Editor: August 2009 Archives

PlayStation 3Sony has released the v3.00 firmware update for the PlayStation 3. This update makes a lot of cosmetic changes to the PlayStation 3 user interface, including a new logo, a new appearance for the Xross Media Bar, animated themes, customized avatars and makes it substantially easier for Sony to alert users to premium content. Along with changes to the way in which trophies are displayed and a status indicator that presents a thumbnail of useful information, the update includes numerous tweaks and updates.
Sudoku Ball-Detective Publisher: Playlogic
Developer: Whitebear Studios


Platforms: Wii, PC and DS
Reviewed on DS

Jonathan Coleridge has been murdered! Fortunately, the retired Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard, Edward Bannister, was present at the party where the foul deed was committed. Only by solving a variety of Sudoku Ball puzzles can the former detective determine what happened at this sleepy English manor.

NintendoNintendo has released new downloadable games for the Wii and the DSi. This week's games are:
JoWooDPublisher JoWooD reported certain financial results concerning its second quarter financial performance:
TurbineEarlier this week, Turbine filed a complaint against Atari with the Supreme Court of the State of New York suing Turbine for "$30 million in losses occasioned by Atari's breach and wrongful conduct" as well as the termination of the publishing agreement for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach.
There's been a slight delay on Sony's part in updating the PlayStation Store, but new games are finally available for download for the PlayStation 3 and PSP:
MicrosoftMicrosoft confirmed rumors of a console price drop, announcing that tomorrow the company will reduce the cost of the Xbox 360 Elite console (the one with the 120 GB hard drive) by $100, bringing the cost to $300. The Xbox 360 Pro (with the 60 GB hard drive) will be reduced to $250 until supplies run out and the Xbox 360 Arcade (the one without the hard drive) will be reduced to $200.
First Planet Company, the publisher behind Project Entropia, recently changed the name of its persistent online world. Thanks to updated technology, this persistent online world in which players use real-world money for transactions is now known as Planet Calypso - The Colonist MMO.
It's Wednesday, and that means more games have been released as downloads through Xbox Live Arcade:
Legacy Interactive's game Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues for the DS is now in stores in North America. The game has players taking on the role of an Emergency Medical Technician at a busy hospital in Harbor City. As an EMT, players take on 30 medical cases, working to stabilize patients in critical condition.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched the 11th expansion for its online collectible game Pox Nora. Called Broodcall, the expansion adds 72 runes, including 40 champions, eight of which are dragons.
KoeiKoei has shipped its game Warriors Orochi 2 for the PSP to stores in North America. The game shipped last year for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 and has players working to defeat the Serpent King (who has returned from the grave) after defeating him in the original Warriors Orochi.

CrimeCraft Now Available

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Vogster, together with THQ, has placed its persistent world shooter CrimeCraft in stores in North America. The game, in which players take part in underworld urban warfare of the future, can be purchased in stores or as a download through online portals.
Square EnixSquare Enix's game Dissidia: Final Fantasy for the PSP is now in stores in North America. The game combines elements of brawlers and role-playing games to allow Final Fantasy characters to fight it out.
Eidos (now part of Square Enix) and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have shipped Batman: Arkham Asylum to stores for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The PC version of the game should reach stores on September 15. The game features Batman, trapped in Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane.
Deep Silver, part of Koch Media, has shipped Cursed Mountain for the Wii to retail stores in North America. This survival/horror game is set in the late 1980s when a mountaineer sets out to find his brother.

The Bigs 2 Ships for the DS

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Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, Take-Two Interactive's sports label, has shipped The Bigs 2 for the DS. The game shipped for other platforms in early July. As with the other versions, the DS version of The Bigs 2 allows players to rise in the world of baseball, this time using the DS stylus.
NatsumeNatsume's game Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream for the Wii is now in stores in North America. The game has anglers catching a variety of fish using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
MajescoMajesco's DS game Marker Man Adventures is now in stores in North America. The game has players taking on the role of Marker Man, a stick figure searching for his canine Doodles. Players then use the DS stylus to draw geometric shapes that can be used to construct machines and solve puzzles.
NatsumeNatsume has released two Harvest Moon games today:
GameStopGameStop announced today that the company's Chief Financial Officer, David Carlson, will retire on March 1, 2010. Carlson has been with GameStop since the company was founded in 1996. To replace Carlson, GameStop has hired Catherine Smith to transition into the role of CFO. Smith previously was CFO of Centex Corporation.
NintendoNintendo's game Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box for the DS is now in stores. This second Professor Layton game has Layton and his apprentice investigating a legendary deadly box by unraveling more than 150 puzzles.
NintendoNintendo has shipped Metroid Prime: Trilogy for the Wii to stores in North America. For $50, players get Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The first two games, originally released on the GameCube, have been updated to use the same presentation and controls from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, released for the Wii.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America has hired Timothy Bender as its Senior Vice President of Sales. Bender joins SCEA from Livescribe, where he managed global sales. Bender will report directly to SCEA President Jack Tretton.
NintendoIt's Monday morning, and that means another slate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi from Nintendo. This week's releases are:
Tales of Monkey Island Publisher: LucasArts / Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games


Platforms: PC and Wii
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz Processor, 512 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with 64 MB VRAM, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

In the previous chapter, Guybrush Threepwood, "Mighty Pirate," unleashed a vicious Voodoo Pox that is plaguing every pirate in the Caribbean, while he dodges an aristocratic French doctor pursuing him in the interests of science. Now that same doctor has put a bounty on Threepwood's head while Threepwood continues to track his missing spouse to an island of Mer-people under piratical siege. Can Threepwood juggle all these factions while seeking out the mythical sponge that will help him cure the Voodoo Pox?

Raven Squad Reaches Stores

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SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Games and Evolved Games' title Raven Squad is now in stores for the Xbox 360 and PC. The game mixes elements of real-time strategy and first-person shooter games by having players control groups of mercenaries shot down over the Amazon and immersed in a Brazilian civil war.
Activision BlizzardBlizzard Entertainment, part of Activision Blizzard, officially confirmed that it plans to release World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, another premium expansion for its massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft.
Sony has released several new downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store this week:
Telltale Games has released the second episode in the Tales of Monkey Island series as a download for the PC. This episode, "The Siege of Spinner Cay," can already be downloaded to the PC and should reach the Wii shortly. In this episode, Guybrush defends Mer-People while dodging a pirate hunter.
Matrix Games, together with Slitherine Strategies, has released Conquest! Medieval Realms for the PC as a download. This turn-based strategy game has gamers battling up to seven other players, upgrading their kingdoms to raise massive armies.
PopCap's game Plants vs. Zombies, previously released as a download, is now available in retail stores in North America for the PC and Mac. The game has players purchasing plants to defend against an onslaught of encroaching zombies.
Publisher cdv Software Entertainment announced selected financial results for the first half of its fiscal year 2009:
GameStopRetailer GameStop reported its financial results for its fiscal second quarter August 1, 2009:
Sony Online Entertainment is introducing the ability for players of its Free Realms trading card game to create cards based on their own character that are playable in both the physical and virtual versions of the game. For $12, players can order a 10 card "Duelist on Demand" pack that will include codes to unlock virtual versions of the cards for play online.
Shadow Complex has been released as this week's download for Xbox Live Arcade. Xbox 360 owners can download the game for 1,200 points ($15). Developed by Chair Entertainment with Epic Games, Shadow Complex has players platforming and shooting their way through a secret underground base.
O-Games, a label of Oxygen Interactive, has released its game My Make-Up for the DS. The software allows DS owners to "try out new styles, make-up techniques, and pamper your skin with facial treatments."
Disney Interactive Studios' game Spectrobes: Origins has shipped for the Wii to stores in North America. This is the third game in Disney's franchise of monster battling games. Players once again take control of interplanetary patrol officers finding, training and fighting "Spectrobes."
Sony announced a new model of PlayStation 3 today to continue to compete with the other available consoles, along with two upcoming downloadable content services aimed at the PSP and PSP Go:
Casual publisher Merscom has released The Mystery of the Mary Celeste as a PC download through casual game portals. The game has players journeying on the Mary Celeste II while uncovering the mystery of the disappearance of the original Mary Celeste in 1872.
CCP, the company behind the massively multiplayer online game Eve Online confirmed that it plans to release a console game with first-person shooter and real-time strategy elements that will interact directly with Eve Online. Called Dust 514, the game will feature ground combat set on the surface of planets within Eve Online, and is being developed at CCP's Shanghai Studio.
O-Games, a label of Oxygen Interactive, has released My Friends for the DS. My Friends takes advantage of the DS wireless connection to let players create a 3D character and explore an online social space while playing mini-games.
Company: GameFly
Official Site: gamefly.com


Simply put, GameFly is a positively ideal game rental service for a very specific type of gamer. Unfortunately, I'm not that gamer, and I don't know anyone who is. If you like to play single-player games that have been out for a few months (and play enough of them such that it's not cheaper to purchase old, used games), then GameFly can be a worthwhile service. If you play seldom and casually, love to play in-depth games extensively and to exhaustion, really enjoy multiplayer action (or certain downloadable content) or just want to play the very latest games, GameFly won't meet your needs as well as the alternatives.

Wolfenstein Reaches Stores

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Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has released the iD Software game Wolfenstein for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The game was developed by Raven Software and begins immediately following the events of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Once again, B.J. Blazkowicz must put a stop to the occult efforts of the Third Reich.

Shorts Ships for the DS

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MajescoMajesco has shipped the game Shorts for the DS to stores in North America. Shorts is based on the Warner Bros. film of the same name in which a rock falls from the sky that grants wishes to its possessor.
PlaylogicPlaylogic has released its game Sudoku Ball-Detective for the DS and PC to stores in North America. The game has players solving Sudoku puzzles to unravel a murder mystery.
Sony Online Entertainment has expanded its persistent online world Free Realms to five new regions. The game is now available in French, German, UK English, Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish in addition to the previously available North American English.

PopCap Hires New CFO

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PopCapPopCap Games has hired Robert Chamberlain to serve as the company's new Chief Financial Officer. Chamberlain will join PopCap at the end of August. Chamberlain has previously worked with companies such as F5 Networks and Onyx Software.
Bookworm Adventures 2 Publisher: PopCap Games
Developer: PopCap Games


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: DirectX 8, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

"The walls of fiction are collapsing as characters run wild through the Great Library, and only Lex the Bookworm can save the world from certain doom! Build words and battle monsters to survive three storybooks with 10 chapters each. Trade barbs, banter and body blows with over 130 foes, and earn help from fighting friends along the way!"

NintendoNintendo has released more downloadable games for the Wii and DSi:

Red Faction Guerilla Review

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Red Faction Guerilla Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition


Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Reviewed on PlayStation 3

Miner Alec Mason has traveled to Mars to join his brother mining the ore of the red planet. Before the planet's red dust has a chance to settle onto Mason's boots, his brother is executed and he is on the run from the Earth Defense Force, formerly the saviors of Mars and now its heavy-handed oppressors. Mason must strike at EDF facilities to win freedom for Mars while untangling the mystery of the marauders who raid the outskirts of the Martian colonies.

Corbomite Games, an Israeli developer, has released the first episode of its adventure game series Pizza Morgana. The first episode, called Monsters and Manipulations in the Magical Forest is now downloadable for the PC. The game is based on a comic book series by Uri Fink and the first episode has players taking on the role of the young girl as she is transported into a magical world where she gets a job working alongside a pizza delivering vampire named Abbie Positive.
PlaylogicPublisher Playlogic reported certain financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2009:
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Madden NFL 10 has reached stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2 and PSP. This latest iteration of EA's flagship football franchise brings improved animations and broadcast presentation to the series.
Sony has released more downloadable games through the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 3 and PSP:
Rental and Retail chain Blockbuster reported its financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended July 5, 2009. While FI readers may not be concerned with the chain's overall results, you may be interested to know that game-related revenues still constitute around 10% of Blockbuster's revenues. In the latest quarter, game rentals provided 6.7% of domestic revenues ($47.4 million) and game sales provided 3.0% of domestic revenues ($21.3 million).
Mind Control Software has hired Randy Buehler as its Vice President of Business Strategy. Buehler most recently worked as Vice President of Digital Gaming for Wizards of the Coast working (primarily) on Magic the Gathering. Along with other WotC veterans, Buehler will be supporting Mind Control Software's efforts to make online collectible strategy games.
Zoo Games has shipped the retail version of Groovin' Blocks for the Wii to stores in North America. The game was previously released as a WiiWare downloadable title, but can now be purchased in stores for $20. The retail version includes more levels so that players can indulge in more block-matching and eliminating puzzle-style play.

Grin Confirms Closure

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Swedish developer Grin, the studio behind games such as Bionic Commando and Bandits: Phoenix Rising has closed. A posting on the developer's official site from the two Andersson co-founders states, "It is with a heavy heart we announce today that Grin has been forced to close its doors. This as too many publishers have been delaying their payments, causing an unbearable cashflow situation."
Nintendo has released Flipnote Studio as a free download for the DSi handheld. Flipnote Studio gives DSi owners simple tools to create and share animations.
Mad CatzPeripheral manufacturer Mad Catz announced its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2009:
This week's downloadable game for the Xbox 360, is the Xbox Live Arcade game Trials HD. The game can be downloaded for 1,200 points ($15) and is a motorcycle racing game with 50 tracks and detailed physics.
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Games, together with Evolved Games, has shipped the Wii version of Brave: A Warrior's Tale to stores to join the Xbox 360 version. The game has a young warrior named Courage defending his tribe against a "powerful dark force."
UbisoftUbisoft's game Imagine: Soccer Captain is now in stores for the DS. The game has players captaining a soccer team, practicing and playing in five-on-five soccer games against other teams.
Conspiracy EntertainmentConspiracy Entertainment, together with Epicenter Studios, has shipped Real Heroes: Firefighter for the Wii to stores in North America. The game has players battling blazes using the Wii remote.
THQTHQ disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that its Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs resigned last week.
This morning, Microsoft launched the "mandatory Xbox Live service update" for the Xbox 360. This update includes improvements to the user interface, the ability to more easily start Xbox Live parties, improvements to the Netflix interface, downloadable releases of retail Xbox 360 games and new premium items with which to customize avatars.
Sony Online Entertainment's massively multiplayer online game Star Wars Galaxies received its 12th major update, dubbed "Engineering Trader." This update adds lots of craftable droids and modules for droids alongside a variety of tweaks and updates.

C.O.R.E. Ships for the DS

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Graffiti Entertainment, part of Signature Devices, has shipped its game C.O.R.E. for the DS to stores in North America. The game, developed by NoWay Studios, is set in the year 2028 when a meteor crashes into the Mojave Desert, transforming all life in the area. Players take on the role of elite military personnel investigating the site.
Nyko recently shipped to stores its "Action Pak" and "Core Pak" accessory packs for the Wii. Both "paks" include a Nyko Wand controller. The Action Pak includes a Pistol Grip attachment while the Core Pak includes a rumble-enabled Kama controller (that takes the place of the Wii Nunchuk). Both Paks can be purchased for $45.
NintendoNintendo's game Fossil Fighters is now in stores for the DS. The game has players collecting fossils of Vivosaurs, cleaning them and then battling Vivosaurs in turn-based battles.
D3PublisherD3Publisher has released Texas Cheat'Em for the PC as a download through the Steam service. This game in which players can cheat against one another in Texas Hold 'Em poker, was previously released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
NintendoNintendo released more downloadable games for the Wii and DSi today:
Russian publisher 1C, together with Aspyr Media, has released Death to Spies: Moment of Truth for the PC as a download. The game should reach stores as a physical box on August 18. This sequel to Death to Spies is a stealthy action game in which players take on the roll of a Soviet counterintelligence agent.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Hearts of Iron III for the PC to retail stores and as a download. The strategy game simulates military, economic and diplomatic interactions from 1936 to 1948. Given that the game spans World War II, much of the focus is (obviously) military.
Sony has released new downloadable games through the PlayStation Store:
nVidia reported the financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended July 26, 2009:
Activision BlizzardActivision Blizzard released the financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2009:
This weeks Xbox Live Arcade downloadable game is Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled. For 800 points ($10) Xbox 360 owners can acquire this remake of the classic coin-operated arcade brawler featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Retailer GameStop has hired Chris Petrovic to serve as the company's General Manager of Digital Media. Petrovic will lead GameStop's efforts to sell games and media online, marking a significant departure from the company's bricks and mortar strategy. Clearly, GameStop doesn't want to be edged out by other online sales platforms. Prior to joining GameStop, Petrovic was the Vice President of Digital Media at Playboy Enterprises.
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Games, together with Evolved Games, has shipped Brave: A Warrior's Tale to stores for the Xbox 360. The game has a young warrior named Courage defending his tribe against a "powerful dark force."
SegaSega has shipped Daisy Fuentes Pilates for the Wii to stores in North America. This Pilates yoga tutorial includes five routines that target different areas of the body and supports the Wii Balance Board.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced preliminary financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2009:
Sony has released SingStar Queen for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2. This latest SingStar game allows players to sing along, karaoke-style, to 20 Queen songs including "We Are The Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

Kim Joins GamesCampus

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GamesCampus, part of OnNet USA, has appointed Terry Kim as Vice President of Publishing. Kim will assume responsibility for managing GamesCampus' massively multiplayer online game titles such as Asda Story and Manga Fighter.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, DS and PlayStation 2 has arrived in stores. Based on theG.I. Joe film, the game begins where the film ends, with players selecting members of the G.I. Joe team to battle new threats from COBRA.
PlaylogicPlaylogic's game Aliens in the Attic, based on the film of the same name, is now in stores for the Wii, PC, DS and PlayStation 2. The game "follows the storyline of the adventure-comedy film about a group of kids on a family vacation who must stave off an attack by knee-high alien invaders with world-conquering ambitions."
NintendoNintendo has launched new downloadable games for the Wii and DSi, as well as integration with Facebook for the DSi:
Drug Wars/Merchants of Brooklyn Publisher: Paleo Entertainment
Developer: Paleo Entertainment


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Core Duo Processor or Better, 2 GB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible video card (such as nVidia GeForce 6800 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 Pro) or better, 900 MB HD space, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

More than one thousand years in the future, poorly cloned Neanderthals are the protagonists in a sub-human bloodsport that pits these harried hominids against one another in arenas of death. As an elite Neanderthal warrior, can you escape from the lowest levels of Brooklyn to wrest control of the city from the overclass?

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience demonstrates that playing action-oriented videogames can improve contrast sensitivity (the ability to detect subtle differences in shading), suggesting that video games can be a tool for improving eyesight for professionals such as pilots or helping those with impaired vision.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Editor in August 2009.

Editor: July 2009 is the previous archive.

Editor: September 2009 is the next archive.

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