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Friday, Nov 05, 2010 Guy Fawkes Night


The Ball Demo

The Ball page on Steam now offers downloads of a playable demo for The Ball, the recently released first-person action puzzler from Tripwire Interactive and Teotl Studios. Word is the demo "will allow you to play through some of the levels from the main game itself, as well as play one of the Survival Mode maps. This will give everyone who hasnít bought it a chance to try the game for themselves before they buy it."

Call of Duty: Black Ops Midnight Sales

The Call of Duty: Black Ops Store Locator offers intel on where to find stores where Call of Duty: Black Ops will be on sale at 12:01 am on Tuesday, November 9, when the military shooter sequel is first officially available. This is not quite as helpful as it seems at first, as there's a footnote saying: "This list may not represent all participating stores. For stores listed here, please call to verify participation." Activision also announces a random bonus, saying: "Also, the first 50 attendees at one of the 2,700 24-hour participating Walmart locations will receive an exclusive Call of Duty: Black Ops bandana."

New Qtracker

The Qtracker Website now offers a new version 4.92 of this multiplayer server browser for PC games that adds support for America's Army 3, Wolfenstein, and Left 4 Dead 2. The new release also adds the ability to load and save panes, fixes an issue with Source engine games that caused players and rules to not appear, and fixes the Quick Connect feature. All the details can be found in the Qtracker Release Notes.

Pachter: CoD Subscriptions Next Year

IndustryGamers quotes Michael Pachter, Wedbush Morgan Securities hit-and-miss games analyst, who says he expects Activision to announce plans to monetize Call of Duty multiplayer some time in 2011. He says: "We expect Activision to announce plans to monetize multiplayer online some time in 2011, and expect greater visibility into the release schedule throughout the year. When we have greater visibility, we think we will be able to identify positive catalysts, and we fully expect to add Activision back to our Best Ideas List at that time." During the summer Pachter also predicted such a move would happen before the end of this year.

New Left 4 Dead 2 Mutation

Steam News announces a new update is automatically available for Left 4 Dead 2 with a couple of changes for the multiplayer zombie shooter sequel, as well as "Healing Gnome," this week's new mutation. The Left 4 Dead Blog has more: "There is only one way to heal, holding the Gnome! This Coop game is all about the Gnome and his magical healing properties. There is only one way to heal and that is by holding the Gnome. Better share him with your teammates!"

Football Manager 2011 Patches

The Football Manager 2011 Website now offers a new patch to update this sports simulation sequel to version 11.1.0, though it is warned that this is not for versions of the game purchased through digital distribution. Word is: "This patch contains several updates including the recent new owner situation at Liverpool FC and the change in circumstance and points deduction at Dundee FC." Here's the full change list and the PC patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying. The Mac patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls.

Bad Company 2 Vietnam Flame-Thrower Trailer

The Battlefield Blog offers a new trailer from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam, showing off the flame-thrower in action. Word is: "As our playtests rage on here at the DICE office, it's clear how much the flame-thrower gives to this expansion in terms of style and sheer aggressiveness. Check out the trailer above for more fire-based action, and remember to come back next Friday for even more info and screens from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam."

AMD Catalyst Hotfix

An AMD Catalyst version 10.10d Hotfix was released about a week ago for owners of AMD/ATI graphics cards. The new drivers fix some bugs and offer performance improvements, though it is warned that this is an unsupported release. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

  • FPS Trainer "is a free-to-play browser-based multiplayer First Person Shooter (FPS) game, combining an innovative coaching system with a community website and social network integration."…

Into the Black

Link of the Day: James Bond Will Be Back In 2012. Thanks Ant. Good news, except for the part about possibly having to replace Daniel Craig.

Battlefield Play4Free Announced

EA announces Battlefield Play4Free, a new free-to-play multiplayer shooter to launch in the spring as the new Battlefield game announcement they teased earlier this week. They are currently accepting applications to participate in closed beta testing of the game, which they say will offer 32-player online warfare and the chance to experience the career of a professional soldier. There's also a story on MCV quoting EA's Ben Cousins saying this has a chance to "disrupt" the triple-A console market: "At what point do the hardcore gamers switch over from spending $60 a month on console games to spending that much a month on microtransactions for an online title?" Cousins asked the audience at the London Games Conference. "There's an opportunity in the next two to five years to cause a significant disruption to the traditional triple-A console market. I want someone considering buying a game on a Microsoft console to think 'But these games are free over here'." This teaser trailer offers a glimpse at the game, and here's a bit from its announcement:

Combining the most popular maps from Battlefield 2 with the familiar classes and powerful weapons of Battlefield: Bad CompanyTM 2, players have access to 16 vehicles including the Mil Mi-28 attack helicopter, its nemesis the F35 VTOL jet fighter, the massive Russian T-90 main battle tank, and the hard to catch LSV light strike vehicle. Players progress through the game to learn new combat skills, and earn in-game currency to spend on a massive array of devastating weapons and equipment.

Lead and Gold and Shattered Horizons Free Weekend; Sale

The promised free-play weekends are now underway on Steam for Lead and Gold- Gangs of the Wild West, Fatshark's wild west-themed shooter, and Shattered Horizon, the zero-G shooter from Futuremark Games Studio. Both free weekends will run through 4:00 pm EST on Sunday, and each game is on sale at 50% off (including four-packs), and there's also a Frontiers Pack bundling both games for an additional 29% discount off the individual sale prices.

ZeniMax Buys Machinegames

ZeniMax Media's acquisition spree continues, as Develop reports the parent of Bethesda Softworks, id Software, and Arkane Games (among others) has picked up Machinegames, a Swedish studio first founded by vets of Starbreeze Studios. The news was first revealed through an anonymous tweet, but they point to records indicating the company has now been renamed ZeniMax Sweden AB, which seems to confirm things.

Quote of the Day

"If you look at Star Wars from EA and BioWare, they estimated a development budget of over $100m. This is an online game for many millions of subscribers, so the publisher does not understand that a subscription model is not the future. With micro-transactions maybe I see the game having a chance but I don't think that EA or BioWare will ever be profitable with this game." Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz on Star Wars: The Old Republic at the London Games Conference (via MCV).

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

We're feeling a little guilty at the BlueTower this morning. While I was chuckling over the Gunnar-man's hyperactive jumping at the back door to see when he was being let in, I once again marveled at his puppy-like energy, which made me realize we forgot his birthday, as he turned six on the second. The good news, of course, is that he doesn't know or care a whit about this, so we just have to deal with our own remorse with no other incriminations. The other good news, is that Gunnar has such phenomenal levels of natural joy that there's not much we can do to make any occasion more special for him. Speaking of special, there was at least one request for photos of the doggies in their Halloween costumes, which I'm taking as popular demand, so here they are. Hudson the wonder dog could have used a little sprucing up, as she has tufts of hair sticking our of her Robin outfit, but it's tough to get them to pose, so we decided to live with it.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Johnny, Why Are You Late?
Bloons 2.
Links: We're sorry for claiming Kirk was in command of Picard's starship. Thanks Neatorama.
Farting on School Bus Sent Kid to Detention.
The 13 Most Sexually Aggressive Cartoon Characters Ever.
Stories: Bacon-Flavored Soda Sizzles Onto Shelves. Thanks Roger.
Man in disguise boards international flight.
Science: SETI astronomers expand extraterrestrial search.
Comet Hartley 2 Fly-by Sets NASA Astir (registration required). Thanks Neutronbeam.
Europe taking phosphates out of wash in water clean-up.
Images: The Bundt Cake of Barad-Dur. Thanks Neatorama.
Media: Tour of abandoned New Orleans Six Flags.
Nooooooooooooooo! NSFW.
.50 Cal Sniper vs Watermelon.
The Funnies: Dilbert. Thanks brother19.

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