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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22nd December 2010

Serious Fun and Serious Learning Now And In The Future

games for changeTwo Canadian-made serious games have made the short list for the 2010 Games For Change favourite social impact games. The titles were nominated to the list via Twitter, Facebook and the Games For Change Google Group. Voting is now open to pick the top favourite. The Canadian titles named to the list are Inside Disaster – The Experience about the Haiti earthquake and Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics.

Inside Disaster – The Experience was produced by PTV Productions in association with TVO. Funding was supplied in part by the Canada Media Fund, Bell Fund, the Canadian International Development Agency and Ontario Media Development Corporation. Inside Disaster was created to challenge “assumptions made about relief work in disaster areas.” Inside Disaster is not a game in the traditional sense – there is no score; instead, this very graphic and to-the-point experience allows you to work within the parametres of a relief helper, and then experience the outcome of any decisions you commit to. Note – this is not a game for sensitive people. The images are graphic and can be disturbing. Please heed the warning on the game’s site.

Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics. Apparently the game isn’t as scary as the name implies. According to its site, the game is “just an interactive game that lets you contribute to science.” Phylo was made with the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, McGill School of Computer Science, McGill Centre for Bioinformatics and the McGill Computational Structural Biology Group.

Discovery Channel Canada has a series of six videos from Popular Science’s: The Future Of…  that looks at innovation in the field of Play. I believe that the videos on Discovery Channel Canada are only viewable via the web for those with a Canadian IP address, so my apologies to our international readers. Here is a link to the show on Discovery.com (US), and a link to Pop Sci’s videos on Discovery.com, which may or may not work for international viewers. These episodes of the show feature information about a mixed reality lets you reach into the computer game and control it with your hands, a smart football that teaches us all how to play sports like the pros, pervasive games take over entire cities and discover siftables: kids’ alphabet blocks on steroids.

Relic EntertainmentTHQ and Relic Entertainment have released a new trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution™, which is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011. In this latest chapter, which takes place years after the events in Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising™, Retribution allows players to choose their perspective with the first multiple-race single player campaign in the Dawn of War II series. The first race to be revealed is the savage Orks, but no matter which race is chosen players will be taken on an epic journey through each story arc, revealing the answers to many questions left open in previous Dawn of War titles.

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

As well as the single player campaign, Retribution will feature new multiplayer units, maps and an entire new playable faction when it ships.

Get Set Games has released Mega Jump for the Android platform. Available free of charge, Mega Jump can be Mega Jump For Androiddownloaded to your Android phone by scanning the game’s QR Get Set Gamescode on the Get Set page.

Mega Jump on Android is compatible with all phones running Android OS 2.0 and up, and “features the same great graphics, hilarious sounds and action-packed gameplay. It also has the same leaderboards and achievements as the iPhone version – thanks to OpenFeint – so you can compete against your friends who have the iPhone version.”

ParetoLogicParetoLogic’s staff has come together once again this holiday season to provide gifts and charity for those in need. The Salvation Army Christmas Angels campaign and the Mustard Seed food bank have both been long-time recipients of ParetoLogic charity activities. This year, staff managed to up their donation levels, to provide happier holidays for those in need.

The Mustard Seed collects non-perishable foodstuffs for the underprivileged, and feeds over 7000 people a month in the Victoria area. To collect food, an extra-large hamper has been a mainstay of the ParetoLogic offices for the holiday season. The 125-litre bin is full to the rim with donations from ParetoLogic employees and their families.

Marlee Wilson, ParetoLogic’s Office Manager and de facto co-ordinator of charities, was optimistic about donations. “I can tell you that we have a full bin and I’m going to drop this off and hopefully we can fill it again before Christmas.”

The Salvation Army Christmas Angels program collects donations of toys and distributes them to children in need. An estimated 6000 children will receive gifts through the Christmas Angels program this winter. Donators are provided a child’s age and gender, and then pick out an appropriate present. The gift is transferred to the child’s parents, so they may give their daughter or son a happy Christmas. ParetoLogic staff donated 33 gifts this year, for children aged between two and 18.

“Mustard Seed is a charity for life, but the Christmas Angels is a charity for the soul. All children deserve a merry Christmas, and we are delighted to help do that,” said Wilson.

Readers of Canada’s national current affairs magazine can now enjoy Maclean’s at their tech-savvy macleansfingertips with the Maclean’s App for iPad, now available on the App Store. The inaugural issue of Maclean’s magazine for iPad features content from Maclean’s Newsmakers 2010 special issue.

Each issue of Maclean’s comes complete with all the news, commentary, photography and columnists that have made the magazine the country’s most indispensable weekly read for more than a century. The content is beautifully rendered for iPad with an array of enhancements that bring the pages to life: embedded video, photo galleries, digital links, a live letters section, issue-at-a-glance and other navigation tools, and also gives readers the ability to save their favourite articles and share them with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

The inaugural Newsmakers 2010 issue features:

• an animated video cover
• dozens of beautiful photos/photo galleries
• video of Justin Bieber performing live
• video montage of newsmakers who passed away in 2010
• our regular columnists: Andrew Coyne, Scott Feschuk, Paul Wells and more

“Maclean’s is dedicated to bringing readers relevant and thought-provoking content on today’s latest technology,” says Maclean’s publisher and editor-in-chief Ken Whyte. “With the new Maclean’s App for iPad, our readers can now enjoy everything they love about Maclean’s from the convenience of iPad.”

While the Maclean’s App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, each downloadable issue is priced at $2.99. Maclean’s 6th annual and biggest-ever Newsmakers edition looks at the year’s winners and whiners, heroes and heartbreakers, sinners and saints. Among them: Newsmaker of the Year Sidney Crosby and other Canadian Olympic heroes; Justin Bieber and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; the arrival of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the election of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president; and the exits of Michaëlle Jean, Simon Cowell, Lloyd Robertson and Cathy cartoons; the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners, the many setbacks of Barack Obama, the comeback of Conrad Black—and the triumphant return of Betty White.

ABI researchDriven by North American, European and Asia Pacific markets, online gaming continues its steady growth and the latest purchasable study from American-based ABI Research forecasts revenues of slightly more than $20 billion in 2012. Technology developments will mean new opportunities for connected devices beyond the computer.

The Asia-Pac region, especially China, will be the engine behind much of this growth. However, in China, due to generally lower levels of personal PC ownership, the business models are evolving a little differently. According to industry analyst Michael Inouye, “World of Warcraft, for instance, generates significant revenue for Activision in Europe and North America on a subscription basis. But in China, despite a large ‘subscriber’ base, the revenues are far smaller: it’s more of a pay-as-you-go model (prepaid game cards). This also creates a greater reliance on ‘cloud’ or server-based games.”

Another difference in Asia is regulation. “In China, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere the rules are more exacting in what they allow. Some games for instance, have had to alter their content: using WoW again as an example, the developers had to remove the virtual blood.”

The increasingly varied and range of connected devices will also permit gaming on more platforms. For example Free, a French broadband and IPTV provider, has partnered with Intel to develop a very advanced set-top box (Freebox Revolution). The STB includes an Intel Atom processor, controller with gyroscopic inputs, Blu-ray player, powerline adapters, Wi-Fi, and a game controller. While these games might be more locally- based for now, they point to the potential for opening this up to multiplayer and MMO gaming.

There are challenges, though. Mobile gaming (eg. on smartphones) could be disruptive. The market is fragmented, with proprietary platforms the rule, posing difficulties for developers trying to serve a number of smaller platforms rather than a few big ones. And the growth of cloud gaming demands more and bigger servers and data centers.

ABI Research’s “Gaming in the Cloud” study examines the casual and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games markets and the potential role for connected consumer electronics. It contains regional revenue forecasts and discusses pressing technical issues and is part of the Digital Living Research Service.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services.

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8th December 2010

Silverfish Have Infected The App Store

One of the best parts of being on Twitter has been learning more about the great independent developer community we have in Canada. There is an incredible camaraderie shared by these talented entities, and they are very prone to sharing their knowledge and experience with each other – something I don’t generally see with the bigger conglomerate studios, although I have seen such sharing amongst those designers who are employed by EA, Ubisoft and THQ studios (to name a few), it’s not to the same extent shared by the independents. Naturally, this could be due to contractual agreements and requirements put in place by the big studios, which is understandable for proprietary areas, but experience and knowledge never shared impedes the advancement of our digital industry.

Perhaps it is because in smaller, independent studios everyone is accountable for the success (or failure) of their creations, and this in turn leads to working at improving their publicity efforts as well as their end product. The sharing of opportunity is something else I see much of between the indies, and it’s because of this that I have been able to discover and share information about studios and Canadian-made products that I may have never found if it weren’t for the folks on Twitter passing on leads and links to me, because I, too am an independent, and appreciate the assistance I am given and battle daily to catch up on indie titles I need to play and review, as well as keep up on the news. One such discovery was sent my way yesterday by Celsius Game Studio.

Chaotic BoxChaotic Box touts itself as a one man game making machine. The man behind the machine is Torontonian Frank Condello, and true to the independent genre, he is Chaotic Box’s developer, 2D/3D silverfishartist, music & sound designer. Chaotic Box has released four titles for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad: Flooid, Pollywog, Pinch n Pop, and his newest title, Silverfish, which is currently on sale in the iTunes App Store for $1.99 USD.

According to the game’s info page, Silverfish pits the gamer against swarms of menacing space bugs that the player must weave through and defeat with powerful detonations, combining pure arcade action with stunning visual effects. Silverfish currently offers three game modes with more on the way, leader board and achievements, Retina Display graphics, intuitive swipe-anywhere controls and an original soundtrack.

DreamCatcherDreamCatcher Games is happy to announce the release of Learn Science for Nintendo DS™ just in time for the holiday season! Learn Science let‘s kids learn while having fun. Learn the basic LearnScienceprinciples of: Light and Sound, Physics, The human body, Biology and Geography while playing a variety of engaging mini-games. Unlock new mini-games by scoring high marks in Career Mode and then perfect your skills by mastering unlocked mini-games in Game Mode on one of 3 difficulty levels. Kids can challenge their friends in multiplayer mini-games, or they can co-operate and challenge the AI.

Features:

· Learn the basic principles of: Light and Sound, Physics, The human body, Biology and Geography
· Integrated age check with traffic light system offers gaming fun for every level of knowledge
· Two different in game guides to help with explanations and examples
· Multiplayer mode: Hot seat, Single card and Multi card for common learning with parents and friends through mini games

Learn Science is priced at $19.99 USD and is available in retail stores across North America. Rated ‘E’ for everyone.Mega Jump For Android

Get Set GamesGet Set Games has just announced that their hit title Mega Jump will be coming to Android in the next couple of weeks. Mega Jump is compatible with Android 2.0 and up and will be free to download. Mega Jump for Android makes use of OpenFeint’s great social gaming features including global high scores and unlockable achievements.

Mega Jump has been downloaded by more than 7.5 million people worldwide in the App Store, and the studio is looking forward to inviting Android gamers to join the mix. The exact release date has yet to be decided, but you can be sure that once I know, you’ll know.

Congratulations again to Vancouver start-up Ayogo Games Inc., who won the prestigious “Hottest Digital Media Company in Canada” title at nextMedia in Toronto last week.

Ayogo’s latest Facebook® game, called HealthSeeker™, was the entry that helped win the hotly-contested award. The game is built on Ayogo’s GoodLife Gamification Engine™, and aims to help people living with diabetes habituate healthier behaviour around diet and exercise. Michael Fergusson, CEO of Ayogo, was excited to accept the award.

“Gamification is touching all areas of our lives, especially online,” said Fergusson. “I’m proud that Ayogo, and our GoodLife Gamification Engine™, is being recognized for being at the forefront of this exciting new trend, and for using the power of constructive play to help make people’s lives better.”

xona gamesXona Games, that very talented and award-winning indie team who has been creating some of the most critically-acclaimed indie arcade games to date, announced today that the first of its two Xbox LIVE Indie Games launching this week, Decimation X3, is now available for only for 80 Microsoft Points ($1 USD)! Having been chosen to be a main title featured in the Indie Games Winter Uprising, Decimation X3 features intense shoot-em-up action in a ridiculously affordable package.
Decimation X3
Decimation X3 is the thrilling sequel to one of the most popular 2D-retro shooters on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, Decimation X, which is one of the top-rated Indie Games in Japan (currently #3 out of approximately 1,500). Get ready for intense local four-player action, never-ending waves of enemies and a continual rain of power-ups to significantly improve your offensive and defensive capabilities. Featuring decidedly retro pixel art graphics, an overload of explosion particle effects, normal and challenge game modes, 60 frames per second and a hypnotic trance beat soundtrack from Imphenzia, Decimation X3 is everything an arcade junkie could wish for and will put your reflexes to the ultimate test.

The Indie Games Winter Uprising is a celebration of the best that Xbox LIVE Indie Games have to offer, and was recently expanded from just the first week of December to the entire month. Orchestrated by a group of fellow developers longing to promote the higher-quality games that can be found on the platform, the Indie Winter Games Uprising takes place during December and features 14 top-tier games that they hope will elevate the impression of the Indie Games channel.

UbisoftUbisoft has announced that Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will offer new exclusive workouts and fitness programs available on the Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360®.

“When we started working on the development of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, we contacted several renowned fitness experts and trainers”, said Claudine Cézac, game’s producer for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. “Each trainer insisted on the fact that in order to keep people motivated, it would be important to consistently bring new varieties of exercise to the game. That’s why from the very start, we thought of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved as a comprehensive fitness program that players would be able to enrich at their will. There are many different ways to work out and get in shape, and that’s what we want to offer with the add-on content.”

The add-on content for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will include personalized workouts, dance-related fitness programs, and a variety of cardio and toning exercises, expanding the overall gameplay experience. The first installment of add-on content will become available in early December 2010 and will include:Your Shape Jump

• The “Toned Body Program”, to strengthen all your muscles and get a firmer body
• “Cardio Boxing Platinum”, a new advanced level of the Cardio-Boxing class

The second installment will come shortly after and include:

• “New Year New You”, a specific program to get back in shape after Xmas and New Year’s celebrations
• “Dance Workout: Bollywood”, a high impact dance workout using popular Bollywood dance moves.

All extra workouts and programs will be offered individually or in bundle packages. In the first half of the calendar year, over 12 new fantastic workouts for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will be released on Xbox LIVE. All of these extra workouts and programs will be offered individually or in bundle packages. In the first half of the calendar year, over 12 new pieces of add-on content for Your Shape Fitness Evolved will be released on Xbox Live. Pricing will range from 320 to 560 Microsoft points.

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6th December 2010

New In Canadian Games And Apps

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has launched Space Ace, the follow up title to Dragon’s Lair, designed space aceexclusively for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ service. Available today for 800 Nintendo DSi Points, Space Ace is a fully animated classic arcade game from legendary animator Don Bluth. In this completely arcade authentic adventure, you’ll journey to rescue the beautiful Kimberly by using your Nintendo DSi™ to move and fire your lasergun. This is the first time the stunning 2D animation has been seen on a Nintendo® handheld format – No pixel graphics here!

In Space Ace you play the heroic Ace who must stop the evil Commander Borf from taking over the Earth! Borf plans to reduce all of humankind to infants and take over the planet. Only two people have the courage and strength to stop Borf and save Earth: the beautiful Kimberly and the heroic Ace. But as they approach Borf’s stronghold, Ace is hit by the Infanto Ray, changing him into a child, and Kimberly is kidnapped by the evil madman! The fate of Earth is in your hands!

source studioSource Studio has released a demo for their space shooter game, ProtoGalaxy, on Steam for the PC ($9.99 USD). ProtoGalaxy is a multi-genre, independent game that features arcade action, smart puzzles and space exploration with a built-in level editor.

Up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game, players brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles, and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

“ProtoGalaxy is an action game, but it has growing appeal with arcade and shooter fans,” said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of Source Studio. “The game includes a built-in editor which allows players to easily create entirely new levels. Players can share their creations online and download other people’s levels for endless game play,” Brown added.

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ProtoGalaxy Game Features:

· Level editor to create new galaxies
· Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
· Array of weapon choice
· Ship customization with large selection of parts
· Use physics to solve problems
· Save progress online and play from anywhere

going loud studiosFrom somewhere in Canada, Going Loud Studios is proud to announce that its debut action side-scroller game “Zombie Accountant” is now available on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace. Download it today for just 80 Microsoft Points. also available on WP7. zombie accountant

In 2010, a terrifying zombie outbreak threatens to consume humanity and you fall victim to the undead curse, doomed to hunger for human flesh. In a startling turn of events, the army actually manages to contain and eliminate the threat. Life quickly returns to normal.

Except you’re still a zombie. And it’s tax season. Complete tax returns as fast as possible without eating your coworkers! With any luck, you can still make it to zombie partner.

Zombie Accountant Features:

* Run to the right! With increasing speed!
* Dodge your coworkers and collect tax returns to increase your multiplier and achieve a high score
* Rise through 8 ranks on your way to becoming zombie Partner
* Wonder if a zombie working for a corporation is symbolic

Celsius GamesCelsius Game Studios has released a new trailer for its upcoming epic inertial space shooter Red Nova, which I first told you about last week. Episode 1, First Contact, opens with the player taking on a routine mission to test a number prototype fighters destined to replace the Earth Colonial Fleet’s aging Starhawk. While on this mission, your carrier, the ECF Red Nova, comes across an unknown alien fleet preparing to stage a sneak attack on the human colonies.

In order to give the Red Nova a chance to escape and warn the rest of the fleet you have volunteered to attack the aliens head-on. With a choice of any of the fighters on deck, you have to use your wits, your guns, and your ample supply of homing missiles to survive for as long as you can.

Take a peek at the video – this game is scheduled for release on iOS this month:

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xmg studioStyle Studio, a fashion design app from XMG Studio now has a Lite version of the only App that lets you create, customize, and share your own fashions. Tops, jackets, dresses, skirts and pants with an endless array of material and accessories. Now with both male & female models and fashions. Personalize designs with your own graphics and even use photos right from your device. The full version of Style Studio is also available on iTunes for $2.99 USD.

Style Studio: Fashion Designer has been featured by Apple as “New & Noteworthy” and a week later made the “What’s Hot!” Also featured as part of Apple’s “Fashion — Apps for the Clothes Minded” feature alongside Top Designer’s such as Chanel, D&G, Gucci, Dior, Fendi and Hugo Boss.style Studio Lite

Have you dreamed of designing your own fashions and seeing them on a magazine cover? With Style Studio you can create your own line of custom designs from casual chic to haute couture. Dress one of the models with your designs, add some props, and lay out your very own magazine cover. Show off your talent by sending your fashions and layouts to friends on Facebook, Twitter or email.

This App Features:

* Lots of clothing items to choose from including dresses, tops, skirts and pants
* Personalize your fashions with a huge variety of materials and prints which can be customized
* Add buttons, belts, bows, pockets and more.
* Import photos and images to make one-of-a-kind designs!
* Try your design on the male and female models or dress up a photo of your friends
* Lay out your own magazine ads and covers using fashions and dressed up models
* Promote your very own fashion label by sharing your designs on Facebook, Twitter, and Email

Also related to fashion, modifaceToronto’s ModiFace has announced the availability of “MakeUp Live” — a new iPhone application that is the world’s first Augmented Reality (AR) virtual makeover tool. MakeUp Live ($0.99 USD) creates a true virtual makeup mirror by using the iPhone camera to apply cosmetics in real time directly onto the user’s own face. The application also gives step by step instructions on how to achieve one of eight trendy beauty looks, including smoky eyes, down to the brush type and shade brand and name. modiface

“MakeUp Live is the next best thing to having your own personal makeup artist in the room with you,” said Nikkie Gatto, mobile project manager and resident beauty expert at ModiFace. “Many magazines offer ‘how to’ guides from beauty experts around the globe, and many virtual makeover tools allow women to see different products on their own photo. However, MakeUp Live takes the beauty guide and makeover tools to an entirely different level by enabling women to work alongside the tool to get it exactly right.”

“Our goal is to consistently push the boundary of what is possible when you apply state-of-the-art computer vision technology to beauty and fashion applications. MakeUp live is a perfect example of advanced technology applied to make a virtual mirror possible right on your iPhone,” said Dr. Parham Aarabi, president and founder of ModiFace.

MakeUp Live is based on ModiFace’s patent pending facial recognition technology that powers the number one virtual makeup application on the iPhone, “MakeUp.” Originally launched in November of 2009, MakeUp is a free beauty tool that allows users to virtually try on different types of makeup, including mascara, foundation, blush and eye shadow, in hundreds of shades from leading brand names like Revlon, Cover Girl, Lancôme and Clinique. On the newest version of MakeUp, users can now use their own Facebook, iPhone album, or iPhone camera photo to test out the most popular cosmetic looks on themselves.

CitytvThe Citytv video iPad app which launched earlier this fall, has released another Citytv daytime favourite LIVE on the free iPad application. As of this morning, fans of CityLine hosted by Tracy Moore, can watch CityLine LIVE on their iPad between 9am-10am ET Monday thru Friday. This new addition on the iPad is yet another first, making CityLine the only Canadian daytime talk show available LIVE on iPad. Full episodes of new and past CityLine programs will also be available on the iPad, in addition to Citytv.com. The Citytv app also includes a number of convenient features, such as a TV schedule and a notification service that allows users to be reminded when their favourite shows are available on the app and on TV. Other features include the ability to share video links on Facebook, Twitter and via email. The app also saves your viewing history and favourites.

“Giving fans of CityLine the ability to watch Tracy and her team of experts every day, LIVE while commuting or at the gym is just another way Rogers is engaging audiences on multiple screens,” says Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media Inc. “Fans no longer have to miss their favourite morning show once they leave the house — they can take CityLine with them.”

CityLine is the longest running and most successful daytime show for women in Canadian history. Host Tracy Moore brings her energy and enthusiasm along with her charismatic personality and flare for style – making her a perfect fit for Canada’s top source for the latest in home decor, food, fashion, health and beauty. CityLine engages, entertains and informs viewers across Canada with its unique live format and daily themed approach. As familiar and trusted guest experts visit the set, viewers are treated to professional tips covering such topics as décor, entertaining, fashion, beauty, home and gardening.

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30th November 2010

Look At All of These Great Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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22nd November 2010

A Trio of New and Upcoming Indie Titles

rocketfuel gamesAlberta’s Rocketfuel Games has announced the online availability of Seek Your Own Proof Season One: The Guardian’s Guild, an online puzzle adventure game that lets players of all ages investigate science and history mysteries as secret agents of a time travel organization called the Central Institute for Exploration (C.I.E.).

Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild ($9.95USD) draws players into a chase through time and history against enemy agents plotting to rewrite the past, present and future. Players are led by field seek your own proofagents – Aidan (Agent Slingshot), Milanie (Agent Firefly), and Heiko (Agent Hardcover) Munro – three investigative siblings who discovered the secret underground agency.

They must locate the eospheres – energy orbs that power time travel – that have been entrusted to famous figures in history, before they fall into the hands of the evil Frostbite. Along the way, the Munro kids encounter a series of historical figures known as the Eosphere Guardians and find out more about their father Dr. Sebastian Munro, a famous scientist and co-founder of the C.I.E., who went missing years ago without a trace.

In the spirit of learning based adventure games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Seek Your Own Proof: The Guardian’s Guild combines a cast of heroes and villains, historic settings like Renaissance Italy, Colonial America and Ancient Greece, and is seeded with over 50 brain teasing puzzles that players discover as they progress through the adventure. Players can also sign up for a free agent membership that provides access to bonus puzzles, missions and other extras.

vblankVBlank Entertainment has announced the first of many Retro City Rampage fan art contests, and it’s open now for entries. Round One requires that entrants draw the Player carjacking a flaming DLX-88 sports car with a light gun. The developers are allowing the creation of said fan art to be done in any medium, including Digital Art, Pixel Art, Paintings, Claymation, Retro City RampageLego, Cake, Hamburgers, Tacos and Ground Beef.

All entries will be posted in the game’s brand new Fan Art Gallery, and the winner will receive a signed Retro City Rampage NES cartridge case. All entries must be submitted by December 6th, with the winner being announced on December 13th.

Also new on the Retro City Rampage site is the ability to download the RCR Soundtrack Mixtape, which is available as an mp3 and music video. You can also read about the three music artists responsible for the soundtrack – Freaky DNA, Virt and Norrin Rad. The developers have also let slip that there are clips of some debut game footage in the music video which reveal some upcoming additions to Retro City Rampage. The game is also has some hands-on details featured in this month’s Nintendo Power, GameFan and Edge magazines.

spooky squid gamesSpooky Squid Games has released an early game-play trailer on YoutTube for They Bleed Pixels, which according to the studio (and their design doc), is a fast paced, gothic, low-fi pixel art, platforming beat’em up. A collaboration project with musician Shaun Hatton (aka DJ Finish Him), the trailer was first viewed at the recent GamerCamp event in Toronto.

They Bleed Pixels is being developed for Xbox Live Indie Games, and according to Spooky Squid designer Miguel Sternberg, the game was “inspired by by games like Niddhogg. I wanted to experiment with a more abstract, simple style that would let me really focus on smooth and stylish animation. They Bleed Pixels is about game feel. The kinetic joy of moving and interacting with the game and creating beat’em up combat that isn’t button mashy or button heavy. We also wanted it to be a game that was radically different from our others so we could switch back and forth and keep our brains active.”

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19th October 2010

Mad Science Group Launches Kids Club

Mad ScienceMontreal-based Mad Science Group® has launched the Mad Science Kids Club powered by Everloop, becoming the first-ever science social network platform created specifically for kids.

A “virtual science playground,” the Mad Science Kids Club offers children a unique science-based platform for connecting, exploring and learning with peers online through the company’s signature science enrichment programs. Mad Science Kids Club offers applications including:

— Lab Rat: A panel of experts answers kids’ real science questions
— Science Zone: Offers kids and parents fun, do-at-home science experiments
— Brain Busters: Brain teasers, puzzles, and optical illusions
— Around the Word: An online kids’ book club

In addition, the Mad Science Kids Club gives kids a rich array of social media features including real-time communications: Instant Messaging (IM); email; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a Skype(TM)-like application for kids; a friend post stream where kids can share their favorite content including videos, music, and photos; a robust game arcade and much more.Mad Science Kids Club

“We are so thrilled to launch the Mad Science Kids Club, furthering our mission to spark children’s imagination and provide them with a tangible, fun and highly interactive way to extend their experience with science outside of the classroom,” said Kathy Muloin, President of The Mad Science Group. “We are pleased to partner with Everloop in this effort – a full-featured, expressive platform known for its expertise in online safety – so we can offer parents a fun, and safe, social medium for their children that also promotes science enrichment.”

The Mad Science Kids Club is powered by Everloop’s COPPA-compliant Private Label solution, which provides partners with fun features designed for kids and an unprecedented level of privacy protection. Parents can also monitor their child’s online activities through the parental control dashboard.

“The Mad Science Kids Club is the perfect partner for Everloop, as it joins two of the most important features parents seek in a social platform for kids: educational value and safety,” said Everloop CEO, Hilary DeCesare. “We are excited to be on board with Mad Science and contribute to creating a secure and interactive environment for this revolutionary science platform.”

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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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14th October 2010

New Games and Apps For Pirates Vampires Warriors and Flowers

IUGOCapcom® Mobile and Vancouver’s IUGO Mobile Entertainment have announced Lil’ Pirates, a brand new title that will be available for free on the App Store later this month. The development of more accessible general audience games is in line with Capcom Mobile’s strategy of reaching a more casual audience as powerful smartphones become more ubiquitous and mass market. Capcom Mobile also announced two other titles in development which will be released over the coming weeks.Capcom Mobile

“The release of these titles marks a new direction for the company as we complement our traditional premium pricing model with freemium social games for our customers,” said Midori Yuasa, President and COO, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “By creating a line of casual freemium games we can appeal to consumers not serviced by our more ‘hardcore’ IP and cast a much wider net over the burgeoning smartphone app marketplace.”lil pirates

In Lil’ Pirates the player recruits their own band of scurvy dogs and sets upon the high seas seeking, adventure, treasure and camaraderie. Starting with a small ship and a tiny crew of scallywags, players can upgrade their vessel and expand their crew by undertaking special missions and jobs. Once they start to amass resources and loot, players will be able to battle other vessels, play mini games with the crew and bury booty to increase its value. More than 100 premium content items including ship upgrades and custom gear will be available at launch as DLC.

The other two announced titles were Zombie Café and a third licensed title based off a children’s entertainment property. In Zombie Café, the player partners with an evil corporation to use zombies as free labor to build their café empire. To thrive, players must prepare food, direct their zombie staff and manage supplies. If the competition gets too fierce they can always direct their zombie workers to attack a neighboring café and steal their secret recipes. Zombie Café will be available for free on the Apple App store and is expected to release in November.

grower directThe floral experts at Grower Direct want to share their love of flowers with you in a brand new way: the Grower Direct iPhone App. This exciting and very practical application has been developed for iPhone users in the hopes that it will make everyday life a snap when it comes to researching, viewing, and ordering flowers from anywhere, at anytime. The Grower Direct iPhone App provides information on hundreds of topics about flowers and everything flower-related.

Developed in conjunction with crazedCoders of Edmonton, the free app will answer questions such as:

* How old the world’s oldest rose bush?
* How do flowers affect people’s moods?
* Which flower is associated with a 25th Anniversary? Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Business News, Digital Products, Education, Educational, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Mature, Mobile, National News, New Releases, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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