13th January 2011

Good News From Indie Studios Beenox and Frima

frima studioFrima Studio has announced that its Facebook version of Pocket God has already reached the 100,000 monthly active users milestone.

Originally developed by Bolt Creative for the Apple iPhone™ and iPod® touch, the Facebook version of Pocket God is a brand new way to experience the colorful, death-inducing, all-powerful and hilarious universe of Pocket God, one of the most popular iOS games in history. With all-new socially integrated features, episodic updates and a host of hilarious ways to both dispose of and resurrect the immortal pygmies of each island, the Facebook iteration of Pocket God offers a fresh experience for both fans of the mobile versions as well as those looking for an omnipotent new twist in online social gaming.

Since moving into open beta on December 20, 2010, Pocket God Facebook users have had fun torturing the Pygmies in a variety of wacky ways that have entertained players since the title’s iOS debut:

* 85,000 players have created accounts and have sacrificed over 7.5 million pygmies, more than the entire population of Massachusetts!
* Nearly half (46%) of the Pocket God players are from the US
* Close to 300,000 Facebook friends have been sacrificed & 60,000 of those had their head eaten by a shark

Beenox StudiosActivision Publishing and Beenox announced today that the Quebec studio has been named the primary developer on upcoming Activision titles featuring Marvel™’s famous web-slinger, Spider-Man™. Beenox’s most recent breakout success was with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, one of the most highly rated Spider-Man titles to date and Wizard Magazine’s 2010 Game of the Year. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has also been nominated for awards at the Canadian Video Game Awards, which will take place in Vancouver this May.

“Beenox’s creative vision reinvigorated the Spider-Man gaming experience among critics and fans in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Patrick Kelly, Senior Vice President, Activision Studios. “We can’t wait to see where this talented studio will take this franchise in the future.”Spiderman Shattered Dimension

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to continue our close, collaborative relationship with Activision, Marvel and everyone’s friendly, neighborhood hero, Spider-Man,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head, Beenox. “Being able to map out Spider-Man’s interactive future gives us the creative freedom to really craft the best gaming experience for the fans.”

“Beenox has done a tremendous job showcasing the essence of Spider-Man while pushing new creative boundaries with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Todd Jefferson, Director of Games, Marvel Entertainment’s Global Digital Media Group. “We look forward to working with Beenox on creating new Spider-Man game experiences.”

homick labsHomick Labs preschooler app Noah’s Matching Ark is now available in the iTunes store for the iPhone, iPod noahs arkTouch and iPad. This free title is fun and educational, and geared towards children age 2 and up. Kids will love matching the tiles of the various themes and earning stickers to be placed in their sticker album. With pleasing graphics and fun music, this interactive application is sure to become a family favorite.

The Creative GroupSocial media isn’t just a trend taking the world by storm; it’s also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey by The Creative Group. Also high on the list: “synergy” and “ROI,” which rankled respondents in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm and was based on 250 telephone interviews — approximately 200 with Canadian marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.  The advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, what is the most annoying or overused buzzword in the creative/marketing industry today?”

The top-ranked responses include:

1. “Social media/social networking”
2. “Synergy”
3. “Innovative/innovation”
4. “Extra value/value added”
5. “Going green”
6. “Free”
7. “ROI/return on investment”
8. “Culture change”
9. “Think out of the box”
10. “Interactive”
11. “Proactive”
12. “Social media expert”
13. “Multitasking”
14. “End of the day”
15. “Integrated/Integration”

“Certain buzzwords may be commonly used amongst marketing and advertising professionals, but when overused, they can quickly lose impact and cause people to lose interest and tune out,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in Canada. “In order to ensure your ideas are conveyed effectively, aim to keep your messages simple and direct.”

The Creative Group offers four tips for eliminating jargon in your communications:

1. Translate your thoughts. It’s typical to think in the lingo you use every day. But when putting your ideas to paper or in an e-mail, take the time to explain the concepts in terms that your audience will
easily understand.
2. Edit, edit, edit. Many buzzwords are unnecessary. Think carefully: Does a phrase like “at the end of the day” really add to what you’re trying to say? Probably not.
3. Break bad habits. We all rely on certain phrases when we speak. If the ones you gravitate toward are on the list of annoying buzzwords, think of alternatives that convey the same meaning.
4. Show instead of tell. Rather than relying on buzzwords, use concrete examples to convey your thoughts. For instance, instead of discussing your fully “integrated” marketing strategy for a product rollout,
describe the various elements and how they work together.

KMI CanadaBlake Melnick, Chief Knowledge Officer of The KM Group (TKMG), Graham Westwood, CEO of Procarta and Douglas Weidner, Chairman of The International Knowledge Management Institute, have announced the official launch of The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada (KMIC). The Institute will be headquartered in Toronto and will conduct industry level research and provide KM training, learning and professional certification programs, which address sector and Industry challenges related to:

* The aging of the Canadian workforce.
* The pending loss of critical knowledge through attrition.
* Managing knowledge necessary to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency and promote operational excellence.
* Improving organization performance and profitability.
* Creating competitive advantage through continuous improvement and the creation of new knowledge.

“The world has changed. Canada is experiencing a tipping point, where age old structures which previously shaped how we thought about work and learning are being transformed by information, communication technologies and the democratization of knowledge,” said Blake Melnick, KMIC’s Chief Knowledge Officer. “For Canadian companies to continue to prosper, and attract and retain key talent and expertise, they must embrace new ways of thinking, working and learning, which align with the realities of a global knowledge-based economy – this is where we believe the Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will have an exciting and challenging role to play.”

The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will operate as an independently owned, licensed affiliate of the International Knowledge Management Institute of Washington D.C., working with industry, government, business, education and the not for profit sectors to develop certification, accreditation and professional development programs tailored to meet their evolving operational needs and the training and learning needs of their workforce.

KMIC programs will assist organizations manage change by training knowledge managers how to leverage critical knowledge assets, improve the transfer of explicit and tacit knowledge across the their organizations; capture and transfer critical knowledge and know how from retiring experts to new employees to effectively bridge the knowledge gap which exists between formal classroom training and learning and field experience. With a focus on key industry sectors where pending knowledge loss is most acute and where the acquisition of new knowledge is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global marketplace, the Institute will serve as an incubator for emergent knowledge and information technologies and cultural practices designed to improve sector, industry and organization best practices.

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7th January 2011

New Adventures Await

Reminder: The deadline to pre-order Dragon Age 2 and get the free upgrade to the Signature Edition is January 11th.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new companion character for Dragon Age 2. Enter Sebastian Vael, an archer of noble birth. Join the Exiled Prince in his quest to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his family and direct his righteous wrath on your enemies. Sebastian is a full companion character, complete with his own series of side missions. Gain the prince’s allegiance as part of The Exiled Prince downloadable pack included in the BioWare Signature Edition, or available separately for $7 or 560 Microsoft Points.

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Dragon Age 2 is a stand alone chapter in the Dragon Age franchise, and while it is not a pre-requisite to have played through the previous titles, players can import their Dragon Age files and impact how the story unfolds for them in this new chapter. Dragon Age 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled for release to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 8th.

psychicparrot gamesPsychicParrot Games has released a free iPad app for pre-schoolers. My Own Farm is an interactive educational title, as each tap on the screen generates animal movement accompanied with that animal’s My Own Farmsound, in turn helping young children learn about the sounds farm animals make while keeping them entertained.

PsychicParrot is also the developer of Farm Jump, an Open-Feint enabled iOS mobile game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Will’s friends, so grab them when you can.

citeremisQuebec’s Citérémis has released Aztaka Developer’s Edition, with the objective of bringing together the independent developers and the gaming community into our “Quest for profitability.” According to the original game’s description, “Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling actionaztaka developers edition RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to wield both the spear and the spell. The watchful Gods have returned to their slumber and the evil Ehecalk becoming ever stronger is plotting. A mad power struggle to hold the seven Ancient Phonograms will ensue. You are the last hope of your people! Race across your once great land, reunite the Phonograms and restore prosperity to the Aztec Empire!”

Aztaka Key Features

* Plunge into a new and fresh universe.
* Manipulate spiritual energy, through an innovative hybrid control scheme to solve puzzles and vanquish foes
* Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts.
* Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold.
* Acquire potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels.
* Twenty-one unique and detailed levels with grand, richly-detailed backdrops and fluid character animations

Purchasers of this Developers’ Edition will be able to enjoy the latest Aztaka release, the Aztaka OST and the Exotic Your Shape AppFrench Art book, as well as the complete game source code – all for the low introductory price of $9.99, which is 50% off the regular price.

UbisoftIn celebration of the New Year and a “New You,” Ubisoft has released the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App, which lets users view and manage their Your Shape profile and stats on-the-go, allowing them to quickly and easily track how many calories they’ve burned and monitor progress made towards their fitness or weight loss goals.

The Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App is a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Even if you don’t own the game, discover the breakthrough technology used by Your Shape, check out our videos and meet the game’s fitness experts.

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3rd January 2011

Check Out The Tiga Talk Speech Therapy Game for Kids

trainyardCongratulations to our Canadian representatives in the IGF Awards: Matt Rix’s Trainyard (which is an awesome puzzle game, by the way) received an honourable mention in the Best Mobile Game category, and to the team at Vblank Entertainment, whose Retro City Rampage received a finalist nod for Excellence In Audio, as well as an honourable mention for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

The brand new “Tiga Talk Speech Therapy Games” is now available in the iTunes store at the sale price of $1.99 USD. Developed with licensed speech and language pathologists, Tiga Talk Speech Therapy is a fun way for ctiga talk web sitehildren to develop speech sounds through playful voice-controlled games. These games are designed to improve and reward speech clarity, articulation, and instill confidence. The app is for parents and speech therapists working with toddlers and children with language delays, and features a host of benefits, building on enhanced language skills to assist children with better communication skills and confidence.

Tiga Talk Speech Therapy Games is a partner property to the APTN children’s show Tiga Talk, which premieres its new season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) this January 6th, 2011. The premise of Tiga Talk is to entertains kids while teaching both Aboriginal and English language skills during the preschool years – an integral stage in development. By watching the series, children can learn how to make language sounds more easily, and have fun doing it! The addition of an interactive website and an iPhone application by Winnipeg’s Tactica Interactive, will provide even greater learning opportunities, offering games, crafts and videos that give children and their families the chance to explore and learn together

Digital Leisure Inc. has launched Word Searcher II on DSiWare for 500 Nintendo DSi Points. In this follow up to DSiWare word searcher 2hit Word Searcher you’ll need a sharp eye and a quick mind to complete these Digital Leisure100 themed word search puzzles in record time. Building on the success of Word Searcher 1, Word Searcher 2 contains even more fun words from multiple categories including palindromes, pirates and painting. The game is packed with a huge assortment of subjects to choose from, and there’s sure to be a puzzle that anyone will enjoy solving. Help improve your vocabulary, memory and problem-solving skills with these addicting puzzles. Keep track of your progress and try to beat your own play through times again and again as words are scrambled every time you play. Get your thinking cap on and conquer all 100 today!

yearonelabsYearOneLabs is hosting a Google hackathon on January 22, 2011. The hackathon will be hosted at co-working space RPM Montreal, with the event’s goal being the construction of new applications built atop the Google App Engine platform. Google Product Manager Sean Lynch will be attending the hackathon to offer guidance and information.

Tentative Event Schedule:

* 8am: Introductions and a presentation from the Google team
* 9am-5pm: Coding (in teams of two), with breakfast and lunch
* 5pm-7pm: Presentations with judging of the resulting apps
* 7pm-11pm: Party at RPM

There will be a Mobile App Showcase in Ottawa on Sunday, January 24th from 6-8pm at the Mercury Grove World Headquarters. Fill out the presentation application if you’d like to show off your latest app at the Mobile App Showcase.

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24th December 2010

Last Minute Gifts and Santa Tracking

Happy Holidays to all of our readers – Stay safe and we’ll see you on the other side of Christmas. Christmas Orby

OnStarIf you’re on the move with kids today in an OnStar-equipped vehicle and they’re worried about missing Santa, never fear, your OnStar connection will set their minds at ease. OnStar advisors will be prepared to give subscribers specific location-based updates on Santa Claus’ journey around the world based on data received in partnership with NORAD. Individuals without an OnStar subscription can visit NORAD’s Santa Site or dial 877 HI-NORAD (877-446-6723) for Santa’s location (hands-free in BC, please – Santa won’t be looking for you in a ditch).

Beginning at 6 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve, OnStar subscribers can press the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to request a “Santa Update”. OnStar advisors will share Santa’s whereabouts through 5 a.m. EST Christmas morning.

“It’s great to provide our customers with a fun, highly informative benefit during the holidays,” said Scott Kubicki, OnStar, executive director, OnStar Sales, Services and Marketing. “Our advisors also enjoy hearing children’s surprise and joy when they learn that St. Nick is only hours away from their home.”

For more than 54 years NORAD has used its North Warning Radar System, geo-synchronous satellites with infrared sensors and other technologies to monitor Santa’s Christmas Eve travels and share the information with children and families around the world.

“We are excited that OnStar is a NORAD Tracks Santa program sponsor once again this year,” said James Graybeal, deputy chief of staff for communication, Headquarters NORAD and USNORTHCOM. “OnStar adds another layer to the program. In addition to tracking Santa on the web or by calling in to the operations center, it’s neat that you can locate Santa by pushing a button in your car, wherever you are.”noahs ark

homick labsHomick Labs has released Noah’s Matching Ark, a fun and educational application for the iPad and iPhone, geared for children aged 2 and up. Kids will love matching the tiles of the various themes and earning stickers to be placed in their sticker album. According to the app’s information page, there are currently three themes available – matching Animals,  Shapes and Numbers; additional themes are downloadable within the app, and parents can configure the app’s difficulty to match their child’s ability.

This free application is currently available for the iPad only, the iPhone version has a projected release date of January 2011.

gametree mac For the Mac gamers in your life, check out all of the Gift Guide Specials over at GameTree Mac; they have a door crasher sale on for Kung Fu Panda at 35% off, and other titles such as Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and Assassin’s Creed II are available for 10% off. There is a good selection of titles for everyone from kids to adults, including Nancy Drew and Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, with sale prices in effect until January 3rd, 2011.

EA MobileGive the gift of gaming to Android™ device owners this holiday season! EA Mobile™ offers sale prices on a full selection of games for select Android-based mobile phones – perfect for everyone on your gift giving list.Game Of Life

“Expanding our world-class franchises onto the emerging Android marketplace brings our popular, award-winning games to more phones, more carriers and ultimately, more consumers,” said Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing for EA Mobile. “This lineup brings fun to everyone – from families playing MONOPOLY to sports fans scoring goals with FIFA 10 – no matter where you are.”

The Sims™ 3, Need for Speed™ Shift, FIFA 10 by EA SPORTS™ and Tetris®, as well as MONOPOLY and THE GAME OF LIFE (under license from Hasbro Inc.) are available on the Android platform. Additional upcoming releases include Worms™ and Bejeweled® 2 from PopCap Games. The games can be downloaded directly to an Android phone by visiting EA’s store on the device or on a PC.

Digital LeisureFor those of you visiting us from Europe, you can now grab a copy of Digital Leisure’s Mix Superstar for your Wii. For 500 Wii Points, you can create, mix and record your own royalty-free musical masterpieces right on your Wii™ system. There are over 1,000 Dance,Mix Superstar Hip Hop and Techno loops included across multiple instruments like Drum, Bass, Synth, Guitar and even voice tracks.

Looking to give your mix a unique flare? Over a dozen new music loop packs will be releasing via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play™ to enhance your music creation experience. Thousands of additional loops from packs like Rock, Pop, Latin, House and even World.

Once you’ve got that next hit created, it’s time to show it off. Mix Superstar allows you to export your music creations, and download them to your computer so you can take them on-the-go. You can also use WiiConnect24™ to send those hits to your Wii Friends and even collaborate on mixes. Also included is full support for both the Logitech® USB Microphone and Wii Speak™ so you can lay down your own vocals on that next hit.

Wicked InteractiveMission Against Terror knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, and Toronto publisher Wicked Interactive says “that’s why for all you naughty people out there M.A.T. is bringing you some extra-special holiday cheer. From Saturday, December 25 through Monday, December 27, the action will be non-stop and the stakes never higher. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Christmas, M.A.T.-style.”Mission Against Terror

M.A.T. Special Surprise Xmas Events:

· December the 25th, 2010 @ 4:30-6:30 EST – Login Event -> Snowball Grenade (1 Day), Silver Coins +200%, Christmas Hat (1 Day)
· December the 26th, 2010 @ 4:30-6:30 EST – Silver Coins +200%
· December the 27th, 2010 @ 7:30-9:30 EST – Silver Coins +200%

“These events are a perfect complement to the newly unveiled AI Mode,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Think of them as the ultimate way to test out the AI-controlled robots, the 4 new difficulty settings, the Weapon Casting Machine and all the other goodies that AI mode brings.”

Special prizes will be awarded to those with the highest scores at the end of the weekend. But because Christmas is all about surprises, M.A.T. is keeping those prizes a secret until then.

poyntPoynt Corporation and Yellow Pages Group (YPG) have formed an agreement for YPG to provide Canadian business content to the Poynt mobile local search application for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The five-year agreement, which includes an annual licensing fee, uses Yellow PagesYPG’s public API (YellowAPI) to grant the Poynt app access to the 1.5 million business listings it currently holds. The partnership provides the Poynt app with mobile banner advertising, through Mediative, a recently launched division of YPG which services national accounts.

“YPG has been a tremendous partner as we have evolved and grown,” said Andrew Osis, CEO of Poynt Corp. “We are pleased to continue this relationship as we continue to provide relevant, compelling data to consumers as they go about their daily lives.”

“Our agreement with Poynt emphasizes the opportunities our content can create for local search apps and how YellowAPI can drive additional visibility to our advertisers through partners such as Poynt,” said Stéphane Marceau, Chief Marketing Officer of Yellow Pages Group.

Poynt recently won RIM’s BlackBerry “Super Apps” Developer Challenge and is one of the leading mobile applications for BlackBerry. Poynt is available for download from m.poynt.com or from the respective smartphone app stores.

Photo ZoomMarin Media Group, located in Concord, ON, is pleased to announce the launch of a new & free online photography magazine called Photo Zoom, a publication designed to entertain and inform both amateur and professional photographers. It will be providing you with industry news, reviews, trends, articles, interviews, tutorials, galleries, competitions, advice and much, much more. PhotoZoom Magazine will also be attentive to the reader’s thoughts, viewpoints, reviews, suggestions, and, most importantly, featuring their photos.

“Photo Zoom is a magazine dedicated to the art of photography. In every issue we will go over the ins & outs, the tricks & tips and everything else that has to do with photography”, says Scott Howard, Editor.

PhotoZoom will be viewed and reviewed by local photo clubs, Universities and Colleges offering photography courses, various online social media sites, and online directories pertaining to photography related companies. Whether you are an amateur using a simple point and shoot camera or a professional who relies on photography as his main source of income, as long as you love this inspirational art form, you will enjoy PhotoZoom magazine.

CanadaPassing along a bulletin from International Trade: the following events to take place in March 2011 in Brazil.  The Canadian Consulate in Sao Paulo will be providing support to any Canadian companies planning to attend. Please contact Fernanda Whitaker, Trade Commissioner for New Media and Cultural Industries at the Canadian Consulate General in Sao Paulo for further information and application forms (or your local in-Canada DFAIT rep may also have the applications available).

Brazil-Canada Coproduction Forum *** March 15-16, 2011 – Rio de Janeiro *** On its 4th edition, this event is designed to allow content producers (digital media/TV/Film) from both countries to understand each other’s business environment, markets and discuss potential opportunities for co-production. The Forum will happen in the margins of the Rio Content Market and will be organized by two local industry associations with full support from the Canadian Consulate. The organizers of the Brazil-Canada Coproduction Forum will invite and pay the expenses for a select group of about 15 Canadian delegates to participate . The deadline for Canadian companies that want to be considered for financial assistance granted by the organizers is January 16th, 2011.

GameWorld 2011 *** March 11-13, 2011 – São Paulo *** Three-day event for the gaming industry, including exhibition and conferences. This event takes place over a weekend and traditionally targets end uses. However, for the 2011 edition, GameWorld organizers will prepare a business forum on Friday, March 11th, with matchmaking activities and one-on-one meetings. The Canadian Consulate in Sao Paulo will work with the event organizers to support any delegates coming from Canada.

Rio Content Market *** March 16-18, 2011 – Rio de Janeiro *** This is a large, Brazilian TV Producers (BTVP) initiative that has gained great support from different levels of the Brazilian Government. Rio Content Market is an international conference and market expected to gather over 500 decision makers to discuss the creation and distribution of digital media and multi-platform content. Guest participants and speakers will be invited from the USA, UK, Canada, Europe and Asia. There will be a large contingence of television/feature film/digital media production, broadcasters, telecom operators, etc.

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23rd December 2010

Lots and Lots of Sales

Development studio Capybara Games held its first internal 48 hour game jam earlier this week, and they’ve now posted the results on the studio’s blog. Working in teams of 2 or 3, the Capy-devs came up with some very interesting concepts, and the studio said on their blog that there will perhaps be some more playable jam titles available after the holidays.

There are lots of holiday sales from our Canadian developers to take advantage of this season, either as gifts for those who are looking for something new to play:

frima studioFrima’s 2D point-and-click Big Bad Wolfadventure game for puzzle lovers, Big Brain Wolf is part of the 5 game Indie Brain Pack available on Steam until January 3rd 2011 for only $4.99 USD. This crime story takes place in a fairy tale kingdom inhabited by a vegetarian, asthmatic wolf, a bipolar Genie, a chubby Red Riding Hood, a long-nosed lawyer, and a slew of hilarious characters. To clear his mother of the murder charges brought upon her, our lupine friend will have to train his brain through 60 puzzles and riddles.

IUGOIUGO Mobile has also gotten into the spirit of the season, putting all of their great titles on sale for 99 cents USD each until early January. Now’s the time to grab these IUGO hits:IUGO Holiday Sale

Toy Bot Diaries 1,2,3, the Toy Bot Compilation, Spy Bot Chronicles and the Toy Bot Mini Missions
Zombie Attack! and Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL
Shaky Summit
Freeballin’
Star Hogs
A.D.D.
Implode! XL
Cliffed XL
ESCAPE: Norm’s World
Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet

Celsius GamesCelsius Games’ new title Red Nova, which has rocketed up the iTunes game chart is still available for its special introductory price of 99 cents USD for both the iPhone and iPad versions. This price won’t last forever, so you’d best grab your spaceship now and make your file screen even more festive because Red Nova is red, which puts you 50% closer to decorating everything you own in Christmas colours. kung fu santa

Speaking of holiday colours, you really should pick up Kung Fu Santa by Big Bad Brush and help save Christmas. This highly colourful and simply fun to play title is also available for the low, low price of 99 EA Mobilecents in the App Store.

EA Mobile’s massive library of iOS titles is also on sale for just 99 cents USD per title – this means some huge discounts on some games, so whether you need some last minute gifts or just want them for yourself, now would be the time to be proactive and scoop them up before the sale ends. Death Spank

Deathspank really wants to move in to his own little home on your PC’s hard drive this Christmas, can you spare him a little change? This amusingly inept super hero game from Hothead Games is currently on sale on Steam for 50% off its regular price. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you really should – and then you can continue helping the downtrodden in Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue, which is also currently on sale.

Cshankoincidentally, Klei Entertainment’s vigilante platformer Shank is also on sale, available for the low price of $10.04 USD, so if you feel the urge to help Shank deal with his anger issues by slaughtering the underworld’s deadliest assassins, you should take advantage of this holiday sale.Dead Rising 2

Feel the need to eradicate zombies? Good news for you! Dead Rising 2 for the PC from Blue Castle Games (or Capcom Studios Vancouver, if you prefer) is also on sale at Steam for 50% off the published price. Head to Fortune City and try your luck – don’t forget your Zombrex!

Bioware CorpIf you’ve been living off-planet this year and haven’t yet gotten Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 for your PC, you’re in luck – Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 2 Digital Deluxe Edition are all on sale at Steam as well. Not to be outdone by its studio mate, Dragon Age and all of its ilk are also on sale in the Steam store.

Loud Crow Interactive is giving away promo codes for their interactive iPad books The Tale of Peter Loud Crow InteractiveRabbit and The Night Before Christmas. Head on over to their Facebook page for details on how to grab a code while they’re still available.Doras Christmas Carol

If you’re looking for other great holiday treats to share with youngsters, may I suggest Dora’s Christmas Carol from Budge Studios. It’s not on sale, but you can get it for your iPhone for $2.99 USD or your iPad for $4.99 USD. Guaranteed to be a hit with any Dora fans living in your house.

I could probably spend all day looking for Canadian-made games on sale, but I do have to go to work. I also apparently have to go Christmas shopping, because my daughter is horrified that I haven’t done so yet. A few other great deals currently lurking around on Steam are all of the Company of Heroes and Dawn of War II titles from THQ and Relic Entertainment, plus there’s 150+ indie titles also on sale. If you see a Canadian title on sale somewhere, send me a message on Twitter, and if I have time I will try to get another posting of sale prices and links done before Christmas.

Wicked InteractiveToronto game publisher Wicked Interactive has launched AI Mode, the newest and most challenging level that brings robots and other surprises to the free-to-play shooter Mission Against Terror.

“This is our holiday gift to the massive and awesome M.A.T. community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “They have been so supportive since the early days of Closed Beta, we felt thisMission Against Terror update is the least we could do.”

What’s New in AI Mode:

· 8 players vs. slew of AI-controlled robots in a war for survival
· 2 new stages (of four) available now
· 4 new difficulty settings
· 4 new scenarios
· Weapon Reward System for completing stages at current difficulty levels
· Weapon Casting Machine, allowing gamers to create weapons from the parts of destroyed robots
· The chance to do battle with the Robot Captain

The National Post has launched its free National PostNational Post Reader App, available now on the App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Simple and sophisticated, the National Post Reader App provides a customizable news feed that brings users straight to the day’s breaking news as well as the latest opinion pieces from Canada’s favourite writers and commentators. As with all National Post products, the app features coverage from across the country and around the world, delivered with a distinctly Canadian voice.

“Our readers like to stay up to date on important news, analysis and commentary wherever they are,” said National Post Publisher Douglas Kelly. “The National Post Reader App delivers this to them in a very personal and convenient way on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.”

Features of the National Post Reader App include:

* Delivery of Top Story content as soon as news breaks
* Quick and easy navigation tools
* The ability to save stories to read later, including when offline
* Social media sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, email, and more

Pinewood StudiosPinewood Toronto Studios, Canada’s largest purpose-built film and TV studio complex, will use a $34.5-million financing arrangement to secure the studio’s long-term growth and enhance the City of Toronto’s ability to attract big-budget films and TV projects, as well as help strengthen Toronto’s role as one of the world’s great production centres.

This investment in vital, long-term Ontario film and television infrastructure will support Pinewood Toronto Studios, Ontario’s premier studio complex, in attracting large-scale production work that would not otherwise be drawn to Toronto.

Pinewood Toronto Studios Chairman Paul Bronfman says, “Toronto is one of a handful of truly exceptional production capitals. This repayable loan will benefit every Ontarian, as well as the film and TV industry throughout the city and province. The ripple effect to the broader Ontario economy will be enormous.”

The financing will permit improvements to Pinewood Toronto Studios facilities, strengthening and propelling its ability to attract bigger and more specialized film and television projects. Among the films and TV series shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios over the last two years are: Battle of the Blades, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The Thing, Devil, Dream House and Chloe. The loan, provided by Infrastructure Ontario and facilitated by Build Toronto, was secured by the Pinewood Toronto Studios Board of Directors and received unanimous approval earlier this month.

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20th December 2010

Toonful Transmissions

teletoonTELETOON Canada inc. is pleased to announce that Fugget About It, a half-hour animated comedy originally developed for the TELETOON at Night Pilot Project, has been greenlit for production into a 13-part series in English and French. Produced by Toronto-based 9 Story Entertainment, Fugget About It follows the misadventures of 16-year-old Petey Falcone, the son of a former New York mob boss who now lives in a witness protection program with his family in Canada.

“The TELETOON At Night Pilot Project was a unique initiative by TELETOON to tap into the rich store of talent within Fugget About Itthe Canadian animation industry,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada inc. “TELETOON received some great projects through this initiative and we’re thrilled to be able to take the Fugget About It pilot and develop it into a series with the humour and broad appeal we look for in our comedy programming.”

Originally launched in fall 2007, ten projects, including Fugget About It, were selected as finalists from over 200 submissions. TELETOON invested $1.5 million dollars into creating the pilots which straddle a wide range of topics, animation styles and comedy sensibilities. The TELETOON at Night pilots premiered online and have been featured on-air since September 2010 as part of TELETOON at Night’s popular Sunday night hosted block “Fred at Night.”

“The TELETOON at Night Pilot Project afforded us an incredible opportunity to get the Fugget About It pilot made and we couldn’t be more excited to see it go to series,” said Vince Commisso, President and CEO, 9 Story Entertainment. “We have a stellar creative team led by show runner Jeff Abugov (Two and a Half Men, Roseanne, Cheers) and TELETOON is the perfect home for this production.”

aptnPopular preschool series Tiga Talk! will ring in the New Year with the premiere of a new season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) on January 6, 2011, a brand new interactive website, and an iPhone application. Tiga Talk! entertains kids while teaching both Aboriginal and English language skills during the preschool years – an integral stage in development. By watching the series, children can learn how to make language sounds more easily, and have fun doing it! The addition of an interactive website and an iPhone application by Winnipeg’s Tactica Interactive, will provide even greater learning opportunities, offering games, crafts and videos that give children and their families the chance to explore and learn together.tiga talk on iphone

With Aboriginal languages being lost across Canada, Tiga Talk! was created to help teach language skills to preschoolers, while building confidence and instilling imagination in young minds. Targeted at all children (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) aged 3-6, Tiga Talk! is a gentle, entertaining series that has fun exploring languages and culture. It combines live action with a magic puppet world, and features music and imaginary play.

Tiga Talk! is centered around three stuffed toys – Tiga the wolf cub, Gertie the gopher, and Gavin the goose – who live with human friends Jodie and Jason, their father, and Kokum (“grandmother” in Cree). Jodie and Jason have a secret. When there aren’t any adults around, their stuffed toys come alive as talking puppets. Through their interactions and adventures, the puppets and kids learn about traditional practices and languages of various Aboriginal cultures in imaginative ways.

tiga talkTiga Talk! not only captivates and entertains its preschool audience, but also creates an ear for Aboriginal language, and encourages an excitement for learning about traditions and culture during those very important early years.

Season 3 of Tiga Talk! builds upon the strengths of the first two seasons, with exciting new additions that previous viewers will be pleased to discover, and first-time audiences will enjoy:

New Family – Season 3 welcomes Jason and Jodie’s dad, a character not seen in the first two seasons. Dad takes the kids on various field trips, from visiting a music recording studio, to a petting zoo, to the museum.

New Friends – In addition to the puppets from Season 1 and 2, Jason and Jodie now have four new friends to play with: Jack, Alice, Kyle and Tessa. These friends come over to visit, play games, and do various activities in the backyard.tiga talk web site

New Sets – The majority of the show used to take place in Jodie and Jason’s bedroom at Kokum’s place, and at Tiga and Gertie’s indoor dens. In Season 3, the bedroom has been replaced with a larger set in Kokum’s backyard that includes a pond for Gavin, an underground tunnel for Gertie, and an outdoor den for Tiga.

New Segments – Two new segments are being introduced in Season 3: ‘Get Moving’, a segment that allows viewers to follow along to exercises with a song performed by the puppets; and ‘Things We Love to Do’, which shows kids doing different kinds of fun activities that fit with the theme of each episode.

Tiga Talk! was produced with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, the Government of Canada – Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program, the Bell New Media Fund and produced and developed in Association with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and the Canada Media Fund.

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9th December 2010

A Whole Lotta Indie News

AnnexProLast evening we had the pleasure of attending Annex Pro’s Expo 2011 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where we had a chance to catch up with a few friends Kerry Corlettas well as make new ones. The team at Annex Pro put together a great group of vendor booths – it’s a good thing that the CaveChild was not with us, or he would’ve tried to make off with the entire Avid Pro Tools display. As it was, I spent a fair bit of time talking with Bonnie from Wacom, and with a smoking hot sales deal from Annex Pro, my very dated Wacom Graphire 3 is now a medium-sized Intuos 4. Now I am just waiting on my registration emails from Wacom (how long does that take, anyway?) so that I can install the free software tools that purchasers of Wacom tablets receive, and then I can watch my Adobe PhotoShop Elements 4 upgrade to version 8 (oh wow, just learned that Adobe is now on version 9), and maybe in a few months’ time I can take advantage of the Wacom Buyer Privileges and upgrade my PhotoShop 7 to PhotoShop CS5 with the special purchase deal. Oh, and if you think my PhotoShop is outdated….I still use Bryce 5 and PaintShop Pro 8. I won a copy of Corel’s PaintIt on Twitter a few months ago, and have been playing a bit with it – watching the software’s conversion process is quite entertaining.

Annex Pro Expo SponsorsScott’s interest at the Annex Pro event was tweaked both by the keynote delivered by Technicolor Creative Services’ Tom Burns and by the offerings from Atempo, Aspera, Blue Arc, G-Tech, AJA and HP because he likes to geek out over the technical side of things, which are completely out of my realm. As long as our networks connect and the computers and server are working, I’m happy – although I do want the fancy computers & screens they have on CSI and Bones, just because they look cool.

I have always liked the software tools developed by Autodesk, who was also present at the expo, but as I can’t draw and haven’t even mastered Bryce 5, Maya and Max are far beyond my capabilities – I have a healthy respect for anyone who creates product with that software. Craft Animations was also displaying their wares, and I actually have one of their products, which I won at a previous Annex Pro event. Not a clue what to do with that, either. Perhaps we should come up with a contest and offer it as a prize; I’m sure there are some indie devs out there who would benefit greatly from having itGarage Inc.

Transgaming Studios has released the pre-game cinematic for their upcoming title Garage Inc on the game’s Facebook page. The cinematic introduces the player to the characters and sets the mood for this 1920’s Prohibition-era game. Watch as lead character Angelo talks with his cousin Sal during a family Christmas gathering about the garage he dreams of opening.

There are two new indie titles available today – Xona Games is burning up the dev pipe, releasing their second new title this week. Score Rush has Score Rushpassed Peer Review and is now out on Xbox Live Indie Games for 80 MS Points. Built on the Duality ZF engine, this 4-player shoot ’em up features overwhelming firepower, trailing options, full screen bombs, tons of enemies, an intimidating final boss and hundreds of crazy bullet patterns to survive. The 60 fps adrenaline-rush experience is complemented by a hard-rocking Dragon Music soundtrack.

Also out today is RatRod Studio’s Drift Mania Canadian Championship is now available in the Android Marketplace for 99 cents. Previously released in the iTunes App Store, Android users Drift Maniacan now get in on the racing action. Drift Mania Canadian Championships features Online Global Leaderboards with live events, variable throttle system and hydraulic handbrake with adjustable steering sensitivity, 7 uniquely spec’d vehicles, 5 different tracks, 2 acceleration modes and 3 levels of difficulty with 3 camera configurations. If you want to relive the moment, there is a highlights replay system, and you can also listen to either the included A Space Shootersoundtrack or your own music as you tear up the track.

A post made earlier today by Frima Studios‘ Executive Producer Martin Brouard on the official PlayStation blog announced that there will be a new title released by the studio on December 21st. A Space Shooter for Two Bucks will be available for free to all PlayStation Plus subscribers, and $1.99 for everyone else. According to the blog, A Space Shooter is of the classic arcade space shooting genre (in case you couldn’t guess that from the title), and “swarms of enemies filling the screens with hazardous bullets and missiles, heaps of upgrades for your ship and its arsenal, high-paced and constant action requiring deft reflexes, and hordes of alien baddies just waiting to be blown up by your superior space-faring skills.” Plus, to add to your gaming experience, there will be a myriad of interesting characters to encounter and in some cases control.

Kitchener-Waterloo developer Footloose Games has announced that they will be releasing a beta version of their Munchies LunchMunchies’ Lunch title on December 27th. Munchies’ Lunch is a fun adventure-puzzle PC-based game for the whole family. Simply download the game from the Footloose website to embark on an epic journey with the Munchie family as they say goodbye to their homeland and travel the world to find a peaceful place where they can settle down. Mr. & Mrs. Munchie will travel along with their children through far-away jungles, over steep mountains, and across the hot deserts in their journey. Along the way they’ll meet the ravenous Hungries, crafty bird-snakes and perhaps evNight Before Christmasen a tribal tiki or two.

Vancouver developer LoudCrow has released its latest iPad book. Available now, this pop-out version of The Night Before Christmas joins LoudCrow’s previous title, Pop-out Tales of Peter Rabbit in the iTunes store. In this new release, you can see William Denslow’s masterful illustrations brought to life with innovative pull-tabs, spin-wheels, and elements that bounce and spring with the touch a finger. Listen to “O Christmas Tree” beautifully performed on piano while you read and interact with each page of the book. Explore every scene and discover the many delightful life-like interactions at your fingertips.

Bioware has released the first in a series of “Making of” videos for Dragon Age 2. Here is Part One:

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koboKobo has launched Reading Life, an industry first social eReading experience. Readers can now track their personal reading history, check-in with characters and places inside books and earn achievements and awards for simply reading. Readers can also choose to share books, favourite passages, awards and more with their friends on Facebook. Kobo Reading Life is initially available on iPad, as a part of the latest iPad update in the iTunes store now.

Kobo Reading Life for iPad provides an unparalleled experience that enables users to engage in eReading in new ways, connect with friends, and earn awards just for reading: Read the rest of this entry »

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1st December 2010

TransGaming Announces New Partnership

TransGamingTransGaming, Inc. and UK-based Amino Communications have announced a collaborative partnership to provision TransGaming’s on-demand video game platform, GameTree TV, into Amino Communications’ Freedom hybrid/OTT media centre. The addition of GameTree TV enhances the Freedom media centre by offering a comprehensive and powerful interactive consumer entertainment experience that will address a broader consumer market for operators through a single platform.
gametreetv
Amino Communications is among the world’s leading IPTV and hybrid/OTT (Over the Top) innovators. The award-winning Freedom media centre, based on the Intel® CE4100 Media Processor, offers Managed Service Operators (MSOs) a powerful platform for the seamless delivery of TV, movies, home media, and a new world of television apps to the consumer.

The GameTree TV Platform is the premier on-demand video game solution for consumers, optimized for the next generation of set-top boxes and connected consumer electronic (CE) devices. GameTree TV delivers to consumers an ever-growing catalog of video games that can be transacted through a variety of flexible pricing models. The Platform provides operators with an interactive gaming solution that will enhance their current entertainment portfolio and generate new and sustainable revenue streams by catering to the broad family demographic represented in their subscription base.

“The Amino Freedom platform is an exceptional next generation device that delivers a wealth of media and entertainment options to consumers”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming. “The GameTreeTVaddition of GameTree TV enriches the Freedom media center even further and allows consumers to enjoy all forms of entertainment, linear and interactive, through a singular experience. This collaboration allows both Amino and TransGaming to access a broader consumer marketplace and deliver an even more compelling value proposition to operators and consumers globally”.

The GameTree TV Platform supports the MeeGo™ operating system, a collaboration between Intel® and Nokia®, that is quickly becoming the operating system of choice for a range of next generation devices, including media centers, set-top boxes, net-books, tablets, or smart phones. GameTree TV is being optimized to support MeeGo and a variety of embedded Linux platforms, making it a highly versatile gaming solution for a range of consumer electronic devices.

“We are delighted to work with TransGaming to bring their GameTree TV Platform to the Amino Freedom”, stated Andrew Burke, CEO of Amino Communications. “GameTree TV will bring a rich entertainment experience to the Freedom media centre, by offering consumers a high quality gaming platform, and providing our business partners with a great new revenue stream that also aids in reducing churn within their retail operations.”

TransGaming and Amino Communications are both members of the Intel® Consumer Electronics Network (CEN), a community of hardware, software and services providers that accelerates the development and time-to-market of Internet-connected CE devices.

Budge StudiosBudge Studios invites you to experience Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure like you never have before! This interactive episode brings the experience of reading, watching and playing together in one fun-filled App. Join Dora as she helps Swiper get on Santa’s nice list and as they travel through time to learn the true spirit of Christmas. The app features activities, animation, songs, and is narrated by Dora herself!
Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure
*Play several interactive activities and mini-games designed for preschoolers
*Supports reading and listening comprehension and Spanish vocabulary
*Teaches wonderful lessons on sharing and the spirit of Christmas
*Features a special Christmas song sung by Dora that users can interact with
*Preschoolers can listen to Dora’s narration of the story or turn narration off and read together with their parents.
*The iPad version features stunning HD graphics

Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure is available now in the iTunes App store with a special launch price of $1.99 USD.

Microsoft CanadaDevelopers interested in Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform should register for (and attend) AzureFest, which is taking place at Microsoft Canada’s Mississauga campus on December 11th. Presented in Open House format, there are two sessions, one at 9:00a.m. and the other at 1:00p.m. The event is free and includes refreshments. Windows Azure

By attending AzureFest, you can learn how developing and deploying Azure Applications is fast and easy. You will learn how to set up your Azure account and how to take a traditional ASP.NET application and convert it for Azure. Publishing Applications to the Azure Developer Portal is a breeze. You’ll learn how to set up the Azure SDK and Azure Tools for Visual Studio right on your laptop.

Digital Hot ListCongratulations to the six companies named to nextMEDIA’s 2010 Hot Digital List as the hottest emerging online properties, the most innovative new apps, games and tech solutions, and the freshest ideas from online content creators:

Hot Online Property

Hot Technology

Hot Video Content

VantrixMobile video optimization and delivery solutions developer Vantrix has been awarded the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Mobile Video Optimization Solution of the Year Award for Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer. Vantrix was selected as this year’s recipient for its solution’s unique approach to improving mobile operators’ economics, while preserving the end-user experience.

“It is an honor to be recognized, for the second year in a row, by Frost & Sullivan. This award further validates our leadership in mobile video optimization for mobile operators,” said Patrick Lopez, Chief Marketing Officer of Vantrix. “As mobile video continues to take a dominant place in our daily lives, mobile networks are challenged to handle the increasing demand. Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer alleviates this strain and maximizes the mobile operators’ network capacity by making on-the-fly adjustments to the way videos are delivered to end-users. This solution not only stops the ‘waste’ incurred by operators in delivering Internet videos to smartphones, tablets and laptops, but also effectively doubles the capacity of existing network infrastructure, while reducing the OPEX and CAPEX necessary to increase the networks capacity.”

Thanks to iPads, iPhones and Android, people are watching mobile video more than ever before. In fact, it is predicted that by 2015, video will represent more than 70 percent of all mobile traffic. As mobile video becomes ubiquitous, mobile networks are challenged to handle the increasing demand. Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer optimizes all video content and delivers it in real-time to the recipient, while maintaining the best quality of experience. To highlight the benefit of bandwidth optimization, Vantrix has created an interactive tool called the Vantrix Bandwidth Savings Calculator. This tool enables mobile carriers to calculate the savings they can experience by implementing Vantrix Bandwidth Optimizer in their network.

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13th November 2010

Budge Studios To Produce Mobile iOS Titles For Nickelodeon

Budge StudiosBudge Studios and Nickelodeon have announced a partnership to develop and publish interactive story book iPhone and iPad applications based on some of the Nick’s most popular shows, including Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. Dora the Explorer recently celebrated its landmark 10th anniversary and still ranks as one of the top preschool shows on TV. SpongeBob SquarePants has been the No. 1 animated program among kids ages 2 to 11 for more than seven consecutive years.

The first of several iPhone and iPad apps to be released through the partnership is Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure, which is based on the TV special. The app will feature a fun holiday-themed story, original Dora's Christmas Carol Adventuresongs, and interactive mini-games. It will also teach Spanish, colors, reading and the value of sharing. Both the iPhone and iPad versions of the app are scheduled to launch on December 1, 2010.

“Both Nickelodeon and Budge Studios are dedicated to creating family-friendly products that encourage imagination and education in children, so this partnership was a perfect match,” says Noemie Dupuy, a Partner at Budge Studios. “The captivating personalities of Nickelodeon’s beloved characters, give Budge Studios the inspiration to create highly innovative and entertaining mobile applications that will appeal to a large, diverse range of consumers.”

“This collaboration with Budge Studios is part of our ongoing mission to provide kids and families with entertainment using the most current technology and platforms,” said Steve Youngwood, Executive Vice President for Digital, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group. “Kids are embracing the iPhone and iPad as much as their parents and these new apps will allow them to interact with their favorite Nick characters on portable devices they can take almost anywhere.”

Budge Studios also developed Mega BrandsMegaBloks Playground, which I have tried out on my iTouch. Being an adult with no toddlers handy to give this game some hands-on experience, I found it very difficult to view this title as a toddler would. MegaBloks Playground is not a game, per se, as there are no points, timers or achievements. It is an app to amuse young children, a purpose for which I think it would be successful.

MegaBloks Playground features a choice between two characters, a boy and a girl. Your toddler can make megabloks playgroundtheir character move around the playground by swiping their finger across the screen, leaving footprints in the sand as their character walks from feature to the next. One drawback to the iTouch version of the game is that the entire playground is not readily visible, which I think detracts a bit from the experience. Obviously this would probably not be an issue with the iPad version (I don’t own an iPad, so I can’t confirm this for certain). The game’s objects are all cleanly drawn and brightly coloured, with the animations running smoothly, which would appeal to toddlers and keep their attention on the game.

The music and sound effects which accompany the game are in no way jarring or irritating, which makes MegaBloks Playground Mapthe music especially quite pleasant to listen to. The playground itself is populated with items one would expect to find in a real playground, which means the majority of toddlers would know that by tapping on the slide, swings and teeter-totter would allow their character to interact with them and listen to the unique sound effects assigned to each activity. Characters can also go for a short balloon ride across the playground.

Scattered around the playground are small piles of blocks, which the characters use to build items like airplanes. One drawback, however, is that once the item is assembled, there is no way to interact with it, and it eventually disappears from the screen. I would like to see a few more activities built into the app, which would make it a little more educational, such as perhaps finding a way to build in shape recognition or colour-matching, along with a way for players to make their own creations to interact with. Overall, though, I think this is a well-designed app that will do what it’s intended t0 do – stimulate and amuse sensory perception in toddlers, and I would give it a rating of 4/5.

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18th October 2010

New Trailers and Titles For PC, Wii and iOS Games

EA Sports has released a new trailer forEA Sports EA Sports Active 2. Titled Real Fitness, this video touches on the features and focus of the title, showing how EA Sports Active 2 is like having your own personal trainer in your home. EA Sports Active features a 9 week fitness programme, extra downloadable content, motivational prompters and more – all designed to help you get in shape and improve your heart’s health.

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Glacier Games has also released a new trailer for its upcoming iOS title Them, a game that takes you back to Glacier Gamesthe Cold War era, where you play as Albert, a former employee of the ruthlessly terrifying and mysterious agency known only as Them. Through strategic play and your ability to stay alive, you will unlock new weapons, power-ups and more. Them will be released first for the iPhone and iTouch, with an iPad version to follow.

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THQ and Relic Entertainment have also released a new trailer today, this one for the upcoming March Relic Entertainment2011 Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II expansion Retribution. Today’s release introduces the Tyranid race, a combative, hive-like alien society that was not present in Dawn of War I, although they have been a part of the Warhammer 40K universe since the first edition of the Rogue Warrior source/rule book.

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big stack gamesBig Stack Studios, a Ph03nix New Media company, is releasing their first educational app for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The “Piano Pals” app fuses colorful animated characters and music with learning and skill-building drills that will keep any child engaged for hours. This is the app that allows you to spend some quality (learning) time with your child!

Piano Pals was developed by parents, for parents. Much too often we download apps that keep ‘us’ occupied for multiple hours per day, yet we never include any educational apps that could assist in mixing quality time with our kids, along with learning and play time. Piano Pals does just that! With multiple modes to choose from, this app can help improve your child’s motor skills while engaging him/her in fun learning activities. There are many modes to choose from, including:

Animal Mode: In animal mode, pressing the keys on the keyboard causes an animal in the scene to animate and make noise. Young children begin to associate a colored key with a certain animal. The names of the animals appear on the keyboard to help older children learn word association as well.

Music Mode: Music mode simply turns the keyboard into a multi-touch Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do piano.

Color Mode: In color mode, pressing the keys on the keyboard causes the correlating color to wipe across the screen as a pleasant female voice speaks the color.

Number Mode: In number mode, each of the keys on the keyboard have a number of dots on them. When your child presses the key with five dots on it, the number 5 wipes across the screen as a pleasant female voice speaks the number.

Piano Pals initially comes with the ‘Farm Theme’ which includes a Horse, Cat, Duck, Rooster, Sheep, Pig, Cow and Dog. For an expanded experience with many more animals, users can purchase additional theme packs including The Safari, The Forest, The Arctic and The Jungle.

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