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Monday, Apr 19, 2010


Ubisoft's "Green" Packaging

Ubisoft announces plans to use new "eco-friendly" retail packaging for upcoming Windows and console games. Starting with Shaun White Skateboarding this holiday season, their console games will include digital game manuals (as their PC games have since last month), and starting with the release of the PC edition of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction on April 27 they will introduce "the entertainment industry’s most environmentally-responsible DVD case for all of its future PC titles in North America." The "ecoTech" DVD case is made from 100% recycled polypropylene. Here's word on the impact of digital manuals: "Ubisoft internal data shows that producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons."

Battlefield Heroes Updated

The Battlefield Heroes Website announces the release of a new map called Midnight Madness for DICE's free-to-play military shooter, accompanied by a new game play mode called V2 Vengeance. Word is: "In this fast paced game mode you and your allies must capture and hold the rocket and keep it from enemy hands. Jump in with gusto or rocket fuel and make sure your enemies do not get the upper hand and claim the rocket for themselves." Here's the feature list for the new update and this forum post hosts discussion of the changes.

Wings of Prey Add-on Released

Steam News announces that the Wings of Luftwaffe add-on is now available for Wings of Prey, the World War II combat flight simulator. Word is: "In Wings of Luftwaffe, the player takes the role of a German pilot in explosive battles over Britain, Sicily, the USSR, Belgium and Germany. From blockading aerodromes, to intense dogfighting and bombing runs, players must fight with honour and bravery for the glory of Germany." Celebrating the news, Steam is offering the game and the add-on for 20% off over the next week.

Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943 Patch

A new patch #7 for Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943 is now available, updating the World War II strategy game to version 5.16. The patching process depends on where you purchased the game, this forum post has details on the patch as well as how to update your version. Word is: "The update turns up the realism dial from 10 to 11, going so far as to improve the algorithm that determines how grenades interact with tree branches. One should expect nothing less from a team whose developers previously worked on military simulations for the Ukrainian army." This trailer celebrates the release of the new version. Keeping in mind you need the proper patch for your vendor, manual patches can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

Rise of Prussia Patch

A new patch for Rise of Prussia is now available, updating this historical strategy game to version 1.02. Be careful, as the patch comes with the following warning: "All saved games will be erased by the patch, as this version is not compatible with previously started games." The download is available from AtomicGamer, FileFront, and The Patches Scrolls, and the patch notes are below. Continue here to read the full story.

Warrior Epic Patched

True Games announces the launch of some new content for Warrior Epic, their subscription-free action MMORPG, including a new Guild System allowing players to send messages and add, promote, and invite others to guild chat. "This is a major update for Warrior Epic and includes a lot of things our players have asked for," said Peter Cesario, director of product development at True Games Interactive. "We are committed to continually updating the game and providing great entertainment for our loyal warriors."

9Dragons Expands

Acclaim announces the release of Tibet, an expansion for 9Dragons, their martial arts MMOG. Word is: "The new map raises the level cap to level 200. It also unleashes a whole slew of new challenges including quests for good and evil characters and a whole array of new monsters to combat. There are new areas to explore; including the abandoned Formosan Village, overrun with treacherous Black Temple Trainees, the Valley of Gold Monkeys with its powerful Monkey King, and a deadly royal entourage that threatens the region which you must unseat (including the reviled and treacherous Princess GaGa!)."

Battlestations Developer Closed

Develop has news that Square Enix Europe admits having closed Eidos Hungary, developers of the Battlestations series. "We were pleased with Eidos Hungary [developer of the Battlestations series], but I think we realised that to be first or best in the RTS genre was going to be really challenging. It wasn’t necessarily something we were going to win," says Square Enix Europe CEO Phil Rogers. "On the balance of all that we decided that we would focus elsewhere and not move forward with the Battlestations IP and Eidos Hungary." Thanks Big Download.

Borderlands Claptrap Audio Files

Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson now offers downloads of a batch of 16 audio files for Claptrap, the robotic mascot for Borderlands, Gearbox Software's role-playing shooter. Word is: "Use them to make a ringtone, text alert messages, new mail notification and more."

Dwarf Fortress In-Game Computer

This blog post outlines an impressive achievement in Dwarf Fortress, where players have created a computer within the game using "672 pumps, 2000 logs, 8500 mechanisms and thousands of other assort bits and knobs like doors and rock blocks." Thanks Ant via PCWorld, where they note: "it can safely be assumed it's not going to run Crysis very well."

On Sale

Direct2Drive Spring Sale Week Two: "Direct2Drive will be giving gamers $15 in store credit when they spend $75 or more on any titles site-wide during the Spring Sale."

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Free Trine DLC, Sale

Steam News has news of a new patch that's now automatically available for Trine to add a new level as free DLC to Frozenbyte's action/platformer. To celebrate the release, Trine on Steam is on sale for 75% off for the next week. This announcement has further detail on the new DLC, and here's a portion: "Path to New Dawn is a unique level with new visuals and challenging gameplay, especially on Very Hard difficulty setting. It also features 10 special items for the player to collect. The level is unlocked and available in the Select level menu once the game has been completed."

Bad Company 2 Patch Wednesday

Electronic Arts UK Forums offer a change list for R7 client and R10 server patches for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 that EA expects to test on Steam beginning tonight with the plan of releasing the updates to the world at large on Wednesday morning, European time (thanks Steve O). The new version adds a new server browser, a 15 second spawn timer for Conquest/Rush gamemodes at the start of round, and weapon balance tweaks, though they say they are not revealing these for now, as "we want your unbiased views on the changes before we detail what has changed." The extensive list of changes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Bushnell & Atari Name Reunited

Atari announces the resignation of David Gardner and Phil Harrison from its board of directors and their replacement by Nolan Bushnell and Tom Virden. Bushnell, of course, cofounded Atari, though the company and its name have changed hands several times since Atari was formed in 1972. In spite of Bushnell's roots, the pair of new directors are more entrepreneurs than gamers, with Virden's most recent project being a yacht chartering website, and Bushnell's most noteworthy post-Atari project being the Chuck E. Cheese chain. Says Frank Dangeard, Chairman of the Board: "We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Bushnell and Mr. Virden as new members of the Board of Directors of Atari. We are convinced that their deep industry, technology and online business knowledge will be a substantial addition to the strategic insight of our Board."

Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 Revealed?

Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 was announced at a Capcom media event in Hawaii, reports Planet Xbox 360, saying a sequel to GRIN's platformer revival is in the works. The very general word is: "Another major announcement coming down form [sic] the press event. Little is known about this game as of now, other than a trailer that was shown at Captivate. I wasn't a huge fan of the first game so few details on this one doesn't force a reaction one way or the other. I'm sure we will find out more about it at E3 2010 as well, stay tuned." Thanks Joystiq.

Tales of Fantasy Closed Beta

The Tales of Fantasy Website has word that closed beta testing of this subscription-free MMORPG is now underway. The closed beta is kicking off with an event called Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that may help you get the 'ang of things by offering in-game rewards. Word is: "'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' will run from April 19th to May 14th. During the event, guilds and their members will be evaluated and ranked on an official ranking board, according to member levels. The rankings will be refreshed every Friday starting on April 23rd and continuing until the end of the event."


A new version 3.2.2 of the FRAPS video capture and benchmark utility is now available. The new version (actually from March 31) fixes problems opening movies with some applications, fixes a problem capturing stereoscopic movies at 1920x1080 and 1920x1200, and fixes occasional corruption with loop recordings. Thanks Ant.

Marketing Gone Wrong

NZ Herald News reports police were called to deal with an armed man at a pub in Auckland, New Zealand that turned out to be an actor with a plastic gun that was a video game promotion. They say this was to promote "Xbox title Splinter Cell Evolution," presumably Ubisoft's Splinter Cell Conviction, and according to game promoters Monaco Corporation, "they hired another marketing company to organise the event and had no idea that a gun would be used." Of course unarmed actors at pubs are pretty commonplace, and don't generally offer much promotional value. Thanks Joker961 via Kotaku.

Op Ed

Kotaku - An Open Letter To Roger Ebert.
Some might look at Meyer's films and write them off as simply sexploitation and be unwilling to look deeper and to think and be engaged — ditto for Fulci's work or 1970's exploitation films. Critics might do this. Movie fanatics do this as well. But what both have in common is a love for the cinema. They are arguing about something they feel passionately about. The debate has moved past "Is film art?" and has now settled on "Is this film art?" Both of which end up being exercises in frivolity because art, like food, is a matter of taste.

But when someone who has only seen a handful of films says something like, "What's so great about Werner Herzog movies?" or "Isn't Yasujiro Ozu a boring director?", those who know film write off such questions as mindless prattle. There is a reason why you are a film critic, Mr. Ebert. You know film. You know film and appreciate it deeply. You understand what makes a good film. You have written countless articles and books on film. You have even written a great film. But one thing must be kept in mind at all times: You are not a video game critic.

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Out of the Blue

I want to thank Microsoft for the recent update to their junk email filter... I've been hoping to receive more Viagra promotions, and with the new MS filter, I get a few a minute, which is quite helpful. It's also saving me loads of time emptying my junk folder, since no mail goes there anymore. Outstanding!

R.I.P.: Jack Herer. Thanks Acleacius.

Junk-Free Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Homerun in Berzerk Land.
Links: 9 Actors Who Almost Played Superheroes and Villains But Didn't. Thanks Digg.
The 25 Best Movie Remakes of All Time. Thanks Acleacius.
Science: How far off are real ‘superhero’ powers? Thanks Digg.
Rampant cheating hurts China's research ambitions. Thanks Joker961 via Slashdot.
Images: Ready To Overclock.
Star Fox is down.
iPhone-to-iPad Free Upgrade. Thanks Digg.
Media: The Lion King Fortress 2.
Follow-up: The myth of drinking eight glasses of water a day.

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