Team17 Launches Worms Licensing Program

Everybody likes Worms. No, not the squiggly and brown things that fertilize soil and cause little girls to make a puke-face; the Worms I’m talking about are the squiggly and brown things that cause mayhem and destruction and make little boys laugh as they blow things to bits. (Alright, I might have made a generalization back there). But, yes, everybody likes Worms the turn based worm-to-worm destruction game that has been around for quite a while and has a small but devoted fan following around it.

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UK based Team17, the developers of the Worms series, has announced that they will be releasing their trademark for licensing merchandise based on the Worms characters and universe. The cartoony graphics are quite well known and the games have been well received (and gently criticized for not going beyond the tried-and-tested formula which always works) by gamers worldwide, and the merchandise is also expected to do well:-

For the first time, the hugely popular videogames franchise Wormsâ„¢ is being offered to licensees, retailers and promoters for a range of merchandise, by UK-based brand owner Team17 Software Ltd. and its worldwide licensing agent AT New Media. Wormsâ„¢, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2010, is a bestselling, award-winning and hilarious turn-based strategy videogame.

The Facebook fan page update says that it might take many months before any official merchandise hits retail stores. However, the thought of seeing our beloved Worms on cups, saucers, pillowcases, iPod docks and Holy Hand Grenades is quite a nice one. Let’s hope they don’t fizzle out like a badly aimed Sheep Strike.

Magicka Hits Retail Shelves, Releases Soundtrack for Free

Magicka is pretty funny. I thought it was passably funny until I passed Chapter 4 (A new hope) and went to Chapter 5 (Havindr Strikes Back). The light references to geek culture ranging from the aforementioned Star Wars to the narrative start with Stay a while… and listenfrom Diablo II touches our heartstrings (as does the SkiFree reference, but that’s another story).

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But, more importantly, Magicka deals with a fairly unique mechanism of combining the elements into a unique Magick. The host of magical combinations along with collectable spells that deal extra damage is quite interesting. Initially, that is why you play the game. Later, though, when you find out the best combinations for each type of spell, you play the game to find out just how silly yet humorous this game can get.

Although the Arrowhead Studios-developed game was a download-only title for some time now, retail boxes have been produced in the UK and France. Publisher Paradox Interactive believes that this will entice more people to try the (pretty cheap) game and help the developer make mods and sequels (or better games).

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This announcement comes hand in hand with the release of the soundtrack of Magicka for free at the game’s website. That’s right, you get twenty-six free ambient music tracks straight from the developer. The game has come a long way from its buggy release, and although the game is not extremely good, it’s well worth the $10 purchase.

Bioshock 2’s DLC Has Had a Premature Birth

I see all of you have been awaiting Bioshock 2‘s DLC for the PC. It seems so unfair that us PC gamers have to wait for quite a long time to get this downloadable content while our lesser brethren (cue console/PC flame war here) get to play it on their lesser systems (cue console/PC flame war II here) for quite some time now. Protector Trials DLC for Bioshock 2 is now available on the Games for Windows Marketplace! It sells for $5.75, and allows you to play six new single player maps that are apparent fan favorites and absolutely thoroughly definitively does not work on your copy of Bioshock 2.

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Did I hear you outrage? That was quite a muffled outrage, yes? Well, it seems that the main game needs to be patched before Protector Trials can be played on it. The adrenaline-rush-inducing mode of the Proto-Daddy (that’s you) defending a Little Sister as she… er… sucks ADAM from corpses worked well with the fan base. However, the original game needs to be patched before the expansion pack can be installed. This came as quite a shock (get it?) for the gamers who were expectantly awaiting this DLC.

A representative of 2K on the 2K forums said that the patch was not ready yet, and that users should wait a while before buying or installing the DLC. The next update from the representative is due on Tuesday it seems:-

It’s the weekend now, so I won’t have an update for you until Tuesday at the earliest, but I assure you I’ll be coming here with a full report and let you guys know the state-of-the-state when I get the official rundown on what’s going on.

The Real DOOM on a Real Calculator

One of the pleasuresof life (and using a calculator in class) is spelling typing out 5318008 on the calculator and sniggering loudly. There were limited applications of the alphabetthat a calculator gave us, and we were content with this. However, the admin of a Texas Instruments graphing calculator mod site (read: bunch of awesome nerds) actually went up and programmed his calculator to run nDOOM (a port of the game, not a clone). That’s right, his basic computing handheld also manages to run an amazing 90’s first person shooter.

When I saw the comic above on Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC), I [after suitable guffaws] remarked on the veracity of the comic. Every gadget with a screen and some amount of kernel access eventually gets DOOM. DOOM is the landmark 1993 first person shooter that pretty much made sure the entire world knew what First Person Shootermeant. It also is extremely popular with the modding fraternity because of its easily used WAD data archive files. The porting of a DOOM WAD file is eventually established so easily that if you have a relatively modern smartphone, chances are that you might be able to play the game on it. But never on a calculator. This is sheer awesomeness.

However, some odd glitch makes his TI-NSpire calculator crash after 30 seconds. But think about it, thirty seconds of sheer nerdgasm. Who wouldn’t want that? Video follows.

APB: Reloaded Receives a Hundred Thousand Registrations for the Open Beta

Remember All Points Bulletin? At the same time, remember Realtime Worlds? Yes, the same Realtime Worlds (RTW) that made the ill-fated massively multiplayer 3rd person shooter game All Points Bulletin (APB). Their huge initial investment on the Unreal Engine powered game that was released as a buggy, laggy contraption and their subsequent demise as a company served as a reminder for the rest of the gaming world that big investments and pseudo-novel gameplay mechanics do not necessarily always equate to great success.

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However, after Realtime Worlds shut shop, California based GamersFirst bought the game’s rights and started their work on publishing the game under the free-to-play model re-titled APB: Reloaded. We have seen that there is a genial amount of interest in this MMO model, and it seems that there is quite a bit of interest for this game. About 100,000 participants have registered for the open beta event of APB: Reloaded. Considering that at its peak the game had 130,000 users, it is fair to say that a good chunk of the previous players have come back for their fix of the crime-shooter. Also, the fact that GamersFirst does some good work with free-to-play games such as War Rock and Knight Online has probably helped in roping in the users.

However, these numbers indicate only the registrants for the beta event. When the game opens up for beta on the 28th of February, there will be a sizeable chunk of registrants who would not download and install the beta client. Only time will tell whether APB actually deserved this second life.

Dragon Age: Redemption Web miniseries Announced

Wow an actual live-action show based on the Dragon Age universe. The Banns and Arls of Ferelden will be pleased (as will the Grey Wardens) to know that Felicia Day will be playing the part of a sarcastic elf assassincalled Tallis in the miniseries Dragon Age: Redemption.

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The miniseries will have six episodes (or webisodes) and will probably fill in the gap between Origins and Dragon Age 2. This will be the first time that the Kingdom of Ferelden and Thedas will properly be shown in all its gritty details. Such gritty details include sarcastic elf assassins ducking and swerving around woods and looking smolderingly at the camera. She is also creating this series right after her extremely successful web series on a group of fictional MMORPG players The Guild:-

“I’m a huge Dragon Age fan, and I have been looking for a follow up project to ‘The Guild’ for quite some time. I was thrilled when the opportunity to work with BioWare materialized. Dragon Age: Redemption allows me to tell a fantasy story in a new way, using a universe I really love. It has been a dream working together.”

(In Dragon Age: Redemption, Day stars as Tallis, an Elven assassin hired by the Qunari to capture a rogue mage intent on wreaking havoc throughout the world. In her quest to find this dangerous mage, Tallis is joined by other companions who are not always aligned in their beliefs and goals, but who band together to defeat their foe, in an attempt to restore peace and balance to this dark fantasy universe.)

Apprently Day has been training consistently for this series and is quite competent with daggers and will probably give a killer backstab if you cross her (see what I did there?). The series will start this summer and will feature axes, daggers, swords and a fair bit of magic (and several members of the Chantry to boot). The trailer has been embedded below.

On an unrelated note, the SF geek in me really wishes for a Mass Effect series or movie. Then again, the game itself is so movie-like that it’s an empty wish.

First 3D Point n’ Click Announced!

3D technology is all the rage these days. It’s become a synonym for both sales pushand cooleverywhere. German indie developer bitComposer Games has announced its new (and first of its kind) 3D Point and Click game The Rockin’ Dead that will use anaglyph 3D (in other words, using those old-school plastic glasses with red and blue colored lenses) to tell the tale of a metal band singer who ends up in the bizarre world of the dead.

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Set in a hilariously exaggerated B-movie atmosphere, the tale is that of Alyssa, member of the very pretty to look at (but unfortunately unsuccessful) band Deadly Lullabyeswho wakes up after a disastrous accident in the tour bus. Apparently her band members are gone, and there are spooky skeletons that rock out at the drop of a chord, and Elvis Presley lookalikes that gyrate almost all the time.

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The key features, as elucidated by the site are:-

  • First point’n’click adventure in 3D Optic (3D glasses included). 2D setting also available.
  • Bizarre, hilariously exaggerated background story with numerous recurring images in top B movie style
  • 93 detailed locations in dark and different settings
  • Over 20 funny NPCs, professionally narrated, who skillfully capture the humor of the dialogues
  • More than 120 objects in the inventory that can be combined and therefore require the players’ skill and logical thinking
  • Thrilling and unusual riddles round off the delightfully crazy overall picture

This definitely seems like an indie game worth trying. Also, since I am very lazy, I could use those anaglyph glasses in a game of Minecraft…

FACT: Portal 2’s Pre-Order Advert is Hilariously Cute

Portal 2 is going to be the best First Person Shooter (FPS) to come out this year. Or so I hope, for I really really suck at judging a game genre in which a hundred games are released every year. However, I am pretty sure Portal 2 will be the funniest FPS to come out this year, mostly because it takes itself too seriously (on purpose) and is ridiculously silly at times.

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Take, for example, this advertisement for Portal 2‘s preorder that is going to hit the developer’s (Valve) digital distribution store Steam very soon. Released on Valentine’s Day, the ad mocks the concept of gifting ideas for the female species.

Okay, that’s about as far as I’m allowed to say without spoiling the entire advert for you. The thing is that it’s done very well (and probably within Valve’s Source engine, judging by the way things moved when… erm… other things exploded). Watch the video here!

However, contrary to what the video says, Portal 2 is not available for preorder. At least not from my country (and not from my random Tor IP either). Is this another one of those Valve Time debacles? Is this a sick joke from Valve’s side, as we poor mortals refresh the Portal 2 page, hoping for a preorder? Is this the end of the world??

No, it’s probably just a mistake by the Portal 2 PR team. It’s alright everybody; we don’t need to do a flash protest here. Move along.

Meta Assassins Turns the WWW Into a Subtle Battlefield

The internet has always been obsessed about itself. Its narcissistic tendencies have been the driving factor in the making of data visualization about its own technologies, semantic web technology and other endless lists full of the emerging science of the hive mind and the self’s position in this meta-world.

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Did you understand that previous paragraph? I sure didn’t but that’s how you start these intellectual and deep posts about the internet, data and other characters of the philosophical nature of the World Wide Web.

However, we are not talking about the philosophical nature of the World Wide Web. We are here to talk about the launch of an extremely new kind of experimental game that takes social browsing and networking to a completely new level.

Meta Assassins is a new appthat promises to rid you of your social life, more or less. It is a game in which gamers will be given specific targets (other gamers), who will surf the web. Your job is to track your quarry to the site they are on and kill them in a [virtual] shootout. But, beware you are also someone’s target. You accomplish all this with a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox plugin.

The game is currently on a hiatus from the 12th of February. The short playtesting stint was apparently a success, so the developers will be making a redoubled effort into a new avatar.

Although the game works mostly on the world wide web, the amount of data privacy issues this could cause if it were not a game is quite staggering. I would totally turn this into a Hollywood blockbuster (given the right amount of nudging here and there), call it Meta Assassins, and mint money.

If you are interested in this, do check their web page out.

DNF: Balls of Steel Edition Surfaces. Is Awesome.

Duke Nukem Forever is the byword today for anyone born twenty or more years ago. We at Techie Buzz cannot get enough of it with good reason. May will be a tumultuous time for the release of many games as the Duke will be back after a very f***ing long time!

To make sure people are roped in, Gearbox is putting up the Collector’s Edition of Duke Nukem Forever for preordering. To call it hugewould be an understatement.

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The edition includes these excellent goodies along with a copy of the game and exclusive cover art:-

  • Collectible bust of the greatest alien ass-kicker of all-time
  • Numbered, limited-edition certificate of authenticity
  • 100-page hardcover book: The History, Legacy & Legend: Duke Nukem Forever Art from the Vault
  • Duke Nukem Forever postcard series
  • Duke Nukem Forever radioactive emblem sticker
  • Duke Nukem Forever collectable comic book
  • Duke Nukem Forever foldable paper craft
  • Duke Nukem Forever poker chips
  • Duke Nukem Forever mini-card deck
  • Duke Nukem Forever radioactive emblem dice

All this for a game that heightens the macho typecasting by a few thousand feet. (Straight from TVTropes Duke’s not slowed down by piddling little bullets and lasers, but it does hurt his morale. Which is why doing manly things like getting drunk, [redacted], watching strippers, or drinking from a water fountain gives the bar a permanent increase.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering the preorders will be up with participating retailersvery soon. Probably tonight. Probably in two minutes. But soon.