31st July 2010

Spike Spencer Appearing At Anime Evolution

frima studioThe Widgets are back! Frima Studio has announced that Widgets Odyssey II will be landing on the PlayStation Store in North America for only $1.99 USD on August 3, 2010. As a PlayStation Mini title, playable on both the PlayStation®3 and PSP®  systems, Widgets Odyssey II will conclude the intergalactic platforming exploits of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmet and Monk first embarked upon in Widgets Odyssey, which launched on July 6.Widgets Odyssey

Widgets Odyssey II represents the conclusion of Frima’s “Summer of the PlayStation Mini” in which Widgets Odyssey and Young Thor were also released.

“What a summer! I think with the release of Widgets Odyssey and Young Thor, we have shown the gaming world at large that the PlayStation Mini platform is one worth paying attention to,” said Steve Couture, CEO and co-founder of Frima Studio. “We’re proud to continue that tradition with Widgets Odyssey II, and we can’t wait to see the reaction from gamers looking to play the next great Mini.”

In the Widgets Odyssey saga, five robots aboard their space vessel have just one simple mission: to save the universe from the tyrannical Yagor and his evil henchmen! Armed with the abilities of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmut, and Monk, players will guide each robot along their exciting adventures filled with puzzles, mazes and minigames.

BeamDogThere is a new age in computing dawning, a redefinition of the computing user experience and PC software needs to catch up. The old methods of getting, installing and using software no longer apply. Edmonton-based Beamdog defines the new model for the PC software lifecycle.

Beamdog is about fun, about finding great games and playing them. “When I want a new game I just want to find it, get it and get playing as fast as possible.” says co-founder and President Trent Oster. “I don’t want to physically go to a store, browse the limited selection on shelves and go home with a “passable” game. I don’t want to sit through a lengthy and pointless installation. I want a great selection of the best games ever made, all in one place and I want to get playing fast; that is what we intend for Beamdog.”

Founded by industry veterans Trent Oster and Cameron Tofer, Beamdog connects customers with games quick and easy. With an exclusive focus on digital distribution, Beamdog supports game developers and publishers in connecting with their audience. Beamdog represents the start of an open, transparent and rapidly-expanding digital market and they want you to know that they are open for business.

Anime EvolutionActor Spike Spencer will be appearing as a guest at the Anime Evolution Anime Convention in Vancouver August 13-15. Anime Evolution 2010 at the University of British Columbia is Vancouver’s premiere Asian popular cultural event where audiences and industry interact directly in an informal setting.

The three-day convention is expected to draw close to 6,000 attendees this year and brings together art, animation (anime), comic books (manga), video games, film and music in a celebration of Asian popular culture and multimedia. Events take place starting Friday, August 13, and end Sunday, August 15. Everyone is welcome to register as attendees. The price for a three-day pass is $55 CAD for a three-day pass and daily passes are available.spike spencer

The convention highlights Vancouver’s local creative talent as well as showcasing the work of artists from Canada and abroad. Convention attendees can attend Q&A’s and workshops with voice actors, directors, artists, animators, comic books publishers and game developers. Video screenings, video game rooms, a cultural festival and live performances by DJs, bands and improv actors are sure to keep guests thoroughly entertained.

New for this year is the Artist’s Villa, a sizeable space devoted to creative talents of all kinds, including writing, drawing, and performances. Cosplay is encouraged. Gutsier attendees can participate in a fashion show or take part in the highly- competitive singing contest, Anime Idol. Those looking for official merchandise, like comic books or videos, should definitely make a visit a dealers area one of their top priorities.

Vancouver-based social comparison shopping engine TinyMassive has completed a private placement of 3,430,000 common shares at TBwaPa price of $0.05 per share for aggregate proceeds of $171,500, which will be used to in the operation of operations of TBwaP, Inc. TinyMassive currently owns 49% of TBwaP, a free community website and weekday e-mail newsletter for new and expectant moms. Tight Bod with a Pod aims to create the insider’s guide to pre- and postnatal fitness and healthy living – from work out regimens and yummy snacks on-the-go to the best baby gadgets and family travel ideas, all written and approved by chic, modern moms. Although pregnancy and motherhood know no borders, Tight Bod with a Pod is currently located in Los Angeles. TinyMassive is in negotiations to purchase the remaining 51% of TBwaP, and plans to close a second private placement to raise up to an additional $230,000 within the next 10 days.

inspire2goInspire 2 Go, a new Ottawa-based website that inspires travelers with “Top 10” style lists and personalized recommendations for destinations, hotels, and other places, announces the Best of Canada Awards 2010 contest. The contest, open to public voting until August 31, seeks the best cities, towns, and national or provincial parks in Canada in 5 categories:

Best Family Destinations
Best Romantic Destinations
Best Nature Destinations
Best Beach Destinations
Best Golf Destinations

Anyone can vote for as many places on each list as they like and add new places if their favorites are missing. The winners in each category will be featured on Inspire2go for the rest of the year.

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30th July 2010

There Is Travel In The Future For Canadian Digital Media Companies

Province of BCIn conjunction with the British Columbia Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, the BC Trade and Investment office in Japan is organizing a BC Pavilion at Tokyo Game Show 2010 (TGS 2010) from September 16-19, 2010. The pavilion will be prominently located in the International Zone in order to highlight British Columbia’s digital media and game cluster, and the BC Trade and Investment office would like to invite BC game developers to join them. Here’s why your company should consider attending:

Japan is the 3rd largest market in the world for gaming industry sales; in 2009, sales of game hardware and software in Japan were US$5.9B. The Tokyo Game Show is the largest videogame show in Asia with annual attendance of 185,000 participants over four days. Attendance at this show is an opportunity for BC organizations to market their products and services to the Asian market and forge new business relationships with companies from Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan.

Recognizing the changing nature of videogames in society, TGS 2010 will also focus on next-generation mobile game devices, smartphones, PCs and other new interface models for home consoles. For BC organizations wishing to attend TGS 2010, the BC Trade and Investment office is pleased to offer the following support:

· Booth space at Tokyo Game Show in the BC Pavilion
· Bilingual staff (Japanese/English) to facilitate on-site meetings
· On-the-ground support for business matching
· Assistance with logistics in planning your trip and preparing to do business in Asia

If you are interested in participating in the BC Pavilion, the BC Trade and Investment office needs to hear from you by the end of July so that they can secure adequate resources and booth space for this event. Please contact Rob O’Brien, Japan Manager with the BC government’s International Relations and Business Development branch via email or at 604-505-5896 to express interest, ask questions, or obtain more information about costs involved.

IUGOOur congratulations to Sarah Thomson, who has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Business Development at IUGO Mobile Entertainment. Sarah has been with the premium games developer for nearly 3 years, and since her joining, IUGO has significantly elevated its reputation and awareness amongst industry peers and mobile game enthusiasts. They also have seen success in the challenging App Store marketplace for iDevices.

“This was a well-deserved move for Sarah,” states IUGO’s CEO, Hong-Yee Wong. “She’s grabbed the reins here and produced significant results for IUGO. I have no doubt she’ll continue to take IUGO into new and exciting areas of growth and prosperity.” Thomson has also been speaking regularly at industry conventions, most recently Casual Connect in Seattle.

“I’m very excited and proud of my accomplishment,” beams Sarah. “The company as a whole has been working very hard to make our mark in this competitive space. I feel like we’re only getting started. IUGO’s foray into social games currently and in the future is going to usher in our next phase of success. I am grateful to lead the company towards its next evolution.”

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has entered into a partnership with Minnesota game developer and publisher Destineer to develop Dragon’s Lair Trilogy, bringing three timeless arcade adventures together on one disc for Wii™: Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp, and Space Ace. For the first time ever on a console platform, you can experience the stunning visuals and engaging storylines from all three of these classic arcade games created by legendaryMatch Up American animator Don Bluth.

The Dragon’s Lair Trilogy will be completely arcade authentic with the original arcade gameplay modes
and remastered animation. There will be standard and wide-screen editions, an all-new movie guide for beginners and a watch mode which will let you check out all of the Dragon’s Lair awesome animation without playing the game, which will be available for the Wii this fall.

Digital Leisure also has a new title coming out on DSiWare this coming Monday, August 2nd. In Match Up gamers will reveal shapes, colors and even hidden bonuses with a new take on a childhood favorite. Quick hands and a sharp mind are the only way to beat the clock and disarm the explosive cards riddled throughout. For a bit of a slower paced gameplay, you can opt for classic concentration play. Match Up will be available for 200 DSiPoints.

Canada Media FundNew policies in regards to Performance Envelope Calculation Factors were sent out by the Canada Media Fund late yesterday. As a result of the consultation with the industry and funders of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), and in view of the policy direction from the federal government, the Board of the CMF has determined that the following factors will apply in the calculation of the performance envelopes for 2011-2012: Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2010

Gaming World Entertainment Network Helps Gamers Give Back

Gamers Giving BackInternet radio fans, check out Gaming World Entertainment Network, an internet station with roots in Canada. While the station is on the air for anyone to listen to, Guild Wars players can interact directly with radio DJs right in the Guild Wars world, participating in special events and fundraisers such as the upcoming Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) whereby players are encouraged to dress their characters in pink on October 16th to show their Pink Day in Lion's Archsupport for breast cancer research. For those who would like to also donate financially to the cause, GW-EN has a donation page on the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising site. Station co-founder Rhonda Head, who lives in Saskatchewan, wanted to not only entertain and interact with Guild Wars players, but also give them a chance to give back to the global community. GW-EN has partnered with Gamers Giving Back, providing a way for gamers to come together as a group and help support a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross for Haiti relief effort and the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Gaming World Entertainment Network plays a wide variety of music, and starting today at 1pm PDT, Michael (a.k.a. The CaveChild) makes his return to internet radio as DJ Behemoth. If you are a Guild Wars player, you’ll be able to find him in Kaineng Harbour rocking it out on one of the boats in American District 1.

Koolhaus GamesKoolhaus Games announces Voting for Round One of its International Contest for Unsigned Bands. The Top 25 Favorites in each Round are being decided by voters to the site. The Top 10 Winner’s Songs will be included in the new soundtrack of their popular iPhone game – iMP:Surf the Music and the groups will earn royalties from game sales.

Just visit the site, click on the Contest link – and go to “Fans: Vote and Enter”. Check out the bands and vote for your favorite by August 23, 2010. Then, Enter to Win an iPod Touch. Enjoy all the great new songs and be part of getting these Unsigned Acts the exposure they deserve! There will be several Rounds and one Voter from each round wins an iPod Touch.

National Film BoardThe National Film Board of Canada returns to 2010 Hiroshima International Animation Festival (August 7–11) with six films in competition. In the running for the Grand Prix are Lipsett Diaries and Drux Flux, two films by Theodore Ushev; Jeu de forme by Malcolm Sutherland; The Spine by Chris Landreth; Runaway by Cordell Barker and Retouches by Georges Schwizgebel. Ushev will be in Hiroshima, and Internet users can stay in touch with him via his blog.

The festival offers several programs in addition to the official competition. No fewer than 11 NFB films are featured at special presentations: Neighbours by Norman McLaren screens at the opening gala; Vive la rose by Bruce Alcock, co-produced with the Canadian company Global Mechanic, screens at the Best of the World program; and When the Day Breaks by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Village of Idiots by Rose Newlove and Eugene Fedorenko, The Big Snit by Richard Condie and Ryan by Chris Landreth, co-produced by the Toronto-based company Copperheart Entertainment, are among the films selected for the program celebrating the festival’s 25th anniversary. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th July 2010

HootSuite Partners with Constant Contact

BiowareBioware has just announced details for more upcoming downloadable content for Dragon Age: Origins on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. However, according to the small print on Bioware’s site, Golems of Amgarrak will not be available as a separate download for the Mac version of Dragon Age: Origins.
On August 10th, Dragon Age players will be able to delve deep underground to save a missing dwarven expedition who went off in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs, and only your Warden can venture into the Deep Roads and discover what awful fate met the expedition.

Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. Golems of Amgarrak adds an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles to your Dragon Age experience. As with previous DLC add-ons, you will be able to import your highly-developed Warden characters, or begin anew by starting a new high-level hero. You will also be able to earn fully transferable and powerful rewards for your characters, and Golems of Amgarrak promises to challenge even the most experienced Dragon Age veterans. I sense more near-death unconscious experiences in the future of my Warden. Good thing she’s resilient.

DIG London 2010DIG London is looking for your input as to who and what you’d like to see on the conference’s agenda. Head over to the DIG London Facebook account to share your views. This year’s conference will be held November 18th and 19th at the London (Ontario) Conference Centre.

HootSuiteAmerican company Constant Contact has signed a co-marketing partnership deal with HootSuite® through their Constant Contact Partner Program. By partnering with a leader in social media, Constant Contact is again demonstrating its commitment to offer its customers the best social media marketing tools and resources available today whether through acquisition, in-house development, or strategic partnership. As part of the Constant Contact Partner Program, HootSuite will benefit from exposure to Constant Contact’s diverse customer base of more than 350,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations. HootSuite’s customers will also be able to leverage the proven email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools Constant Contact offers.

teletoonTwo major corporations have announced their digital agencies of record today. Teletoon Canada Inc. has partnered up with Tribal DDB Canada’s Toronto office as its digital and social media agency of record, while ING Direct Canada has named Dashboard, also located in Toronto, as their interactive developer.Tribal DDB

Starting immediately, Tribal DDB Toronto will build a social media strategy with an integrated approach to extend consumer awareness and engagement of Teletoon’s three key brands – Teletoon, Teletoon at Night and Teletoon Retro – through digital and social media vehicles. New campaign work is expected to launch later this fall.

“Teletoon has been successfully fostering engagement through various social networking initiatives, however we’re looking to collaborate with Tribal DDB to build on and further optimize our efforts,” says Russell Ward, VP Marketing, Teletoon Canada inc. “We’re impressed by Tribal DDB’s social creativity, strategic thinking and track record of creating ideas that have generated wide appeal and buzz.”

dashboardING DIRECT has been a strong player in the digital space since the bank’s Canadian launch. For over 13 years, they have operated and marketed as a direct bank. A partnership with Dashboard, will further ING Direct Canada’s interactive initiatives. With big news for the bank on the horizon, both teams have already begun working.

“We are thrilled to add ING Direct to our growing roster of excellent clients,” said Daryl Aitken, President, Dashboard. “ING Direct was one of the first digital marketers in Canada, essentially digital veterans, so they are ready to go to the next tier of digital presence that Dashboard delivers on time and time again. Our team is already at work doing smart and innovative work.”

Roaring PenguinThe fight against spam got a little bit easier as Roaring Penguin Software Inc. announced the latest release of their CanIt 7.0.6 software. Roaring Penguin offers an evaluation copy so you can personally test out the following new features, along with all of the previously existing anti-spam capabilities of this software:

1. Direct Injection of Messages into Sendmail Queue: CanIt can directly inject streamed mail into the Sendmail Queue rather than re-mail it with Sendmail. This should significantly improve performance in busy sites that have individual streams for each user. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. 3podFirst, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:

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Gemini Awards 2010Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.

Ottawa International Animation FestivalWant to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.

Pitch Participation Requirements:

* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages)
* One episode synopsis
* Bios of key executives
* Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
* Concept art (2 or 3 images)

xmg studioXMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.

From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.Cannon Cadets

In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!

Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »

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26th July 2010

Telefilm Canada Launches Mentor Program

Ph03nix New MediaHere are a few more details about Solitaire and the City from Ph03nix New Media and TRZZonline which was released on Facebook last Friday. This latest social media app fuses the classic solitaire card game with a ‘beat the clock’ type of time management that has never been done for this type of game. “Solitaire and the City”was developed exclusively for Facebook®, and has already started gaining a small following of solitaire fanatics.Solitaire and the City

Solitaire and the City is a unique blend of the classic solitaire card game mixed with the type of speed that will test anyone’s hand-eye coordination. Gamers have 45 seconds to clear as many cards as they can off of the board in order to earn points. The points earned daily go toward unlocking cool items in the gamers’ fashionable closet. Users can also ‘gift’ items to their friends and try to collect every item available. For the competitive gamer, badges are earned for hitting high scores that are displayed on a profile tab, enabling users to show their friends where they stand in the rankings.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the title and fashion infusion are definitely a direct ‘ode to’ the popular “Sex and the City” series and movies. The user gets to fill up their walk-in closets with some of today’s hottest fashion and accessories from Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo and more. As the user clicks on the cards, the on-screen martini glass fills up with a New York Cosmopolitan drink! Competing against friends to earn a high score has never been so fashionably fun.

Relic EntertainmentIn news that is going to make the CaveChild salivate, THQ and Relic Entertainment have announced that Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine®, will be shipping for the Windows PC in addition to the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 in early 2011.
Space Marine
Jonathan Dowdeswell, General Manager of Relic Entertainment commented: “The loyal PC audience is incredibly important to us here at Relic so we are delighted to be able to announce the PC version of the game.”

Combining intense melee and ranged combat, Relic’s 3rd Person Action-Shooter Space Marine puts players into the boots of one of humanity’s elite soldiers, genetically engineered and equipped with state of the art weapons and armor. Players are dropped right into the action as they battle to defend an Imperial Forge World, from an invasion by the savage and brutal Orks, using the most devastating weaponry mankind has at its disposal.

Travis Plane, Vice President of Global Brand Management commented: “Delivering great content the fans want to play is the key goal in the core games division at THQ so we are pulling out all of the stops to make this the best possible game for PC and console audiences alike.”

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is today unveiling its brand-new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants, which includes the names of more than 100 experts, that creators working in Canada’s film industry will be able to access via Telefilm’s website. New applications for mentors and consultants will now be accepted on an ongoing basis and the directory will be updated regularly.

“Telefilm Canada is dedicated to supporting all links in the Canadian film industry value chain,” stated Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Canadian filmmakers are bursting with talent, and we are committed to meeting their needs and supporting their growth and development-which, at the end of the line, will result in the creation of high-quality feature films that will appeal to their target audiences. We are very enthusiastic about the potential of the new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants that we’re unveiling today, which enables Telefilm to act as a catalyst for the industry’s success.”

“When I started my career, I was very lucky to benefit from the patient advice I received from such industry professionals as Michael Miner (Anaconda, Robocop), the wonderful writer and film editor,” said Vancouver writer Michael Giampa, who is included in the directory as a scriptwriting consultant. “Having a mentor who can answer your questions and provide encouragement makes all the difference when you’re starting out in the business. I hope that this directory will foster these kinds of relationships and that it becomes a key tool in the development of a mentoring philosophy within Canada’s movie industry, one that will hep nurture Canadian talent.”

The new online directory of mentors and scriptwriting consultants will enable emerging writers and producers to make contact with industry mentors and veterans, offering them the possibility of developing their skills or finding specific expertise for a given project. All the producer-mentors and writers included in the online directory were chosen by Telefilm following a call for candidates issued in May, and all have agreed to makes themselves available to offer professional advice, coaching and know-how, and thereby help foster the development of talent and projects. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd July 2010

Pitch To Rogers Ventures At Wavefront In August

Blue Castle GamesBlue Castle Games‘ Dead Rising® 2: Case Zero, will be available on August 31st exclusively to Xbox 360® gamers via Xbox Live® Arcade at a cost of 400 MS Points. A unique and stand alone piece of content, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero acts as a prologue, introducing players to the main protagonist, Chuck Greene and provides a glimpse of the action to come when Dead Rising 2 releases in North America on September 28th, Japan on September 30th and throughout European and Australian territories on October 1st.

Set two years after the Willamette incident chronicled in the original Dead Rising® and three years Dead Rising 2: Case Zerobefore the start of Dead Rising 2, Chuck along with his young infected daughter, Katey, find themselves trapped in the zombie infested desert town of Still Creek. It’s up to Chuck to find a way out of town, and locate the Zombrex Katey must take to prevent her from joining the ranks of the undead.

Just like in the full game, players in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero will use Chuck’s handyman skills and a roll of duct tape to combine two items to create powerful combo weapons. Not only do combo weapons make killing zombie sprees more fun but they also have the added benefit of earning Chuck additional ‘Prestige Points’ which in turn result in quicker leveling up.

Players who download Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and then go on to buy Dead Rising 2 will be able to carry over character attributes earned such as ‘Player Level’, to a maximum of five, ‘Prestige Points’ alongside skills, ‘Combo Cards’ and a number of alternate outfits.

“With Dead Rising 2: Case Zero we had two goals: provide newcomers with an easy point of entry to the Dead Rising universe, and give fans of the series an insight into what took place after Frank West survived the outbreak at the Willamette Mall,” said Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s Head of R&D Management Group and Executive Producer for Dead Rising 2. “We have certainly achieved both of these ambitions but I am equally pleased that we are able to give gamers so much unique and entertaining content at such a great price.”
For all of you developer types with iPads, Endloop has released the newest iteration of iMockups. With lots of bug fixes, iMockups v1.08 also has loads of new features, some of which are featured in this short video:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

iMockups is available now in the iTunes App Store for a very reasonable $9.99.

According to Big Stack’s last tweet, Ph03nix New Media has just launched their latest Facebook game, SolitaireSolitaire and the City and the City. I can’t find much in the way of information about the game other than an icon and its Facebook page thought, which is a little disappointing as this makes it difficult to give you any advance information you’d like to have before giving the game a try.

Mafia® II (2K Games), a title which Vancouver’s Massive Bear Studio had a hand in, will have a downloadable demo available worldwide on August 10 for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360® and Windows PC. Set in the fully realized and immersive 1940’s and 1950’s American urban cityscape of Empire Bay, soon all gamers will be able to experience the decadent and meticulously crafted atmosphere, intense shooting and driving gameplay, and character narrative in the M rated Mafia II that is set to be released on August 24 in North America.Massive Bear

The Mafia II demo invites gamers to dive into the “Buzzsaw” level, where Vito and his buddies, Joe and Henry, are sent to take out a mobster known as “The Fat Man”. While the epic game spans two decades, the Buzzsaw demo takes place during the summer of the ‘50s – a time considered the “Birth of Cool”, and with it, rock ‘n’ roll, hot rods, and rebellious attitudes. The demo showcases the type of vibrant edge-of-your-seat action, as well as a slice of the expansive city of Empire Bay in the colorful era.

Mafia II looks to be the industry’s most compelling action crime game to date. Players take control of Vito Scaletta, who is making a name for himself on the streets of Empire Bay. He’s someone who can be trusted to get a job done. Together with his buddy Joe, he is working to prove himself to the Mafia quickly escalating up the family ladder with crimes of larger reward, status and consequences… the life as a wise guy isn’t quite as untouchable as it seems.

wavefrontWavefront AC has just announced a Rogers Ventures Matchmaking Session for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators that will be held in Vancouver on August 23rd. To reiterate the Wavefront announcement, this is a great opportunity for wireless and new media startups looking for Seed or Series A funding. On average, Rogers Ventures invests $250K-$1M in companies and investment can go larger or smaller depending on the company’s requirements and the opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2010

The Casual Connection

Casual ConnectYesterday I went down to check out some of the goings-on at Casual Connect Seattle, and once again it was a huge event – evidence that the casual gaming market has grown, and continues to grow, exponentially. The conference is also a reminder about the many corners of today’s culture that casual gaming is spreading its influence into, and I noted many new companies who were attending Casual Connect for the first time. The only real downer this year was not related to the conference itself – when I went out to my car to drop off some of the materials I had picked up, I noticed that someone had removed the magnetic yellow ribbon showing my support for our armed forces from the tailgate. I feel that this was an act of total disrespect to not only our Canadian troops, but also to the United States’ closest ally. Karma will get the person responsible for the small theft, I’m sure. I hope that such a trite act made their day. Thank you to Scott though, who picked up a new magnet for me from our local Royal Canadian Legion on his way home from work.

I would like to personally thank Victoria Hayes, Neil Swain and Duane Robson from our federal Trade Commissioner Service for the opportunity to finally meet many of the developers from eastern Canada whom I had previously only known through email, twitter and Facebook. A special shout-out to my twitter buddy Sasha, who toils daily at the creative studios of marblemedia, and to another twitter friend, Rob Anderson, a.k.a. the “head cheese” at New Brunswick’s Noise2Signal. I also had the chance to chat briefly with  Dan Kratt, Senior Designer at Ph03nix New Media/Big Stack Studios, creators of my current match 3 addiction, Sigma for the iPhone.

Many thanks to the government and association representatives from Ontario, Quebec and of course BC for their support and interest in what we’re trying to accomplish here at Cerebral Vortex GamesVillage Gamer. The social gathering at the Canadian Consulate was great. It was great to catch up with Cerebral Vortex President Keith Makse, whom I met at last year’s Casual Connect. By the way, if you’re in the Toronto area, Cerebral Vortex is hiring, and if you’re a fan of word games, grab their iPhone game Word Burst from the App Store.

Once again the Casual Connect team has offered a top-notch venue for the global casual gaming industry to share experience and find new opportunity. If you are a Canadian casual game studio and didn’t attend this Untold Entertainmentyear’s event in Seattle, may I suggest that you put it on your conference schedule for 2011.  Of course, a day trip to Seattle and no internet access means that I am now a day behind in what’s been going on north of the 49th, and there’s plenty going on across this vast country of ours.

I got a sneak peek at how things are going with Untold Entertainment’s new word puzzler Spellirium. I can safely say that what I saw looks very polished, colourful and high quality – much nicer than the mock-ups I’ve been playing through with each iteration’s beta test interface. What I saw of the more finished product makes me all the more impatient for another high-quality word game to challenge my word-making abilities.

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. GamesOne other thing I did learn while visiting with Sandy Spangler and Murray McCarron from A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games – the WipeOut game recently released by Activision was – you guessed it, developed by A.C.R.O.N.Y.M., an apparently little-known fact as there was no mention of the studio in Activision’s game launch press release. I received that email, but as you all know, we are a Canadian content site, and as I received no reply from Activision to my question of where the game was developed, the news went unannounced on this site. wipeout

Rated E by the ESRB, Wipeout: The Game for Nintendo DSTM and WiiTM is based on the Endemol USA produced hit TV show Wipeout. Wipeout: The Game  features the contestant demolishing Dreadmill to the fan-favorite Big Balls, pitting friends and family against each other in the world’s largest, messiest, and most hilarious obstacle course out there.

“When developing the game our goal was to capture all the elements that people love about the hilarious reality ABC show, and to above all make it fun,” said David Oxford, Activision Publishing. “So far, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from fans, who clearly can’t wait to step up to the challenge of the obstacle course.” Read the rest of this entry »

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20th July 2010

Canadian Game Industry Continues To Expand

Silicon SistersVancouver game dev industry veterans Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes have officially announced the formation of Silicon Sisters Interactive, a new Canadian video game company based in Vancouver that will create games for a predominantly female audience.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, female gamers are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics, with women currently accounting for 40% of the overall gaming audience. Silicon Sisters plans to capture and grow this rapidly expanding market by tailoring games to these players’ daily lives and personal interests. Their target customers — women of all ages, from tweens and teens to hard-working women worldwide — comprise an audience that the company’s all-female design staff inherently understands.

“We’re not interested in ‘pinkifying’ games, which is how girl games are typically designed,” says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO. “It’s no coincidence that the games I and many other female gamers are most drawn to have had women involved in their development. Girls and women game differently than boys and men. Silicon Sisters has studied these differences so we can make games that truly appeal to and resonate with the female audience.”

It’s an objective perfectly suited to the founders’ backgrounds. During their combined 18 years in the industry, both have been vocal champions of female representation among video game developers and audiences. The former COO of Deep Fried Entertainment, Bailey Gershkovitch chairs the Vancouver chapter of Women in Games International (WIGeh) and sits on GDC Canada’s Advisory Board. Forbes, previously an Executive Producer at Radical Entertainment, has delivered eleven top-selling games and is a veteran industry advocate for girl gaming preferences.

“The video game industry is experiencing a rebirth of sorts,” says Kirsten Forbes, Silicon Sisters’ COO. “PC online gaming is up, social networking has become pervasive, and mobile platforms are ubiquitous. Women are adopting games on these platforms in droves. It’s time to get serious about delivering quality games into this burgeoning market.”

Silicon Sisters’ predominantly female team, which includes noted designer Brenda Brathwaite as a consultant, is working on two projects for PC and mobile platforms. This summer, company representatives will attend Casual Connect, GDC Europe, and GamesCom to pursue publishing opportunities for their own properties, as well as potential work-for-hire projects that correspond to Silicon Sisters’ corporate vision.

TransGamingTransGaming, Inc. is crossing the Atlantic and entering the European market after securing its first in a number of active agreements to deploy GameTreeTV in the European market before the end of 2010. The first deployment will be with a European Managed Service Operator (MSO) who will begin releasing the new generation of set-top boxes to their subscriber base of multi-millions of households. Financial terms were not disclosed due to confidentiality reasons. TransGaming will be working closely with this MSO over the next few months to prepare for the commercial launch of GameTreeTV, which is currently slated for late 2010.

“This agreement is a major milestone and demonstration of TransGaming’s leading role in revolutionizing the delivery of high-end interactive content in the digital home,” said Vikas Gupta, President and CEO of TransGaming. “We are excited that European consumers will be the first to enjoy the ability to play great games directly through their set-top box and conveniently will be able to transact their games through a variety of consumer friendly business models.”

The GameTreeTV Gaming Platform is an on-demand video games service that gives consumers access to high quality games directly from the comfort of their living rooms through any Intel CE Media Processor based device. Consumers will be able to access a broad assortment of well-known, popular arcade, puzzle, family and adventure style games from the growing library at GameTreeTV. TransGaming first unveiled its GameTreeTV platform at the Intel Developer Forum in September last year while announcing a strategic collaboration agreement with Intel Corporation and an investment by Intel Capital.

Developers are invited to sign up for TransGaming’s Content Developer Program in order to gain access to their SDK game emulation tools, documentation, and hardware requirements to bring your games direct to consumers through the GameTreeTV Games Platform.

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that Home Sweet Home Online, the next evolution in the Home Sweet Home series is released on Facebook.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a home decorator? Now you can with Home Sweet Home Online! Build your dream home and show it off to your friends and the rest of the Home Sweet Home users.Home Sweet Home Online

Home Sweet Home Online gives the player complete freedom when it comes to designing rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. They can paint objects different colors and they are not restricted to a grid when placing items. This freedom combined with thousands of furniture pieces allows the player to create a virtually infinite amount of different rooms!

Travel to your friend’s homes to see what ideas they come up with. You can even travel to their friend’s homes and check out what they’ve done. Meet new and interesting people and become an active part of the Home Sweet Home community!

The player can also play mini games to earn coins, unlock new furniture by gaining experience, and visit virtually everyone else’s home to rate their rooms get decoration ideas. With weekly updates of new content and features, players will continually try to outdo each other and win the Room of the Week prizes. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th July 2010

Telefilm Expands Web-Ciné 360 To Include English Language Productions

netflixThe biggest news of the day seems to be the announcement by American Internet movie subscription company Netflix, Inc. The corporation started our week with the announcement that it will expand into Canada this fall offering unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed instantly to TVs and computers (and game consoles?) for one low monthly fee.

Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs. In addition to representing its inaugural international market, Canada will also mark the first streaming-only service promoted by Netflix.

At the time of launch, the Netflix Canadian service will be available in English only, but the company said it expects to add French language capability over time. Canadians interested in Netflix can sign up to receive an email from the company when the service launches in Canada this fall.

Yummy InteractiveVancouver’s Yummy Interactive, Inc. a veteran leader in online PC games distribution for over 10 years today introduced its turnkey game service, Yummy Games Quick Launch, which provides portal operators and online communities with a quick-to-market Games on Demand solution.

The Yummy Games Quick Launch system enables multiple business models packaged under one umbrella. Consumers can play their favorite games via subscription, full-purchase download and limited-time PC game rental. Quick Launch partners can choose from one of Yummy’s custom design themes for their website, and customize elements throughout the site. They will then be able to select their game inventory from Yummy’s licensed catalog of over 1,000 titles and even supplement their library with their own proprietary or licensed game content.

Yummy’s full spectrum of applications, back-office tools and digital distribution technology are all leveraged to engage customers in buying and playing games. If you are at Casual Connect in Seattle this week, be sure to stop by Yummy’s booth and say hi.

The Yummy Games platform includes:

* Yummy’s Progressive Streaming – this technology permits end users to begin playing a game before it has been fully downloaded. This buffering also reduces bandwidth usage, lowering overall hosting costs.
* Games Player – as both a web-based and desktop application, users can access their service and download, launch and save games through the Player from their desktop or their favourite web browser.
* Games Website – the website includes a complete array of pages that highlight the product catalog, service features and support. It includes all meta data on games, search tools, advertising and dynamic web services that will automate lists of games such as Top Played Games, New Releases, and Recommendations.
* Account Management – customers can establish user accounts which are fully managed, secured, and maintained and can be connected to outside databases.
* Automated Updates – content changes, game patches, application fixes are all managed automatically for users every time they log in.
* Digital Rights Management – game executables are wrapped and protected with Yummy’s GameShield™ technology and data is encrypted alongside session-based authentication and IP detection for user account access.
* Cloud Computing – a selection of games can now be saved to the Cloud, so users can access their game saves remotely.
* Real-time Reporting – revenue reports, statistics on player usage, network traffic, most played games, and network activity (session length, time of day, installs, playtime, geographic locations) are included.

The Quick-Launch system also manages hosting, delivery and e-commerce support as part of the overall white label package. Read the rest of this entry »

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