12th June 2011

Cranky Cat On Android

march entertainmentToronto studio March Entertainment has released its first Android game to the Marketplace. The bubble-popping puzzler Cranky Cat is a free to try title, with more levels available through in-app purchasing. There are more than 250 hand-crafted levels in Story and Puzzle modes, as well as three variations of “infinite” cranky catmode. A free demo can be played on the official Cranky Cat website. An Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) version will arrive in the coming weeks, as well as full online and downloadable versions.

Fast-paced and addictive, the game features a cantankerous Victorian-era cat trying to create a youth elixir by condensing chemical compounds in a steam-powered centrifuge. Cranky Cat is March’s first game not tied to an existing intellectual property, and marks the company’s foray into “pure” casual gaming just for the fun of it. Cranky Cat is OpenFeint-enabled and was built in the Unity game engine, another first for March Entertainment, which has previously built games primarily in Flash, such as The Great Canadian Trivia Shootout and Dex Hamilton’s Bug Quest.

Last month the studio’s groundbreaking web-to-TV animated comedy series Chilly Beach became available in the U.S. for the first time on Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service, via a deal with distributor Duopoly. Originally chilly beachproduced for the CBC, Chilly Beach ran over three seasons and garnered a large and enthusiastic following through a combination of broadcast play and the property’s dynamic, interactive website.

Along with Chilly Beach, two original series-related movies released after the TV series, The World is Hot Enough and The Canadian President are also available on Hulu and Hulu Plus. The series and movies are viewable for free on Hulu.com to U.S. viewers.

“Chilly Beach was the first web-to-TV series in Canada and we are delighted to launch this flagship comedy franchise to U.S. audiences for the first time on Hulu,” said Catherine Tait, President of Duopoly. “We’ve seen impressive viewership numbers for great Canadian series like Odd Job Jack on Hulu and believe it is a valuable option for producers seeking to monetize their content in the U.S.”

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2nd June 2011

Burn The Rope Now On Your Android and Nokia Devices

Big Blue BubbleBig Blue Bubble, Inc. is excited to announce that they are burning their way onto Android and Nokia devices. Their smash hit mobile title Burn the Rope is finally available on Android and you can get it exclusively for one week at GetJar.  The good burn the rope hdnews doesn’t stop there, because Burn the Rope is also now available now for Symbian platforms on the Nokia Ovi Store.

The critically-acclaimed best selling Burn the Rope is a puzzle adventure where the goal is as simple as it is addictive: burn as much rope as possible. Release your inner arsonist and ignite your way through over 100 delightful levels, with new user generated puzzles every day. Get involved and submit your very own puzzle to be featured in Puzzle of the Day.

A tap is all you need to get your flame burning. Remember fire always burns up, so you must rotate your device to make sure your flame keeps flickering, which is not always as easy as it seems. Packed with exploding bugs, bonus levels, and non-stop pyro action, Burn the Rope will make you think, strategize and try puzzles over and over until you burn every last rope fibre. This challenging and addicting game will keep your fires burning for hours, because while it’s easy to play, it’s  not so easy to master.

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25th May 2011

Overflow Now In WiiWare

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure has released a new title to WiiWare. Overflow is a quick-fire puzzle game that challenges you to take control of the lab and keep everything flowing smoothly. Available now, Overflow is rated E for Everyone and costs 500 WiiWare Points.

Professor Lexis just finished his greatest and most energy-efficient machine yet. However, the moment he flipped the switch for the first official test, the machine exploded and sprayed all of the professor’s new multicolored fuel everywhere. He now needs your help to collect the precious fuel and repair the damage before the worldwide energy symposium begins.

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Twist your Wii Remote™ controller to place wooden planks, funnels and particle transportation portals to guide the fluids back to the correct collection channels and repair the damage in 30 warped levels. The professor will even have you tackling the dangerous task of mixing fluids to create new fuel colors. Just be sure to contain the spill before you cause an overflow.

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21st May 2011

James Takes A Walk Through GardenMind With Inspirado Games

inspirado gamesA couple of weeks ago I had the unique chance to sit down with Inspirado Games CEO Rick Davidson and chat about his company’s latest game, Gardenmind.

Gardenmind is a Facebook social game in which players grow plants in their virtual garden, with each plant being associated to a different game mode. Some plants are word games while others are perception games, with more games and plants offered as the player continues to play through Gardenmind. People who enjoy challenging their brains and playing puzzles will enjoy this game.

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The other awesome thing about Gardenmind is that it is a meaningful game; besides learning and challenging their brains players can also contribute to a cause they would like to support. One example of this is with trees like the New Zealand silver fern. If players buy the tree a percentage of the cost goes to support quake relief in Christchurch and players are rewarded with a kiwi to walk around their garden.

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Inspirado Games works with the World Wildlife Fund to support the organization’s causes around the world and Gardenmind was recently nominated for a Canadian Video Game Award for best social game.

When we sat down we talked about how long Inspirado has been around, why they are doing what they are and why they thought they would make this game. We also chat about gaming and the growth of the industry in Vancouver. It was a great chatting with Rick and I hope you enjoy the videos.

Twisted Majic

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16th May 2011

Word Searcher 3 Available Now for DSiWare

Digital LeisureDigital Leisure Inc. has announced the launch of Word Searcher III. The follow up to DSiWare hits Word Searcher Word Searcher 3and Word Searcher II, designed for Nintendo’s DSiWare™ service, Word Searcher III is rated E for Everyone and is available today in North America on DSiWare for 500 Nintendo DSi Points™.

You’ll need a sharp eye and a quick mind to complete these 100 themed word search puzzles. Word Searcher 3 contains fun words from multiple categories including Astronomy, Currency and Rivers. Packed with a huge assortment of subjects to choose from, there’s sure to be a puzzle anyone will enjoy. Help improve your vocabulary, memory and problem-solving skills with these addicting puzzles. Keep track of, and try to beat your own play through times again and again as words are scrambled every time you play. Get your thinking cap on and conquer all 100 today.

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12th May 2011

Thursday News Bytes For Your Digital Diet

Canadian Video Game AwardsDon’t miss your chance to vote for Game of the Year for the 2011 Canadian Videogame Awards.  Voting is open to the public until midnight, Friday, May 13th (note: Facebook Connect is required to vote).

The five 2011 Game of the Year finalists are:

·       Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
·       Dead Rising 2
·       FIFA 11
·       Mass Effect 2
·       Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

There are still great seats available for the 2011 Canadian Videogame Awards – and tickets start at just $30.00.  Come out next Wednesday night and enjoy an evening with the top developers and publishers in Canada! The show will be hosted by Victor Lucas and his team from The Electric Playground, and you can even get some autographs post-show!  Internationally renowned Video Games Live will be back to provide the musical entertainment AND Nintendo will be offering attendees a special opportunity to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for Nintendo 3DS.  Canadian Games Conference

Don’t miss the 2011 Canadian Games Conference – there is still time to register.  This year’s event features sessions in business, production, design, programming, social games, and iPhone games, as well as a special line-up of “Best of GDC” speakers, and offers visionary keynotes, an expo hall, and evening networking events.  The Conference takes place May 19-20th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

tiny hipposJust over a month ago Tiny Hippo became part of the RIM family, and the developers have announced that they are adding support for BlackBerry WebWorks 2.0.0 to their flagship product, Ripple Mobile Environment Emulator. This support includes most of the APIs in the WebWorks stack as well skinning for 3 supported BlackBerry devices (The BlackBerry Torch, BlackBerry Bold, and the BlackBerry PlayBook). Check out Ripple’s docs page to see the extent of the WebWorks support as well as what else is new in this release.Decapod Studios

Decapod Studios has released a free version of its hit match 3 title Murphid for Windows Phone 7. The full version of Murphid is also available for 99 cents.

  • Engaging Campaign spawning more that 70 levels of marble blasting madness.
  • Three game modes for players to choose from to suit their playing style.
  • More than 10 powerups to help players redefine the game field and wreak havoc in a blink of an eye.
  • 8 exclusive Awards to boost the replay value further by throwing extra challenges at the player.
  • Pre-filled Leaderboard to give the game nostalgic, old-school touch.
  • Awe-inspiring HD visuals with full widescreen support.
  • Charming sound effects to create the ambience.
  • Adaptive gameplay technology for challenging and fun gaming expirience for players of all ages.

If you don’t have WP7, you can always play Murphid on your Xbox 360, too – it’s available in the Games Marketplace for only 80 MS Points.

Roaring PenguinRoaring Penguin Software Inc. has announced the release of CanIt 8.0.5. which adds several major improvements to the CanIt Archiver software. Several major new features were added including:

  • CanIt-Archiver keeps an audit trail of searches and message accesses. Administrators and end-users can see the audit trail. (End-users can only see audit trails relating to their own archive.)
  • CanIt-Archiver has a hook for archiving internal email that normally would not be seen by CanIt.
  • CanIt-Archiver stores only one copy of duplicate messages received on a given day for a given realm.

CanIt Archiver, “The Uninteruptible E-mail Supply”, is a highly configurable e-mail archiving solution focused on e-mail continuity. CanIt Archiver ensures that e-mail is accessible in the event of a mail server outage and queues e-mail to make sure that it is delivered when mail service is restored.

CanIt 8.0.5 is available as:

* CanIt-PRO, an anti-spam software solution suitable for small and medium business.
* CanIt-Domain-PRO, spam filtering software for MSPs to host anti-spam for their customers.
* Hosted CanIt, a fully outsourced, hosted anti-spam service.

canadian fallen firefighters foundationScott is a retired volunteer firefighter and my grandfather, father and two uncles were volunteer firefighters, so we are both very happy to see that construction has officially begun on a permanent, national memorial to pay tribute to Canada’s fallen firefighters, thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. The announcement was made today by Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament (Nepean-Carleton), on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, as part of an official sod-turning ceremony alongside the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

“No job is more important than protecting the lives of Canadians and their families,” said Minister Moore. “This memorial will be a permanent reminder of the sacrifices firefighters across Canada make to keep us safe.”

“Our gratitude to those who put their lives on the line to make Canada safer is often difficult to express,” said Mr. Poilievre. “This memorial will serve to remind all Canadians of the men and women who put their lives at risk for their communities.”

The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation is building the monument in the Lebreton Flats area of the National Capital Region, near the Canadian War Museum. This monument, the only official memorial to Canada’s firefighters, will be located at the exact location where the Great Fire of 1900 was finally brought under control after destroying 1400 buildings and killing seven people in Ottawa, and destroying 1300 buildings in Gatineau.

The Government of Canada announced funding of $2,529,800 for the construction of this monument in 2009. This funding is being providing through the Commemorate Canada component of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Celebration and Commemoration Program. This component provides financial support to initiatives of national significance that commemorate various aspects of Canadian history.

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9th May 2011

Four Recent Game Releases For iOS Devices

aliens attack deluxeToronto game developer Alexander Shapovalov has announced the release of iPhone game Aliens Attack Deluxe. Available now for 99 cents USD, the game is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Rated 4+, Aliens Attack Deluxe requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Aliens Attack Deluxe has a simple concept and game play is easy to understand. Aliens have arrived and attacking Earth is their prime objective. The user must protect the planet using laser cannons. The game resembles 1980’s Missile Command game, but with better graphics and a variation on actual game play. To shoot down the aliens, players tap the screen to fire the cannon and knock the invaders out of the sky and earn money for your defensive efforts.

wrinkled pants softwareFor the wee folk in your house, Wrinkled Pants Software, Ltd. has released it’s debut title, My Word! Reader – Are Bees Smart, or What? for iPads with iOS 3.2 or later. Available now for $4.99 USD, My Word! Reader – Are Bees Smart, or What? is a ground breaking app for the iPad based on sound educational and literacy theory that is designed to improve literacy skills in underachieving students.

This app will be an essential tool for literacy learning for education and home markets. Simple to use, but my word are bees smart or whatsophisticated in design, it incorporates word analysis, phonics, writing skills, word recognition, comprehension and spelling in a series of dynamic, engaging, and delightful “word games” that are rooted in the easy-to-read, but sophisticated story, Are Bees Smart, or What?

“My Word! Reader provides a resource for teachers to use with underachieving students, thus allowing them more time for other demanding instructional tasks,” said Dr. Selma Wassermann, CEO of Wrinkled Pants.

The application is designed to be self-instructional – giving the student control over the learning process. The “Bees” story features an interactive experience on the iPad with 6 learning games designed to engage the reader and develop basic literacy skills and comprehension.  Wrinkled Pants Software intends to release more titles in the My Word! Reader series on an ongoing basis.

Renegade CitizenRenegade Citizen has released Infinity Control, a game that casts players as new recruits for the Federation of International Space Marines. You begin your career on Earth, where you learn the Infinity Controlbasics of game play, managing incoming craft while avoiding collisions with orbiting satellites. Once you’ve mastered these skills, you will move on to help scientific researchers maneuver craft around the dense asteroids of Saturn. The random spawning of black holes adds even more challenge to your flying skills as you move up the career ladder through 40 ranks – from young recruit to skilled veteran.

Infinity Control is comprised of 3 incredible worlds built in high resolution retina graphics accompanied by a dynamic orchestral score. The game also features a stats screen along with full Openfient and GameCenter integration with Leaderboards and Achievements. Infinity Control is available now on iTunes for 99 cents USD and is rated 4+. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad running iOS 3.0 or later.

faine's melody on iTunesA team of four Game Design students at Vancouver Film School have released the school’s first iPad game to be available on iTunes. Faine’s Melody was developed by Sharai Grant, Steven Martin, Christopher Ellington and Michel McBride-Charpentier as a way to experience the game mechanics and overcome the challenges they presented as the team worked towards their goal. The result was a fun and unique puzzle adventure that makes imaginative use of all of the touch controls available for iPad interaction. This initial release is a presentation build and is free to download. Faine’s Melody is rated 4+ and is compatible with iPads running iOS 3.2 or later. Watch the trailer for a close up look at the innovative game play of Faine’s Melody.

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2nd May 2011

Molecube Launches Monstruction on iTunes

molecubeMolecube, the studio that brought you Binja ($0.99) and Binja Lite version (free), has released Monstruction, its latest 99 cent mobile iOS game. It emphasizes mainly on the dexterity and puzzle-solving skills of the players. To unfold the puzzles, the players must use some of their Apple devices main features such as the touch Monstructionscreen and tilt sensor. Adorable and original characters appear throughout each level as the player progresses through the game, giving the player additional fun and challenge.

Use physics to rotate, stack and glue together wooden puzzle pieces, tilting your device to make sure that your construction can withstand the monsters? visits. Each one of the three friendly monsters will unwittingly put the strength of your buildings to the test, whether it?s Luciano Panda serenading you with his operatic singing abilities,  Gramps trying to find his way through the forest by engaging in a cane-swinging frenzy or the brightly coloured Jacques flying around looking for snacks to satisfy his compulsive and monstrous appetite, your construction work will need to survive if you want to progress through the 70 levels of puzzles. Monstruction is rated 4+ and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Molecube Inc. is a fast-growing Canadian company based in Quebec that focuses on mobile game development. With two games featured on the App Store and two more in development, the team has already met half of its objective – four game releases in its first year of activity.

Molecube’s development team of 6 professionals works on every aspect of each game from concept through development and into marketing of the studio’s new and original intellectual properties. Determined to play a big part in the mobile entertainment global phenomenon, the company is betting on a talented team highly capable of conceptualizing and commercializing on short term originals, focusing on making truly fun games for mobile devices. In such a brand new and competitive market, Molecube relies on strong creativity, technical efficiency and effective market know-how to stand out in the crowd.

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30th April 2011

Murphid Coming to Windows Phone 7

Decapod StudiosDecapod Studios has announced that its incredibly addictive puzzle game Murphid will be launching on Windows Phone 7 early next week for $0.99. I can vouch for the addictive quotient, as I have played…and played…and played Murphid on the Xbox 360 – you can read my review of the game here.Murphid for WP7

Just as in the Xbox 360 version of Murphid, players must use their puzzle solving skills and fast reaction to withstand attack waves of gorgeous marble hordes and bring those beasts under control in this Collapse-Match 3 styled game. Deep, yet simple core game mechanics coupled with astonishing graphics, immersive sound effects and adaptive gameplay result in intense climatic moments that modern gamers are craving. Murphid’s underlying FunQuantization™ technology has been optimized to run flawlessly on Windows Phone 7.

Time-tested, solid fun features include:

* Engaging Campaign spawning more that 70 levels of marble blasting madness.
* Three game modes for players to choose from to suit their playing style.
* More than 10 powerups to help players redefine the game field and wreak havoc in a blink of an eye.
* 8 exclusive Awards to boost the replay value further by throwing extra challenges at the player.
* Pre-filled Leaderboard to give the game nostalgic, old-school touch.
* Awe-inspiring HD visuals with full widescreen support.
* Charming sound effects to create the ambience.
*Adaptive gameplay technology for challenging and fun gaming experience for players of all ages.

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29th April 2011

Starmine From Zyx Entertainment Now on iTunes

starmineStarmine, the debut title for Vancouver’s Zyx Entertainment is now available in the iTunes App Store for $1.99 USD. This colourful match 3-styled puzzle game currently features 120 levels, 3 game modes, starminemulti-touch controls,and Retina Display support as well as  Game Centre Leaderboards & Achievements to unlock. Starmine can be played for a few seconds, a few minutes or as long as you can survive, and you can  join the Facebook community for game updates, tips and tricks.

Every puzzle has multiple solutions, and with no move restrictions, players can solve each puzzle in any way that works for them. Puzzle game veterans will appreciate the fast-paced puzzle action. Special blocks keep the game fresh while the deep scoring system, achievements and leaderboards will push you to your limits and keep you coming back for more.

System requirements:

iPhone 3G+
iPod G3+
iOS 3.2+ (4.1+ for Game Center)

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