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28th September 2009

Submissions Open for 2010 Independent Games Festival Mobile

IGF-MobileThe Independent Games Festival (IGF) Mobile, the premiere venue that celebrates creativity and innovation on handheld platforms, has opened submissions for its third annual festival, with the overall winner awarded at the IGF Awards Ceremony, which precedes the Game Developers Choice Awards on March 11th, 2010. Both the IGF Awards Ceremony and the Game Developers Choice Awards are part of the 2010 Game Developers Conference (GDC10), which takes place in San Francisco’s Moscone Center in March.

Now in its third year, IGF Mobile has blossomed into a major showcase of the handheld form. Last year’s IGF Mobile ‘Next Great Mobile Game’ winner Reflection has been signed by Konami for Nintendo DSi, and Apple’s App Store created a special Store section just to highlight the IGF-nominated iPhone games from 2009’s IGF Mobile competition.

This year’s competition will again feature independently-developed handheld games for all mobile devices including Apple’s iPhone, other cellphone and smartphone OSes, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and other handheld devices. IGF Mobile submissions are now being accepted online through December 1, 2009; finalists will be announced in January 2010, and will each receive one pass to attend the 2010 Game Developers Conference.

Finalists will compete for $5,000 in prizes, including notable awards for design, art, and technology innovation in mobile game development. This year, winners in each category -with the exception of ‘Best Game’, will be announced before the show, on February 8th, 2010. Each category winner will receive $500 in spending money to come to the 2010 Game Developers Conference in March 2010 and showcase their mobile game.

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28th September 2009

Canadian New Releases

Big Blue BubbleThere are three new releases out – two from established Canadian studios and one from a team of Art Insitute Vancouver students.

First up is Elven Chronicles for the iPhone from Big Blue Bubble. Available now for Elven Chroniclesdownload from iTunes for $3.99, Elven Chronicles puts the player in the shoes of a young knight, fighting to discover the secrets of his forgotten past, and a charismatic elf on quest for self redemption. With a massive 20 hours of captivating story, vast territories to explore, randomly generated dungeons, and gorgeous, hand drawn enemies and characters, Elven Chronicles will keep even the most seasoned RPG’er engaged.

Features…

• Old School Console RPG design
• Massive World Maps
• Captivating Story
• Countless Spells, Weapons, Armour and Accessories
• Random Dungeon Maps
• Stunning Characters and Scenery
• Over 20 hours of Gameplay

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Winner of Pop Vox’s Best Mobile Game, Elven Chronicles has garnered praised by industry professionals and critics alike. Developed for the Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs, iPod Touch is powered by Torque.

IMP Surf The MusicKoolhaus GamesKoolhaus Games has released Imp Surf The Music, which is available now on iTunes for the introductory price of $ .99. According to the game’s web site, “in IMP: Surf the Music you create the music as you surf through tune tunnels picking up genuine “bits of funk”. Collect music loops of funky guitar, drums, bass and synth to create a unique soundtrack that plays differently every time. Each level offers a unique sound experience and showcases a different original funk track and animated graphics. Build the music and environment into a funktastic frenzy! IMP: Surf the Music is like nothing you’ve ever “played” before.”

Gear SphereGearSphere, a team of 17 Art Institute of Vancouver students have released Robo Shambo, which is a multi-player LAN-based third person shooter. Developed from scratch on the XNA framework, Robo Shambo takes place in the year 2450, when robots have replaced human soldiers. Two rival robot manufacturers are battling to become the sole source of these mechanical armies and do their best to destroy each others’ factories.Robo Shambo

A free, downloadable game, Robo Shambo is a fast-paced, action oriented experience featuring three robot styles: the Sprinter, the Tank and the Soldier. Battles take place on three different maps and make use of a variety of nine weapons. Shield and ammo pickups help to keep the robots armed and battling.

I did get a look at Robo Shambo during the recent AI Grad Presentations, and I’m pleased to learn that some of the students who worked on this project have already obtained employment with such studios as EA and Cosmic Logic.

System Requirements For Robo Shambo:

* 3-D Hardware Accelerator with full OpenGL® support
* Pentium II(R) 300 Mhz
* Or AMD® 350 Mhz K6®-2 processor or Athlon® processor
* Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4.0/2000 operating system
* 64 MB RAM
* 16 MB video card
* 400 MB of uncompressed hard disk space for each game
* 100MB of free hard drive space
* A 100% Windows® 95/98/ME/NT 4.0/2000-compatible computer system (including compatible 32-bit drivers for CD-ROM drive , video card, sound card and input devices)
* 100% DirectX 3.0 or higher compatible sound card
* 100% Microsoft-compatible mouse and driver
* Quad-speed CD-ROM drive (600 K/sec. sustained transfer rate)
* XNA 3.0

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28th September 2009

ESAC launches the 2009 Essential Facts about the Canadian Computer and Video Game Industry

esacToronto – The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) today released their annual Essential Facts book about the Canadian computer and video game industry. As part of the ESAC’s ongoing efforts to better understand Canadian gamers, the 2009 survey reveals interesting demographic facts about today’s gamers and their gaming habits. New to the 2009 edition, the survey also has a special section on the emergence of wellness gaming and the continued success of entertainment software titles designed in part to challenge the user’s mental or physical abilities.

“Canadians across all demographics are embracing entertainment software,” said Danielle LaBossiere Parr, Executive Director of the ESAC. “A wider variety of genres and titles are continuing to broaden the traditional definition of ‘a gamer’. Gamers are also using video games in new ways – to stay sharp, to socialize with their friends and even to help stay active.”

The 2009 Essential Facts about the Canadian Computer and Video Game Industry reveals:

– 35.8 is the average age of a Canadian gamer;
– 90% of kids aged 6-12 have played a video game in the past 4 weeks;
– 84% of parent gamers aged 18-34 play video games with their child;
– 48% of Canadian households have at least one video game console such as an Xbox 360, Wii or Playstation
– 96% of Canadian households own a computer
– Widening the video game market: 33% of all wellness gamers said a wellness entertainment software title such as Wii Fit or Nintendo DS Brain Age was the first video game they ever bought

Additional information in the report includes the use of ESRB ratings, how families play games together , year-to-date charts of the top selling video and PC games, as well as brand new statistics on the emergence of wellness gaming and its popularity among Canadian gamers. This genre of gaming has not only been embraced by Canadian households, but also by educational institutions, retirement communities, and in the health sector as well.

The research was collected through a comprehensive Internet survey using NPD Group’s Online Consumer Panel. Data was obtained from over 3,500 Canadians nation-wide who were identified as having played a video game at least once in the past 4 weeks.

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28th September 2009

Get Animated with Free Public Screenings from the National Film Board

National Film BoardMontreal – In celebration of International Animation Day and the National Film Board of Canada’s 70th anniversary, the NFB is launching a special edition of Get Animated! – a series of free public screenings, from October 23–31, 2009, in 13 communities across Canada. The NFB’s Get Animated! website will also offer exclusive animation programming from October 8, 2009.

The NFB’s third edition of Get Animated! will showcase amazing new creations for all ages from its Oscar-winning animation studios in two programs: Animation Feast and the NFB Family Program. The Family Land of HeadsProgram also features special presentations by acclaimed filmmakers Chris Landreth and Cordell Barker, as well as hands-on animation workshops for all ages. The NFB’s new 2-disc set Animation Express, a dazzling collection of films by today’s animation innovators, will also be on sale at screening venues.

Taking place October 28, 2009, International Animation Day is an annual celebration in over 40 countries, initiated by the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) in 2002. NFB animation founder Norman McLaren was the first president of ASIFA, and the NFB is proud to be bringing this global celebration to Canadian communities for the third consecutive year.

This year, the NFB celebrates 70 Oscar nominations in 70 years – more nominations than any production company or organization outside Hollywood. Get Animated! is part of a broader commitment to ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast have access to outstanding NFB productions.

Screenings across Canada

Get Animated! free screenings will take place in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, as well as in five communities served by the NFB’s pioneering e-cinema network for francophone Acadians: Moncton, Bouctouche, Caraquet, Edmundston and Kedgwick, New Brunswick. Check the NFB Get Animated! web site for the full schedule of events.

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