Friday, December 31, 2010

Over two million have played Castle Crashers

We've always known that the fan base for The Behemoth's colorful beat-em-up Castle Crashers would continue to grow throughout the fullness of time -- there's something just so universal about beating the tar out of dudes in exchange for food and coins, you know? Recently, that fan base passed a major milestone across all the game's platforms: According to the leaderboards, over two million players have taken up arms in the name of princess rescuing.

Will this impressive number carry over some steam to The Behemoth's next project, Battleblock Theater? It's hard to be sure -- both seem to have the same level of polish and oddball humor, though the studio's upcoming project doesn't appear to have quite as much diarrhea-stricken forest wildlife, so it's really anyone's guess.

JoystiqOver two million have played Castle Crashers originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 14:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Raskulls review: Take my skull for a ride

Wait ... a Raskulls game? In 2010? What's next, Pele's Superstar Soccer?

Who still remembers the Raskulls, those third-rate Smurf knockoffs from the 1980s? Even the biggest fans of Peter Cullen and June Foray probably recycled their tapes of the Ruby-Spears cartoon, which aired on ABC's Saturday morning cartoon block for a few months in early 1984. The Kenner toy line, Star comics series, and Atari 2600 game (released in the wake of the crash of 1983) were all embarrassing failures. Even the Snorks looked good next to the Raskulls.

Okay, absolutely none of this true, but this fake history perfectly fits the tone of Raskulls, an XBLA exclusive from Halfbrick Studios that combines racing with puzzle-platforming. It might be a brand new property, but Raskulls is an obvious parody of The Smurfs and the assorted rip-offs that littered the Saturday morning airwaves back in the 1980s. The self-aware and absurd Raskulls basically Shrekifies The Smurfs.

Continue reading Raskulls review: Take my skull for a ride

JoystiqRaskulls review: Take my skull for a ride originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why did Pluto lose its planet status? Because it never mattered enough

It's kind of hard to accept, Pluto has always been our favorite underdog, but the truth is that the Solar System's ninth planet was never really significant enough to earn that designation. Such is the coldly logical reason given for its removal from the planetary annals by a man who had a lot to do with its demise. Caltech astronomer Mike Brown discovered Eris, what he'd hoped was the tenth planet, back in 2005, but its extreme distance from the Sun and diminutive (by planetary standards) dimensions disqualified it from consideration. Unfortunately, its discovery is what doomed Pluto to be downgraded to a "dwarf planet," though Mike's not shedding too many tears over it. In fact, he's gone and written a book about the whole thing, the smug planet destroyer that he is. You don't have to buy it to learn more, however, as the source link has an interview with Mike all ready and waiting.

Why did Pluto lose its planet status? Because it never mattered enough originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 08:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Missile Command by OMGPop

OMGPop Missile Command

Missile Command is back thirty years after the release of the original. Missile Command by OMGPop can be played here on Atari's website. You can play live against other players. It makes for a fun time killer. They give a lame nickname if you don't register, but you can still play without registering.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Google Chrome 10 comes bundled with HTML5 games

Chrome 10 bundled games
Google Chrome 10 has quietly made it into the Dev channel, and it may signify the beginning of Chrome-related bloatware, as the Google Operating System blog reports. Chrome 10 now comes with two bundled Web-based games 'preinstalled' -- as much as any Web app can be preinstalled. This apparently happens on all operating systems except Chrome OS (for now?).

The two games are Poppit and Entanglement, and if you're running the Dev channel, by now you should have noticed them in your New Tab page. They just showed up there, without any prior notice or you having to do anything. What's next Google, a McAfee trial version with Chrome 11? Although unlike pesky anti-virus trials, the two games can easily be uninstalled if you so wish.

But since they're there, perhaps you should give them a try. They are supposedly HTML5-heavy, so besides being worthy time-wasters, they might also serve as useful showcases of what can be accomplished with the next generation of Web technologies. Or not. Your call.

Download SquadGoogle Chrome 10 comes bundled with HTML5 games originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spore Moive in the Works

Spore LogoVariety reports that 20th Century Fox and Electronic Arts have partnered to develop a movie based on Spore. Chris Wedge (Ice Age) is slated to direct Spore. It will be an animated film.
Greg Erb and Jason Oremland, who penned Disney's upcoming "The Princess and the Frog" and Ben Stiller pic "The Return of King Doug" at Paramount, will write the script for the "Spore" movie. It will be produced as a CG-animated toon by EA and Blue Sky Studios, which is behind the studio's "Ice Age" pics, "Robots" and its next effort, "Rio."

In the game, which was released in September 2008, players create their own creatures and the worlds they live in and share them with other gamers to create an overall universe.

"I'm always looking for unique worlds to go to in animation," Wedge said. "From every perspective -- visually, thematically and comedically -- the world of 'Spore' provides the potential to put something truly original on the screen."
Variety says Spore has sold 3.2 million units and it is has an awareness beyond that number. The script is going to have to be really good for this to work.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Save on Castlevania, Naruto and more in Amazon's year-end sale

If you thought Amazon would stop holding ridiculous sales because the holiday season is winding down, you are a fool. A hypothetical fool. Amazon's year-end sale (which technically started on Dec. 24) is as good as any offer the retailer had for Black Friday or the pre-Christmas shopping season!

The PS3 version of Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is over half off at $25.99, as is the PS3 limited edition of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow at $39.99. Enslaved is just $19.99 on either system, and Atlus hits Demon's Souls and 3D Dot Game Heroes can be picked up for just $16.99 and $14.99 respectively. FlingSmash on Wii is $39.99, which at that price is essentially a free game with a regular-price Wii Remote Plus.

Amazon is also offering a 75% discount on a large selection of downloadable PC games, and an even larger selection of casual PC games for $2 each.

JoystiqSave on Castlevania, Naruto and more in Amazon's year-end sale originally appeared on Joystiq on Sun, 26 Dec 2010 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Red Dead Redemption doubling XP until 2011

Who needs a double XP weekend, when you can have a double XP week? Rockstar is giving fans of Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer modes ten days to start raking in twice as many experience points than normal. Starting today and going all the way until January 3rd, you'll get double XP for all activity in any online mode. The promotion is happening on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, so jump online and shoot some zombie bears or something.

JoystiqRed Dead Redemption doubling XP until 2011 originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 10:36:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Bluetooth swivel dock review

MyTouch 4G Bluetooth swivel dock

The myTouch 4G is T-Mobile's top-of-the-line Android phone, so it was a given that you would want a great media docking and charging station for it.  They delivered. True to its name, the dock swivels so you can use the device horizontally as well as vertically, and the Bluetooth connection when combined with the 3.5mm audio output from the dock itself make for the perfect desktop media center.

Usage is simple -- slide your myTouch 4G into the dock, making sure that the micro USB connector is aligned, plug the dock into a power supply via its own micro USB connector, and go.  The fit is good, and the non-slip surface on the inside of the recessed area makes sure that your myTouch 4G won't slip out.  It's also designed to be used with the standard USB to micro USB cable and connect to your computer, making for easy syncing and charging at the same time, and any audio accessories that use a 3.5 mm jack can be connected for great sound.

The dock itself is well built, with a weighted non-slip base, and comes in a glossy black finish that looks great as long as you keep your fingerprints off of it.  The swivel feature is actually pretty useful, as well.  I went into it figuring it was a gimmick, but being able to have your phone horizontal to watch video or surf the web, and vertical to use for calling and messaging is handy after all.  If you have a myTouch 4G, it's something you should have a look at, and to me is well worth the investment.  Hit the break for some more pictures.

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Bluetooth swivel dock review posted originally by Android Central

Sponsored by Android Cases and Accessories

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screens slip into Reverie

The first screens of "Reverie," next year's first downloadable add-on for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, depict Gabriel Belmont co-operating with Laura, the big-haired brat living in Carmilla's castle. She'll help you -- if you play.

Continue reading Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screens slip into Reverie

JoystiqCastlevania: Lords of Shadow screens slip into Reverie originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tomb Raider dev seeking multiplayer developers

Among listings for a technical producer and a senior level designer at Crystal Dynamics on the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot, two positions popped up that we didn't expect to see: "multiplayer producer" and "senior multiplayer game designer." Though no multiplayer of any kind has been announced for the upcoming TR game, the listings go a long way in confirming it -- the job descriptions explicitly say "Come and work on the new Tomb Raider," for instance. It wouldn't be the first time a game starring Ms. Croft contained multiplayer functionality, as this year's Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light featured co-op play.

Crystal Dynamics is hoping to fill the multiplayer producer position with an individual who has "demonstrable project management experience," and can "take on a major production role in the multi-player part of an upcoming action adventure title." The senior multiplayer game designer position listing notes some potential info about what the game's multiplayer might have, cursorily detailing it as both co-op and "player vs. player." The latter position will also be "responsible for the overall multiplayer design vision for the game," so, uh, good luck with that, potential employees! A Crystal Dynamics representative gave us an official "No comment," but wouldn't say anything else regarding the listings.

[Original image:]

JoystiqTomb Raider dev seeking multiplayer developers originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Phylo: crowdsourcing genetic analysis through gaming

Projects like Stanford's Folding@Home have utilized your games console's free cycles for biological research for a few years, and with great success. But now a team from the Bioinformatics department of McGill University in Canada has put gaming itself to an even better use: matching DNA, RNA or protein sequence alignments in an effort to help biologists better understand the link between different species and find important sections of the genome. They've developed a puzzle game called 'Phylo: A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics' or just Phylo for short, which crowdsources the odious task of genetic analysis. The idea is that by matching color coded blocks in a timed, score-based game, players will actually be helping match sections of genetic code between two species, aiding researchers attempting to find genetic links, common ancestors and the sources of genetic diseases.

The game itself is quite fun and gets harder as you progress. You can even compete against a computer or other players for the best score, and while there are no prizes for winning, there's a certain amount of satisfaction in playing and beating a game where you're actually doing something productive. Once you've solved a puzzle the information is sent to the University of California Santa Cruz for analysis and storage in their genome browser project, which catalogs and collates billions of genetic sequences into a user-friendly interface for scientists. The hope is that the more we know about the links between species, the more that can be done about genetic diseases and their causes. Cancer, for instance, is a serious threat to humans -- but some species have an innate ability to suppress it, and it's all down to their genetic code. You can even choose to solve puzzles related to a specific disease, bringing in a more personal edge to the game if you've got a particular hatred or interest in a certain disease.

So if you fancy playing a game during your lunch break today, why not substitute a turn of Bejeweled for a bit of Phylo, and help biologists around the world solve inter-species genetic problems and fight disease.

Download SquadPhylo: crowdsourcing genetic analysis through gaming originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 01 Dec 2010 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fan Modifies Wii Remote for Ghostbusters Game

Ghostbusters Wii Remote

A clever Ghosbusters fan named Jack modified his Wii remote to look like a proton pack for the Wii Ghostbusters game. Here is what the gadget's creator Jack had to say about his creation:
The cyclotron features four blue LEDs allowing you to know which player is selected or active and the Blue Power Cell actually shows you how much power the pack has. The Thrower has been carefully designed in regards to ergonomics and function. The front of the wand has an area in which you can place the Wii-mote and the back handle is where the Nunchuck is placed. Since the Wii-mote has in internal speaker in it's ABS housing, when playing the game the pack makes all the iconic Ghostbusters SFX.
Bustin' makes me feel good!

(via Joystiq)

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