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Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011


Free Mass Effect 2 for Dragon Age II Owners [Updated]

The BioWare Social Network announces that BioWare is celebrating the success of Dragon Age II by offering owners of the RPG sequel a free copy of the Windows edition of Mass Effect 2 (even those who bought a console version of Dragon Age II). This Sequel Celebration FAQ has the details on how this works, saying the offer must be redeemed before May 1. They also note that: "The Cerberus Network is not included in this promotion, but is still available for purchase if you wish to access that content. For more information on the Cerberus Network, click here." Thanks winnetou. Update: The FAQ has been updated reflecting the inclusion of the Cerberus Network; here's what it says:

Cerberus Network is included and will be entitled to the account used to redeem your Dragon Age II Online Pass. This includes Zaeed - The Price of Revenge, Cerberus Weapon and Armor, Normandy Crash Site, Cerberus Arc Projector, and Firewalker Pack. Visit the offer page to download the necessary files.

Rise of Immortals Closed Beta Begins

Closed beta testing is now underway for Rise of Immortals, the new MOBA game from Petroglyph. A new closed beta gameplay trailer accompanies the news, and here's word: "More announcements will be made as the beta process continues over the next few weeks, quickly ramping up once we get the first initial groups into the game later this week. Right now we encourage those interested in joining the closed beta to sign up so we can select them over the next few weeks."

New MLB Dugout Heroes Season

A new season gets underway today in MLB Dugout Heroes, GamesCampus' baseball simulation. The new season includes all-new 2011 rosters, hall-of-fame players, an all-new training mode, and more.

Star Ruler Patch, Impulse Departure

The Star Ruler Patches Page now offers a new patch to update the space strategy game to version The patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. It is noted that this patch will not work on the Steam edition, but the Steam version of the update is now automatically available. Also, the Star Ruler Website has word that the game will no longer be sold via Impulse following the service's recent acquisition by GameStop, citing GameStop's unfriendliness to indie developers. The update is dated April 1st, but the serious tone does not suggest this is a joke.

On Sale

Direct2Drive offers a 15% discount on the "hottest games in March" when you use the code "MARCHMAYHEM" on checkout. Strategy First is donating 20% of online sales between now and April 11th to Japanese earthquake/tsunami relief.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Patch

A new patch is now available for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, which will update the action/stealth sequel to version 1.02. This forum post has details on the patch, saying it fixes an issue that prevented saving player settings and game progress if the user's Windows login name contained Unicode characters, and another bug that prevented users from adding friends whose names contain dot characters. Also, this forum post indicates a couple of users have save game issues following the patch, to which the forum manager replies: "You may find that your save games are still intact, however the game has been altered to adjust the save folder for people previously unable to save the game." The patch is available from the game's internal update function, but for those who want to go into manual override, there's also a traditional patch mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

The Sims 3 Generations Announced

EA announces The Sims 3 Generations, a new expansion for the Sims 3 to add the ability to "act out life’s most humorous and memorable moments from childhood to teenage years to adulthood." Though disappointingly Kirk and Picard-free, the add-on will include "new gameplay experiences and content that our community has been requesting for years" when it becomes available later this spring. Here's a bit on what this includes:

Players start off in the imagination-fuelled world of childhood, where they can take dance classes, misbehave with their imaginary friend or goof around in one of three themed tree houses; space rocket, wooden shack or princess. Players may then move on to embrace the drama of the teen years by pulling elaborate pranks such as exploding toilets, color dye in the shower or ding dong ditch, become prom king or queen, or forget the school dance and throw a raging party at their parents’ house. There will be even more creative options to explore with a brand new chemistry set, but they’ll need to use caution, or their Sims might turn themselves into a ghost. As adult Sims, players ride the wave of freedom. They can attend or plan bachelor and bachelorette parties, throw lavish weddings, and go through a mid-life crisis where they may change their hair, style, and more.

Portal 2 "Turrets" Trailer

A new trailer from Portal 2 offers the third in a series of four investor presentations from Valve's upcoming first-person puzzle game sequel. In this clip Aperture CEO Cave Johnson introduces turrets, which he calls the consumer version of their most popular military-grade product. The clip shows just how they get so many bullets into each turret, how the turret fires 65% more bullet per bullet, the variety of colors they come in, and the practical home uses of such a product. The embedded clip follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Add-on Revealed

VG247 has the image of an ad revealing a Escalation Pack that will add five new maps/missions to the Xbox 360 edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops on May 3, with the PC and PlayStation 3 editions presumably to follow at some later point. This was posted on the GAME Australia Website, but was subsequently pulled. The flier reveals five scenarios: Seize the Zoo, Take the Hotel, Secure the Convoy, Raid the Stockpile, and Survive Call of the Dead.

Black Mirror 3 English Demo

A playable English demo for Black Mirror 3 offers a sample of the upcoming third-installment in the horror-themed point-and-click adventure series. Also, a German demo was released a couple of months ago. Word is: "The demo features approximately 45 minutes of playing time and allows players to explore the first half of the first chapter of the game." The download is available on AtomicGamer,, Gamer's Hell, PC Games Forever, and WorthPlaying.

The Witcher 2 Specs

CD Projekt has unveiled the system requirements for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, their upcoming role-playing sequel. The miminum [sic] and recommended specs follow. Continue here to read the full story.

PCGA: PC Gaming Resurgence

PC Retail Industry hears from the PC Gaming Alliance on the topic of PC gaming, who say the platform is undergoing a resurgence (thanks MCV). Here's word:

“The spotlight has absolutely shifted back to PC gaming,” said Matt Ployhar, PCGA president and Intel graphics planner. “I don’t believe this phenomenon is going to slow down. A good portion of the companies that are flush with cash right now are coming from abroad, which largely ties in with my postulation about globalization spilling over into the PC gaming ecosystem.”

“Investment dollars are also shifting back largely in favour of PC gaming for a variety of reasons. Most of this is tied to the profitability margins largely favouring PC gaming for the game developers themselves. For example, ‘free to play’ and micro transactions, practically no secondary sales market, and the shift to digital distribution to name just a few.”

Bigfoot and Gaikai Partnership

Bigfoot Networks and Gaikai announce a partnership where the cloud gaming service and the network card manufacturer will "minimize latency in games streamed from the cloud." Of course it's the streaming from the cloud part that introduces most of the latency, but this new partnership is said to attack problems caused by network cards:

However, the quality and speed of the network connection plays a critical role in the cloud gaming experience. Network latency can delay crucial information, leading to warping, stuttering and other undesirable effects. Gaikai addresses this problem by routing game data through a vast, distributed network of servers in close proximity to its customers. Bigfoot Networks takes this ambitious strategy a step further by putting a breakthrough combination of power, performance and networking intelligence inside desktop and notebook PCs. In addition, Bigfoot Networks’ technology also automatically recognizes the Gaikai service, delivering an unmatched cloud gaming experience.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Still a bit bummed over the delay to season five of Mad Men. Luckily, I know how to cope, as I'm having my secretary bring some ice and a fresh bottle of Canadian Club.

Happy birthday Chloe, as our youngest niece turns six today.

On the Rocks Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Upgrade Completer.
Box Clever Level Pack.
Link: Hiyoooo! Thanks Reddit.
Stories: Scientists Call the Market for Meteorites Black. Thanks Neutronbeam.
California Library Plan- Get Rid of Books, Replace Librarians With Videophones.
Science: IBM Nanoparticle System Destroys Drug-Resistant Bacteria. Thanks Digg.
Images: American Beauty For Nerds.
Good Boy.
Media: The Governator - First Trailer.
Thieving Animals.
Auction: MOTHRA & TWIN FAIRIES original drawing by Jonathan Case for Japan.
The Funnies: Old Garfield Strip - 6-3-1983. Thanks Reddit.
Follow-up: Charlie Sheen Receives Standing Ovation in Chicago. Thanks Digg.
Japan 'tsunami dog' Ban reunited with owner after surviving.
Underwater robots find airline wreckage, bodies.

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