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  • Nintendo Officially Announces New Bundles and The Black Wii

3rd May 2010

Nintendo Officially Announces New Bundles and The Black Wii

notsoftAfter nearly 5 years since the start of development, Oshawa’s premiere independent game studio NotSoft has finally released Wytches Brew – their pagan themed foray into the casual games market.

Wytches Brew features five modes of play, including an epic 52 chapter quest that has the player share a year long journey with 3 Wytches as they travel around their island brewing upwytches brew magical potions for those in need. With four other play modes, including timed modes and modes with relaxed rules, Wytches Brew offers something for casual gamers of every skill level.

“We normally develop action games” said Steven J. Hill (aka bignobody), the man behind NotSoft, “but about 5 years ago we decided to challenge ourselves – could we make a casual game that we would want to play? Given the amount of times we were testing out a particular feature only to find ourselves absorbed in the game, I would say we succeeded.”

Unlike your typical Match 3, Wytches Brew challenges the player to make their matches in particular sequences as outlined by the game’s recipe book. Success creates magical brews. Too many failures and the cauldron will overflow, ending the game.

Nintendo CanadaNintendo Canada has announced that starting May 9, Nintendo will add new elements to the baseline Wii™ system package offered at retailers throughout the Americas. In addition to the intuitive, motion-sensing Wii Remote™ controller, Nunchuk™ controller and popular Wii Sports™ game that currently comes standard with each system purchase, every new unit will now also come packaged with Wii Sports Resort™ and the control-enhancing Wii MotionPlus™ accessory. In addition, consumers will be able to choose between two colour schemes for the Wii console Wii 2010and included controllers: original white, or a new black option. The Canadian suggested retail price of the new system package will remain at $209.99.

“Nintendo leads the way in delivering rich motion-control gaming experiences at an accessible price point,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “By including even more of our top-quality hardware and software in the basic Wii system package, we’re extending that commitment to entertainment and value. Now more than ever, consumers can count on Nintendo to deliver inclusive fun and advanced motion controls at a mass-market Black Wiiprice.”

Wii Sports Resort expands on the active-play fun of the original Wii Sports, with resort-themed activities such as wakeboarding, archery and swordplay. What’s more, Wii Sports Resort features the rich control enhancements of Wii MotionPlus, which allows users to dive in and enjoy precision motion-control excitement right out of the box.

Wii MotionPlus has set the standard in precision motion control by delivering an immersive, social experience unavailable on any other system. As of May 9, when both the Wii Sports Resort game and a Wii MotionPlus accessory will come standard with every new Wii console, people who purchase the system can experience this leading-edge video game technology from the moment they plug in and power up.

Previously unavailable throughout the Americas, the black version of the Wii console will offer all the groundbreaking features and functions of its white counterpart in a stylish new colour scheme. Whether they aim to colour-coordinate with other devices or simply love the way it looks, consumers throughout the Americas can add a black Wii console with matching black Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers to their home entertainment lineup. Additional black controllers and accessories can be purchased separately.

Hybrid ForgeThe Owl iLibrary application, a customizable iPhone and iPod Touch application developed and deployed for TRAC (The Regional Automation Consortium) by Hybrid Forge, is now commercially available for any library powered by the Polaris ILS.

“This is the first iteration of a very powerful and convenient tool that allows patrons to interact with their library from anywhere”, said Chad Smith, CTO at Hybrid Forge. “The iPhone provides a unique user experience over conventional mobile browser interfaces and with over 80 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices sold to date, native iPhone apps are a smart choice.”

TRAC has released the Owl iLibrary application as the “TRACpac” app and it is currently being TRAC screenused by patrons of TRAC, four partner library systems – Yellowhead, Northern Lights, Peace and Marigold library systems. See the TRACpac app demo on YouTube.

“The TRACpac app is a great way for patrons of the member libraries to find resources online – from wherever they are, whenever they want,” said Kevin Dodds, Director of the Yellowhead Regional Library, where the idea for the app was initially conceived. “An IPhone or iPod Touch user will have instant access to the combined resources of more than 150 libraries in Alberta, with holdings of nearly three million books, DVDs and other material. Best of all, this app can be downloaded for free.”

The Owl iLibrary for iPhone and iPod Touch includes these features:

– Search for books, CDs and DVDs online, by keyword, title, author or ISBN
-View book details such as jacket image, summary, publisher and publication date
– Display call numbers for locating items in the local library
– Place holds on resources for pick-up at their local library, view hold details, cancel a hold, and renew items currently checked-out
– Check book reviews by other visitors through your Chilifresh account
– Display their account barcode on iPhone or iPod Touch for easy check-out
– View any charges, fee and fines Read the rest of this entry »

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30th April 2010

Viva La FIFA

freelance camp VancouverAttention Vancouver-area freelancers – there is a full day event planned just for you on Saturday May 29th from 9:00am – 4:00pm at The Network Hub. Freelance Camp Vancouver is an opportunity for freelancers, entrepreneurs, independent business owners and individuals to come together to learn from one another, connect with opportunities by expanding their network, and finding answers to some of the questions enabling them to expand their business, start their business or develop additional income streams. Tickets are only $11. 24 including the paypal fee (all going to charity) and are available online until May 26th.

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterThere are still some tickets left for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter presentation of Designing Assassin’s Creed 2. This session will take place on the evening of May 18th at the VanCity Theatre. If you’ve never attended one of our local SIGGRAPH events, you don’t know what you’re missing. Tickets are $15.00 for members and $20.00 for non-members. Annual membership is $35.00 ($25.00 for students), with the immediate benefit of lower ticket prices and cool networking opportunities.FIFA World Cup 2010 for iPhone

EA Sports2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ is in stores now with eight new celebrations for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system. The videogame is also available on Wii™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable), iPod® touch and iPhone®.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa videogame will feature all the emotion and passion of the fiercest national rivalries battling on the world’s biggest stage, with all 199 national teams that took part in qualification and all 10 official stadiums to be used in South Africa. Gamers will be able to play as their home nation from qualification right through to a virtual rFIFA World Cup 2010 for iPhoneeproduction of the FIFA World Cup Final™ and feel what it is like to score the goal that lifts a nation.

Fans can unlock the new celebrations through EA Sports and Coca-Cola™ channels in participating countries. After unlocking each celebration, fans can score a goal, use the controller to activate the celebrations and admire the performance via a new dynamic camera angle that delivers the emotion of each goal scored. Consumers can also admire their celebration and share with fans online by uploading to EA Sports Football World.

In addition, to honor the legacy of the FIFA World Cup™, EA Sports unveiled its Classic 11 team that features 35 legendary players from past tournaments, including star striker Roger Milla of FIFA World Cup Player StatsCameroon, who scored four goals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and in 1994, at the age of 42, became the oldest player to play in the tournament. Fans who carry the hopes and dreams of a nation into battle against fans from rival countries and win the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM will unlock the Classic 11 squad.

New players to the FIFA franchise can also compete for the 2010 FIFA World Cup utilizing new Two-Button controls designed to enable new gamers to pass and shoot with an accessible control scheme that utilizes just two buttons. The game is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB

Celsius Game StudioSt. John’s-based Celsius Game Studios is proud to present Chromodyne Lite, the free version of its unique and exciting match-3 puzzle game, Chromodyne! Chromodyne Lite is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, on the Apple App Store.Chromodyne

Chromodyne Lite features a brand new 5 chapter story introducing the player to the Chromodyne as they work their way through the Chromodynamic Academy’s accredited Accelerated Chromodyne Operator’s Course. Through this program, you too can learn the skills necessary to save the world from impending doom from outer space!

Well, you might expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars and rack up years of crushing student debt at some “university” to learn how to save the world. Not so at the Chromodynamic Academy. No, you too can learn all this today for the low, low price of FREE! Read the rest of this entry »

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13th April 2010

Today in The Canadian Interactive World

IUGOVancouver – Get ready to chill out with IUGO’s latest iPhone/iPad title; ESCAPE: Norm’s World XL. Zone out on limitless Zen puzzles with Escape XL. Swipe to jump Norm from stone to stone to eliminate all and solve the puzzle. Norm's World Escape XL

Escape features endless levels and gameplay with 3 difficulty levels for replayability. An unlimited supply of easy puzzles are free, but a 99¢ upgrade will get you medium and hard levels, feeding the addiction you won’t even see coming. Escape also features simple controls for all ages with minimalist graphics, which give it a maximum appeal for all players. You can drive yourself crazy solving the puzzles with unique cerebral game play which is complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects.

ESCAPE XL designed exclusively for the iPad features:

· Versus mode: challenge a friend in a race to solve the puzzle (IAP)
· Co-op mode: Collaborate with a friend to solve the puzzle (IAP)
· 3D graphics!
· 2 camera angles to choose from (single player mode)
· 2 characters to choose from: play as Norm or Norma
· Enhanced UI for larger interface and multiplayer modes

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ESCAPE: Norm’s World XL is FREE TO PLAY! Users may access unlimited puzzles with the Easy mode. For iPhone and iPad, Medium and Hard levels cost 99¢ as IAP. For the iPad, 2 player modes both Co-op and Versus can be purchased additionally for 99¢. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is IUGO’s 16th iPhone title and their 4th iPad title to launch on the App Store. ESCAPE is also available for BlackBerry devices!

cosmos interactiveVancouver Cosmos Interactive Inc. has released the long awaited game Babylonian Twins for the iPhone and iPad. The new game is based on the original never released Amiga version that was made in Iraq during the economic sanctions back in the early nineties. Since day one, the game hit the top-paid list in the puzzle category on the App Store and received five star ratings and reviews. The game is available now for download on iTunesBabylonian Twins

In 1993, Rabah Shihab, an engineering student at the university of Baghdad, and two of his colleagues defied the difficulties of the sanctions and built Babylonian Twins, a game with a unique theme inspired from authentic history books. Their goal was to promote a positive image about Iraq and its history. However, the game was never released due to the sanctions and demise of Commodore. In 2007, videos of Babylonian Twins were published for the first time on YouTube sparking huge positive reaction from the Amiga retro community. Since then Babylonian Twins received thousands of hits from over 85 countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th April 2010

Marketing Winners And iPad Title Releases

Toronto – Game devs, get your creative game on for TOJam 2010, being held this April 23 – 25th at George Brown College. The theme for this year’s Toronto Independent Game Jam is “Missing” – no – really, that’s what it is. Please check out Ryan’s blog over at Untold Entertainment for more details about TOJam, then go, dev crunch, create, have fun.

Mi6 Conference 2010As someone who has a marketing and PR background, I pay close attention to the marketing aspects of Canadian studios and titles, and I would like to extend my congratulations to the Canadian titles recognized with medals and certificates at the MI6 Game Marketing Awards held last week in San Francisco:

Gold Medal Winners:

Outstanding TV or Theatrical Ad: EA Sports for “Joy”
Outstanding TV or Theatrical Ad Campaign: Assassin’s Creed 2: 2009 TV Campaign
Best Long Format Promotional Content: Assassin’s Creed 2: Lineage Episode 1 (Segment)
Outstanding Overall Marketing Campaign- Integrated: Assassins Creed 2 Integrated Campaign
Thinking Outside of the Box Award – Marketing: Assassin’s Creed 2 – Twitter Experience
Standout Print Advertisement: Assassin’s Creed 2: Rip Your Head Off
Standout Print Campaign: Assassin’s Creed 2: 2009 Print Campaign
Standout Overal Pop Display Single or Double Campaign: Prototype
Best Use of Online Media: Assassin’s Creed 2: Teaser Campaign
Best Key Art: Dragon Age: Origins

Silver Medal Winners:

Best Key Art: Assassin’s Creed 2
Don’t You Wish You’d Thought of This – Miscellaneous: Assassin’s Creed 2: Lineage Intro Trailer
Outstanding Promotional Trailer: Assassin’s Creed 2 E3 Trailer (2009) and WET “Shot At Love”
Best Showing At a Trade Event: Assassins Creed 2: E3 Outdoor Banner
Best Online Takeover/Roadblock: Assassin’s Creed 2: Big Bang Unit

Bronze Certificate Winners:

Outstanding Promotional Trailer: Assassin’s Creed 2 – TGS Trailer and WET “Shot at Love”
Best Co-Branding In A TV, Theatrical Ad or Video Asset: Assassins Creed 2 UFC Integration
Standout Print Outdoor/Environmental/Transit Advertising:Assassins Creed 2 E3/PAX Environmental Advertising
Best Product Packaging: Prototype
Best Limited Edition, Special Edition or Collector’s Edition Packaging: Assasin’s Creed 2 Limited Edition and Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition
Best Use of Online Media: Guitar Hero Smash Hits

Other Ocean InteractiveCharlottetownOther Ocean Interactive, has partnered once again with SEGA® of America to bring you Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition available exclusively for the highly anticipated Apple iPad. Super MonkeyBall 2

“We are very excited to be part of the iPad launch with this great franchise,” said Andrew Ayre, Other Ocean CEO. “And are very proud to be one of the first developers to have shipped an iPad exclusive title.”

Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition brings all the fun of the immensely popular console and iPhone hit to the iPad plus 4 new mini-games: Monkey Bowling, Monkey Target, Monkey Golf and the iPad exclusive mini-game Monkey Base. Monkey Base lets up to 4 players fight it out on the same iPad by launching orbs at each other to try to be the last monkey standing. And if all that wasn’t enough, players can now experience 10 iPad exclusive levels from the Far East World, in stunning graphics! Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd April 2010

Canadians On The Go

EA GamesMontrealEA Mobile™ has announced five best-selling titles available immediately for Apple’s iPad. These include SCRABBLE, under license from Hasbro in the U.S. and Canada only, Tetris®, Need for Speed™ SHIFT, Mirror’s Edge, and Command & Conquer™ Red Alert™. In addition to these five titles designed specifically for iPad, gamers can access more than 40 EA titles already available on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. Any previously purchased iPhone or iPod touch game can run on iPad in its original size or can be expanded to fill the iPad screen. All games will be available in Europe with the worldwide launch of iPad later this month.

“As one of the leading publishers on the App Store, EA is delivering five games today that take advantage of the Scrabble-iPadunique capabilities of iPad for a broad range of gamers, from the casual to the hardcore, and today’s product slate is just the beginning,” said Travis Boatman, Vice President of Worldwide Studios, EA Mobile. “For example, with SCRABBLE, we have modernized this family favorite game by developing a fun, interactive ‘Party Play’ mode. For our more hardcore fans, Need for Speed SHIFT becomes the ultimate immersive driving experience. We are thrilled to offer EA games with the launch of iPad — a device that is like no other.”

SCRABBLE for iPad spells F-U-N! EA Mobile has created fans’ favorite crossword game, with a fresh interface uniquely designed for iPad that lets players pass ‘n’ play or go solo, in portrait or landscape mode. Social and multiplayer capabilities also enable players to challenge friends on Facebook, or through a local Wi-Fi network. In the all new “Party Play” mode, up to four iPhone or iPod touch players can connect their devices to be used as private tile racks and seamlessly play their words onto the iPad “game board” with a simple flick. And for newcomers, the exclusive “Teacher Feature” shows players the best word choice for the previous play.

Celebrating 25 years and more than 100 million paid downloads, the world famous Tetris game launches on iPad with all-new, high resolution graphics and exclusive features including highly anticipated D-Pad controls which give players the option to play the way they want and stay in control of the game. The iPad version also introduces an all-new “Endless” mode for the ultimate extension in game play. Tetris is a must have for any iPad user.

NFS-iPadNeed for Speed SHIFT races to the App Store with exclusive features, multiplayer capability, 18 unique tracks and a variety of race modes. Players can feel the adrenaline rush of an immersive experience when they choose from 28 of the fastest, hottest cars and enjoy physics-based 3D graphics optimized for iPad. New driving controls include the addition of visual accelerator and brake pedals, manual shifting, and a rearview mirror to see who’s coming from behind. The most visceral, aggressive simulation racing game on iPad will make hearts pound!

Mirror’s Edge debuts on iPad with a graphically rich, addictive experience, and 14 nail-biting levels of unrivaled 3D action. Unique to iPad is a multiplayer feature which utilizes a split-screen interface, letting players battle against each other face to face in two thrilling modes. Exciting gameplay has players running on walls, sliding down ramps and leaping between rooftops as they out-maneuver enemies in pursuit of their mission.

With more than 30 million units sold across the Command & Conquer franchise, Command & Conquer Red Alert optimizes iPad’s Multi-Touch controls, large screen and high-fidelity graphics to create an expansive experience. Three-finger, Multi-Touch controls let players select and maneuver their armies, manage inventory and make maximum use of camera zooming to navigate battlefields with photorealistic visuals. Players command units across a wide variety of maps and levels with different environmental conditions which add more layers of strategic depth. Players can challenge friends in Head-to-Head multiplayer mode via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth between iPad and iPhone devices.

Tungle.meMontreal – Online scheduling company Tungle Corp., has announced a strategic partnership with leading enterprise cloud computing and Google Enterprise Partner LTech. Through the partnership, LTech will offer the Tungle.me online meeting scheduling application to its clients as an integral part of the LTech cloud migration services and tools.

LTech helps organizations successfully migrate, integrate and operate cloud computing programs as a means of achieving strategic business goals. It offers a range of services and tools to a growing and diverse set of clients – from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies – making LTech a trusted name in enterprise-class cloud computing solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th March 2010

New Games, Conferences, Roadshows and Interactive Museums Show That Canada Has It All

GDC Canada 2010Vancouver – Bill Mooney, a Vice President at Zynga and General Manager of FarmVille will deliver a keynote address at the 2010 Game Developers Conference™ Canada (GDC Canada). Additionally, a new set of featured speakers has been announced for the upcoming conference, which will address several key focal points for the event, including new distribution models, developing new global titles, and managing established franchises. Attendees will gain insights into new business opportunities with sessions addressing iPhone Games, Digital Distribution and Social Games alongside tracks focused on best practices in Game Design, Business/Production and Programming.

GDC Canada will return for a second year to the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC from May 6-7, 2010. The Game Career Seminar also returns to GDC Canada as a one-day event for students and individuals who want to break into the videogame industry. GDC Canada is presented by Reboot Communications and UBM TechWeb Game Network, the organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference. Early registration discounts end tomorrow, Wednesday, March 31st.

A veteran game developer from such major game publishers as Activision and LucasArts, Bill Mooney joined San Francisco-based social games developer Zynga in 2008 and quickly became a Vice President at Zynga and GM of FarmVille. Mooney’s experience extends beyond the realm of videogame development, having worked for 5 years as a trial lawyer, as well as stints writing for television programs, both animation and live-action. At Zynga, Mooney helped develop the wildly popular Mafia Wars and FarmVille titles, helping to establish both franchises as pioneering social games.

Mooney’s keynote, entitled, “Building Social Games: Games at the Speed of Light,” will touch on the development of FarmVille and Mafia Wars, and the growing popularity and fanbase that has quickly ballooned to over 85 million active users. Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of the rapidly evolving social gaming space and where it is poised to go, and with insight into viral propagation across the world, the low barriers to entry which create agile competition, and the rapidly changing and imperfectly understood marketplace.

“Bill’s keynote is a perfect fit for GDC Canada,” said Izora de Lillard, event director. “Zynga is at the forefront of an exciting gaming space, and the over 85 million players of FarmVille and Mafia Wars can attest to the future prospects of this genre. Mooney’s keynote illustrates the need for continued industry innovation that not only applies to the social gaming space but to the traditional gamer experience as well. GDC Canada will be a great opportunity to learn more about these trends along with how this thinking applies to the core tenets of game development.”

GDC Canada features a roster of speakers that are on the front lines of the technical innovation and business strategies needed to lead their studios to continued success. These featured speakers include:

— Jason Bailey, GM of Virtual Currencies, Adknowledge
Session: Social Games – 85 Million Farmers Can’t All Be Wrong

— Sinjin Bain, V.P. EAP – Worldwide Biz Dev, Electronic Arts
Session: Ask The Decision Makers -Find Out What Publishers Want and How to Get What You Want

— Stephen Hill, 3D Technical Lead, Ubisoft
Session: Rendering with Conviction Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2010

Games For History and Games For The Near Future

On The Path of the EldersThanks to the financial support of Canadian Heritage, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inukshuk Fund and all the project partners, ‘On the Path of the Elders‘ launched as a complete site this past week with a party at the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Terry Hoganson, member of BlackCherry Digital Media, described the event as magical: “It was amazing to have all of these people, who have dedicated countless hours and limitless energy into making On the Path of the Elders a reality, come together and share their stories.”Path of the Elders RPG

Speakers at the celebratory launch included Mr. John Mark Seck, president of BlackCherry Digital Media, Stan Louttit of Neh Naak Ko, Greg Spence of the Mushkegowuk Council, Dr. Kimberly Matheson, Carleton University Vice-President (Research and International), Franziska von Rosen of Our Incredible World (formally Pinegrove Productions), Dr. Elaine Keillor and Dr. John Medicine Horse Kelley Cle-alls, co-directors of Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education, known as CIRCLE.

For those who are not familiar with On The Path Of The Elders, it is a free online educational resource exploring the culture and history of the Mushkegowuk Cree and Anishinaabe Ojibway of Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario, and the signing of Treaty No. 9. Ideal for youth aged 13-17, Path of the Elders reconnects Aboriginal youths with their past, while developing leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

Features:

IUGOIUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a few preliminary screenshots (click thumbnails for a better view) for the first round of Zombie Attack Second Wave XLtitles they will be releasing for the iPad, which will hit stores in just a few more days. Note that all iPad games from IUGO have the XL designation in their title, separating them from their smaller siblings which were built for the iPhone.

For Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL, players will be getting a brand new character, enhanced graphics and a brand new, very cool and intuitive user interface. The Zombie Attack series are a tower defense game where the player is the only survivor of a recent zombie apocalypse. You must destroy the waves of zombie attackers in order to upgrade your shack and weapons. Zombie Attack! Second Wave also makes use of the tilt feature to add to your game-play experience as you fight off the varying types of zombie creatures. You can also listen to your own music as you zap zombies because there is automatic iPod music support.

Cliffed XLMeanwhile over in Cliffed XL, players will have new backgrounds as well as new characters (in addition to the 18 already available), along with pumped up graphics. As you can see in the screenshot, players will be able to engage in head-to-head challenges on one device. Head-to-head play is available on the iPhone version, which allows up to four players to race to the bottom over a WiFi, 3G or Edge connection. With global leader boards, you will find yourself experiencing the “one more time” effect as you race to take over as the worldwide leader of Cliffed. Very addictive. Just sayin’.
Implode XL
Implode! XL will lead to total destruction on a larger scale. For those not familiar with this incredibly addictive game, you have been given the task of destroying old, obsolete buildings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each building requires the careful placement of dynamite bundles, and if you get it wrong, the building does not Implode in the manner it should. There are currently three levels of challenge – Casual, Veteran, and Expert, with three bomb types: traditional, blast and directional with more bomb styles to become available in the future. IUGO has designed a new super slick user interface for this chalkboard styled game – and exclusive to the iPad version is an editor. Both iPhone and iPad users will also receive all-new levels, giving players well over 100 levels to puzzle their way through, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Norm's World Escape XLNew to both the iPhone and iPad is ESCAPE: Norm’s World. Exclusive to the iPad for this puzzle game will be two player interaction with two modes. Gamers will be able to take their friends on in either head to head (see screenshot) or co-op play. Also exclusive to the iPad will be some very cool 3D graphics. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is a game which due to its unique design, offers an endless array of levels and puzzles. There will be two additional difficulty modes which will be introduced through DLC, and this game will also feature simple controls, making it user friendly for all ages. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is also comprised of minimalist graphics and unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects. So remember that while the puzzles may be driving your mind crazy, your psyche is being calmed by the soothing audio.

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25th March 2010

Strategies, Communities and Software Launches

VancouverAnnexPro has announced two upcoming events to celebrate the launch of Autodesk 2011 software and Autodesk Smoke 2011 for Mac OS X. The first event is being held on April 27th from 10am to 6pm. “Seize the Opportunity with Autodesk 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation Software” is a free all-day event which will be held at the Scotiabank Theatre on Burrard [at Smithe], with specialized tracks for Game Developers and Post-Production. At the end of the day there will be a customer appreciation reception with cold beer, soft drinks and tasty snacks.

The second event is a virtual event directly from Autodesk. ‘Seize the Opportunity at the Autodesk Virtual Event” is comprised of 3 sessions for Digital Entertainment Creation software including Smoke for Mac OS X along with sessions for building, engineering and more. Please see the event listing at Autodesk for details and registration. This virtual event will run on April 19th from 7am – 2pm Pacific Time.

TransGamingTorontoTransGaming, Inc. and Ubisoft®  have collaborated with TransGaming to bring The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™ video game to Mac® via TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine. TransGaming, a leading developer of portability technologies for the electronic entertainment industry, brings the Mac version of The Settlers 7 Paths to a Kingdom simultaneously with the PC release to both traditional retailers and online merchants including, GameTreeOnline.com. This new global release extends TransGaming’s partnership with Ubisoft, that includes Prince of Persia® and Shaun The Settlers 7 Paths To A KingdomWhite titles, and continues the collaboration of bringing great video game content to the Mac community.

The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning strategy game, The Settlers®: Rise of an Empire, The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom will also offer an exclusive Gold/Collector edition of the game available for purchase via download only. The standard and Gold/Collector editions are available immediately for consumers to purchase and download.

“We are pleased to bring another great Ubisoft game to the Mac, and the simultaneous deployment could only be made possible through our Cider engine,” commented Vikas Gupta, President & CEO of TransGaming, Inc. “Settlers is an award winning franchise, and I’m sure the Mac community will be thrilled to have access to this great new release through both retail channels and GameTreeOnline.com.”

“Ubisoft is excited about the simultaneous multiplatform release of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom™,” said Carrie Tice, Senior Director of Strategic Sales & Partnerships at Ubisoft. “The partnership with TransGaming to bring our titles to the Mac allows us to expand our business and serve the growing Mac gaming community with new and exciting game releases.”

The standard edition is priced at $49.99 and is available via digital download and at retailers, with the exclusive Gold/Collector edition only available via digital download for $59.99. In addition to the standard edition game play, the Gold/Collector edition provides exclusive unlockable content for consumers, including: one exclusive map, the original soundtrack of the game and additional castle forge elements – including a gate, balcony, bay, gargoyle and two windows – allowing players to customize their castles and make their cities unique

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure has announced their latest title, Chess Challenge! for the Wii. According to the title’s info page, patience will be key going up against the Chess Challengebest players from around the world with Chess Challenge! Perfect your chess skills by playing against the computer in multiple difficulty modes or using the Nintendo ® Wi-Fi Connection service to start climbing the worldwide rankings. Win online matches and even see how your chess rating stacks up against the world by viewing the online Leaderboard.

If you don’t have time to play your friends in a live chess game, Chess Challenge! also lets you play up to five different Wii Friends using WiiConnect24. With full Mii support you can really bring your games to life! Start off practicing on some casual games, and work your way up to fully ELO rated matches. With all of these gameplay options you have some serious chess action awaiting you! Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd March 2010

Canadian Technology Taking Off In The Global Market

MIGS 2010The Montreal International Game Summit has put out its call for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. More congratulations are in order for the FIFA 10 development team, as the game picked up two BAFTA Game Awards this past Friday evening – one for Best Sports Title and the other for Best Use of Online. DreamCatcher Games and The Adventure Company have announced the release of new content on an updated website for Sherlock Holmes VS. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. You can check out new screenshots and a new trailer on the site, as Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripperwell as put in your pre-order at GameStop. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper will be in stores near the end of April and is rated T by the ESRB.

Kasumi GotoBioware has released more details about Kasumi Goto, the newest member of the Normandy’s crew in Mass Effect 2. Kasumi,  the galaxy’s most enigmatic and cunning master thief, will be introduced in the DLC pack Stolen Memory. In addition to being able to recruit Kasumi in all new missions, players will be able to utilize her special skills as a member of Commander Shepard’s squad throughout the entire game. In return for her help, Kasumi has asked for Commander Shepard’s help on a dangerous heist to infiltrate the vault of a deadly master criminal named Donovan Hock. Players must gain Kasumi’s loyalty on the planet Bekenstein, where Hock is throwing a party for some of the galaxy’s richest and most deranged criminal minds. The mission: recover data of great importance to Kasumi and the galaxy at large. In addition to this new mission, players will also receive a new research upgrade, one Hover Tanknew weapon, and a new achievement in this PDLC pack. The Kasumi – Stolen Memory PDLC pack will be available this April for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system at a cost of 560 Microsoft points, and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Don’t forget that tomorrow (March 23rd) will be the release date for the Firewalker DLC pack, which includes five heart-pounding missions taking place on five uncharted worlds. Players will be able to explore planets and engage in combat in the new Hammerhead hover-tank. The Firewalker pack will be available via the Cerberus Network console. Mass Effect 2 is rated M by the ESRB.

Toronto Comic ConToronto – Fans 10 and under attending Toronto Comic Con, March 26-28, 2010, at the Direct Energy Centre will receive a free Gogos Crazy Bones toy, courtesy of Toronto-based Irwin Toy. The popular items will be distributed while supplies last at the Registration area upon arrival.

Gogos Crazy Bones are a collectible, mini game toy sensation. They are small, colorful figures whose gaming origins date back to Ancient Greece, where children played by bouncing and throwing knuckle bones. These more refined, plastic characters are available in the hundreds, each one having a unique face and name.

“We are pleased to be providing free Gogos Crazy Bones right in our backyard at Toronto Comic Con,” said Gogos Crazy BonesPeter Irwin, Irwin Toys. “It is extremely special for Irwin Toys to participate in the inaugural show here, since Gareb has been a family friend for as long as my father and I can remember.”

Gogos Crazy Bones was named the 2009 British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) Collectible Toy of the Year. The characters have recently been hugely popular in Europe and Australia and were first a big hit in the U.S. more than a decade ago, when 31.5 million packages were sold from 1998-2000.

“Having an international sensation like Gogos Crazy Bones available free to kids is a great bonus for Toronto Comic Con attendees,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard Entertainment CEO. “It’s particularly gratifying to be partnering with Irwin Toy, which in addition to being based in Toronto, has been a leader in the industry for more than 80 years.” Read the rest of this entry »

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19th March 2010

It’s Friday Let’s Rock

First up, our congratulations to Bioware and Dragon Age: Origins for picking up a Swedish Games Industry award for RPG of the Year and to EA Burnaby for picking up Sports Game of the Year for FIFA 10. Also, a reminder that the Early Bird price deadline for GDC Canada is fast approaching. Take advantage of the ticket discounts and get your passes before March 31 for this May’s great event at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

IUGOThere’s lots going on over at IUGO Mobile Entertainment as well. Earlier today the studio announced that several of their game titles will be released for the iPad. On the list are Cliffed, Zombie Attack Second Wave and Implode, along with their brand new game, Escape: Norm’s World. We also found out today that IUGO’s Director of Business Management, Sarah Thompson, will be one of two featured speakers at the upcoming Appy Hour, which is presented by The Social Agency. Appy Hour will be happening on March 26th at the Revel Room from 4 – 6pm. Also speaking at Appy Hour will be Jesse MacFayden, a developer over at Nitobi.

Vancouver TwestivalThe Vancouver Twestival will be taking place at the CBC Vancouver Audience Lounge this March 25th, and tickets are now on sale.  The Twestival is part of a global day of fundraising which will involve thousands of Twitter-users around the world who are gathering together to raise money for Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian organization dedicated to reducing suffering and ending extreme poverty.

Your $20 Twestival ticket includes:

– Admission (donation to Concern Worldwide)
– 1 Wine ticket (more available for purchase)
– 1 Raffle ticket (more available for purchase)
– Food (sushi & canapes)
– Official souvenir YVRTwestival button
– Entertainment (Rob Cottingham, live DJ, Mojave)
– Socializing with Twitter friends (although that’s priceless!)

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has announced the release dates for the next round of new DLC for Mass Effect 2. The Firewalker pack will be available beginning on March 23, and Alternate Appearance PackKasumi Goto will join the crew of the Normandy on April 6. Kasumi’s DLC expansion will be titled Stolen Memories. Also coming on March 23 are new appearances for crew members Thane, Jack and Garrus. The Alternate Appearance pack will be available for 160 MS Points. The Firewalker DLC pack will include the brand new M-57 Hammerhead Hover Tank as well as five brand-new missions and locations to explore. This expansion will be free to those gamers who have the Cerberus Network option enabled. The Cerberus Network game add-on code included free to all those gamers who purchased the game new; if you bought a previously-played version, you can add the Cerberus Network option for 1200 MS Points through the XBL Morrigan DisapprovesMarketplace. In my opinion, the Cerberus Network offers much value in return and is well worth the points if you didn’t purchase the game new.

There are also plenty of new items over in the Bioware store. Today’s new product announcement is the “Morrigan Disapproves” Dragon Age shirt. If you have a Bioware, Mass Effect or Dragon Age fan in your house, then the Bioware store is a great place to find some cool gift items from shirts and hats to lithographs and music.

The CFTPA has made the National Digital Strategy Prime Time panel videos and several PowerPoint presentations available online. To download the presentations and speeches, scroll down through the schedule list and click on the links for the presentations you would like. I think that by making these videos and presentations available to those who were unable to make the February conference is a great way to continue a national dialogue for the Toby - Guitar Herodevelopment of a Canadian digital strategy, and I appreciate the efforts by those at the CFTPA for taking strides to keep those of us in the digital media industry informed and talking.

I’m going to leave you on this Friday afternoon with a music video from the young English rock group Jonny Black. Now, you may ask yourself why a Canadian digital media news site is promoting an English group, and I would answer, “because the young men who make up this group are friends of ours and they deserve some extra promotion. Plus, they’re gamers, too.”

Formerly known as Mendella, Jonny Black’s band members are among those who have a dream and work hard to forge their path in the achievement of that dream. This video in particular is an endeavour by the group to have one of their songs chosen as the UK soccer team’s anthem for the 2010 World Cup. We hope that you enjoy Jonny Black’s music as much as we do, and will help their video go viral (watch it, fave it, share it) thereby playing a part in the achievement of their goals. You can read more about our involvement with Jonny Black and learn more about these young men here, here, and in our gallery, right here.

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