Based on the ABC hit show Wipeout and continuing the tradition of wickedly entertaining family fun, Activision Publishing, Inc. and ABC Entertainment Group announced today at Gamescom that Wipeout 2, the latest release in the hit video game franchise will be coming this holiday season for the Nintendo DS™, Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™ from Nintendo, Kinect™ for Xbox 360®, and PlayStation®Move for Playstation®3.
Currently in development at Behaviour Interactive, Wipeout 2 will offer updated, outrageous course designs across all platforms with obstacles and effects taken straight from the show’s summer and winter seasons. Players must navigate around snow, ice, foam, and fan-favorite obstacles like the Sucker Punch Wall and Big Balls; which are making their triumphant returns alongside more than 50 others. Extended gameplay on all systems encourages even more interaction and participation with family and friends. Once again, all the wild and crazy action is narrated by the show’s hosts John Anderson and John Henson.
“I’m excited that the video game series is evolving just like our show,” said Matt Kunitz, Wipeout’s Creator and Executive Producer. “Players will experience all the fun of the new winter and summer courses without being sore in the morning!”
Particular attention is being paid to making every platform experience unique with ramped up excitement that engages gamers like never before. Freshly revised controls makes for intuitive and easy to use motion-based gameplay for Wii owners. The PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 titles will offer gamers the ability to taunt and toss paintballs and snowballs at family and friends while they run the course.
Handheld gaming will finally become a communal experience with pass and play ‘Hot Seat’ participation for up to 4 players with Nintendo 3DS players also seeing their graphics taken to a whole new dimension. No matter how players choose to enjoy, the crazy and hilarious fun is taken to wild new heights with Wipeout 2.
“Working with ABC on the Wipeout titles has been a tremendous success,” said Nicole Armstrong, Activision Publishing. “Their integration of the game series into the show has been outstanding and their contributions to the game make it truly appealing for fans. We look forward to bringing more great Wipeout experiences to families.”
The Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS versions have been rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. The Wii, PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 versions have been rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and older by the ESRB.
Collect shiny gems raining down from the sky, but beware of lurking sea monsters, all while playing four exciting mini-games – in tvokids.com’s The Mysteries of Lagoon Bay.
TVOKids.com continues to lead the way in teacher-approved, kid-tested fun with the launch of its new online educational game that was developed in close collaboration with students from a Toronto community school. The Mysteries of Lagoon Bay, which launches today on the TVO Kids web site, is an online board game that can be played by one to four players on the same computer – perfect for families.
Built from the ground up, over a one-and-a-half year period, game developers and educators from tvokids.com worked with a group of 10 children, aged five to seven, to incorporate their ideas and preferences into an exciting and challenging game. Not only is it adjustable for different skill levels, but The Mysteries of Lagoon Bay finely balances a mysteriously fun game while reinforcing the Ontario school curriculum.
The tvokids.com team began by building a life-sized physical board game and workshopped it with kids to determine the best way to make the educational elements of the game really come alive.
Players select one of six unique characters and compete to collect the most gems by playing four types of mini-games. Each game is designed to help kids with adding (Nice Dice), patterning (Ball Fall), geometry (Shape Escape), and spelling (Word Herd). The game’s adventurous setting incorporates suggestions from kids to add hidden passageways, top-secret trapdoors and wonderful surprises.
“The Mysteries of Lagoon Bay is the result of a collaborative effort between kids and tvokids.com – we really listened to what they liked in their favourite games and tried to pack as much as we could in this game,” says manager of tvokids.com Marie Morency-Lee. “When we showed the kids the final game, they were excited and screaming, ‘This was my idea!’. The game is a great tool to practice math and language concepts while having a blast playing with friends and family.”
Summer 2011 will see two new titles on many platforms coming from the Ludia game studios. The first announcement comes from Ludia Inc. and FremantleMedia Enterprises, who announced today that Hole In The Wall will be available worldwide exclusively for Kinect™ on the Microsoft Xbox 360® and will be available for purchase from Xbox LIVE Arcade. Based on the global television game show phenomenon, Hole In The Wall is one of the trickiest, fastest and funniest games on the planet where agility and a hearty sense of humor are essential tools to survive.
Players must contort their bodies to fit through bizarrely shaped holes in themed moving walls hurtling towards them. Competitors attempt to clear the walls in order to boost their scores, or risk being swept away into a pool of water. Hole In The Wall will also incorporate online play, single and multiplayer game modes, as well as image captures of the outlandish player movements performed within the game and hilarious bonus videos from the TV show.
“Ludia is thrilled to create an immersive, controller-free Hole In The Wall game play experience that is perfectly suited to leverage Microsoft Kinect technology,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This first title is just the beginning of Ludia games for Kinect on Xbox 360, and serves to further reinforce our multiplatform game strategy.”
“The Hole In The Wall television show has been highly successful in dozens of countries worldwide, so we are very pleased to work with Ludia to extend the franchise to Microsoft’s Xbox 360, said Olivier Delfosse, Director, Interactive, FremantleMedia Enterprises, licensor for Hole In The Wall. “We are sure that fans of the show and wider audiences alike will enjoy partaking in a fresh and exciting new Hole In The Wall experience.”
The second development announcement came from Ludia and Mark Burnett’s One Three Television LLC. The development studio will publish games based on the multiple-award winning Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?® TV game show. The North America-wide, multi-year will result in games for Facebook and mobile platforms including iPhone™, iPod touch™ and iPad™.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to create Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? games for the millions of people that play games on Facebook and mobile devices,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This new license helps amplify the Ludia portfolio of game show games, which has been a highly successful category for us and one we believe has strong on-going potential across platforms.”
The Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? games will feature the favorite game play elements of the television show as contestants vie to earn money by answering trivia questions from a set of ten grade school subjects in a quest to earn the top prize. The games will also incorporate real-time multiplayer competition as well as other unique social features that will result in high dynamic and entertaining game play experiences.
“We are pleased to add Ludia as a licensee to our Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? licensing program. We look forward to working with them on 5th Grader games for social media and mobile platforms,” said Mark Burnett. “We are thrilled to see the franchise thrive so that fans of the show and wider audiences alike can enjoy their very own Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? game experiences.”
Ubisoft® announced the joint development of Just Dance® 3 by Ubisoft Paris and Ubisoft Montreal. The third game in the multi-million selling Just Dance franchise, Just Dance 3 marks the debut of the Just Dance series on Kinect™ for Xbox 360®and the PlayStation®Move forPlayStation®3, and the latest installment of the series on the Wii™ system from Nintendo. Developed by Ubisoft Paris and Ubisoft Montreal, Just Dance 3 will be released worldwide on October 11.
“The Just Dance brand has truly become a worldwide phenomenon with over 30 million people playing Just Dance,” said Olivier Ernst, director of Ubisoft Canada. “Fans play Just Dance at parties with friends, at home with the family, and as part of an active lifestyle to stay fit or even lose weight. Ubisoft is excited to bring Just Dance 3 to all motion platforms and give even more people the opportunity to enjoy the fun.”
Featuring more than 40 tracks across a wide range of musical genres, including pop, hip-hop, rock, R&B, country, disco, funk, and more, Just Dance 3 introduces a number of new game features that take advantage of the unique mechanics of each console. To get the party started, Just Dance 3 includes some of today’s hottest hits as well as classic dance tracks that everyone loves.
Confirmed tracks for Just Dance 3 include:
2 Unlimited – “No Limit”
Black Eyed Peas – “Pump It”
Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”
Groove Century – “Boogie Wonderland”
Gwen Stefani – “What You Waiting For”
Katy Perry – “California Gurls”
Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”
Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up (Giddy On Out)”
LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock – “Party Rock Anthem”
MIKA – “Lollipop”
Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”
In addition to this exciting tracklist, Just Dance 3 introduces exclusive new game features on all three motion-control platforms, such as four-player choreographies and dynamic environments on Wii and the new “Shout Out!” feature on Kinect, which allows players to score extra points by belting out their favorite song verse. This, combined with the entertaining and unique choreography developed by professional dancers, will provide players with the fun and accessible challenges they are looking for and ensuring that Just Dance 3 will get the world dancing.
Shot in the Dark Mysteries has launched its inaugural podcast. Hosted by company president and head writer Leigh Clements, this first podcast in the series will introduce you to the concept of mystery parties. Additional podcasts will offer listeners many excellent tips on planning that special, and memorable, party or corporate event.
The Youth Media Awards, presented by the Youth Media Alliance, are now open for nomination submissions. The Awards are open to all Canadian-made, youth-oriented productions originally broadcast or released online in English between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010. Programs and interactive content must be submitted by no later than Monday, February 21, 2011, at 5 p.m. The Award winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on June 2nd.
Wired Woman Vancouver presents a session with Tod Maffin, podcasting pioneer, technology trend blogger and Digital Marketing Strategist on Monday, February 7th. Tod will discuss the 7 successful action steps for launching an impactful and measurable viral campaign using his ASSURED ROI™ methodology. Tod’s energetic, highly entertaining presentation style has audiences captivated, engaged, entertained and inspired. This session will be hosted at the ING Direct Cafe on Howe Street. Advance registration for this event is required, tickets are $35.00 for members and $40.00 for non-members. Note: membership is free, sign up and save.
Bioware has announced a new pre-order incentive for the fast approaching release of Dragon Age 2. Those who pre-order the game before March 8th (the scheduled release date) will receive access to the following additional in-game content at no extra cost.
* The Lion of Orlais Shield, whose legend begins at the height of the Summer War, when all of Orlais was embroiled in fierce battles, with dozens of contenders for the Imperial Throne emerging. Most are long forgotten except as footnotes in scholarly tomes, but everyone remembers the gallant young lord Emile Deveraux, “The Golden Prince”. Thought outnumbered at every turn, he racked victory upon victory culminating in the Seventh Battle of Roses. While wearing this shield he broke through his uncle’s vanguard to win the day. Never knowing the taste of defeat on the battlefield, this gallant hero is said to have met his end at the hands of a jealous lover in the dead of night. Now you can carry this magnificent shield into battle, adding to your health and XP gained, you can also increase its power with magical runes which will fit nicely into two special slots.
* The Fadeshear Sword, whose core is very old – as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond. This sword has fought the demonic hosts in countless battles, sometimes being held high in triumphant victory. Other times, it has lain broken beside its dying owner. But after every defeat it has always been reclaimed, reforged, and made stronger. Fadeshear has passed through many hands before yours. Now it is your turn to make the demons of the Fade pay for crossing the Veil into the waking world. Make use of the FadeShear Sword against demons and the undead, its power growing as your character levels up.
Original purchasers of Dragon Age 2 will receive:
* A fighting Mabari War Hound who can be summoned by a whistle to fight at your side in battle.
* The Mirror of Transformation which will allow you to change your very appearance. Hair, eyes, tattoos, and more can be changed with the click of a button.
* Access to The Black Emporium exclusive Magic and Crafting Stores that have some of the best equipment and powerful, unique recipes you’ll find in the game. It’s restocked with better items as you progress through the story.
This is a double bonus for those of us who also took advantage of the Signature Edition pre-order incentive, which ended on January 11th, because we also get access to all of this newly announced bonus content. Here is the latest Dev Diary trailer, which talks about story development.
Montreal’s Gamerizon has announced that over 8 Million of its Chop Chop™ games had been downloaded on the App Store in a span of less than 10 months. Each of the six existing Chop Chop™ games – Chop Chop Ninja™, Chop Chop Runner™, Chop Chop Tennis™, Chop Chop Soccer™, Chop Chop Hockey™ and Chop Chop Caveman™ – have received critical acclaim and have reached top ranking positions in their respective categories in most countries around the world, with specially strong performances in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.
“We reached the milestone with an incredibly strong performance of 1.4 Million downloads in the last 6 days alone and are well on our way to make the Chop Chop™ franchise one of the world’s best known mobile gaming franchises” said Alex Sakiz, CEO of Gamerizon.
The success of the Chop Chop™ franchise is primarily a function of the unique one-finger gameplay mechanics developed in all games and the innovative hybrid Paid/Free Business Model adopted. Three new games – Chop Chop Rocket™, Chop Chop Kicker™ and Chop Chop Alien™ are scheduled for release in February and March.
Emmy® Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. has entered into a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore’s leading institution of higher learning, to set up a paperless digital animation production hub on their campus, fully equipped with a Toon Boom pipeline.
This first animation hub will serve as a great launch pad for the students in the interactive digital media courses to learn animation and create projects in a true digital production environment. In addition, Toon Boom will collaborate with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology to assist in faculty development, student development, academic and professional networking, as well as in granting prizes of excellence in the form of special awards and scholarships.
“Toon Boom is fully dedicated to the development of the animation industry in Singapore. As a result, our partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic represents a great accomplishment in combining Toon Boom’s field proven expertise with Singapore’s impressive creative talent,” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.
EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champion. Setting the stage for a new standard in sports games, Fight Night Champion will deliver the most dynamic simulation fighting experience to date, pushing visual boundaries and redefining the single player journey for the category. Check out this video about fighter stamina:
In just a few weeks, Fight Night Champion will break the mold of what is expected in a single-player sports game. Players will be introduced to an entirely new way to step between the ropes and experience the drama, emotion, excitement and tragedy of world championship boxing.
Burnaby’s Teradici Corporation, developer of the innovative PC-over-IP® (PCoIP®) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, has announced a strategic investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Teradici PCoIP protocol is an innovative remote display technology that allows the user’s desktop operating system, applications, and data to reside in the datacenter, eliminating the need for traditional desktop workstations, PCs and thin clients, and delivers an uncompromised user experience to each person, anywhere, without incurring the security risks associated with having data reside in remote PCs. PCoIP technology provides high resolution, full frame rate 3D graphics and high-definition media, with full USB peripheral interoperability, locally over a LAN or remotely over a high-latency WAN. It compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenter and transmits it ‘pixels only’ across a standard IP network to secure, stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.
The protocol is implemented in silicon for hardware accelerated performance and enhanced security, as well as in several software configurations, including VMware View™, the industry leading desktop virtualization platform. A growing ecosystem of over 25 third-party vendors provide a wide variety of PCoIP products including server plug-in cards, rack and tower workstations, blade PCs, zero clients, integrated monitors, and IP phones with added PCoIP capability.
The Canadian Media Production Association has filed an intervention (PDF) with the CRTC, confirming that it does not support BCE Inc.’s application as filed, to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia Inc. The CMPA disagrees with BCE’s contention that tangible benefits are not payable as a result of this transaction. The CMPA similarly disagrees with BCE’s proposal that the valuation of benefits payable amounts to only $221 million and that a mere $40 million of that amount will go towards supporting the creation of Canadian programming. The CMPA expects to make its arguments before the CRTC when it commences hearings into the proposed acquisition on February 1, 2011.
“The benefits package proposed by BCE represents a very significant departure from the CRTC’s long-standing tangible benefits policy. It is also extremely self-serving and very largely focused on activities that are normal capital expenditures for such a company,” says Norm Bolen, the CMPA’s President and CEO.
In its intervention, the CMPA argues that the tangible benefits policy must be respected. This means that:
* the payment of tangible benefits are indeed fully required in this transaction;
* the quantum of these TV benefits must represent 10% of the total value of all CTV television assets;
* BCE must not be allowed to exclude or discount any of its television-related assets in this calculation;
* a minimum of 85% of the total tangible benefits must be allocated to the creation of Canadian programming;
* a minimum of 75% of the amount allocated to the creation of Canadian programming must be earmarked to third-parties from the independent production community; and,
* the resources allocated to the creation of independent Canadian programming must be administered by a third-party, and must not be limited to projects that are ultimately broadcast only on CTV or its many television properties.
“If BCE’s proposal is accepted by the Commission without considerable modifications it would fall extremely short of what is in the best interest of our broadcasting system and the Canadian public,” says Bolen.
Wicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) have announced that the long-awaited Occupation Mode will be coming soon to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.. With Occupation Mode, M.A.T. gains one of the most essential elements of a competitive title – territory capture and control.
“We are thrilled to offer this intense level of action to our community,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “We invite gaming clans of all skill levels to see for themselves just how crazy things can get. We know that gamers will put Occupation Mode right up there with Old School, hardcore multiplayer classics like Counter-Strike 1.6 and the Battlefield series.”
Occupation Mode brings with it new maps and new opportunities to put that weapon you just bought to work. The real challenge, of course, is to protect yourself and your team as you keep moving forward as a unit, attacking new positions and then defending them before time runs out. When your team holds all points on a map, you win the game. When both teams fail to complete the mission, beware…you can end up spawning infinitely for a lengthy and engaging firefight over a single capture point.
“At the request of the community, we have left it up to the game creators to set just how severe the time-keeping will be,” added Ho. “For those who love a good challenge, this is the mode for you. The two teams are in constant struggle for territory control until the best team finally emerges as the winner, involving not only brute force advancement but also endurance and holding key locations.”
EA Mobile has released new screenshots for Dead Space, giving mobile gamers a look at what’s coming for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. EA has not yet revealed a ship date for the title, but I am already imagining gamers on transit playing this game and having to explain to other transit passengers why they just screamed like a little girl and jumped in their seat.
“Sorry, playing a game. It’s got scary bits. It’s okay, I’m not having a psychotic episode. Really.”
EA Mobile will also be launching Tetris on the PlayStation Network for North America later today, according to a Twitter post by game developer Behaviour Interactive. Playable on the PlayStation 3, this iteration of the all-time favourite casual game will have 12 Trophies to be earned, including some that reward teamwork in clearing levels. PS3 Tetris is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and boasts these features:
Slide, rotate and drop your Tetriminos into place in Marathon Mode or any of 12 variants – you can even challenge the best Tetris replays worldwide.
6 Multiplayer Modes: Up to 6 players worldwide can knock each other out in 2 minute Timed Battle or be the last person standing in Battle Mode. Play Marathon Mode or variants with up to 3 friends locally, as well.
Exclusive PS3 Content: Use power-ups in Battle Mode for even more fun. Clear lines together with friends worldwide in Shared Mode or experience Team Battle, the ultimate 2-on-2 competitive Tetris variant.
View Tetris leaderboards, watch replays of the world’s best players.
EA Sports has released a new trailer for Fight Night Champions. Scheduled for release from EA Canada on March 1st, 2011, Fight Night Champions features a fully developed Champion Mode, which allows players to develop their character’s career while following a compelling storyline. Fight Night Champions will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.
Transgaming Studios has just announced that its latest title, Garage Inc., will be launched on iTunes this January 6th. Garage Inc., a time management game set in 1920’s Prohibition Chicago, will be available for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac and PC. Help Italian immigrant Angelo build his automotive repair shop while avoiding the mob, all in pursuit of the American Dream. Garage Inc. is rated Teen for T as the game involves:
Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Last month, Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) and LucasArts, a division of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd., in collaboration with TransGaming, Inc. launched Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, a free-to-play family-friendly online virtual world, for Macintosh® Platform users. Clone Wars Adventures is an action-packed browser-based virtual world where fans can live out the thrills and excitement of Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™ animated TV series on Cartoon Network.
“The demand for game content on the Mac platform has increased significantly, and we are excited to bring our games to this growing audience,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “Through our collaboration with TransGaming, Mac and PC players are able to play together seamlessly on both Free Realms™ and now Clone Wars Adventures, and we will continue to look for opportunities with future games to do the same.”
Clone Wars Adventures is the ultimate virtual destination for fans of the TV series where players go online to experience fun mini-games, daily activities, events, rewards, lively social environments, and competitions. Players can battle alongside their favorite Star Wars characters like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is updated every week with new content pulled from that week’s new episode.
There will be a Game Jam happening at the New Media Manitoba offices over the weekend of January 29 – 30th. This weekend jam will feature a bit of a twist – each team will develop an idea as a separate 640×480 Flash game.The idea for this themed jam came from Interactive Developer Devin Reimer, proprietor of Almost Logical. Please see the Infinite Ammo blog for complete information and the registration link.
Game Prototype Challenge is holding an informal meet-up evening for Toronto-area participants on January 18th beginning at 8pm. This event is being held at The Spotted Dick (wow, that name doesn’t conjure up bad images at all), and is open to anyone who’d like to find out more about the Game Prototype Challenge or just meet some of the other developers who participate in the Challenge. RSVP to this event’s Facebook page if you’re interested in attending.
Subway Canada has a released a new Fresh Finder app for the iPhone. Developed in partnership by teams from Veritas Canada and Endloop Studios, this free app lets you find the closest Canadian Subway® Restaurants quickly & easily. Using Facebook, Twitter or email, you can invite friends to meet you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Fresh Finder applications puts Subway® Restaurants in the palm of your hands with one tap of the screen. It also makes the latest Subway® Restaurant news, updates and special limited time offers easily accessible to you, even while you’re out and about.
More children around the world will soon have safe places to live, learn and play thanks in part to the support of kids who play in the popular snow-covered virtual world, Club Penguin. The fourth annual Coins For Change event, conducted from December 17 to 27, 2010, allowed the children who play Club Penguin to help change the world by donating the virtual coins they earned playing games online to real world causes that matter to them.
Kids could donate virtual coins to provide medical help, build safe places or protect the earth. At the end of the event, the virtual donations to the three cause categories served as votes to determine how a $1M cash contribution from Disney Online Studios would be divided among charitable projects aimed at helping children, families and the planet.
Thanks to more than 3.4 million players who donated in excess of 12.2 billion virtual coins, Disney Online Studios will donate:
* $290,000 USD to support medical clinics in Malawi and Lesotho, Africa (conducted by Partners in Health).
* $50,000 USD to fund operations for sick and disabled children in Cambodia (conducted by Children’s Surgical Centre).
* $75,000 USD to provide school programs for kids displaced by war in Sudan, Africa (conducted by War Child).
* $75,000 USD to protect children from violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (conducted by War Child).
* $150,000 USD to fund projects to provide water to communities in India (conducted by Free The Children).
* $180,000 USD to teach kids and families to care for watersheds and rainforests (conducted by Rare).
* $180,000 USD to protect endangered animals in Columbia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Andes Mountains (Conducted by Wildlife Conservation Network).
“Our players work hard to earn virtual coins on Club Penguin, but when a need is expressed they give freely and generously, and I’m always blown away by their passion for helping others and protecting the earth,” says Lane Merrifield, one of Club Penguin’s co-founders and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “It was particularly exciting this year to see even more kids from around the world rally together as part of Coins For Change.”
Club Penguin is one of the largest virtual worlds for children with a reputation for providing fun for kids and peace of mind for parents. Millions of children and families in more than 225 countries play Club Penguin in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information.
Club Penguin is free to play, however special features such as front-of-the-line access to game features, exclusive parties and opportunities to customize your penguin and igloo require a membership. A portion of the proceeds from each membership purchased supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the globe. In recent years, the kids who play Club Penguin have helped more than two million people get medical care, enabled 200,000 children to go to school and helped protect more than a dozen endangered species and their habitats.
Here is a reminder that Game Prototype Challenge v2 will be announcing the themes on Monday December 13th, as well as a teaser look at some of the games from version 1.
If you are a professional, student or hobbyist, I recommend that you take part in the Game Prototype Challenge – because hey, you never know where that next great idea will come from.
One of my recent new followers on Twitter is Disruptive Publishers. Based in Vancouver, this group creates licensed avatar gear for platforms such as Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. They have created themes and avatars for groups such as American universities, as well as partnered with companies such as Capcom, Sega, EA, Ubisoft, and the NBA for personalized gear that can be purchased in the respective console marketplaces. Creating user-customization gear for avatars is a great way to get your company’s image out into the main stream, broadening its presence to areas you may not have previously considered. According to their site, Disruptive Publishers is “an end-to-end solution for all production, licensing, approval, accounting and marketing disciplines throughout the entire process.”
Toronto-based Raw Sugar PR, owned and operated by Juli Strader, is a company whose philosophy is very similar to our own, to quote their site: “Raw Sugar PR is dedicated to developing and establishing a star system of directors, producers, screenwriters and actors so that Canadians across the country will proudly boast about our talent in the film & TV industry. Film & TV publicity opportunities abound from all stages, from development to casting to production to theatrical debut and to multi-platform distribution. Each stage offers new opportunities to build industry awareness and consumer recognition of your project.”
Another Twitter-find is Vancouver’s Blatant Studio, whose specialty is animation and motion-graphics. They have done work for clients such as Piranha Games, MTV, MuchMusic, 20th Century Fox and many more. While watching their show reel, I saw something very disturbing. Scott Baio is 45? I feel really old now. Thanks, Blatant.
I followed a link posted by Toon Boom, which led me to their Christmas ecard application. A link on that page led me over to Premium Beat, a royalty free music provider founded in 2005 by father-son creatives Giles and Francois Arbour. Based in Quebec, Premium Beat offers high quality Royalty Free Music for all new and traditional media, including websites, online videos, slide shows, DVDs and CD-ROMs, television, radio and films. The company also offers a variety of Flash Media Players for websites: Flash mp3 Players, Flash Video Players and Flash Slideshow Players.
Moderation Town from Stitch Media had its premier yesterday. Airing as a web series on Showcase.ca, Moderation Town is a comedy series about a small Maritime town after the local factory folds and is replaced by an Internet moderation company. Local residents become not-so-internet-savvy content moderators, responsible for filtering the most offensive content off of the Internet.
Kelowna studio Situware has released Pigeon Drop, a kind-of-location-based game available now in the iTunes App Store for $2.99. According to the game’s info, Pigeon Drop is a revolution in interactive game play, physically integrating players into an online world where they command an army of pigeons capable of launching real-time attacks against other online players around the globe.
Pigeons have united in a worldwide effort to help humanity avoid total self-destruction. After years of practicing on statues and monuments around the world, pigeons have finally perfected the art of high altitude bombing and are ready to offer their services to humankind. It appears pigeon poop is a great alternative to weapons of mass destruction and pigeons are willing to partner with humans in an effort to avoid a worldwide disaster and offer a new way of achieving total global domination.
Today seems to be the day for finding out about games with questionable titles. New from Winnipeg’s Complex Games is Monkey Poo, available now in the iTunes store for 99 cents. This game, according to its store description, allows you to fling your way to victory by covering unwary zoo-goers with mounds and mounds of monkey poo, awarding bonus points for finishing off your targets with multiple hits, while nailing mystery celebrities brings massive rewards. Another game objective is to avoid the zookeeper, as he will apparently put your poonami to an early end.
Microsoft’s Vancouver game studio launched an online beta of their newest title last night. Neosaurs is an MMORPG free-to-play PC browser game, and it appears that there will be purchasable upgrades. I did find information about charges and charegbacks in on the game’s site, but could not find any mention of what could be purchased or any prices. Perhaps this feature will be enabled once the beta phase has concluded.
The game’s description is as follows: “deep below Earth’s surface, Inner Earth is in trouble and needs your help! Raise your very own Neosaur to be protector for the forces of good. Play with your friends and explore the extensive lore and endless adventure in the magical land beneath. You can evolve your Neosaur into a ferocious Rex, strong Cera, or agile Ptera.”
Behaviour Studios has a new title on XBLA – Doritos Crash Course is a fast-paced, funny, obstacle course game show for your Avatar to compete against your friends and family over XboxLive. Play through 15 exciting platformer levels across 3 different countries. Compete against your friends and family up to four players over XboxLive and local split-screen. Technically, this free game was developed by Wanako Studios in Chile – but – Wanako is a wholly-owned division of Quebec’s Behaviour Studio, which, in a round-about kind of way, gets it in through the Canadian Content Door.
Newfoundland studio Binary Dawn Interactive has updated and improved the PalmOS game WordUs for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The studio made so many enhancements that they named it WordUs2. The aim of the game is to guess the word in a varying number of attempts. Help comes in the form of colored symbols which indicate when letters are correctly placed or if a letter exists within the word.
WordUs2 is a fun and smart game suitable for all ages, and with a dictionary of thousands of words, that’s weeks of entertainment. WordUs2 has four exciting game modes: Calm & Collected, Every Guess Counts, Think Fast, and Six Minute Sprint. Each game mode features different twists and challenges sure to keep you guessing! WordUs2 features OpenFeint integration with achievement rewards for completing different gameplay tasks. WordUs2 is available now in the iTunes App Store for $0.99 USD.
Sensory robotics software company Flurple2 has unveiled Trivio™, a new trivia game app that allows users to say their answers out loud. In its first week on the App Store, Trivio launched onto the Top 50 list in the USA. In Canada, Trivio climbed to the iTunes Top-5 New and Noteworthy board for Free Games & Trivia apps.
The television game show-style app, Trivio is the first trivia game to incorporate voice activation, speech recognition plus artificial intelligence (AI). Trivio works with all Apple products, including the iPad™, iPhone® 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, the original iPhone, and the iPod touch®.
Gaming is simple and fun — you tap the big red button on the screen and speak your answer. If you miss, your opponent gets a chance to answer the question. Points are scored for the fastest correct response. The more difficult the questions, the more points you get.
“With Trivio, it’s challenging to think fast — and speak the answer. Other quiz games are based on a simple multiple choice setup. Trivio is a quantum leap forward in mobile, interactive gaming”, states Pete Deschamps, Flurple2 CEO.
Flurple2 is pleased to announce that Trivio is powered by Sensory®, the leader in speech technologies for consumer products. “Trivio is a fun and challenging game that uses speech recognition technology in a very effective way to enhance the interactive gameplay beyond multiple choice or the hassle of typed in responses”, said Todd Mozer CEO Sensory.
Trivio can revolutionize family game night, allowing parents and kids to form “teams” to play against each other and “buzz in” when they think they have the right answer. The app uses Bluetooth for lightning fast multiplayer games, and has four levels of question difficulty, from ‘Easy’ to ‘Killer’.
Trivio uses Apple’s Accessibility features for the disabled – seeing-impaired players can have the questions read aloud to them. Deschamps sees the technology being used to help people, as well as for pure entertainment.
“Helping people help themselves is something I’ve never forgotten from my time in the local Burlington Rotary Club. Trivio can be used to assist stroke victims, and help people with disabilities learn how to talk again, while having fun at the same time”, says Pete Deschamps.
Trivio’s robotics can be franchised and serve-up any company’s content and media, including trivia and educational content licensing. The educational and medical applications are endless”, states Pete Deschamps.
Currently Trivio is available on the App Store worldwide. In its first week on the free app iTunes market, Trivio ranked in the Top 200 Free Games/Trivia category in 37 countries around the globe. Trivio was deemed New & Noteworthy in 5 countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Webnames.ca Inc., Canada’s original domain registrar and an “ally on the web”™ to Canadian businesses, has launched a new professional services arm called Power for Small Business™. Power for Small Business™ provides small businesses the tools they need to succeed online and offline including website design, online strategy, search engine optimization and logo and collateral development, among other professional services.
Power for Small Business™ builds on Webnames.ca’s strong foundation of exceptional customer support. The cornerstone of the new program is a comprehensive website and online strategy package called Essentials™. Covering all of the bases small businesses and start-ups need to establish a strong online presence, Essentials™ includes a custom designed, search engine friendly WordPress website, an online strategy that integrates Twitter and Google Analytics, and personalized training on how to use each of these tools.
Essentials™ provides exceptional additional value by positioning small businesses for continuous growth at a competitive price. “Understanding peoples’ needs is what Webnames.ca has always done best,” said Webnames.ca CTO Matt Lane. “We developed Essentials™ to give small businesses a complete online presence and a professional website they can build on for years to come. Whether you want to redesign an existing website or launch a new business on the Internet, Essentials™ will you get found and help you grow your business.”
For a limited time the Essentials™ package by Webnames.ca Power for Small Business™ is being offered at a special introductory rate of $1895. Recognizing that many small businesses are stretched for time, Webnames.ca has also launched a comprehensive selection of affordable support plans for WordPress.
Montreal-based online shopping club Beyond the Rack has announced that after only 20 months in operation it is now serving over 2.5 million members. The company reached the 1 million member milestone at the end of April, 2010, and so has grown its membership by 150% in the past six months. To help celebrate this milestone, Beyond the Rack is offering its members the chance to win two luxury vacation packages to any Sandals or Beaches Resort.
At the same time, the company has refreshed its Web site. The upgrade includes an enhanced shopping calendar with event category tabs, drop-down menus, and category-specific calendar pages to help customers find what they’re looking for more quickly; a pop-up shopping bag which remains visible throughout each shopping session; larger product images and in-depth brand information; and a more robust blog which now features exclusive fashion tips and trends from Beyond the Rack’s style editor.
“As our growth continues to accelerate, we remain committed to providing our customers with the most pleasurable shopping experience we can give them,” says CEO, Yona Shtern. “Many of the improvements came directly from feedback from customers themselves.”
Nova Scotia’s SimplyCast.com, a leader in multi-channel marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for organizations worldwide, announced today it has released an application integration with WordPress. The downloadable plug-in allows for a streamlined process to manage contacts between the world’s largest blogging solution and the most innovative all-in-one marketing platform.
”By integrating with WordPress, we are making it that much easier for users to access their contacts without the hassle of storing them in multiple places. Customers can now simplify the sales cycle and build stronger customer relationships regardless of where they store contact information,” said Saeed El-Darahali, president and CEO of SimplyCast.
Users can now easily and accurately share their WordPress contacts with their SimplyCast multi-channel marketing account. As a result, those that limit access to their blogs with a login feature, can now connect their WordPress contacts to their online marketing using SimplyCast. This makes for more accurate and efficient maintenance of customer contact information that results in more targeted communications. The application is free to SimplyCast customers at www.simplycast.com and can be accessed immediately within SimplyCast’s multi-channel marketing platform.
SimplyCast’s 10-in-1 multi-channel marketing platform is a web-based solution designed to create, track and deliver targeted online marketing campaigns such as email, survey, event, autoresponder, fax, SMS and link tracking services.
Camouflage Software Inc., the leader in data masking technologies, is pleased to announce its support for the latest changes to the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) and Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) version 2.0, which was released October 28, 2010.
The new PCI DSS clarifies the requirements of the existing security standards necessary for the protection of payment card data. It also confirms the current industry best practices related to ‘remaining ahead of the threat landscape.’ In addition to mandating that ‘all locations of cardholder data are included in scope of PCI DSS assessments’, this amendment also allows ‘vulnerabilities to be ranked and prioritized according to risk.’ PCI 2.0 becomes effective January 1, 2011 and becomes mandatory by January 1, 2012.
In allowing for a strategic approach to compliance, PCI 2.0 also confirms that there is a clear preliminary requirement to audit and locate all cardholder data, regardless of where it may reside. This involves i) a comprehensive inventory of cardholder data and ii) a threat analysis of that inventory. The Camouflage Discovery Module™ provides a compliance advantage by automatically identifying and classifying cardholder data located in applications throughout the organization. It features a powerful search engine and standard search templates customized to facilitate PCI compliance. These templates offer a significant head start to your compliance efforts by providing search rules aimed at locating cardholder data out-of-the-box.
The Camouflage data classification functionality allows organizations to automatically categorize discovered data according to the data classification scheme that best represents the given sensitive data and intended uses. Once the cardholder data has been located, the Data Discovery Module can classify specific sensitive information which can then be used for reports, including threat analyses.
Nintendo will offer demo versions of select video games for its WiiWare™ downloadable game service starting November 22. Wii™ owners with a broadband Internet connection will be able to visit the Wii Shop Channel to access demo versions of WiiWare games without using up any Wii Points™. The demos will allow people to sample a wide selection of games to help them decide which ones best suit their tastes.
The initial lineup of demos available includes BIT.TRIP FATE, And Yet It Moves, ThruSpace™ and Jett Rocket. Additional demos will be added on Mondays and each will remain available on the Wii Shop Channel for a limited time. WiiWare game demos are just the latest addition to the wide variety of information and entertainment options available to Wii owners. Wii owners can access various channels on the Wii Menu, including the Nintendo® Channel, which offers information about and videos of current and upcoming games for Nintendo systems. Likewise, Wii owners who are also Netflix members with a qualifying plan can instantly watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to their TVs once they have downloaded Netflix from the Wii Shop Channel.
Ludia Games and Seattle’s WildTangent have signed an exclusive deal that will result in the deployment of WildTangent’s BrandBoost™ advertising platform across Ludia’s current and future social games, starting with FremantleMedia’s The Price Is Right game. BrandBoost will enable advertisers to dynamically sponsor access to premium content within Ludia’s social games, building equity with players through an improved game experience.
“BrandBoost is quickly becoming the ubiquitous in-game ad solution for social games, delivering scalable, targeted, engagement-based advertising that players seek out in social gaming environments,” said Bill Clifford, vice president of global ad sales at WildTangent. “We believe that the next wave of social games will be driven by truly social experiences built around recognizable entertainment brands, and that is what Ludia is delivering. Brands are starving for opportunities to align with premium content in social gaming, and Ludia’s games certainly fill that need.”
After more than 38 years on the air, The Price Is Right from FremantleMedia remains the longest-running game show in television history and one of the most popular game show franchises in the world. Incorporating all of the familiar elements of the beloved television show, the game is one of Ludia’s most successful titles across platforms. The Price Is Right is unique on Facebook as one of the few synchronous multiplayer games, enabling a truly social game experience with engaging live competition elements that fuel long play sessions and repeat visits. Launched in September 2010, The Price Is Right game reached more than 2.5 million players within its first month of availability.
With BrandBoost now deployed by a number of the largest social game developers with many of the most popular games, WildTangent is fast approaching the ability to deliver engagement ads to an addressable audience of more than 100 million monthly players on Facebook. BrandBoost enables brands to dynamically sponsor access to additional playing time or virtual goods that players would otherwise have to pay for. The platform also enables dynamic integration of branded virtual goods into social games. BrandBoost supports 3rd party ad serving and reporting as well as creative formats ranging from long-form video to social engagement activities. Because BrandBoost is a dynamically served advertising platform, utilizing DFP, leading advertisers can deliver brand campaigns and custom items inside of social games experiences while industry standard reporting and metrics.
Rusty Axe Games has announced the alpha playable release of its new free to play browser game, Dungeon Brawl – Proving Grounds. The beta version of Dungeon Brawl is expected to be released in early December. Dungeon Brawl is being developed using Dungeon Demon and accompanying art packs. Dungeon Demon is Rusty Axe Games’ RPG map editing software that can be used for pencil and paper as well as computer game map making.
Babybot, a Canadian online baby store for modern parents, is ready to rumble. In a battle between the coolest characters, the world watches as robots and monsters fight it out in the snow. This winter, it’s Babybot versus Monster Factory in a unique NEW version of SnowRumble – the addicting snowball fighting app for iPhone or iPod touch! Players get to pick their posse from a selection of Babybot or Monster Factory characters. Each with their unique strengths, the characters will use the elements in each landscape to their advantage to beat down the opponent and take over their turf!
Always innovative and light-years ahead, Babybot is the first in the baby space to throw down such a challenge. “But”, counters Adam Dunn, lead Monster maker at Monster Factory, “our monsters have a few tricks up their arms. For months they’ve been honing their catapulting and dive roll skills. They’re pretty stoked to lay down a bit of monster madness.”
Renee Bender, lead Coach for Team Babybot, isn’t worried. “We’ve got major game. You don’t rock the baby space without having highly tuned senses. Our bots have already computed thousands of throw strategies…they’re ready to crush.”
The game is being offered as a free download (limited release). The more butt kicking you do, the more you save! Be the first 300 to unlock and win up to 20% – the promo codes are good for anything on babybot.com
Get the highest score and you’ll be playing real SnowRumble! Monster Factory is giving away sets of three snowballs (made exclusively for this game) to daily high scorers. Plus, if you’re lucky and receive a golden snowball in your three-pack, you’ll be the winner of a grand prize, and those who ‘rate’ the game also have a chance to win a special giveaway from Babybot. For those who get attached to the game characters, not to worry, these little bots and monsters can be purchased – including an exclusive Monster Factory plush doll created only for this game.
Ladies, are you looking for a fun way to spice up your night? Then grab your iPhone / iPod Touch and get ready for a new type of Girls’ Night Out courtesy of new Vancouver studio Wee Black Sheep Entertainment. Part scavenger hunt, part “Truth or Dare,” this entertaining mobile game is the perfect addition to a bachelorette party, a birthday celebration, or a night out with your girlfriends. Girls Night Out, available now in the App Store for $0.99 USD, turns a night at the bar into a wild game of chance encounters and cheeky challenges. With more than 175 virtual cards in six categories including “Truth Be Told,” “The Hunter,” and “Naughty Girl,” the app sends players on hilarious missions around the bar and awards points to those who rack up the most wins. Highly customizable, this digital party game lets you complete individual or team challenges, race against friends, and even create custom cards to personalize the game for your special occasion.
Girls Night Out is the first release from Wee Black Sheep Entertainment, a Vancouver-based company that creates entertaining apps for a variety of life’s events and celebrations. “If you’re a woman with an iPhone or iPod Touch and you like having fun with your girlfriends, then Girls Night Out is for you,” says Jenny Ramsay, Wee Black Sheep’s founder and CEO. “This app is an instant party—it turns an otherwise ordinary night out with the girls into a wild experience you’ll be laughing about for a long time afterward!”
Florida-based Accel Networks and Vancouver’s Sierra Wireless have announced a joint marketing agreement to promote secure, reliable cellular solutions for customers deploying retail transaction and networking applications. This agreement formalizes a relationship that has already enabled Accel to deploy PCI-compliant cellular fixed wireless solutions for primary and back-up connectivity. Accel Networks, utilizing Sierra Wireless AirLink™ intelligent gateways and routers, has provided reliable and secure solutions for several major national retail customers and food service chains.
By standardizing on the Sierra Wireless AirLink line of devices, Accel Networks confidently deploys business critical solutions for its customers. The combination of Accel’s proprietary antenna technology and monitoring platforms with Sierra Wireless’s best-in-class intelligent wireless gateways and routers makes cellular fixed wireless an effective enterprise-wide solution for mission-critical applications and enables enterprise customers to expand into areas where wired broadband connections are not available or not practical. Powered by ALEOS™ embedded intelligence and managed by AirLink management software, AirLink devices provide a persistent, secure data connection and can be easily configured and controlled from any location with an internet connection.
“We are extremely pleased to have been selected by Accel Networks as the preferred connectivity device for its managed network solution,” said Justin Schmid, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Solutions and Services for Sierra Wireless. “This relationship facilitates a turn-key solution for wireless payment and business continuity applications, which is vital for the growth of the M2M business.”
According to Elaine Healy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Accel Networks, “The reliability and ease of integration offered by the Sierra Wireless devices made AirLink an easy choice for our standard connectivity platform. Formalizing and announcing our JMA with Sierra Wireless at the Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) show is particularly timely since there is no better connectivity solution for kiosks and digital signage than Accel’s fixed cellular solution.”
Sierra Wireless provides a broad portfolio of high performance mobile computing and M2M solutions, including mobile broadband modems, embedded wireless modules, intelligent gateways and routers, as well as extensive software platforms that enable its customers and partners to deploy powerful solutions. By leveraging the AirLink line of intelligent gateways and routers from Sierra Wireless, Accel Networks is able to provide its customers a consistent and robust fixed cellular broadband experience across all sites, facilitating asset tracking as well as real-time traffic utilization and management, leveraging a private PCI-compliant gateway. In addition, Accel offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to its customers, providing peace of mind for those concerned about continuity of mission-critical business functions.
Accel’s approach to connectivity is unique with its primary focus on the “last mile.” Accel’s innovative family of proprietary antennas and monitoring platforms was developed with the deep understanding that RF is dynamic and local. With this combined solution, customers no longer have to choose between the quality of a wireline service and the flexibility of wireless. Furthermore, the AccelView™ portal provides customers access to real-time information about the quality of each link in addition to data utilization and asset tracking.
Accel Networks and Sierra Wireless will be co-exhibiting at Customer Engagement Technology World in New York City from Nov 10 – 11. Visit them in booths # 237 and 336.