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8th November 2012

iBeg Social Change Game Enters Final Hours For KickStarter Campaign

mini-orbyIn development over at Last Pick Productions, iBeg is a mobile game for the iOS and Android platforms that simulates the life of a homeless person living on the streets of Vancouver. Players step into the shoes of a homeless avatar and have to beg for money in order to survive. The game’s creators hope the game will raise awareness of the issue in our city, as well as around the world while providing an avenue for players to support organizations that help the homeless. The game has a projected release window of Spring 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th November 2011

docSHIFT Summit 2011 recap

Article is a cross-post with the author’s blog bewareoftheleopard.ca

DOCtorontoThis past weekend the Documentary Organization of Canada – Toronto Chapter held docSHIFT Summit 2011, a conference with the purpose of educating and supporting documentary filmmakers who are looking to leverage their storytelling abilities and position themselves as the go-to people in this new and evolving marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th June 2011

New App From Fit Brains Gets You Walking

Fit BrainsFit Brains has released a new iPhone app that encourages you to get walking.  Available as a free download, Arookoo: Walk+Game is a breakthrough app that makes it fun to walk because every step counts.

This new app and its companion web site turns walking into a game by sending you on fun challenges that motivate you to move around your city. Arookoo arookoorewards you for increasing the amount of steps you walk each day by completing a wide variety of fun activities, including:

  • Fun Walking Challenges and GPS Map-based Scavenger Hunts – Arookoo’s strong game layer makes walking fun through imaginative walking challenges, collectable GPS-map rewards, and a loads of special awards to earn
  • Daily Team Challenges with Friends – Invite friends to join your team or compete against you, and help each other stay motivated
  • Healthy Calorie & Distance Tracking – Want to go deeper? Improve your health by setting personal walking goals, tracking distance, burning calories, and more
  • Is always with you - Arookoo automatically tracks your walking, making it easy to walk and take more steps to a healthier you
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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.

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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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13th May 2010

Stimulate Your Brain with Canadian Digital Media Offerings

Canada Media FundLeading our News Briefs today, the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream Application Form is now available for download from the CMF web site. Also announced today were the winners of the CMF Hot Docs Contest.  The two winners were Mark Montague of Saskatchewan, Producer and Director of Minds Eye Entertainment, and Agata Ivanna Pogorelsky of Toronto, Creative Assistant at South American Vision. Both won passes to the 2010 Hot Docs Festival, giving them access to all films and festival events. Super Mario Galaxy2

Nintendo CanadaToronto-area Mario fans of all ages will be among the first Canadians to get hands-on play time with the sequel to the 2007 debut Super Mario Galaxy. A special guest will make a surprise landing during the event, where participants will be able to enjoy on-site entertainment, receive exciting Nintendo giveaways (while supplies last), and have the chance to win 1 of 50 copies of the new game. The Canadian launch party for Super Mario Galaxy™ 2 will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, May 23rd from 12 noon until 8pm.

Fit BrainsFor those who may not already know this, Reader’s Digest Online teamed up with Fit Brains to bring some of their popular word games to the Word Power Rechargedinternet, your PC and yes, your iPhone. Word scrambler Word Power: Brain Sparks is available in the iTunes store for $2.99, while Word Power: Recharged is playable on your PC at the Reader’s Digest site or at Fit Brains, and will be available through other game portals as well. A third game, Word Power: The Green Revolution is downloadable to your PC for only $19.99 from either site. All three games are linked to the Word Power Network, which allows players to see their placing on the leaderboards and share in-game awards.

IUGOToday is the last day that you can grab IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet for the iPhone for free. You’d best hit the iTunes store now and grab this crazy earth-based alien-shoot-em-up while you can, because tomorrow you’ll have to pay for it. This offer is brought to you in part by OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day programme. The aliens don’t stand a chance, because last Saturday, over 125 000 earth defenders joined Daisy Mae and her cause to rid the planet of hostile inter-planetary immigrants.

Bioware CorpBioware has announced new DLC for Mass Effect 2. Overlord will be available in June for 560 MS (or Bioware) points and will offer five new action packed levels Mass Effect 2 Overlordand two new achievements. The action in this next DLC expansion will centre around an experimental and dangerous Virtual Intelligence creature that has been unleashed and is taking over any technology it finds to serve its purposes, including the Geth. Commander Shepard and his (or her) squad must infiltrate the VI’s heavily guarded fortress and shut it down before it can beam itself off planet, continuing its wave of havoc across the galaxy.

innovacorpDartmouth’s Innovacorp will be presenting a breakfast seminar on the morning of May 26th at the Innovation Boardroom, starting at 8:45am. The seminar’s topic is Building Effective Distribution Channels and will feature an expert panel who will discuss insights and advice on distributors and distributor agreements.

The panel will be moderated by Innovacorp’s interim president and CEO, Stephen Hartlen, and will feature Ian Lucas, executive vice president of innovation and strategy, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Robert Nadeau, a partner at law firm Kerr & Nadeau, and Mike Flynn, director of business development at Tether.

PricewaterhouseCoopersAfter six weeks of heated debate from online discussions about Canada’s future in the digital economy, three winners emerged from the ‘crowdsourcing’ competition called Canada’s Digital Compass, hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). The dialogue was spread among contributors from all parts of Canada and included more than 1,200 site visitors and overall, 70 ideas were submitted for voting.

The categories were judged by a panel from a wide range of industry backgrounds as well as community participation. Each week, starting on March 16, a new subject competition was launched and the five topics were: technology, education, media production, connectivity and policy development.

The winners were:

- First place: Brady Gilchrist for his ideas on “World Leadership in Digital Health Care.” In his summary, Brady believes that digital health care is the merger of traditional healthcare with new ideas born of digital technology to aid in solving complex problems and infusing “net style innovation into solving complicated problems.”

- Second place: Russell Fordham for his thoughts on “Digital Literacy for All Canadians.” Russell suggests that for Canada to be a global leader in the digital economy, all our citizens need to have the basic abilities to function and thrive in this environment, supported with the partnership of government, educational institutions and businesses.

- Third place: Alan Sawyer for “Implementing Temporary Advertising Tax Credits to Stimulate Canadian-based, On-line Video Distribution.” Alan notes that implementing tax credits for allowable expenditures on advertising at Canadian-owned, new media content sites would stimulate the development of new Canadian sites and increase Canadian content available for Canadian-owned media distribution.

The winners all received tickets to the Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario which took place May 10-11. The event featured leaders from across the country who continued the conversation on the future of digital media in Canada. “We created Canada’s Digital Compass to encourage new discussions to a broad audience on this topic and our goal was certainly accomplished,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC.

Riley was happy with the turnout of participants to the crowdsourcing event and the wide range of topics that were being debated. During the last day of the competition, voting became more frequent and the leader-board changed hands several times. “We had lots of submissions on mobile and wireless project ideas but we were a bit surprised there wasn’t more discussion on cloud computing and green tech which are very popular topics at the moment,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th March 2010

The Journey Continues in Dragon Age Origins Awakening

Dragon Age Origins: AwakeningI started playing Bioware’s newest release last night. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is full of gaming goodness, thus far I am quite pleased with the expansion – other than not being able to connect to the Dragon Age servers, that is. I only had time to play it for a couple of hours last night, but I am really liking the new skills and abilities. So many more decisions to make on character development and tactical slots. There are undoubtedly many players who are much further into the chapter than I am, but I haven’t gone looking on the Bioware Community Forum for any reports back because I don’t want any spoilers. I am kind of missing having my warrior dog and the companions from Origins, but thus far Oghren and Anders are keeping me amused. I am only just starting to venture out from Vigil’s Keep (yes, I play slow because I Bioware Corpexplore absolutely everywhere I possibly can and I talk to the NPCs often, because you never know what you may find out. There was a surprising turn of events during the Joining ceremony near the beginning of the chapter, but you can be sure I will be playing this chapter more than once to see what other differences or surprises there may be, depending on the choices I make. Now on to getting the rest of today’s news posted so that I can go and continue my journey in Ferelden.

EA GamesBurnaby – The dev crews over at EA Black Box have been very busy. Yesterday the studio announced the official Need for Speed World beta launch, and today they’re inviting gamers to team up and throw down in Skate™ 3, the latest installment in the award-winning franchise. Skate 3 will be in stores in North America on May 11th, 2010 and worldwide on May 14th, 2010. Redefining the skateboarding experience, Skate 3 breaks new ground by letting gamers build their ultimate skate team both offline and co-operatively (*internet and EA account required for online play) to take on new challenges or competitive battles against other teams. Skate 3

“Since the very beginning of the Skate franchise, we have captured the true essence of skateboarding, be it from the feel of nailing that perfect trick, to the feeling of just hanging out and sessioning with your friends,” said Jason DeLong, Senior Producer. “For us, SKATE 3 is the culmination of this endeavor – the most connected, accessible and social skateboarding experience yet.”

In the all-new Skate.School, Coach Frank acts as a mentor and teaches newcomers the ropes by showing them all the ins-and-outs of skateboarding as they hone their skills on the sticks before hitting the streets with their team. Veterans will also feel right at home in Skate.School as they refresh their skills but also learn all the new tricks SKATE 3 has to offer including darkslides and underflips.

Gamers can hit the streets with the pros in the all-new city of Port Carverton – a true skater’s paradise with unique districts, skate parks, and endless lines. For fans with a creative flair, the new Skate.Park editor allows gamers to create their own dream plaza or mega-ramp park from scratch or use the Object Dropper to alter the landscape of Port Carverton to truly change the face of the city. In the end, SKATE 3 delivers a completely immersive and connected experience, giving gamers the tools to build and share their own skate parks, videos, and photos with all their friends by uploading them via the internet directly from their console or by importing custom created graphics & logos from the Skate website (*internet and EA account required).

SKATE 3 features a deep roster of the world’s greatest skaters including several Thrasher Skater of the Year winners:

Andrew Reynolds Eric Koston Mark Appleyard
Benny Fairfax Jason Dill Mike Carroll
Braydon Szafranski Jason Lee (as Coach Frank) P.J. Ladd
Chris Cole Jerry Hsu Pat Duffy
Chris Haslam Joey Brezinski Ray Barbee
Colin McKay John Cardiel Rob Dyrdek
Dan Drehobl John Rattray Ryan Gallant
Danny Way Josh Kalis Ryan Smith
Darren Navarrette Lizard King Terry Kennedy
Dennis Busenitz Lucas Puig

 

SKATE 3 will be available on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

Cultural Human Resources Council of CanadaOttawa – The Cultural Human Resources Council has asked The Conference Board of Canada to examine the cultural sector workforce in Canada. They want to learn about your opinions on the opportunities, challenges, trends and issues that you face; as well as your suggestions for enhancing the quality and sustainability of Canada’s cultural sector.

The Cultural Human Resources Council works for and with all the cultural industries and arts disciplines in the cultural sector including: Live Performing Arts; Writing and Publishing; Visual Arts and Crafts; Film and Television Production; Broadcasting; Digital Media; Music and Sound Recording; and Heritage.

To help to maintain funding and programs specific to the need of the cultural sectors, please take the time to complete the survey. There is a survey tailored to employees, freelancers and employers. The survey can be accessed online.

Sault Ste Marie – There is plenty of activity going on at Algoma University as well. The University will be hosting the 3-day Digital Storytelling Workshop organized by the Queer Voices of the North Film Festival. The workshop will be held in the Round Room at the George Leach Centre March 22nd to the 24th, 2010, and is intended to provide a venue for local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, two-spirited, and other transgendered or queer (LGBT2SQ) youth to share their stories about living in the North.

Algoma University’s Diversity Advisory Committee first became involved with the festival in February, 2010. It is Northern Ontario’s only LGBT2SQ film festival and seeks to provoke important discussion on queer topics, to increase queer visibility in the North, and to celebrate local LGBT2SQ history. “Algoma University embraces the diverse composition of its student population.” said Diversity Advisory Committee Chair Dawn Elmore, “This workshop and festival provide an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited youth to come together and share stories about their experiences in the north. This sharing of perspectives enriches our learning community and promotes respect and understanding in our community.”

“Algoma University’s on-campus club Proud Algoma hosted the very first Queer Voices Film Festival, and since then it grew to be a size that required use of both Galaxy Cinemas and the Grand Theatre.” said festival co-director, Sarah Broad, “It really feels fitting that at its 5-year anniversary, it will be back at the University for the capacity-building piece.”

The Digital Storytelling Workshop is being conducted by Toronto’s Centre for Digital Storytelling. The workshop will bring 10 LGBT2SQ youth through the process of creating their own digital stories which participants can opt to screen on Saturday, March 27th, during the Queer Voices of the North Film Festival. Digital stories are two to five minute videos created by individuals sharing their own stories through voice, images, music, and other found objects in their lives. The digital storytelling workshop blends creative writing, oral history, and digital video production to support individuals and communities in making connections between their own lives and the lives of others.

The workshop is quickly filling up, and any interested individuals are asked to apply soon. Applications are available at the Queer Voices web site, and can be submitted online or they can be picked up and returned in person to Desireé Beck, Healthy Sexuality Co-ordinator at HARP, located in the Group Health Centre offices at 262 Queen St. East. Applicants must identify as a member of a minority sexual or gender identity (LGBT2SQ) and be under the age of 30. Some subsidies are available for Northern youth from outside Sault Ste. Marie to attend the workshop.

Algoma U has also opened its Games for Health studio, which is student-run and will focus on developing video games which have therapeutic benefit.  Over the past few months, Algoma Games for Health has been working with Toronto Rehabilitation on a prototype for recovering language skills after a stroke. The concept is to develop a game that can be used remotely by patients and therapists.

Speaking about the partnership in a press article released today, studio director Dwayne Hammond stated that “games can bring value to so many different areas. In health care, there is enormous potential for games to be employed therapeutically. Traditional rehabilitation techniques can be tedious for the patient, but by adding interactive gaming style content, patients are often more motivated to stick with their therapy.”

Games can also automatically collect valuable research data and monitor patient progress, and they can be delivered to those in need in a cost effective manner that is not restricted by geographical concerns or proximity to therapists.

Furthermore, Algoma Games for Health presents an excellent opportunity for its bachelor’s and master’s students to work in a professional studio on real-life projects. Last year, two students worked on the prototype of the language skills recovery game.

Algoma’s innovative MSc program in gaming (linked by videoconference over advanced networks such as ORION and CANARIE to the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland) has graduated its first crop of graduates – some of whom have found employment in the field in the Sault Ste. Marie region. In addition, the Algoma Games for Health initiative is not only an ideal learning ground for students in real-world gaming applications, it may also become an incubator for program graduates to work on specific projects.

With funding from the municipal, provincial and federal governments and now with a full-time staff of four developers, Algoma Games for Health is also exploring the potential of videoconferencing technology to connect therapists to patients in their homes.

Portfolio EntertainmentTorontoPortfolio Entertainment Inc. has brought together a diverse and prominent pool of jurors from across the globe to weigh-in on the top 15 finalists and select the winner and runner-up of the company’s recently launched “In Toon With Tweens” animation contest.

Lending their expertise to select the two most entertaining, innovative and bold projects are Carole Bonneau (TELETOON Canada inc.), Marc Buhaj (Disney Channels EMEA), Rick Clodfelter (Cartoon Network), Jocelyn Hamilton (Corus Entertainment), Linda Simensky (PBS KIDS), Andra Sheffer (Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund) and Shari Cohen (Ontario Media Development Corporation). Contest prizes total $10,000 CDN in cash as part of Option and Development Agreements and winners will be notified on September 15, 2010. The announcement was made today by Portfolio Entertainment’s Co-Founders & Presidents, Lisa Olfman and Joy Rosen.

“We are thrilled to have such a diverse group of industry experts involved with our inaugural animation contest. Each juror was chosen for their extraordinary background in kids entertainment as well as their valuable understanding of the market,” said Olfman. “We want animators and creators to know that we want to encourage them by providing this opportunity to unleash their creative talents, articulate their distinct visions and gain unprecedented access to the insights of our judges.”

Hailing from one of Canada’s leading children’s broadcasters, Carole Bonneau is VP, Programming for TELETOON Canada inc. where she oversees the acquisition, original production and scheduling strategy for four distinct nationwide specialty television channels, TELETOON English and French, and TELETOON Retro English and French.

Representing the world’s most recognizable mouse, Marc Buhaj currently serves as SVP Original Programming for Disney Channels EMEA overseeing all aspects of Disney Channels Europe, Middle East and Africa’s content including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Playhouse Disney and Disney Cinemagic.

Providing support from global powerhouse Cartoon Network, Rick Clodfelter, serves as Director, Acquisitions & Co Productions and is responsible for acquiring pre-produced series, specials, short-form product and series co-productions that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands.

Representing Canada’s leading kids broadcaster, Jocelyn Hamilton, VP, Programming and Production, Corus Kids, oversees the programming and content strategies for YTV, Treehouse and Nickelodeon in Canada, as well as Nelvana Studio.

Stepping-in to represent the renowned U.S. public broadcasting service, Linda Simensky is Vice President of Children’s Programming for PBS KIDS. In her role she collaborates with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast for existing and new series.

Offering insight from the world of digital media, Andra Sheffer, Executive Director for Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund manages three private funds supporting the Canadian television and new media industries: the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, the Independent Production Fund, and the COGECO Program Development Fund.

Rounding out the panel of judges, Shari Cohen, Program Consultant for Ontario Media Development Corporation, brings decades of animation production and entertainment law experience to the table. Currently, she specializes in facilitating the development and production of creative content for screen-based delivery platforms through programs such as the OMDC Screen-Based Content Initiative and the new Intellectual Property Fund.

The “In Toon With Tweens” animation contest is an initiative designed by Portfolio Entertainment to encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking by throwing the doors open to new voices within the global animation community. Animators and creators with serious comedy chops are invited to submit their original television or multiplatform projects targeting kids 8 to 12 years old for a chance at $10,000 CDN in cash as part of Option and Development Agreements. Entries must be received by June 15, 2010 and winners will be notified on September 15, 2010. Complete guidelines, eligibility requirements and instructions for submission can be found online.

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10th December 2009

Advances in Immersive Game Technology Abound

News from Skillz Systems, AMD, Intel and D-Box

QuickStickzHalifax – It’s that time of year, where thousands of enthusiasts head to the cold rinks to enjoy the sport of Hockey! Helping hockey players of all ages train their stick-handling skills, Halifax based Skillz Systems launched an interactive video game, called QuickStickz.

Hockey players can use any hockey stick, a computer and Internet access to play QuickStickz virtually anywhere and at anytime. The system includes cameras to track a custom ball and then feeds that Jacob Burke, age 12, improves his stickhandling skills with his head up, on the new QuickStickz productinformation to the training software on the player’s computer.

“What we’ve done is taken kids’ love of hockey and their love of video gaming and combined the two,” says Dean Dachyshyn, Skillz Systems Chief Operating Officer.

QuickStickz which launched just over a week ago, has been in beta testing over the past 2 years. Young eager hockey players across Nova Scotia were able to test and play the video game providing feedback, which was incorporated into the official product.

Endorsed by Buffalo Sabres assistant coach James Patrick and Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett, QuickStickz is poised to be the next generation training device. “We are looking forward to setting the hockey world on its ear with this revolutionary new training,” Dachyshyn says. Skillz Systems is a past participant and winner in the InnovaCorp I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition.

Dragon Age OriginsEdmontonBioWare re-invented the fantasy role-playing genre with its recent release of Dragon Age: Origins. With game patches issued days after the title’s debut, BioWare delivers full support for the visually striking AMD innovation, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology. ATI Radeon graphics now give Dragon Age: Origins players the ultimate visual experience as they see more of this vivid in-game world, and at higher resolution. 1

* BioWare issued patches on Nov. 6 and Nov. 17, 2009 to fully enable Dragon Age: Origins on ATI Eyefinity technology, ensuring that gamers have access to ultra-widescreen resolutions for the ultimate visual experience.
* Experience even more of the fantasy world of Ferelden in Dragon Age: Origins by viewing it with an ultra-wide, three display configuration using ATI Eyefinity technology, allowing for a maximum resolution of 7680 x 1600.
* ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology allows seamless enablement of the biggest game environments available today. Gamers can arrange one to three displays using the ATI Radeon™ HD 5970, ATI Radeon™ HD 5870, ATI Radeon™ HD 5850, ATI Radeon™ HD 5770 or ATI Radeon™ HD 5750 graphics cards.2

“BioWare has made ATI Eyefinity compatibility a priority, and it speaks strongly to their belief in what AMDATI Eyefinity technology brings to the gaming experience,” said Neal Robison, director, ISV Relationship Management at AMD. “BioWare is known for creating rich, immersive gaming experiences, and it is clear that they appreciate how ATI Eyefinity technology found on the latest ATI Radeon cards, can help further enrich the experience for gamers.”

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24th June 2009

Wemuv Promotes Healthy Lifestyle While Keeping Kids Connected

WeMuvHamiltonWeMuv is the new virtual world travel adventure game and social network that keeps you on the Muv! Developed for kids ages 6 and older, WeMuv promotes a balanced, healthy lifestyle while having fun with the technology and gadgets that keep kids excited.

The online multiplayer game promotes physical activity via the use of a specially encrypted pedometer. Kids play the adventure game online but in order to advance to new levels and have their WeMuv character stay healthy, they must leave the computer and engage in physical activity while wearing their pedometer. By getting Muv-ing kids earn steps on their pedometer but they never know how many steps they’ve earned until they upload their pedometer at the WeMuv site. The step “currency” they’ve earned can then be spent to unlock new adventures, advance to new levels and buy nutrition to keep their WeMuv character healthy.

“WeMuv creates what most parents want, balance in their children’s lives and healthier lifestyle habits” says WeMuv Co-Founder and CEO Lisa Savelli who is a family therapist, anti-bullying expert and celebrated children’s book author. On the WeMuv online platform kids travel throughout the real world online and learn about other countries and cultures, making new friends and sharing positive interaction all with the safety and security of parental controls and limits.
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15th April 2009

Brain Fitness Gaming Site Keeps Minds Fit and Motivated

Fit BrainsVancouver – Research has shown that brain health begins to lag as early as age 25. However, the same research has shown that with regular brain fitness training, the brain can create new neural connections and pathways at any age.

In response to this research, Vancouver’s Vivity Labs has created FitBrains.com, a new online brain fitness platform that hosts fun, casual games developed by brain fitness experts, specifically designed to exercise the brain and improve the five major cognitive brain functions – memory, concentration, language, executive functions (logic and reasoning), and visual-spatial skills.
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7th January 2009

Beta of New Auditing Skills Game set for February

New game an ideal training tool for any management system auditor

Distil Interactive OttawaDISTIL Interactive announces a beta release date of February 1, 2009 for its Auditing Skills game. This will be the 10th off-the-shelf game designed by DISTIL, in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association. The Auditing Skills game can be used by companies using any management system, in order to train new auditors, accelerate auditor development and identify top-performing or underperforming auditors. The game is designed to help internal auditors develop the competencies specified in ISO 19011 guidelines.

The internal auditor role is a critical one in an organization, one that requires strong communication skills and effective investigative abilities, often in addition to the employee’s usual workplace role. According to auditing principles and the requirements specified in many Standards, individuals must be independent of the areas they are auditing to ensure impartiality and objectivity. Novices to the auditing field often express concerns around the interpersonalAuditing Skills skill requirements – auditing senior management can be especially daunting; and seek practice in the interpretation of evidence. This learning product provides a safe but challenging environment for learners to develop their competence as auditors. Strong training not only improves auditors’ personal performance, but leads to accurate and complete audit findings that can facilitate improved corporate performance.

In the game, learners perform the role of internal auditor in a virtual audit of a fictitious company’s Business Management System (BMS). The BMS requirements will appear familiar to anyone who is familiar with management system standards such as ISO 9001,

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