Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 30, 2009 System Administrator Appreciation Day

Death to Spies: Moment of Truth Demo

A playable Death to Spies: Moment of Truth demo is now available, offering the chance to check out the upcoming SMERSHy sequel to the stealth/action game Death to Spies. Word is: "The demo features a single level from the game called "Polish Surprise." In this level the player infiltrates a Nazi castle to destroy a weapons cache and intercept a radio transmission of top-secret intelligence." The 600 MB download can be found on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

World of Warcraft Account SNAFUs

Ars Technica reports on unrest in the World of Warcraft Forums over accounts that have been suspended due to credit card chargebacks the users say they did not authorize. Word is users are being greeted with the message: "Access to the World of Warcraft account *********, has been temporarily disabled due to a chargeback filed against the account's past payment(s) which were billed to a telephone number via PaymentOne," but they say many users claim to not be using this payment service. Here's a bit of their detective work on this confusing situation:
Posts in the forum thread show that Blizzard is willing to discuss the unauthorized charges, but there haven't been any definite results from pursuing this course of action yet. Even stranger, though, is multiple posts stating that users have contacted their phone companies/broadband providers and are told that they have no chargebacks on their account. A quick Google search shows this isn't the first time that allegations of fraud and unexpected charges have been leveled against the company.

Another major frustration is that PaymentOne seems unwilling to help players reach a solution that doesn't involve simply paying these unathorized charges. Posts on the thread state that they've either been hung up on when they call the company or are transferred back to Blizzard. Two calls to PaymentOne seeking a comment resulted in being placed on permahold and then being disconnected.

Dawn Of War II Patched

The Dawn Of War II Website announces that Steam now offers the promised "There is Only War" patch for Relic's Warhammer 40K RTS sequel. They say the update is about 380 MB, and offer another link to the patch notes revealing the new version number for the game to be 1.50.

Bookworm Adventures 2 & Demo Released

PopCap Games now offers sales of Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2, a "vocabularious" word game sequel offering three all-new books with 10 chapters each: Fractured Fairytales, The Monkey King and Astounding Planet. A free trial is available, which is mirrored on AtomicGamer. Here's a bit on the game:
Stop the presses! The walls of fiction are collapsing as characters run wild through the Great Library, and only Lex the Bookworm can save the world from certain doom! Build words and battle monsters to survive three storybooks with 10 chapters each. Trade barbs, banter and body blows with over 130 foes, and earn help from fighting friends along the way!

The better the word, the badder the damage — so power up with over 20 treasures, including all-new Rainbow Tiles. Work wordy wonders in all four game modes and flex your lexicon in six mini-games. It's a role-playing word game you can't set down!

Tropico Reloaded Ships, Tropico 3 Q&A

Joystiq points out Tropico Reloaded is now available in stores for the low price of $10.00 for the bundle of Tropico, Tropico: Paradise Island and Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, and that the bundle is also on Steam, though the price there is $14.99. Also, there's a Tropico 3 interview on talking with Haemimont Games about the upcoming sequel that once again puts you in the role of El Presidente. The interview is accompanied by some new artwork and screenshots, and discusses the game in detail, such as this bit about the lives of your virtual subjects: "In many city builders like Caesar IV, or even our own Grand Ages: Rome, the whole simulation is on a macro level, and the people you see walking around the streets are just a part of the visual background. They don't participate in the actual gameplay. In Tropico 3 it's exactly the opposite - every single person on the island is simulated individually. You can track their individual lives – from their arrival as immigrants, their marriage and when their children are born. As in real life, each of these simulated persons will probably search for a job and pursue his dream of a good salary and a better future. Of course all of these dreams can end abruptly if becomes a target of the oppressive government."

Valve on Racism Accusations

Destructoid has some hands-on Left 4 Dead 2 impressions in advance of a full preview based on a trip to Valve. They also have a reaction from Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek to a recent editorial accusing L4D2 of racism. Here's part: "Utter insanity," says Faliszek. "There are mixed races of zombies, there are all different races of zombies that you shoot, and since we placed it in New Orleans, that makes it racist? I honestly re-read the paragraph about five times ... but when two of the characters in your game are African-American, it's a weird thing to be accused of. We're like, 'how does this work?'"

Company of Heroes Online to US?

A bit of deduction at IGN leads them to believe THQ intends to bring Company of Heroes Online stateside, after this online version of Relic's RTS series launches in China. Word is: "In THQ's earnings report for the recent quarter, the company lists its key releases for the remainder of fiscal year 2010. In the online category are two games: the previously announced Dragonica Online and Company of Heroes Online. We contacted THQ about the matter and a spokesperson responded that it 'has not officially announced any future plans for Company of Heroes Online.'"

More Runes of Magic Patch Details

Frogster Interactive announces further details about The Elven Prophecy, the upcoming content update for Runes of Magic, their MMORPG. The update will introduce an underwater dungeon for high-level players. Here's a bit:
Only characters at or above level 50 can make the underwater journey and accept the challenge of ‘Heart of the Ocean’. Numerous quests lead through the dungeon, which is ruled by powerful bosses. While a diminutive Naga Queen keeps player groups on the go with her extensive spells, a gigantic crab deals out its own variety of close combat. It is an arduous path right up until the end boss. Once he has been summoned, the end boss has some particularly nasty tricks in his repertoire – the petrified stone statues of past adventurers bear witness to those who have gone up against him unprepared. You can find more information at:

Call of Duty: World at War Zombie Trailer

A new Call of Duty: World at War Trailer on IGN shows off more zombie killing in the upcoming map pack 3 for Treyarch's World War II shooter. Action-packed would be good description for the clip, though if we only allowed one word it might be "zany."

DOFUS Patched

The DOFUS Website now offers a new version 1.28 patch for this MMORPG. Word is: "On the agenda: new quests and alignment specialisations, improved evolution of pets and spells, and many more changes which will make the game even more fun and accessible."

Spore ScoreCard

EA announces over 100,000 custom adventures have been created by Spore players in the month since the launch of Galactic Adventures:
It’s only been a month since the launch of Spore Galactic Adventures and already EA’s Maxis studio has hit a major milestone with more than 100,000 user-created adventures! Spore fans have taken creativity to new heights, creating imaginative, wacky and fun missions with the game’s easy-to-use Adventure Creator. Dive in today and play various imaginative and epic Adventures such as “The Silent Beacon,” “Valley of a Thousand Deaths” and “The Fog” by visiting the game’s Sporepedia at

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Assassin's Creed II Panel Movie

A new video from Comic Con '09 has highlights from the Assassin's Creed II panel discussion, where the upcoming stealth sequel is discussed, and shown off, as it is accompanied by gameplay footage illustrating some of the points being made. New assassination methods are shown, including the express elevator from the roof and the old clunking two heads together made famous by The Three Stooges. The clip concludes with an interview with Pierre Raymond of Ubisoft subsidiary Hybride Technology, discussing how they will be creating films to help support Ubisoft games, such as Assassin's Creed II. The clip is available on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell.

Blur Movie

A new behind-the-scenes "vision video" is now available from Blur, the upcoming racing game from Bizarre Creations. The narrated clip highlights the "controlled beautiful chaos" of the game, the included power-ups that trade realism for fun in what is unabashedly a full-contact racing game. The clip is on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Need For Speed SHIFT Trailer

The "Driver's Experience" is the subject of a new movie promoting Need For Speed SHIFT. The clip doesn't offer gameplay, just real life drivers talking about their job in vague terms. It's described as a "teaser" trailer, and it concludes saying "the driver's experience begins 01.08.09," so we imagine more light will be shed on what this is all about the day after tomorrow. The clip is on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and

On Sale

GamersGate is offering BioShock for 60% off, making the waterlogged shooter $11.98. The Impulse Weekend Sale offers several titles, including Grand Ages: Rome for $29.99 and a Crazy Machines Bundle for 39.99. Also, Steam is running a 50% off sale on all Relic Entertainment games, including Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II. Finally, Steam is now offering the Hearts of Iron III pre-purchase bonus Paradox mentioned last week, offering a free copy of Hearts of Iron II to play while you wait for the World War II grand strategy sequel's release next week.

New on GameTap & GoG.Com

New games on the DRM-free are Lords of the Realm: Royal Edition and Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death. New games on the GameTap subscription gaming service are Zoo Tycoon 2 and Turtix, while the game that they've moved into their free area is The King of Fighters 2003.

Theatre of War 2 - Centaurois Announced

1C Company and announce Theatre of War 2 - Centaurois, an upcoming expansion for Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943, the World War II strategy sequel (full disclosure: this announcement is from early this week, apologies that we managed to neglect this until now). They say the expansion pack, which requires the original Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943, will be released later this year via download and/or mail delivery for $25.00 through Here's word:
The new expansion pack, Theatre of War 2 - Centaurois dedicated to the 131st Armored Division Centauro and the battles it took part in North Africa starting from December 1942 till mid-May 1943. The 131st Armored Division Centauro (in Italian: 131ª Divisione Corazzata "Centauro") was an armored division of the Italian Army during World War II. The pack features a new campaign and covers missions from rearguard actions near El Ageyla in Libya to the battles in Tunisia. New desert and mountain landscapes of North Africa will be available on ten new maps accurately reconstructed according to historical documents. There will also be ten new missions based on real battles in Tunisia allowing would-be Generals to command counterattacks, breakthroughs, flanking manuevers, hardened defenses and stealthy ambushes. Ten new military vehicles will also make their debut in this expansion including the Semovente M40 tank destroyer, the Carro Armato M13/40 medium tank, the Autoblinda AB 40 armored car, and many more. For more information please go the official website at

Section 8 Video Preview

The Section 8 Preview on offers a look at the single-player campaign in Section 8, TimeGate Studios' upcoming first-person shooter, offering gameplay footage, cut-scenes, and a conversation with producer Robert Siwiak. The preview, which also touches on multiplayer features, outlines the role of your character, how the player's jetpack-equipped armor can be customized, vehicles, enemies and AI, "dynamic combat missions," how the solo campaign unfolds, their view that single-player will be a springboard to multiplayer, and more. The gameplay footage they offer has combat, including a glimpse at a boss battle.

Dark Void Delayed

Capcom announces the release of Dark Void is being delayed until their fiscal fourth quarter, which runs through March, 2010, reports Joystiq, saying the reason offered is "in order to get the game out of the crowded fall game season." This is familiar, as it is not the first game delayed to steer clear of a release later this year, which prompts the 'stiq to outline the long list of titles Airtight Games' horizontally challenged shooter will now be facing off against.

Ashes Cricket 2009 Demo

A playable demo from Ashes Cricket 2009 is now available, allowing you to take a crack at this sports simulation and see if it gives you a sticky wicket (sorry). The demo allows three overs-a-side matches between England and Australia, all for a 621 MB download, which can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Heroes over Europe Trailers

There are three new trailers from Heroes Over Europe on IGN: Bomber Defense, Cliffs of Dover, and Bombs Over London, all showing off single-player play from the upcoming World War II aerial combat game. This accompanies their hands-on Heroes Over Europe Preview and they also have a batch of new screenshots.

Demigod Demo

A playable demo is now available for Demigod, offering a sample of the action/strategy game from Gas Powered Games. The demo includes a single map (Cataract), four playable Demigods (Regulus, Rook, Sedna and Lord Erebus), all four gameplay modes (Conquest, Dominate, Fortress, and Slaughter), and support for multiplayer play over the internet. Here's a bit on the game: "Demigod is the ultimate real-time tactical PC strategy game. For fans of strategic epic large-scale multiplayer battles, Demigod is irresistible. Players will vanquish other would-be gods, gain levels and unlock the power of mystic artifacts as they battle for ascent to the Pantheon." The 599 MB demo makes its debut on FilePlanet, where you will need to register for a free account to download it, and mirrors can be found on AtomicGamer,, eXp Download, FanGaming, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. If you enjoy the demo, Stardock wants to be sure you know the full game is available on the Demigod Website for the same price in every territory.

RAGE Faster on PC, 360

Computer and Video Games has some news from the new print issue of EDGE Magazine about RAGE, id's upcoming first-person shooting/driving game. Speaking to id Technical Director John Carmack, Edge learned that in its current state, RAGE, powered by id's new Tech 5 engine, runs at 60 frames-per-second on PCs and Xbox 360, but only 20-30 FPS on the PlayStation 3. Carmack says: "The RSX is slower than what we have in the 360. The CPU is about the same, but the 360 makes it easier to split things off, and that's what a lot of the work has been, splitting it all into jobs on the PS3." It is not specified what improvement over that, if any, can be expected by the time the game is released. The article also confirms a Mac edition of the game is still in the works.

F.E.A.R. 2 PC DLC Confirmed

Monolith has released details bout the just-revealed Reborn DLC for F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, confirming this will be coming to Windows as well as consoles, albeit "at a later date." The DLC will come to consoles on September 3, adding four maps and more to the horror-themed shooter sequel, and it will be accompanied by a patch adding a new free multiplayer "Slow-Mo Deathmatch" mode. They also promise a "robust game demo," though it's not clear if this will come to the PC as well. Here's the deal:
Beginning September 3, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin fans will be able to download four all-new single-player levels in the exclusive F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn DLC campaign from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Studios, for a brand new gameplay experience on the PlayStation®Network for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows™ PC. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn lets players experience four new single-player missions that coincide with the events in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and a simultaneous automatic title-update provides a free Slow-Mo Deathmatch multiplayer mode for use with F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin multiplayer content. A robust game demo of F.E.A.R. 2 Reborn will be released on August 27.

· Four All New Levels: Face the chaos of Alma’s aftermath from an entirely new point of view: that of Replica Soldier Foxtrot813. As gamers begin the mission as part of an orbital Powered Armor drop to reinforce their squad, the ruined city of Auburn emanates supernatural events and familiar voices, beckoning Foxtrot813 to go against orders from Replica command. Be careful, not everything is as it seems…

· Slow-Mo Deathmatch: Through a free title update, gamers obtain a slow-mo powerup to slow down enemies in multiplayer deathmatch, thus gaining a distinct short-term advantage. The longer players hold onto the slow-mo powerup, the more objective points are accumulated, contributing to the overall score. Watch out though, whoever has slow-mo ability becomes a bigger target to everyone else!

Additionally, launching on August 13 is a brand new F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin premium theme for 240 Microsoft Points and picture pack for 80 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360®, as well as a new theme for PLAYSTATION®3 for $1.99. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn is the third robust DLC pack available for F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and will become available for Windows ™ PC at a later date. The “Toy Soldiers” map pack launched April 16, with the “Armored Front” map pack following soon after on May 21.

Champions Online Gift Offer

The Champions Online Website offers a thank you to fans on the occasion of Cryptic Entertainment's 10th anniversary. To celebrate they are offering a present to anyone who registers on their website, though to collect you also have to buy Champions Online. Word is: "Register at the official Champions Online website and signup to receive Champions Online news by August 31st and you’ll be treated to an exclusive action figure. This offer of course extends to all current members of the forums who are signed up to receive Champions Online news; their input, passion, and dedication have really helped make Champions into what it is today." In semi-related news, IncGamers is giving away keys to the Champions Online closed beta test.

Bushnell's Microtransaction Game

An interview with Nolan Bushnell on USA Today talks with the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese about Battleswarm: Field of Honor, an upcoming subscription-free online game that combines FPS/RTS gameplay (thanks Develop). The conversation describes Bushnell as the game's designer, though we don't recall game design being his forte, but a little scratching around also shows him as one of the principals in Reality Gap, who will provide the virtual currency for the game as well as for the recently launched MMOG Monato Esprit. The benefits of virtual currency are one of the topics of the interview, as he says: "Actually, when we converted Chuck E. Cheese into a token-based gaming system (Bushnell founded Chuck E. Cheese in 1976), we saw massive revenues because all of a sudden we could do things with our own currency opposed to quarters." Here's a bit on Battleswarm: Field of Honor:
Bushnell:Battleswarm is really about me being able to play against my sons [laughs]. I've got five sons, age 16 through 30. They're all avid gamers and like first-person shooters. The problem is, as you get older, you lose some reaction time, and as a result, I'm getting slaughtered by them. A real-time strategy [RTS] game, however, is more my [preference], a good resource game is what I love. Battleswarm is both an RTS and a shooter, a mash-up between StarCraft and Starship Troopers, if you will. You can switch sides, too, if you feel like an RTS instead of a shooter, or vice-versa.

Mac WAR Beta

Mythic Entertainment announces development of a Macintosh edition of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, saying a beta of the Mac client for their MMORPG is already available for testing. This page offers the beta Macintosh client for those already subscribed to the game, as well as a 10-day free trial version for evaluation by newcomers, and word is: "As part of the WAR Mac beta event, players who participate will receive an exclusive title and trophy reward for their characters within the game." This edition requires an Intel-based Mac, as it uses TransGaming's Cider Portability Engine as a "wrapper."

Risen Specs

PC Games Hardware has posted the system requirements from Risen, the upcoming RPG from Piranha Bytes. Here goes:
Required Hardware Specifications:
• OS: Win XP
• CPU: 2.0 GHz
• GPU: Direct X 9.1; Pixel Shader 3.0; 256 MB (GeForce 7900 - ATI 1800)
• RAM: 1 GB
• Hard disk: ~2.5 GB

Recommended System Specifications:
• OS Win XP or Vista
• CPU: 3.0 GHz Dual Core
• GPU: Direct X 9.1; Pixel Shader 3.0; 512 MB (GeForce 8800 - ATI Radeon HD 2900)
• RAM: 2 GB
• Hard disk: ~2.5 GB

No PC Modern Warfare 2 Special Editions

IGN reports that PC gamers will not be faced with the temptation to buy one of the special editions of Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward's upcoming military shooter sequel. Console gamers can expect both a "Harden" edition with a tin case and other perks, and the oft-discussed/mocked "Prestige" edition with night visions goggles, but Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling confirmed for IGN suspicions that these special editions are for consoles only: "There will be no PC version of either collectors' editions."

Ships Ahoy - Wallace & Gromit: The Bogey Man

As noted on the Telltale Games Blog: "The fourth and final episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures has arrived on PC, and not a minute too early!" (which is a gentle way of admitting it may have been a minute or two late). The Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures Page offers digital sales of the new episode or the entire series, and here's a bit on chapter 4, titled The Bogey Man: "Wallace has been admitted to Prickly Thicket, the oldest country club in Lancashire. Wallace and his faithful caddie Gromit get wrapped up in a decades-old club dispute that threatens to destroy their peaceful West Wallaby lifestyle, and the duo must fight to save the neighborhood they hold dear!"

On Wolfenstein Multiplayer

Wolfenstein Multiplayer Q&A on GameSpot fills in some of the blanks about multiplayer support in Wolfenstein, Raven's upcoming supernatural World War II shooter. The interview is with Matt Wilson of Endrant Studios, who are handling the game's multiplayer support, who describes a class-based system (thanks Sphinx). While BJ's for everyone sounds appealing, along the way we learn this will not be happening in multiplayer:
The main difference is that in single-player, you're BJ, you're the hero--you get to do everything and use every power. In multiplayer, you're not BJ--you're a member of either the Resistance or the Axis, and you play as one of three roles: soldier, medic or engineer. We wanted to keep the three roles distinct, so we gave them their own unique veil powers that are specific to their responsibilities within the team. The medic's veil power helps him heal other players, for example.

The problem with mire--the power that BJ has, which slows down time--is that it's a relative effect; each player would experience it differently. For the player using mire, it appears as if the world is slowing down. From his victim's perspective, he'd appear to move at superhuman speed; impossible to hit and everywhere at once. Even ignoring the technical constraints, this would be no fun for 50 percent of the players involved, so we've tried to come up with veil powers that fit the multiplayer game and are fair to all the players.

All the veil powers are still game winners, however, and using your abilities at the right time can turn a game around. Fundamentally, the multiplayer in Wolfenstein needs to be about skill, and knowing when to use your veil powers is part of that skill.

ARENA Online Launch

ARENA Online is now live in Europe, another fantasy-themed MMORPG that requires no subscription to play. As the game's name might indicate, this is a realm-versus-realm game, as described here: "The entire world is Realm vs. Realm based with some locations free of fight. Players can organize themselves in guilds, but members must belong to one race and can participate to castle siege every day. Guilds conquering a castle can earn Platinum defending it. There are many events in the game like castle sieges, treasure chest event, tournaments, Coliseum battles and so on. There is a crafting system well developed and players can create their own weapons or armors to increase their skills but they can also gather resources to get money and create potions or enchantments. ARENA is continuously updated and new features are added every week."

Minorities in Games

Science Daily (thanks Gamasutra) relates results of a study by USC's Annenberg School for Communication that finds the demographics of video game characters does not match the real world, saying "Males, whites and adults were overrepresented," even when you account for the fact that this group is also overrepresented when you look at who plays games to start with. They recognize some potential problems with the report's findings, including the fact that some game characters are aliens and animals, you do not actually see the protagonist in many first-person games, and that more and more games allow players to create a custom characters (which inspires the confusing note that: "Those games were included in the survey, with characters chosen randomly"). While one of the authors of the study does suggest: "These are highly underserved groups. It's a missed sales opportunity," he also cautions against jumping to conclusions: "The characters the developers put in the games do not match the real world," says social psychologist Dmitri Williams. "Our thoughts about why are all informed guesses."

Op Ed

Sessler's Soapbox - Delays Are A Good Thing.
Take the time to listen to Adam explain the many reasons why delays can be good on this week's Soapbox. From the level of polish a game may have, to the timing along side other major releases, to the contents of your wallet; there are multiple reasons why a delayed release date shouldn't make you angry.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

In a perfect bit of bad timing, the gable fan in the BlueTower has failed, just in time for a heat wave that's hit our area, as it has much of the country, bringing the first really hot weather of the season. The gable fan would probably not suffice to keep the attic cool in the face of these temperatures, but I can usually make good use of it to keep from running the air conditioner constantly. The motor in the fan is not actually broken, I can hear it strain when the fan is turned on, but dirt, rust, leaves, dead critters or some combination of the above are preventing the blades from moving. I imagine I'll be able to clear that up if I can manage to get to the fan, I'm just not looking forward to taking the louvers off to access it, as I am picturing being showered by decades of debris when I do *shudder*.

Hot Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Jump Mario 2.
Toxie Radd.
Links: The 11 Biggest Frauds in Gaming. #1 was discussed here just last night.
Apple Claims New iPhone Only Visible To Most Loyal Of Customers.
5 Things Movie Trailers Need to Stop Doing.
Stories: Jerks actually reduce the risk of traffic jams. Thanks Slashdot.
Man Smashes Slot Machine With Sledgehammer.
Felony Franks Causing a Red-Hot Controversy in Chicago. Thanks Kxmode.
Science: Tanning beds definitely cause cancer.
Organic review published. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: As a gamer, moving forward feels much like falling backwards.
Media: Ghost Busters (1954) Trailer. Thanks Digg.
Expialidocious. Thanks Kxmode.
Tiffani Thiessen Responds To Jimmy Fallon. NSFW. Thanks Acleacius.
About That Ad Blocker
We see you're using an ad blocker. While we strive to make our ads behave, we understand your desire for peace and privacy. So please consider becoming a supporter to take advantage of the no ads version of Blue's News. This will help sustain our efforts to bring you the best in gaming and tech news without requiring you to see ads or suffer a guilty conscience. You'll even get a nifty forum badge that will be the envy of the neighborhood!
Support the Site!