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  • James Interviews Alex Burrows And Challenges Him To Some NHL SlapShot for the Wii

30th November 2010

James Interviews Alex Burrows And Challenges Him To Some NHL SlapShot for the Wii

Nintendo CanadaYesterday cameraman Chuck Beaman and I headed over to the EA Sports campus after Village Gamer received an invite from EA Canada for a very special event. When we got to the Burnaby campus, we found out that Vancouver Canuck Alex Burrows was there playing EA Sports’ NHL Slapshot for the Wii, and he was taking on challengers. Never having been someone to back down from a virtual hockey match, I accepted his challenge and we played Peewee in NHL Slapshot.

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We chatted about Alex’s favourite hockey games, his journey to the NHL and the teams he likes/doesn’t like to play against. Our match ended up being a draw but it was fun just to play. If you would like to know more about EA Sports NHL SlapShot for the Wii, check out my preview here and look for my full review coming later in the month. Thanks to Nintendo Canada, EA  Canada, Alex Burrows and the Vancouver Canucks for a great time.

Twisted Majic

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30th November 2010

Look At All of These Great Games

binary dawnWord nerds rejoice, because St. John’s, NL independent mobile entertainment developer Binary Dawn Interactive is back with their second release in the App Store. WordUs2, inspired by popular TV game shows such as Lingo and Motus is now available for download for 99 cents USD.

This word game was actually an early hit on the PalmOS and has now been updated and improved for Apple’s iOS. “In fact, there have been so many enhancements to the original game that it only made sense for us to call it WordUs2”, said Robert Reynolds, Vice-President of Binary Dawn Interactive Inc.Word Us 2

Forget the mumbo jumbo, WordUs2 with its focus on entertaining and educational gameplay was a top 10 game on launch in Canada and quickly rose to #1 on the iTunes ‘New & Noteworthy’ word game chart. Word slingers have been busy building up their linguistic prowess as they work to solve the various puzzles and are fast becoming fluent in the language of fun!

The idea of the game is simple: Wordsmiths test their acumen as they attempt to guess a mystery word given only the first letter. After each guess, if a letter is in the correct spot, the square will appear orange. If the letter is in the word yet in the wrong place, the letter itself will be surrounded by a yellow circle.

WordUs2 comes with a dictionary of thousands of words. There are four exciting game modes: “Calm & Collected”, “Every Guess Counts”, “Think Fast”, and the “Six Minute Sprint”. Each mode features different twists and challenges that are sure to keep players of all ages guessing for hours on end.

“We’ve focused on building a challenging app that will really give your brain a workout as we test your vocabulary,” added company president Roddie Kieley. “Even though it’s a relatively simple game, WordUs2 is amazingly fun and addictive. We believe this is our strongest effort to date.”Celsius Games

Another St. John’s, NL studio, Celsius Games, announced this morning that its latest title, Red Nova, has entered the review stage at the App Store. Red Nova is an inertia-based space shooter that will be released as episodes. Chapter 1, First Contact, will feature exciting survival gameplay where players must fight off an unending stream of enemy fighters in order to give their carrier, the ECS Red Nova a chance to escape and warn the rest of the fleet.

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According the game’s info page, once First Contact is out in the App Store, the studio will be developing a number of additional episodes and releasing them as free updates to the game. Initially these episodes will be mini-stories in the style of First Contact, however ultimately, Celsius Games is hoping to give gamers an epic mission-based story arc which follows the Red Nova’s involvement in the coming galactic war.

hb studiosHB Studios Multimedia has a new game out on WiiWare. Available for 1000 Wii points, HB Arcade Disc Golf re-creates the popular disc-flinging sport in the comfort of your own living room for 1-4 players.
HB Arcade Disc Golf
Playing the game is as easy as tossing a disc around on a beautiful day. The goal of the game is to put the disc in the basket in the fewest throws possible. Disc golfers have three different types of discs at their disposal when out on the course: a driver, a mid-range disc and a putter. Also, there are three different types of throws available: forehand, backhand and the hammer throw. The forehand and backhand throws change based on the handedness of the player, and can be used to draw or fade a shot, while the hammer throw is less about distance and more about height. At the end of the round, scores are tallied and the player with the lowest score is the winner. HB Arcade Disc Golf is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. It would appear that HB Studios has a few career positions open, as well. Check out their Careers Page for more information

frima studioFrima Studio is pleased to announce that its highly-rated PSP® title Young Thor has launched in Japan, marking the first time a Western mini has been translated and ported for Japanese users. Young Thor, along with Castle Crashers and Comet Crash, is part of SCEJ’s (Sony Computer Entertainment Japan) Western Game Buyer Selection initiative to promote Western games to Japanese gamers, and is now available for 500 Yen.
Young Thor
“While the Japanese market differs greatly from the European and North American markets that Young Thor has been so successful in, we feel strongly that a great game with solid foundational mechanics, tight gameplay and a sense of fun and adventure has universal appeal,” said Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio. “We’re honored to be among the first ever group of games brought over by SCEJ and we can’t wait for Japanese gamers to get their hands on one of the best and most original titles playable on their PSP systems.”

Hailed by many media outlets as one of the best minis of all-time, Young Thor casts players in the titular role, traveling through Midgard, the world of men, and Asgard, the realm of the gods, in a quest to restore balance. Unleash over a dozen different attacks and tremendous magical powers on the myriad of enemies under Hel’s command. Explore unique and vast environments in search of godly artifacts that will help you save the world. Level up, defeat Hel and her two cursed allies Ratatoskr and Nidhogg to rescue the sacred Norns.

Frima also announced on Twitter this morning that it has some new projects on the horizon, and they may be looking to add to their 3D development team. Check their careers page for more information.

Eidos MontrealSquare Enix and Eidos Montreal have released special edition information for the highly anticipated Deus Ex: Human Revolution. What many of us refer to as a Collector’s or Limited Edition is being called the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition. Coming in at a price $10.00 higher than the regular edition, this AE version will feature special packaging on the outside and a 40-page art book, the game’s soundtrack, a motion graphic novel and a making-of DVD.Longsword Whisperhead Suppressed Extreme Range Sniper Rifle

There are also two pre-order bonus packs available, the Explosive Mission Pack and the Tactical Enhancement Pack. Note that not all stores will be carrying both packs, so be sure you ask before you buy which Pre-Order bonus pack will arrive with your game.

The Explosive Mission Pack contains a bonus mission, Tong’s Rescue, as well as the LineBacker  G-87 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher, an M-28 Utility Remote-Detonated Explosive Device and an Automatic Unlocking Device. The Tactical Enhancement Pack contains the Huntsman Silverback Double-Barrel Shotgun, the Longsword Whisperhead Suppressed Extreme Range Sniper Rifle and 10 000 extra credits.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is expected to be released early in 2011 at a base price of $69.99 for the console versions ($59.99 for PC) – add $10.00 for the Augmented Edition. The game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. As with Frima and HB, Eidos Montreal is hiring.

Blue Castle GamesFollowing on from the success of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, Dead Rising 2: Case West will extend the zombie slaying antics of Dead Rising 2 by delivering brand new content and the return of a new combo weaponfamiliar face. Intrepid photojournalist and star of the original Dead Rising, Frank West, is back from covering wars and arrives in Fortune City to investigate Phenotrans and find proof of its involvement with the zombie outbreaks.

Set immediately after the events of Dead Rising 2 and available exclusively on Xbox LIVE, Dead Rising 2: Case West sees Frank team up with Chuck Greene for some serious co-op action as the pair embarks on a brand new case set in the Phenotrans Facility on the outskirts of Fortune City.

Here Chuck and Frank will face new challenges and new enemies but will also have access to new weapons, items and the ability to create a number of new Combo weapons such as the janitor’s favourite, the ‘Zap & Shine’ and the ominous sounding ‘Reaper’. Just as in the full game, players will have the opportunity to rescue human survivors who have so far escaped the clutches of the zombie horde.

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Wherever he finds himself Frank is always ready to capture the moment with his trusty camera and Dead Rising 2: Case West is no exception. Frank is able to take photographs of key evidence that will provide indisputable proof of Phenotrans’ part in the zombie outbreaks, not just in Fortune City, but across the United Chuck Takes PhotosStates. As the story unfolds expect to see cameo appearances from other characters from Dead Rising that will provide further links to the original game. If enjoyed as a solo experience, the player will take control of Chuck with Frank’s behaviour and actions controlled by AI. In this mode Frank cannot be killed.

I had a question earlier from someone on YouTube asking if T.J. Rotolo would be reprising his voice role as Frank West, but a look on the actor’s IMDB page does not list Case West on his credits, so unless there is a non-disclosure agreement in place, I think it would almost be safe to assume that T.J. will not be giving Frank his voice in this expansion. Dead Rising 2: Case West is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. Yes, following the trend above, Blue Castle is hiring.

Hothead GamesElectronic Arts Inc. and Hothead Games® announced today that DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue™ (T.O.V.), the follow-up to the award-winning Action/RPG DeathSpank™, is now available on PC for $14.99 exclusively via Steam, Valve Corporation’s delivery and management platform. DeathSpank: T.O.V. is a fresh new adventure for the PC where players hack, slash and shoot their way through mission after mission, in search of the six mystical thongs that are corrupting the universe.

Following the PC release, DeathSpank and DeathSpank: T.O.V. will launch on Mac OSX on December 14 for $14.99 also via Steam. Included in DeathSpank: T.O.V. for PC or Mac are two free pieces of downloadable content: the Snowy Mountain Dungeon, a terrifying, ice-covered dungeon frozen in the North Pole and a new playable co-op character, Sidekick Tankko. DeathSpank Thongs Of Virtue

“With the success of the DeathSpank series, we decided that it was time to bring the added adventures and compelling story of DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue to the PC and Mac,” said Vlad Ceraldi, Director of Game Development at Hothead Games. “By branching out to new platforms we hope to share the charm and wit of DeathSpank with a wider audience.”

DeathSpank: T.O.V. puts players in the mighty boots of DeathSpank in his quest to destroy the six mystical thongs which have taken over the universe by corrupting those who wear them. Players will travel through war-torn country sides, outer space and even the North Pole to fight in an epic battle against the Evil Santa. DeathSpank: T.O.V. also includes a local co-op mode, allowing a second player to aid DeathSpank in his search for the infamous thongs as either of his two trusty sidekicks, Sparkles the Wizard or Ninjatastic Steve. Also available for download on PlayStation® Network and Xbox LIVE® Arcade, DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue is rated T for Teen by the ESRB. Oh, and guess what – Hothead Games is also hiring!

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30th November 2010

Mega Brands To Develop Need For Speed Construction Toys

Mega BrandsMEGA Brands Inc. announced today that it has entered into a global multi-year licensing agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. to develop construction toys based on Need for Speed™, the world’s best-selling racing video game franchise.

Mega Bloks Need for Speed construction toy sets will combine the engaging and immersive content of this award-winning franchise with the core play pattern of building vehicles. Launching Summer 2011, the Mega Bloks Need for Speed construction toy line will appeal to building fans and collectors alike with authentic vehicles and playsets that offer endless possibilities to build, race, customize and display.EA Games

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with EA to create the first construction toy line based on the Need for Speed franchise,” said Vic Bertrand, Chief Innovation Officer of MEGA Brands. “Whether it’s realistic driving games or over-the-top car pursuits, Need for Speed has attracted millions of followers worldwide. We look forward to bringing this world to life through Mega Bloks by offering fans an action-packed building experience.”

“For over 16 years, Need for Speed has been at the forefront of contemporary automotive culture. We are committed to delivering unique and fun experiences to our fans whether it’s feeling the rush of a cop pursuit at 200 mph or custom building your oNeed for Speed Worldwn race machine,” said Keith Munro, Vice President of Marketing, Need for Speed. “Now, through our partnership with Mega Bloks, everyone will be able to create their own customizable Need for Speed experience.”

Need for Speed is a global brand and with 17 titles and more than 110 million copies sold worldwide is the dominant racing video game franchise. Need for Speed is known for delivering unparalleled white-knuckle racing, creative customization and street style. The Need for Speed series has generated nearly $3B in life-to-date sales and has become a powerful pop culture phenomenon.

MEGA Brands will also be holding an Open House for designers this Thursday, December 2nd.  As one of the largest design centres in Quebec, MEGA Brands is always searching for new talent to design and conceptualize new construction toys and activities for their leading brands. MEGA Brands is presently seeking applicants who are creative, passionate and innovative for the following positions: Graphic Designers, Web Designers, Industrial Designers, Model Designers, and 3D Artists.

Designers will have an opportunity to learn more about this Montreal-based toy company and the exciting job opportunities they have to offer.

Date: Thursday, December 2
Time: 4 PM to 8 PM
Location: 4505 Hickmore, Montreal, QC H4T 1K4

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29th November 2010

Magic Santa Is Giving Away A Trip To Walt Disney World

sympaticoCanadian users of the Magic Santa video platform now have another reason to share the joy of the holiday season – a chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World from Sympatico.ca. Canadian residents can win a family vacation valued at $10,000 by creating a free Magic Santa video message for the children in their lives, and then submitting a photo or video that captures the priceless expression on their child’s face as they watch their personalized Magic Santa video. Digital photo or video submissions can be uploaded to Sympatico.ca’s user-generated-content (UGC) platform until December 19, 2010.

kids help phone

Magic Santa is a video platform and application that enables parents and extended family members to very quickly and easily create and then view personalized and unique video messages to their kids from Santa.  Creating a video takes less than five minutes, with users submitting only essential information (no complex questionnaire), yet will leave a lasting impression as children marvel at the idea that Santa knows their name, what they want for Christmas, and more. The free service is available both online and as a free downloadable iPhone application from the iTunes App Store. Whether a video message was created using Magic Santa online or the iPhone app, families can “share the magic” with others through Facebook, Twitter or email at the click of a button.

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This holiday season, Sympatico.ca is also sharing the magic with Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only phone and on-line counselling service for youth, by donating $0.25 to the organization for every Magic Santa video created, up to $50,000.

“Magic Santa was created to bring the magic of the holidays to life for kids. With the launch of our Magic Santa contest, that magic can now live on at Walt Disney World for one lucky family,” says Michele Ferrari, SVP – Portal Content English, Business Strategy at Sympatico.ca. “We are proud to be helping parents share the joy of Christmas with their families, and at the same time enabling those families to support Kids Help Phone, an incredible organization that is there for kids across the country whenever they need someone to talk to.”

Magic Santa is not only a free application, it is also free of advertising, enabling Sympatico.ca to help families across Canada keep the spirit of Christmas alive for young kids, without commercialization.

Photo and Video Submission Guidelines

– All entries submitted to contest.magicsanta.ca will be reviewed for eligibility according to the contest rules. Eligible entries will be processed within one to three business days after a submission has been made.magic santa

– There is a per person limit of one contest entry per day and ten contest entries over the entire contest period.

– The odds of winning depend on the number of valid entries received during the contest period.

– The contest runs until December 19, 2010 at 11:50pm (ET).

– On December 21, 2010 at 1:00pm (ET), one entry will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries received during the contest period.

– Full contest rules are available online.

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29th November 2010

EA Sports Named As A Whitecaps FC Founding Partner

Electronic Arts Inc. and Vancouver Whitecaps FC have announced that EA Sports has EA Sportsbecome a Whitecaps FC Founding Partner and the club’s Official Video game Partner. The deal marks EA’s first partnership with a North American soccer club and places Whitecaps FC alongside world-class European clubs like Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, and Real Madrid CF, all current partners with EA Sports.

Through this relationship, EA Sports will showcase its FIFA Soccer video game franchise through Whitecaps FC, including signage, broadcast, and game applications. Similar to its work with European clubs, EA Sports will expand its current relationship with the Whitecaps to explore new ways to enhance its video game experience and create greater authenticity inside of its EA Sports FIFA Soccer products. In addition, EA Sports and Whitecaps FC are committed to working together in the months ahead to create and launch a program for youth development designed to support the growth of soccer locally and nationally.EA Sports and WhiteCaps Partnership

According to internal EA sales data, the EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise has sold more than 100 million units thus far, and FIFA Soccer 11 is the best-selling sports video game in the world. Whitecaps FC and BC Place Stadium will be included in FIFA Soccer 12, enabling fans to play with the Whitecaps MLS team in their new home before the stadium is actually complete. In addition, a limited number of FIFA Soccer 12 games will be available in British Columbia in specially designed Whitecaps FC branding.

“We’re thrilled to join Whitecaps FC as a Founding Partner, as they enter into their inaugural season in MLS,” said EA Sports Vice President and General Manager of Soccer, Matt Bilbey. “EA Sports has a long history of supporting soccer clubs internationally, and with the success of MLS, it’s the perfect time to bring this support to North America at the club level. British Columbia has been home to the FIFA Soccer franchise for 18 years, and now more than 1,200 EA employees at our Burnaby studio, so we pledge our support to work with Whitecaps FC to develop soccer here in the province and inspire the youth Whitecaps FCthat play this game.”

As Official Video game Partner of Whitecaps FC, EA Sports will have exclusive access to Whitecaps FC players to motion capture and turn into the life-like movement of the virtual players in future versions of EA’s FIFA Soccer games. The FIFA development team will also explore new ways to leverage MLS matches at BC Place to deliver improved authenticity in its games that match the complexity, finesse, and excitement of a real-world soccer match. EA Sports will also access players, staff, and its passionate fans to test early versions of its soccer products.

“Through innovative and interactive technology, EA Sports will bring football fans closer to the game than ever before,” said Paul Barber, chief executive officer, Whitecaps FC. “We are very pleased to welcome a global company with local roots on board—especially one of EA’s calibre—and we look forward to working together to build excitement for the launch of Major League Soccer in Vancouver.”

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29th November 2010

Sarbakan To Develop Two Kinect Titles

Game Prototype ChallengeAttention game devs – Game Prototype Challenge founder Jason Kaplan will officially announce Game Prototype Challenge V2 at noon EST on Wednesday, December 1. The new themes will be announced on December 13th, and the challenge will run from December 13 through December 20th. Get your thinking caps on, limber up those design skills and get ready for some informal designing fun. If you aren’t familiar with Game Prototype Challenge, check out their site and see all of the great ideas that were shared in Version 1.

Sarbakan Game StudioQuebec-based Sarbakan Game Studio has announced an agreement has been signed with a multinational corporation for the creation of multiple games on Microsoft’s Kinect, the controller-free, motion-based gaming device for the Xbox 360, released in November 2010.

Under the agreement, Sarbakan will develop two games, yet to be named publicly, based on the Kinect platform. The games, which will be sold in retail stores across the United States and Europe next year, are just the beginning of what promises to be a new era in video game development. More details on Sarbakan’s Kinect development and this partnership will be available over the upcoming months.

“We are truly poised as a forward-developing studio,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan. “As we broadened our services to include iOS and Kinect platforms, our existing and potential partners have really Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusaderamped up their creative development with Sarbakan to provide their titles and brands across multiple platforms.”

Along with the partnership announcement, Sarbakan has launched a revamp of its corporate web site. With a new look and high-tech underpinnings, the web site provides Sarbakan clients, partners and friends easier access to all Sarbakan has to offer in innovative game design and development. Although the web site is only it is first phase, visitors can quickly view the company’s latest developments and keep up-to-date on upcoming happenings. New features and information will be added over the course of the upcoming months.

With its indie vibe but larger-than-life ambitions, Sarbakan is on the hunt for talented, high-octane candidates, from game designers to programmers, to fulfill the company’s growing needs. Interested candidates can contact Sarbakan to learn more. Zombies and pencil pushers need not apply.

Previous titles from Sarbakan include The Incredibles save The Day, Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusade and Tron: Legacy Digital DJ web games and Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound on the Nintendo DS for Disney Interactive as well as Lazy Raiders for XBLA.

Sunday MuseAs a leading voice actor specializing in animation, Sunday Muse has become the go-to person for those wanting to learn how to become an actor in the animation industry. Her original techniques show students how they can animate their bodies and voice through connecting to the emotions and actions of the characters they’re playing.

Sunday Muse joins Voice Over Experts with her podcast lesson on “How to Introduce Your Child to Voice Acting” to help parents prepare their children for getting involved in cartoon voice acting. Sunday’s podcast is full of industry knowledge, casting expectations and exciting tips that will help parents prepare their child You Can Do Voices Toofor what it might be like to be a working voice over actor. Sunday has also produced a book with CD titled You Can Do Cartoon Voices, Too! and it is currently listed on her site for a limited-time special of 30% off.

The Voice Over Experts is hosted by Voices.com, the online voice over marketplace. The podcasts are an educational library of free voice acting lessons designed for those just starting out and are a treasure trove of resources for established voice actors who want to refine their knowledge and skills from the privacy of their own home and at their own pace. The Voice Over Experts Podcast can be found in the iTunes Podcast Directory and online at the Voices.com Podcast Center.

Whistler Film FestivalWhistler Film Festival 2010 now has an app for that – their new iPhone app is now available in the App Store. Developed by QuickMobile, this free app will allow you to access the 10th Anniversary Whistler Film Festival (running December 1st through 5th) from the palm of your hand. Get inspired by filmmaker interviews, panels, industry programmes, and behind-the-scenes coverage.nextMEDIA Toronto

NextMedia Toronto is currently underway, and if you were unable to attend, there are loads of live tweets to be found, just search the #nextmedia hashtag on twitter. If you are in the Toronto area and would like attend tomorrow, there are still day passes available.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has sent out the announcement for their next iLunch event, which will be held on December 10th at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. Titled Relationships with Multiple Partners: Can It Work, this session will feature case-studies on creative partnerships, how these relationships were instigated and structured, plus highlights of the challenges and successes producing the resulting properties. Knowing and securing the right partners for your project is paramount to its success, and featured speakers James Milward (Secret Location), Trevor Fencott (Bedlam Games) and Garry Flahive (NFB) will focus your attention on several key points, including cross platform relationships, methodology, ROI, brand expansion, the limitations and benefits of IDM partnerships and much, much more. Purchase your tickets now to get the whole story.

Shaw CableOn the heels of raising 2.6 million pounds of food and $250,000 as part of the Fill the Food Banks campaign (PDF), Shaw has launched Shaw’s Amazing Family Reunion contest, the next initiative in their Together is Amazing movement.

The contest invites Canadians to create a virtual scrapbook page sharing their story of why together is amazingthey would like to reunite their family. Ten deserving families will be chosen by a panel of judges and will create their dream family reunion, each valued up to $25,000.

“There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing families come together,” said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc. “Over the past couple of months we’ve had the great pleasure of watching as our communities united to fill food banks across Canada as part of our Together is Amazing movement. Nothing would make us happier than to see that sense of ‘togetherness’ continue.”

Canadians can enter online from November 29, 2010 to January 15, 2011. Entries are limited to one per person, and applicants are asked to create virtual scrapbooks of their family memories and their dream reunion as part of the submission process.flightnetwork on blackberry

flight networkFlight Network, one of Canada’s leaders in online travel, has launched its free iPhone, and BlackBerry mobile applications. Unique to the FlightNetwork.com, this mobile application offers the ability to search and compare the lowest airfares available in the country, then seamlessly book a flight within the native app, without being re-directed to another webpage or having to telephone in payment information.

Additional features of the FlightNetwork.com mobile application include an option to connect instantly with one of FlightNetwork.com’s 65 flight specialists for customer support. Also, easy sharing of airfares with friends and family is available through email, Facebook and Twitter. It also allows customers to book in either US or Canadian dollars and provides secure 128 bit encryption for payments.

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26th November 2010

Global Game Jam 2011 In Vancouver

GGJ YVR 2011The annual Global Game Jam returns for the weekend of January 28-30, 2011. Game developers of all talents gather for the event to build mobile, console, web, and PC based video games in 48 hours. Yearly growth for this event has steadily increased since it began in 2009. In 2009, the Global Game Jam had over 1600 participants from 23 countries. In 2010, Global Game Jam was held in 39 countries with 4300 participants.

Based on past popularity, Global Game Jam Vancouver 2011 plans to host 100 games industry professionals, academia, and students of game coding, digital art, and design at the BCIT campus. Being able to work alongside professionals and new talent during the weekend makes the event a great icebreaker and networking venue.

Organizers at the event ensure you get mixed in with new groups of people who aren’t in your usual set of peers. The event is collaborative in nature so participants usually find they end up working with several teams and getting to know all of the participants and organizers well by the end. Indie coders like to attend because they can meet artists and designers – and vice-versa. Game companies like to get involved to spot new talent, to promote their products, and to get new game ideas from the grass roots. Many of the big game development schools are there also supporting their students in addition to meeting with industry players and independent developers.

This year’s expected attendance of 100 persons more than doubles Vancouver’s initial 40 attendees of 2009. Last year’s game jam in Vancouver sold out at a capacity of 60 persons and another sell-out is anticipated this year based on interest in the event. If you are considering attending sign up soon to reserve your seat.

For locations outside of the Vancouver area, please see the international Global Game Jam site.

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26th November 2010

Two New iOS Titles from EA Mobile

EA Mobile has announced two new iOS titles:EA Mobile

Pictureka challenges players to spot and tap objects hidden on their within pictures crammed with crazy cartoons – just like the original board game. Delve into the all-new Adventure Mode or Pass ‘N Play with family and friends. Get drawn into the popular picture-pointing puzzler that’s as easy to play as it is challenging.

PicturekaAdventure Mode: Turn Pictureka into an adventure! Hunt for quirky items on 5 intriguing islands. Encounter different game boards and bonus challenges. Race against the clock and score more time for every challenge you successfully complete. Think fast on your daring, drawing-filled journey!

Pictureka With Your Friends: Pass ‘N Play with up to 3 other players right on your iPhone or iPad. It’s great for play on the go or for a stay-at-home game night! Pictureka is made for fun with friends and family.

Pick Up and Play Solo: For casual fun, you can also enjoy a solo challenge or take on the crafty computer. Fun for everyone, Pictureka is easy and intuitive to play – especially on iPhone & iPad. So start right in!

Designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch, High Calibre Hunting is designed to maximize the visual intensity of Retina Display, focus on the strategy of the hunt as you escape into realistic natural environments and seek more than 20 types of wild game. Capture the noble feeling of the ultimate sport with brand-name firearms and precision gear. Whether you’re a dedicated or recreational sportsman, EA™ is proud to bring you the most authentic hunting simulation game on the App Store.High Calibre Bears

Enter A Wild World:
All the hunting environments spring to life in stunning detail, especially with Retina Display. Hunt in dawn, daytime, and dusk scenarios. No detail was overlooked to deliver the most honest hunting experience possible.

Encounter A Wide Range of Game: Hunt various Deer (including Whitetail, Mule, Sitka, and Fallow), plus Bear, Moose, Boar, and smaller critters like Squirrel, Fox, Rabbit, and Raccoon.

High Calibre DeerHunt and Shoot In Multiple Locations and Modes:
Use your best hunting strategies to make trophy kills up in up to 6 locations, including Texas, Alaska, Canada, and Iowa – plus additional downloadable treks in Africa and Australia available for purchase at a low price.

Get A Bullet’s Eye View: Strategically navigate the map, and then scope out an animal using “Vital Vision” to get an X-ray or thermal view of its heart, lungs, and brain. Trigger the “Bullet-Cam” with a heart shot and trace your ammo’s point-of-view from your firearm right to the heart of the animal for a clean kill. Experience hunting from a whole new perspective.

Access Over 30 Real, Brand-Name Firearms and Equipment Items: Remington® rifles and shotguns…Bushnell scopes…PSE bows, plus Calls and more. Equip yourself with the finest hunting products from real-world manufacturers and enjoy an added touch of authenticity.

robots and pencilsI’ve come across two release notices for two new iOS games from Calgary studio Robots and Pencils, but as these titles are not listed on their web site, I don’t know if they are the actual developers or are acting as publishers. I had sent the studio an email earlier this week in regards to CookBookie, another title credited to the studio, but as yet have received no reply or clarification from them. So, barring any response from them, here are three new products now available in the App Store: enchanted cave

For the iPad, there is Enchanted Cave, a classic adventure game with a casual play style. Equip your character with the best equipment as you dive into 100 levels of critter packed adventure, playing the hero in a quest to reach a horde of treasure and a princess in distress. If you run low on health, you can warp back to the beginning of the cave – but be warned, you will only get to keep the rarest of artifacts that you find.

TextTilesThe second title, which is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is TextTiles, a word game that is OpenFeint enabled and tests your word knowledge by challenging you to try and complete the words when given just a few letters as a hint. Any word that matches will work – but – answer quickly or your time will run out.

Test your brain power against TextTiles in an onslaught of words and puzzles. In Rapid Fire mode you’ll be given the first three letters of a word. All you have to do is enter any word that matches to keep playing. With each lightning fast response, you’ll earn bonus points and extra time. In Puzzler mode, you are given a word definition and the first three letters. If you can guess the word that matches, you’ll move on to the next round.

For the cooks in your house, this third app release listed for Robots and Pencils is CookBookie, which allows you to search for recipes in your cookbooks. Why search the internet for recipes when the thousands of dollars invested in your cookbooks sits unused on your bookshelf. Cookbookie has over 100,000 recipes from the Cookbookiemost popular cookbooks in its database so that you can search them as you would the internet.

Cookbookie comes fully equipped with the following features:

Recipe searching: Searching for “+beef pasta -parsley” will bring back all recipes that have beef, optionally pasta and no parsley in the title.
Ask a foodie: Take a picture of unknown foods and ingredients and Cookbookie will use its special network to identify what it is.
Socialize your kitchen: Use Cookbookie to post your favourite recipes to Facebook and Twitter. Just watch that all your friends don’t show up at your house asking for meals that have sugar, bacon, chocolate but no broccoli.
Recipe Diary: Keep track of your favorite recipes and keep notes about modifications to each recipe.
Great support: Can’t find your favorite book? No problem, Cookbookie will help you out by setting up an email to our team so we can get it in there right away!

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26th November 2010

Harlequin and Big Fish Launch Mystery Files Sweepstake

HarlequinToronto book publisher Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Big Fish Games have launched the Blackpool series of Mystery Case Files® novels by announcing The Mystery of Blackpool $10,000 Sweepstakes. The Blackpool series of novels are based on the extremely popular Mystery Case Files franchise of games.
Big Fish Games
The Mystery of Blackpool $10,000 Sweepstakes allows entrants to experience firsthand the greed, jealousy and murder at the heart of the cozy English seaside town that is the setting for the Jordan Gray novels based on the popular Mystery Case Files game. Registrants are automatically entered into the $10,000 Grand Prize drawing and have the opportunity to instantly win one of fifteen copies of Stolen or Vanished, the first two books in the series. Also, thirty lucky Instant Win Game winners will receive an online coupon for a free game from Big Fish Games.

The next books in the Blackpool series, Submerged and Unearthed, will be published in February and May 2011, respectively. Meanwhile, Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull, the newest Mystery Case Files game, is available now from Big Fish.

One bonus entry per day into the Grand Prize drawing and the Instant Win Game are avMystery Case Files 13th Skullailable by locating codes posted on eHarlequin.com and the eHarlequin Community page, Harlequin’s Facebook and Twitter pages, the Harlequin Blog, the Paranormal Romance Blog and the I Heart Presents Blog. The Mystery of Blackpool $10,000 Sweepstakes website also features book excerpts where readers can enjoy a preview of the Blackpool series.

The Mystery of Blackpool $10,000 Sweepstakes is now open to legal residents of the 50 United States (and D.C.) and Canada (except Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their state, province, or territory of residence at the time of entry (void where prohibited by law). The Sweepstakes closes on January 26, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Instant Win Game Prizes available to be won: 15 copies of “Stolen” and “Vanished” by Jordan Grey (ARV: $10 USD each); 30 online coupons for Big Fish Games (ARV: up to $9.99 USD each). Grand Prize Drawing Prize available to be won: 1 – $10,000 cash prize. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.   Instant Win Game Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario M3B 3K9 Canada. Grand Prize Drawing Sponsor: ePrize, LLC, One ePrize Drive, Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069 U.S.A Please see the Sweepstakes site for complete contest rules.

To date, more than 100 million people have played a Mystery Case Files game. Mystery Case Files is widely credited with establishing the popular hidden object puzzle adventure game genre. Games in the series include hidden object scenes, puzzles and engaging storylines that challenge players to solve mysteries in a quest to achieve Master Detective status. Harlequin is the first publisher to release women’s mystery fiction for Big Fish Games. Harlequin titles have enjoyed a total of 232 weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists in 2009 with three titles achieving the coveted #1 position. Since its inception, Harlequin has sold approximately 5.93 billion books.

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25th November 2010

Canadian Creativity Is Not Halted By A Little Snow

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that their in-studio Rapid Game Development Competition games have arrived on Apple’s mobile platforms, the iPhone and iPod Touch.Aaah Chompsters The internal competition held by the studio provided teams with complete creative control to make a game in 72 hours or less. The games were developed for the Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs, iPod Touch. First two games launched on iTunes are:

Aaah! Chompsters! – The Chompsters are here and they’re hungry, so it’s up to Invaders From Uranusyou to make sure they get fed! Use the explosive power of your touch to blow smaller monsters into the gaping mouths of the Chompsters. Aaah! Chompsters! is an explosive physics-based title with 60 levels and 4 worlds to complete and lots of replay value to keep you coming back for more. Aaah! Chompsters is available in the App Store for 99 cents (USD).

An action packed alien shooting arcade game for your iPhone, Invaders from Uranus is available now on iTunes as well, also for only 99 cents (USD). The player simply touches the screen to shoot the enemies and tries to last as long as they can while trying to obtain a new high score. With a super fantastic and original sound track, spectacular 100% organic, homemade sound effects, big explosions and a huge variety of enemies to destroy, Invaders from Uranus will keep you coming back for more.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new Dragon Age 2 character. According to her bio, Aveline is a soldier, a Avelinemaster of sword and shield, and up to a point, a tireless guardian. She is the daughter of an exiled chevalier, and not the knight her father wished her to be. “Although fully trained in chivalrous combat, she was raised in the shadow of a lost life and will not lose another for the sake of honor. Protecting her adopted home of Kirkwall becomes a chosen duty, not a privileged calling. The people she stands for will not be wasted on lost causes or protecting the foolish from themselves. Pride can be bandaged like any other wound—when threats are dead and everyone is safely home.”

The GallowsThe studio has also unveiled The Gallows, a courtyard in Kirkland which stands as testimony to the city’s ghastly past. Adorned with statues, this courtyard is not meant to pay homage, the statues are not monuments to the suffering of slaves. Every inch and angle of the courtyard was designed by magisters bent on breaking the spirit of newcomers. Executions in The Gallows courtyard took place daily, sometimes hourly, and corpses were hung from gibbets throughout the yard. New slaves trudging in from the docks saw what fate had in store for them, and they were not greeted with a friendly smile.

1889 labsFrom November 26th to 28th, Canadian writer MCM (Michael Milligan) is writing a full-length novel live on the internet, using suggestions from his audience to help craft a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Creator of the award-winning animated series “RollBots”, MCM pioneered the Typhoonlivewriting format in 2009 with the sci fi thriller “Typhoon“, mixing a virtual concert-like atmosphere with the written word.

This time around for the sequel, “Polarity“, 1889 Labs tapping into the social networking power of Twitter, Facebook and Ustream to provide a richer experience for readers. Suggestions submitted by the audience are picked at random and integrated into the storyline, adding an unpredictable twist to an already exciting endeavour. During “Typhoon”, a major plot point was interrupted when the question “stop or go?” was answered the wrong way, altering events all through the series.

Polarity“Polarity” follows a group of mercenaries called dustrunners, tasked with shepherding contraband mineral shipments back from the asteroid belt in the year 2038, but ruthlessly hunted by law enforcement at home. Kani, a Canadian teenager pulled into this world against her will in “Typhoon”, now finds herself in deeper trouble than before, as allies turn against each other and a maniacal undercover cop aims to clean up the mess he’s created for himself.

Because of the real-time nature of livewritten books, the events of the story can better reflect the events of the day, as they happen. Kani must contend with invasive security theatre in airports, protests against G-20 meetings that turn violent, a draining American occupation of war-torn Mexico, and a crippling world economic depression that shows no signs of abating. “Ripped from the headlines” has never been so immediate. “Polarity” is a live performance, free for all, and starts November 26, running until very late on November 28.

MetalWorks StudioGil Moore, drummer in the band Triumph, and owner of the renowned Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, has joined Balanced Copyright for Canada (BCFC) in support of efforts to advocate for strong copyright laws that reflect the reality of today’s digital environment.

“The scale of piracy is simply off the charts and it’s had a dramatic impact on every aspect of the music industry,” explains Gil Moore. “We can, and have, diversified our product lines but the speed and volume at which creative products are being taken without permission, is simply too high to be ignored. The government has a responsibility to ensure laws reflective of the digital environment are in place in order to protect intellectual property.”

“The progression of Bill C-32 through the legislative process is a welcome sign that all the federal parties agree that our copyright laws must be amended with urgency,” adds Moore. “I hope, in the weeks that follow, that the bill will be reviewed and passed in a way that best supports jobs in the creative sector.”

“We’re thrilled to have Gil’s support in our efforts to ensure Bill C-32 is passed in such a way as to support jobs and investment in Canada’s creative industries,” says Randy Bachman, a member of the BCFC Advisory Board. “Gil has enormous respect in the industry. He’s one of the few who has transitioned from a successful career as an artist into an award-winning studio business, a school and a live production company, that together produce some of Canada’s greatest talents and best trained professionals.”

Bill BakerBill Baker, who has helped business leaders of organizations such as Relais & Châteaux, Johnson & Johnson and Dubai Holdings as well as the Toronto International Film Festival, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and others advance their brands, businesses and people through strategic storytelling, has started a new firm, Bill Baker &Co. Previously, Baker was Chief Strategic Officer of Vancouver-based branding agency Envisioning + Storytelling (E+S).

“While there is a ton of talent and creativity in branding, too often what’s missing is meaning. Strategic storytelling creates meaning, connecting people to ideas, to a vision of the future and to each other. BB&Co will focus on helping leaders use strategic storytelling to position their brands, transform their businesses and, perhaps most importantly, engage and align employees around a vision that they can not only see, but see themselves in,” says Baker.

A recognized expert on the strategic storytelling process and an engaging speaker, Baker has appeared at The Canadian Sponsorship Forum, Canadian Coaching Association Conference and the Relais & Châteaux Congress and is a sought after speaker. Through his “Leadership Through Storytelling” course, Baker teaches top executives of Fortune 500 companies how to use storytelling to be better communicators and, as a result, better leaders. He also writes and blogs frequently on strategic storytelling and related topics.

Baker says, “There are a lot of gaps between what top executives envision for their brands and business, what employees experience in their jobs and what consumers experience in the marketplace. Strategic storytelling can bridge those gaps, reaching beyond dry facts and information to help everyone understand not only what they’re doing, but why. For thousands of years, leaders have used storytelling to get people to see and work towards a future that has yet to unfold. That same strategy can be used by business leaders to advance their organizations today.”

mob4hireMob4Hire has announced that it has expanded its line of crowd-sourced mobile testing, usability and market research products in order to help Brands create engaging mobile experiences leading to increased customer loyalty.

Mob4Hire’s announcement of its Version 4.5 platform today includes the enhancement of MobExperience as well as new products  (* denotes new product):

1) Mobile Usability Testing and Certification:  MobExperience, MobAccelerator and MobStar Certified*.
2) Mobile Functional Testing:  MobTest, MobSIMTest*, MobSMSTest*
3) Mob4Hire Mobile Usability Products:  MobSurvey, MobA/BTest*
4) Mobile Jobs:  MobTasks*

The product expansion adds tools for companies across the mobile ecosystem, including mobile developers, market researchers, product managers, network operators, handset manufacturers, mobile operating system platforms, developer networks and app stores.

All Mob4Hire projects now include a dedicated Project Manager who is an expert in both executing projects and managing the crowd, so developers will be able to leverage that experience to get projects completed faster and at a lower cost. Customers can choose to use Mob4Hire on a project-by-project basis, or retain Mob4Hire’s ongoing MobTestSuite services for end to end mobile functional and usability testing.

In reaction to the rapid increase in the number of testing and market research projects in its system, Mob4Hire has added a live chat support / sales instant messaging window to ensure quick customer response. Version 4.5 also finishes the migration of the Mob4Hire platform to the Amazon AWS services using the Scalr.net cluster for managing growth with a much better fault-tolerant and scalable system.

koboUsers of the new Kobo Wireless eReader now have even more opportunities to experience the joy of reading as Kobo, a global eReading service, today announced that Canadian Kobo Wireless eReader customers now enjoy free, unlimited access to Bell’s Wi-Fi network at any one of Bell’s over 800 Wi-Fi network hotspot locations across Canada.

Canadian Kobo Wireless eReaders are pre-configured and ready to go on the Bell Wi-Fi network, and once at a Bell Wi-Fi network hotspot location, customers simply visit the Kobo Store area on their Kobo Wireless eReader and they will be seamlessly connected and able to browse, download and buy eBooks, magazines and newspapers from the Kobo store – and start reading instantly.

“At Kobo we’re passionate about delivering customers the best possible reading experience. We’re thrilled to partner with Bell to enhance the reading experience for Canadian Kobo Wireless eReader users providing free, unlimited access to Canada’s largest Wi-Fi network,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “Our customers love reading and now they can easily shop our collection of over 2.2 million books – including over 1 million engaging free classics – from their favorite Bell hotspot locations.”

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posted in Business News, Casual, Digital Products, Everyone 10+, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, RPG - MMORPG, Social Media, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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