Category Archives: Gaming

Minecraft Franchise Forthcoming?

Minecraft is going places; its developers are working on mobile versions and now creator Markus Persson (aka Notch) says that in the future console versions with trophies and achievements will be developed. All this before the real game has officially been released. He also says that he is surprised (O RLY, Notch?) at the amount of interest his game has sustained even after the price increase (or, should we say decreased discount on the original price) when the game shifted from the alpha version to the beta version.

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The Java based sandbox game has developed such a huge following online. Many such Minecraft communities have put their minds together to develop mods (changing the game’s source code to allow for new kinds of gameplay a shortening of the word modification) and texture packs (skins) for the game’s graphics. Persson, who is quite delighted with the creativity of these mods, one day hopes that his game’s modding community achieves the prominence of the Half-Life 2 modding scene that is quite popular.

Console games, on the other hand, have specific achievementsor trophies(badges for doing certain things within the game that allow for bragging rights). Persson likes achievements. So much so that he believes that in the future he might work on an Xbox version with trophies and some specific goals within the game. In an interview with Gamasutra he says that achievements can serve the dual purpose of being badges of accomplishments as well as goals towards which players work:-

Well, it could converge into a big task, like kill a dragon or something, which would put a kind of narrative into the achievement tree.

With all these elements at work, it would be hard to ignore the force of Minecraft as a franchise on the PC as well as the consoles.

Bug Ridden Players of Test Drive Unlimited 2 Get Free DLC as Apology

Yes, I know that was one horrible launch. What Eden Games promised was the seamless integration of single player and multiplayer experiences.   What players got was a glitchy permanent loading screen, corrupted save files and horror of horrors the saves not loading at all (without them being corrupted). So for all those who paid the $50 for the game, it was a heartbreaking (and wallet-shrinking) experience.

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So what does Eden Games do? Supply free Downloadable Content (DLC), of course! After taking down a solid chunk of game breaking network components, and slave driving the entire studio force to get the game patched up, the game was somehow salvaged into a working…piece of software. Instead of just an apology, the yet-to-be-released DLC pack will be a free download for everyone who bought the game.

I wonder how long this entire charade of making a buggy-as-hell release of a huge game, patching it up with profuse apologies and then offering free DLC will continue with game studios. It happened with Assassins Creed: Brotherhood (where players got the two Animus Project packs for free), and Fable III players got a free pack of weapons (for the game!) from the game developers. A late, but relatively bug-free experience is infinitely better than a rushed release that has game-breaking bugs. If only someone told those publishers that…

Preorder Battlefield 3 and Get Expansion Pack Free

Well it’s about time if you ask me. Electronic Arts’ successor to the 2005 hit Battlefield 2 has just posted the the preorder incentives. Preordering Battlefield 3 gets you the first digital expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand absolutely free! The expansion features a lot of the old, beloved, maps from Battlefield 2:-

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Pre-order Battlefield 3 to receive the digital expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand at no extra charge! This themed multiplayer expansion pack includes four legendary maps from Battlefield 2 boldly re-imagined with Frostbiteâ„¢ 2 physics, destruction and visuals. Completing the package are classic Battlefield 2 weapons and vehicles, unique rewards, new achievements/trophies, and more.

The Frostbite 2 is the new game engine that is powering Battlefield 3. The visuals introduced by the Frostbite 2 engine along with the physics (as detailed above) give quite the realistic feel of a battle being fought around you. I can only imagine how this game would be if I were to play it on one of those high-end rigs:-

Battlefield 3 introduces Frostbite 2, the incredible technology that takes animation, destruction, lighting, scale and audio to new heights.   Built upon this powerful game engine, Battlefield 3 immerses players physically and emotionally to the world around them like never before.

To find out more about Battlefield 3 and its immersive engine, do check out the EA UK site.

Abe’s Exoddus Completed by Blind Gamer

As the video title says, this is one of the greatest achievements in video games. No, it is not collecting every little piece of a broken sword in a fantasy game, or collecting and solving puzzle cards in an adventure game. No, sir it is completing an entire adventure game without ever looking at the visuals. Terry Garrett is a 23 year old mechanical engineering student who completed Abe’s Exoddus while being completely blind. All he needed to complete this were the game’s sound effects, some tips from his brother and a trial-and-error method of solving puzzles that he developed on his own.

Garrett has completed the beautiful platformer/puzzle game multiple times. Considering that this was one of tougher games of the past it is quite heartening to know that all of this was accomplished with just audio cues:-

When I start playing I track sound landmarks (foot steps, objects, sound of running or pushing against walls). After this, I start exploring to see what does what. Always looking for land mark sounds to get my orientation down (sound of water, sound of footsteps changing from grass to dirt).

Finally, I have a great sense of the minds eye. Once I know what is in an area and how they are laid out, I can make a real time picture of what is going on in front of me just through sound. even in 3D. If this is hard to picture I know, I can’t explain it better than that.

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The game has several of its own unique audio quips for different functions, and Garrett’s practiced hearing coupled with the game’s excellent auto-save feature also helped:-

When I start each screen, it was to listen to see if I could hear a chat orb, a Slig, a mine, or a buddy to save, which always make noise. There are even sounds to tell you that there is a Slig in the next screen over, so not to just run in like an idiot.

When I need to find a lever or door to go in, or ledge to pull up on, I go step by step, pushing either control or ‘up’ in each spot until I find it. Then I remember the number of steps to find that ledge again. Sometimes, this is in the same room as Sligs or other things that kill me, which makes the save state so useful.

The entire interview and other niceties about the blind gamer who completed Abe’s Exoddus is quite a worthwhile read on the Oddworld website.

A Look at What Dragon Age 2 Will Offer

The hefty 1.9GB demo of Dragon Age II contained quite a lot of things, but leaves much to be desired (as is the case with most demos, which is why they are called demos, right?). The demo contains some fairly decent story pointers and sticks to the previous games’ difficulty spikes. Considering that Bioware has gone the Mass Effect way with this game (fully-voiced main character, previously saved data importing and others), it will be worthwhile to check out if the game is actually a beacon of shining light towards the new path of Role Playing Games (RPGs).

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The game does not reveal much in the way of story (except for the lone important character from Dragon Age: Origins making an appearance towards the end of the prologue chapter). The fairly overused You are the savior of the Worldtrope comes into play here. As Hawke, you will be the Champion who one day saves the world from [insert obligatory evil person/thing here]. You can choose between three classes (Mage, Rogue or Fighter) and play either the male or female version of these. The story is fairly straightforward except when you reach Kirkwall wherein the narrative gets totally flummoxed and you just flit between skirmishes. The artwork style is quite brilliant with a washed out hand drawn feel to it.

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The dialog options are akin to Mass Effect‘s radial option dial. The dial shows the gist of what Hawke will actually say and there are four main kinds of responses that Hawke might have a peaceful response, a neutral/comic response, an aggressive response and an investigative question. These are extremely simple to understand and actually make you wait and listen to the entire dialog instead of Esc-ing through the long drawl of the player’s talk.

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The gameplay, on the other hand, has taken a completely different approach from Dragon Age: Origins. With a camera behind the main player overseeing an extremely fast battleground, it can be daunting task for RPG-lovers used to an overhead camera to come to terms with this new approach. The fighting is absolutely chaotic and without the assistance of a pause options, it would have been well nigh impossible to coordinate attacks. Players playing as a mage will most likely be hit upon by the Darkspawn and other enemies spawning faster than their magical abilities refresh. The game is as hard as it used to be and without carefully coordinating the attacks and the AI of your party characters, it will be difficult to win many battles, if not impossible.

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With the prologue seeing the same battle being fought twice due to an unreliable narrator, it is hard to miss the similarity between the double-take in Dragon Age II and The Witcher 2‘s initial gameplay impressions.

In short: Mass Effect + Dragon Age: Origins = Dragon Age II. It is really hard to look at the game’s gameplay without comparing it to Mass Effect. Yes, there are still vast differences between them (the tweaking of the AI tactics being the most prominent) but the main game will tell how Dragon Age II really matches up to its predecessor.

Tiny Wings Displaces Angry Birds as Top Paid App in App Store

I am not sure since when, but every time I have visited the Top 25 app section in the iTunes App Store, I have always seen as the top app in the paid section, however, it looks like it took another Tiny Bird to displace those Angry Birds.

Tiny Wings - iPhone Game

Tiny Wings is the top paid app in the app store as of today. To be frank, this is the first time I have heard about the app, but climbing to number 1 position is no small feat. The game was released on February 18, 2011 and it took the app 6 days to topple Angry Birds off the top.

Tiny Wings Top iPhone App

Tiny Wings is developed by an individual developer named Andreas Illinger and seems to have leapt out of nowhere to reach the top position. The game play is navigating a tiny bird over hills by jumping, sliding, flapping wings and flying.

Though I haven’t played the game yet, the gameplay sounds fun and I’ll definitely try it out in the near future. I have sent out a note to the developer of the game for his thoughts on this and will update this post once he gets back to me. In the meantime, you can enjoy the top selling game/app; Tiny Wings by visiting the iTunes store.

Official Magicka PvP Announced!

I think the video that made me go for Magicka was this one. It perfectly portrays the humor in the game along with the necessary niceties of the Magicks that populate Arrowhead’s fantastic magical game. It is thus no big surprise to me that the game has had great sales even though the initial buggy start seemed to have rocked the foundation of the game. Though there were a lot of grumbles initially from expectant users, most of the bugs have been fixed by the hard working team at Arrowhead, and their first few 24-hour updates did a lot to improve the game.

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Eventually, players made unofficial PvP games in the multiplayer servers of Magicka. PvP or Player versus Player mode is a game play mode in many online multiplayer games. In PvP, human players fight other human players for loot, gold or simply the glory of being the champion. In Magicka, unofficial PvP is implemented by turning on Friendly Fire (i.e. your attacks hurt your companions as well) and ticking on the Drop Items on Deathoption on a server.

Arrowhead’s CEO Johan Pilestedt said that the team has been looking at the unofficial PvP matches and are quite delighted at what they have seen. The community is already arranging PvP tournaments and we are learning a lot about balance by watching you play, he said. The studio will be developing an official PvP mode as well as allowing modders to modify the game content.

iPhone Games Sale: Gameloft Drops iPhone/iPad Game Prices to 99 Cents

Every once in a while some of the big gaming studios decide to drop the prices of their games to something which is really affordable. Earlier this year EA had dropped prices of their games to $.99 and it looks like Gameloft dropped their prices to 99 cents too today in a surprise sale.

Gameloft Games

Gameloft has dropped prices of popular games like Shrek Kart, Modern Combat: Sandstorm, Asphalt 5, Let’s Golf, Prince of Persia, UNO, Assassin’s Creed and more to 99 cents flat. You will find games for the iPhone, and on sale. Some of these games are really good and well worth the 99 cents being charged. In total, Gameloft has dropped the price of over 30 games for the iPhone and iPad today.

I certainly hate these kind of sales because I end up buying at-least 10 games. Now only if I could also find the time to play them all. Interested? Check out the entire list of games whose price Gameloft has dropped at this Appshopper page.

Don’t Miss: How to find out when iPhone Apps and games price drops

PSP Cooking Part II. Now With 100% Less Stupidity

We all saw what happened when crazy Japanese men decide to destroy a piece of equipment by deep frying it. If that was not stupid enough, they also try to eat it. The misguided Japanese kids wanted to make a tempura out of a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), but instead coughed out the melted plastic/silicon pieces. They win the how NOT to destroy gaming equipmentgrand jury prize. It also unnerved a lot of us and made us go these Japanese are crazya la Asterix and Obelix‘s These Romans are crazy.

PSP sushi

Megawin, the Japanese comedy troupe, decided to tell the world what’s what with Japanese cooking with electronics. Only this time, they used a PSP case with cellophane paper to make sabazushi. Sabazushi, as wikipedia says, is a dish made of raw mackerel and rice. The video is a pretty hilarious (even though I do not know the language) and is an innovative way of making sushi… and um… carrying it around in a PSP case for snacking sessions with your Monster Hunter playing sessions.

Of course, the question of where exactly will the PSP be stored while the sushi gets cold[er] in the case is another question. The video follows.

SEGA Dreamcast Collection is Available for the PC and Xbox 360

Remember the beautiful beautiful little console known as the Dreamcast (DC)? Remember how good it was to you, and how the VMU controller with its little LCD was the bestest little thing in the world (actually, no). Remember how your little heart broke when it died and there were no more Dreamcasts available?

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Well, if playing with that controller is what you want, then well we cannot help you. However, if it is the games that you are more interested in, then SEGA of America has a great offering for you. The SEGA Dreamcast Collection is a collection of four classic Dreamcast games for the PC and Xbox 360. All five of these games were great hits (or at least, good hits) back in the DC’s heyday (which was relatively short).

Sonic Adventure: Stop Dr. Eggman by collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds in the first Sonic game for the Dreamcast.

Crazy Taxi: Does this warrant an introduction? Deliver passengers to their destination…in style! Collect money for crazy stunts and time of transit.

Space Channel 5 Part 2: The fun rhythm game for the Dreamcast sees Ulala the reporter dancing her way to victory!

SEGA Bass Fishing: Finally, relax with the hook, line and sinker with this bass fishing game. The lovely outdoors sans the out of doors-ness.

All of these games are HD supported, have Avatar awards and other such niceties of games these days. Go get them here!