April 2010 Archives

Today, the Florida Legislature passed Economic Development Bill SB 1752 (companion bill to HB 697 – the Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act). The bill, which now goes to the governor to be signed into law, provides a 20% tax credit for qualified expenses (incurred in Florida) that has been expanded to include interactive digital media (including video games). There is a cap to the total tax benefit, but this bill is designed to encourage video game companies to expand in or set up shop in Florida.
Yet more games have been released as downloads for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:
ZeniMaxBethesda Softworks, part of ZeniMax Media is opening two new European offices to expand its international sales and marketing presence. Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Bethesda already has offices in London and Tokyo. Now, the company plans is opening an office in Frankfurt, Germany (headed by Frank Matzke) and in Paris, France (headed by Julie Chalmette). Both offices will oversee sales and marketing in their respective territories, just as both offices are headed by former Vivendi Games employees.
I-play, part of Oberon Media, has released Deadtime Stories as a download for the PC. This hidden-object-style adventure game has players coping with spirits and casting spells to unravel the story of voodoo queen Jessie Bodeen.
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has signed an exclusive publishing agreement with Bungie, the developer most famous for creating the Halo franchise. Activision will be the exclusive publisher of Bungie's upcoming franchise for the next decade, with Bungie retaining its independence (at least for the time being).
Viacom, parent of MTV Games and Harmonix, announced its financial results for its fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2010. While game enthusiasts may not be interested in the overall results of the entertainment conglomerate, Viacom specifically mentioned disappointing performance of Rock Band, noting that "Worldwide ancillary revenues declined 7% reflecting lower sales of Rock Band music video games."
Quest Online's massively multiplayer online game Alganon moved out of beta testing and officially launched today. The game costs $20 to play, but does not require a subscription fee. Truthfully, the story is a little more complicated – The game officially launched the first time in December of 2009, after which the development of the game changed leadership (from David Allen to Derek Smart) and the game returned to beta status before launching version 2 of the game. This high-fantasy themed MMOG asks players to unlock the extensive backstory of the game through the usual framework of questing and combat.
Logitech Harmony 300 Remote Company: Logitech

The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is a perfect remote for its niche. For those looking to remotely control a small entertainment setup, winnowing several controllers down to one (and being able to activate an entertainment center at the touch of a single button), the Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is an ideal solution. Better yet, it's available for only $50, making it competitive with vastly inferior "universal" remotes. The temptation that electronics junkies have to overcome is trying to save big bucks by relying on this remote for a complicated entertainment center. The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote simply isn't up to the job of taking on multiple devices that rely on constantly changing input configurations – for that, you'll need a more expensive (and flexible) remote.

The Boy Scouts of America have added two video game awards, a belt loop and a pin, related to video games:
Developer Digital and Croteam have released Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter as a download for the PC through Steam. This is a remake of the original first-person shooter using the Serious 3 engine with the addition of new enemies, modes and secrets.
Mobile publisher Gameloft announced selected financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2010:
NCsoftNCsoft is celebrating the six-year anniversary of its game City of Heroes with the release of "Issue 17: Dark Mirror." This latest major content update adds even higher-end graphics options, a "Demon Summoning" power set, new story arcs for both heroes and villains, improvements to the Mission Architect system and tons of tweaks to the game system and interface.
Tecmo Koei AmericaThis week's addition to Xbox Live Arcade is Tecmo Koei America's Tecmo Bowl Throwback. Downloadable for 800 points ($10), this is a remake of the classic Tecmo Super Bowl, with the option to play the classic game using updated 3D graphics.
Aksys Games has shipped Record of Argarest War for the Xbox 360 to stores in North America. Developed by Compiled Heart, Red Entertainment and Idea Factory, this strategic-oriented role-playing game puts players in the middle of a war between the gods.
Sony has shipped Pixel Junk Monsters Deluxe on UMD to retail stores in North America. This tower defense game offers 45 stages in which PSP owners can defend against oncoming hordes of monsters, for $10.
Activision BlizzardMichael Griffith, formerly the President and Chief Executive Officer of Activision Publishing, has stepped down from his former role but will remain Vice-Chairman of Activision Blizzard reporting to the company's Chief Executive Officer. He has also extended his employment contract (previously set to expire on June 30) through June 30, 2011 (his employment contract will automatically renew every year unless either party decides to terminate the agreement. Under the new contract, Griffith's base salary will be $250,000 per year, along with a discretionary bonus and stock options for 30,000 shares of common stock and 20,000 shares of restricted stock (all of which will vest on June 30, 2011.
UbisoftUbisoft has shipped the PC version of its game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction to stores. This stealth-action game features a co-operative mode as well as a single-player campaign featuring Sam Fisher, and shipped earlier this month for consoles.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games' title Dead to Rights: Retribution for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now in stores in North America. This third person action game once again follows vice cop Jack Slate and is dog Shadow as they combat Grant City's criminal element.
NatsumeNatsume's game Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley for the PSP is now in stores in North America. This latest Harvest Moon has players protecting Leaf Valley from the Funland Corporation – a company that wants to bulldoze Leaf Valley and build an amusement park. To do so, players indulge in the usual style of Harvest Moon play, raising crops, tending to animals and mining while building up the family farm.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is now in stores in North America and should reach stores in Europe by Friday. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP and a variety of mobile platforms. This soccer game includes all 199 teams and 10 venues that will appear in the FIFA World Cup in June.
CapcomCapcom's game Super Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now in stores in North America. Just as this iteration adds the word "Super" to Street Fighter IV, the game adds 10 new characters, new stages, bonus stages and new Ultra Combos to last year's Street Fighter IV.

NIER Reaches Stores

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Square EnixSquare Enix's game NIER for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now in stores in North America. This action-heavy role-playing game has players searching for the origins of an apocalyptic plague by battling a long series of monsters.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched the 13th expansion for its online collectible strategy game PoxNora, called Maljaran Frontier. This latest expansion adds 78 new runes, including new champions, spells, equipment and relics to the game, as well as protections to players suffering from disconnect problems.
Matrix Games, together with Slitherine Strategies, has released Storm of Arrows, the second expansion pack for Field of Glory, as a download for the PC. The expansion requires the original game of medieval warfare, adding new units, new battles and new features (like archers' stakes). The expansion is available as a download from Matrix Games.

Playdom Acquires Merscom

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Casual game publisher Playdom (known for social games on Facebook) has acquired casual publisher Merscom, a company best known for its branded casual titles, based on properties from companies like Lifetime Networks and National Geographic. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
TurbineJust barely more than three years ago, Turbine (now part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) launched The Lord of the Rings Online. The game's third anniversary celebration begins today, offering gifts, new celebration games, loot bonuses and discounted subscription plans.
Bayer, the healthcare group, has released its promised Didget meter for diabetics. The Didget connects to Nintendo's DS handheld console and monitors glucose levels. The software that comes with the blood glucose monitoring system (called Knock 'Em Downs: World's Fair) is an adventure game filled with mini-games and connects to an online site available through an internet-connected PC. Players can earn points through consistent monitoring and desirable blood glucose levels that can be spent to customize their experience.
The State of California has been involved in a long-running battle to enact a "Violent Video Game Law" that would block the sale of violent video games (and games with certain other content) to minors. The 2005 bill (AB 1179) was championed by State Senator Leland Yee and ultimately signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. The law was struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. Now the Supreme Court has decided to hear California's appeal to keep and enact the law:
NintendoNintendo has released more downloadable games for the Wii and DSi, including:
JoWooDThe Adventure Company (a label of DreamCatcher Games, in turn a label of JoWooD) has released Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. This adventure game has players taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes as he investigates a series of murders in London's East End.
Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store, including:
A study, published online by the journal Nature, concludes that brain-training-style games failure to improve general cognition. While participants improved at the exercises being practiced, researchers found "no evidence to support the widely held belief that the regular use of computerized brain trainers improves general cognitive functioning in healthy participants beyond those tasks that are actually being trained."
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced the financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended March 31, 2010:
PlayStation 3Sony recently launched the v3.30 PlayStation 3 mandatory software update. This update appears to be primarily preparing for future features (Sony only mentioned 3D gaming), as the only mentioned change involves the presentation and sorting of trophies. Associated with the update is a new Terms of Service agreement and User Agreement for PlayStation Network accounts.
Microsoft has released more downloadable games through Xbox Live Arcade. This week's games are Puzzle Chronicles and After Burner Climax:
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The Penal Zone Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC and Mac
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 8.1 compatible video card, Windows XP or more recent operating system

The City of New York is host to yet another alien visitation – this time, General Skun-k'ape has landed at the corner of Straight & Narrow to offer the citizens of Earth access to advanced technologies and forward the interests of peace. Or has he? Perhaps the death-rays on his vessel indicate his intentions better than his harmonious words. This intergalactic primate is far too happy to snatch lottery tickets along his quest for the Toys of Power!

TurbineWarner Bros. Home Entertainment announced that it has purchased Turbine, Inc. (the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed). Turbine is the publisher responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online, and has been active since 1994 in the Boston Area. Warner Bros.' announcement suggests that the company's interest in Turbine was in Turbine's online publishing and merchandising technology and in retaining the license to all forms of games based on The Lord of the Rings.
Sony Online Entertainment has introduced a new payment plan for its massively multiplayer online game EverQuest II. Starting today, players with inactive or closed accounts can reactivate their accounts for three consecutive days for $5. Sony Online Entertainment specifically recommends it as a slightly cheaper alternative to a monthly subscription for players interested in promotional and seasonal events, weekends with friends or multiboxers. While obviously not economical for regular players, this strikes FI as an interesting alternative for gamers particularly busy in real-life and a great way to suck previous gamers back into the title.
Left Behind Games announced today that it does not intend to consummate its reverse acquisition by Digital Praise, such that the two Christian game publishers will remain independent entities. Left Behind Games is displeased with the terms of the agreement, thanks to the fact that existing stockholders would be diluted upon completion of the merger. It's a little surprising that Left Behind Games has blamed the dilution for the failure of the merger, as that was specified in the original merger announcement. Presumably, the owners and executives of Left Behind Games just didn't realize how little they were going to get out of the transaction.
2K Play, a label of Take-Two Interactive, has released The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom as a download for the PC. Previously available for the Xbox 360, the game has players aiding the diabolical Winterbottom in his time-bending quest for pie.
Wii Classic Controller ProNintendo has released its Classic Controller Pro for the Wii in North America. Previously available in Japan, the controller can be purchased in North America in both black and white colors for $20 (or for $10 as part of some game bundles). The controller can plug into the Wii Remote and evokes the classic GameCube controller, remaining compatible with many downloadable games on the Wii.
THQTHQ's game All Star Karate for the Wii is now available in stores in North America. This karate game allows players to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to fight a variety of opponents or participate in multiplayer minigames. The game supports the Wii MotionPlus for enhanced control.
CapcomCapcom's game Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii arrives in stores today. Monster Hunter Tri allows players to hunt gigantic monsters alone or with other players online. Also, for an extra $10, Wii owners can purchase the game bundled with Nintendo's Classic Controller Pro.
THQTHQ's game Beat City for the DS is now in stores in North America. Beat City is a collection of rhythm mini-games that have players restoring Beat City to its former musical glory.
AtariAtari has added Nolan Bushnell and Tom Virden to its Board of Directors to replace David Gardner and Phil Harrison who have both resigned from the Board. Bushnell was co-founder of the original Atari and has started more than 20 companies. Tom Virden is an executive with experience in online leisure sites.
Developer Modern Day Industries has released Perished: The Zurkez Project as a download for the PC through Paradox Interactive's download portal GamersGate. This stealth/action game features four story missions that can be played solo or co-operatively.
NintendoNintendo has released another spate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi thanks to the arrival of another Monday, including:

Bob Came in Pieces Review

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Bob Came in Pieces Publisher: Ludosity Interactive
Developer: Ludosity Interactive

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2.4 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with 128MB VRAM, 500 MB HD space, Windows XP or more recent operating system

Bob is a call center operator who answers phones somewhere "just across the galaxy." One day, on the way to work, the perfectly safe, recommended intergalactic route was struck by a meteor storm. Bob's ship lost its hyperdrive and crashed on a nearby planet for repairs. Since the planet proved to have no space dock, Bob is stuck searching for the lost fragments of his ship so that he can return home... and go back to answering support calls.

A group of developers who formerly worked at the now defunct developer Grin have formed developer Might & Delight. The content of the developer's online site suggests that they intend to focus on simpler and retro-style games such as their work on Bionic Commando Rearmed.
Telltale Games has released Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The Penal Zone is the first episode in the third season of Telltale Games' Sam & Max adventures. The game features galactic gorilla invader Skunk'ape invading Earth, resisted by the Freelance Police and Max's newfound psychic powers. The game can be downloaded for the PlayStation 3, PC and Mac, with the entire season running around $35.
Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:

Atari Hires John Burns

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AtariAtari has hired John Burns to serve as the company's Vice President and General Manager for Europe. Prior to joining Atari, Burns served as the Senior Director of European Online Publishing for Electronic Arts. At Atari, Burns will be responsible for the company's European commercial efforts.
CapcomThis week's addition to Xbox Live Arcade is Capcom's Final Fight: Double Impact. Downloadable for 800 points ($10), the title includes two classic side-scrolling arcade games, Final Fight and Magic Sword. Both games feature polished graphics on top of the original style of play.
PlayFirst has launched its game Love & Death: Bitten, a downloadable vampire-themed hidden object game for the PC and Mac.
UbisoftUbisoft has shipped its game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction for the Xbox 360 to stores. This stealth-action game features a co-operative mode as well as a single-player campaign featuring Sam Fisher.
Southpeak GamesSouthpeak Games has shipped Blood Bowl for the PSP to stores in North America. The game previously shipped for the Xbox 360 and PC. Based on the classic board game, Blood Bowl has a variety of races from high-fantasy games competing at a football-like sport.
TurbineAsheron's Call, Turbine's long-running massively multiplayer online game, has unleashed its Spring content update. The update adds Shadows as playable races, with two different races of Shadow to choose from. The update adds a variety of other content updates, including barbers, tailoring and updates to the rare item system.
Game Developer Research (part of UBM TechWeb and related to Game Developer magazine) released its annual Game Developer Salary Survey, determining that the average member of the videogame industry earned $75,573 in 2009, down from $79,000 in 2008. By job function:
Take-Two InteractiveRockstar Games, the premier label of Take-Two Interactive, has released Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City for the PlayStation 3 and PC. The same box shipped for the Xbox 360 last year. This retail box requires Grand Theft Auto IV and includes the two downloadable content episodes: The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damned. Both episodes are also available as downloads through the PlayStation Network and Games for Windows Live.
PopCapPopCap Games has hired Frits Habermann, formerly Vice President of Core Technologies at Adobe, as PopCap's Chief Technical Officer. Habermann will help PopCap expand its offerings on platforms like Facebook and the iPad. PopCap's co-founder and previous Chief Technical Officer, Brian Fiete, will move to the role of Technology Fellow.
NintendoIt's Monday morning, and that means Nintendo has released more downloadable games for the Wii and DSi:
Jason West and Vince Zampella, two senior members of the Infinity Ward team who recently departed Activision Blizzard amidst a flurry of litigation, have formed a new development studio called Respawn Entertainment. As (an undisclosed) part of the studio's funding, Respawn has agreed to publish and distribute its future games through Electronic Arts.
NintendoOwners of Nintendo's Wii console can now stream video content from Netflix through the Wii (assuming the Wii owner has a Netflix subscription.) Netflix subscribers with a Wii can now order the disc required to stream content from Netflix.
Sony has released a new slate of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store, including:
Alawar Entertainment, together with developer mif2000, has released Hamlet as a downloadable adventure game for the PC. Based on the Shakespeare play, this adventure game features a traveler from the future travelling through time and stumbling into Hamlet's conflict with King Claudius.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Fatshark's third-person shooter Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West for the PC. Available as a download, this team-based multiplayer game has players working together to resolve fast-paced western-style gunfights.
PopCapPopCap has released Bejeweled Blitz as a downloadable game for the PC. Previously available through Facebook, the game can now be purchased, downloaded and played independently of the social networking platform. Bejeweled Blitz is the one-minute adaptation of the classic match-three puzzle game, encouraging rapid puzzle play.
Meridian4 and Headup Games have released Future Wars for the PC as a download through Impulse. The game is a straightforward turn-based strategy game in the spirit of games like Advance Wars.

Shatter Review

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Shatter Publisher: Sidhe
Developer: Sidhe

Platforms: PlayStation 3 and PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with 128 MB VRAM, 250 MB HD space, Windows XP SP3 or more recent operating system

Shatter is a modern and inspired take on classic brick-breaking games, with invigorating play punctuated by a driven soundtrack.

TurbineTurbine has released the fourth major update for its massively multiplayer online game Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, the free-to-play iteration of DDO. The update adds a new "Sentinels" adventure pack that has players facing off against piratical invasion along with new items in the DDO store.
2XL Games, the team behind franchises like ATV Off-Road Fury, has released 2XL Supercross as a download through Steam for $10. This motocross racing game features tracks designed by Motocross champion Stephane Roncada.
Valcon Games has shipped Easy Piano for the DS to stores in North America. This title has players learning to play the piano using a keyboard peripheral that contains a full 13-note external keyboard and software that teaches 36 songs with associated mini-games.
Reliance Big Entertainment, part of India's Reliance ADA group, has acquired 50% of publisher Codemasters. Reliance Big Entertainment encompasses an Indian gaming company called Zapak, which will work closely with Codemasters to broaden Codemasters distribution and coding resources.
MicrosoftMicrosoft is releasing a system update today that will enable USB storage devices for saving profiles, game saves and similar Xbox 360 data. Such devices will be capped at 16 GB of space (and must have at least 1 GB of space), but up to two flash drives can be used simultaneously that plug into the console's USB ports.
Electronic ArtsEA Sports, part of Electronic Arts, has officially launched Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, a web-based persistent online golf experience. While this golf game can technically be played for free, players can enhance their game experience by purchasing items in the Pro Shop or purchasing a monthly membership.
Take-Two Interactive2K Games, part of Take-Two Interactive, has shipped the Borderlands Double Game Add-On Pack for the Xbox 360 and PC to stores in North America. This retail pack includes the two downloadable expansions, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, and requires the original Borderlands game.
Matrix Games has released Across the Dnepr: Second Edition, a new and improved version of the previously released expansion for Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets. The game is available as a download for the PC and has players battling the Nazi advance on Soviet frontier defenses.
Beatnik Games has released its game Plain Sight as a download through several online portals including Steam. Available for $10, the game has players acting as suicidal ninja robots, killing fellow robots for their "tasty, tasty energy."
NintendoNintendo has released a new slate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi:
Sony has released more downloadable game for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:
PlayStation 3Sony is releasing the v3.21 firmware update for the PlayStation 3 today. The update primarily removes the ability for PlayStation 3 owners to install other operating systems on the PlayStation 3. Sony is clearly concerned about security, as owners who choose not to upgrade and keep another OS installed will not be able to sign in to the PlayStation Network, play new software or play copyright-protected videos.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2010 is the previous archive.

May 2010 is the next archive.

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