Independent game developer Spooky Squid Games has released the debut trailer for They Bleed Pixels, a fast-paced, “gothic lo-fi” platforming beat-em-up coming to Xbox Live Indie Games in Summer 2011.
Featuring a distinct visual style that blends pixel art with paper and ink textures, They Bleed Pixels is a singular mix of intense platforming and fierce beat-em-up action. It tells the story of a young girl haunted by a mysterious book and her violent Lovecraftian nightmares.
They Bleed Pixels uses a simple one-button combat scheme with surprising depth at its core. Button mashing is discouraged while kicking shadowy monsters into saws, pits and spikes is rewarded thanks to a unique checkpoint earning system: instead of being evenly distributed at set locations, players must earn and place checkpoints through stylish kills. The more and better you kill, the faster you fill your checkpoint meter. Avoid combat or button mash mindlessly and you’ll find checkpoints uncomfortably far apart.
“We’re crafting They Bleed Pixels with a healthy respect for the player’s abilities and the belief that action games should offer a genuine challenge,” says Miguel Sternberg, Creative Director at Spooky Squid Games. “We wanted to create a game that demands that players excel at both combat and platforming. Want a checkpoint before you take on that series of spike-lined pits? Then dash into the nearest enemy launch him in the air and juggle him into that nearby skill saw.”
Big Bad Brush has announced that their much anticipated iOS game Big Sticky, will be available on the app store on July 26, 2011 (pending review and approval). Utilizing intuitive controls combined with original gameplay, Big Sticky will be sure to dazzle, challenge, and entertain gamers of all ages. Stay tuned for follow up releases with promo codes.
Sticky is a purple frog prince who was living happily with his princess until one day chaos erupted when a jealous lonely castle abducted her, along with all of the other princesses in the world! Injured by the evil castle, Sticky is forced to use his Big Sticky tongue to stick and swing in search of his beloved princess.
With simple intuitive controls combined with an original gameplay experience, players help Sticky conquer the evil castle, moving him through the levels with his sticky frog tongue. By simply tapping the screen, players will use a stick and swing action to get Sticky to the castle door, where he then must save the princess hidden within each level. With a total of 51 platform-styled puzzle levels, there are always new obstacles and challenges to overcome.
Join Sticky in this wild sticky adventure as you swing over snow, lava, enchanted platforms, moving walls and more. Everyone needs a little purple hero and there’s never a dull moment in this fairy O’ tale.
Big Sticky Features:
Original gameplay with simple intuitive controls
Using the tongue, tap to stick and swing away
51 platformer puzzle levels to overcome
5 beautifully illustrated worlds to explore
Many out of this world princesses to save
Collect roses and earn gold trophies
Obstacles such as fireballs, moving walls, switches and more
Other Ocean Interactive is proud to reveal that Sir Patrick Stewart, the acclaimed TV and film star, will be lending his voice talents to The War of the Worlds, its upcoming cinematic side-scrolling platformer, coming to Xbox LIVE®Arcade and PlayStation®Network later this year. Based on the classic novel by H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds showcases Stewart’s distinct voice as the narration for the game, which follows one man’s experience in 1950s London during a decimating alien invasion.
Known to millions for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the popular TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as his performance as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film franchise, Stewart has enjoyed tremendous success over his decades-long film career including several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. However, providing narration for The War of the Worlds is an experience that hearkens back to Stewart’s childhood.
“As a young boy, I remember watching the The War of the Worlds so many times I was quoting the lines,” said Stewart. “The alien invasion both terrified and fascinated me and the movie has stuck with me since then. Now, being part of this project will provide a new way for gamers around the world to experience a fresh new take on a classic.”
The War of the Worlds is a dark and breathtaking new vision inspired by the classic H.G. Wells novel, retold as a single player, 2D action-adventure. The gameplay narrative parallels the timeline and events from the 1953 movie adaptation, but introduces a new story arc, characters, locations, and sub-plots. With gameplay paying homage to classic cinematic platformers such as Flashback and Out of This World, players follow the exploits of an unknown everyman struggling to escape the Martian invasion of London and rescue his family. Forced to think through insurmountable odds, players will outsmart an army of alien tripods, spiders and drones as they make their way through a landscape of total devastation.
Game industry veteran Kiaran Ritchie’s new studio Big Fat Alien is proud to announce the release of its debut title BEEP, launching today on Steam with a launch special of 10% off the list price of $9.99 USD. BEEP is an action/puzzle, 2d-platformer with physics-based gameplay. You control a small robot equipped with an anti-gravity device that can pick-up and manipulate almost anything in the level, including enemies.
BEEP is the culmination of 18-months of work by three people; a programmer, an artist and a musician. The game presents a unique twist on the platformer genre by allowing the player to grab and manipulate the environment with an anti-gravity device. This multi-use tool is useful for clearing obstacles, solving puzzles and even as a weapon by flinging projectiles at enemies.
The game is presented in a slick 16:9 widescreen format with unique and stylish vector artwork. 24 levels are split amongst 6 different environments on 3 different planets. The player can control a spaceship to deploy BEEP-Bots to the individual levels on the planets. Each level contains anti-matter fuel which, when collected, opens-up new locales.
Try before you buy, download the BEEP demo now. BEEP is also available on BeamDog and Impulse and appears like it could be rated E for Everyone.
Let the heavens rejoice after 5 years in development Hothead Games has released Swarm. Swarm is a amazing downloadable action platformer game for XBLA and PSN.
It’s about a gigantic blue worm that lands on a nasty planet and it’s up to you to control a team of 50 little “Swarmites” at once through 11 levels, collecting points and DNA to help grow “Momma”, get her a new hat and leave the planet. There is one catch though; this path is full of things that burn, trap, electrify and decapitate your swarm at every point and you get glorious points added to your score for it. All you have to do is make it through the level with at least one Swarmite in order to return to Momma. Momma has lots of Swarmites spawn points throughout the levels so if they die, Momma spawns more. This can be helpful because there are points in the game that require you to have a certain number in order for the higher point value orbs to appear.
You are rewarded in this game for the collection of things that look like nucleus and DNA. The more you collect in a row helps fill a multiplier which can greatly add to your score, but in a cruel twist, deaths of your Swarmites also add to it. So if your multiplier looks like it’s running out you can just kill off some of your swarm to keep it up. This is the game’s primary mechanic, as you find that most obstacles you encounter or crates to open just happen to kill off some of your happy blue buddies. At the end of the level your amount of Swarmite deaths are calculated up and put towards progressive death medals and the worldwide death total. Deaths in the level also have death medals but are only rewarded when the last 10 of your Swarm encounter the same deadly fate.
The game gets progressively harder and (easier if you replay earlier levels) as you get better at controlling your swarm and there are even two boss battles that are unlocked by collecting enough DNA.
Some of the awesome things you can get your swarm to do include moves such as jump, dash, huddle together and stack on each other as well as pick up and throw explosives. Sometimes your Swarmites will pick each other up when picking up explosives, leading to some hilarious deaths.
The game’s length is 6-8 hours but with the leaderboards, achievements and the constant questioning of Momma asking “Why can’t you be more like (Insert friend’s gamer tag here)” the replay value is high. Here’s hoping there is more Swarm content coming.
Hothead Games has taken an old convention that games punish you if you die, turning it around so that death is rewarding. Congratulations to Hothead for taking an original idea and making it shine. If you’re looking for a fun, original type of game don’t let this one pass you by cause you wouldn’t want to disappoint Momma – plus it would make a great gift for any video game loving mom (Mother’s Day is coming up) and you know that would score some serious points.
Swarm is on XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) for 1200 MS Points and PSN (Playstation Network store) for $14.99 Released on March 22nd 2011 by Hothead Games, Swarm is rated T for Teen by the ESRB.
Digital Leisure announced this morning that the Dragon’s Lair action figures are selling fast, and there are fewer sets available now than there were before. Don’t miss your chance, get them now – $49.99 (+ shipping and taxes if applicable) gets you the starring cast of Dragon’s Lair – Dirk, Daphne, Mordroc and Singe, along with their weaponry and select items from the story. I know this group would look mighty fine on my game collectibles shelf, if I had an expense budget that wasn’t currently screaming out in pain.
New from Behaviour Interactive, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is now available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade and Windows PC Download at Steam and Atari.com. Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be released on PlayStation®Network on March 30th. The new four player, ghost busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions in either single player, or cooperative (online or local).
Play progresses as gamers explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. The rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghost busting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.
Those lovably squishy and doggedly determined little blue Swarmite creatures have invaded the tubes at Xbox Live Arcade, and for only 1200 MS points you can welcome them into your home where you can dismember, squash and push them over the edge in the privacy of your living room. Yes, the long-anticipated new release from Hothead Games has been released to the masses. Get it now while the little blue guys are still breathing. You PlayStation 3 owners can also pick up Swarm for $14.99. If you want to know how many Swarmites have been sacrificed for the greater good, check out the Swarm Global Death Counter – at press time it was closing in on 2.4 million. Poor little guys!
Also available now on Steam is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for PC. The regular digital version is priced at $49.99USD while the Digital Deluxe version is priced at $59.99USD. The Digital Deluxe version includes all of the basics plus:
* Map of Rome
* 1 Ezio Skin – Helmschmied Drachen Armour
* 2 Exclusive Single-Player Maps: The Trajan Market & The Aqueduct
* 2 Multiplayer Characters, The Officer and The Harlequin
* The Original Codex Written by Altaïr: The history of the Assassins and art of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
* Multiplayer Characters Collectible Trading Cards
* Assassin’s Creed Lineage – The Complete Movie
* Making-Of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – Behind the Brotherhood
* Game Soundtrack: 22 songs from the original game soundtrack by Jesper Kyd
Digital Premium Edition content is only available via download, and both Steam versions also include the Animus Project 1.0, 2.0 and the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC add-ons.
Incubator Games has launched its newest kids’ title. This follow-up to Kelvin’s Space Ranch is called The CO2 Connection, which was built for Science Alberta as an educational game whose main premise is to teach kids about the extraction, compression, transportation and storage of CO2 while decreasing Alberta’s carbon footprint. You can read the development post-mortem on the Incubator Games site and learn about the background and challenges for this game. The CO2 Connection is also available as a free download in the iTunes App Store and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
IBM and Nova Scotia’s MediaSpark Inc. have won a national tender to provide 900 Ontario schools with educational games and simulation software designed to sharpen their business and financial skills as they prepare to meet the growing demands of the 21st Century. MediaSpark worked with IBM Canada to win the tender issued by the Ministry of Education through the Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee.
Four of MediaSpark’s GoVenture educational games and simulation software solutions will provide students from grades seven to 12 with highly realistic simulations emphasizing Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Financial Literacy, and Personal Finance skills.
“Games and simulations are revolutionizing education,” says Mathew Georghiou, CEO of MediaSpark Inc. “We are encouraged to see Ontario take a leadership role in adopting new methods of learning. Not only will these simulations help Ontario students, but we believe they have the potential to play an important role in enhancing the grassroots entrepreneurial culture in Ontario, resulting in future prosperity.”
Learners gain experience by being immersed in simulated worlds created with advanced experiential learning and gaming techniques. For example, in the Entrepreneurship module, students learn how to run a clothing or sporting goods store by testing their abilities with scenarios that map to real challenges faced by new entrepreneurs. They conduct business, get advice, attend training seminars or sell their companies. In the Personal Finance module, students live up to 50 years of their financial futures, virtually, making decisions about money and credit.
“Today’s students are demanding more digital applications and support for alternative learning methods,” said Ralph Chapman, Vice-President, Public Sector, IBM Canada. “Our ability to deliver this type of advanced learning to Ontario schools provides students with the modern tools they need to better prepare themselves for the new demands of the work world.”
Historically, simulation gaming has been used extensively in the military, by athletes and by scientists to discover effective new strategies and techniques and develop the skills needed to implement them. Businesses have realized the value of this technique and are deploying their own games to create life-like simulations of real markets, customers and business situations that they deal with every day. Gaming technology is also increasingly being used in higher education institutions to complement and extend traditional teaching methods. Currently, more than 1,000 colleges and universities use IBM games in their curricula.
Two Alberta students and one from Ontario who participated last fall in a contest organized by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) that encouraged enrolment in The City, have won laptop computers. The City is an online interactive resource that teaches basic financial skills. Students learn from eight “life stage characters” who face various financial circumstances that young people can relate to. The City is a free, Web-based learning program developed by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC). In order to qualify to win the laptops, the students had to complete four modules and score 100% on a follow-up quiz. The three winners were then chosen randomly from a draw of all qualified entrants. A school in Toronto has a SMART Board™ thanks to the efforts of teacher Clarence Sze-chun Yeung, a math teacher at SATEC@W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute who enrolled his class in The City.
Another contest is now underway for students and teachers who enrol in The City in the second term. To be eligible, students and teachers in any Canadian province or territory must register and participate in The City before March 31, 2011. The contest rules are available on FCAC’s website
IGDA Members: Today is the last day of voting for your Board Members. If you have not yet done so, please check your email for the Election Notification and voting link. We are very close to a quorum, please make sure you cast your vote before 11:59PM tonight. I’ve done my part and voted – now it’s your turn. Please pass along the word to other IGDA members, let’s get this election into the Tasks Successfully Done column. If you did not receive the email or are having problems please contact Ryan Arndt via email at email@example.com right away.
SIGGRAPH 2011 Tickets Now Available For Purchase. Early Bird pricing is in effect until June 17th. Member, non-member and student prices are available for all categories: full conference, full conference single day, basic conference, basic conference single day, computer animation festival. Please see the ticket information page for full details on categories and pricing.
SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver – Make It Home
Congratulations to onX Enterprise Solutions, who has received two Cisco Partner Summit regional awards for Canadian Managed Cloud Partner of the Year and Canadian Borderless Network Partner of the Year.
Don’t forget that nominations are open for the 2011 VIATeC Awards. A little saddened that VIATeC is using the current tide of attention being paid to that recently fired TV personality as part of their promotional efforts, but here are the categories open to Vancouver Island technology companies:
Technology Company of the Year
Emerging Technology Company of the Year
Employer of the Year – can only be nominated by staff
Online Strategy of the Year
Executive of the Year
Employee/Team of the Year
Product of the Year
Member’s Choice for Service Provider of the Year – can only be nominated by a technology company.
The Awards ceremony will take place in Carson Hall at the Victoria Conference Centre on June 2nd. Tickets are $150.00 for VIATeC members and $200.00 for non-members.
Here is the launch trailer for Hothead Games‘ latest entry into the digital download realm. Swarm is scheduled for release on PSN March 22nd (March 30th in Europe) and XBLA worldwide on March 23rd. This is definitely one game I’m looking forward to getting my hands on – I’ve been hoarding most of the MS Points I was given for Christmas just so I can see how many ways there are to squish and dismember these little blue guys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will already know that Swarm is an action-platformer that allows you take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle of survival. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives.
Atari has released the second developer diary from its upcoming XBLA, PSN and PC download top-down arcade shooter Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, which was developed at Behaviour Interactive. Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is out on XBLA and PC download on March 23rd and will launch on PSN on March 30th (even though the dev diary says it’s available now).
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.
The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.
Big Blue Bubble’sBurn The Rope is bigger and better than ever with a version for the iPad launching today! Now is the time to join in the flame-lighting fun with bigger graphics, brighter fire, and Wickman as you’ve never seen him before! Burn the Rope HD also features an innovative new touch control scheme exclusive to the iPad that lets players rotate the puzzle onscreen.
Burn the Rope is a casual puzzle title that was originally released on the iPhone in December 2010. The goal of the game is to burn as much rope as possible on each level – which is not as easy as it may sound. The fire only burns upwards, so the player must rotate the rope to keep the flame going – once all the flames are out, it’s game over! With clever, hard to master puzzle designs for each level and some insects that add to the gameplay in unique and interesting ways, Burn the Rope been one of the hottest apps in the App Store for the past several months.
With 116 exciting levels (and more on the way), Burn the Rope is incredibly fun and addictive, and the new features in Burn the Rope HD for iPad let players experience the game in a whole new way
Additional HD Features Include:
• Apple Game Center support with 30 achievements and iTunes library support
• All-new Bug-Blasting Bonus Rounds!
• Lights Out! Mode – light the way as you burn!
BioWare will be releasing Mass Effect: Arrival, the thrilling final mission for Mass Effect 2 on March 29th. This conclusion to Mass Effect 2 and preamble to Mass Effect 3, Arrival will also include three new achievements (or trophies) for the Xbox 360®, PC and PlayStation®3. The PDLC pack will be available for 560 MS Points on Xbox 360, $6.99USD on PlayStation Network and also available for PC for 560 BioWare Points.
In Mass Effect: Arrival, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen (Alien, Terminator).
“All year, we have been extremely honored and humbled by the reception we have received for Mass Effect 2 from players around the world, including our post release DLC”, said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer, Mass Effect series. “Mass Effect: Arrival is an exciting extension to Mass Effect 2 and will show players just how close the Reapers are to returning and completing their deadly harvest.”
Only two weeks after launching, TVO’s new applications for BlackBerry® smartphones for early learners and school aged-kids, have been downloaded from BlackBerry App World™ over 250,000 times.
Flower Frenzy and Polka Dot Shorts support learning objectives from the Ontario school curriculum and are teacher and classroom tested. Both are designed for BlackBerry smartphones running OS 5.0 and higher. Polka Dot Shorts is a sequence matching game for kids aged 2-5 that supports the early-learning and kindergarten math curriculum. Flower Frenzy is an entertaining and educational game with three levels of progressive difficulty that uses pictures of flowers to help kids ages 6-11 learn to create sequences.
Both apps teach kids pre-cursors to patterning skills which help build the foundational knowledge required for mathematics in later years. Each app also has a safety feature to prevent young users from making phone calls or sending emails.
“We’re really excited that so many kids are embracing TVO’s latest digital media offerings,” says CEO Lisa de Wilde. “There is a real need for digital content that will engage kids in learning that complements what happens in the classroom environment. We’re happy to help fill the gap.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today simplified the process for Canadians who want to change providers for their television, home telephone, wireless or Internet services. Consumers will now be able to switch service providers with only one phone call. Once it has obtained the proper consent, the new provider will make all the arrangements on behalf of consumers to have the services transferred over. The CRTC requires that customer transfers be completed within two business days, except for wireless service where transfers must be completed within 2.5 hours.
“In a competitive marketplace, consumers are always encouraged to explore different options for their broadcasting and telecommunications services,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The new rules will make the transfer process a seamless and convenient experience, while enabling Canadians to benefit from receiving retention offers from their current providers.”
If they prefer, consumers can also cancel their services by contacting their service provider directly, which can make them offers to retain their business. The CRTC reminds consumers that, when switching to a new service provider, they are still responsible for any termination penalties or other terms associated with their existing contract. Additionally, the CRTC has established safeguards to prevent service providers from sharing confidential customer information with their internal sales and marketing groups during the transfer process.
Following today’s decision, the CRTC has also launched a new proceeding seeking views on whether these safeguards are still in the best interests of consumers and whether they limit a consumer’s ability to receive offers from a service provider. Interested parties may submit their comments by April 18, 2011. They may do so by completing the online form, by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or by fax at 819-994-0218.
Nominations are now open for the Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship, which is presented to the woman who has shown the most outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership — leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada’s advanced technology industry. The purpose of the Award is to celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship and create positive role models for women. The Sara Kirke Award for outstanding woman in technology innovation and corporate leadership for 2010 was awarded to Carol Leaman, CEO of PostRank Inc.
Sara Kirke is considered by many to be North America’s first entrepreneur. She arrived in Newfoundland in 1638 with her husband David Kirke, who was soon recalled to England. Sara, however, continued to reside in Avalon, and conducted business as usual from the Pool Plantation. Lady Kirke was a remarkable individual as she managed affairs at the Pool Plantation and became one of the most successful merchants on the English Shore — and was almost certainly North America’s first and foremost woman entrepreneur.
The BCIC-New Ventures Competition: 2011 is now open for applications until April 18 at midnight, with the first seminar in the new nine seminar series taking place on April 4th. The competition dates and seminar schedule have been officially set and now it’s up to the competitors to invest $200 in their technology business idea and learn how to develop it into a profitable company.
As one of North America’s largest technology business idea competitions, BCIC-New Ventures attracts applicants from a wide range of industries including cleantech, media, Internet, information technology and life sciences. BCIC and the New Ventures BC Society invite BC entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to the 11th annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition offering the chance to win a share of the more than $360,000 in prizes.
Added to the mix of prizes to be won this year are the $15,000 Vancity Social Venture Prize and two prizes for Agricultural technologies, valued at $30,000 and $20,000. The competition has also launched a separate stream for Agritech competitors, with events starting March 30.
The competition is open to any BC person, resident or business with a technology-focused idea that has not yet secured significant financing from external investors (i.e. investors other than friends, family and company founders).
The series of nine business education seminars, open to both the public and competition applicants, will take place in Vancouver at the SFU Beedie School of Business beginning April 4, 2011. Students with valid ID can register to attend these seminars at no cost.
Learn from some of BC’s top business experts at our business-education seminars
Network with top professionals in business, law, finance, government and academia
Improve your business and strategies during each round of competition
Receive advice and insight from mentors In Round 3
Present your condensed business plan to a panel of ‘angel’ investors, venture capitalists and industry experts in Round 4
Now in its eleventh year, the main BCIC-New Ventures Competition attracts applicants from a wide range of industries. This year we’re launching a new stream of the competition focused on Agritech ventures in the categories of: primary production, food, and bioenergy/bioproducts (for or from agriculture).
This new program is funded through Growing Forward, a federal/provincial agreement between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to support agri-food technology innovation and commercialization.
There will be two specific prizes – a $30,000 first prize and $20,000 second prize for Innovation in Agricultural Technology – plus specific events for Agritech competitors who proceed through the four rounds of the business competition. Applicants who register will also be placed into the larger competition with the chance to compete for more than $300,000 in additional prizes.
AOL Canada is proud to sponsor the Interactive Category of the 2011 National Advertising Awards (NAA) that celebrates and rewards outstanding Canadian advertising creativity, delivering fresh new ideas to Canada’s leading brands. In addition to the recognition they receive with the award, category winners will attend the 58th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival June 19 to 25, 2011 in France.
“Sponsoring the interactive competition aligns with our commitment to high-value, premium quality and creativity online,” says Graham Moysey, AOL Canada General Manager, “At AOL, it’s all about creating a vastly improved online consumer experience – what better way than to get Canada’s best and brightest creatives engaged?”
AOL is also working with agencies that are submitting entries to consider using AOL’s award-winning HD content delivery platform, Pictela, now available in Canada. Pictela provides agencies with a broad and highly unique canvas for demonstrating their creativity.
In the Interactive Category, participants are challenged with a brief from Biotherm to recruit new users to their BioLab Skin Solutions. All category briefs were made available on March 2 and the deadline for creative submissions is March 31. Winners will be announced at the National Advertising Awards Gala on May 5 in Toronto.
“Participating in the National Advertising Awards Interactive Category is a fantastic opportunity to submit the challenge of taking our BioLab recruitment animation to the next level to the best Canadian creative minds,” said Bradley Smith, Biotherm Marketing Director. “I can’t wait to see how they’ll translate Biotherm’s biological expertise and its strong Canadian heritage into a complete interactive brand experience that will attract new consumers to the brand.”
“The National Advertising Awards are unique because they are North America’s only major brief-based competition,” says Cam Gardner, President, Adcam Media Group, Owner of The National Advertising Awards. “It’s always a thrill to see the results of unleashed creative thinking against the needs of major Canadian brands. We’re grateful for the support of sponsors like AOL Canada who help make the awards possible.”
The third Game Prototype Challenge ended earlier this week with a total of ten game submissions centering around the theme of Loneliness and Dimensions. There are some very cool ideas in this last round, and considering that they were all done as side projects between February 14th and February 21st just makes them even better. The Challenge just keeps growing with every iteration, and I am looking forward to seeing comes out in the next one in March.
The final installment of the Ask Dr. Mike video series has been released by Hothead Games. Check out the in-studio rivalry between Producer Joel DeYoung and Lead Designer Pete Low as Joel tries to trump Pete’s new high score in the upcoming platformer Swarm.
Watch the gameplay carefully and listen closely to the commentary for some inside secrets on game-play and high scoring tactics. See how the sacrificing of squishy blue guys will lead you to multiplier supremacy and achievement completion.
Post-secondary students these days have so many cool new specialty areas to study, sometimes I wish I could go back to school full-time. Yes, I liked school. Except for Math. And Science. History, Law and English – those were my favourites. There weren’t really any courses leading towards any specific type of creative career when I was in high school, not counting the classes for performing arts or traditional trades like welding and wood-working.
A new graduate studies programme has been introduced at Waterloo University’s Stratford Campus. The Master of Digital Innovation (MDI) is a one year project-based interdisciplinary degree programme. Students will work through the programme as they would if they were working for an employer, in teams, working on core projects. Throughout the process of completing these projects, students will consult with faculty and industry partners, gaining hands-on experience in many areas, including Team Building, Design Thinking and Business Modelling as well as Marketing Strategy and Critical Cultural Analysis. That last one sounds like it involves Math.
This new full-time program, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2011 pending final Ontario Council on Graduate Studies approval, will take place over three consecutive terms: Fall, Winter and Spring.
The Fall Session will focus on Working in Teams, Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World, Digital Media Solutions Design and New Perspectives on Media History and Analysis. During the Winter Session, students will continue Working in Teams as they look at Digital Media Solutions: Project Management, Media Innovation and Impact as well as Understanding the Consumer Universe. The Spring session focuses entirely on Projects.
Longbow Games has launched the latest game in their Hegemony series of historical RTS wargames. Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece expands upon last year’s PAX 10 finalist Hegemony: Philip of Macedon, adding two new campaigns and an all new diplomacy system plus an open sandbox mode with 26 playable factions and significant gameplay upgrades and refinements. The game is available online from Longbow, priced at $29.99 for the complete version or $9.99 as an upgrade from the original game.
“After spending the last year building a community and talking to fans about what they liked best in the first Hegemony, we’re really excited to show off all that we’ve added for Hegemony Gold,” said Jim McNally, President and Lead Designer of Longbow Games. “Not only do the new features significantly expand the range and depth of the tactics in Hegemony but the new campaigns and sandbox mode exponentially increase the amount of gameplay available.”
Conquer the ancient Greek world in Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, a real-time strategy wargame that expands and refines the award-winning Hegemony: Philip of Macedon with brand new content and features. Experience the full range of warfare from reconnaissance and raids to field battles and mountain blockades as you campaign across a continuous satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece. Siege and starve your enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing kingdom. Play as Macedonia, Athens, or Sparta in the three historical campaigns, or choose one of the 26 factions in the epic sandbox mode and forge your own empire. With a dynamic new diplomacy system and greatly expanded tactics, Hegemony Gold sets the new standard for ancient warfare.
IUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a trailer for its latest announced title, Pricklees, which has been submitted to Apple for approval. Jump, duck and roll to the beat with the Pricklees in this new music game that features 3 adorable characters you wish you could cuddle, if they weren’t covered in prickles.
There are 3 levels of difficulty in the game: easy, medium and hard for tons of replayability, with more unlockable content through IAP. Dead easy controls and intuitive UI in dynamic 2D/3D environments allow for unique rhythm-based gameplay with 7 Fresh Electronic tracks and more songs coming in future updates.
TVO is pleased to announce the launch of its new digital Public Archive, a free online resource that unlocks four decades of made-at-TVO educational programming that stands the test of time. The centerpiece of TVO’s 40th anniversary celebrations, TVO’s Public Archive is full of rare moments in television history including:
* popular Saturday Night at the Movies host Elwy Yost’s conversations with film legends of the 70s and 80s;
* insights from some of the greatest minds in science and technology like Richard Dawkins, John Polanyi, Carl Sagan and Steve Wozniak;
* interviews with political leaders including every Ontario Premier since John Robarts;
* rare moments with Canadian icons like Mordecai Richler, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and John Candy;
* and Canadian heroes like Jane Jacobs, June Callwood and Roberta Bondar.
TVO’s Public Archive is a valuable resource for researchers, filmmakers, writers, bloggers and anyone who wants to learn more about the cultural history that has made Ontario what it is today, and features beloved TVO programs that have defined TVO over the years. It launches with over 375 programs and segments that would take more than five days to watch.
The site includes episodes of Polka Dot Door, Today’s Special, Prisoners of Gravity, Imprint, Realities, Studio 2, the interviews portion of Saturday Night at the Movies, The Education of Mike McManus, Between the Lines and more. It also includes the new “Think Again” podcast series where programs are re-cut and re-mixed, examining important issues and placing them in context of the world today. New content that can be searched by program title, year, guest, subject or playlist will be added to the Public Archive regularly.
The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) today launched a major international TV, print and online campaign to showcase Ontario’s thriving cultural media sector. The campaign encourages consumers and investors to “be part of it” by buying Ontario’s award-winning cultural media products and investing in the province’s dynamic companies.
The six-week television campaign, showcasing more than 80 Ontario companies and world-renowned cultural exports, features a soundtrack by indie band Metric, which won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. The campaign was created by Toronto ad agency Brandworks International Inc. and will be supported by print and online ads in a variety of Canadian, U.S. and U.K. publications, along with an interactive website.
Ontario’s entire creative cluster includes: book and magazine publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, music, performing arts, radio, advertising, architecture and design. Together, they contribute more than $ 12.2 billion to the provincial GDP and employ more than 300,000 people.
Ubisoft is going on tour with its Kinect titles, but it seems BC is not on the list, at least not yet. One would think that BC would be on the list considering that Ubisoft has a development studio in Vancouver. The only confirmed locations thus far are for Halifax, when they will be visiting the Halifax Discovery Centre on February 25th and 26th before moving on to the Wal-Mart at Halifax Shopping Centre on February 27th. All other provinces are listed as “Coming Soon” with BC and all three territories not appearing on the schedule at all.
Frima Studio has earned two of the five nominations given out for the Best PS3/PSP Mini Game by Sony Computer Entertainment of America for its 2011 PlayStation®Network Gamers’ Choice Awards. Frima’s latest effort, the aptly named A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!, has recently crossed the 100,000 downloads mark, and Young Thor is one of the most critically-acclaimed Minis in history.
Voting will be open for one week until Tuesday, March 1st, with PSN users across North America choosing their favorite game in each of the four categories by downloading a free XMB theme corresponding to that game, voting for one game in each category. When the voting is over, the winning game from each of the four categories will go on sale for 30% off at the PlayStation Store and 50% off to PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Nexon America has kicked off the second round of the Nexon iNitiative, a million dollar program designed with the intent to seek out the most promising independent video game projects and provide funding to support the next generation of game developers from around the world. Open for submissions until April 30th, the Nexon iNitiative will award game developers a share of $1 million in development funds for projects that align with Nexon’s focus on community building and long-term user engagement.
The first Nexon iNitiative was launched in March 2010, which saw Canadian developer Antic Entertainment and Polish developer one2tribe chosen from a pool of more than 100 candidates in 2010. Each of the studios earned a share of more than $1 million in development funding. Both companies are currently creating online game projects that will be co-developed and published through Nexon’s global distribution network, which currently services 30 games in more than 71 countries.
Through the Nexon iNitiative, Nexon is looking for potential games that have wide-ranging audience appeal and which encourage community and social interaction. Flash, client-based games or ports from other platforms are all welcome submissions. Games with strong online and multi platform elements will get serious consideration, as will game concepts that align with Nexon’s goals.
Rogers Media (RMI) today announced the appointment of Jason Tafler to the newly created position, Chief Digital Officer. A veteran of the U.S. and Canadian digital sector, Tafler comes to Rogers from PointRoll, a leading provider of innovative digital marketing solutions and technology based in Pennsylvania.
Tafler will be responsible for strategic and operational leadership for the Digital division of Rogers Media with accountability for financial and operational targets. Rogers Digital Media is responsible for over 250 Rogers Digital products including brand websites, mobile products and client microsites as well as pure digital plays such as Sweetspot.ca, BRANCHEZ -VOUS!, PoolExpert and Canadian Parents. The range of partnerships and acquisitions brings Rogers Digital Media over 16 million unique viewers per month and reaches 65% of Canadians online. As well, Rogers Digital Media provides ad solutions and content for Rogers Communications and ad representation for foreign clients.
Tafler grew up in Toronto and has spent most of the past decade of his career in the U.S. building, advising and investing in entrepreneurial growth-oriented companies in the media, advertising and technology industries. He joined PointRoll in 2005 and became CEO in 2008. Prior to PointRoll, he worked in a boutique investment bank in New York and with Zoomer Media and First Marathon Securities in Canada.
Co-op PlayStation®Network platformer Tales from Space: About a Blob is now available to North American PlayStation®Plus members! Developer DrinkBox Studios has also confirmed that the European release of the game will occur on February 9th – the same week the title will be made generally available to North American PlayStation®Store users.
DrinkBox CEO Ryan MacLean had this to say about the company’s release plans: “We’re very excited that the game is finally coming out! The release is definitely a big milestone for our studio. After two-plus years of development we’re ready to sit back and watch OTHER people have fun with the game!”
Tales from Space: About a Blob is a side-scrolling action-platformer about alien Blobs that land on an Earth-like planet and begin eating everything around them. The game features local co-op play, puzzles, special Blob powers and a healthy dose of humour.
Rusty Axe Games is proud to announce the first playable demo of Dungeon Brawl, a free, retro arcade-style RPG. This demo features the first 5 of 9 game levels, with the other levels are expected to be released in early March. Travel back in time with the studio’s free 80’s style arcade RPG dungeon romp, a browser based ode to the great games of our youth. No download is required, you can just click and play.
Wild Games Studio, creators of Dhaila’s Adventure, has released a trailer for its upcoming game Qwon Tribe, which is expected to be launched for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in March. This energetic game is addictive and will come loaded full of surprises for players. The ultimate goal in latest mobile title is to survive through forty levels of high resolution game play to save the tribe Qwon.
Just in time for all of the political fun going on in BC, D2D Campaign Solutions would like you to know about their online, mobile, volunteer management solution that provides election campaign managers unprecedented power in mobilizing door-to-door campaign volunteers, identifying vote-swinging issues, and growing candidate support at the grass roots level like never before.
Use D2D Campaign Solutions to unlock new voter power, make use of the latest mobile technology, and win your election. Central to differentiating the product are engaging more volunteers into the campaign and enabling real-time geographic and trend analysis allowing you to respond quickly with precision. D2D was founded by Julian Haigh and Andrei Iancu, is based in Vancouver and will soon be launching an app called Canvass2Go.
RTS game Battlegoat Studios has released a ten page PDF version of their comments and thoughts in regards to the Canadian copyright reform progress. The report looks at what the government has said, as well as what is right and what is wrong with the future of Canadian copyright initiatives.
New Vancouver studio Single Digit Labs has released Dog Booth, an iPhone app that puts dog faces on people’s bodies. Some dogs are funny, some are cute and some look mean. You can say endless things with this app.
According to the app’s description, it only takes seconds to take a picture, have the app find all the faces for you and put 3D dog heads on them. Editing an image is simple and fun, sharing it with everyone you know is extremely fast. Amaze your friends, show them what they don’t expect and make them laugh out loud.
Toronto’s DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have officially announced the launch of ‘Painkiller – Redemption’, the newest addition to the Painkiller Universe. The player will continue the story of Daniel and Belial as they join forces for the first time to end the bloody conflict between heaven and hell. You will discover all new maps, fight off literally thousands of demonic fiends, and lose yourself in the intense gameplay rounded off with an absorbing heavy metal soundtrack.
Reinhard Pollice, Producer at JoWooD is looking forward to the release:”The newest addon brings the Painkiller franchise back to its roots. Breathtaking action, thousands of monsters and exotic weapons are a solid foundation for a Painkiller game! With Painkiller: Redemption we deliver 6 new, thrilling levels for an unbeatable price!”
The game also features a tactical component! While reaching your objectives in each level, you unlock Tarot Cards, which will soon prove to be very helpful! In additional to that, collecting souls of fallen enemies will temporarily transform you into a mighty demon!
· 7 to 10 hours of playtime
· Collect souls to transform into a demon
· Better graphics with detailed ambience
· Over 6000 enemies, more than any previous PK game!
· Equip yourself with powerful tarot cards which can be found in secret rooms
· Up to 1000 monsters per map to ensure an intense battle with the army of hell
· Two heroes – play as the characters Belial and Daniel
· Better AI – there is nowhere to hide! Enemies will get you
marblemedia interactive and Teletoon have flipped the On switch for Skatoony’s web page, which is filled with games, show information, downloadable craft projects and videos. Skatoony is a combined live action and animation quiz show for kids. Each week the two hosts, Chudd Chudders and The Earl pit 3 animated characters against real kids who hope to survive the show’s shenanigans, temperamental producer and environmental challenges to be declared victorious.
Several Canadian titles have been named as finalists for the AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards which will be presented at DICE Las Vegas this coming February 10th. The dev teams from EA Canada will be competing against each other in the Sports Game of the Year category with both FIFA Soccer 11 and NHL 11 receiving nominations. The debut title for United Front Games, ModNation Racers, has been named to the Racing Game of the Year category.
Relic Entertainment’s Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising has been nominated in the Strategy Game of the Year category, while Ubisoft Montreal action title Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is competing in the Achievements in Animation category. Bioware has been named to the Outstanding Character Performance category for Mass Effect 2 – Male Shepard, while Mass Effect 2 was given the nod for both the Outstanding Achievement in Story, Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year and Game of the Year categories.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Award as well as Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play. The Ubisoft Montreal blockbuster will also be going head to head with Bioware’s blockbuster Mass Effect 2 as they compete in the Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction category. Best of luck to all of our Canadian nominees!
Vancouver Film School graduate Nicholas Yonge has officially launched his indie game development studio krangGAMES, which will initially be focusing on flash games with an eye to expanding its products to other platforms in the future. The studio is currently developing DotGuy vs The Galaxy, which is an action-puzzle game where the player must successfully guide DotGuy out of a damaged spaceship. According to the game’s description, DotGuy vs The Galaxy will feature a campaign mode, unlockable modes of play, multiple playable characters, and user-made content via the Assembly Level Editor. krangGAMES also developed a game named Prior, which was created for the Ludum Dare Competition #19. Prior is a msyterious 2D platformer that was built in Adobe Flash, and in following with the LD19 theme of Discovery, players must navigate through a dark facility in an effort to figure out who they are, what has happened, where they are, and why they are there, developing their story piece by piece.
Hothead Games has brought Swarm creator, Dr. Mike Hayward, out of his dark and windowless office for a few short minutes to explain how players can control their “Swarm” in this first edition of “Ask Dr. Mike.”
Since Dr. Mike tends to speak in programming code without even realizing it, Hothead brought in “man of the people” and “regular guy”, Lead Designer, Pete Low, to bridge the gap and explain to us laypeople the unique and fun way to control your Swarm. Swarm is the upcoming and ultra addictive action game from UTV Ignition and Hothead Games set to release early this year. Dr. Mike did his PhD research in the field of artificial intelligence, and while his research didn’t directly relate to causing the horrific deaths of little cute and pudgy blue creatures, he has harnessed his work to realize that vision in Swarm. In the newly released video, Dr. Mike shows us everything from how to jump, group up, huddle and even stack and bash your Swarmites.
Swarm gives players control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drives them through an intense and often suicidal battle of survival. Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where players move all the Swarmites at once. Steer the flock of pudgy, clueless little blue morons through the game and they naturally flock and flow around obstacles. Creatively combine swarm moves to work your way through a relentlessly dangerous and hilariously brutal environment. Compete against friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way. Swarm is rated T for Teen by the ESRB
EA SPORTS™ and Virgin Gaming™ have penned a new agreement which names Virgin Gaming as the official worldwide provider of online tournaments for EA SPORTS. The agreement covers all head-to-head competitive play, pay-to-enter and sponsored tournaments for select EA SPORTS console video games.
As part of the agreement, the Virgin Gaming tournament platform will integrate directly with select EA SPORTS titles offering seamless web functionality and enhanced community tools for competitive gaming across Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 consoles. The first tournaments will begin early 2011, with details to be announced in the near future.
“EA SPORTS is the leading sports video game brand and publisher in the world, and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunities to compete in some of their very best multiplayer sports games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of competitive gaming, video games and social/community networking, and we are excited that EA SPORTS shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”
“Competitive online gaming is an increasingly popular component of our industry and a great way for EA SPORTS and Virgin Gaming to help connect gamers around the world through the global language of sports,” said Peter Moore, President of EA SPORTS. “Virgin Gaming demonstrates the system-wide integrity we desire, and this is a great opportunity for EA SPORTS fans to experience secure and impeccably managed online tournaments for some of our top titles.”
“Gamers have been extremely curious,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Since there hasn’t been an Old School hardcore competitive title in quite some time, gamers seem like they can’t wait to get their hands on Occupation Mode. We hope that these screenshots hold them over until Occupation Mode goes live, which, we promise, will be very soon.”
What’s New in Occupation Mode:
· New maps
· Territory capture and control – the two essential ingredients of a competitive title
· New team-based action and coordination
· Ability to set time-challenges – game creators determine how long one team has to hold all points on map for the win
· Opportunity to test out recently purchased or unlocked weapons in new, challenging environments
“With Occupation Mode, we offer players a great mix of flexibility and raw competition,” added Ho. “Some players want an experience that is nothing less than a fight to the death, with matches lasting countless rounds until one team finally emerges victorious from the firefight. For others, it’s about light, scrimmage with friends. We are proud to serve both communities of gamers with this latest update to M.A.T.”
Mobile IT management solution provider Rove has announced the rapidly growing adoption of its award-winning solution, Rove Mobile Admin, a secure smartphone- and tablet-enabled IT management solution giving IT staff unprecedented mobile access to incident detection, diagnosis, triage and resolution.
Spurring the surge of interest and uptake has been Rove’s Dashboard, functionality that aggregates alerts, alarms, notifications and tickets from IT monitors and incident management systems, presents them to IT administrators directly on their mobile device’s screen, and makes it possible to drill down quickly into problem details to identify the cause and implement a fix.
“We use Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager to monitor a wide variety of security and server health issues,” said Jeff Rountree, Global Network Manager for Dover’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG), a world-leading manufacturer of industrial pumps and compressors. “While email alerts for warnings and errors are available to us, setting them up takes a number of steps and our time. With the Rove Mobile Admin Dashboard my team can view alerts directly, without the need for any email escalations. The added value is being able to receive alerts regarding our Exchange and/or Blackberry servers even if they’re offline – as long we have network connectivity we can get the Rove Dashboard alerts and begin taking corrective action.”
“There is a growing awareness within IT organizations that robust, proven mobile solutions are required to effectively manage their networks and infrastructure,” said Russell Ure, President and COO, Rove. “Rove Mobile Admin is increasingly seen as the preferred solution to address these needs.”