31st August 2010

Gemini Awards Announce Nominees

25th Annual Gemini AwardsNominations for the 25th Gemini Awards have been announced, and here are the nominees in the categories pertinent to our industry – congratulations to all of you and good luck at the show!

Best Animated Program or Series

Glenn Martin, DDS – (Cuppa Coffee Studios, Tornante Animation, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.)
Adam Shaheen

Guess With Jess – (Nelvana Limited, Classic Media Royalty House)
Tracey Dodokin, Ceri Barnes, Scott Dyer, Jocelyn Hamilton, Doug Murphy, Jane Smith

Johnny Test – (Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc) – Michael Hirsh, Toper Taylor

Kid Vs Kat – (Studio B Productions, YTV, Disney XD Europe) – Blair Peters, Chris Bartleman, Jamie Turner

Wapos Bay – (Wapos Bay Productions) – Dennis Jackson, Melanie Jackson, Anand Ramayya

Best Cross-Platform Project – Children’s and Youth

Stoked – (Fresh TV Inc., marblemedia) – Mark J.W. Bishop, Sasha Boersma, Ted Brunt, Matthew Hornburg, Tom McGillis

Taste Buds – (marblemedia) – Mark J.W. Bishop, Sasha Boersma, Ted Brunt, Matthew Hornburg, Johnny Kalangis

Rollbots Online – (Xenophile Media Inc.) – Patrick Crowe, Keith Clarkson, Thomas Wallner

Overruled! – (Shaftesbury Films Inc.) – Shane Kinnear, Jay Bennett, Jérémie Bernard, Nicole Mickelow, Jarrett Sherman

Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction

Sanctuary – (Sanctuary II Productions) – Jim Bogusz, Andrea Gorfolova

Being Erica Webisodes – (Temple Street Productions) – Ivan Schneeberg, David Fortier, Jessie Gabe, Jason Lorr, Eva Riintze, Thom Ryder

Cra$h & Burn – (Whizbang Films) – Frank Siracusa, Penny McDonald, Peter Miskimmin

Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction

One Ocean Interactive – (Merit Motion Pictures) – Kevin Glasier, Merit Jensen Carr, Vergil Kanne, Alexandra Rosentreter Read the rest of this entry »

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27th August 2010

Canadian Social Media Marketers Pressed To Stay Current

apezoneNow you can compete against your Facebook and Twitter friends in the latest release of ApeZone’s SoliScare card game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The new version adds 11 leaderboards and 18 achievements to this already addictive little card game.

SoliScare lets you embark on a fantastic journey through graveyards, haunted houses, and spooky castles. Put the beat down on ghosts, zombies, and classic movie monsters in 100 levels of play.

Game play follows one simple rule: move monster cards to your hero pile by choosing cards that are one higher or lower than your current hero card. As you make longer card runs, you’ll capture these creatures and add them to your jailhouse. Capture all 37 ghosts, zombies, and monsters to become the new Van Helsing.

LudiaLudia Inc., and Sony Pictures Consumer Products announced today that Ludia will create video games based on the hugely popular Pyramid series of television game shows. The licensing deal will result in games across major console platforms, PC/Mac, iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, the first of which games is slated for release in Q1 2011.

“Pyramid is a classic TV game show favorite, and we are thrilled to create games around the property so that fans of the show and broader audiences alike are able to feel the thrill of reaching ‘Winner’s Circle’ from home,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This deal serves to further expand Ludia’s prominence across platforms in the game show video game category, which has been a successful growth strategy for us.”

Pyramid will feature all the favorite elements from the show as the game pits pair against pair in a bid to reach the coveted ‘Winner’s Circle’. Players pick from six categories on the pyramid-shaped game board, and guess a series of words or phrases as described by their team mate. The duo that scores more points than their opposing team wins the match, and gets a shot at the grand prize. Additionally, the Pyramid video games will incorporate thousands of questions, connected gaming elements, single and multiplayer game modes, as well as reward systems to fuel the competitive fun between players.

“Pyramid has been a long-standing and successful game show franchise, and we are delighted to work with Ludia to create new opportunities that will bring an engaging entertainment experience to fans of the show,” added Mark Caplan, Vice President Licensing, Sony Pictures Consumer Products.

Three of EA Sports’ titles are vying for the top spot in the Golden Joystick Awards. FIFA 10, Skate 3 and 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa are all in the final run to the top. Ubisoft Canada is also competing against itself in the Action Title category, with both Assassin’s Creed 2 and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction in the running.

Assassin’s Creed 2: Bonfire of the Vanities and FIFA 10 are finalists for Downloadable Game of the Year while Next Level’s Punch Out!! and EA Sports’ Fight Night Round 4 have entered the ring for Fighting Game of the Year. EA Blackbox is trying to be first over the finish line in the Online Game of the Year with Need For Speed World while franchise twins Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines and Assassin’s Creed Discovery are both in the running for Portable Game of the Year. We have a cross-country showdown going between EA Montreal’s NFS Shift and United Front’s Modnation Dragon AgeRacers in the Racing Game of the Year category.

Bioware fans will have a real problem voting in the Role Playing Game of The Year category as Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age Origins Awakening have all made it to the final list. In the soundtrack category, we have Mass Effect 2 competing against Assassin’s Creed 2, and in the RTS category we have household favourite Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising from Relic. The voting for Ultimate Game of the Year is going to be hot and heavy with Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins all hoping to take the podium. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th August 2010

Mixed Media Monday

Strategy FirstMontreal’s Strategy First and U.S. based Nvinium Games are expanding the Space Empires: Battle For Supremacy franchise which began on the PC in 1993. The five-title franchise has been infiltrating social media and casual game platforms, and with versions for the iPhone and iPad due to launch in 2011, social gamers will now be able to connect with Space Empire gamers anywhere and at anytime, including those on Facebook.

“The avid Space Empires audience pushed us to expand from the PC to Facebook. We have been extremely pleased by the response to the new social network version of the game both in terms of excellent reviews and the exceptional take up of the game by the Facebook community. Accordingly we are expanding to the iPhone and the iPad platforms which will allow us to make the game available to these popular and growing social game audiences”, said Strategy First’s President Emanuel Wall.Dead of Night

big stack gamesBig Stack Studios has released a new game in the iTunes App Store. In Dead of Night, you will travel back to the 19th century and direct the vampire army through their conquest of Europe. In this 40 level quest you will capture villagers with your vampiric gaze and defend your legions from those of Van Helsing and the Werewolves. This title, which is OpenFeint-enabled, blends elements of castle defense and line-drawing gameplay and is available now for $ 0.99USD.

UbisoftThe Zellers store located at 8925 Torbram Road in Brampton will be holding an in-store BattleTag event with the game’s producer, Gael Seydoux, who will be on hand to talk about the new game and answer questions. The event will run from 10:00a.m. until 3:00p.m.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund will begin a new round of consultation sessions with the industry this fall. Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, and Stéphane Cardin, VP of Industry and Public Affairs, will meet with stakeholders across the country to gain input on key issues to be resolved prior to releasing the program guidelines for 2011-2012 in December.

If you wish to attend one of these sessions, you are asked to please register by selecting a location near you. Exact times and locations will be provided to registrants by email prior to each event. New this year, stakeholders who are unable to attend a session in person can participate through an online discussion forum. More details will be provided by CMF in the coming weeks.

Tungle.meScheduling site Tungle.me has once again expanded its services, allowing users to add their Facebook Events to their Tungle.me account. With this new integration users can now see their entire schedule in one, simple calendar view, allowing them to factor Facebook events into their availability, thereby avoiding those pesky double bookings. As users RSVP to new Facebook Events, those events will be added to their Tungle.me calendar, automatically updating available time slots.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaThis past Saturday marked a momentous occasion for Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and its long-standing partner Future Shop as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships program. And what better way to celebrate than to give the gift of education to 25 Boys and Girls Clubs youth across Canada. Future ShopPresented with scholarships based on their outstanding contribution to their Boys and Girls Club and local community, good academic standing and financial need, the deserving 25 recipients will use their bursary to pursue their careers and life goals through higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.Canadian Video Game Awards

Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is Bookcamp Vancouverdesigned to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.

The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.

frima studioFrima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!Zombie Tycoon

Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.

If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.

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Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat United Front Gamesenemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation has released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how toFlip Boom Lite animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:

* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width
* Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate
* Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library

There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to StoryBoard Pro 2undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.

Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.

sillysoftVancouver’s Sillysoft Games has released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010.
Castle Vox
Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.

Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the DreamCatcherrelease of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.

The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.Feature It 2010

Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:

- Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec;
– Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.

Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.

Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.

“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support fFrench Language Project Outside of Quebecrom Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”

Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.

“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”

“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills,French Language Projects Outside of Montreal increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.

Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:

- The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal.
– The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.

Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.

This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.

mytownSFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”

MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.

Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.

rare methodCalgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.

bv mediaRogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.

“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”

“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”

“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.

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4th August 2010

Nintendo Neighbourhood Tour Is Coming To A Town Near You

Nintendo CanadaNintendo of Canada Ltd. and Loblaw Companies Ltd. are partnering to bring the Nintendo Neighbourhood Tour to families across Canada. These FREE events will give consumers the chance to play great Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ games such as including Wii Sports Resort™, Wii Fit™ Plus, the Professor Layton™ series and more, as well as enjoy other family fun activities in the Nintendo Activity Gazebo. This exclusive Wii and Nintendo DSi experience is being offered to Canadians living in smaller communities throughout the country and will bring an exciting educational experience to those who have not yet had the opportunity to be visited by Nintendo.

Tour Schedule:

Medicine Hat, AB – Real Canadian Superstore
August 20-22 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Lethbridge, AB – Real Canadian Superstore
August 27-29 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Kelowna, BC – Real Canadian Superstore
September 3-6 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Mon. 12 p.m.-5 p.m.)
Chilliwack, BC – Real Canadian Superstore
September 10-12 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Nanaimo, BC – Real Canadian Superstore
September 17-19 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Halifax, NS - Joseph Howe Drive Atlantic Superstore
August 13-15 (Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Kennebecasis, NB – Campbell Road Atlantic Superstore
August 20-22 (Fri. 12 p.m. -5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Sherbrooke, QC – Maxi&Cie Sherbrooke
August 27-29 (Fri. 12 p.m. -5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Kitchener, ON – Highland Hills Real Canadian Superstore
September 10-12 (Fri. 12 p.m. -5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Newmarket, ON – Real Canadian Superstore
September 17-19 (Fri. 12 p.m. -5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.)

The Nintendo Neighbourhood Tour will also be in Saskatoon on August 10-15 at the Saskatoon Ex and in Sudbury for the Sudbury Ribfest, September 3-5.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced that it will begin a new round of consultation sessions with industry representatives this fall. Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, and Stéphane Cardin, VP of Industry and Public Affairs, will meet with stakeholders across the country to gain input on key issues to be resolved prior to releasing the program guidelines for 2011-2012 in December.

Please register by selecting a location near you. Exact times and locations will be provided to registrants by email prior to each event. New this year, stakeholders who are unable to attend a session in person can participate through an online discussion forum. More details will be provided in the coming weeks.

Pizza HutPizza Hut Canada and PepsiCo have partnered up for a Need For Speed World promotion. If you order your dinner (specifically, the EA Gamers Bundle deal) Pizza Hut NFS World Promotionthrough Pizza Hut’s online ordering feature, you could win one of eight gaming prize bundles, plus they are holding daily draws for a copy of EA’s Need For Speed World.

According to the rules, if you wish to enter without purchase, you need to send in a 100 word paragraph telling Pizza Hut what you love most about their food and restaurants. Each grand prize consists of: one gaming console of winner’s choice (winner to select one of Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Nintendo Wii) and one five pack of EA games. Total approximate retail value of each grand prize is $650.00 CDN. The contest runs until September 19, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM (EST). This contest is not available in Quebec.

frima studioWidgets Odyssey II from Frima Studio is now available on the PlayStation Store in North America for only $1.99 USD. As a PlayStation Mini title, playable on both the PlayStation®3 and PSP®, Widgets Odyssey II is a puzzle-laden, space-faring, platforming Widgets Odysseyadventure that follows in the footsteps of its prequel, Widgets Odyssey, which was launched on July 6.

Along with Widgets Odyssey, Widgets Odyssey II represents the conclusion of Frima’s “Summer of the PlayStation Mini” which also included the launch of Young Thor, one of the most critically successful PlayStation Minis in history.

In the Widgets Odyssey saga, five robots aboard their space vessel have just one simple mission… to save the universe from the tyrannical Yagor and his evil henchmen! Armed with the abilities of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmut, and Monk, players will guide each robot along their exciting adventures filled with puzzles, mazes and minigames. Read the rest of this entry »

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31st July 2010

Spike Spencer Appearing At Anime Evolution

frima studioThe Widgets are back! Frima Studio has announced that Widgets Odyssey II will be landing on the PlayStation Store in North America for only $1.99 USD on August 3, 2010. As a PlayStation Mini title, playable on both the PlayStation®3 and PSP®  systems, Widgets Odyssey II will conclude the intergalactic platforming exploits of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmet and Monk first embarked upon in Widgets Odyssey, which launched on July 6.Widgets Odyssey

Widgets Odyssey II represents the conclusion of Frima’s “Summer of the PlayStation Mini” in which Widgets Odyssey and Young Thor were also released.

“What a summer! I think with the release of Widgets Odyssey and Young Thor, we have shown the gaming world at large that the PlayStation Mini platform is one worth paying attention to,” said Steve Couture, CEO and co-founder of Frima Studio. “We’re proud to continue that tradition with Widgets Odyssey II, and we can’t wait to see the reaction from gamers looking to play the next great Mini.”

In the Widgets Odyssey saga, five robots aboard their space vessel have just one simple mission: to save the universe from the tyrannical Yagor and his evil henchmen! Armed with the abilities of Spad, Cosmo, Bruce, Helmut, and Monk, players will guide each robot along their exciting adventures filled with puzzles, mazes and minigames.

BeamDogThere is a new age in computing dawning, a redefinition of the computing user experience and PC software needs to catch up. The old methods of getting, installing and using software no longer apply. Edmonton-based Beamdog defines the new model for the PC software lifecycle.

Beamdog is about fun, about finding great games and playing them. “When I want a new game I just want to find it, get it and get playing as fast as possible.” says co-founder and President Trent Oster. “I don’t want to physically go to a store, browse the limited selection on shelves and go home with a “passable” game. I don’t want to sit through a lengthy and pointless installation. I want a great selection of the best games ever made, all in one place and I want to get playing fast; that is what we intend for Beamdog.”

Founded by industry veterans Trent Oster and Cameron Tofer, Beamdog connects customers with games quick and easy. With an exclusive focus on digital distribution, Beamdog supports game developers and publishers in connecting with their audience. Beamdog represents the start of an open, transparent and rapidly-expanding digital market and they want you to know that they are open for business.

Anime EvolutionActor Spike Spencer will be appearing as a guest at the Anime Evolution Anime Convention in Vancouver August 13-15. Anime Evolution 2010 at the University of British Columbia is Vancouver’s premiere Asian popular cultural event where audiences and industry interact directly in an informal setting.

The three-day convention is expected to draw close to 6,000 attendees this year and brings together art, animation (anime), comic books (manga), video games, film and music in a celebration of Asian popular culture and multimedia. Events take place starting Friday, August 13, and end Sunday, August 15. Everyone is welcome to register as attendees. The price for a three-day pass is $55 CAD for a three-day pass and daily passes are available.spike spencer

The convention highlights Vancouver’s local creative talent as well as showcasing the work of artists from Canada and abroad. Convention attendees can attend Q&A’s and workshops with voice actors, directors, artists, animators, comic books publishers and game developers. Video screenings, video game rooms, a cultural festival and live performances by DJs, bands and improv actors are sure to keep guests thoroughly entertained.

New for this year is the Artist’s Villa, a sizeable space devoted to creative talents of all kinds, including writing, drawing, and performances. Cosplay is encouraged. Gutsier attendees can participate in a fashion show or take part in the highly- competitive singing contest, Anime Idol. Those looking for official merchandise, like comic books or videos, should definitely make a visit a dealers area one of their top priorities.

Vancouver-based social comparison shopping engine TinyMassive has completed a private placement of 3,430,000 common shares at TBwaPa price of $0.05 per share for aggregate proceeds of $171,500, which will be used to in the operation of operations of TBwaP, Inc. TinyMassive currently owns 49% of TBwaP, a free community website and weekday e-mail newsletter for new and expectant moms. Tight Bod with a Pod aims to create the insider’s guide to pre- and postnatal fitness and healthy living – from work out regimens and yummy snacks on-the-go to the best baby gadgets and family travel ideas, all written and approved by chic, modern moms. Although pregnancy and motherhood know no borders, Tight Bod with a Pod is currently located in Los Angeles. TinyMassive is in negotiations to purchase the remaining 51% of TBwaP, and plans to close a second private placement to raise up to an additional $230,000 within the next 10 days.

inspire2goInspire 2 Go, a new Ottawa-based website that inspires travelers with “Top 10″ style lists and personalized recommendations for destinations, hotels, and other places, announces the Best of Canada Awards 2010 contest. The contest, open to public voting until August 31, seeks the best cities, towns, and national or provincial parks in Canada in 5 categories:

Best Family Destinations
Best Romantic Destinations
Best Nature Destinations
Best Beach Destinations
Best Golf Destinations

Anyone can vote for as many places on each list as they like and add new places if their favorites are missing. The winners in each category will be featured on Inspire2go for the rest of the year.

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29th July 2010

Gaming World Entertainment Network Helps Gamers Give Back

Gamers Giving BackInternet radio fans, check out Gaming World Entertainment Network, an internet station with roots in Canada. While the station is on the air for anyone to listen to, Guild Wars players can interact directly with radio DJs right in the Guild Wars world, participating in special events and fundraisers such as the upcoming Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) whereby players are encouraged to dress their characters in pink on October 16th to show their Pink Day in Lion's Archsupport for breast cancer research. For those who would like to also donate financially to the cause, GW-EN has a donation page on the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising site. Station co-founder Rhonda Head, who lives in Saskatchewan, wanted to not only entertain and interact with Guild Wars players, but also give them a chance to give back to the global community. GW-EN has partnered with Gamers Giving Back, providing a way for gamers to come together as a group and help support a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross for Haiti relief effort and the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Gaming World Entertainment Network plays a wide variety of music, and starting today at 1pm PDT, Michael (a.k.a. The CaveChild) makes his return to internet radio as DJ Behemoth. If you are a Guild Wars player, you’ll be able to find him in Kaineng Harbour rocking it out on one of the boats in American District 1.

Koolhaus GamesKoolhaus Games announces Voting for Round One of its International Contest for Unsigned Bands. The Top 25 Favorites in each Round are being decided by voters to the site. The Top 10 Winner’s Songs will be included in the new soundtrack of their popular iPhone game – iMP:Surf the Music and the groups will earn royalties from game sales.

Just visit the site, click on the Contest link – and go to “Fans: Vote and Enter”. Check out the bands and vote for your favorite by August 23, 2010. Then, Enter to Win an iPod Touch. Enjoy all the great new songs and be part of getting these Unsigned Acts the exposure they deserve! There will be several Rounds and one Voter from each round wins an iPod Touch.

National Film BoardThe National Film Board of Canada returns to 2010 Hiroshima International Animation Festival (August 7–11) with six films in competition. In the running for the Grand Prix are Lipsett Diaries and Drux Flux, two films by Theodore Ushev; Jeu de forme by Malcolm Sutherland; The Spine by Chris Landreth; Runaway by Cordell Barker and Retouches by Georges Schwizgebel. Ushev will be in Hiroshima, and Internet users can stay in touch with him via his blog.

The festival offers several programs in addition to the official competition. No fewer than 11 NFB films are featured at special presentations: Neighbours by Norman McLaren screens at the opening gala; Vive la rose by Bruce Alcock, co-produced with the Canadian company Global Mechanic, screens at the Best of the World program; and When the Day Breaks by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Village of Idiots by Rose Newlove and Eugene Fedorenko, The Big Snit by Richard Condie and Ryan by Chris Landreth, co-produced by the Toronto-based company Copperheart Entertainment, are among the films selected for the program celebrating the festival’s 25th anniversary. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th July 2010

Contests Pitches and New Games Make For A Great Day

There are some contests going on across the country which I feel will be of interest to most, if not all, of you. 3podFirst, recruiting agency 3pod is holding a summer referral contest. If you refer a successful career position candidate to their office (see contest details), you could be the proud owner of a shiny new gaming console. You will need to refer a friend before September 30th, and that friend will need to be successfully hired by December 31st 2010. Village Gamer needs a PS3…is there anyone out there needing a referral?

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation and Sci-Fi industry community MyOuterSpace.com are joining forces to make the greatest talent in the creative galaxy come forward and shine! This contest will challenge your creativity and originality and show the universe your support for MyOuterSpace.com. With the animated William Shatner starring in your lead role and three audio voiceovers to choose from, this is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a top-notch animator. Watch this video for more information about the upcoming contest, which will open for entries in August 2010:

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

Gemini Awards 2010Not exactly a contest, but still worthy of mention, the Gemini Awards are looking for your best artwork. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Gemini Awards, organizers are creating a very special piece of Canadian art. According to their web site, they are looking for a unique way to tell the story of the 25 years of excellence in Canadian programming behind us, and many more years of innovation to come. This will take shape with ‘Gemini Nights’ which will in part be made up of user submitted images that are iconic in nature and instantly recognizable. It could be a show title, a screen shot from a promo poster, a character everyone knows, or a logo that speaks to success. Organizers ask that images be submitted by Wednesday, August 4th via their online form. Take note that you must have rights to any images which you submit for consideration.

Ottawa International Animation FestivalWant to pitch a product to and get feedback from the likes of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and TELETOON? Get yourself over the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s web site and find out all of the details. The deadline to apply is September 1st, so don’t delay.

Pitch Participation Requirements:

* Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget, (1-2 pages)
* One episode synopsis
* Bios of key executives
* Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
* Concept art (2 or 3 images)

xmg studioXMG Studio would like you all to know about the upcoming launch of Cannon Cadets, its latest mobile game available for iPhone and iPod Touch users, rocketing into Apple’s App Store in early August 2010.

From the award-winning company that brought you Drag Racer, Little Metal Ball and Marine Sharpshooter, XMG Studio’s Cannon Cadets is a supremely addictive physics game with 80 visually stimulating and diabolically devious levels to challenge children and adults alike.Cannon Cadets

In this new game, you are Rocketboy, who must save your team of Cannon Cadets from Gordo, an evil lab monkey, and his robot army, that are determined to rid the universe of all that is fun. Players will shoot their cadets at the robots, trying to knock them out while dealing with complex structures that follow advanced physics rules including rolls, slides and hinges!

Each level is a new challenge, from basic structures to complex Rube Goldberg-esque machines that will test the skills of even the bravest cadet. As players advance, the Cannon Cadet team members will need to rescue fun new friends and add to the player’s arsenal of special powers to use against Gordo. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th July 2010

GameStop Canada To Host Dragon Quest IX Tag Mode Events

Nintendo CanadaSelect GameStop/EB Games locations across Canada are hosting exclusive Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Tag Mode events on Saturday, July 31, from 2pm – 4pm. Along Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies with trading maps with other attendees, players will also be able to download an exclusive map, and have the chance to win a Midnight Blue Nintendo DSi XL.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the latest game for the Nintendo DS family of systems. The game combines imaginative game play with social fun, setting players out on an epic adventure. Maps allow players to find otherwise inaccessible special dungeons called grottoes, which can contain rare items or enemies. In Tag Mode, treasure maps and customized greetings can be exchanged automatically by players who come within range of one another. For a complete list of participating GameStop/EB Games locations across Canada please visit the Dragon Quest product page on the GameStop web site.

UbisoftUbisoft Montreal has announced an Assassin’s Creed comic book mini-series is currently in development and due for release this fall. Developed by Eisner Award nominees and Shuster Award-winning illustrators Cameron Stewart (Batman & Robin, Seaguy and Catwoman) and Karl Kerschl (Superman and The Flash), the Assassin’s Creed comic mini-series will be unveiled during a panel to be held on July 22, 2010 from 3:30–4:30 p.m. in Room 7AB at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Moderated by G4TV’s Morgan Webb, the panel entitled “Assassin’s Creed: Behind and Beyond the Brotherhood” will include details of the new comic series and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game release. Featured panelists will include Stewart and Kerschl, along with Jeffrey Johalem, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood video game scriptwriter. Stewart and Kerschl recently visited Saint Petersburg, Russia on a research trip for the upcoming project. That visit, along with the teaser video released today, will give fans an inkling on where and when the new Assassin comic series will be taking place. Additional details on the project will be revealed at the Comic-Con panel.

The new comic series is part of Ubisoft Montreal’s UbiWorkshop initiative that encompasses a number of the studio’s projects related to leveraging Ubisoft intellectual properties in entertainment mediums outside of video games, such as comic books.

“We always thought that the Assassin’s Creed universe would be perfect for transmedia initiatives like this new comic series,” said Mathieu Ferland, transmedia senior producer at Ubisoft Montreal. “We are excited to have the fantastic and acclaimed artists Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl working on the project. Ubisoft is looking forward to showing Assassin’s Creed fans what these talented artists have been up to at next week’s Comic-Con panel.”

CAPCOM Following last week’s news that Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, the full feature film based on Capcom’s popular video game, Dead Rising, will be distributed in Europe and North America, we are pleased to confirm more details on when and where fans can view Inafune-san’s directorial debut. Split into a number of episodes that will be distributed over a number of weeks, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, will be made available as a free download exclusively on Xbox Live from August 4th, before going live on www.deadrisingsun.com a week later. As an added bonus, certain episodes will begin with interviews featuring Inafune-san where he will provide insight into the film making process. The movie will also be available on the North American Dead Rising 2 Zombrex Edition as mentioned below. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th July 2010

Peer 1 Officially Opens ServerBeach Canada

CanadaA reminder to Canadian dev studios that the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle is planning activities around Casual Connect Seattle 2010 (July 20 – 22) to promote the Canadian game development industry, including a networking event, a Canada table at the show and a Canada Casual Games Organization Directory. Discounted registration is also available on a limited basis. For information on these activities and how to become involved, please contact Victoria Hayes or Neil Swain for more information. Still with government news, Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo–Prince George is scheduled to make an announcement regarding the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians programme tomorrow afternoon at the Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre in Prince George.iTunes Canada

The Apple Canada App Store recently added a new app category entitled, “Great Canadian Apps“. This feature, as the name implies, recognizes apps created by Canadian-based companies. Only 29 Canadian-made apps have made the short list thus far, for everything from navigating Montreal to finance and productivity. It would be really nice to see a Made In Canada game feature as well, although searching for Canadian games in the App store does yield some interesting results…

Drum StudioAll Seeing Eye Games announced today the release of a title update for the Xbox 360 game Drum Studio. The update for the award-winning drum recording game adds full support for velocity-sensitive drum kits. This new feature allows players with supported Xbox 360 drum kits to control the volume of their in-game drums by how hard they hit their real-life Xbox 360 drum pads.

Lead Programmer Darren Joe says, “This title update is a thank you to all the players who have made Drum Studio a success. For those with compatible drum kits, it adds a whole new dimension to Drum Studio’s already unparalleled recording tools.”

Drum Studio is an award-winning virtual drum recording app for Xbox 360 that allows players to play, record, edit, save and playback their own song creations using their Xbox 360 drum kits or controllers. It features a powerful easy-to-use recording interface, hundreds of high quality drum sounds and fully animated characters. It has received widespread critical acclaim since its release, including an Editor’s Choice Award from teamxbox.com.

The title update also includes fixes for an incorrect sign-in change detection and a conflict with cymbal expansion kits. Drum Studio is available now exclusively on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 80 Microsoft Points or try the free trial on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

snow days gamesSnow Day Games, a new game development studio based in Charlottetown has announced that its original title for iPhone and iPod Touch, Fly vs. Car, is now available. Snow Day Games has partnered with international charity “Child’s Play” to put games and toys in the hands of sick children all over the world by sharing 50% of the profit from sales of the game to charity.

“Fly vs. Car is a fun, casual game for players of all ages and that fits with our goal of making a game that can do good in the world for children,” said Matthew White, chief creative officer of Snow Day Games. “As players dodge traffic in homage to Frogger and other great games where you avoid getting flattened, they can also know that their gaming is helping others.”

In Fly vs. Car, players avoid oncoming traffic for as long as possible by moving their fly from side to side. It’s a challenging and fun, fast paced game where the faster your reflexes, the higher your score. Fly vs. Car features OpenFeint, Facebook, and Twitter integration, so high scores can be shared and players can compete against their friends on the leaderboards.

Cross Media TorontoCross Media Toronto has announced new additions to its line-up of industry executives and technology experts to speak, demonstrate and debate at its symposium this July 21st, 2010. The event is in partnership with NATPE, the MaRS Discovery District, the CFC Media Lab and Bell, with the additional support from Canadian Media Fund, Idea Couture, MarbleMedia and Bellfund.

Newly added speakers include SVP Managing Director of Arc Worldwide Richard Bernstein and Chief Digital Officer of TBWA Worldwide Colleen DeCourcy in a conversation on the future of the advertising industry titled ‘The Changing Agency: Evolution or Revolution. President of Digital Extremes Ltd Michael Schmalz rounds out the super panel which includes SVP Director Digital for Random House of Canada Lisa Charters, Head of Agency Relations for Google Canada Sabrina Geremia and Senior Business Development Manager for RIM Pete Watson, while Core Matrix Creator Jacob Blackstock, President and Founder of Secret Location James Milward and CEO of ES3 Douglas Edwards will be presenting technology demos which will explore the latest innovations in digital media. Read the rest of this entry »

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