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12th January 2010

Which Cities Will Be Featured in Monopoly Canadian Edition

HasbroToronto – Which Canadian city is your favourite? Hasbro is launching a nation wide vote to find our nation’s 22 favourite cities that will be included on the new Monopoly Canada game board!

The voting began last night at midnight ET, with Monopoly fans casting their ballots for  their favourite Canadian cities to help create a new Monopoly Canada game board. Sixty-five great Canadian cities have been pre-selected for the top 20 city vote and Canadians are invited to cast their ballots for 3 of these great cities each day of the vote, which will be open until February 7, 2010. The city that receives the most votes will be placed on the highest rent property traditionally held by Boardwalk.

The 20 cities that receive the most votes will be part of Monopoly history as the first cities selected Monopoly Canadato be on the Canadian game board through a consumer vote. However, two spaces on the board will be reserved for cities that are nominated through a wild card vote, which means any city in Canada can be nominated for these property spaces. Once the top 20 city vote is complete, the top 10 nominated wild card cities will also be put to a vote and the wild card winners will occupy the low-rent property spaces traditionally held by Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue. The wild card vote will take place from February 8, 2010 until February 21, 2010.

“Monopoly is the world’s most popular branded board game and it transcends cultural barriers,” said Michelle Sinclair, Brand Manager for Monopoly. “More than 750 million people have played the game since it was first introduced 75 years ago and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.”

“The final result of the Monopoly Canada Edition will be surprising and only time will tell how the vote will turn out. We hope that fans will vote early and often for their favourite Canadian city” added Michelle.

The 65 cities pre-selected for the nation-wide vote are:

Monopoly Canada Cities

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13th December 2009

Competitions Awards Debuts and Holiday Fun

Inspirado GamesVancouver – A reminder to developers that today is the final day for entering Inspirado Games design Competition Sunshine. Competition Sunshine is an opportunity for the Game Development community to give a voice to individuals passionate about video game design, through a fun and worthwhile game design competition. To enter, participants must make a donation to the Child’s Play Charity of $20 (USD) or more (100% of entry fees go to charity) and conform to the design criteria. Finalists will be judged by a panel of experienced game design professionals – with winners receiving prizes and, of course, bragging rights.

This competition is intended to give individuals in the gaming community an opportunity to showcase their talent. A profile will be written about the winner (with their permission) and published online for all to see. Please note that all Intellectual Property Rights (copyright) of the submitted design concept will remain the sole property of the entrant – and who knows – entrants may get their game developed!

Spike 2009 VGAEveryone at Village Gamer would like to extend their congratulations to the dev teams at Ubisoft Montreal, EA Canada and Bioware for their wins at last night’s Spike Video Game Awards. Assassin’s Creed 2 was chosen as the Best Action Adventure Game for 2009, while NHL 10 was chosen as the Best Team Sports Game for 2009, and Dragon Age: Origins won two categories – Best PC Game of the Year and Best RPG of the Year. We kept our fingers crossed for Assassin’s Creed 2 in the Game of the Year category, but Uncharted 2 stole it away.

Also impressive were the Canadian-made game trailer debuts aired during the Awards show, and we’re now looking forward to getting our hands on United Front Games’ True Crime, Ubisoft Montreal’s Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands and Propaganda Games’ Tron Evolution. An impressive show of our great Canadian talent in front of the world.

Speaking of awards (on a much smaller scale), I’d like to remind everyone to get those nominations in for our Readers’ Choice Canadian Video Game Awards. Nominations close on December 31st – you don’t need to sign up to nominate and there are no nomination fees, but don’t assume that someone else has already nominated your favourite titles, studios and characters.

This Friday is the Holiday Gathering event for Vancouver Interactive Night Out. We invite you to join us for some holiday fun and socializing in the back room at Yagger’s (433 West Pender Street Vancouver) starting at 6:30pm. You can RSVP on either Facebook or LinkedIn. We have a little special something planned and we need an estimate on numbers, so please let us know if you’ll be attending.

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11th December 2009

New Titles, Contests And Jobs

Hothead GamesVancouver – A whole new audience of gamers will be able to unwrap Braid soon! Hothead Games proudly announced today that Jonathan Blow’s beloved indie title will arrive in the European PlayStation®Network on Dec. 17 for only €9.99, offering current and soon-to-be PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system owners a little extra holiday cheer this season.

Players will explore the human condition and manipulate time with our hero Tim in the lush, painterly world of Braid. An Independent Games Festival winner, this puzzle-platformer takes you from a house in the city on a journey through a seriesBraid of worlds to solve puzzles and rescue the princess. In each world, you have a different power to affect the way time behaves, including the ability to rewind, create parallel realities and utilize time dilation to overcome the many obstacles in your path. There is no filler in this game; every puzzle shows you something new and interesting about the game world.

Key Features:

Non-traditional platforming: You can never die and never lose, but challenge is always present and focused on solving puzzles, rather than forcing you to play and replay tricky jumps.
• Puzzle-rich environment. Travel through a series of worlds, searching for puzzle pieces and solving puzzles by manipulating time: rewinding, creating parallel universes and setting up pockets of dilated time. The game play is always fresh and new and the puzzles inspire new ways of thinking.
Aesthetic design: A painterly art style and lush, organic soundtrack complement the unique game play.
Nonlinear story: A nonlinear fiction links the various worlds and provides real-world metaphors for your time manipulations; act out these themes at your own pace, exploring playful “what if” universes.
Forgiving game play: The game doesn’t force you to solve puzzles in order to proceed. If you can’t figure something out, just play onward and return to that puzzle later.

Complex GamesWinnipegComplex Games Inc. is proud to announce their first self-published game for the iPhone and iTouch.  Skipping Stones is currently in production and will be soon be available for sale on the iTunes store. Slated for a mid-December 2009 release date, Skipping Stones is a casual recreational game that you can play on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

“Skipping Stones is going to make a splash on the iPhone”, said Noah Decter-Jackson Co-founder and Project Director at Complex Games, “the game combines relaxing gameplay mechanics that simulate actually skipping stones across the water in several beautiful settings. Skipping Stones will instantly appeal because of its lush environments and enjoyable music. Players can just relax or challenge themselves and their friends to make the longest skip!”

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

Walk down to the beach and toss your cares away with the simple motion controls, or compete against other players online to make the most skips. Skipping Stones offers the gamer several beautiful landscapes, three different challenge modes and the ability to compete online against other players via Open Feint.

Stir Fry GamesGuelph – Independent game developer Stir Fry Games is proud to announce the Windows version of SFG Soccer is now available online. SFG Soccer is the arcade-style indoor soccer game whose short game times, easy-to-learn controls, and fast-paced gameplay have made SFG Soccerit a smash hit on the Xbox Live Indie Games platform. In it’s first month on Xbox Live, the game has already been featured in the Top Rated, Top Downloads, and the Top IGN.com Picks lists. SFG Soccer is currently one of the top-rated games on the service, with a 4-star rating in the United States, and an astounding 4 1/2 star rating in the United Kingdom.

The game has an extensive multi-season 64-team career mode, complete with a custom team & player editors, playoffs and an RPG-style skill improvement system. The Windows version also includes new features requested by fans including individual player stats, higher difficulty settings, league leaders, and the ability to edit and share your league easily using external programs such as Microsoft Excel.

Light Switch StudiosVancouver – A team of Art Institute Vancouver students have published their latest game on the web. Light Switch Studios is proud to announce their single player PC 2D side-scrolling platform title Fotagogos, which will officially release on FotagogosDecember 15th. Gamers will play through the game as Phil, a young miner who is sent out by his family to gather the light crystals they need to survive. As Phil gathers the light crystals using his special light-switching helmet, he used one of three colours to help him defeat the enemies and find his way through the dark caverns. Phil can use the powers of Red, Green or Blue light to speed through dangerous territory while Green light will help Phil leap to high ledges. Making use of the Blue light will help Phil defy gravity and float to a safe landing. Fotagogos is a tool-based game which the team built from the ground up, and they have included level editing tools for players to mod and expand their game experience.

Swim RecruitingVancouverSwim Recruiting has posted the following career position for a Technical Lead in PHP Games at a Vancouver development studio:

• High level technical direction and low level coding participation
• Entrepreneurial, growing, and action-packed environment
• Lead a talented and experienced development team

Do you have strong leadership skills combined with expert knowledge of the LAMP stack and software development best practices at both the architectural and code level?

A Vancouver ‘home grown’ organization based in funky Gastown is on the lookout for an experienced and knowledgeable Technical Lead to direct and lead a professional, fun, and dynamic software team. This team will develop and enhance new and existing games for social network platforms such as Facebook and iPhone applications.

Working closely with the Studio Producer and Creative Director, you will be charged with establishing high level technical direction and supervision as well as ‘rolling up the sleeves’ and developing code. You will lead and motivate the team to release up to 8 multiple titles on various platforms per year. As well as excellent communication and documentation skills, you must have expert LAMP stack skills and knowledge combined with the ability to direct, lead and motivate a small group of open-source developers. You will also be highly competent at setting up and establishing development policies, frameworks, and best practices to ensure a fast paced, action packed, rapid prototyping, iterative model in a social and collaborative team orientated environment.

In order to be considered for this role you must be able to demonstrate the following:

• Expert proficiency (7+ years) in all areas of LAMP development at the architecture and code level
• Flash/flex development skills and solid Unix based tools and system administration skills
• Experience setting up and establishing software development frameworks, policies, and best practices
• Be a natural leader and manager with the skills and track record to motivate and grow the development team
• Passion for a wide variety of Gaming technologies and methodologies
• Graduation from a four year college or university, a degree from a recognized design school, or two to four years of related experience and training.

This is a fantastic opportunity to lead a modern, fast paced, innovative, fun and dynamic development team working on some of the latest games and applications with bleeding-edge open source technologies – apply by sending your resume to Brian Thompson at Swim Recruiting.

Blue Castle GamesVancouverBlue Castle Games has the following career positions open for local candidates:

Rendering Software Engineer
Senior Technical Artist
Senior or Franchise Project Manager
Producer
Environment Artist (Contract & Full Time) – DEAD RISING 2 (new listing)
Contract Compliance/Online/Gameplay QA Tester (6 months) – DEAD RISING 2
Lead Level Designer
Online Software Engineer

Please visit their Careers page for more details.

Pareto LogicVictoria – Most people are careful to shred their financial documents and keep a careful hold on their personal paperwork, but what about online and on their PCs? With the ever-present threat of spyware and identity theft, ensuring that personal details remain safe should be a top priority for all computer users. The latest version of ParetoLogic’s Privacy Controls software aims to make this task easier, and a lot more thorough.

Every action taken on a PC is recorded. Downloaded programs, visited websites, opened files, entered passwords and even instant messages are locked deep in a computer’s memory. A clever hacker who Privacy Controlsinfiltrates a computer may copy online banking information for illegal transactions, steal personal data for identity theft, hijack email accounts for spamming, or snoop on the user’s private life.

Norman Eldridge, Technical Product Manager at ParetoLogic, said that “even with security software protecting against malware, people need to consider other methods that their personal data may be compromised: selling their used PC, having their computer stolen, or even being spied on by people who share their system.”

The latest web browsers have responded to this threat with new privacy options and ‘stealth’ modes. Internet Explorer 8’s InPrivate mode, for example, stores only the cookies and temporarily internet files required to browse normally, and then deletes these files automatically. However, Mr. Eldridge explained that this is not enough. “To fully erase your private details and history, you need to overwrite the data. Otherwise it is recoverable.” Privacy Control’s shred functionality does just that, overwriting browsing history, application history, and user-selected files. This permanently destroys the data, which cannot be restored, even with highly developed data recovery tools.

The most recent version of Privacy Controls upgrades these shred features, enhancing the scanning process to clean personal information from the latest programs. The expansion also adds support for the new 32-bit Windows 7 operating system. “A new operating system does not necessarily provide new security for personal information. If anything, the latest OS has more ways for your data to be recorded,” said Mr. Eldridge. Along with support for Windows 7 32-bit, Privacy Controls also supports Windows Vista and XP.

LogoBeeMontreal – In the spirit of the season, LogoBee proudly announces its fourth annual Logo Design Makeover. Any charity or non-profit organization may enter the contest, and submissions must be received by January 1, 2010.

LogoBee holds the Logo Design Makeover annually as a way of giving back to the community. By reducing overhead costs such as logo design and branding, these organizations can focus funds on the important services they offer. Having a previous logo or brand development is not necessary to enter. Depending on each winning group’s preferences, the LogoBee designers can refine an existing logo, or they can start from scratch. Each winning participant receives custom logo design from logobee.com, as well as professional stationery design complete with letterhead, envelope, and business cards. Contest submission is free.

LogoBee held its first Logo Design Makeover contest in 2005, welcoming any charities and non-profit organizations to enter. LogoBee adds two grand prizes to the contest, among other changes this year. The grand prize winners will receive a BundleBee package from Logobee.com for the deeply discounted price of $500. The package, normally priced at $1199, includes professional logo design, stationery design, and website design. In addition, LogoBee will randomly select 10 entries to receive a Golden package, which includes custom logo design with tailor-made stationery design included. Each Golden package will be offered for the nominal rate of $100, originally priced at $425.

Donating professional design services to charities and non-profit organizations is one important way that LogoBee feels it is important to give back to the community. LogoBee will announce the winners January 8, 2010, and notify the winners via email.

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8th December 2009

CDW Canada Announces Second Annual Teaching With Technology Contest

CDW CanadaEtobicokeCDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions for Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors, today launched its second annual Teaching with Technology™ Story Contest and Sweepstakes, offering Canadian** educators and administrators opportunities to win information technology (IT) for their classrooms and schools by entering a three-tiered contest. The contest begins today and will run until February 28, 2010.Last year's (2008) Grand Prize Story Contest winner Carolyn Logan-Estey (Crescent Park Elementary) and CDW Canada's JD Hupp

The Teaching with Technology program is made up of three distinct contests:

  • A ‘Story Contest’ allows educators and administrators to submit a description of how IT has improved the learning experience in their classroom or school.
  • ‘Tweet ur Tech Tale’ is similar to the Story Contest, but stories must be submitted via Twitter, and therefore written within Twitter’s 140-character limit.
  • A ‘Sweepstakes’ contest is open to entry by educators and administrators.

“Given the overwhelming response we received from last year’s Teaching with Technology campaign, CDW Canada is delighted to host the contests once again for K-12 teachers and educators across Canada,” said Mary Ann Yule, General Manager, CDW Canada. “Last year’s story submissions showed us many examples of the interesting and unique ways teachers are using technology to enhance the education process. CDW Canada is proud to reward these educators who play such an important role in preparing young Canadians to make their mark in the world.”

With up to $18,700 in total prizes, the second annual contest has received generous support from many of CDW Canada’s technology partners including premier sponsors Hewlett Packard (HP) and Microsoft, along with APC, Atdec, Cisco, D-link, Lenovo, McAfee, Oki, Polyvision, Sony, Trend Micro, TrippLite and Xerox.

Contest entry is easy and interactive

CDW Canada, a valued IT partner to the education sector, understands the importance of leading-edge technology in schools and classrooms. Educators must be equipped with the best IT tools to create an Last year's (2008) Runner-Up Story Contest winner Jay Major (Northern Lights Elementary) with students and officialsenriching learning environment for students, so the Teaching with Technology program offers Canadian K-12 educators and school administrators three ways to participate and win. The contests are easy to enter, and include interactive elements that provide insight into the many ways educators are leveraging today’s technologies to enhance the education process.

To enter the Story Contest – Entrants must submit a short story (200-500 words) that describes how technology (computers, networks, projectors, the Internet, e-mail, software, etcetera) improves the learning experience in their classroom or school. Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd December 2009

Submissions, Seminars, Contests and Now Hiring

GDC CanadaVancouver – The call for submissions to present content for lectures, roundtables and panel sessions for the 2010 Game Developers Conference® Canada (GDC Canada) is now open through midnight, Tuesday, January 5, 2010. GDC Canada serves as a nexus point for established and promising young studios to learn best practices for developing new global titles and understanding emerging digital distribution models. The second annual GDC Canada is presented by Reboot Communications and Think Services, the organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference. GDC Canada 2010 will return to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010.

Canada houses more than 260 videogame and digital entertainment studios and an ecosystem of more than 60 universities focused on gaming studies. With this accomplished community of national and international talent to draw from, Vancouver’s GDC Canada is the premier event for professionals to discover new insights into developing popular international titles, managing established franchises and taking advantage of thriving digital distribution models.

“GDC Canada provides the perfect opportunity for game development teams to share knowledge for developing established franchises and guidance on taking advantage of new game distribution models,” says Izora de Lillard, event director. “GDC Canada really benefits from the incredibly talented community here, and we can’t wait to see what useful and insightful content they bring with them when GDC returns to Canada in early May.”

The session formats for this year’s content include 25 and 60 minute lectures, panels, and roundtables. The GDC Canada advisory board will rate sessions based on the criteria of concept, depth, organization, credentials and takeaway. The topics for this year include:

— Business/Production
— Digital Distribution
— Game Design
— iPhone Games
— Programming
— Social and Casual Games
— Visual Arts

VIATeCVictoriaVIATeC is pleased to announce the opening of the nomination period for the 2009 VIATeC 25. The VIATeC 25 is an annual listing of the largest technology companies headquartered or founded in Greater Victoria based on revenue. To be eligible for inclusion in the VIATeC 25 please check our guidelines.

Companies listed on the VIATeC 25 will be announced at the exclusive VIATeC Christmas Party on December 17 where members will gather to celebrate the end of another successful year. Results will also be published on the VIATeC website and in the media.

For more information or to submit a nomination please contact Michelle. Cut off for nomination submissions is December 14, 2009.

To RSVP for VIATeC’s Members Only Christmas party on Dec 17 at Sauce Restaurant & Lounge from 3:30 pm please email our office.

Pixar CanadaVancouverPixar Canada, who launched their new web site this week, has now announced some of the job openings for their new Vancouver studio. They are currently looking to fill openings for Layout Artist, Production Manager, Manger of Finance and Manager of Information Systems. Upcoming openings include positions in their IT and Software Engineering departments. Future positions to be filled in 2010 include those who work in Modeling, Shading, Rigging, Animation, Lighting, FX, Simulation, Art, Production Staff…and an ex-Navy SEAL? At least they aren’t looking for a partridge and a pear tree…

digital albertaCalgaryDigital Alberta has announced their New Year’s Evolution event with strategic innovation practitioner, international lecturer and author Alexander Manu. Held in partnership with the Canadian Marketing Association and Telefilm Canada, New Year’s Evolution will take place on January 19th at Calgary’s Theatre Junction Grand and Velvet Lounge. Tickets are $55 for DA or CMA Members and $95 for Non-Members.

UbisoftTorontoUbisoft has made a contest out of announcing where their new Toronto studio will be located. Employee #1 has started posting clues on his FaceBook page with a link to this video on YouTube:

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

The first person to guess the address of Ubisoft Toronto’s new studio location wins a copy of Avatar The Game (from Employee #1 – you must enter via his Facebook page).

Rusty Axe GamesTerrace Rusty Axe Games, a developer and publisher of downloadable game software, is proud to announce the release of Real Estate Empire 2 version 1.0!

Real Estate Empire 2 is the sequel to our popular game, Real E$tate Empire! For the real estate mogul in everybody, Real Estate Empire 2 contains over thirty different levels packed into four different scenarios.

Real Estate Empire 2 features a streamlined upgrade and renovation system that makes the game easier to pick up and play. Real Estate Empire 2 also features a new goals based system that has players leveling up through a variety of different scenarios and goals. The much requested feature of renting has been added – do you wait for good renters who won’t damage your newly renovated bungalow or do you get somebody in there to start paying the mortgage today?

Real E$tate Empire 2’s user friendly difficulty system allows players of all ages and capabilities to enjoy the game. Players will be entertained for hours while learning about real estate management at the same time!

Real Estate Empire 2 is the real estate game that teaches you how to win… at the real estate game!

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26th November 2009

News From The West

Inspirado GamesVancouverInspirado Games has opened their Competition Sunshine for entry. Competition Sunshine is an opportunity for the Game Development community to give a voice to individuals passionate about video game design, through a fun and worthwhile game design competition. To enter, participants must make a donation to the Child’s Play Charity of $20 (USD) or more (100% of entry fees go to charity) and conform to the design criteria. Finalists will be judged by a panel of experienced game design professionals – with winners receiving prizes and, of course, bragging rights.

This competition is intended to give individuals in the gaming community an opportunity to showcase their talent. A profile will be written about the winner (with their permission) and published online for all to see. Please note that all Intellectual Property Rights (copyright) of the submitted design concept will remain the sole property of the entrant – and who knows – entrants may get their game developed! Entry deadline is December 13th, so get that design concept in now.

F5 ExpoVancouver – The F5 Expo has opened its site for the April 7 2010 conference in Vancouver. F5 Expo is a forward thinking resource meant to jump start businesses into “the know” on future trends within the online space.

The event converges interactive exhibits, peer idea-collaboration amongst fellow Owners, Executives and Buyers, and edge-of-your-seat conferences into one explosive day. The focus is on refreshing business strategies through captivating content and storytelling with an “AHA” factor on such topics as mobile apps, search marketing, business blogs/webinars, social media, web 2.0 and more.

I’ve visited previous F5 expos (under the Massive Technology incarnation), and have always come away with new insight into business and technology – I highly recommend attendance.

knowledge.caBurnabyKnowledge.ca has launched a new, interactive space for British Columbians. With a fresh look and creative design, Knowledge.ca extends the television experience by streaming full length programs and promos, motivating interaction with programming, and providing new revenue opportunities. For users of all ages, Knowledge.ca offers exceptional functionality, navigation and search capabilities for an intuitive and easy-to-use experience.

“Knowledge.ca is an experience that will deepen user engagement with our broadcasting service”, says Rudy Buttignol, President and CEO of Knowledge. ”By delivering digital broadcast content in an interactive environment anywhere, anytime, Knowledge is connecting British Columbians to local and global perspectives, and most importantly, to each other.”

Knowledge.ca offers a compelling new design and content showcasing Knowledge programming. Key features include:

* View program schedules integrated with on-air video promotions
* Rate and comment on specific programs
* Browse upcoming programming and sort by title, topic, video or viewer ratings
* View a selection of full-length programs online
* Set email reminders for upcoming Knowledge programs
* Donate or renew your partnership with an improved donation process
* Design complements the broadcast experience of Knowledge

Today Knowledge also entered the world of social media with the launch of its Facebook and Twitter pages. Both are accessible from Knowledge.ca. Fans and followers can receive the latest news from the public broadcaster and interact by sharing ideas and comments. Mobile applications are currently in development.

Knowledge partnered with Vancouver digital agency Work at Play to build Knowledge.ca. Work at Play specializes in digital strategy, design, development, social media and applications for the music, gaming and entertainment industries. Working with major brands and entertainment properties around the world, they offer clients strategic consulting, website design, online development and user experience services. Work At Play built the site using several open source software products and is powered by Drupal, a content management system.

“We are very excited about the new Knowledge.ca and we are honored that Knowledge has chosen Work at Play to be their partner during this transformation,” says Jordan Willms, Digital Strategist for Work at Play. “Through this new website, Knowledge is able to service their existing audience better and truly capture the engagement-generation via interactive features and full length online programs.”

elluminateCalgaryElluminate, Inc., a leader in web, audio, video and social networking solutions that support 21st century teaching, learning, and collaboration, announced today that its Fire and Ice initiative was awarded iNACOL’s Best and Most Innovative Online Learning Practice award, which was announced at the organization’s annual Virtual School Symposium held November 15-17 in Austin, Texas. The award recognizes an individual, team, or program whose innovative practices or policies have ultimately led to student achievement and serve as a model for other K-12 online learning institutions.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected for the iNACOL Best and Most Innovative Online Learning Practice award,” said Stace Wills, Elluminate’s Fire and Ice Global Coordinator. “It validates the tremendous impact that collaboration technologies (such as Elluminate Live!) and school-to-school collaboration projects (like Fire and Ice) can have on development, particularly in rural and remote areas restricted by bandwidth limitations and unstable internet connections.”

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6th November 2009

Academy of Champions Prize Pack Winners

UbisoftVancouver – We are pleased to announce the three winners of our Academy of Champions prize packs, provided by Ubisoft Vancouver in celebration of the launch of Academy of Championstheir first title. Thank you to everyone who entered, and thank you to Ubisoft Vancouver for sponsoring the contest and sending out the prize packs.

1. Dennis Chenard of Vancouver BC

2. Todd Peterson of Chilliwack BC

3. Tim Carroll of Chilliwack BC

Congratulations to all of you, I have forwarded your contact info to Ubisoft Vancouver so that you can receive your prize packages.

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3rd November 2009

Academy of Champions Hits The Field Running

UbisoftVancouverAcademy of Champions takes its place on store shelves all across North America Academy of Championstoday. The inaugural title from Ubisoft Vancouver, Academy of Champions features Brazilian soccer great Pelé as the headmaster at Brightfield Academy, where teamwork and good sportsmanship are the rules of the day. We’re helping the studio celebrate with three prize packs to give away. Read on for details about how you can win.

As the story’s main character, you are given the chance to live your dream by being chosen to attend Brightside Academy, where you will work towards becoming an international soccer star. Upon acceptance to the Academy, players must use their soccer skills and follow Pelé’s teaching of friendship and respect in order to form teams and play matches in order to move forward, unlocking new skills, fields and characters. American soccer star Mia Hamm is also a student at Brightfield Academy, and she lends her skill to help the team move up in rank as the storyline progresses.

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

Every game is better with a little competition, and Academy of Champions has a rival who doesn’t believe in following the principles of good sportsmanship; in fact, the school teaches just the opposite. Scythemore Academy is led by villain headmaster Von Trappe, who believes in doing whatever it takes to win the game – and that includes underhanded recruitment of Brightside’s players. Luckily Pelé and Mia come to the rescue and our character can continue his soccer education at Brightfield. There are 19 teams to play in Academy of Champions – including a team comprised completely of insane Rabbids. Rumour has it that this is the toughest team to beat.

If amazing soccer play isn’t enough to wet your appetite, then the incredible graphics will certainly stimulate your visual senses. The artwork in Academy of Champions is of very high Scythemore Fieldquality. Rich colouring, highly detailed characters and environment are only the beginning. As players win their five-on-five matches, new scenery is unlocked and added to each of the seven fields. Players can also buy new equipment in the Academy’s store and earn new moves as the team moves up the tournament ladder.

To further enhance their skill, players can participate in mini-game skills clinics, honing their abilities for goalkeeping, shooting, passing and tackles. Check out this list of Special Moves:

Super tackle: Take the ball off your opponent’s toes in a blink of an eye with this lightning-fast slide tackle.
Helix Kick: Bamboozle the goalie with this insane corkscrew shot.
Banana Kick: Put extreme bend on the ball – the keeper won’t know which way to turn.
Chopper: A spinning tackle frenzy that will send anyone in your path flying – including your own teammates!
Unstoppable Rush: Release that pent up aggression by knocking over anyone that gets in your way as you charge towards goal.
Cat-like Grace: Glide through tackles and defense like a knife through butter.
Stealth Attack: When Sam Fisher turns on his night-vision goggles nobody can see him – ideal for getting through on goal undetected.
Eagle Strike: Altair’s assassin training helps him to launch into the air and unleash a lethal strike that will take out the keeper before it hits the back on the net.
Acrobatic Leap: Why go through the defence when you can just leap over it? The other team won’t expect that!
Plunger Shot: The Rabbid weapon of choice makes for a very potent shot at goal.
Photo Fanatic: Jade will use the flash of her camera to temporarily stun her opponents and make them lose the ball.
Perfect Dribble: Opponents will be stunned by Pele’s unbelievable ball skills rendering them unable to stop him.
Bicycle Smash: Mia Hamm’s stunning backflip bicycle kick makes her one of the best strikers around.
Speed Burst: An explosion of pace that will help you catch up to opponents.
Dodge Move: Jump over or go around players quickly with these cool and easy to use tricks.

Academy of Champions is one of the easiest games ever to learn how to play. Prior to my Academy of Champions Altairin-studio game play preview, I had never played a soccer game, and being a 360 player, I was apprehensive about my sparse Wii skills. The apprehension was inconsequential – the player controls are very intuitive, and the in-game tutorials help newcomers pick up the necessary skills very quickly. As an added bonus, Academy of Champions will work with or without Wii MotionPlus™, and even incorporates the Wii Balance Board. You can also play the game solo or recruit a friend to help you defeat other academies or play against you. I have no qualms about recommending Academy of Champions as a great family title – and have done so to everyone I know, including the EB Games outlet in Langley where we purchase all of our titles (where they’ve had the box on display for awhile now) .

Related Post: Read more about my introduction to Academy of Champions.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, we are celebrating Academy of Champions’ North American debut with three prize packs, courtesy of Ubisoft Vancouver. Each prize pack consists of the following:

1 copy of Academy of Champions Wii game
1 adult T-shirt
1 child’s T-shirt
1 Pelé trading card
1 Academy of Champions pin
1 set of Academy of Champions shoe laces
1 mini Academy of Champions soccer ball

…and it all comes packed in an Academy of Champions mini backpack.

To enter for a chance to win this great prize pack, simply email the answers for the following questions to contest-at-villagegamer-dot-net, along with your name and mailing address, using Academy of Champions Contest in the subject line. This contest is open to residents of Canada only. Entries will be accepted until 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 6, 2009. Winners will be chosen from a random draw of correctly answered ballots. Winners will be announced at noon on Friday, November 6 on Village Gamer, and prize packages will be sent directly from Ubisoft Vancouver.

The contest questions:

1. Who is the Assassin on the Ubisoft team?
2. Who is the American soccer star featured in Academy of Champions?
3. Pelé played for which country’s National Soccer Team?

Once again, congratulations to the team at Ubisoft Vancouver for presenting a highly-polished, very well put together debut product – you have much to be proud of with Academy of Champions.

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27th October 2009

Incubator Games Moves Forward, Samsung Dev Fund, SteelSeries Now At Best Buy

Incubator GamesTorontoIncubator Games, a group of young industry professionals, is proud to announce the launch of their new website along with 18 new screenshots for their first game, Tribes of Mexica, which was an entry in Microsoft’s 2009 Dream Build Play contest.

Tribes of Mexica is an action-puzzle title deeply steeped in Aztec Tribes of Mexicamythology. The game’s core mechanics center on rotating concentric rings to match coloured units, powering up spells, and timing attacks and defensive maneuvers. An adventure element ties the battles together, allowing the player to explore exotic locales in ancient Mesoamerica while building up a magical arsenal. Currently in development for the Xbox 360, Incubator Games has plans to port Tribes of Mexica over to the PC/Mac/Linux platforms, and is investigating other platforms as well.

SamsungSamsung Electronics, a leader in consumer electronics and information technology, and Handmark®, a world-leading creator and distributor of mobile applications and services, today announced the launch of a new Global Venture Fund to invest in companies and/or individuals with innovative, market-changing game ideas for next generation Samsung mobile phones. Companies and/or individuals selected will receive up to $250,000 each to fund the development of winning ideas.Handmark

The fund will be managed by Handmark out of its Kansas City and London offices in partnership with Samsung Electronics. The companies are searching for games that best showcase Samsung mobile phones and the advanced features they offer. Both current and new content ideas are encouraged, taking timing and cost into consideration.

“We know there’s a wealth of great ideas out there waiting to be discovered,” said Chris Barnett, senior vice president of Global Sales and Strategic Partnerships for Handmark. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, including big brands, mobile developers or any individual with a unique, creative idea to make it a reality.”

“Samsung recognizes the importance of content and applications for today’s mobile phone users,” said Ho Soo Lee, executive vice president for Samsung Electronics’ Media Solution Center. “We are pleased to broaden our partnership with Handmark to help lead the Global Venture Fund, using their expertise to support us capturing great ideas and raise the standard of mobile innovation.”

In addition to funding those selected, Handmark will also provide assistance with development, testing and certification, as well as distribution of the application through the Samsung Application Store. Deadline for applications is November 20, 2009 at 5 PM CT.

SteelSeriesGame peripheral company SteelSeries has announced a new distributorship deal with Best Buy Canada. A solid supporter of competitive gaming events in Canada including our own Digital Storm LAN, SteelSeries also purchased Canadian game keyboard maker ZBoard in 2008.
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26th October 2009

International Warden’s Quest Celebrates Dragon Age: Origins

BioWare CorpEdmontonBioware is pleased to announce the Dragon Age: Origins Wardens’ Quest, a 24 hour gaming event for the upcoming dark, epic fantasy Dragon Age: Origins. To celebrate the launch of this award winning new game, BioWare is inviting gamers and press from North America and across Europe to put their skills and endurance to the test as they embark on a Dragon Age Originstense, epic journey of discovery. On October 28, at 10:00 AM GMT, ten teams of four players each will live, fight and explore the game as the drama unfolds in their 24 hour quest to claim the grand prize. Each winning team member will receive $12,500. Official rules can be found online at Quest headquarters.

“We’re extremely excited about the Dragon Age: Origins Wardens’ Quest – it’s going to be an awesome chance for gamers to band together to prove they’re the best at navigating the world of Dragon Age,” said Mark Darrah, Executive Producer, Dragon Age: Origins. “In the game, putting together a strong team is essential to success – in the same way the overall strength of the competing teams will decide who walks away with the money.”

There will be ten participating teams representing their countries: the United States, Canada, United Dragon Age OriginsKingdom, France, Netherlands and Belgium, Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and a specially selected team comprised of the most loyal BioWare fans from around the world. The competition will take place in the Debating Chamber at County Hall in London, England. This space will provide a grandiose setting for the competitors to play the game, discuss strategy and battle for the grand prize as teams are eliminated throughout the day. Around the chamber, screens will be used to display leader board stats and show highlights. BioWare staff and costumed actors will further enhance the environment, theatrics and dramatics of the day.

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. To restore peace, players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind.

Dragon Age: Origins will be released on November 3rd in North America on the PlayStation®3, the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC. The game will ship on November 6th in Europe on PC, the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and later in November on the PlayStation®3. Dragon Age: Origins is rated M by the ESRB.

8….more….days….

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