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Thursday, May 28, 2009



German site PC Games reports on bugginess in the German edition of ARMA II, Bohemia Interactive Studios' military shooter sequel slated for release in that country tomorrow. Word is a patch is being readied for release tomorrow along with the release, and here is what Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Spanel says about the situation:

We realize that the campaign maybe doesn't stand to your expectations but we hope that all the improvements made for the first patch will already make it much closer to what you hoped it will be initially. I just played German version 1.00 today to try some of the situations you mentioned enjoyed it despite I found a problem here or there. I'm personally not humiliated by my team mates sometimes fighting better than I do, and if something goes wrong or unexpected this game is so complex that often there is a way to find another solution of your current mission. Also, what is quite unusual is that some things happen completely differently every time I try a mission. I think the bugs do not kill the open nature of the game and that sheer scope, amount of content or beautiful country of Chernarus will more than compensate for these issues.

StarCraft II Details

StarCraft 2 details, fansite summit, screens and more on Gossip Gamers has just that, new skinny on the upcoming real-time strategy sequel from a few Asian websites who were treated to an advance look. Several gameplay factors are analysed, including the switch to full 3D and control improvements. Also included are a number of screenshots.

Galaxies Trading Card Game to Expand

Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game Website has details on a new Agents of Deception expansion planned for release next month to add more than 180 new playable cards and more than 20 new loot cards. The third expansion for the virtual card-based strategy game: "brings the exciting ability to boost your light or dark side deck with all-new smuggler and spy unit cards, as well as adding 10 new smuggler and spy-themed scenarios."

BioShock 2 Q&A

Dean Tate on BioShock 2 on GameSpot discusses 2K Games' upcoming shooter sequel. One interesting answer covers why Digital Extremes is handling multiplayer support: "You have to play to your strengths. Digital Extremes has a long history in the multiplayer gaming arena, they're proven experts in the field. As a studio we're psyched to have them working on Bio2 MP. As for us here at 2K Australia, I'll say that we're working on stuff that plays to our own strengths as a studio, and that'll show when you get to play the game. We have a great history and background in helping to craft the BioShock single-player experience, and we're playing to that strength in our contributions to BioShock 2."

Midway Auction Plans

Midway sends along an outline of plans to dispose of the remainder of their assets through an upcoming auction. Here's the main gist:

Midway recently announced a "stalking horse" asset purchase agreement, which is expected to receive court approval, subject to higher or better bids, in a hearing on June 2, 2009. Following this hearing, there will be a period during which Midway, through its financial advisor, Lazard, will accept binding offers up to June 24th, 2009, to acquire some or all of the Company's assets. An auction will be held on June 29th to determine the bid or combination of bids that achieves the highest value, followed by a court hearing to approve the sale to the winning bidder or bidders on July 1st, and then a final closing. All bids must comply with the bid procedures order to be issued at the hearing on June 2, 2009.

The "stalking horse" asset purchase agreement includes a significant portion of Midway's assets, however not all of the assets were included in the agreement. The bidding process allows for interested parties to bid on sets of assets including those not in the agreement, and multiple bidders can be formed into a group whose bids in the aggregate constitute a greater value than the initial stalking horse bid. Successful bidders will be buying only Midway's assets, and will not assume nor be responsible for any of the company's debt or liabilities, including any secured or unsecured notes, credit facilities, or trade obligations.

Midway's considerable intellectual property assets span some of the most successful sectors in the video game industry. Midway is well known for fighting games, with its more than $1.5 billion franchise, Mortal Kombat, as well as the video game license for the fastest-growing wrestling league, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Midway's development teams are known worldwide for their expertise in fighting game mechanics, motion-capture integration, and AAA production values.

On Sam & Max Season 3 Controls

Telltale talks Sam & Max season 3 on The Inquirer is a conversation where Kevin Bruner of Telltale Games tells tales about the next season in the Sam & Max series of episodic adventures. Much of the discussion involves the evolution of the control system to use a cursorless design like their Wallace & Gromit games, which will make the series console-friendly. Kevin seems aware of the possible problems from a bad interface. "I was the systems engineer on Grim Fandango, he says, "so I made those hated controls."

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits



Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black


A new PROTOTYPE trailer offers a walkthrough (and flythrough) mission #7 in Radical Entertainment's upcoming shapeshifting, open-world action game. The clip features real-time gameplay footage and narration from producer Tim "Rhymes with Venison" Bennison, depicting stealth, unique level navigation, combat, and more. The clip is posted on the YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Ashen Empires Freed

Pixel Mine Games announces their MMORPG Ashen Empires is now subscription-free. A free starting area was added to the game a few years ago, but now they've made the whole game free, though of course there is microtransaction support. Word is:

Today's a big day for Ashen Empires. We're ending subscriptions. It's free!

That's right. Bring some friends for hours of fun with a must-play MMORPG!

Our current subscribers will be given membership time in the new VIP program which features many in-game perks and special store offers.

Don't forget to check out the new Dungeons of Dransik expansion! It features the Ashen Empires Content Creator, an easy to use editor lets you make custom adventures.

Changes to Player vs Player combat and Factions are also included in today's update. You can read the full patch notes on the Ashen Empires forums.

New Lord of the Rings Games Planned

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces a long-term partnership with The Saul Zaentz Company and New Line Productions to develop and publish games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, following news earlier this year that rights to create games based on The Lord of the Rings movies reverted from EA to Warner Bros. last year. The first planned game under the new deal is The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, planned for release this fall for Wii, DS, PlayStation 2, and PSP. Word from WBIE president Martin Tremblay is: "The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is the first of many different types of games we will be developing with the film and literary rights. It is also the first game allowing kids and their families to interact in their favorite locations and stories from The Lord of the Rings with accessible gameplay."

Tropico 3 in September

A new Tropico 3 teaser trailer is online to offer hints about what to expect from the upcoming dictator simulation sequel in the works at Haemimont Games. The clip is a plane tour of the game's tropical island setting that concludes promising the game in September of this year after being announced for a Summer 2009 release. The link on the Tropico 3 Website is to the clip on the YouTube, and it is also mirrored on CinemaBlend and Gamesonice.

Theatre of War 2 Patch now features a new patch for Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 to update the turn-based strategy sequel to version 1.1.0. The update has a couple of tweaks and bug fixes, accompanied by the following caveat: "This patch is for the original version 1.0.0. only, and does not currently work with any other game version."

Rushkoff & Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun Interactive announces a collaboration with award-winning author Douglas Rushkoff to pen the story for the unannounced first project from this developer formed by veterans from Relic Entertainment. Word is: "Rushkoff will work closely with the team at Smoking Gun, to develop story narratives across a range of media formats that can feed off one another and exist concurrently." Here's the outline of Rushkoff's résumé: "Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is a bestselling and controversial author, comic’s writer, intellectual, and documentarian. His ten books on new media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, and Coercion, winner of the Marshall McLuhan Award for best media book. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G, as well as the recently released Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back."

Stronghold Kingdoms Announced

Firefly Studios announces Stronghold Kingdoms, which they are describing as "the world’s first castle based MMO." They have not yet established a release date for the project, but the Stronghold Kingdoms Website is online with some info and screenshots, promising more details are coming soon. In the meantime, here's the announcement:

Firefly Studios today announces a new kind of online game: ‘Stronghold Kingdoms’.

Live the life of a medieval lord in the world’s first castle based MMO.

Besiege the castle that’s never been taken, overthrow tyrants, bankroll your factions war effort, pillage your neighbour’s resources, peacefully raise sheep or do it all! The choice is yours in a wide ranging simulation of medieval life, played out in real time against thousands of online opponents striving for power and glory.

A unique hybrid of web and PC based gaming brings online interactivity and community together with a richly depicted medieval world of thriving villages and dramatic battles. Build a kingdom over days and weeks. A mix of real time gameplay with long term planning, bring a truly novel twist to the Strategy genre.

A huge range of stats and rankings give every player something to aim for, whether it’s ‘Besieger of the month’ or ‘Apple farmer of the day’! Join a medieval social network! Factions and elections, liege lords and their vassals, all provide a real sense of structured community.

Whilst strong and well planned castles are at the heart of any lord’s domain, players can also specialise via a vast research tree. Starting out as a humble peasant, each promotion brings research points to spend on becoming the best in as many areas as you wish, trading, diplomacy, warfare, farming and more, as the player seeks to control the local parish, county and beyond. As their power grows, players can eventually join in a country wide war for the Crown.

Classic Stronghold goes online in a world where players can, Build, Besiege, Pillage, Farm, Explore, Research, Vote, Trade, Banquet, Fight and much, much more. Many unannounced and surprising game features will be revealed in the coming months…

Empire: Total War Strategy Guide

The Total War Blog now offers an Empire: Total War Strategy Guide with tips straight from Creative Assembly on how to play their real-time strategy offering.

Op Ed

GameSpot - The DRM Dilemma Part Two. Thanks Ant.
Carmel’s decision to leave out any form of DRM or copy protection from World of Goo came down to a number of factors, including expense and the inevitability that all games will get cracked, no matter what. “Pirates can always get around DRM, and you end up treating your legitimate customers like pirates [if you use DRM]. Not using DRM creates good will towards the developer. For us [2D Boy] there are no benefits to DRM. Someone once told me that they get a sense of ownership when they enter their licence key, but from everything I heard I think this person is a rarity," he said.

Gamasutra - The PC As Champion of the Game Revolution. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Let's face it. On the PC, there are no hoops to jump through, no 'i's to dot and 't's to cross, and no one else to give your money to. The PC is where the revolution has started, and it's going to continue to be where it happens. They say PC gaming is dying, but really, it's just evolving into something that can't be tracked or controlled.


Shrapnel Games now offers a new patch for the MacOS edition of BRAINPIPE: A Plunge to Unhumanity. The versions currently on sale are already updated to the new version 1.02, so if you've purchased your copy after March 26, you do not need this patch.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

The seared finger I suffered over last weekend was while I grilled some chicken with the first pass at some homemade marinade. It came out very good, though I have some significant tweaks to try before next time. It will actually be difficult to exceed the results of the store-bought stuff (we've had great results with Stubbs'), but there is a lot of satisfaction in creating a homemade version, even if creating a marinade is quite simple.

Marinated Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Love Overdose. Thanks UserFriendly
Chup. Thanks Jay is Games.
Links: The 9 Most Pathetic Fighting Game Characters.
When the Future Expires - A Timeline.
Stories: Driver turns tables on Accomack Deputy. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Man charged in repeated elevator urination. Thanks Slashdot.
Woman Bitten By Co-Worker After 'Bite Me' Remark. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Science: Painting The World's Roofs White Could Slow Climate Change.
Media: We Didn't Start the Flame War. Thanks Agent.X7. NSFW.
Man Uses Head to Stop Baseballs.
Follow-ups: Unraveling the history of the vaccine-autism scare.
Glowing monkeys 'to aid research'. Thanks Neutronbeam.

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