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26th February 2010

Rebates, Releases, Calls for Speakers and Submissions

Ph03nix New MediaCalgary – Two announcements from Ph03nix New Media today. First they announced their rebate offer for Hottie Hookups through their innovative iPhone Game Rebate program. Starting today through March 10, customers who purchase Hottie Hookups from the App Hottie Hookups on iTunesStore qualify for a $1.99 cash rebate. There are only 1,000 rebates available so act fast!

Hottie Hookups is a unique time-management game from the creators of the acclaimed #1 iPhone game Sally’s Spa. Blending elements from line drawing and castle defense games, Hottie Hookups is an irreverent, ironic game where you must connect hotties on the dance floor while defending them from nerds, fatties, and geezers using a variety of techniques.

To receive iPhone Game Rebates, follow these three simple steps:

1. Register
2. Send in your iTunes receipt
3. Receive the cash rebate once the proof-of-purchase has been confirmed

Triple Hippo StudiosThe second announcement from Ph03nix New Media involves their casual games division, Triple Hippo Studios, who has released their much anticipated casual PC title, The Tarot’s Misfortune. Available exclusively for the next month on Big Fish Games, The Tarot’s Misfortune leads players on a mysterious and dangerous adventure as they solve puzzles and uncover intriguing clues about the missing Villagers of Luzio. The Tarot's Misfortune

“We believe we’ve succeeded in creating a game that will keep players of all levels captivated by intertwining challenging puzzles along with an intriguing storyline,” said Michael Grills, Director of Operations at Triple Hippo Studios.

In The Tarot’s Misfortune, players take on the role of tarot reader, Rosalee, who awakens disoriented in prison and must embark on a thrilling journey. Exploring the town of Luzio, players will piece together cryptic clues and find the lost tarot card deck to uncover the secrets of the village. To advance through each of the 12 beautifully detailed levels, players must uncover specific hidden objects in Luzio. Gameplay is intuitive yet addicting so both experienced casual gamers and newcomers to the genre will be entertained and enchanted. The Tarot’s Misfortune will be released to other game portals at the end of March 2010.

modsim world CanadaMontreal – The MODSIM World Canada organizing committee has put out an official call for speakers and Papers. MODSIM World™ is a unique multi-disciplinary International Conference & Exposition for the exchange of knowledge, research experience, and technology in modeling and simulation across industry, government and academia. Issues include: Read the rest of this entry »

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25th February 2010

FIFA 10 Ultimate Team Now Available

EA SportsBurnabyElectronic Arts Inc. has announced that FIFA 10 Ultimate Team, the popular game mode expansion that creates a new way of playing the award-winning EA Sports™ FIFA Soccer 10, is available now to download for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system.

The original Ultimate Team expansion mode for FIFA Soccer 09 was the most popular PDLC expansion mode ever released by EA Sports, with over 35 million gold, silver and bronze packs opened, over 50 million auctions for players and items completed, and over 10 billion in-game coins exchanged in trades as legions of soccer fans took on the challenge to put a personally crafted team up against the rest of the world.FIFA 10 UltimateTeam

FIFA 10 Ultimate Team is half the price of the original — 400 Microsoft points or $4.99 through PlayStation Network — and this year enables gamers to manage one or multiple squads simultaneously, and compete against other gamers in dynamically updated online tournaments. Fans will be able to experience the game mode by creating a team with a starter pack of players and play a five game free trial (FIFA Soccer 10 and an internet connection are required for play).

Featuring over 7,500 of the best soccer stars in the world to choose from, gamers can emulate the way real-world coaches and managers build the truly great soccer teams. Choose how to manage your team –- focusing on creating one formidable squad, or managing multiple squads to match dynamic requirements for tournaments and competitions. Buy, sell, trade and acquire the biggest stars to build your team. Be strategic and tactical in preparing your squads for the various in-game competitions. A completely redesigned chemistry system built around player relationships on the pitch means that managing teams and squads to their full potential is even more critical to success. Take carefully assembled squads into standard tournaments and themed competitions against the most formidable teams from around the world – and then out wit and out play them.

Rated by the ESRB as “E for Everyone”, FIFA 10 Ultimate Team is available now to purchase for 400 Microsoft points or $4.99 as a download via Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network to FIFA Soccer 10. FIFA Soccer 10 and an internet connection are required for play. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th February 2010

XBOX Live Arcade is Having A House Party

XBOXGlobal – Xbox LIVE presents the biggest, baddest bash in town: The Xbox LIVE Arcade House Party! Throughout March, Xbox LIVE will launch a new downloadable blockbuster game every Wednesday that is sure to ramp up the multiplayer action (Gold Live subscription required). Today, Xbox LIVE is excited to announce the final details of the hottest party in town offering you some really great deals! Whether you’re sitting on the same couch, or on the other side of the globe… invite your friends because this is one party you don’t want to miss!Game Room Screenshot

* Thank You Gift: Xbox LIVE would like to say thank you for coming to our party! Buy all three House Party titles and download the free “Game Room” app and receive 400 Microsoft Points back to your account**! And for Xbox LIVE Gold members, the deal gets even sweeter, by purchasing all three House Party titles and downloading the “Game Room” app for free, you will not only be credited with 400 Microsoft Points, but you’ll also get an extra month of Gold membership absolutely free++!

* Extra Tickets: We don’t want anyone to miss out on the great multiplayer action House Party will bring you and your friends! From 12:00 EST March 26 – 12:00 EST March 29, House Party is making it easy for you to play together with a special Xbox LIVE House Party Multiplayer Unlock weekend! For this weekend only, we’re unlocking the online multiplayer features of all House Party titles for Xbox LIVE Silver Members to play for free.

* Attire for your Avatar: Starting on March 3rd, stop by Xbox LIVE Avatar Marketplace to ensure your avatar is decked out in the best House Party attire! From cola hat dispensers and plaid shorts, to plastic jelly shoes, your Avatar will party in style this March. You can even pick-up a BBQ grill so your Avatar won’t go hungry over the course of the month-long party.

* Guests of Honour: Most parties only have one star of the show, but Xbox LIVE Arcade House Party has four blockbuster guests we’re celebrating them in style!

Get the lowdown on the featured titles below: Read the rest of this entry »

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24th February 2010

ParetoLogic Introduces Long-Awaited Anti-Virus Feature For Gamers

ParetoLogicVictoria – For far too long, PC video gamers faced an unpleasant dilemma: keep their anti-virus software active and suffer the loss of game performance, or disable their protection and risk infection by a myriad of online threats. PC gamers must be constantly aware of system resources, RAM usage, processor speed, as well as the added threat of malware and virus infection. An innovative feature makes this a lot easier.

Newly introduced to the PC security world, the so-called “Game Mode” gives users the ability to tweak their anti-virus activity, and thereby conserve power for gaming.ParetoLogic Anti-Virus Plus

ParetoLogic Anti-Virus PLUS added the feature with a recent program update, and users of the software can now select the unique Game Mode from the software settings page. Norman Eldridge, Technical Product Manager at ParetoLogic, explained that “a Game Mode should be a perfect balance between safety and performance – we think we’ve got that here.”

In modern gaming, visual graphics have grown incredibly, requiring more advanced memory cards and processors. Gamers are forced to squeeze their systems for every ounce of power. ”Anti-virus database updates, scheduled scans, and active protection can really be a drain on system resources,” said Mr. Eldridge. “The new Game Mode allows users to switch to a log-only state, where the program will avoid processor-intensive tasks.”

Gamers, and all PC users, can download ParetoLogic Anti-Virus PLUS from the ParetoLogic homepage. All editions of the anti-virus software are equipped with Game Mode capability.

Pug PharmVancouver – Word is out that Pug Pharm’s Snoget is now in open beta. The social networking game puts a new twist on finding and making friends on a global scale – and is dubbed by its creators as a “Web 3.0 Social Discovery Engine.”snoget

Players register for a free Snoget account, and then spend time collecting items and connecting with people who have like interests. For those who want to expand and fully experience all that Snoget has to offer, Snoget will soon include a selection of premium features and abilities that are available for purchase for those who are interested in an enhanced experience. The first 20,000 participants who sign up during this phase of the open beta will receive 20 exclusive board collection slots that will remain free even after the open beta has concluded. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th February 2010

Nintendo’s 2010 Release Forecast

Nintendo CanadaRedmondNintendo of America has issued a surge of new information today about what consumers can expect from the company in the coming months.

* The new Nintendo DSi XL™ hand-held system launches March 28 at a suggested retail price of $189.99 (USD). The screens of the Nintendo DSi XL are 93 percent larger than those of the Nintendo DS™ Lite model, providing a more vivid and engaging play experience, and with the screens of the Nintendo DSi XL also feature a wider viewing angle, friends and family members join in the fun too. Nintendo DSi XL will also come with a larger pen-like stylus that allows for a more comfortable grip and enhanced ease of use when playing games that use the Nintendo DS touch screen.Nintendo DS XL

The new system launches in both Burgundy and Bronze colours, and comes loaded with pre-installed premium software Brain Age™ Express: Arts & Letters, Brain Age Express: Math and Photo Clock, as well as two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio™.

America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking and WarioWare™: D.I.Y. will also launch for the Nintendo DS family of products on March 28, providing consumers with new content that can be enjoyed on any Nintendo DS system. Games like these demonstrate the enhanced experience available with the Nintendo DSi XL.

* Super Mario Galaxy™ 2, the sequel to the smash-hit galaxy-hopping original game, launches May 23 for the Wii™ console. The game includes the amazing gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first game, but is loaded with entirely new galaxies and features to challenge and delight players. On some stages, Mario™ can pair up with his dinosaur buddy Yoshi™ and use his tongue to grab items and spit them back at enemies. Players can also have fun with new items such as a drill that lets our hero tunnel through solid rock. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th February 2010

Awards, Rewards and New Title Releases

spongelabTorontoSpongelab Interactive has earned its third major international award – first prize in the Interactive Media category from the Journal of Science and National Science Foundation’s 2009 Visualization Challenge. This is the second consecutive year which has seen Spongelab Interactive named as the winner.

Spongelab Interactive’s Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) is an integrated on-line learning environment where users experience the world of biology through discovery-based learning. GDL (version 4) is currently being used in over 50 countries around the world, illustrating a demand for new technology-based and game-based teaching tools. Spongelab continues to promote the use of immersive learning technologies to school boards and districts across Canada to increase funding commitments for the use of leading-edge interactive digital learning tools in their secondary schools and in the mean time plans to continue to keep costs minimal for individual users and classrooms. “At the high school level, one of our biggest problems across North America is that enrollment in science & math is tanking, especially among girls,” said Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, one of the founders of Spongelab Interactive. “Well-designed educational games are an amazing way to reconnect with students in an engaging and relevant way.”

GDL, was developed as the first part in a series of modular, curriculum-aligned games and interactive simulations covering an array of topics in biology. To meet the needs of students, teachers, and schools, GDL is designed to be fully accessible online from home or school through a web browser, with no downloads, or installation, and provides teachers with class management tools and integrated real-time assessment. Built around a custom learning environment, GDL employs rich, high-quality- 3D graphics designed to captivate and immerse users in the biology they’re studying.

Encompassing varying levels of difficulty, one of the many games engages students in a discovery process to ‘save’ a dying plant by identifying the correct air, light and soil conditions. GDL is built around discovery-based and self-directed learning where users are highly engaged and learn by ‘doing’ and by “playing the biology.” For example, students can choose to feed their plant water, salt water, vinegar, or soda to discover the impact on their plant: will it flourish or shrivel?

In other games, students use their imagination to come up with an “artificial leaf” or they can learn about how plants are the source of our food, fuel and everything in-between. ‘Transcription Hero’ allows students’ to take on the role of an enzyme to transcribe DNA.

Reading RewardsMontreal – Twelve months ago, Montreal mom Michelle Skamene was unhappy about the fact that her two boys, then aged 8 and 9, spent very little time reading. Video games and computers were too much competition for their books. She and her husband, Emmanuel Greciet, decided to put a system in place whereby their kids had to earn TV or game console time by reading: 1 minute TV time for every minute of reading. An IT consultant working in field of website design, Mrs. Skamene set up a program for them to log their reading and TV time to help everyone keep track.

When friends asked if they could use it for their own children, Mrs. Skamene expanded the website to allow parents to set up their own rewards for their kids, and included a number of mini-games and features that the children could activate by reading and reading alone. The kids loved it, and it worked! They are no longer the reluctant readers they once were. “The thing is to get them started. We just needed that little extra motivation to get the ball rolling, and turning their TV time into a reward was the key. Once they made reading a regular part of their routine, and found books they liked, the incentives, really, were no longer necessary.” says Mrs. Skamene, who also created a page to help kids choose the right books. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd February 2010

Incubator Games Invites Public Input for Tribes of Mexica Concept Art

TorontoIncubator Games has released new concept art for their upcoming puzzle-RPG Tribes of Mexica. In a unique effort geared towards public involvement, the studio has unveiled artwork which could represent a possible stylistic direction for the game. Incubator Games encourages site visitors to cast their vote on the styles and possibly influence future visual developments for Tribes of Mexica.

EA GamesMontreal – An all-new campaign map pack called ‘Chapters of Deceit’ for the third-person co-op shooter Army Of Two™: The 40th Day has been announced by EA Montreal. Available for download on Xbox LIVE™ and the PlayStation®Network on April 1, 2010 for $9.99 or 800 Xbox LIVE points, players will return to war-torn Shanghai where they will encounter more destruction, more devastation and enemies determined to bring the city to the brink of ruin.

Army Of Two: The 40th Day – Chapters of Deceit features two all-new co-op campaign maps. In the new chapters, players stumble upon information that could lead to ending the invasion by Jonah and his 40th Day Initiative army. However, they quickly learn that everyone is out for themselves and to trust no one but their partner. Army Of Two: The 40th Day is rated “M” by the ESRB.

Relic EntertainmentVancouverRelic Entertainment has released a developer profile for the Sorcerer, a Chaos multiplayer Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - Sorcererhero. According to the profile, the Sorcerer is a follower of Tzeentch, the Dark God known as the Changer of Ways. These psykers are unlike those of most other factions. The Sorcerer wields death and destruction with all the fireworks and power you’d imagine from a servant of the Dark Gods. His powers can break enemy formations, his shrines fire bolts of energy that damage enemy units, and they can hide friendly units from enemy sight if Heretics are worshipping at the shrine. The Sorcerer’s tricks and abilities are many – you can check them out on the Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising dev blog.

DigiBCVancouverDigiBC has just released details for a full day seminar whose topic is Social Networking in Transmedia Hollywood: A Strategic Master Class. The seminar will take place from 9am – 5pm on March 18th at The Emily Carr Motion Capture & Visualization Studio. Featuring Los Angeles-based Social Media Specialists Mr. Darcy Jouan, Ms. Shira Lazar, Mr. Gregory Markel and Peter Huh, this session will focus on discussions and audience feedback on Transmedia trends and challenges faced by Traditional Media producers using social media techniques to cross over into the Interactive Online space. Tickets for this event are $40.00 for DigiBC members and $60.00 for non-members. Space for this seminar is limited, so early registration is recommended. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd February 2010

Dawn of War 2 Chaos Rising Goes Gold

Relic EntertainmentVancouverRelic Entertainment’s Warhammer® 40,000™: Dawn of War® II – Chaos Rising™, the highly anticipated standalone chapter in the critically acclaimed RTS series, has reached the gold master stage of development and entered manufacturing. Chaos Rising features the traitorous Chaos Space Marines army as a playable race, a new single-player campaign, a level cap increase from 20 to 30, more powerful war-gear and a suite of innovative multiplayer options. Scheduled for a nationwide release at all major retail and online outlets on March 11, 2010, Chaos Rising will be available as a Games for Windows LIVE® PC title for a suggested retail price of $29.99.

“Chaos Rising is the perfect follow up to Dawn of War II, 2009’s RTS Game of the Year, offering an incredible amount of new content for an amazing value,” said Travis Plane, Vice President of Global Brand Management, THQ. “Relic Entertainment is the industry’s leading RTS developer and will once again deliver bone-crushing action, breathtaking visuals and unprecedented innovation in the genre.”

“Chaos Rising builds on the success of Dawn of War II to create a truly epic and memorable experience for fans and newcomers alike,” said Jonathan Dowdeswell, General Manager, Relic Entertainment. “The game features an intense single player campaign with 15 new action-packed missions and our most brutal multiplayer army yet, the Chaos Space Marines.”

CNIE-RCIÉ St. John – The CNIE-RCIÉ Awards Festival, which recognizes excellence in the innovative educational practice and use of learning technologies in all educational settings has issued a call for Submissions and Jurors. Distributed learning, open/distance education, and institutional contexts including government, commercial and or industrial sectors, both nationally and internationally, are invited to participate in the competition which will be adjudicated by a committee of professional peers from across Canada.

A total of approximately 20 Awards are available for presentation in English and French.

Two different CNIE-RCIÉ categories are open to competition:

· Awards Festival

· Graduate Student Stipend Award

The deadline date for submission for the Awards Festival program is February 25th, 2010, with the Awards presented at the Festival which takes place in St. John NB this coming May 16-19. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st February 2010

GDC Canada Reveals First Look At Sessions

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver – A first look at some of the sessions taking place at GDC Canada 2010, which is happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre this May 6 & 7 was released at the end of last week. GDC Canada 2009 offered many opportunities to learn, exchange ideas, network and socialize, and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year. With the addition of the Canadian Video Game and Digital Arts Awards, Video Games Live and the return of the Game Career Seminar, GDC Canada is growing, and this is a great thing to see in our city.

Haven’t registered yet? Alumni Registration, for those who attended GDC Canada 2009 or VIGS 2008, closes on February 26th, with Early Bird registration open until March 31, 2010. There are also many opportunities for event sponsorship, from general sponsorship to networking events and more.

Check the GDC Canada site often for the latest schedule updates.

* Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light
Speaker: Bill Mooney (Zynga)
Topic: Social & Casual

The social gaming market is exploding – viral propagation across the world, low barriers to entry which create agile competitors, and a rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace. Bill walks through key learnings from his time making Zynga franchises Mafia Wars and FarmVille.

* A Tale of 14 Apps: IUGO’s App Store Journey
Speaker: Sarah Thomson (IUGO Mobile Entertainment)
Topic: iPhone

IUGO Mobile Entertainment, one of the leading independent mobile developers delves behind the scenes to reveal their successes and failures on the App Store. IUGOs Director of Business Development, Sarah Thomson, shares details on which of their 14 titles have been hits and which underperformed. Through thoughtful and compelling analysis Sarah discusses why some titles excelled while others failed; which were a surprise and how some were a disappointment. Take a rare glimpse into one of the most prolific producers of premium games on the App Store and find out what the future holds for IUGO and the iPhone. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th February 2010

Sony Pictures ImageWorks Vancouver Looking for Studio Manager

imageworksVancouverSony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. is an Academy Award winning studio dedicated to the art of visual effects production and character animation. The company’s achievements have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars for its work on Spider-Man 2 and The ChubbChubbs! Other recent Oscar nominated projects include Surf’s Up! The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Spider-Man. Movies currently in production include Watchmen, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, G Force, Cats and Dogs 2 and Alice in Wonderland.

We are looking for a Manager of Studio Operations to work in our Vancouver Studio which is set to open in spring of this year.now hiring

The Manager, Studio Operations manages the day-to-day administrative operations of the SPI Vancouver studio. This position manages the administration of the policies, procedures and programs as directed by SPDP/SPE. The Manager, Studio Operations interfaces with the General Manager of the SPI Vancouver studio and various departments in Culver City and facilitates communications and work flow. The Manager, Studio Operations carries out responsibilities in the following functional areas: departmental development, employee relations, training coordination, recruiting, benefits administration, on/off boarding, facilities & finance. Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

•recruiting and staffing logistics;
•organizational and space planning;
•performance management and improvement systems implementation;
•implementation of organizational development programs;
• compliance to regulatory concerns and reporting;
•immigration (liaise with immigration legal dept. and HRBP)
•employee orientation and on-boarding;
•manage payroll and timekeeping processes, including data entry;
•studio employee communication;
•compensation and benefits administration;
•employee safety, welfare, wellness and health;
•employee services;
•facility maintenance;
•Manage invoices, expense reports, travel

Candidates must have at least 5 years combined experience in Human Resources, facilities coordination and /or operations. Experience with a start up company or office in animation, production and/or CG games helpful. Candidates must have demonstrated knowledge of basic concepts, practices and procedures of Human Resources, to include but not limited to, the following: employment regulations and immigration, benefit plans, payroll and HRIS processes and reporting, recruiting and selection, basic group facilitation (such as new employee orientation). Candidates must also have experience with basic finance and expense data entry and reporting. Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal required. Bachelor’s degree preferred.

The Manager, Studio Operations reports to the General Manager, Vancouver Studio and has a dotted line to the Sr. HR Business Partner at SPI Culver City.

Interested parties are requested to email their resumes to CANrecruiting.

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