Society's efforts as they pertain to empowering local game makers throughout Toronto, as well as interfacing said folks with their rest of the city in new and interesting ways, have not gone unnoticed. Last we saw of it, the group was showing off the second Torontron at the Toronto Comics and Arts Festival. And next weekend they'll joining 18 others cities in a global event dubbed Random Hacks of Kindness.

The initiative brings together programmers, artists, writers, designers, hackers, researchers, producers, and pretty much everyone in-between to develop practical open source solutions for humanitarian efforts. The primary focus appears to be disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Numerous entities are lending support, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, HP, NASA, even the World Bank.

While some might wonder what a bunch of game makers could possible contribute to such lofty goals, anyone with a passing familiarity with The Hand Eye Society's members and their body of accomplishments know already that they will seize the moment to surprise and innovate.

If you're in Toronto and would like to join, this blog post will lead you the way. And for more information on RHoK, perhaps to see if there's something happening in your city, please refer to their homepage.

Achron: Time-Travelling RTS Beta Released

May 27, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

It's been a while since Achron first appeared at GDC 2009, but the time-travelling/"meta-time" real-time strategy game is now available with a beta for Windows/Mac/Linux (full release coming in the third quarter of 2011).

If you're looking for a unique take on the strategy genre, Hazardous Software definitely has created something new with Achron:

"You can undo your mistakes, change your strategy after committing to it, preview the future, freeze time to perfectly coordinate attacks, and send entire fleets through time to when they are needed.

However, all of your opponents will also be independently moving across time, attempting to rewrite history in their favor."

If you preorder the game, you can start playing the beta now. This early build does not contain the single-player story-mode campaigns; it include "a handful of single-player demo and tutorial levels, as well as multiplayer levels."

Gravity Hook HD For Free This Weekend

May 27, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

For this weekend only, Semi Secret Software (Canabalt) is giving away its very, very addictive iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad game Gravity Hook HD. There's already a free online version you can play, but now you don't have to pay to take it around with you.

Gravity Hook HD is a simple game in which you ascend a mine by tapping and pulling yourself toward floating orbs, avoiding mines scattered around the stage while using your momentum to reach higher orbs.

It might sound simple, but the game really has that "just one more try" aspect to it (which you'll repeat for the next hour), and it features an awesome soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky.

Weirdest, Best Games You'll Play Today: Japan World Cup

May 27, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

The Japan World Cup games are probably the strangest, most wonderful things you'll play today. They're all in Japanese, but navigating the interface to place bets on a winning horse (or other animals) isn't too difficult.

In Japan World Cup, jockeys and a strange collection of animals from all over the world have gathered for a race -- you don't actually control them, but that's alright, because the fun is in seeing their animations on the track.

Their wacky attempts to get ahead in the races range from a "bancho" horse jumping into a car to another horse pirouetting across the finish line. What's especially great is it's all presented in a dignified manner, as if aired on Japanese TV with commentators.

Riichiro Mashima (Ski Jumping Pairs) has released three of these: Japan World Cup 1Japan World Cup 2, and Japan World Cup 3. The races are often repeats, so I'd suggest playing through them two to three times each.

[Via IndieGames.com]

From Adventure To Mass Effect: Timeline For Western Action RPGs

May 27, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Hardcore Gaming 101 has followed up its timeline for 2D fighting games with another comprehensive chronicle of key events and releases for a specific genre: action roleplaying games from the United States and Europe (online titles not included, as far as I could tell).

The "Brief History of Western Action RPGs" starts with Adventure in 1978 and ends with 2010 titles like Mass Effect 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, covering other critical in-between releases like the Ultima and Quest For Glory series.

All of the entries have short notes on their significance, too, like this entry on adventure game Knight Lore:

"[It] explores the isometric perspective (and later influences the use of the perspective in Adventures/RPGs in general, as well as Solstice and its successors in particular, which in turn inspires Landstalker and its sequels)."
You can pore through the entire thing here.

E3 2011 Predictions From Mega64's Scientists

May 27, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Because people aren't satisfied with just waiting for E3 to come in two weeks and letting themselves be surprised by what companies have to debut, Mega64 has posted a video with its predictions for the video game conference.

The comedy skit crew wanted  to leave no room for error here, so it funded a crucial project from "world most famous" Russian scientists, who have rigged an advanced computer to mathematically compute what we'll see at E3.

The prediction engine's results are shocking but surely not anything someone could make up. It actually kind of spoils the entire show; what's the point of watching all the livestreaming press events and reading the flood of news when we already know what's going to happen?

Episodic House M.D. Coming to DSiWare Next Week

May 27, 2011 6:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Legacy Interactive is set to make its DSiWare debut next Monday with the release of House, M.D. - Globetrotting, the first entry in an episodic series of adventure games starring everyone's favorite cranky TV doctor Gregory House.

Each entry will feature a variety of medical-themed minigames, ranging from spot-the-difference x-rays to Trauma Center-styled surgery simulations. Legacy notes that the television show's acerbic wit and "biting zingers" will feature in the game's dialog. A sample: "I think my IQ just went down 50 points just talking to you!" Well, okay, they can't all be winners.

The episodes, previously collected in a retail release for the Nintendo DS and PC platforms, will be released monthly. No word yet on if players will have access to Vicodin power-ups or if House's arch-nemesis lupus will play a role in any of the cases.

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