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Thursday, Sep 17, 2009


Unreal Tournament 3 Free Weekend Underway

Steam News announces the free weekend for the Unreal Tournament 3 Black Edition is now underway, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the release of the original UT demo. The UT3 game page has details on the Black Edition, or you can just fire up Steam and get playing.

64-Bit Half-Life 2 Will Return

A thread on the Steam Users' Forums discusses the recent disappearance of the 64-bit version of Half-Life 2, which went missing at the beginning of this month with no explanation. This left users unable to load saved games in progress, and those who contacted Steam support were told the 64-bit version is no longer available and got instructions how to enable cheat codes to get back to the chapter they were playing in the 32-bit version. It took a while for us to get a statement about this from Valve, who now confirm the 64-bit version has been pulled, but do not explain why. They do, however, offer reassurances that it will return, though at this time there is no estimate as to when that will happen.

Divinity II - Ego Draconis NA Plans

CDV USA announces they will be handling North American publishing duties for Divinity II - Ego Draconis, Larian Studios' upcoming action/RPG sequel:

Cary, NC, September 17, 2009 – Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, cdv USA will be bringing the fantasy epic Divinity II - Ego Draconis to PC and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. This extraordinary action-RPG continues the epic and stirring tale told by its best-selling predecessor in the Divinity series.

Divinity II - Ego Draconis combines action-packed, varied gameplay with a deep, diverse quest structure that branches out into many directions, a world where every decision has a consequence on how the game proceeds.

“Divinity II - Ego Draconis is a perfect fit for the North American market, and we are very excited to be publishing it,” said Tom Gross, CEO of cdv Software Entertainment USA. “Larian Studios is a well-respected developer and for this reason we are very glad to be able to expand our US line-up this holiday season with such a fantastic product.”

Farming Simulator Announced

Tri Synergy announces Farming Simulator, an upcoming simulation of the agrarian life that does not yet carry a release date (sadly it does not look like you'll be able to grow grapes for players of the just-announced Wine Tycoon). Word is: "Start in a sparsely-equipped farmhouse with old equipment and set to work plowing, cultivating and seeding fields. With wise planning and hard work, the resulting harvest will provide you with the financial resources to better equip your property and increase your productivity!" A product section for the game is online with screenshots.

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Javascript NES emulator. Thanks MrKawfy.

Fireteam Reloaded Out of Ammo

The Pixel Mine Forums have a very brief update saying the Fireteam Reloaded servers will be shut down on September 30, saying: "We are going to shut down the server before we move to the co-location. Thanks to all the players who helped make this game fun to work on (2x)." With no details provided, we asked Pixel Mine the reasons for ending this multiplayer action revival/remake of Multitude's Fireteam, and received the following explanation:

Just like the original Fireteam, the Reloaded version just never found the audience we needed to sustain even the maintenance costs of the servers. Despite the game being free to play, people just aren’t that interested unless it has the latest and greatest graphics, which FTR obviously did not.

Free Tales of Monkey Island Episode Saturday

LucasArts and Telltale Games announce plans to celebrate Saturday's annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day by offering the first episode of Tales of Monkey Island as a free download from all day long. But wait, there's still more:

In addition, today through September 21, LucasArts is offering a virtual treasure trove of deals on several versions of The Secret of Monkey Island®: Special Edition titles, including:

    • 50% off the iPhone and iPod touch version of LucasArts’ new The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition via Apple’s App Store

    • 50% off The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Steam®, Valve Corporation’s delivery and management platform for the PC and Direct2Drive, IGN Entertainment’s digital download store Best ye’ jump on these offers smartly before they expire!

LucasArts will also soon release a free “lite” version of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod touch as well as a sound board application for iPhone and iPod touch that features 16 witty and ridiculing sound-bites from The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.

Aion Presales Soar

With Record-Breaking Preorder Sale, Aion Takes Its Place As The Biggest MMO Release Of The Year is the announcement that nearly 400,000 preorders of Aion have been placed, saying NCsoft's fantasy-themed MMORPG is "outpacing other major MMO launches this year." This also serves as a reminder that server-pre-selection for preorder customers gets underway tomorrow, and their five-day headstart program begins on Sunday:

As a bonus to the nearly 400,000 players who have preordered their copy of Aion, they will be treated to server Pre-Selection (beginning tomorrow 18th September) and a five-day Headstart period (beginning 20th September) allowing them to get a jump start on their exploration and progression prior to the official launch on 25th September. Players can still participate in Aion’s Pre-Selection and Headstart programs by preordering the game through several participating online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Ships Ahoy - Majesty 2 [Updated]

It looks like Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is now available in North America, though neither a release announcement nor an official North American release date for 1C:Ino-Co's RTS sequel were ever issued. The game is for sale at e-tailers like Amazon and retailers/e-tailers like GameStop, and for digital distribution via Direct2Drive, Impulse, and Steam. A playable demo is available if you are looking for a sample, and LittleMe points the way to a Protection Walkthrough Part I and Part II video on GameTrailers. Update: The official press release followed this story, here it is, short and sweet:

Today, Paradox Interactive is proud to announce that Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is available for purchase in retail stores everywhere, as well as all major digital distribution outlets. Fans of the original Majesty and newcomers alike now have the opportunity to partake in the magical adventures found in Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim.

For more information about Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, please visit and follow @pdxinteractive on twitter.

Dungeon Runners Ending

The Dungeon Runners Website announces that NCsoft will be pulling the plug on this fantasy-themed MMORPG on January 1, 2010 due to lack of profitability (thanks Rumors that the subscription-free game might close surfaced last year, but were later refuted almost a year ago to the day. This time, however, it looks like there's no reprieve on the way. The update from the Stephen Nichols, the Producer & Lead Programmer on the game is a "crap sandwich" that surrounds the bad news with some niceties, including how the game will be "going out in style," and plans to compensate paid customers with 30 day game time serial codes and free digital copies of City of Heroes Architect Edition and Guild Wars Prophecies and 30 days of free play in each. So if that's the bread, here is the crap:

Now, it's time for the bad news. Dungeon Runners just isn't cutting the mustard. If she were a ship, she'd be taking on water. Yeah, she's been taking on water for a long time now. Are my cryptic references too hard to decipher? The game just isn't profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable! Man, I must have missed that day in business school... but I digress.

We've been trying to figure out how to fix things for some time now. And, that's where things get sticky. We've got some ideas that could work. But, they're expensive to implement and pretty risky. Those two facts, coupled with the recent loss of some key developers, make achieving the success we seek pretty much out of the question.

As things stand now, we're a three man team. Yeah, we lost two of our five man team recently. Not nearly enough manpower to get where we need to be. Rebuilding the team isn't really an option for various reasons. So, where does that leave us? Can you guess? Yes, that's right, we're going to be shutting Dungeon Runners down at the end of 2009. New Year's Eve to be exact.

Fallout 3 GotY Edition Next Month

The Bethesda Blog offers new details on Fallout 3 DLC for the PS3 and the Game of the Year Edition of Bethesda's action/RPG. They announce the release of an update for the PS3 version of the game to address a number of issues and add trophy support for the DLC, and say Broken Steel for the PS3 will be available September 24, followed Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt on October 1, and Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta on October 8. The Game of the Year edition of the original game plus all five DLC packs is due for all platforms on October 13, and they say: "The discs will include the title updates you will need to play the DLC — so an online connection is not required." They also announce US pricing, saying the console versions will retail for $59.99 and the Games for Windows version will be $49.99.

Champions Online Status Report

A "State of the Game" update on the Champions Online Website has the latest word on Cryptic's recently launched superhero MMORPG. Topics include new content that's been recently added to the game, several new additions they are working on to enhance the teaming system, fixes to their mail woes, planned balance tweaks, how they can't actually allow players to skip past the tutorial if they've done it already until some further programming changes, plans for a new room for the Powerhouse, and word on graphics performance improvements for all players, even if the opposite seems to be the case for owners of high-end systems:

Graphics performance should be better overall for players. Some high-end users have experienced what appears to be a reduction in performance. But this is actually due to us fixing a bug where sliders that were set all the way up in certain categories weren’t actually providing that level of increase. Players with top-end graphic cards should retune their settings for maximum performance.

PES 2010 Demo

The Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 demo is now available as promised, offering the chance to kick around the latest installment in Konami's academy football/soccer series. The ~890 MB download is available from AtomicGamer,, eXp Download, FanGaming, Fileplay, and Gamer's Hell. On a related note, there's a batch of PES 2010 close-up screenshots of players on PC Games Hardware.

Left 4 Dead 2 Ban in AU reports that Left 4 Dead 2 is refused classification for sale down under, as Valve's upcoming zombie shooter sequel is the latest game to run afoul of Australia's restrictive rating system, which has rejected three other games this year (Risen, Sexy Poker, and NecroVisioN, though the latter two were approved following changes). The story also has an update with the reasoning behind this, and indications this was not a consensus decision:

The refusal largely focuses on the Board's interpretation of the game's violence finding that "The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently" The ruling goes on to say that "However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore."

Interestingly the report also notes that "A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the consumer advice of strong violence," suggesting the ruling was anything but unanimous among Board members.

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3 This Month

Telltale Games reveals a September 29 release date for Lair of the Leviathan, the upcoming third chapter in the episodic Tales of Monkey Island series. They also have a teaser movie demonstrating what "might" happen in the upcoming chapter in the ongoing adventures of Guybrush Threepwood.

Team Fortress 2 Status Report

The Team Fortress 2 Blog has a status report on Valve's teamplay shooter sequel. Valve's Robin Walker describes how the TF2 team has been assisting on the completion of Left 4 Dead 2 as they did with the first L4D game, but that they've improved their process to keep some people working on TF2 this time around. He goes on to describe speed bumps that have hindered their character modeling, but that they are updating the Source SDK to include all the model and animation source for the Heavy to get feedback on one character before proceeding further. He also gives status reports on a couple of community-based Source engine projects, and offers some new "Ubercharged" TF2 avatars designed by Dhabih Eng.

Flying Lab & Pirates of the Burning Sea Expanding

Flying Lab Software announces they are expanding their workforce as they gear up to expand their MMOG Pirates of the Burning Sea with a newly announced Power & Prestige expansion. They offer information for those interested in working in their lab, which flies over Seattle, WA, and the following on the expansion: "Power & Prestige™ expands upon the game’s already robust real-time Conquest system, allowing players to not only capture ports on behalf of their parent nations, but also to become a Port Governor with great economic and strategic influence. Player Governors can set tax rates and increase defensive capabilities in their towns, making those ports more valuable as traffic hubs or easier to defend against attack. Players will need to use all of the intrigue and cunning at their disposal to seize or keep hold of power."

Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 Patch

This Patches Page is now serving up a new patch for Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 to update the World War II strategy sequel to version 1.3.0. The 72 MB patch is for the edition only, and here's an overview: "This second patch to Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 updates the game to version 1.3.0 and includes the previous tweaks and improvements from the v1.1.0 patch as well as a host of new fixes and features."

Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising Trailer

A new trailer for Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising shows off multiplayer PvP action from Codemasters' upcoming military shooter. The clip shows in-game battles using several weapons with a money shot at the end of a little tank action. The clip is posted on the YouTube.

Game Addiction "Pandemic"?

Gaming addiction poses 'pandemic' threat takes the concept of "game addiction" further (perhaps entirely over a pen of sharks) by quoting a Swedish "expert" that adds the communicable disease analogy, saying this may be a "pandemic" (he is actually more tempered, saying "I believe we’re dealing with a problem of pandemic proportions"). This is not based on research, however, as it is attributed to Sven Rollenhagen of the Youth Care Foundation (Stiftelsen Ungdomsvård), an organization has been helping young people in Sweden "recognize and manage computer gaming addiction" for two decades, meaning at one point they were helping break addictions to games like Golden Axe, 688 Attack Sub, and SimCity. A Game Over Website is online to help stem the pandemic, which is available in English, German, and French. Thanks Digg via Ant.

Dark Forces II Steam Tips

The Steam Forums have tips for those running into issues with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II from the newly rereleased Jedi Knight games. There are tips concerning Windowed mode, controls, 3D acceleration, and changing resolution.

The Secret World Interview

The Secret World Combat System Q&A Video on Ten Ton Hammer is a nearly five minute video interview with FunCom at PAX, discussing the factions and combat system in the upcoming MMORPG. Though this is a video, there's no gameplay shown, but they do some nice Ken Burns pans over some concept art. One of the things we learn is that once you join a faction, you cannot change, so if you decide to change factions, you must start a new game. As for combat, they explain that though they are using the Age of Conan engine, they've created a new combat system from scratch to support the game's use of guns.

Mass Effect 2 Interview

Guiding Shepard in Mass Effect 2 on Crispy Gamer is an interview with Mac Walters, lead writer on Mass Effect 2, BioWare's upcoming sci-fi RPG sequel. Topics include the duties of his position, allowing choices in how Shepard is played (he is the commander, after all), their paraphrasing dialog system, ME1 save games, characters, and more.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Mobilization


Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

We're getting reports from Canadian readers of a local ad hogging CPU time. This apparently only happens with certain browsers, so don't feel left out if it is not impacting you, but if it is, our apologies. We are working on tracking down this problem and eliminating it.

R.I.P: Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary dead at 72. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Buggy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Momentum Missile Mayhem 4.
Run and Gun.
Cave of Wonders.
Links: Made of Myth. Thanks
3D Tetris Head Design is Artful yet Industrial Looking.
5 Popular Zombie Survival Tactics (That Will Get You Killed). Thanks Ralph.
Stories: Breaking in New Sport, Dutch Sweat Small Stuff. Thanks brother19.
No More "Superman" In The Near Future. Re-reboot?
Science: First rocky planet found outside solar system. Thanks Stadius.
Images: If Video Games Were Realistic. Thanks Ralph.
Media: Left 4 Beatles.
Contra vs. Duck Hunt.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1951) Trailer.
Follow-ups: 'Gene cure' for colour blindness. Thanks brother19. There's hope for me yet.
Tonight Show - Kanye planned to interrupt Taylor Swift.

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