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Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010


Company of Heroes Online Beta Signups

The Company of Heroes Website has details on how to take part in the imminent North American closed beta testing of Company of Heroes Online. This requires registering for an account and opting into their news and offers notification. Here's word on testing: "We have a limited number of keys to go around for the first phase of our Closed Beta Testing, so not everyone will be invited to the big show. However, we will soon be announcing a partnership to expand our Closed Beta Testing, so stay tuned for more info. In the meantime, make sure that you have completed the steps above to be considered for an early invite and we’ll see you on the battlefield."

StarCraft II Midnight Openings

Blizzard Entertainment announces that midnight launch events for StarCraft II will be taking place all around the world for next week's launch of the real-time strategy sequel. The launches will take place at the stroke of midnight July 26/27, and here's word: "Select retail stores in cities across the world will be open at the stroke of midnight on July 26th to celebrate the release of StarCraft II. Developers from the StarCraft II development team will be on-site to sign copies and meet players. There will be organized activities, competitions and chances to win great prizes. Be a part of this historic event in a city near you!"

Paradox Games and More Steam Sales

Steam News announces a weeklong sale on all Paradox games with the exception of Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi. This page has all the sale titles, which are 50% off. They are also offering 40% off on Fallen Earth: Blood Sports for the next week, which also includes an exclusive "Steam Cleaner." Finally, they have a Midweek Madness sale, offering 50% off on the FINAL FANTASY XI Online Ultimate Collection until Thursday at 7:00 pm EDT.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The Drifters. Thanks j.c.f. It is balloooooooon!

Alice: Madness Returns Announced

EA and Spicy Horse Games officially announce Alice: Madness Returns, a sequel to American McGee's Alice, the offbeat take on Alice in Wonderland released in 2000. The sequel's title was discovered last month through a trademark registration, and with the official announcement we learn the game is coming some time next year to Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Just as the sequel is a decade removed from the original game, the story takes place ten years later, with American McGee once again acting as project lead. Here's word: "Alice: Madness Returns takes place 10 years after the conclusion of the original game, with Alice struggling to recover from the emotional trauma of losing her entire family in a fatal fire. After spending a decade institutionalized in an insane asylum, she is finally released to the care of a psychiatrist who just may be able to help her conquer the nightmarish hallucinations that still haunt her. Alice embarks on a mission to root out the true cause of her family’s mysterious death, jumping from a gloomy and stark London to a rich and provocative Wonderland." Here are some screenshots and some pieces of concept art from the game.

The Sims 3: Late Night Announced

EA announces The Sims 3: Late Night, the next expansion pack for the lifestyle simulation. The new expansion, which requires the original game, allows you to go out and party the night away, in that virtual sense of course. Word is: "The Sims 3 Late Night gives players all-access and lets them loose on a vibrant, active downtown scene where they’ll rub elbows with celebrities at the hottest parties, hit the local bar after work, tour the scene with their Sims’ band, kick back in a plush hot tub, and discover what’s lurking as the lights go out and adventure begins after dark." The announcement comes with some screenshots and a teaser trailer, which is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Darkspore Announced

EA announces Darkspore, an online, science-fiction action/RPG, currently in development at EA's Maxis Studio for a February 2011 launch. This explains the trio of trademarks for the title noticed in May and as the game "is inspired in part by the award-winning creature editor tech of Spore," this is the Spore "DNA" Comic-Con announcement expected since earlier this month.The Darkspore Website has info, a teaser trailer, and signups for a newsletter. Here's a bit from the announcement:

Darkspore will feature dynamic, fast-paced action as players battle across alien worlds to save the galaxy from the mutated forces of Darkspore in a four-player co-operative and full single-player campaign, as well as intense multiplayer battles. In order to defeat the malicious Darkspore, players will need to collect an arsenal of living weapons - genetic heroes with different combat abilities - and upgrade them with tens of thousands of collectible body parts and armor.

Darkspore will feature three unique classes of five different genetic hero types, with a limitless number of upgrades and customizations available through the parts players collect on each planet level. As players progress, Darkspore builds in intensity, with new planets and enemy forces requiring players to strategically select the right squad and ability combinations to succeed in their missions.

Need for Speed World Next Week, Early Access Today

EA announces a one-week setback to the release of Need for Speed World, saying Black Box's MMO racing game will launch on July 27, rather than today, as previously announced. Likewise, the one-week early access begins today for those who preorder the Need for Speed World Starter Pack, a $20.00 USD package that includes $20.00 of in-game currency, access to the full game, and other perks. When Need for Speed World officially launches next week, a free client will be available that allows access to the game and progression to level 10. Here's a bit more on the game: "Need for Speed World combines the rush of illicit street racing, deep RPG style progression and vehicle customization into an immersive, socially-connected Need for Speed experience. Players can compete against any one of their friends, family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits across 150 miles of sprawling open world."

Intel Invests in Gaikai

Intel is investing in Gaikai, the upcoming service that will provide streaming games through cloud-based servers, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Financial terms are not disclosed, but there are quotes indicating Intel is supplying some of their new six-core processors for Gaikai servers, as Gaikai CEO Dave Perry says will allow them "to stream more games simultaneously while offering users a premium experience. Having Intel Capital buy into our vision as much as we buy into their processors makes this a great deal for both companies." Lisa Lambert, vice president of Intel Capital, adds: "We look forward to working with Gaikai to provide new data center capabilities to support their technologies." Gaikai is currently in beta testing, and is expected to launch this year.

Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Ep. 4 Released

The Telltale Games Website now offers the fourth PC installment in Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, the five-episode series covering the latest adventures of the dog and bunny detectives. The PlayStation 3 edition of the new episode will be released later today in the US, and tomorrow in Europe. The penultimate episode, cleverly titled Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, carries the following description: "As the episode begins, an onslaught of oversized canine clones akin to a zombie apocalypse has our heroes running for cover in a barricaded ramshackle diner. And it gets even stranger from there. In this last episode before the epic season finale, the forces that have been pulling the Freelance Police's strings begin revealing themselves in a tale that will change the way you look at Sam & Max forever! Who can possibly be responsible for this march of flabby dog flesh? The creepy old sorcerer? The creepier space ape? The even creepier diner owner? Or some other creep?" This trailer shows off the new episode.

Ships Ahoy - Tropico 3: Absolute Power

Kalypso announces the PC edition of Tropico 3: Absolute Power is now available in stores in the US, expanding the dictator simulation of Tropico 3 with a new 10-mission campaign and more. Here's word on the add-on, which requires the original game to play: "Tropico 3 Absolute Power is the first official expansion pack to the critically acclaimed Tropico 3 and invites players back to the island paradise of Tropico and experience unprecedented power as the benevolent (or malevolent) ruler ‘El Presidente’. It adds new campaigns, new missions, new islands, unique buildings and new presidential powers to maximize the length and success of your term in power."

Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead Demo

The Arma 2 Website now offers a playable demo for Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, the standalone expansion for their military first-person shooter. The demo includes a single-player mission, a couple of single-player scenarios, three Boot Camp scenarios, multiplayer missions, the "Team Deathmatch" multiplayer template, and the Mission Editor, which includes the ability to save and load your scenarios. This page lists download mirrors, and the demo is also available on,, and Gamer's Hell. Here's Bohemia Interactive's description of the demo: "This 3GB demo thrusts you straight into the unique gameplay featured in the full version of Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead; it showcases the realistic sandbox environment, offers multiplayer gameplay, and gives you a peek at the vast array of vehicles, weapons, units at your disposal. The demo offers a massive amount of highly detailed content, giving you a sharp flavour of the epic new environment (modelled on real-world data), a full taste of the mission editor, and a real appetite to experience the most authentic mil-sim available: war without the training wheels."

DC Universe Online Beta Signups

The DC Universe Online Website is now accepting applications to beta test this upcoming PC and PS3 superhero MMORPG. They also announce a preorder program for both the retail and digitally distributed editions of the game, and offer these details on a PC Collector's Edition:

Available for pre-order and at launch, a Collectors Edition of DC Universe Online will be available for PC only, and includes a statue of the Batman, concepted by reknowned comic book artist/executive creative director for the game, Jim Lee. The statue depicts the Dark Knight leaping from a building, ready to rain justice down on evildoers. The Collectors Edition also includes a limited edition Art of DCUO book, which includes 56 pages of the art, information on the making of the game and insight on some of the iconic characters players will encounter, plus a limited edition DC Universe Online: Legends Issue #0 comic, written by Tony Bedard (Green Lantern Corps) and illustrated by Oliver Nome, Michael Lopez and Livio Ramondelli with a variant cover by Jim Lee.

Project Mercury is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

EA and 38 Studios announce Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, revealing the game formerly known as Project Mercury is "an epic, open-world role-playing game set in Amalur, a mysterious and magical new fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore." The single-player RPG is in development at 38's Big Huge Games, and is expected for release in autumn 2011 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Details are still sparse, but more will be revealed on Thursday at Comic-Con. For now they say the game "sets players on a heroic journey to unlock the mysteries of Amalur. Amalur is a magical world, filled with strange landscapes, exotic cities, colorful characters and terrifying creatures." There's also this quote from Ken Rolston of Big Huge Games: "In Reckoning, we started with Bob and Todd's exceptional Kingdoms of Amalur game setting and imagery," he says. "On that foundation we built the open-world exploration, vast narrative and character customization fans expect from the best RPGs. And we've added something new that we've always wanted from the genre -- a fast-paced, graphically stimulating action combat experience with fluid control and immersive, discoverable gameplay fans haven't seen before in other fantasy RPGs."

38 Studios Interviews

The Curt Schilling interview on MMO Gamer talks with the former Major League pitcher about his love for gaming, the formation of 38 Studios, and what he's willing to discuss about Projects Mercury and Copernicus, their upcoming games (the conversations obviously took place prior to the announcement above). There's also a 38 Studios interview on chatting with Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolston about their game projects as they prepare to attend Comic-Con. Schilling accepts their request of a baseball analogy to describe the current state of 38 Studios' two games, saying, "I would say Mercury we are nearing the All-Star break and with Copernicus we are late in spring training" (which translates to about halfway done and still just getting started for the uninitiated). Have you ever contemplated what you'd ask for if you had superstar leverage in negotiating a contract? An interesting tidbit is Schilling saying his last three or four baseball contracts included high-speed internet connectivity for road trips so he could satisfy his online gaming habit.

Big Match Online Closed Beta

Big Match Online is entering closed beta testing, and Supermassive Games is putting out the call for those interested in testing this online association football/soccer game and its "unique challenge of football trivia and tactics." Those interested should head over soon, as they are only looking for 500 participants for this round of testing.

Team Fortress 2 Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new automatic patch for Team Fortress 2, Valve's teamplay shooter sequel. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Game Soundtrack Interview

The Jason Graves Interview on UGDB talks with this composer of game soundtracks about his contributions to the Dead Space, Silent Hunter, and Command & Conquer franchises, among others. They discuss the role of music in games, and go into specifics about several projects, including Alpha Protocol and the now-cancelled Aliens RPG.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

In addition to being the birthday of my buddy MrKawfy, today is also the anniversary of the first man to walk on the moon, as it was 41 years ago today that Neil Armstrong made Mr. Gorsky a happy man with his "giant leap for mankind" out of Apollo 11's lunar lander. Joker961 went to the trouble to gather a few relevant links for the occasion, including the Smithsonian's Apollo 11 Home and 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 page, this Apollo 11 Image Gallery, and an article from last year on how NASA's Apollo technology has changed history.

Small Links for Man: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Ribbit. Thanks Jay is Games.
Shadow Snake.
Toe Nail Wheel.
Links: The 6 Most Surprising Ways Alcohol Is Actually Good for You.
Stories: Grandiose Nazi airport becomes a wild and free park in Berlin. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: How Microbes Defend and Define Us (registration required). Thanks j.c.f.
Model of Bloodhound supersonic car unveiled.
Nasa satellite 'blinded by biggest ever star explosion seen in space'.
Images: TF2 facepalm.
Media: Why "Back to the Future" is Secretly Horrifying.
Paperboy: The Movie (Trailer). Thanks Digg.
My code word for taking the dog on a walk.
Plants vs. Zombies breakdance battle - E3.
The Funnies: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
An Elegant Solution to a Zombie Outbreak. Thanks Digg.
Follow-up: Along With the Heat, Scorched Lawns. Thanks j.c.f.
SpaceShipTwo First Manned Flight Attached to WhiteKnightTwo.
Scientists say vaginal gel cuts HIV-infections by half.

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