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  • WiiWare Demos Game Demographics Dungeons and A Snowrumble

18th November 2010

WiiWare Demos Game Demographics Dungeons and A Snowrumble

Nintendo CanadaNintendo will offer demo versions of select video games for its WiiWare™ downloadable game service starting November 22. Wii™ owners with a broadband Internet connection will be able to visit the Wii Shop Channel to access demo versions of WiiWare games without using up any Wii Points™. The demos will allow people to sample a wide selection of games to help them decide which ones best suit their tastes.

The initial lineup of demos available includes BIT.TRIP FATE, And Yet It Moves, ThruSpace™ and Jett Rocket. Additional demos will be added on Mondays and each will remain available on the Wii Shop Channel for a limited time. WiiWare game demos are just the latest addition to the wide variety of information and entertainment options available to Wii owners. Wii owners can access various channels on the Wii Menu, including the Nintendo® Channel, which offers information about and videos of current and upcoming games for Nintendo systems. Likewise, Wii owners who are also Netflix members with a qualifying plan can instantly watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to their TVs once they have downloaded Netflix from the Wii Shop Channel.

LudiaLudia Games and Seattle’s WildTangent have signed an exclusive deal that will result in the deployment of WildTangent’s BrandBoost™ advertising platform across Ludia’s current and future social games, starting with FremantleMedia’s The Price Is Right game. BrandBoost will enable advertisers to dynamically sponsor access to premium content within Ludia’s social games, building equity with players through an improved game experience.

“BrandBoost is quickly becoming the ubiquitous in-game ad solution for social games, delivering scalable, targeted, engagement-based advertising that players seek out in social gaming environments,” said Bill Clifford, vice president of global ad sales at WildTangent. “We believe that the next wave of social games will be driven by truly social experiences built around recognizable entertainment brands, and that is what Ludia is delivering. Brands are starving for opportunities to align with premium content in social gaming, and Ludia’s games certainly fill that need.”
Ludia WildTangent Brandboost
After more than 38 years on the air, The Price Is Right from FremantleMedia remains the longest-running game show in television history and one of the most popular game show franchises in the world. Incorporating all of the familiar elements of the beloved television show, the game is one of Ludia’s most successful titles across platforms. The Price Is Right is unique on Facebook as one of the few synchronous multiplayer games, enabling a truly social game experience with engaging live competition elements that fuel long play sessions and repeat visits. Launched in September 2010, The Price Is Right game reached more than 2.5 million players within its first month of availability.

With BrandBoost now deployed by a number of the largest social game developers with many of the most popular games, WildTangent is fast approaching the ability to deliver engagement ads to an addressable audience of more than 100 million monthly players on Facebook. BrandBoost enables brands to dynamically sponsor access to additional playing time or virtual goods that players would otherwise have to pay for. The platform also enables dynamic integration of branded virtual goods into social games. BrandBoost supports 3rd party ad serving and reporting as well as creative formats ranging from long-form video to social engagement activities. Because BrandBoost is a dynamically served advertising platform, utilizing DFP, leading advertisers can deliver brand campaigns and custom items inside of social games experiences while industry standard reporting and metrics.

Rusty Axe GamesRusty Axe Games has announced the alpha playable release of its new free to play browser game, Dungeon Brawl – Proving Grounds. The beta version of Dungeon Brawl is expected to be released in early December. Dungeon Brawl is being developed using Dungeon Demon and accompanying art packs. Dungeon Demon is Rusty Axe Games’ RPG map editing software that can be used for pencil and paper as well as computer game map making.

babybotBabybot, a Canadian online baby store for modern parents, is ready to rumble. In a battle between the coolest characters, the world watches as robots and monsters fight it out in the snow. This winter, it’s Babybot versus Monster Factory in a unique NEW version of SnowRumble – the addicting snowball fighting app for iPhone or iPod touch! Players get to pick their posse from a selection of Babybot or Monster Factory characters. Each with their unique strengths, the characters will use the elements in each landscape to their advantage to beat down the opponent and take over their turf!

Always innovative and light-years ahead, Babybot is the first in the baby space to throw down such a challenge. “But”, counters Adam Dunn, lead Monster maker at Monster Factory, “our monsters have a few tricks up their arms. For months they’ve been honing their catapulting and dive roll skills. They’re pretty stoked to lay down a bit of monster madness.”
Monster Factory
Renee Bender, lead Coach for Team Babybot, isn’t worried. “We’ve got major game. You don’t rock the baby space without having highly tuned senses. Our bots have already computed thousands of throw strategies…they’re ready to crush.”

The game is being offered as a free download (limited release). The more butt kicking you do, the more you save! Be the first 300 to unlock and win up to 20% – the promo codes are good for anything on babybot.com

Get the highest score and you’ll be playing real SnowRumble! Monster Factory is giving away sets of three snowballs (made exclusively for this game) to daily high scorers. Plus, if you’re lucky and receive a golden snowball in your three-pack, you’ll be the winner of a grand prize, and those who ‘rate’ the game also have a chance to win a special giveaway from Babybot. For those who get attached to the game characters, not to worry, these little bots and monsters can be purchased – including an exclusive Monster Factory plush doll created only for this game.

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18th November 2010

Swarm in 2011 Preview AC Brotherhood Soundtrack and A Christmas Carol

Hothead GamesHothead Games and UTV Ignition Entertainment Ltd. have confirmed that Swarm is coming to both PlayStationNetwork and Xbox LIVE Arcade in early 2011. The as-yet unrated Swarm lets players take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.

“Swarm is perfect for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade because of its unique art direction and gameplay,” said Nigel Fox, Head of Publishing for UTV Ignition. “We’re thrilled to be partnered with Hothead because we share their passion for bringing unique experiences to gamers through these innovative digital platforms.”swarm

“We’ve been working hard on Swarm for a while now and think it’s our most addictive game yet,” said Joel DeYoung, Director of Game Technology for Hothead Games. “The Swarmites are both lovable and deliciously expendable at the same time-the game’s creation is proof positive of the dangers of excessive exposure to Saturday morning cartoons we were warned about so many years ago. Swarm is exactly the genocidal romp your parents hoped you’d grow up and marry someday.”

Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where you move all 50 Swarmites at once. Steer your swarm through the game and they naturally flock and flow around obstacles. Creatively combine swarm moves to work your way through a relentlessly dangerous and hilariously brutal environment. Compete against your friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way.

UbisoftUK retail store ShopTo.net recently an Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Q&A competition asking customers to send in their questions about Brotherhood, Ubisoft and making video games for Julien Laferrière, the Production Manager on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Julien and his team chose the best questions and have produced this exclusive Assassins Creed developer video for ShopTo.

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The submitters of these questions will each be receiving an Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Poster, and the best question (as picked by Julien) will be given an exclusive Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood hoodie not available anywhere else.

Ubisoft Montreal has also released the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood soundtrack for digital download, making it available via iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, 7Digital and Qobuz. Visit the Ubisoft Music site for song previews.

padworxThe beloved Christmas story that defines the true spirit of the season is coming to Apple®iPad™ and iPhone™ as a new, delightfully interactive experience! PadWorx Digital Media, Inc., an independent developer of a new category of interactive eBooks for tablet PCs, announced today it will release A Christmas Carol on the App Store® in time for the holidays!

“This is unlike any version of A Christmas Carol ever seen before,” said Jeffery Alan Schechter, CEO and producer at PadWorx Digital Media, Inc. “Charles Dickens’ remarkable book reminds all of us not just about the importance of gratitude and charity, but about the power of personal transformation. Running with this idea and borrowing from the ‘steampunk’ art style more closely associated with Jules Verne, we’ve designed our A Christmas Carol to feel as if the iPad or iPhone you’re reading it on has been itself transformed into a steam-powered machine.”

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Readers will not only witness Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart-warming transformation through 130 pages of lovingly abridged text, but for the first time they will become part of the story through revolutionary interaction. Turn the key in Scrooge’s door and watch as the door knocker changes into the deceased Jacob Marley, or try your hand at cleaning pages of the grime of industrial-era London. Whether you’re traveling through time and space with Scrooge and the spirits of Christmases Past, Present, and Future, or powering up and manipulating an assortment of wonderful steam and gas-powered inventions, PadWorx A Christmas Carol’s steampunk-style animation, illustrations, original score and sound effects will captivate readers through the story’s unforgettable images and lessons of darkness, despair, joy and life.

The design and execution of PadWorx’s A Christmas Carol is so innovative that it has been endorsed by the Dickens family. “Reading A Christmas Carol has become a holiday tradition for many and we’re delighted to see PadWorx’s interactive version give families an entirely new way to experience the cherished story and perhaps even introduce the well-known classic to a younger generation,” said Mark Charles Dickens on behalf of the Dickens family.

A Christmas Carol is the second title in a series of new interactive eBooks developed by PadWorx Digital Media. The company released its debut title Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition last month, which quickly garnered national attention and praise from critics and consumers alike, becoming Apple’s iPad App of the Week the day after release.All interactive titles released by PadWorx Digital Media are built from the ground up using a proprietary game engine and create a brand new, fully-immersive reading experience through the combination of text, animation, gameplay elements, touch screen interaction, social media, sound effects and more. A Christmas Carol will be released first for the iPad, followed shortly afterwards by a version for the iPhone.

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18th November 2010

Questions and Answers About Deus Ex Human Evolution

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal has released this question and answer information sheet about the long-awaited addition to the Deus Ex franchise, Deus Ex: Human Evolution, due out in early 2011. The studio has also released an awesome new game trailer, which you can take a look at below. By the way, if you are in the market for a new career, Eidos Montreal is hiring.

1. Is every option (choice you have to make in order to progress) obvious/presented clearly before you?
No. Absolutely not. Some choices will be presented in ways that the outcome will be more obvious but, a lot of choices will be more or less hidden in the challenges you face and in the narrative. Depending on how you react, later outcomes will vary. We didn’t want to make a game where all the choices are telegraphed because it makes the choice more often than not based on how you want to boost your character as opposed as being immersed in the fantasy of the game. It’s definitely more subtle than a lot of games.

2. Will we encounter books, news terminals, newspapers, ATMs; and will some even be influenced by your own actions?
You will encounter a lot of things to read like newspapers, eBooks, etc. Unfortunately, we had to cut the ATMs because we were running out of time.

3. How many items will Adam be able to carry, and does this exclude weapons?
Depends on the size of your inventory. If you invest in it, you’ll carry a lot and if you don’t, you’ll have to make difficult choices on what to keep with you or not. It includes everything but “story items”.

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4. Regarding the Icarus Landing system: Is there any scientific research or advancement made that support the concept behind this aug? How can it be done?
The Icarus Landing System is a discreet augmentation surgically implanted in the user’s lower back, slightly above the coccyx at the base of the vertebral column. The device has an accelerative descent sensor built in; in freefall, the unit will automatically activate the patented High-Fall Safeguard System, an EMF decelerator generating a fixed-focus electromagnetic lensing field, projected downward along the plane of the drop. This field pushes against the Earth’s magnetosphere and slows the user’s descent to a manageable velocity, allowing him to fall from almost any height (within reason) to a relatively soft landing.

5. Will augmentations be permanent once installed, or can players mix-and-match augs or remove them?
There are indeed permanent.

6. How do augmentations like the claymore work when Adam wears his coat?
There are holes in his coat that allows for the claymore to work perfectly fine.

7. How are the augmentations divided amongst the four pillars that have been mentioned?
There divided in different categories like Cranium, arms, legs, torso, etc.

8. What are the augmentations that Adam starts out with?
Single Takedown, IFF, Retinal Prosthesis, basic hacking ability and the Infolink essentially.

9. How does health regeneration work? What will trigger it, how fast is it going to be, will it use energy?
When you take damage your health goes down. If you have being hit for “x” seconds, than it starts to regenerate somewhat slowly. It’s not as quick as games like Halo or CoD. You really need to stay out of the firing zone otherwise you won’t last long. When in trouble, you can use consumables (if you have any) to replenish it faster or to boost your health when it’s already full.

10. Will there be weapon stores for purchasing ammunition and tools?
Yes, there are some hidden merchants offering different kind of weapons and items. You need to find them though.

11. If players choose to play in a certain manner, they’re presumably going to be doing a lot of hacking throughout this game. Considering it sounds like the hacking minigame is quite complex (and presumably at least reasonably time consuming) what have you done to ensure that it doesn’t get incredibly tedious over time (Bioshock’s hacking minigame as a poor example)?
Every hacking session is different. Based on your level of hacking augmentations, the chances that the Sub-Routine will detect you will vary. And each time, you need to adapt to what happens. Also, there are some rewards (credits, virus programs, etc.) that can be accessed but always while managing the Sub-Routine system trying to catch you. So, it becomes a game of adaptation and  how much risks are you willing to take to get additional rewards.

12. Will I be able to pick all pieces of junk and different stuff just like in DX1 and use them to distract enemies or do something else with it?
You’ll be able to use different types of boxes to distract NPCs indeed. If you’re referring to things like a pencil or a glass the answer is no. We have a very detailed and rich world to discover so we had to make some tradeoffs in terms of the scope of interactive objects in order to keep a smooth framerate.

13. Why were BE cells, lockpicks and multitools removed?
We wanted to make hacking more important and deeper. And since we had so many features to develop for this game, we had to focus and lose some things like lockpicks and multitools.

14. Will the earlier Deus Ex music theme return?

15. Are we able to HOLSTER OUR WEAPON in Deus Ex Human Revolution?
Of course we are. Deus Ex is not a typical shooter when it’s all about gunning down enemies. Your journey brings you in civilized places where guns are not well appreciated. So, holstering it will make people more willing to speak to you. Who would chat with someone pointing a gun on our head?

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17th November 2010

Business and Education Rounds Out The Day

49 pixelsVia 49 Pixels: In 2008, Canada’s digital media industry, comprised of approximately 3,000 interactive digital media companies, generated approximately $3.8 billion dollars through the hard work of over 50,000 industry professionals.

Canada, with everything we know about our industry and where it’s been, we know very little about where it’s headed. Who are these companies? Where are they located? Are their businesses growing? What types of skill-sets are they looking to acquire over the next year? Given the disparity of available data in this area, the Pixel to Product research team decided to take it upon themselves to ask these important questions.
Justin Kozuch
This social media news release is announcing that Justin Kozuch, winner of the Mesh Prize and Lead Researcher for the Pixel to Product research study, is launching Canada’s first nation-wide digital media census, designed to answer these and a few dozen other questions about the state of our digital media ecosystem.

The survey can be completed in both in English and en Francais, and in the time it will take you to drink a Tim Horton’s Double Double, you can complete the survey and add your voice to our collective digital legacy.

We’re also incredibly excited to announce you can now receive project updates, breaking news and important development on your mobile device. This morning, in conjunction with our partners at Broadplay, we launched an opt-in SMS campaign to help us further spread the word about our research to the approximately 70% of Canadians who own a mobile device. To opt-in to our SMS broadcast system, simply text 497957 (49PXLS) to 123411.

We need your help in getting this survey out to as many digital agency owners, web startups, and freelancers in order to capture the highest quality data we can muster. We have a number of short term and long term needs; please visit the Actionable Tasks page on our wiki for more information about how you can contribute your gifts to our initiative. Tweet, post to your wall, blog about this release or visit our census page and help us get the word out!

Edmonton’s Digital School, a licensed private vocational career college built on 25 years of digital schoolasynchronous technical training experience is excited to announce a revolutionized form of e-Learning, called Global e-Training.

Global e-Training includes highly effective online Autodesk software training programs which can be done from virtually anywhere to meet each learner’s own personal requirements. Its interactive and engaging fashion lets the learner dictate the entire training process to suit their particular learning style, making it one of the most desirable and advanced Autodesk e-training solution available in the world.

Global e-Training (GeT) is an enhanced form of e-learning which prepares and engages users of Autodesk’s design software programs in a revolutionary and interactive manner. It allows the user to effectively acquire all practical knowledge and skills required to carry out specific tasks on Autodesk software. A user is fully trained on the programs so they can hit the ground running. Unlike e-learning, which includes knowledge based resource tools, e-training by GeT on the Autodesk programs enhances skills acquisition and retention in a way which is real and useful to the user. It gives users an opportunity to immediately apply the software skills at the same time they are learning it. This is something no other competitor can offer, and may be especially beneficial to those who desire flexibility in their learning environment.

Global e-Training (GeT) is comprised of two main elements:

GeT Interactive is a self-paced online Autodesk software training program which lets students study on their own schedule, using visual, auditory and hands-on learning methods. Milestone tracking along with competency based progress ensures that students stay focused to complete their program. GeT Interactive courses include: AutoCAD 2D & 3D, Revit Architecture, Inventor and Civil 3D with more titles scheduled for release.

GeT Live Network is a collaborative learning platform which brings students and instructors together through the use of the Internet. It is a virtual classroom interface which enables students and instructors to interact with one another in real time. Instructors are brought into contact with students from around the globe, increasing class sizes and reducing overhead costs. It also allows quality training providers to host and market live courses on the network, making it a truly revolutionary training tool.

All of the GeT programs are designed to be fun and interactive, combining the best e-learning practices into a highly effective e-Training system. Global e-Training represents the future of online learning on Autodesk software.

D-BoxTwo more Canadian tech devs are celebrating expansions this week as well. D-Box Technologies has penned deals with two more American theatre companies who will be installing the D-Box MFX seats.

Muvico Entertainment’s Pompano 18 in Pompano, Florida will introduce D-BOX to its patrons on November 19th with the long-awaited release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The theatre is the first location in Florida to offer the immersive moviegoing experience. Meanwhile over in Texas, Premiere Cinemas will be adding its second outlet offering D-Box seats when the El Paso Premiere Cinema 18 offers 22 D-BOX MFX Seats for the Deathly Gallows opening.

YANGAROOYangaroo has signed a multi-year agreement with BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International Inc. to deliver artist and music-related audiovisual content to BET properties – including the primary BET channel, BET Digital Networks, BET.com, BET International, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop – using YANGAROO’s patented Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS), as well as integrate DMDS with BET Network’s internal workflow. BET Networks will actively promote and recommend to the entertainment industry to utilize DMDS to send content digitally to BET Networks.

Yangaroo’s technology team worked closely with BET Networks’ engineers to refine the DMDS process for digitally distributing SD and HD television broadcast-quality video to integrate with and enhance BET Networks’ workflows. DMDS also transcodes the television broadcast file for online availability for streaming and provision of a frame-accurate preview quality version of the file with the time-code burned in, which improves reviewing and editing processes. The television broadcast-quality video file can be easily integrated into Online Editing Suites, On-Air Playback Servers and stored in a Digital Archive Server.

maximizerStrengthening its presence in the Ontario market, Vancouver’s Maximizer Software, a provider of simple, accessible CRM and mobile CRM solutions, has announced the appointment of software and sales veteran Alastair McKeating as Key Account Manager for the Ontario region. With more than a decade of experience in software solution sales, McKeating will focus on helping customers and prospects increase the value of their investment in Maximizer CRM.

“This is a critical appointment for Maximizer in our strategy to bring an expanded focus to Ontario. Alastair was the ideal candidate based on his in-depth knowledge of triangulating software technology with business process and user adoption to drive value and change management at large-scale organizations,” said Vivek Thomas, president, Maximizer Software. “Ontario is a growing market and revenue opportunity for Maximizer, and having a dedicated local representative is our first step in offering higher value to current and new clients with more sophisticated and broader CRM integration deployments.”

McKeating has an extensive software industry background, previously holding software sales positions with prestigious organizations including SAP, Business Objects and Computer Associates. He began his career in IT working as a data systems and applications architect for organizations such as Canadian Tire, the Ontario government and Manulife Financial.

Mobilicity has marched into Vancouver and Edmonton, rallying against wireless contracts and the surprise charges and extra fees consumers have been forced to pay the country’s incumbent carriers – until now.
The unlimited wireless carrier, which will have over 100 points of distribution in the Greater Vancouver Area when it launches its state-of-the-art 3.5G network tomorrow, deployed its troops (literally) to spread the good news to Vancouverites.

Edmontonians will also appreciate Mobilicity’s lineup of popular name-brand handsets and smartphones. Prices start at $49.99 without a contract and include crowd-pleasers like the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Curve 3G and the Nexus One™ by Google™ Android™ 2.2 device.Mobilicity YVR

Today, the carrier announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola Spice™, Canada’s only sub-$200 name-brand Android™ 2.1 device, and the $99.99 LG Wink™ slider phone.

Dressed in magenta fatigues (Mobilicity’s signature colour) and singing the praises of contract-free unlimited wireless, the ‘Magenta Militia’ paraded through the city while Mobilicity executives held a press conference at the carrier’s corporate store in Richmond.

Mobilicity Chairman John Bitove said consumers have the power to bring down Vancouver’s high price of wireless by not surrendering to Telus Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility, commonly known as the country’s wireless oligarchy.

And to round out the news for today, here is a recall notice for iPod users:

The Electrical Safety Authority is notifying the public that Emerge Technologies has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately.

Name of Product: Retrak iPod retractable wall charger.
Units: 11,359 units in Ontario and 4,429 units in the rest of Canada.
Manufacturer/Importer: Emerge Technologies, Inc.
Hazard: The affected products have not been tested to determine whether they have been compliant with the Canadian Standards for product safety.
Incidents/Injuries: There have been no injuries or damage reported.
Description/Models: ETIPODCHGW is a white wall charger with retractable cable. ETIPODCHGWB is a black wall charger with retractable cable.
Sold by: Best Buy, GEM-SEN Distribution, Micro Channel Management, Staples and Tiger Direct for $24.00.
When was distributed: Between August 2008 and October 2010.
Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Customer should contact Emerge Technologies directly by calling toll free: 877-499-6072 or fax: 972-456-4220 or by email. Product to be returned to Emerge Technologies and customer will receive a full refund, including shipping costs.

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17th November 2010

Adconion Announces j-Series

adconionAdconion Media Group has announced the new j-Series, the complete suite of in-banner video advertising products from its Joost Video Network. Each of the eight j-Series products provide a powerful tool for all advertisers and brand marketers looking to capitalize their online video campaigns in effective, innovative and intuitive ways.

With online video viewership and overall ad spending on the rise, Adconion is committed to delivering world class results for advertisers and marketers by offering world class video solutions with the j-Series. In Canada alone, online advertising continued to grow throughout the recession even though it slowed from 29% in 2008 to 14% in 2009, as estimated by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada. However, in their most recent October 2010 report, eMarketer expects growth to rebound and peak at 19.8% in 2012. Thus, armed with the new j-Series products, Adconion can help advertisers and marketers achieve the best ROI on their initiatives in this growing market.

The j-Series will serve video ads on Adconion’s Joost Video Network of over 2,000 premium publishers in more than 70 markets worldwide. Coupled with Adconion’s unparalleled global sales force, account management and media teams as well as Adconion’s regional video specialists, j-Series is the “must buy” video ad offering for the upcoming heavy holiday shopping season.

New j-Series Products Include:


* Allows geo-location display directly into the video ad unit
* Map locator connects to Google Maps for easy retail locator and directions
* Drive offline traffic with online traffic


* Allows multiple products to be displayed and purchased directly from within the video ad unit
* Increase time spent as viewers browse the carousel
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17th November 2010

Mudpit Goes Into Production

Cookie JarProduction of the highly anticipated Cookie Jar series Mudpit, set to air on Canada’s TELETOON English and TÉLÉTOON French in Fall 2011, is now underway at downtown Toronto’s CBC studio 40 with an exceptional cast of musically diverse, talented teens.

Currently being shot within the 13,000 square foot ‘state of the art’ studio in downtown Toronto, the series boasts of bringing another quality television production to the Canadian entertainment industry and breaks new ground with cross-over music appeal. With over 20 international awards, Canada’s Guru Studio is brought onboard to produce the incredible CGI animation.

“I focus on producing shows that re-invest in Canadian talent and push the envelope with cutting-edge, creative ideas that stimulate the technologically savvy imaginations of our young audiences. I remain committed to that,” says Michael Hirsh, CEO of Cookie Jar.

Cookie Jar Entertainment’s Mudpit takes place at the nexus of the social and personal power of music and the appeal of role-playing in a digital world. This CGI animated/live-action series follows four real-world teens and their rock band, Mudpit, as they follow their dreams of fame and fortune. The series takes place in a gaming café and a fantastic, virtual world known as Muzika. Their online avatar rock band personas battle for a coveted record deal, while their real life selves engage in the daily comedy and drama of teenage life.
The Mudpit Band Rocks The Crowd
Hirsh added: “We have partnered with award-winning Canadian based gaming company NDI Media and secured some of the best writers and producers in the entertainment industry for this series. The Mudpit cast members come from across Canada, with a number of the leads credited with industry nominations and previous leading roles in other Canadian and U.S. major productions.

The Mudpit series was created by, Jamie Waese. Waese recently spent two years as Head of Current Programming for Cookie Jar Entertainment where he oversaw all creative aspects. He is the producer and co-director of “Gotta Catch Santa Claus,” a one-hour CGI Christmas movie with William Shatner as Santa. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th November 2010

Whistler Film Festival Only Two Weeks Away

Whistler Film FestivalFrom December 1 to 5, 2010, the entertainment industry will meet in the mountains at the Whistler Film Festival’s industry forum. Designed to facilitate international alliances and financial partnerships, the Whistler Summit presents 21 informative and thought provoking sessions that address filmmaking in the digital age and the range of issues affecting the film, television and digital media industry. Sessions are complimented by networking opportunities including one-on-one meetings, roundtable information sessions, luncheons and receptions.

“As new tools and formats emerge, boundaries are breaking down like never before, and today’s filmmakers are telling their stories across multiple media platforms,” says Kryssta Mills, Whistler Summit Industry Program Producer. “The Whistler Summit is a unique gathering for the international industry to connect with Canadian producers to address the impact of filmmaking in the digital age, build relationships and take projects to new heights, all in an intimate and an inspiring setting.”

The Whistler Summit opens on Wednesday, December 1st with a networking reception that precedes the Festival’s Opening Gala. The program officially launches on Thursday, December 2nd with a focus on the international business of feature film production and cross platform collaboration. Producer roundtables begin the day with a series of ‘no pitch’, small group meetings with high-level industry executives. Panels include International Financing & Distribution: The View from L.A., an in depth dissection of the recent upturn in the international market after a very challenging few years, with some of the best in business, and Navigating the Digital Domain, an inside look at how film, television and digital media professionals can work together for cross-platform success. The Keynote Luncheon features Mass Animation founder and former Sony Pictures Digital President, Yair Landau, who will address collaboration in the digital age from his unique perspective, followed by One-on-one Meetings with attending International industry executives (pre registration is required) and the much-anticipated Merging Media Pitch, which features five advanced convergent media projects pitched before an international jury of digital content buyers and a live audience. An après networking reception rounds off day one of the Summit.
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17th November 2010

Omnego Introduces Breakthrough Enterprise Platform for Mobile Cards with Marketing Rewards and Commerce

omnegoToronto’s Omnego™ has announced the launch of the Omnego enterprise platform for mobile marketing, rewards and commerce tied to a mobile card. The Omnego platform replicates the traditional, branded physical cards used in retail, hospitality, travel and other industries with a digital card and gives businesses a versatile enterprise tool for delivering mobile ads, messages, coupons, rewards, updates and other branded content directly to a consumer’s smartphone.

The Omnego mobile card and marketing solution consists of two parts. The back end is a web-based, enterprise platform providing easy mobile card and marketing management. The consumer face of Omnego is Walgo™ (wallet on the go), a consumer mobile wallet application available for all major smartphone operating systems (iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Symbian).
omnego products
Together, they form an enterprise solution that allows retailers and other businesses to complement physical cards, coupons and other marketing offers with a branded mobile card and marketing solution that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any smartphone. It is the most comprehensive mobile card (loyalty, ID/membership, gift/prepaid, etc.) solution with additional features that include mobile ads, coupons, rewards, offers, and one-click access to mobile web pages, video, commerce and any mobile web applications.

Omnego eliminates the time and expense required to develop and maintain cross-platform applications for different smartphone systems. All the work is already included in the Omnego platform; all that’s left is for businesses or their marketing groups to add branded mobile content.

“Omnego offers retailers, hospitality, sports/events and travel companies, consumer brands and other businesses a convenient, cost-effective mobile solution for engaging with their customers,” said David Thomas, CEO, Omnego. “Omnego provides the most complete enterprise solution for rapidly developing and implementing mobile card and marketing programs. And with more than half of all retailers planning to deliver mobile coupons during the next 12 months (Going Mobile research study from IHL Group and Retail Connections, Nov. 9, 2010), there’s a huge market opportunity that will grow quickly as companies begin to tap into the full power of mobile marketing.”

koboKobo has announced the Kobo online Gift Guide – just in time for the Holiday season. Available in early December, and only from Kobo, the gift guide will provide an assortment of great eReading gifts for holiday shoppers who want to give the gift of eReading. The Kobo gift guide offers an assortment of enticing holiday gifts; from the new Kobo Wireless eReader, eReader accessories, eBooks for everyone, and brand new gifting features that make gifting an eBook quick and easy! For an early preview of recommended eReading gifts, holiday shoppers are encouraged to browse online, where users can also sign up to be notified when gifting is available.

New this holiday season Kobo offers the ability to gift an eBook. Customers can browse the Kobo store which offers over 2.2 million eBooks, from the latest new releases, New York Time bestsellers, suspense, romance, thrillers, and much more – then select and purchase an eBook and send it to a friend or family member electronically with a personalized Kobo Holiday email and have it delivered on the date they select . An easy and stress- free way to send a thoughtful gift to keep in touch with loved ones during the holidays.

Kobo is also offering eGift Cards, available to purchase and send electronically in the US and Canada. Customers can define the amount they would like to gift, choose the Kobo holiday themed gift card, and send their gift card electronically.

Gift givers can schedule when they want their gifts to be delivered, so they will be waiting as a surprise gift in their in-box.

Kobo gift recipients can choose to read their gifted eBooks on all platforms on which Kobo content is available, from the Kobo Wireless eReader, the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, PC, MAC and other emerging devices. Plus, they can read from one device to the next and pick up where they last left off with Kobo’s synched bookmark technology.

“eReading is this season’s hottest holiday gift giving category and the introduction of online gifting and gift cards for the Kobo book store makes giving the gift of eReading easier than ever,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “Kobo gift recipients have an advantage because they can read on any device by downloading a free Kobo eReading app. Kobo is the perfect place to do the holiday shopping. In addition to all of these great gift guide recommendations – Kobo offers a selection of more than 2.2 million eBooks as well as the most popular newspapers and magazines. There is truly something for everyone.”

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17th November 2010

Strong Canadian Showing For Spike Video Game Awards

Congratulations to all of the Canadian nominees who were named today by the Spike Video Game Awards show:

Bioware’s Mass Effect 2, is the only Canadian-made title in the Game of the Year category, and Bioware is the Spike VGAonly Canadian studio nominated for Studio of the Year. Mass Effect 2 was also named in the Xbox 360 Game of the Year, PC Game of the Year, Best RPG, Best DLC and Best Original Soundtrack categories.  Bioshock 2, which carries work done by Digital Extremes, is nominated as Best Shooter, while Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is nominated for Best Action Adventure but overlooked for Soundtrack. What I’m sure is a surprise to many, Shaun White Skateboarding is the only Canadian title nomintaed in the Best Individual Sports category, and unsurprisingly, EA Canada’s FIFA Soccer 11 was named in the Best Team Sports category.

Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions from Beenox received a nod in the Best Adapted Video Game category. In the voice performance categories, Martin Sheen has been nominated in the Best Performance By A Human Male for his role as the Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2, while Neil Patrick Harris was nominated for his portrayal of Peter Parker in Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions. As for the Best Performance By A Human Female, Mass Effect 2 gains two more chances to rack up some serious hardware with the nominations of Jennifer Hale as the female Commander Sheppard while Yvonne Strahovski was nominated for her role as Miranda Lawson. Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Chengdu share the nomination for Best Downloadable Game with Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game. ModNation Racers, the debut title from United Front Games, received two nominations – Best Driving Game and Best PS3 Game.

Bioware also revealed a new advertisement today, teasing gamers about the studio’s next big title – the name of which they will share with the world during the Spike VGA’s broadcast. Personally, I think it’s going to be Mass Effect 3. Take a look at the TV spot:

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EA Sports™ NBA JAM —in high definition and featuring online play (Restrictions and conditions apply)—for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® is in stores now throughout North America. Featuring gameplay that is true to the original, two distinct game modes—Classic Campaign and Remix Tour—plus a full complement of online modes, EA Sports NBA JAM offers something for everyone. EA Sports

For the first time ever play the arcade classic basketball game online with every online feature available immediately through a free title update for all connected fans. Gamers can take on all rivals playing Classic 2-on-2 online, measuring their success on Friends and Global Leaderboards. Connected fans will be able to team-up locally to compete online in Remix Games, including Domination Free-for-All, Elimination, and 21. Fans will also be able to make it a Jam Party online by inviting up to 3 friends on separate consoles to play. Plus, gamers will be able to take on the world in Online Progression, levelling up through a series of challengers and secret online NBA JAM Challenges to unlock online exclusive NBA Jamrewards and hidden content in the ultimate quest for global bragging rights.

In Classic Campaign, players can take a trip down memory lane, individually or with a friend, as they play all 30 teams in the NBA in a worst to first ladder tournament. In Remix Tour, players will be faced with a new twist on the traditional NBA JAM experience. From boss battles against some of the NBA’s greatest legends, to half-court game modes with distinct challenges and winning conditions, players will be taken through an NBA JAM experience completely unique to the basketball videogame genre while demonstrating classic arcade hoops at its best.

EA Sports stays true to the original NBA JAM with Tim Kitzrow reprising his role as the legendary announcer voicing all the classic lines from the original, unmatched player likeness and reactions that exaggerate the outrageous moves that make up the core NBA JAM experience, and hundreds of characters, secret teams, courts and secret items to unlock.

Described by Gamesradar.com as “virtually perfect”, EA Sports NBA JAM for Wii™ is available in stores now everywhere. It is currently the 8th highest rated sports game ever on the Wii (according to Metacritic.com as of Nov. 10). EA Sports NBA JAM is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB. The MSRP on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 versions is $49.99 USD.

EA MobileEA also announced today that through their partnership with Blue Planet Software, Inc., the company that manages the exclusive licensing rights to the Tetris® brand, Tetris by EA Mobile is now available for the PlayStation®Network (PSN). Millions of players worldwide on Sony PlayStation® 3 systems will now have the opportunity to download and play the game with crisp 1080p high-definition (HD) graphics, high-quality 5.1 surround sound audio, and all-new ways to play including online against other Tetris players from around the globe. The Tetris game is one of the best-selling games of all time, with more than 100 million paid mobile downloads.
Tetris for PS3
“EA has developed Tetris on more than 15 platforms to date, and we’re excited to bring Tetris to millions of gamers worldwide on PlayStation Network,” said Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing for EA Mobile. “With new gaming modes, stunning HD visuals and the enhanced audio experience, this truly is the definitive Tetris experience for PlayStation Network.”

“This is Tetris made for a big screen,” said Alexey Pajitnov, creator of the Tetris game. “We’re very excited to bring Tetris to PlayStation Network with new game modes offering different and fun new ways to play. With high-definition graphics and surround sound, this Tetris game is a full experience. We’re thrilled to bring this unique game to longtime fans and new players. We hope everyone shows it off in their home ‘theaters!’”

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In addition to stellar audio and visual qualities, Tetris players can now play online or locally with up to six friends in all-new game modes. For those that play well with others, “Shared” mode enables two players to team-up in a single matrix to combine efforts and clear lines together. On the other end of the spectrum, “Team Battle” is the ultimate competitive match-up that allows two teams of two to play against one another, alternating between offense and defense as they compete for the win. Even the well-known “Battle” mode has been enhanced with new Power-Ups for more fast-paced fun.

And long-time Tetris fans need not worry, as Tetris for PSN also includes the famous “Marathon” mode. But for a new twist, now multiplayer games let up to four players locally play “Marathon” mode at the same time. Also included is the new “Challenge” mode, which allows players playing “Marathon” mode or any of the 12 variants to try to beat “replays” of either friends or some of the best Tetris players in the world. Additionally, players can see how they stack up to the best Tetris players internationally by checking out worldwide and regional leader boards, which are refreshed weekly.

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17th November 2010

One Time Back At GamerCamp

You know how you sometimes get incredibly motivated after attending a great event? I’ve been seeing that enthusiasm in the twittersphere, only it didn’t start after this particular event, it started well before. The event I’m talking about is the now two year old GamerCamp, which took place in Toronto over the past weekend. The GamerCampcamp was so successful, organizers Jaime Woo and Mark Rabo have announced GamerCamp Jr., which will take place in Toronto in March 2011. They are also looking at expanding GamerCamp events in other cities. I recommend visiting GamerCamp’s web site to see what a great time everyone had at this second GamerCamp event.

A spin-off activity which I have watched take shape on Twitter is the Game Prototype Challenge. Jason Kaplan, who is a triOS College student currently interning at Transgaming Studios, said that he felt so enthusiastic after GamerCamp, he wanted to start working on something, but he didn’t know exactly what that would be. I asked him to send me more details on this Challenge, which he did. Below is what he told me:

“It was the day after Gamercamp, and like many who attended, I was feeling in a game-making mood. After absorbing all the amazing and inspiring talks from the weekend’s event, it seemed only natural to
immediately start prototyping something; but what, I did not know, so I turned to the Twitterverse.”

“I knew I wanted to make some kind of 2D platformer, but was getting stuck on the collectible that would be the critical component in getting the highest score (something like coins in Super Mario Bros.) After considering several ideas and realizing they had all been done before, I put out a public request for ideas. I only got one response, from my good friend Jon Remedios (@JonRemedios on

Jon’s response to Jason was as follows:

@JonRemedios: “@JasonPKaplan You mean other than fruit? Dreams. So you can collect a pocketful of dreams.”

Absolutely unhelpful, we exchanged some banter and friendly insults, until the following was said:

@JonRemedios: “@JasonPKaplan I’m going to make a game with that and you’re going to brim with jealousy.”

Jason continued with his reasons for creating Game Prototype Challenge:

“It’s hard to walk away from something like that, so I formalized the challenge, and he accepted. I gave it a time line of a week, and cemented the constraints, and realized that this would be more fun if more people were involved, so I coined the hashtag #GamePrototypeChallenge and started tweeting about it.”

GamePrototypeChallenge“I’m not sure why, as initially no one really jumped on board, but I got overly excited about this. I created a separate Twitter page, @GamePrototypeCh, formalizing the event as v1, or ‘Version 1’ and setting it up to run immediately, with the requirement that developers use the themes ‘collectibles’ and ‘dreams’. Working in teams is fine, though we recommend keeping them small, to pairs and trios. As this is a rapid prototype challenge, it is suggested developers utilize software like Flash, Unity, Game Maker, or something similar, but of course anybody can choose any tools they want; the goal is to get people making games, and if other people came away from Gamercamp as excited to do that as I did, then this would be a great motivator to make it happen.”

Later that same night, Jason set up a homepage (there isn’t much on it yet, Jason said that could change soon) and a Facebook page and that’s the state Game Prototype Challenge is in today.

He stated that “It’s been only a few days, but we’ve seen a lot of positive reception so far, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see what games we get next week. The Prototype Challenge is completely not-for-profit and just-for-fun, and if it is received well enough we’ll continue doing new versions, probably monthly. To be a part of the experience, simply make the game under the previously mentioned conditions, make it available online, and tweet a link to it with the hashtag #GamePrototypeChallenge on Twitter.”

“If reception is strong, we’ll take this beyond Twitter, but for now it’s all being organized there. If you wish to do this but flat-out refuse to use Twitter, that’s absolutely okay, and you can email me a link to your game at and I will add the link and hashtag for you (the developer). All links to games will be archived on the site (which will likely get an upgrade after Version 1 comes to an end) so that people can quickly and easily check out all the themed prototypes. GamePrototypeChallenge does not claim any ownership over these–the creators retain full ownership–and since the submitters provide the link to the game under their own hosting control, they are free to take them down at will (so I apologize for the potentially many dead links in the archives in the future!)”

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