Chantelise Release Date and Demo Out!

Remember Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale? Yes, the cheeky Japanese RPG (Role Playing Game) parody/example indie game that has   you playing as the proprietor of a JRPG item shop. Straight out of the same westernization workshop, Carpe Fulgur, comes yet another localization and updated Japanese title Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters. They have a demo out and it’s quite a charm if I say so myself.


Do not be deceived by the similarity and portmanteau naming scheme of the two games. While it is true that Chantelise, just like Recettear, will also sport two main characters Chante and Elise, the games are quite different. Chantelise will be a 3D action RPG, while Recettear was an isometric hack n’ slash game in some parts, and a lesson in item shop commerce in others.


Of course, I do not use localizationlightly. The folks over at Carpe Fulgur have diligently worked to recreate the comic punch lines (or created entirely new ones from scratch, such as Capitalism, ho!which has achieved memetic fame) and story weaving that sounds right in the English script.

I cannot wait to play this beautiful action RPG that was originally released in Japan way back in 2006. That is, it was released five years ago. Wrap your heads around that concept: 2006 was five years ago.


Couple in China Sell Their Kids to Pay for Online Gaming

Right after justifying my playing of video games to a bunch of folks today, I return to find this horrible piece of news on the Internet. Granted, it is not a general classifier for the normal online video gamer, however it is still disgusting and might elicit responses such as where has humanity fallen?!from you, my dear reader.

chine gaming

According to Sanxiang City News the couple (who are both under 21 years of age) had sold off their three children to fund their video game obsession. The young couple bonded over their love of internet games in 2007. They had their first child, a son, in 2008 and then their next in 2009 who was a daughter. They apparently came up with an ideato sell their daughter for an equivalent of   less than US$500. Li Lin and Li Juan then sold their first child for about US$4,600.

To further fill up their coffers to pay for their obsession, they conceived another child and sold him off for the same US$4,600.

They were finally turned over to the authorities when Li Lin’s mother found out what her son and his wife were up to. It’s admittedly quite tragic and thoroughly disgraceful. The young parents should have been taught about parenting responsibilities instead of responsibilities to an online guild.

Scaled Down Middle-Earth in Minecraft

Considering the percentage of my posts devoted to Minecraft, I think it would be safe to make an entire subdomain for the game on this blog. The game requires hardly an introduction these days, but Electronic Legosuffices for now. The yet-to-be-released (yes it’s still in beta) indie masterpiece has had everything from a 1:1 model of the USS Enterprise to a 96-pixel working television inside the game. header Now the good folks at Minecraft Middle Earth have been busily creating the entire world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings within the environs of Minecraft. They have also done this without using any plugin or third-party creation tools. That’s right, this entire project was done by a bunch of people using their mice to mine away and place each block individually. As a reference they used a very accurate ~80MB atlas of Tolkien’s world (available here). It is unbelievably gorgeous and I do not know exactly where to being describing the sheer beauty of the entire server. You can also help out with the creation of the world (it is an ongoing project) by joining them. Now for the clincher their forty-five minute walkthrough of the entire world that is just beginning to reach its limits.

DotA 2 System Specifications Revealed

DotA (short for Defence of the Ancients) is a custom scenario (a programmed map) for the brilliant strategy game of yesteryear called Warcraft III. In essence DotA is an elaborate strategy game (with some elements of role playing) with many layers of complexity added on to it. The wiki description is quite adequate at this point:-

Defense of the Ancients pits two teams of players against each other: the Sentinel and the Scourge. Players on the Sentinel team are based at the southwest corner of the map, and those on the Scourge team are based at the northeast corner. Each base is defended by towers and waves of units which guard the main paths leading to their base. In the center of each base is the “Ancient”, a building that must be destroyed to win the game.

DotA All Stars is the most widely known map based off this concept, and has become a staple in many gaming competitions across the world.


It has been under development for quite a while now under a programmer who is known to the internet simply as IceFrog (he/she maintains his/her public anonymity). In 2010 we were overjoyed to hear that Valve has taken up IceFrog to create a sequel’ to DotA. I put sequel within quotes because from what is public knowledge until now, it seems that the original map of DotA All Stars and its roster of 100+ heroes will be copied and pasted onto DotA 2, which will run on Valve’s Source engine.

Not only does this mean that the game will look prettier freed from Warcraft III‘s ageing engine but it will also feature support for the Steamworks API and will have moderately achievable system requirements:-

DotA 2 Minimum System Requirements:  

  • OS: Windows ® 7 / Vista / Vista64 / XP
  • Processor: Pentium 4 3.0GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible video card with 128 MB, Shader model 2.0. ATI X800, NVidia 6600 or better
  • Hard Drive: At least 2.5 GB of free space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

DotA 2 Recommended System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows ® 7 / Vista / Vista64 / XP
  • Processor: Intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible video card with Shader model 3.0. NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better
  • Hard Drive: At least 2.5 GB of free space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

In other words if you can play Alien Swarm a free multiplayer game from Valve you can play DotA 2.

I cannot wait.

Microsoft Sued Over Kinect For Infringing Seven Patents

Impulse Technology Ltd., an Ohio company has sued Microsoft in Delaware’s federal court alleging that the Kinect for Xbox 360 infringes on seven of its patents. Kinect for Xbox 360 is a motion sensing input device for the Xbox 360 gaming console that enables users to control and interact with the gaming console using only gestures and spoken commands. The suit alleges that Kinect infringes on Impulse Technology’s patents for technology for tracking and assessing movement skills in multidimensional space.

Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect is based on software technology developed internally by Rare, a subsidiary of Microsoft Game Studios owned by Microsoft, and on range camera technology by Israeli developer PrimeSense. The Kinect sensor provides full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition capabilities.

The suit claims that Impulse Technology informed Microsoft of their patents in March 2011, however, Microsoft has still indulged in direct, inducing, and contributory infringement.’ The seven patents have been issued from 2001 to last year. In addition to Microsoft, a slew of other companies who make games designed for Kinect – including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, and Konami – were named as defendants.

Impulse Technology is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, treble damages, interest, attorneys’ fees and costs. Microsoft hasn’t commented on the specific charges. The suit was filed on July 1, 2011 and was recently reported on Law360.

Kinect was first announced on June 1, 2009 at E3 2009 under the code name Project Natal and was launched in the US on November 4, 2010. After selling a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days, the Kinect holds the Guinness World Record of being the fastest selling consumer electronics device’.’

Social Gaming Powered By Windows Azure

Microsoft has figured out an interesting way to get into the social games business. The social gaming market continues to grow in terms of number of users and profits. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and therefore, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform.

According to the Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Move report by eMarketer,  the social gaming market will increase to $1.32 billion in revenues by 2012, up from $856 million in 2010. Today, Amazon hosts many online games, including big Facebook games, developed by Zynga and others. Companies like Playdom, the makers of Bola Social Soccer – a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users, are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.

Microsoft is focusing on building tools to help other game developers ramp up quickly, while they host their games on Windows Azure. Windows Azure is built on the principles of on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery. These principles mirror the needs of social games. With that premise, the Windows Azure team has launched a preview of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure whether you want to build social games as a hobby or you want to reach millions of gamers.

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games allows you to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure. The toolkit includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples that you can use in your own .NET or HTML5 game. It enables unique capabilities that are prerequisites for an average social game, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing and so forth.

As a proof-of-concept, the toolkit also includes source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner, a popular game developer. The game is also available online to play for free. The game is built with HTML5 and supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.

The toolkit is available for free, and game developers can use the same to build social games and applications in a short period of time.

Games for Windows Marketplace is now


Microsoft has announced that Games for Windows Marketplace will be fully transitioning to The announcement was done on the Games for Windows Marketplace website and via the Games for Windows newsletter.

Games for Windows Marketplace is moving to

Games for Windows Marketplace is coming to!

Games for Windows Marketplace will fully transition over to Now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated, and it’s a whole lot of great games.

Games for Windows Marketplace gave access to the free online gaming service: Games for Windows LIVE, that let users connect and play with friends and millions of Xbox LIVE members. You could shop for your favorite games and also receive automatic game updates and patch downloads for the installed games. However, Games for Windows LIVE brand isn’t as popular as Xbox brand for gaming and consumer entertainment. Microsoft even did a huge overhaul of the Games for Windows website to make it more accessible and attractive for the PC gamers.

Eurogamer has confirmation from a Microsoft spokesperson that the merge will happen on 11th July.

All of the same content from will be available on so members of communities across Xbox 360 and Games for Windows can purchase and get details on their favorite games, all in one place.

All account information will remain the same and community members can still take advantage of their Xbox Live profile in their Windows games and stay connected to friends who are playing on the PC.

This move would be the first step to bring Xbox LIVE on the third screen, PC, after TV and phone. There have been clear indications that Xbox LIVE would be integrated in Windows 8 to provide entertainment and gaming features. Also, Xbox LIVE is already integrated into Windows Phone 7. During previews of the upcoming release of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango, Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for apps and games would also be available on the web. could well be that consolidated gaming and entertainment portal.

Angry Birds Now Available for Windows Phone 7

Hurry! Angry Birds is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. After the initial announcement by the game developers, Rovio, in February and Microsoft in May, and later pushing the announced date in June to June 29, Angry Birds has finally landed. The game also ends the Xbox’s Must Have Game series for Windows Phone.

Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7

The best-seller game, inspiring merchandise, popular culture references, and rumors have it that a movie too, offers hours of challenging, physics-based demolition gameplay, and lots of replay value. Angry Birds is one of the most popular iPhone and iPad apps, ported to Google’s Android OS a few months back, and also released as a PC game recently. Last month, Rovio released an Angry Birds version for Google Chrome browser as a featured app on Chrome Web Store.

Instead of 255 levels available for other platforms, Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 offers only 165 levels. Each of the 165 levels require logic, skill, and brute force to clear. It’s just few games as yet, but I have a feeling that Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 is a little harder than on other platforms. I’m guessing additional levels will be made available as updates.

The game offers Xbox LIVE integration so killing pigs would add to your Xbox LIVE achievements. Angry Birds is free to try and $2.99 to buy. Get dem pigs!

Team Fortress 2 Goes Free to Play, Queue Your Download for the Weekend

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2,  one of the most actively played multiplayer game received an even bigger boost following Valve’s announcement to make Team Fortress 2 free – forever. Released as part of the  Ãœber  update, Valve has made it clear that Team Fortress 2 will henceforth be free to download and play.

In addition to the free to play piece, the  Ãœber  update brings in a new map, redesigned crafting and training screens and a one-click start to play option. This will let you jump directly into a game after selection of the gameplay mode. The player will be pitted against random opponents into the best available server.

If you’re like me who had spent $50 and purchased the retail edition who might be grumbling against the game being free to play – it’s worth noting that your premium account will have access to rare  items by means of item drops. Premium players will also be able to store more items in the backpack, and will have access to more powerful trading and crafting abilities as compared to the free account.

Team Fortress 2 Accounts Comparison

Having said that, credit must be given to Valve for keeping Team Fortress 2 actively updated. To give you a bit of perspective, Team Fortress 2 was released way back in October 2007 after several delays and significant changes in art direction.

Team Fortress 2 - back in the old days

In an age where most developers are pushing out half complete games and then  demanding additional moolah for “unlocking” “premium” content – Valve has always been prompt in keeping Team Fortress 2 updated with fresh content, maps and gamestyles – all for free.

So Team Fortress 2 fans who have been holding back on getting it because of lack of funds – your time has come. Go download it from Steam. Get ready for some fryin’.

(Team Fortress old style image courtesy The Wikipedia)


Nintendo Announces Wii U Gaming Console

One has to hand it to Nintendo for being willing to take risks. It kick-started the motion gaming revolution with its Nintendo Wii in 2006. Last year, it made a bold move by announcing the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld gaming device with glasses-free 3D display. Now, it is trying to shake things up again with the Nintendo Wii U.


Nintendo Wii U is the successor to the massively popular Nintendo Wii. Once again Nintendo is targeting casual users more than hardcore gamers. In fact, Nintendo is officially calling the Wii U a “home console” instead of a “gaming console”.

As you might expect, the Wii U boasts of significantly improved hardware. It has an IBM Power based multi-core CPU, and a custom designed AMD Radeon HD GPU. This means that Wii U games will look at least as good as current PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games. The Wii U also supports full HD video output, and has a front-facing camera. The console will have internal flash memory, but you can use an ordinary SD card or an external USB hard disk drive to expand its storage. However, the real draw of the console is not its powerful hardware, but its innovative new controller.



The Wii U comes with a tablet-like 6.2-inch touchscreen controller, which also has all the traditional controls, including two analog Circle Pads. The touchscreen can replicate the image being sent to the television, and can be used to continue gaming when the television is unavailable. It can also provide entirely different perspectives and can add an extra dimension to gaming. It’s difficult to describe in words exactly how this controller works. Check out the trailer video embedded below to understand the full potential of the Wii U controller.

Nintendo Wii U Trailer Video

The Wii U supports all Nintendo Wii controllers and up to four Wii Remotes can be connected at once. However, Nintendo hasn’t yet revealed how many Wii U controllers can be paired.




What the Wii U is trying to pull off is ambitious and bold. It will be up to the game developers to leverage the Wii U in an intuitive and ingenious manner. If they succeed, then Nintendo might have another huge hit in their hands. The Wii U is slated to be released in 2012.

Tech Demo Demonstrating the Graphics Prowess of the Wii U