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  • Ted (and Ryan) Talks: An Interview with Genius Factor Games

30th June 2010

Ted (and Ryan) Talks: An Interview with Genius Factor Games

Genius Factor Games logoStudio: Genius Factor Games
Current Title(s): Gravity Well (2009)
Future Title(s): Riese

I arrive at Genius Factor Games at 2:05 in the afternoon, and am welcomed by Ryan Arndt, the Director of Digital and Emerging Media. He’s as friendly as his position requires, and I’m invited to wait in the lobby until their previous meeting concludes. The offices are lowly lit, and sparsely furnished, with ecru sofas and a single glass table with two trade magazines.. Gravity Well may be their biggest success so far, but the few pieces of art on the walls are solely devoted to their newest project, a card game tie-in to Riese: the Series. The door into their meeting is left ajar, allowing me to hear an intent discussion of the viability of video game franchises as cross-media entertainment; I find myself more eager than ever to speak to the two men inside. When I’m welcomed into the office, an introduction to Ted Nugent, CEO of Genius Factor Games, is immediate—as is an introduction to his Australian Shepherd, Jenny, who sits at his feet.

Ted Nugent


I begin by asking how he feels about the success of the company’s debut; and immediately, his gratitude and modesty take centre stage.


“Well, I didn’t expect Gravity Well to…I think there needs to be a little bit of context around the whole thing. When we started with Gravity Well, it was really to learn the publishing system. So I didn’t expect the game to do more than one sale–one sale would have been a bonus. We released it in April of last year, and since then it’s done a lot better than I expected, and amazing… The reactions from the customers and from the people who are playing have been equally amazing.”

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30th June 2010

CTV Series FlashPoint Announces Upcoming Online Game

Happy Social Media Day, Canada – a good warm-up for tomorrow’s National birthday celebrations. Speaking of Canada Day, don’t forget that if you’re in Vancouver, there will be an abundance ofPure Football activities happening at Canada Place on July 1st. If you haven’t tried Ubisoft Vancouver’s latest soccer title, Pure Football, stop by the the BC Soccer event area at Canada Place and give it a go. In celebration of Canada Day and the World Cup, we will be giving away a copy of Pure Football tomorrow, courtesy of Ubisoft Vancouver. Check back tomorrow for the details on this giveaway.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterAdvance tickets for our local SIGGRAPH chapter’s Spark Animation conference go on sale tomorrow. There isn’t very much information available yet, but word at last night’s Making of ModNation Racers event was that there will be Early Bird prices available, so check the site tomorrow for more details.

National Film BoardStarting today, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has its own iPad app, available free of charge at the iTunes Store or at the NFB’s download page. One of the first Canadian film apps for the iPad, the NFB app allows users to enjoy over 1,000 NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers, streamed over Wi-Fi and 3G wireless networks. It includes a selection of NFB-iPadfilms in 3-D and stunning high definition. Users will also be able to download and store a film for up to 48 hours, for off-line viewing.

The app has the same features as the NFB’s iPhone app but has been optimized to take advantage of the inherent qualities of the iPad:

• Watch over 1,000 free movies
• Access a kids’ channel with fun and educational content for children
• Store films for up to 48 hours for off-line viewing
• Browse films by channel/category
• Search for films by title
• Bookmark your favourite films
• Browse related content while viewing a film thanks to split-screen technology

The NFB’s iPad application builds on the success of its popular iPhone app, launched last fall. The NFB’s iPhone app was selected as one of the best apps of 2009 by iTunes Canada and named Best Use of Content in 2009 by TheAppleBlog. Since its launch in October 2009, the NFB’s iPhone app has been downloaded more than 235,000 times, with 821,000 film views, as of June 1, 2010. Dragon Age Issue 2

Fans of  Dragon Age: Origins will be pleased to know that Issue 2 of the Dragon Age comic book series  from IDW has been released and is now on store shelves. You can get an inside look over at Issuu’s web site.

CTVCTV announced today that the Gemini Award-winning series FlashPoint will present a special Season 3 sneak peek episode on Friday, July 16 at 10 p.m. on CTV. A quick-hit teaser of a third season locked and loaded with hard-hitting storylines, painful decisions, and Team One’s toughest adversaries yet, the mid-summer primer is a can’t miss target for FlashPoint fans. Earlier this month CTV announced the pick-up of a fourth season which will begin production in Toronto for the 2010/2011 season. Following its television broadcast, the Season 3 sneak peek will be available on demand on the CTV Video Player at CTV.ca.

In the Season 3 sneak peek, entitled “Unconditional Love” (July 16), Team One must resolve a standoff at a seedy motel with a fugitive whose shot two police officers and taken a teenager, Paul Wilder (Devon Bostick, BEING ERICA), hostage. At first, Paul seems like a good kid in a bad situation, but as the team digs deeper it uncovers chilling secrets that reveal Paul is far from FlashPoint's David Paetkauinnocent. What began as a standoff ends as a desperate chase through the city’s sewer system, and it’s up to Parker (Enrico Colantoni) to stop Paul from making a mistake that will change him forever. Meanwhile, Ed (Hugh Dillon) discovers that his cop brother Roy (Colin Cunningham, Da Vinci’s Inquest) might have been responsible for one of the officers getting shot… and that his wife is, unexpectedly, expecting.

Also launching on Friday, July 16 is FlashPoint: Training Day, an interactive, online simulation game that gives FlashPoint fans the chance to become virtual members of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Adopting the role of a rookie recruit, website visitors enter FlashPoint: Training Day and explore SRU training with tactical and strategic training modules, including real time negotiations with a hostage taker. FlashPoint: Training Day uses actors from the show to create a realistic training environment, bringing players inside the SRU. Players undertake a recruitment test and training modules and eventually the final tests to see if they have what it takes to become an SRU officer. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th June 2010

Tap Apps, Temperamental Bears and Digital Influence in Canada

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released the official guidelines for its Diverse Languages Program. The Diverse Languages Program, which forms part of the CMF’s Convergent Stream, ensures that Canadians have access to content that reflects the variety of languages they speak. The program will provide funding support for the creation of Canadian content for television and digital media platforms in languages other than English, French, and Canadian Aboriginal languages, which are served by the CMF’s other funding programs.

zinc RoeCongratulations are due to Tickle Tap Apps developer zinc Roe, the proud recipient of three Parents’ Choice Awards in the highly competitive Mobile Apps category. Sound Shaker and Sort Slider both earned Gold Awards for highest quality apps while Count Caddy was recognized with Silver Honors for excellence. These popular apps are educational iPhone games preschoolers love and parents can feel good about.

To celebrate the awards, zinc Roe will be giving away Bug Builder, the newest app in the Tickle Tap series, for free! Visit the iTunes App Store on Saturday, July 3 or Sunday, July 4 and type “Bug Builder” into the search to download your free app.

The venerable Parents’ Choice Foundation has been reviewing and recommending quality children’s media for more than three decades. This year it was inundated with entries for its new Mobile Apps category. Apps were judged based on overall ratings for how each app amusedTickle Tap and offered new ways to learn. The judges describe Tickle Tap Apps as “a charming introduction to learning anytime and anywhere.”

“zinc Roe design offers a suite of bright and colorful apps for the youngest users,” says the Parents’ Choice Awards review of the Tickle Tap apps. “With its welcoming continuity of voice and characters, this age-appropriate playful prologue is deliciously intriguing to those eager to learn.”

Tickle Tap Apps are attractive, simple games that help kids learn about numbers, shapes and patterns. The apps are developed by child gaming experts, vetted by educational researchers and tested by kids. These portable games help transform trips, line-ups and car rides into fun, educational experiences for young children.

A2MU.S. publisher 505 Games and Canadian developer Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M) have released the bears – Naughty Bear is now available for the Xbox 360™ and PlayStation®3 platforms. The game allows players to take on the role of the infamous Naughty Bear, who is driven to seek retribution after his fellow bears snub him one time too many times. After the other bears exclude him from Daddles’ big birthday party, Naughty Bear finally snaps and slashes a grisly path of revenge and destruction across the Island of Perfection.

Waging psychological warfare against all things cute and fluffy, as Naughty Bear, players engage in sadistic scuffles on all that crosses their path. Using a hilarious array of weapons, interactive objects and endless scare tactics, gamers create chaos on the Island of Perfection to earn Naughty Points as they inflict physical and psychological harm on Naughty Bear’s numerous enemies. This all-new scare-based points system allows players to win the most rewards for being truly deviant and maniacal. As the ill-fated bears become more difficult to harass and terrorize as the game progresses, the variety of scare-based attacks allow for a completely new experience each time players pick up a controller.

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Rated by the ESRB as “T” for Teens with a “Violence” content descriptor, Naughty Bear features more than 28 single player levels to unlock as well as competitive online multiplayer modes filled with unique characteristics and weaponry encountered at every stage. Players battle an endless barrage of bears recruited to wage war against Naughty, including Soldier Bears, Ninja Bears, Robo Bears and even an Alien Bear invasion. As they scour the Island of Perfection to unleash their naughtiness, players can collect all the hidden party items locked away by the other bears to win wearable items and unlock special Achievements and Trophies. Nancy Drew Trail of the Twister

TransGamingTransgaming has just announced that Her Interactive’s title Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister is now available on GameTree Online for Mac gamers. Download the game for only $19.99 and then go undercover as a storm chaser, immersing yourself in meteorology by studying clouds, reading Doppler data, and surviving tornadoes – all while trying to find a saboteur.

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28th June 2010

The Dead Will Rise Again On September 28th

Before we get into today’s news, just a reminder that submissions are now open for the 2010 Canada New Media Awards. Get your nominations in now, the early bird deadline is July 16th.

Updated with link: Mattel Canada is taking the new Hot Wheels® Colour Shifters™ collection for a road trip across Canada this summer. They are stopping over at 50 Canadian community festival events between now and September. Mattel Canada’s Assistant Brand Manager Melissa Chau will officially launch the summer tour tomorrow morning at Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square. The summer road trip is meant to show off the new life-size Colour Shifter Ford Mustang, and kids who attend the launch event tomorrow can help change the colour of the car, play with Hot Wheels® toys and also receive a special Hot Wheels® collector booklet, T-shirt and more.

Interactive Exchange 10Tickets for Interactive Ontario’s IN 2010 are now on sale, with Super Early Bird and special rates for those delegates who attended the event last year expiring on July 16th. This cross-platform, multi-stream conference about the business and ideas of interactivity will take place from September 12-14 at the Carlu in Toronto. The conference will be divided into the following streams:

Mobile: The IN Mobile stream will present sessions from case studies to discussions about the latest and greatest key developments, the current status and future development trends in wireless technology.

Social Media: Social Media at IN will focus on the creative and business opportunities in a sector which is continuously reinventing itself through user-generated content. Showcasing leading-edge projects and discussions about the newest communication platforms, these sessions will explore marketing, collaboration, information sharing, and experimental crossovers.

Games: The video games industry continues to be one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. With an eye toward intellectual property, which is exploitable along multiple entertainment verticals, this stream brings creative, production and business perspectives to the table at IN 2010. Industry veterans will discuss current trends, explore leading-edge projects and examine the challenges and opportunities that exist in crossover projects.

X-Platform: This stream focuses on the opportunities that lie in the digital media content space as it continues to grow by showcasing the interconnectedness of various interactive sectors within cultural and digital media industries. This stream highlights the potential creative and business opportunities that exist between platforms.

Visionary: The visionary stream is dedicated to showcasing thought-leaders. Made up of the innovators, originators, inventors and explorers of big ideas. These forward-thinkers share their vision and in turn, incite new ways of thinking about business models, interactivity, and technology.

Dead Rising 2A release date has been set in zombie blood for Dead Rising 2. Fans of this survival-horror title from CapCom and Blue Castle Games can assimilate the persona of motorcycle racer Chuck Greene on September 28th. Dead Rising 2 is listed at Future Shop for $59.99 (Xbox 360) and $64.99 (PS3), while Best Buy lists both versions at $59.99. Neither store lists a PC version, and the CapCom US store doesn’t yet list Dead Rising 2 at all. GameStop Canada also neglects the PC version, but it does offer the strategy guide for pre-order.

CapCom also confirmed late last week that Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, a motion picture inspired by the Dead Rising universe, will be distributed free of charge in both Europe and North America this summer. Written and directed by Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s global head of research and development, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun follows two brothers as they try to escape the zombie outbreak that has hit Japan. Exploring the darker side of human nature and filmed entirely on location in Japan, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, both pays homage to the zombie movies of the 1960s and ‘70s and provides links with the videogame world of Dead Rising®.

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Zombrex Dead Rising Sun will be released digitally in a series of eight episodes which Dead Rising and zombie movie fans can watch for free. Featuring an English voice over, the episodes will also be available as separate versions with French, Spanish and Italian subtitles.

Vancouver indie studioAll Seeing Eye Games has launched its debut title exclusively on Drum StudioXbox LIVE Marketplace. Drum Studio, available for 80 Microsoft Points, allows players to play, record, edit, save and playback their own song creations on their Xbox 360 drum kit. It utilizes the full potential of the drum kit to put the power of music creation in the players’ hands.

Game Designer Joel Cappelletto says, “Drum Studio takes music games to a new level with its creation and customization tools. We’re very excited to finally share it with the world.”

Drum Studio does away with playing along to pre-determined drum lines. Instead, players create their own jams on drums they’ve customized from a library of over 320 sounds. A simple & elegant recording interface allows players to layer in multiple tracks and hone their songs to perfection before they save the song, kick back, and watch an animated drummer play back their creation.

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25th June 2010

Rare Unibear Spotted and Captured on Film

A2MGlobal video game publisher 505 Games and developer Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) today revealed rare footage of the elusive Unibear character found in the upcoming comic mischief title, Naughty Bear. In conjunction with the release of the film, the Perfection Island Herald today ran an investigative report (PDF) on whether or not the Unibear is a hoax.

According to sources that claim to have seen the mythical Unibear, the creature can appear at random on the Island of Perfection for a very short time. Given the amount of mystery surrounding the Unibear, it is likely that any player who manages to catch and scare the mysterious creature will win an exponential amount of Naughty Points.

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Naughty Bear’s reign of terror doesn’t stop at the shorelines of the Island of Perfection, however. As the resident bears call for backup, Naughty Bear takes on increasingly powerful waves of enemies, including Ninja Bears, Soldier Bears, RoboBears, ZomBears and even powerful Alien Bears from another planet. Naughty Bear can unlock costumes for each of these enemies as he defeats them, allowing players to create utter pandemonium on the Island as the bears try to distinguish friend from foe.

Nickelback, the 11th best-selling act of the 2000’s with more than 30 million records sold worldwide, will make their Rock Band debut in the Rock Band Music Store on June 29th. The band will make their debut in Rock Band next week with a six pack of songs.Nickelback

“Nickelback Pack 01” will include “Burn It to the Ground” and “This Afternoon” from 2008’s album, Dark Horse, which has held a place in the Top 100 of the Billboard 200 since its release last year. Also included are “Photograph” and “Rockstar” from 2005’s All the Right Reasons, which was certified eight-times platinum in the United States in October 2009, making it one of the best-selling albums in U.S. history. “Figured You Out” from 2003’s three-time platinum The Long Road and “Never Again” from 2001’s six-time platinum Silver Side Up will also be featured in “Nickelback Pack 01.” These tracks will be available for purchase as “Nickelback Pack 01” as well as individual tracks on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system, and as individual tracks only on Wii.

Be Green CanadaBe Green Canada today announced that it has joined the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing computer power consumption by 50 percent by the year 2010. Together, Be Green Canada and the other industry-leading members of the Initiative will work to increase the adoption of energy-efficient PCs and servers and increase awareness and use of computer power management.

“Be Green Canada is committed to reducing the energy consumption of information technology, both through actions, as well as driving awareness and development of energy-efficient technologies among customers. By working with Climate Savers Computing, Be Green Canada is helping lead the movement toward a more clean and sustainable future”, said Owner, Rich Dezso.

As a member of Climate Savers Computing, Be Green Canada is committed to reducing energy consumption from a majority of its computing equipment by:

* Pledging to purchase high-efficiency computer equipment that meets or exceeds Energy Star ratings
* Optimizing existing computer systems to use power management capabilities, such as hibernation and sleep modes
* Ensuring in subsequent years the company purchases computing equipment with increasing levels of efficiency

In a typical desktop PC, nearly half the power coming from the outlet never reaches the processor, memory, disks or any other computing components. The wasted electricity is dispersed as heat and increases the cost of powering a computer, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases. In offices, homes and data centers, the added heat from inefficient computers can increase the demand on air conditioners and cooling systems, making the computing equipment even more expensive to run. Servers are more efficient than desktops, but still typically waste 30 to 40 percent of the input power.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada has announced the winners of the Golden Box Office Award, a newly-created award that recognizes the writers and director of the Canadian English-language feature film with the highest domestic box-office sales each year. The 2009 “Goldie” was handed to the director and writers of the film Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day at an auto-body shop in Halifax today. The second feature film in the Trailer Park Boys comedy franchise, the title grossed $2.9 million in domestic box office sales. The 2009 winners of the Goldie and accompanying cash grants totalling $40,000 are director and co-writer Mike Clattenburg and co-writers Timm Hannebohm, John Trailer Park BoysPaul Tremblay, Robb Wells and Mike Smith.

“We are very pleased to be presenting the inaugural Goldie Award to Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada. “With two feature film hits and a TV series that was able to garner a cult following both here and south of the border, the team behind The Trailer Park Boys has achieved outstanding success. Telefilm strives to recognize the talent behind Canadian cinema, because it is these outstanding partners – the hardworking writers, filmmakers, producers and distributors – who keep our industry solid and vibrant,” she concluded.

“Telefilm took a huge chance investing in the Trailer Park Boys concept back in 1999 but it paid off with the success of our first and second features films,” said Mike Clattenburg, director and co-writer of Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day. “Without Telefilm’s unfailing support, we could never have made our two movies or the series,” he concluded.

“Congratulations to the Trailer Park Boys writing team, and a big thank you to Telefilm for the important recognition,” says Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada. “A prize like this will help our talented writers stay in this country and develop the next winning Canadian film,” she concluded.

Helmed by writer-director Mike Clattenburg, Trailer Park Boy: Countdown to Liquor Day was co-written by John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith and Timm Hannebohm and produced by Barrie Dunn, Michael Volpe and Mike Clattenburg.  The film begins with Julian, Ricky and Bubbles newly released from jail and brimming with optimism about their prospects for the future. However, when they return to Sunnyvale, they encounter a leaner and much meaner Park Supervisor Jim Lahey who has some big changes in mind for the park, changes that don’t exactly go over well with the Boys, who then face their biggest test since Grade 10. Alliance Films distributed the film across Canada.

dougiedogJust in time for hot dog season, dougiedog the Dogumentary premieres in Vancouver this Monday, June 28th. Featuring celebrities Dave Grohl and Jason Alexander plus music from some of today’s finest acts, dougiedog the DougieDog the DocumentaryDogumentary is the inspirational story of a man (comedian, entrepreneur and hot dog fanatic dougieluv), who overcomes tremendous obstacles to achieve his dream of opening up a hot dog shop. What starts as a hot dog research expedition across America in a rusted-out Dodge Caravan turns into an incredible journey of self-discovery guided solely by the hands of fate.

The premiere will be held at the Cellar Nightclub directly across from the dougiedog Hot Dog Joint at 1011 Granville Street. The event will feature food, music, prizes, hot dogs, and a special appearance by the Ivy League Brawlers (an 8-piece live band). Tickets are $10 and available at the dougiedog Hot Dog Joint while supplies last. Admission includes a free cocktail and appetizers. Doors open at 6:30 pm, the movie screens at 8 pm. People who show up sporting their hot dog spirit will be granted free entrance.

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24th June 2010

For The Canadian APPetite

iStockphotoiStockphoto has untethered its community today with the delivery of a free iPhone application iStockPhoto-lightboxthat allows users to browse iStock’s vast library of photos, illustrations and audio files from an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch – with an iPad-sized app coming soon.

“Inspiration and ideas often strike when least expected,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “This application lets us be there for our community whenever and wherever that happens.”

The application uses iStock’s industry-leading search engine to help customers find the perfect file quickly and easily. Customers can access and manage lightboxes of stored files from their existing iStockphoto account or create new lightboxes to save files for future viewing or purchase. The app also allows files to be e-mailed to clients and colleagues for discussion and evaluation. The new app also allows the more than 80,000 contributing artists whose work is sold on iStockphoto to track their sales and view download statistics, even while on the go.

Magmic GamesMagmic Inc. has launched the official Rubik’s Cube application for iPhone, iTouch and iPad. The app, which does everything including doing the cube for you, is now available on iTunes for $2.99. Magmic’s Rubik’s Cube is the only iTunes application endorsed by Erno Rubik, the original cube’s inventor.

“Rubik’s Cube is the greatest puzzle ever invented,” said Magmic’s Director of Product Management, Jeff Bacon. “We were excited to take it to a powerful Rubik's Cubesmartphone, and to enrich the experience. It’s nothing short of a rebirth for this amazing invention.”

have you reached an impasse in solving your real-life cube? Simply take a picture of a real Rubik’s Cube with your iPhone and the app’s built-in Solver gives you a step-by-step solution.

Other features include:

– Anaglyph 3D mode (glasses not included)
– 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4 & 5x5x5 Rubik’s Cubes
– 24 different game styles
– 360 degree view using iPhone 4 gyroscope
– Personalized cubes with stickers and photos
– Easy-to-understand solution guide
– All-new, extra-challenging CRAZY Cube

BCICBCIC invites entrepreneurs and startups to attend Connect, a conference for early-stage tech entrepreneurs who want the answers to “what’s next for my company”. Taking place on October 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (west building), tickets are priced at a very reasonable $50.00 (buy now for the early bird price of $40.00), and students can attend for only $25.00. The keynote presentation will address the topic of Making It Beyond BC, and attendees will have the chance to meet face-to-face with several (the site says 30) tech leaders who will be there to offer advice and encouragement.

CDMNCanadian digital media innovation will be in the spotlight when leaders from around the world attend the G-8 and G-20 Summits this June 25 – 27th. The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) has attracted high-tech participants from CDMN-affiliated organizations across Canada to the Experience Canada marketing pavilion in downtown Toronto where they will showcase unique digital media capabilities.

“All eyes will be on Canada during the G-8 and G-20 Summits, and the CDMN is serving as a conduit to the high-tech sector, demonstrating the power of Canadian innovation and potentially attracting future investment,” said Kevin Tuer, managing director of the CDMN, which is dedicated to furthering commercialization of digital media in Canada. “Experience Canada at the International Media Center will be high-impact, with imaginative displays, giant video walls and creative use of technology capturing the essence of Canada’s tech leadership.”

The CDMN, which links digital media-related organizations across the country, has attracted tech companies, universities, research houses, and public sector organizations to participate in the 20,000 square foot Experience Canada marketing pavilion. The experiential pavilion will have global impact, as key displays will be digitized, virtualized and shared online. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd June 2010

Celebrate Canada At Casual Connect

SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. have launched a video contest to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog’s 19th anniversary. Two lucky grand prize winners, one from North America and one from the UK, will each receive a trip for two to Tokyo to visit SEGA Japan and meet the Sonic development team.

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“In honor of the nineteenth anniversary of our favorite hedgehog, we wanted to find a special way to thank Sonic’s fans throughout the years,” said Haruki Satomi, executive Sonic the Hedgehogvice president of SEGA of America. “We think this contest is a great way to give fans a chance to express their creativity, enthusiasm and support for Sonic.”

Over the course of the next two weeks, contestants can upload their videos showing their appreciation and love for Sonic the Hedgehog to YouTube and then submit them for judging on the official Sonic 4 Contest Page. Videos will be judged on creativity, entertainment and effort; the ten best will be chosen by SEGA and showcased on the official Sonic the Hedgehog 4 website.

Sonic fans and the entire SEGA community will then choose their favorite to win either the grand prize trip to Tokyo, or a prize of a 32 GB iPod touch®. Contest void where prohibited.

CanadaThe Consulate General of Canada in Seattle is planning activities around Casual Connect Seattle 2010 (July 20 – 22) to promote the Canadian game development industry, including a networking event, a Canada table at the show and a Canada Casual Games Organization Directory.  Discounted registration is also available on a limited basis.  For information on these activities and how to become involved, please contact Victoria Hayes.

Don’t forget that Women In Games Vancouver will be participating in GameSauce, the gamesauceconference-before-the-conference. GameSauce will take place in Seattle on Monday, July 19th and will feature many educational tracks and opportunities for networking.

Can’t get enough FIFA World Cup Action? As part of its tribute to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, BC Soccer and a team of partners, including Ubisoft Vancouver, will be showcasing BC Soccer World on Thursday, JPure Footballuly 1st, at Canada Day at Canada Place.

The staging of soccer and sport activity zones, demonstrations and other special events will serve as a new addition to the award-winning Canada day at Canada Place festivities. BC Soccer World will go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT under the five sails at the iconic Canada Place venue in downtown Vancouver.

“We see it as a natural coming together of a special day for Canada with a special year for the global soccer community,” said Bjorn Osieck, Chief Executive of BC Soccer. “BC Soccer World will celebrate our ‘Global Game’ with ‘Universal Passion’ and will help showcase sport, active living and the beautiful game of soccer.”

The 2010 event at the largest Canada Day celebrations in British Columbia is seen as a pilot project for similar community outreach events in other major centres throughout the province in the coming years.

“Our model is simple: provide an introduction to soccer and sport for children, young people and their families by offering a wide variety of soccer activities and sport demonstrations in a festival style event,” said Osieck. “Those coming to BC Soccer World at Canada Day at Canada Place will have the chance to check out the history and heritage of our game in BC and what it stands for in terms of active, inclusive and team play for young people of all ages.” Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd June 2010

Cities Named for Monopoly Canadian Version

Longbow GamesLongbow Games has announced that the studio will be launching a boxed version of their innovative new historical wargame Hegemony: Philip of Macedon at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio from June 24-27, 2010. Recently called “the most in depth ancient world strategic simulator on the market,” by Greg Wild of The Reticule, the boxed version of Hegemony which includes a full-colour printed manual will launch exclusively at the show for $30 (reg. $39.99 + shipping).

“We’d like to invite all fans of history and strategy to come out to our booth at Origins and give Hegemony a try,” says Rob McConnell, lead programmer at Longbow Games. “We’re going to have multiple game stations available where guests can play the full game as well as free demo cds to take home and big discounts for those who purchase Hegemony at the show.” Hegemony Philip of Macedon

Hegemony: Philip of Macedon lets you conquer the ancient Greek world in this PC RTS war game that follows the rise of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Players campaign continuously, unfettered by load screens, across a satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece encountering the full range of warfare from reconnaissance to raids to field battles to mountain blockades. The game also features:

* Innovative supply system – Siege and starve the enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing empire.
* Steeped in history – In-game pedia and 100+ historical objectives recreate the rise of the Macedonian empire.
* Detailed and Stylized World and Map – Transition smoothly between the detailed 3D world and the stylized board-game map while maintaining complete control over your empire.
* Subjugate your enemy – Chase down and capture routed enemy units to create slave gangs to work your mines or build your forts. But don’t leave them unguarded or they could rebel and wreak havoc in your empire’s heartland!
* Conquer the seas – Build or capture a fleet of triremes to protect your coastlines, raid enemy merchants, or drop an army at your enemy’s backdoor.

HasbroAfter passionate campaigns across the country and more than one million votes from Monopoly fans from Kelowna to Kawartha Lakes, 22 of Canada’s favourite cities now have a home on the new Monopoly: Canada Edition game board. Chatham-Kent, Ontario now represents the coveted Boardwalk spot, with Saint-Jean-Sur Richelieu Quebec capturing Park Place to round out the prestigious dark blue property group in the popular game invented by Charles Darrow in 1935.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Canada Day with this new all-Canadian edition of the world’s favorite family game brand featuring cities voted by Canadians!” said Michelle Sinclair, Brand Manager of Games & Puzzles for toy and game-maker Hasbro Canada. “We hope that Canadian Monopoly fans will enjoy playing on a game board that includes an interesting mix of our cities featuring all of the dynamic cultures, sights and history of this country.”Monopoly Canada

Votes were cast during a six-week period in early 2010. The first four weeks of voting determined 20 of the 22 cities featured in the game, picked from 65 pre-selected cities based on the population size of the province in which they resided. The remaining two spots were reserved for a wildcard vote for any city across Canada. Ten cities with the most nominations for the wildcard faced off for two weeks in February 2010 and Beauceville, Quebec and Banff, Alberta earned the brown property spaces on the game board, traditionally occupied by Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue.

The following 22 cities earned spots on the Monopoly: Canada Edition game board, and are listed with the highest rent properties first:Mr. Monopoly

– Dark Blue: Chatham-Kent, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu
– Green: Calgary, Sarnia, Edmonton
– Yellow: Windsor, Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres
– Red: Medicine Hat, Gatineau, Shawinigan
– Orange: Kawartha Lakes, Chilliwack, Montreal
– Magenta: Kelowna, North Bay, St. John’s
– Light Blue: Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver
– Brown: Beauceville, Banff

Along with the 22 property spaces featuring great Canadian cities, the game will include updated Chance and Community Chest cards that highlight events and culturally relevant scenarios from Canada. Players may take flight at the International Balloon Festival in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, skate along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa or win big at the casinos in Niagara Falls. The new Monopoly: Canada Edition also features an Electronic Banking unit with cards instead of cash. Players can collect rent and buy their favourite Canadian cities with the touch of a button! Read the rest of this entry »

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21st June 2010

Mentor Programs and Competitions Expand Futures for Young Canadians

bookriffLet me start the week by sending out a huge congratulations to our friend Rochelle Grayson on her new position as CEO at Vancouver startup BookRiff. Rochelle is an incredible lady, and I know that with her awesome talent and drive, great things will be happening for BookRiff and its parent entity D&M Publishing. Congratulations also to the Deus Ex: Human Revolution team over at Eidos Montreal for all of their nominations and awards from E3, including Best of E3 from Gamepro and 1up, plus Best E3 trailer from JeuxVideo.

CIXCIX, the Canadian Interactive Exchange has sent out their annual call for showcase presentations. Submissions deadline is October 1st, so companies who “consider themselves to be the very best in the fields of ICT, Digital Media and Cleantech should complete a profile in order to be selected to present live at CIX in the showcase of Complex GamesCanada’s Hottest Innovative Companies.” CIX takes place at Toronto’s at MaRs Discovery District on December 7th.

Complex Games has announced that BattleBears -1, a prequel to Skyvu Pictures’ BattleBear Zombies, has been sent off to iTunes for release approval. Check out this trailer for a preview:

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There are two Canadian creations out on Nintendo’s DSiWare today. First up is Puffins: Let’s Fish from Other Ocean Interactive. Available for only 500 Nintendo DSi Points, this E-rated title lets gamers dive into the deep blue sea and fill their virtual bellies with delicious fish. Puffins: Let’s FishOther Ocean Interactive is an action game that has you swimming the beautiful ocean in search of a puffin’s favourite meal: the elusive capelin. However, the ocean can be a dangerous place, and you’re not the only one hunting for food. Throughout 18 underwater stages and two game modes, you’ll be avoiding sharks, jellyfish and other fearsome predators who are very interested in making you their next meal.

Digital LeisureToday’s other new DSiWare title comes from Digital Leisure. Also available for 500 DSi Points and rated E (with cartoon violence) is Mega Words, where you need to put on your thinking cap and see how many of the hundreds of puzzles you can solve in Mega Words. Three classic puzzlers are included in this puzzle pack: Word Scrambler, Anagram Hunt and Hangman. There’s no need for erasers here! These portable editions feature extensive dictionaries to challenge novices and expert players alike. See how fast you can unscramble words, sharpen your vocabulary and stretch your mind with Mega Words.

EA SportsWinnipeg-born Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks will be the new face of the NHL® 11 videogame from EA Sports™. With last year’s title featuring Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, NHL 11 marks the first time that EA SPORTS has put back to back players from the same team on the cover of the NHL franchise. The 22 year old’s image will be on the front of all packaging when NHL 11 is available in North American retail stores this September for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® with an MSRP of $59.99.

“I am really excited to be on the cover of NHL 11,” said Toews. “It’s been an amazing year for me and the team, and it’s nice to end it by being a part of a game I played growing up. The NHL games have always been great, so it’s an honor for me to be a part of the EA Sports family.”
Jonathan Toews
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary with NHL 11, the EA Sports NHL® franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year awards over the past three years and is poised to raise the bar yet again. With a revolutionary real-time physics engine that brings an unprecedented amount of realism to the franchise, gameplay innovations like broken sticks and a revamped face-off system, as well as the addition of the Canadian Hockey League, NHL 11 is set to be the most complete hockey videogame ever created.

After being selected third overall in the 2006-07 entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Toews has emerged as one of the most skilled centers in the NHL after just two seasons. After helping lead team Canada to a gold medal win during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Toews locked up the Conn Smythe, given to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs, after playing a crucial role in leading the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961. Toews is currently the youngest captain in the NHL, and has registered more than 65 points in each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th June 2010

Growing Pains At Village Gamer

On behalf of the administration of Village Gamer, and especially on behalf of myself (a somewhat exhausted IT for said site), I want to issue our apologies for the recent errors our site may have been causing your browsers and RSS Readers.

It would appear that, in a moment of (I don’t know what I was thinking), a decision was made to update to the most recent version of Apache and PHP5.  This was supposed to coincide with the release of WordPress 3.0, marking a milestone for both the software we utilize here, as well as one for the site itself (1500 post).  Unfortunately, like many things that I plan out with great depth, not much in-depth planning was put into it on my part, and some hefty site issues were experienced as a result.

Over the past few hours, I think I may have localized the issues, and solved the problems.  Sadly, I will not know for sure until the next problem comes along… or, more hopefully, does not come along.

This site is going through some pretty amazing changes with its growth, and I hope that you will stick with us through them.  I promise to not make this a regular occurrence (I value occasional moments of relaxation… something that is not available when our flagship site experiences problems like it has gone through today).

We welcome any feedback you may have, and as always, will do our best to assure that we are here to be your main source for all Canadian Digital Media News.  Part of that promise involves me making sure I don’t break the site again (some of you in the Vancouver area know by now that I’m becoming famous for being the IT who says a lot of “oops… don’t worry, I can fix this… oh crap… I mean, it’ll be okay!”).
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