June 2008 Archives

MadCatzIn a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz confirmed its financial results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.
Digital Eel's Big Box of BloxAstraware has released a version of Digital Eel's Big Box of Blox for Symbian S60 smartphones. This falling-block matching game has tons of mysterious variants on conventional puzzle play along with a unique visual style and a great soundtrack.
Atlus has entered into an agreement with NIS America to publish three of NIS' upcoming games: Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Disgaea DS and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.
Entertainment Software AssociationThe Entertainment Software Association (an industry trade group that represents the interactive entertainment industry) was awarded $65,000 to cover its attorney fees and expenses in challenging an unconstitutional game law passed in Minnesota.
Ruud Spoor joined Playlogic Entertainment as a non-executive director on June 23, and will (in his own words) "join the Board of Playlogic and help the company to manage its growth and visibility in a very dynamic market." Boor is the director of BL Capital, an investment firm in the Netherlands.
Rock BandHarmonix, part of MTV Games (and, therefore, Viacom) and Electronic Arts confirmed that they are working on Rock Band 2 for release this September for the Xbox 360, and a later date for other platforms.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment is planning to release Cooking Mama World Kitchen for the Wii in time for this year's holiday season.
PlayStation 3Earlier this month, Sony taunted us with promises that a PlayStation firmware update would include trophies and other Xbox Live-like functionality. Sony has confirmed additional details, and surprised us by promising that update on July 2 – two days from now.
Nintendo's buffet of downloadable games for the Wii has been expanded, but only by two games this week:
THQTHQ has shipped the game Journey to the Center of the Earth for the DS to stores in North America.
ActivisionToday, the latest retail Guitar Hero game goes on sale, this time dedicated to a single band: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
Diablo IIIWhat was once rumor is now official: Diablo III is officially in development at Blizzard, but "it's too early to estimate Diablo III's release date."
Ignition EntertainmentIgnition Entertainment is working with SNK Playmore to release yet another Metal Slug game. This time, Metal Slug 7 will be released for the DS, late this year. As with other Metal Slug games, this is a two-dimensional scrolling shooter.
Garfield: Lasagna World TourConspiracy Entertainment has shipped its game Garfield: Lasagna World Tour for the PlayStation 2 to stores in North America.

The Continuum Launches

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Seven Lights has officially launched its collectible online game The Continuum. The game is playable within a web browser and allows players to purchase lots of fantasy-themed units with which to do online battle.
38 Studios, the company founded by Curt Schilling, has hired Thom Ang to serve as the company's Director of Art, heading up the company's art on projects including the massively multiplayer online game codenamed "Copernicus." Most recently, Ang served as an art director at THQ.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' compilation The SimCity Box is now in stores for the PC.
Atlus has shipped Operation Darkness for the Xbox 360 to stores in North America. Operation Darkness is a strategic role-playing game set in an alternate World War II. The player needs to lead a team to put a stop to Hitler and the Nazi expansion.
UbisoftUbisoft has shipped My Weight Loss Coach for the DS to stores in North America.
Sony has released Medievil Resurrection as a download for the PSP (through the PlayStation Store on the PC or PlayStation 3). The game costs $17 and revisits the original Medievil for the PlayStation.
UbisoftUbisoft is planning to release another Prince of Persia game for the DS in time for this year's holiday season.

Exteel Review

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Exteel Publisher: NCsoft
Developer: Team Beam

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 800 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, nVidia GeForce 4 series video card or equivalent, 1 GB HD space, internet connection, Windows 2000 or XP

Giant fighting robots called "Mechanaughts" meet in sporting arenas or cityscapes to determine who has the biggest gun and the superior pilot by slugging it out with high-powered weaponry and melee weapons the size of small trees.

Soul BubblesEidos' game for the DS, Soul Bubbles is now in stores for the DS.
Your World Games has released its mobile role-playing game, The Shroud for AT&T customers in North America. The game has players farming, fishing, mining and battling monsters to save the world from invasion by the Shroud and the evil it houses.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts confirmed that it plans to support the Wii's various unique interface devices in its sports games, introducing the "All-Play" label to describe Wii-supported sports games. The various EA Sports games that will specifically support the Wii are:
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Backbone Entertainment

Platforms: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Reviewed on PlayStation 3

General Ratiev is once again terrorizing the free world, taking hostages and unleashing hordes of minions to fire slow-moving bullets around the landscape. Only a trio of the world's toughest commandos has a hope of freeing the prisoners and putting a stop to Ratiev: Codenames Wolf, Coyote and Fox.

Jumpgate: EvolutionNetDevil and Codemasters have launched sign-ups for the beta test of Jumpgate: Evolution, the re-imagining of the classic massively multiplayer online game Jumpgate.
Sacred 2: Fallen AngelCDV Software Entertainment and Ascaron Entertainment will release Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, previously planned for the PC and Xbox 360, for the PlayStation 3.
ActivisionActivision is planning to release a sequel to its game Dancing With The Stars late this year for the Wii and the DS.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts plans to release Boogie SuperStar for the Wii this October to follow on the success of its dance and rhythm game Boogie
The Orb and the OracleJoWooD's DreamCatcher Games label plans to release The Orb and the Oracle late this year for the PC. The game is being created by D.W. Bradley and will continue the series of role-playing games that began with Dungeon Lords.

RooGoo Ships for the PC

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SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Games has shipped the PC version of its game RooGoo, previously released for Xbox Live Arcade, to stores.
Got Game Entertainment has signed on to publish Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches for the PC in North America.
K2 Games has launched the "Nocturnal Sonata" content expansion for its massively multiplayer online game Sword of the New World: Granado Espada.
Fallen Empire: Legions is now available for play on GarageGames' InstantAction platform. The game is now, officially, in a "public-beta test," meaning that anyone can go ahead and try out the 3D action game using the InstantAction web-based play system.
Dungeon Runners' Bling GnomeNCsoft has shipped its game Dungeon Runners to retail stores.
MicrosoftIn an event today in San Francisco, Microsoft is busy highlighting the existing games that are part of its "Games for Windows" label, and has added 16 new games to the official Games for Windows line-up:
NintendoWhenever one company or another prepares for a big event, other companies get competitive and try to fill space with their own announcements. Today, Nintendo is trying to fill space by announcing four upcoming games:
ActivisionActivision plans to release Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2009 late this year for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PlayStation 2.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has named Tony Parker as the cover athlete for NBA Live '09.
Astraware and Sandlot games have released a version of the PC game Westward for Symbian S60 and UIQ smartphones.

PSP Receives v4.01 Update

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PSPSony has already released the v4.01 system software update for the PSP. It appears that certain fixes were necessary to ensure proper functionality of the features introduced in the v4.00 update.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts and Maxis confirmed that they will release a "Galactic Edition" of the upcoming game Spore. The Spore Galactic Edition will include the game, an art book, a DVD documentary and a fancier version of the Spore manual. So, instead of purchasing the game that allows players to create a planet from scratch for $50, gamers will be able to spend $80 for a few extras.
Microsoft has released two more downloadable games for Xbox Live Arcade:
THQTHQ has shipped American Girl: Kit Mystery Challenge for the DS to stores in North America.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games has shipped Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress for the PSP to stores in North America.
The Xbox 360 version of Supreme Commander from Aspyr Media is now available in stores.
Freaky CreaturesAbandon Interactive Entertainment has opened sign-ups for its closed beta test of Freaky Creatures that will begin on July 15. The game has players building online versions of collectible action figures that can be constructed and battled online.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has promoted Michael Delman to coordinate global marketing strategies for the Xbox and Games for Windows businesses.
Disney's domestic television business and Capcom have extended their agreement covering "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" to allow Capcom to continue making and selling mobile games based on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" through 2010.
Mega Man Star Force 2Two versions of Capcom's game Mega Man Star Force 2 for the DS are now available in stores in North America.
CodemastersCodemasters has shipped the PlayStation 3 version of its game Overlord: Raising Hell to stores in North America.
UbisoftUbisoft confirmed that it plans to establish a development studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The Ant Commandos' Widow MakerPeripheral manufacturer The Ant Commandos has started selling its Widow Maker Bass Guitar peripheral for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2. The controller is designed for music and rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band and is a 2.4GHz wireless controller with fret buttons that the company describes as having a "clickier" feel. The controller retails for $70.
Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, the sports label of Take-Two Interactive, has shipped its game Top Spin 3 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS to stores in North America.
PopCapPopCap Games has opened up an office in Asia to support its expanding business in that region.
Hail to the ChimpGamecock Media and Wideload Games have shipped Hail to the Chimp for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment has shipped Cake Mania 2 for the DS to stores in North America.
JoWooDDreamCatcher Games, a label of JoWooD, plans to release a version of its game Safecracker for the Wii late this year.
Natsume plans to publish Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon for the DS late this year.
AtariAtari has shipped Alone in the Dark to stores for the Xbox 360, Wii, PC and PlayStation 2. A PlayStation 3 version of the game is expected to reach stores late this year.
KonamiKonami has shipped its game Hellboy: The Science of Evil for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP to stores.
Now it's time for today's installment of "Fun With Surveys!" Two separate companies came out with reports this morning emphasizing the economic importance of gaming. Now, to the nitty-gritty...
Square EnixSquare Enix has shipped Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift to stores for the DS.

WALL-E Ships to Stores

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THQTHQ has shipped the game WALL-E, based on the Pixar film of the same name, to stores in North America.
Entertainment Software AssociationThe Entertainment Software Association (the ESA – a game industry trade organization) recently performed a survey to emphasize the importance of interactive software to large corporations for training.
Command & Conquer 3: Kane's WrathElectronic Arts has shipped the Xbox 360 version of Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, an expansion for Command & Conquer 3, to stores in North America and Europe.
ActivisionActivision confirmed that Call of Duty: World at War will be released late this year for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped its latest stuff pack for The Sims 2 to stores. The Sims 2: IKEA Home Stuff should be on stores in North America on Wednesday and in Europe by Friday.
ActivisionActivision's game Guitar Hero: On Tour is now available for the DS, along with a Black and Silver DS bundle that includes Guitar Hero: On Tour.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped Battlefield: Bad Company to stores for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game should be available for purchase in North America by Wednesday and by Friday in Europe.
Vivendi Games Mobile has released Cake Mania 2: Bake Off! for mobile phones. This mobile version of the casual PC game has players running bakeries and working quickly to keep customers happy.
THQTHQ has shipped its game Big Beach Sports for the Wii to stores in North America. The game should ship in Europe on June 26th and to parts of Asia on June 27.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has partnered with Workman Publishing Company to develop a DS version of Brain Quest.
Once again, Monday has arrived, and Nintendo has delivered its usual payload of downloadable games. This week's games include:
The Hardy BoysThe Adventure Company, part of JoWooD, has entered into a partnership with Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing to develop a series of games based on The Hardy Boys. Several games will be released over the next five years, with Frank and Joe's first game being The Tower Treasure, due out late this year.
Harmonix (part of MTV Games) in conjunction with Electronic Arts, has shipped the Rock Band Special Edition Bundle for the Wii to stores in North America.
THQTHQ confirmed that it plans to release its first game based on the Ultimate Fighting Championship matches in the first half of 2009.
KoeiKoei has released its game Fatal Inertia Ex for the PlayStation 3 as a download through the PlayStation Network.
Sony Online Entertainment has released the fourth expansion set for its online collectible card game Legends of Norrath. Called Oathbreaker, the set completes the story arc that began in Oathbound, the first set in the game.
Reuters is reporting that Anthony Puzo, son of author Mario Puzo, is suing Paramount pictures for failing to pay Puzo's family anything when Electronic Arts released The Godfather as a game.
LapWorks has made its laptop surface, the Gamer's Desk, available for sale. The Gamers Desk is a platform large enough for a full-size keyboard and mouse designed to sit comfortably on your lap. The product is specifically targeted at those gamers who prefer to keep their PC hooked up to the television and recline comfortably on a couch or chair while using the PC. The surface could also be used for gamers who prefer a mouse and keyboard combination to typical console controllers. The product sells for $40.
LucasArtsLucasArts confirmed that it plans to release Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the Wii and DS late this year. The game will focus on Lightsaber duels performed with the Wii remote and DS stylus. The Wii version is currently called Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels while the DS version will be Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Jedi Alliance.
Majesco EntertainmentMajesco plans to release Escape the Museum for the Wii late this year.
PlayFirst has released Fashion Dash as a download for the PC and Mac.
Take-Two InteractiveIt appears that Take-Two Interactive is prepared to end its stonewalling of the Federal Trade Commission's investigation of the impact of a potential merger with EA.
Caffeinated GamesCaffeinated Games announced that its first game will be Farmlands, a PC game in the style of board and collectible card games.
Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of LagaardAtlus' game Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard for the DS is now available in stores. In this sequel to the original Etrian Odyssey, players can build a party of adventurers from 12 classes as they prepare to delve into the land's dungeons. The story has players searching for the Grail of Kings that will, supposedly, reward its discoverer with untold wealth.
Dreamlords: The ReawakeningLockpick Entertainment has officially launched its persistent online game Dreamlords: The Reawakening.
Zoids AssaultAtlus has delayed the planned release of its game Zoids Assault for the Xbox 360. The game was previously slated to reach stores in late August, but will now ship on September 9.
Focus Home Interactive has signed on with White Birds to publish Last King of Africa for the DS.
Sometimes surveys can get awfully silly. PopCap has been surveying casual gamers, coming to all sorts of conclusions about their preferences, but RealGames didn't want to be left out of the picture. So they've determined that smokers like to play hidden picture games.
The U.S. State of Wisconsin wants game developers to know that its tax credit program for film and television also applies to qualifying video game developers. The program includes a 25% rebate on "qualified production related expenditures plus a 15% credit for infrastructure development." Wisconsin hopes that will be enough to encourage developers to set up shop in the state.
Microsoft has released another two downloadable games for Xbox Live Arcade: Elements of Destruction and Sea Life Safari.
Infogrames, parent of Atari, reported its financial results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.
Sony is planning to release the v2.36 firmware update for the PlayStation 3 shortly to increase system stability, but that's not the big news. Sony has confirmed that when the v2.40 update is released, it will add support for XMB (XrossMediaBar) access in-game, and will add the long-promised trophies. Trophies have been discussed in a way that makes them sound similar in function to Xbox Live Achievements. By promising trophies in the v2.40 update, Sony is clearly trying to suggest they will arrive soon, without promising a specific date.
Square Enix and Taito have shipped Space Invaders Extreme for the DS to stores. The game is an updated version of the classic coin-operated game that adds power-ups, bosses and new modes to the original formula.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games has shipped Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 3 for the DS to stores in North America.
Square Enix and Taito have shipped Arkanoid DS to stores. The game brings the classic, block-busting play of Arkanoid to Nintendo's handheld platform.
The Political MachineStardock Entertainment has released The Political Machine 2008 both as a PC download and as a boxed version available in stores.
Nickelodeon, part of Viacom, has reorganized its games and online business to form new groups.
StardockPublisher and developer Stardock already had its TotalGaming.net game distribution service, but apparently one such service just isn't enough for a single company. Stardock has launched impulsedriven.com, a new digital distribution system for PC software, including Stardock's games.
Sony is planning to release the v4.00 software update for the PSP shortly. The update will integrate Google's search capabilities into the XMB (XrossMediaBar) and will allow users to change the viewing speed of videos stored on the Memory Stick.
Sony has launched update #46 for its massively multiplayer online game EverQuest II.
Supreme Ruler 2020Paradox Interactive has shipped Supreme Ruler 2020 for the PC from Battlegoat Studios to stores in North America.

Chang Joins OnNet

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David Chang of OnNetOnNet USA's "Gamescampus" label has added David Chang as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. The label brings online games to North America on behalf of OnNet that make their money through item-based microtransactions. Prior to taking this position, Chang worked for PlaySpan, an in-game commerce network.
AtariAtari plans to release Deer Hunter Tournament for the PC this fall, but this year, the franchise will also be released for the Xbox 360.
Nielsen conducted a study concerning in-game advertising on behalf of IGA Worldwide, an in-game advertising network, into the effectiveness of in-game advertising. As described in the results below, the survey found that in-game advertising can be effective. But unlike the statement of an EA executive, the study did not find that gamers like it.
Take-Two InteractiveElectronic Arts' offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of Take-Two Interactive was set to expire today. However, Take-Two Interactive has refused to cooperate with the Federal Trade Commission on its examination of the transaction, effectively stonewalling and delaying the possible acquisition. As a result, EA has extended its offer until July 18. EA's offer is still contingent on several conditions, including regulatory approval, and the FTC's sign-off is necessary for the transaction to move forward.
Sony's latest Ratchet & Clank game, Secret Agent Clank is now in stores for the PSP.
EAElectronic Arts has released the Spore Creature Creator for the PC and Mac.
Gravity Interactive has launched its massively multiplayer online game Requiem: Bloodymare. The online game is free, but offers certain items at a premium. The game is based on a world where magic and genetic engineering have combined to populate the landscape with horrific creatures.
Publisher: 1C
Developer: SkyFallen Entertainment

Platform: PC
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/death-track-resurrection

In the near, dystopian future, much of the world is in wreckage. Conventional, organized sports have fallen by the roadside as a single death-sport has grabbed the popular consciousness: "The Survival Race." This global event pits the drivers of well-armed vehicles against one another as they race and battle through the ruins of ten cities around the globe.

Publisher: 1C / Atari
Developer: Katauri Interactive

Platform: PC
Official Site kings-bounty.com

As a young hero (a warrior, paladin or recent graduate of the mage's academy), players venture out into a fantasy kingdom in search of wealth, glory and vast armies to lead. Starting with petty tasks performed for the local king, players encounter bandits and an undead local miller before choosing their own paths to lead armies of fantastic creatures in turn-based combat on behalf of allies of the players' choosing.

MajescoMajesco Entertainment reported its financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended April 30, 2008.
D3Publisher has signed on to release a game for the DS based on Aardman Animations Shaun the Sheep series of animated features.
KoeiKoei plans to release Pop Cutie! Street Fashion Simulation for the DS this September.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts is expanding its fantasy football system to console users. PC users will have access to EA's fantasy football system similar to past years, but EA plans to make its fantasy football application available (for a fee) to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners. EA also plans to add the ability for console owners to export their fantasy football teams into Madden NFL '09.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive confirmed that it plans to release Penumbra: Requiem, sequel to Penumbra: Black Plague, on August 27, 2008.
D3Publisher has entered into an agreement with Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group to make the video game based on the upcoming film Coraline. Coraline is a 3D stop-motion animated film based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name. The game should be released in the first quarter of 2009 for console and handheld systems, timed to coincide with the expected February 6, 2006 release date for the film.
Joytoto, an online game publisher, plans to bring the massively multiplayer online game The Great Merchant to North America next year. The game is already available in Korea and should enter beta testing in the fourth quarter of this year.
THQ confirmed that it plans to release Bratz Girlz Really Rock late this year for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and DS.
NintendoNintendo is offering another three downloadable games for the Wii this Monday. Two are new WiiWare games and one is a classic game being re-released as part of the Wii Virtual Console program.
Xseed GamesXseed Games confirmed that it is co-publishing Little King's Story for the Wii with Marvelous Entertainment USA late this year.
Build in TimeReflexive Entertainment has launched Build in Time as a download for the PC. The game has players constructing suburban habitats in time periods ranging from the 1950's through the present day to build a thriving construction business.
Women's Volleyball ChampionshipAgetec plans to release Women's Volleyball Championship for the PlayStation 2 this August. According to Mark Johnson, a producer at Agetec, "A key feature in Women's Volleyball is players get a chance to create and train their own team. If players want their volleyball players to have certain qualities, this game allows them to customize their players to their liking."
AtariAtari announced its financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and financial year ended March 31, 2008.
Funcom and Eidos have dispatched a missive, letting players know what the companies have planned for future months in the massively multiplayer online game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. We'll just give you their list, verbatim:
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Interactive has signed on to co-publish Igor alongside Legacy Interactive. The Igor game is based the animated film of the same name distributed by MGM Studios.

Tornado Coming to the DS

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Ignition EntertainmentIgnition Entertainment has signed on to publish Tornado for the DS from developer Success to stores in North America.
Sony has released two previous Syphon Filter games as downloads through the PlayStation Store. Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror can now be downloaded for the PSP for $16, and Syphon Filter 3 can be downloaded for the PlayStation 3 and PSP.
Aces of the Galaxy Publisher: Sierra Online (Vivendi)
Developer: Artech Studios

Platform: Xbox 360, PC
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Official Site: acesofthegalaxy.com/

The frenetic, on-rails space shooter genre has come and gone... and come back again. Sometimes it's a 2D-scroller. Sometimes, it's a 3D (or 3D-ish) fly-by. Regardless of the presentation, these things have always punished their fans. They sucked down your roll of quarters in the '80s and you wouldn't even get halfway through the game. Your thumbs bled, playing the console versions, but you always went back for more. Artech's Aces of the Galaxy is a throwback, next-gen shmup (the currently cool way to say "shoot 'em up," if you're 14). It's a throwback, both honoring and imitating the genre. But it's very next-gen as well, with slick, polished graphics (especially for an Xbox Live Arcade title), an appropriate musical score, and plenty of thumping sound effects. But keep in mind: This is a shmup, and it can be brutally hard.

Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor from Eidos (part of SCi Entertainment) is now in stores for the DS.

NHL 2K9 Coming to the Wii

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Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, Take-Two Interactive's sports label, plans to release a version of NHL 2K9 for the Wii.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has restructured the leadership of its Interactive Entertainment business, driven by the resignation of Jeff Bell as the corporate Vice President of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business.
Publisher: 1C
Developer: Action Forms

Platform: PC
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/cryostasis-sleep-of-reason/

In the year 1968, Alexander Nesterov was to be stationed at "Pole 21," a Russian facility in the deep, northern Arctic. Trained as a meteorologist, Nesterov hardly expected to fall off a transport and awaken near a ship trapped in the ice. The North Wind, a nuclear-powered Russian ice-breaker might be frozen in deep polar ice, but it's still Nesterov's only hope to live longer than the few brief minutes exposure to the harsh Arctic winds and open ice will allow. Unfortunately, the crew of the North Wind is dead. Even worse, they're trying to get Nesterov to join them.

This month's issue of CyberPsychology & Behavior includes a paper from four researchers at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Romania arguing that players in competitive games have an advantage if they play on the "red" team against a "blue" team.

Games Get Caffeinated

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Caffeinated Games GuyYesterday, Caffeinated Games proclaimed its existence with a press release drawing attention to itself. Caffeinated Games has been stealthily steeling itself in preparation for this moment, but was founded some time ago by Greg Chudecke. Prior to starting Caffeinated Games, Chudecke was the Lead Tools Engineer for Zipper Interactive, working on the SOCOM franchise. The company expects to announce its first game project shortly.
Majesco EntertainmentMajesco Entertainment plans to publish Jillian Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009 for the Wii in time for this holiday season.
JoWooDJoWooD Productions has entered into an agreement with German publisher Tivola Publishing GmbH to publish and distribute Tivola's games in North America, South America, Spain, Portugal and India. The agreement covers around 40 games for the PC, Wii and DS.
NintendoOn June 22, Nintendo, together with Activision, plans to launch a bundle that will include a silver and black DS in the same package with a copy of Guitar Hero: On Tour for the DS. For a time, that bundle will be the only way to acquire that particular color scheme of DS.

NecroVisioN Preview

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NecroVisioN Publisher: 1C
Developer: The Farm 51

Platform: PC
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/necrovision

The War to End All Wars is raging, and a young, American soldier has joined the British army to get a taste of the trenches. But the front lines of 1916 are hardly the place for a young man to find himself. They are, however, an excellent place to find enemy Germans, insane allies, vampires and demons. Only by absorbing some of those demonic powers can this young man defeat the evil that lurks beneath the senseless waste of life that sprawls across Europe.

KonamiKonami has shipped Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for the PlayStation 3 to stores in North America.
Matrix Games has launched Gary Grigsby's War Between the States for the PC.
Recently, accusations have surfaced that the adventure game Limbo of the Lost (published by Tri Synergy and developed by Majestic) stole artwork and design elements from other games, particularly The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Thief: Deadly Shadows. Publisher Tri Synergy expressed surprise and has stopped distributing the game.
Ignition EntertainmentIgnition Entertainment has moved its California office from Marina del Ray to Glendale to accommodate the increasing size of the company.
Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive has been fighting efforts to acquire the company by Electronic Arts tooth and nail, but in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Take-Two Interactive admitted to a surprisingly low delaying tactic.
Middleware provider NaturalMotion and nVidia have teamed up to bulk up NaturalMotion's middleware solutions, particularly NaturalMotion's morpheme animation engine. The Engine will now include PhysX physics support (for rigid-body dynamics) and GeForce GPU acceleration for PC titles.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment plans to publish a casual game called Orchard late this year.
AtariAtari officially confirmed that it is working on another expansion for Neverwinter Nights 2 that will be released in the last quarter of this year. The expansion will be called Storm of Zehir.
Bubble BabbleAstraware has launched its game Bubble Babble for Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices.
PopCapPopCap Games has been surveying casual gamers to learn more about what makes them click. In it's latest study, PopCap determined that disabled people are more likely to be casual gamers than the general population.
SouthPeak InteractiveSouthPeak Interactive plans to release Brave: Shaman's Challenge for the DS later this summer.
Two more games have been released as Xbox Live Arcade downloads for the Xbox 360.
Jake Hunter: Detective ChroniclesAksys Games has shipped Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles for the DS to stores in North America.
Backyard Baseball 2009Humongous has shipped its game Backyard Baseball 2009 to stores in North America.
It's always been a bad sign for entertainment and education alike when extreme conservatives have suggested book burnings. In a recent interview, a Virginia pastor has suggested that he is planning a similar burning for games and music to diminish their impact on youth.
Gameloft has released a version of the classic game Oregon Trail for mobile phones.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped NASCAR '09 to stores in North America.
Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, the sports label of Take-Two Interactive, has shipped its game Don King Presents: Prizefighter to stores in North America.
MajescoMajesco has shipped its game Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy for the Wii to stores in North America.
AtariAtari has shipped Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has shipped Trainz: The Complete Collection for the PC to stores in North America.
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Interactive recently acquired Global Services Partners Acquisition Corp, thereby becoming a publicly traded company. That was last month. Now, the company has finally arranged to change its OTC Bulletin Board symbol to SOPK and is trading under its own symbol.
Lighthouse Interactive and dtp Entertainment have shipped their game Belief & Betrayal for the PC to stores in North America.
Today, CCP Games is releasing a content expansion for its massively multiplayer online game EVE Online called "Empyrean Age."
ActivisionActivision confirmed that it plans to release Monster Jam: Urban Assault late this year.

Captain Blood Preview

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Publisher: 1C
Developer: SeaWolf

Platforms: Xbox 360 and PC
Official Site 1cpublishing.eu/game/captain-blood

Dr. Peter Blood was a doctor who made the treasonous mistake of treating wounded men who had rebelled against King James in the late seventeenth century. Despite wanting no traffic with the quarrels of kings, Blood was sentenced to death. But his sentence was commuted – instead of a short drop at the gallows, Blood received a long trip across the Atlantic and was made a slave on the island of Barbados. During Blood's unfortunate servitude, Barbados is attacked by Spaniards, leaving Blood and his fellow slaves the remarkable opportunity to steal a Spanish ship and maraud the Caribbean as pirates.

Supreme Ruler 2020Courtesy of the fine folks at Paradox Interactive, we are giving away two downloadable copies of Supreme Ruler 2020 to the readers of Frictionless Insight.

Supreme Ruler 2020 is a strategy game from Battlegoat Studios for the PC in which players take military, economic and political control of a nation, leading that nation to global supremacy. The first iteration of Supreme Ruler was released in 1985, with the most recent release (Supreme Ruler 2010) being in 2005. Read on to learn how to enter:

Take-Two Interactive2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive, plans to release Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization late this year for the PC.
Yggdra UnionAtlus plans to release Yggdra Union, previously released on the Game Boy Advance, later this year for the PSP.
AtariAtari has hired Tim Flynn as the company's Senior Vice President of Sales.
Command & Conquer: Kane's WrathElectronic Arts' Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, an expansion pack for the real-time strategy game Command & Conquer 3, is now gold for the Xbox 360, in duplication and should ship to stores on June 23.
ESAThe Entertainment Software Association (the ESA – the trade organization that represents video game publishers) announced that the Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has reached 150,000 members.
AtariAtari's game Alone in the Dark is now gold, in duplication and should ship to stores shortly.
ActivisionActivision has filed the definitive proxy statement for its proposed combination with Vivendi Games with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tomorrow, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time, Activision's shareholders will vote on the combination. We can reasonably expect that shareholders will approve the transaction, at which point Activision will be free to move forward to consummate the marriage between itself and Vivendi Games.
Electronic Arts has named Dion Phaneuf as the cover athlete for NHL '09.
As the calendar has once again swung around to Monday, Nintendo is releasing three more downloadable games for the Wii.

Men of War Preview

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Publisher: 1C
Developer: Best Way

Platform: PC
Official Site: 1cpublishing.eu/game/men-of-war

Two students, Smirnov and Kuznetov, have found themselves wrenched from the pleasantries of academic life to fight against the invading troops of Hitler's Germany. As they are bloodied and promoted in Men of War, they follow the Soviet campaign resisting the German invasion in a tale that ultimately turns to include German and Allied missions that take players through Russia, North Africa, Europe and the Pacific.

The World Ends With You Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix / Jupiter

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

Neku Sakuraba is a 15-year old boy who enjoys wandering the streets of the trendy Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo and gazing at graffiti. He's not much for human company, though, so he tunes out the crowds by constantly wearing headphones and affecting disinterest in other people. Then one day, he awakens in the middle of Shibuya with no memory, and no one can see him – save a few strange and trendy folks bearing pins or mysterious, tattoo-like wings. A message arrives on his cell phone letting him know that he must complete a series of missions or be erased from existence. Now part of some unknowable game, Neku must learn the rules as he goes and be victorious, just to survive.

Grey Dog Software has released its game Total Extreme Wrestling 2008 as a download for the PC.
CodemastersCodemasters confirmed that it plans to localize its racing game GRID (that recently shipped to stores in North America) for release in Japan later this year.
Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, the sports label of Take-Two Interactive, has named Kevin Garnett as the cover athlete for NBA 2K9.
Pip-Boy 3000Bethesda Softworks has launched pre-orders for the survival edition of Fallout 3 and announced the contents of the Fallout 3 Survival Edition.
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is available as a download for the PlayStation 3 for $10.
Russian publisher 1C announced that it has expanded its publishing efforts to consoles. At the Russian Consulate in San Francisco (at an event dubbed "Another Night in Moskva") announced that it will publish games for consoles and revealed upcoming titles for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Take-Two Interactive announced its financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2008.
Cengage Learning has released another three books to help game programmers.
Soldak has launched the Mac version of its role-playing game Depths of Peril as a download.
Sony and Tiki Games have launched Novastrike as a downloadable game for the PlayStation 3.
iEntertainment Network has released the latest version of its Warbirds game, Warbirds 2008, for the PC and Mac.
ActivisionActivision has signed a distribution agreement with System 3 that will see Activision distribute Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli late this summer in North America.
The Sims 2: Apartment LifeElectronic Arts plans to launch The Sims 2: Apartment Life for the PC and The Sims 2: Apartment Pets for the DS on August 26 in North America and August 22 in Europe and parts of Asia.
Legacy Interactive's game The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes was already available as a downloadable game and has now reached stores as a retail box for the Mac and PC.
EAElectronic Arts and Crytek confirmed that they plan to release Crysis: Warhead for the PC late this year.
D3Publisher of America and Tomy plan to release Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2 for the Wii late this year.
Here at FI, we're suckers for the classic Games Workshop game Blood Bowl, so while we don't typically share every burst of screenshots that comes our way, we had to share this picture of a dwarf seeming to cry into his beer over problems while playing a team of lizardmen. The game is being developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive for release on the Xbox 360, PC, DS, and PSP.
Insomniac Games, the developer behind such franchises as Ratchet & Clank and Resistance: Fall of Man plans to open a new studio in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
TurbineDeveloper and Publisher Turbine has raised $40 million through a private equity financing.
In-Game advertising provider IGA Worldwide will provide dynamic advertising content for several of Electronic Arts' games on the PlayStation 3 for the next two years.
Two more games are now downloadable from Xbox Live: Aces of the Galaxy and Roogoo.
Electronic Arts has launched its mobile Kung Fu Panda game through mobile carriers in North America. The game should reach Europe shortly.
Atlus U.S.A. has shipped its game Summon Night: Twin Age for the DS to stores in North America.
Ninja Gaiden II, published by Microsoft and developed by Tecmo's Team Ninja, is now in stores for the Xbox 360.
Lego Indiana JonesLucasArts has shipped Lego Indiana Jones to stores in North America.
Agetec has launched LOL for the DS, but the game is only available for purchase online.
Capcom plans to release Spyborgs for the Wii sometime in 2009.
Dokapon KingdomAtlus USA plans to release Dokapon Kingdom for the Wii and PlayStation 2 on October 14.
Capcom has launched Devil May Cry 3D for mobile phones in North America.
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach - Three-Barrel CoveToday, Turbine has released the content update for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach called Module 7: The Way of the Monk.
Capcom has partnered with Neopets to develop Neopets Puzzle Adventure for release this holiday season on the Wii, DS and PC.
Sony has shipped Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 for the PSP to stores in North America.
Activision's game Kung Fu Panda, based on the film of the same name, is now in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, PlayStation 2 and DS.
From a business perspective, in-game advertising has moved to a new level. Nearly two years ago, Microsoft acquired in-game advertising provider Massive. Recently, Massive completed an audit by the Media Services Group verifying Massive's methodology of counting impressions. Microsoft and Massive hope that this type of third party verification will convince partners to trust Massive's methodology and plans to perform annual audits.
The Bourne ConspiracySierra Entertainment (part of Vivendi) has dispatched its game Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy to stores in North America.
Codemasters has shipped its game GRID to stores in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
THQTHQ plans to release Age of Empires: Mythologies for the DS late this year.
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - Episode One Publisher: Hothead Games
Developer: Hothead Games

Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Linux,
Reviewed on Xbox 360

As if trapped in the inexorable grasp of a steam and fruit juice-powered contraption of Herculean proportions, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - Episode One (should I call it "Rain Slick"? or "PAAOTRSOD1"? Or perhaps, simply Herbert?) dragged me into an adventure I could not shirk, save for those moments in which I was required to ingest further coffee to fuel my caffeine-addled drive (and the obvious need to occasionally eliminate). Sweeter than treacle to play and more self-indulgent than... well... eating treacle, Rain Slick is like the fulfillment of a prophecy. As if thousands of days ago, a gossamer-clad waifish girl inhaled the fumes of a volcano and proclaimed, "One day there shall be a game, based on the online comic Penny Arcade in which, bearing an anointed rake, you shall battle creatures of metal with a carnal appetite for fresh fruit!" So it came to pass.

Buku Sudoku Review

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Buku Sudoku Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Merscom

Platform: Xbox 360, PC
Reviewed on Xbox 360

"Buku Sudoku takes the pen-and-paper puzzler high-tech with HD graphics, helpful tutorials, single-and multiplayer game modes, multiple grid sizes and the option to display hints, highlight errors, undo moves and even solve puzzles."

Harmonix, part of MTV Games, is partnering with Q Entertainment to bring Rock Band to Japan.

Needham Joins Cryptic

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Cryptic StudiosCryptic Studios has hired John Needham is the company's Chief Executive Officer.
Nintendo has released three downloadable games this week for the Wii as part of the WiiWare and Virtual Console programs.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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