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Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010

  

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Demo

A playable demo is now available for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, allowing you to kick around a sample of the latest installment in Konami's association football/soccer game. The Windows demo is available right now, but it sounds like the console editions will not be available until tomorrow. The demo is available from the front page of the PES2011 Website and it is mirrored on ComputerGames.ro, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

The UnderGarden Announced

Atari announces The UnderGarden, saying this "'Zen' casual gaming experience" will be released this Winter for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. They point the way to the game's official website, though this isn't yet live, and offer the following rundown of what to expect from this game: "The UnderGarden is a casual zen-like [sic] game that challenges players to explore beautiful underground caverns filled with strange life forms, physics based puzzles and plenty of hidden secrets. The world comes alive and music evolves as players get deeper into the world of The UnderGarden. With local co-operative gameplay, players can chill out and work together to solve puzzles and explore the world. The UnderGarden offers 20 different levels of modern exploration filled with brain teasing physics and eco-friendly puzzles that evoke an emotional response to the beauty and calm of this underwater oasis."

Doc Clock - The Toasted Sandwich of Time

Stickmen Studios announces Doc Clock - The Toasted Sandwich of Time, an adventure game to be released in just over two weeks for Steam, Wild Tangent, WiiWare, and eventually on OnLive. The Stickmen Studios Website has images and a trailer from the game, and here's what to expect from the good doctor: "Lead kooky inventor Doc Clock and his contemptuous robot, Sack, on their first awesome adventure through time to save Doc’s beloved cat from a prickly fate. Test your creative ability by devising ingenious inventions to overcome improbable obstacles. Then push your piloting skills to the limit as you attempt to steer your crazy contraptions through an insane world of spiky pits, icy chasms and erupting volcanoes, all dominated by technophobic hippy robots."

Faery: Legends of Avalon

Here are some new screenshots from Faery: Legends of Avalon, a fantasy-themed role-playing game that Focus Home Interactive plans to release in November for Windows, PlayStation Network, and Xbox LIVE Arcade. We mistook this for a console game when it was announced in June, so with apologies, here's a bit on what to expect from this title: "Hero of Avalon, you will have to understand why this magic world is dying, and save the kingdom from certain disappearance. During a thrilling adventure, where your choices will shape the story, you will develop your character, his abilities and special powers, as well as his equipment through the victorious battles and accomplished quests. Numerous dangers await you and the battles against some of the creatures and monsters of the game promise to be formidable. In order to overcome all those dangers, you will have to gain power and experience, but also to assure the support of friendly companions you will meet through your journey. All companions have their specificities, their strengths and weaknesses, but also their own characters. Be sure to carefully select who will fight at your side, and live the incredible experience of being accompanied by a dragon, a troll, fairies and other fantastic creatures!"

Alpha Protocol Patched

Though it's not reflected on the busy Alpha Protocol Website, the promised first patch is now available to update Obsidian Entertainment's espionage-themed third-person RPG to version 1.1. The patch is available on the SEGA Website and it's mirrored on AtomicGamer, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying. Here's brief word on what it offers: "We’ve recently released a patch for Alpha Protocol PC that addresses issues with installation, activation and some other minor technical problems. Below are the simple steps to install the update."

Blizzard on Cheating

Blizzard sends along a statement that reminds players of the hard line they take against cheating, in this case outlining the consequences of malfeasance in StarCraft II, their recently released real-time strategy sequel:

Cheating in StarCraft II
Blizzard Entertainment has always taken cheating in any form in Blizzard games very seriously, and that's no different for StarCraft II. If a StarCraft II player is found to be cheating or using hacks or modifications in any form, then as outlined in our end user license agreement, that player can be permanently banned from the game. This means that the player will be permanently unable to log in to Battle.net to play StarCraft II with his or her account.

Playing StarCraft II legitimately means playing with an unaltered game client. Doing otherwise violates our policies for Battle.net, and it goes against the spirit of fair play that all of our games are based on. We strongly recommend that you avoid using any hacks, cheats, or exploits. Suspensions and bans of players that have used or start using cheats and hacks will begin in the near future.

The Silver Lining Ep 2 Saturday

Phoenix Online Studios announces Saturday is the planned release date for chapter 2 of The Silver Lining, the fan-created King's Quest game. Here's word on what to expect from the free download: "In Episode 2: Two Households, King Graham's quest truly kicks off as he travels the Green Isles to gather ingredients for the spell that can save his children, and searches for answers about the cloaked stranger who cursed them. Compared to Episode 1, Two Households is longer, beefier, and even includes some interface improvements based on press and player feedback. (Three cheers for the episodic development cycle!) These changes have also been implemented in Episode 1, and an updated version of that episode will also be available on the 18th."

Left 4 Dead Sacrifice Comic, Part 1

The Left 4 Dead Blog announces the release of The Sacrifice, Part 1, the first installment in their promised four-part online comic bridging the story between the two Left 4 Dead games. Word is: "Find out what happens after the military rescued Francis, Louis, Zoey, and Bill at the end of the original Left 4 Dead in four weekly installments, each a whopping 40-plus pages of story and art. Then, download the new DLC 'The Sacrifice', where we put the story’s conclusion into your hands." From the looks of it, they plan on releasing the remaining three virtual issues on a weekly basis.

FINAL FANTASY XIV Opening Cinematic

The FINAL FANTASY XIV opening cinematic is now available, offering the full 7:45 CGI introduction to the imminent MMO installment in Square Enix's fantasy RPG series. Thanks Mike Martinez via Kotaku.

Wings of Prey Skin Tool

Gaijin Entertainment celebrates the ongoing 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with a sale on Wings of Prey (see the "On Sale" section below) along with the release of a Skin Tool to create custom skins for your planes in the World War II aerial combat game. Word is: "Gaijin/yuPlay don't give consultation about this tools [sic]," which makes this sound like an unsupported release, but hey do offer some plane templates to help get you started.

Arcen Gives to Charity, Needs Help

Arcen Games has an update on their sales of the Children Of Neinzul, the "micro-expansion" for AI Wars, their sci-fi RTS game. The proceeds of this are going to Child's Play, and they say they have raised over $500.00 of their $14,000 goal for the year through this sale. On a less cheery note, a separate update reveals that amidst this charity, they are suffering themselves, and are currently only taking in about half as much money as they are burning through to stay in business. The lengthy post explains the reasons for this situation, and explains how players can help by buying their games. As they say: "The rest of this long post is background and explanation about how this came about and our business model in general, as well a request for help at the end, with ideas for how fans can contribute without spending a dime (as a commercial enterprise, we dislike asking for donations, though occasionally players offer)."

Eleven Legacy Expands

No fewer than three new expansions are now available for Elven Legacy, announces Steam. They now offer the release of Elven Legacy: Magic, Elven Legacy: Ranger, and Elven Legacy: Siege. The whole shebang is also available in one bundle in the Elven Legacy Collection.

Top Gun Takes Off

Steam News announces the release of Top Gun, an aerial combat game that captures all the high-flying, towel-snapping action of the 80s Tom Cruise film vehicle. Here's word on how you can ride into the danger zone: "Now you can join Maverick, Goose, Iceman and Viper as they roar into the sky again in Top Gun! Top Gun is a free-flying air combat shooter where players blast enemies out of the sky in dogfight battles, obliterate ground and air-based targets and show off their extreme flying prowess as Maverick."

SEGA Genesis Classics 2 Pack on Steam

Steam News announces the release of SEGA Genesis Classics 2 Pack, a bundle of the following 16-bit console games: Alex Kidd, Bonanza Bros., Columns, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Ecco Jr., Eternal Champions, Fatal Labyrinth, Galaxy Force II, Kid Chameleon, Ristar, Sonic Spinball, and Super Thunder Blade. Those titles are also all available individually.

Gatherings & Competitions

On Sale

Between now and the end of September, receive a $5.00 discount from Direct2Drive on all purchases over $15.00 by using the code "PAX" at checkout.

  • Jolly Rover on Steam. Save 50%.
  • King’s Bounty: Crossworlds on YuPlay. Save 10% on preorders.
  • The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom on Direct2Drive. Save 33%.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on Steam. Save 75%.
  • TimeShift on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Wings of Prey on YuPlay. Save 50%.
  • Wings of Prey - Wings of Luftwaffe on YuPlay. Save 50%.
    Still on sale. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Two Europa Engine Games Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Iron Cross and Darkest Hour, two new externally developed projects using the engine from the Europa Universalis series, with each expected for release via digital distribution in late Q4 2010 or Q1 2011. Darkest Hour is a standalone Hearts of Iron II game, which has a Facebook presence, a Twitter feed, and a discussion forum, and Iron Cross is a Hearts of Iron II expansion, which has its own discussion forum. Here's more on both games:

Developed by a team of experienced modders from the Paradox forum, Darkest Hour is a stand-alone Hearts of Iron II game featuring a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century, from the outbreak of the Great War up to the onset of the Cold War. Darkest Hour will introduce a new artificial intelligence that is now able to react to hundreds of different situations simultaneously, along with a dynamic diplomatic system that will allow the player to have a real impact on the course of history.

Developed by Irshappa, Iron Cross is an expansion for the Grand Strategy game Hearts of Iron II introducing a completely overhauled map with 4,000 new provinces, fresh scenarios as well an extended playtime of 1933 to 1964. New units and brigades, thousands of historical events, improved AI and an impressive new technology tree will ensure that Iron Cross elevates the Hearts of Iron II playing experience to unprecedented heights.

Big Match Striker Launches

Big Match Striker is now live, offering players the chance to kick balls and take names in this stylized free-to-play association football/soccer game. Though it sounds like a sports simulation, it's more of a management/trivia game, as described here: "Football fans of all levels will need to combine the skills of chairman, manager, player and fan to succeed as the Big Match Striker experience is a unique combination of football management strategy and trivia. Highly competitive, the game challenges every aspect of football fans’ knowledge and strategic skills as players customise and steer their teams to league and cup glory. The aim of the game is to take your team from lower division minnows to global super-club in a dynamic battle for titles and silverware. During each match, players are challenged on their knowledge of the latest facts and news surrounding the top four tiers of English football, as well as famous footballing moments and goings-on from the wider football world, making Big Match Striker the most up-to-date online football game."

Airstrike Eagles of WWII Add-on

Slitherine announces the release of an RAF bonus campaign, offering free new content for Airstrike Eagles of WWII, the World War II arcade aerial combat game. This is the first of three add-ons for the game, and it offers four new RAF planes (including the Spitfire & Mosquito), three campaigns, and 52 new missions.

Iron Grip: Marauders Beta Continues

ISOTX announces they are about to kick off the third closed beta phase of Iron Grip: Marauders, their upcoming free-to-play, browser-based MMORPG of tactical combat featuring giant airships. They say this will be followed by open beta testing, so if you are interested in participating, you can register on the Iron Grip: Marauders Website. They also share more on future developments: "In addition to the third phase of closed beta, ISOTX has other exciting plans for IRON GRIP: MARAUDERS up their sleeves. Community Manager Rhea Monique is particularly excited for upcoming flying units, having said recently, 'The developers have been working on airships for some time now and we're finally starting to see some screenshots headed our way. Air combat adds a whole new tactical element to the game and I'm curious to see how Iron Grip: Marauders will take to the air.' Well, hopefully it soars!"

NVIDIA Beta Drivers

NVIDIA now offers new beta version 260.63 drivers to add support for their newly released GTX 450 GPUs. The new beta drivers are available for Windows Vista/Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 7/Windows Vista 64-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit. The new drivers increase performance for a number of games running under GTX 460 and GTX 480-based cards.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Trailer, Interview

There's a new trailer on Eurogamer from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, showing off gameplay from the upcoming installment in Ubisoft's stealth/action series. There's also an Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood interview on UGDB talking with Vincent Pontbriand, a producer on the game, who discusses things like the game's setting, multiplayer support, new skills and weapons, side missions, and more.

Neverwinter Interview

The Neverwinter Interview on GameBanshee chats about the upcoming Neverwinter D&D RPG with Cryptic Studios CEO Jack Emmert and PR manager Ivan Sulic. Topics include how long they've been working on the game, what happened to the "nights" in the title, their emphasis on party play, the lack of offline play, how grouping will work, their adherence to D&D rules, and more.

World of Tanks Trailer

A new trailer from World of Tanks shows off the self-propelled guns in the upcoming MMO third-person shooter. The clip shows how these units can access an SPG mode for a more strategic use, cooperate with light tank units, and more. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - Violence In Games, From Russians To Austrians. Thanks Mike Martinez.
After a little over 40 weeks on the shelves, Modern Warfare 2 recently became the largest selling video game title of all time in the UK. Despite this, I have not seen an unusual flood of violent crime and horror stories flowing out of the UK. So I think we can safely assume that violence in gaming—even the gratuitous and unwarranted kind—does not, in and of itself, create disturbed criminals. I would expect Conan, and the guy who single-handedly defeated a Predator, to understand that.

Boing Boing - Games not art after all, say angry gamers. Thanks Ant.
Michael Abbott of The Brainy Gamer sees this as a backlash against the idea of games as art: "All too often, the greatest resistance to thinking critically about games comes not from academics, luddites, or old-school critics like Roger Ebert. The most vocal resistance comes from gamers."

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

After a number of unpleasant incidents, I now keep Hudson the wonder dog on a leash when we walk the doggie trail to avoid issues from her tendency to challenge other dogs. After working to make her aware that this is unacceptable behavior, I am growing optimistic that her attitude towards other dogs may be softening, as we've had a bunch of relatively peaceful encounters lately. This includes three yesterday, the last of which was like icing on the cake, as it was with a Newfie who had to be 150 lbs, teaching Hudsey a valuable lesson in deference.

Deferential Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Fragger Lost City.
Cave Jhones.
Visible 3.
Link: HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPS LOCK?
Science: Using Crowds, and GPS, to Chart Roadkill (registration required). Thanks j.c.f.
Unlocking Speech- Microelectrodes Translate Brain Signals into Words.
Working Tractor Beam Can Move Objects 5 Feet With Just Light. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.
Images: How it All Started.
Help Me, Everything Bagel! You're My Only Hope.
Watermelon Car.
Media: Boyz N the Ring. NSFW.
Our 10 Favorite WTF Headbanger Videos. Thanks LittleMe.
Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing.
Follow-up: Erin Wood recalls her husband's heroism. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.



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