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  • Phantom Compass Introduces Points 4 People To Twitter

12th June 2011

Phantom Compass Introduces Points 4 People To Twitter

phantom compassToronto’s Phantom Compass, contributors to the Skatoony Home Game for marblemedia’s Skatoony TV show, among others, has launched their latest project to the masses. Points 4 People is currently in public beta and uses a unique tag to add (or subtract) points for Twitter users.

The premise for the game (as explained on the P4P site), is to provide a global points exchange and leaderboard system for Twitter users like you. Reward your friends, penalize your enemies, or vice versa. Exchanged points are broadcast via Twitter, tracked by Points 4 People and automagically popped into our leaderboards, activity feeds, and profile points4peoplepages. No additional signup or permission is required. Simply reference someone in your Twitter post, add the hashtag #p4p and a positive (eg. #p4p+56) or negative number (eg. #p4p-42) of your choice.

Phantom Compass Founding Partner & Producer/Director Tony Walsh is currently down in San Francisco, so I conducted a quick email interview with him to find out more about Points 4 People:

VG: How (and why) did you come up with the concept for Points4People?

TW: Our technical director Jos Yule had come up with the idea of Points 4 People as a secret side project. He mentioned the concept to me a few weeks ago while we were on our way to a meeting, and by the time we arrived we decided it had to get made.

As a game company we’ve been following developments in so-called “gamification” for years, and we’re fascinated by how invested people become in reward structures. Points 4 People is an experiment in this area, and we think it’s got a lot of potential for consumer and business use.

VG: How long has Points 4 People been in development?

TW: We’ve spent several weeks on the project but the development time was probably under 40 person-hours. We’re in an ongoing development phase now as we iron out bugs, test new ideas, and implement user feedback.

VG: What was the biggest challenge the studio faced in bringing Points 4 People to life?

TW: Time. We burned a lot of midnight oil immediately prior to launch.

VG: Will there be a monetization aspect to this gamification of Twitter?

TW: Absolutely. We’ve got consumer and B2B options cooking. We’re going to be very careful with how we handle the commercialization.

VG: I know you’ve only just launched – but has anyone taken the game too seriously yet? (I was meaning from an over-praising/vindictive perspective, but Tony’s answer is good news, too!)

TW:Yes, there’s already been unofficial interest from one of the world’s largest technology companies.

VG: Where do you see Points 4 People going – what is your hope for the game?

TW: We are paying close attention to what our users want and how they are using Points 4 People. As we plan for a Facebook implementation we’re also getting great feedback on the Twitter-based system and making changes on a daily basis.

VG: Thank you for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?

TW: #p4p+1000 @villagegamer


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12th June 2011

Cranky Cat On Android

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

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

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

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

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

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10th June 2011

Flew The Coop Avoiding Farmers on iTunes

flew the coopFlew The Coop is a very simple game with very simple mechanics featuring auto-run and 2D retro-styled graphics. This pick up and play title was developed by Jason Kaplan and Damian Sommer, with Troy Morrisey and Ryan Cox of Darc Productions providing the sound and music.

The premise of this game is to help the renegade chicken avoid the Farmer in his attempts to run away from the farm. You do this by jumping on other farm animals – pigs offer a little extra bounce to chicken-powered flight, by the way. Some quick thinking strategy and running across hay bales or jumping on crows to reach the barn roof will get you to the weather vanes, which can help to propel the renegade chicken beyond the reach of the fun spoiling Farmer.flew the coop

It is necessary to jump the other farm animals, because running into them is not good for your health and slows you down. Simply tap the screen for a quick jump or hold your finger down for a longer flight – sometimes a longer flight is needed, so time your taps carefully. Your success in Flew The Coop is measured in the distance you covered before being nabbed by the Farmer, and the faster you run, the more ground you’ll cover. Unless you run into the Farmer, that is.

Flew The Coop is available now on iTunes for 99 cents USD, supports Game Centre and is rated 4+. The game is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices running iOS 3.0 or later. I can attest to it working on a 2nd gen iPod Touch with the current operating system. The developers may port the title over to Android, WP7, and possibly XBLIG, Steam, or the Mac App Store in the future.

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10th June 2011

Shannon Tweed Gets Her Game On With Gogii

gogiiGogii Games is proud to announce that an agreement of collaboration has been signed with actress and reality star, Shannon Tweed in the development of a mobile game titled Shannon Tweed: Attack of the Groupies, which is scheduled for an August 2011 release.

Appearing in over sixty films, Tweed has also had roles or made appearances in a long list of television shows including The United States of Tara, SpongeBob SquarePants, Married with Children, and Frasier. Most recently, Shannon TweedTweed has been a regular fixture in the home of millions, sharing the screen with members of her family in A&E’s hit reality television series Gene Simmons: Family Jewels.

George Donovan, CEO and founder of Gogii Games, decided to approach Tweed with the idea for a potential partnership only two minutes after their initial introduction. “Meeting Shannon was completely random, and she was so interesting to speak to, her personality is so vibrant. I knew her life story tied into the type of game we were already building, so I asked her if she’d ever considered being in a video game.”

Tweed was intrigued, and agreed to the idea almost immediately. The legal negotiations have just been completed, and the integration of Shannon, her daughter Sophie Tweed Simmons and her sister Tracy Tweed as focal characters in Shannon Tweed: Attack of the Groupies has begun.

A creative force, Shannon Tweed has invested herself in the process of designing the game, brainstorming potential story ideas and determining just what mechanic suits her best. Tweed says, “It’s really exciting, seeing how a game is developed. I’m new to video games, and George has very kindly given a crash course on the game and industry.”

The most interesting part for Tweed has been watching her family come to life as virtual characters. “It’s incredible, to see the sketches come in, and to be involved in determining the style and the attitude of the characters. Gogii has been very collaborative on that, which is one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working with them.”

Donovan adds, “Shannon and her family have been fantastic. Her life story is so interesting and it’s a great partnership. We’re hoping to leverage her humor into the game, and create something that is as fun and interactive as she is, as well as allowing our customers to learn even more about her lifestyle and family.”

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8th June 2011

What Is Kula Blox

TransGamingThe dev team over at TransGaming Studios, the creative group who brought you Garage Inc., have been tormenting me for weeks now with hints and images from their upcoming title Kula Blox. I have yet to figure out just exactly how this game is played, but I think it involves some type of match play – or maybe it involves tilt play (which means I’m pretty well toast before I begin), and I know it involves several characters from the animal kingdom. These are the Kula Blox The Jungledetails I have so far – some are from the game’s sell-sheet and others are pure conjecture.

While free-falling through exotic locales, you have to fight your way to the top of the Food Chain. In a total oxymoron, your game avatar becomes faster while growing bigger as you consume more and more enemies. Apparently your avatar – and I’m presuming that you will take on the appearance of one of the animals in the game – must consume enough enemies who are lower on the food chain than you are, in order to become big enough to defeat enemies who are higher up on the food chain than you. The developers have also provided special powers for each character and pick-ups to assist you with this task. Those who reach the top of the food chain will be recognized for their world supremacy on the Leaderboard as well as player achievements.

Kula Blox will launch directly to iOS devices, GameTree TV, Mac and PC with three geographical map areas, each with several levels to play through. The Jungle, The Savannah and The Forest will each feature its own set of unique characters, with more maps, levels, predators and prey coming in future updates. This game is rated E for everyone and will be available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

There will also be the option to make in-game purchases of items such as the previously-mentioned power-ups, and possibly other types of upgrades, but I don’t know what they will be, because they won’t tell me. Not a nice thing to do to a Gemini. I’ll get my revenge at Casual Connect in Seattle, Wojtek at E3though. I have more than a month to plot and ponder, which is only slightly different from pillage and plunder. However, now that the studio knows I’m plotting, maybe they will defeat my evil plans and release the game before Casual Connect Seattle, although the game is slated for a Summer 2011 launch, and summer doesn’t technically begin until the final day of Casual Connect.

In the meantime though, TransGaming’s Managing Director Wojtek Kawczynski is currently wandering the floor at E3. If you see him, feel free to accost him for me and pry some game details out of him – or ask to borrow his iPad, because he’s carrying the game around with him, and TransGaming did announce on Twitter that they were putting the finishing touches on Kula Blox prior to E3. Once you have completed your mission, send the details to me and I will reward you with a very big cookie.

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8th June 2011

Renown Entertainment Launches Ball Hop Bowling

renown entertainmentVancouver studio Renown Entertainment has released its latest free to play ad-supported casual title to the ball hop bowlingiTunes store and Facebook. Ball Hop Bowling is a digital version of the arcade skill-testing game that requires players to get a ball into the centre ring by rolling the ball over a ramp, landing it in one of the rings to rack up points.

Ball Hop Bowling features high definition, retina display graphics and is Game Centre-enabled. Players can redeem their prizes in the game’s shop, as well as remove the ads by purchasing an upgrade for $1.99 USD. Some of the top in-app purchases include extended time and extra prize tickets.

Renown will be releasing free content updates, as well as premium content. Ball Hop Bowling is rated 4+ and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch and iPad/iPad 2 devices running iOS 4.0 or later.

Renown also developed Waves: Survivor for iDevices and Facebook, and is currently working on a Triple A title in Unity called Project Rift. A release date for Project Rift has not yet been announced. Waves: Survivor is currently (at the time of this writing) on sale for 50% off in the iTunes Store, priced at 99 cents USD. Help Johnny Calm survive the epic ocean waves with your Paddle, Jump, Attack and Collect skills for as many days as possible.

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7th June 2011

Beeline Interactive Cooking Up Some Zombie Grub

Capcom MobileA dash of kitchen simulation, a smattering social elements and a heaping spoonful of Zombies is on the Fall 2011 menu over at Beeline Interactive Canada (formerly Capcom Mobile Canada). Play as a Zombie Chef and cook Zombie Food, prepare ingredients and put them in the stove or oven for just the right zombie cafeamount of time. A brand extension of Zombie Cafe, players of both games will be able to unlock unique content across both titles.

While Zombie Cookin’ is free to play, players can accelerate gameplay or acquire unique items by purchasing “Bones,” the game’s in app premium currency.

  • Master more than 50 recipes
  • Send your zombie hoard out to discover macabre, unusual and downright disgusting ingredients.
  • 18 finger cleaving, brain scooping mini games.
  • Decorate and increase the efficiency of your kitchen with better stoves, windows, floor coverings and more.
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31st May 2011

Montreal Dev Studio Ludia Is Hiring

LudiaInteractive entertainment company Ludia Inc. has announced that the studio has sold over 10 million games across digital and console platforms since the release of its first title The Price Is Right three Price is Right 2010years ago. This figure equates to a Ludia game being sold on average every 10 seconds across mobile, PC, and consoles. As of today, four Ludia games have risen to the desirable top 10 Paid Apps spot on the Apple App Store and over seven million Facebook users have installed Ludia’s The Price Is Right and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

“I am very proud of the Ludia team and all we have achieved together to propel us to this exciting milestone today,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “Our expanded Facebook and mobile strategy combined with our multi-platform console releases will continue to foster years of future growth.”

The second half of Ludia’s 2011 slate includes the release of 11 new games. The company will also expand its Facebook offering to feature a broad range of titles including five new TV game shows, a major film franchise, and an original IP.

To fuel Ludia’s ongoing growth, the company plans to hire 50 new employees by the end of the year.

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25th May 2011

Escape To Margaritaville

exploding barrel gamesVancouver’s Exploding Barrel Games and THQ Inc. have officially announced Margaritaville Online, an everyday escape to a tropical paradise inspired by the lifestyle of author and singer-songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, will be available on Facebook and iOS devices Fall 2011. Soon, friends will be able to play and Margaritavilleparty in an immersive 3D paradise, filled with frozen concoctions, music and adventure. The game will be unveiled in THQ’s booth at E3.

“The Margaritaville laidback state of mind is inherently social, and THQ has captured the spirit of that lifestyle in this game,” said Buffett. “With Margaritaville Online, fans across the globe can party together any time and any place.”

Throughout his more than 40-year career, Jimmy Buffett has welcomed fans into his carefree world where remarkable characters are around every corner, and it’s always happy hour. By creating their own online beach oasis, Margaritaville Online players can party in paradise with friends, build a bar, form a band, throw parties and embark on tropical adventures in an open world full of island entertainment and playful mini-games. A virtual trip to the tropics set to a soundtrack of classic Buffett tunes, Margaritaville Online allows players to interact with characters from Buffett’s own literary works including Captain Tony, first introduced to fans in Buffett’s song “Last Mango in Paris.”

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24th May 2011

Office Jerk Breaks Six Million Downloads as New Content Hits the App Store

fluikMillions of iPhone and iPad users around the world have unleashed their inner trouble-maker in the feel-good app of the year Office Jerk, the latest game on iPhone and iPad from Fluik Entertainment, continues to exceed expectations and delight audiences around the world. Since its Office Jerkrelease less than a month ago, the free app has been downloaded over six million times. It has become the number-one free app in more than 50 countries, as players take revenge on that one guy in the office that makes the rest of us look bad.

Not content with letting players toss pies, eggs, paper, dynamite and more, Fluik is offering an entirely new arsenal of destruction with today’s release of Office Jerk 1.2. The update includes all new items to hurl at that office mate you love to hate:

  • Smack him right between the eyes with the Sucker Dart!
  • Unleash your inner Tiger and nail him with a golf ball!
  • Toss the fan and blow him away!

Also, in response to countless requests from fans, an Android version will released later this week, giving millions more gamers a chance to discover what the rest of the world has already realized – there is always room for a little juvenile behavior in the modern office space.

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