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Old August 11th, 2008, 08:20 PM   #51
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Joystiq - The Joystiq Free Game Club: Fantastic Contraption

Filed under: PC, Puzzle


Your first reaction to Fantastic Contraption is going to be one of complete befuddlement. Not only will you not understand the game, you won't be able to comprehend why we selected it for the FGC. But trust us: Hang in there. Because once the game's intricate mechanics reveal themselves to you, we predict you're going to have a really hard time stopping.

The idea is, at its core, simple. You're trying to build a contraption that can get a pink ball to a pink square. You don't even have that many tools to work with, just a few different types of wheels and rods. The challenge (and the joy) is figuring out how those components all work together in-game.

If we have a problem with FC, it's that the tutorial could be a bit better. But at the same time, we can understand why playing with the physics is probably a lot easier than trying to get someone to understand them. Give it a spin and let us know what you think.



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Old August 12th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #52
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Kotaku - Help Amy Winehouse Escape From Rehab [Hot Flashes]



As if poor Amy Winehouse hasn't got enough problems. What with the incessant hounding by tabloid journalists, wobbly live performances, a jailbird husband and — of course — the ever-rising price of crack.

Amy's life just got a tiny bit worse with the release of Escape From Rehab — a frankly rather shoddy flash game that sees the beehived nightingale swearing her way across a side scrolling beat 'em up.

The game is a promo for the upcoming flick Disaster Movie from the (ahem) visionary comedy geniuses behind Scary Movie, Date Movie and Meet The Spartans. Humor-wise, it is definitely up to their usual high standards.

Our Amy has to negotiate wave after wave of characters from other blockbusters (Hulk, Batman, etc) dispatching them with syringe and crack pipe power-ups or smart bombing them with a swipe of her impressive hairdo.

It's just this side of unplayable, but at least Amy can say she finally broke America. Kind of.

Escape From Rehab [via Casualgaming.biz]



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Old August 14th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #53
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Kotaku - Letting Things Slide Into Place With Coign Of Vantage [Hot Flashes]



New game mechanic detected! At least, I think it's a game. You get a score at the end, so I guess it counts as a game even if it feels more like a sort of zen exercise you might do to calm the mind after post-traumatic stress.

Coign of Vantage (sounds like Engrish, but actually means 'an advantageous position') is a flash game from casual games people Bobblebrook.

You have to use your mouse to rotate an image that has been exploded into voxels (3D pixels) until it matches the un-exploded image in the corner of the screen. When you do that, you get points and more time to play the next image. Thats it.

Its weirdly addictive in that lunchtime minesweeper-grinding kind of way. Some of the high scores imply people glued to their mice for weeks, so tread carefully if you tend to get sucked into things like this.

Coign of Vantage [via Wonderland]



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Old August 16th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #54
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Kotaku - Worlds in Motion with Orbitrunner [Hot Flashes]



Alright class, time for a flash game. This is "Orbitrunner" and it's reasonably addictive for such a simple concept — place your star on the grid so that the planets (and their satellites) fall into orbit without smashing into you, each other, or going out of the boundary. I'm not sure how realistic the gravity physics are, but it's very challenging, and I like the background music. The collision/explosion sound/animation is lame, however. I was hoping for a Praxis Effect. If they put this in a 3D, rotatable-camera environment, I'd play it for hours.

You can skip up to five levels if you find you're just not getting the hang of one. It stores your IP address and lets you continue.

Orbitrunner [Gamezhero.com]



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Old August 16th, 2008, 03:04 PM   #55
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Kotaku - Saturday Timewaster: Attention Hog [Hot Flashes]



From Chris Basmajian comes a darling, piggieful little game called Attention Hog. As the titular attention hog, your job is to capture the attention (and love) of as many people as possible, while avoiding bacon and nabbing power ups to make your job a little easier. Basmajian says the game "reflects some of the social and psychological trends present in social-networking communities, including self-promotion, social anxiety, obsessive need for peer validation, and distraction as entertainment." Heavy stuff. Ian Bogost notes that while he's "happy to see a game that critiques today's attention culture, but I'm not sure Attention Hog reaches the level promised in the description." Still, while I'll admit to being a sucker for cartoonish pigs (my little Monokuro Boo collection is probably a touch unseemly for a 25 year old), it's adorable and worth a few minutes of time on a lazy weekend.

Attention Hog [Chris Basmajian via Water Cooler Games]



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Old August 17th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #56
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Kotaku - Artistic Sunday Timewaster: Honorarium [Hot Flashes]



Ian Bogost sent along this link to his latest little title, this one called Honorarium: "An autobiographical art game. Assemble lectures to present. If you do well enough, you can unlock invitations to travel and speak." I've spent a bit of time with it — I guess I can sympathize with aspects of the game, since I'm the poster child for 'inability to balance life and work -- wait, work IS my life.' Just as interesting, however, is his discussion of the way he created the game through Sims Carnival. EA invited Ian to create a game using the tools available through the site. And, as he points out:
Much of the rhetoric surrounding these game creation and distribution sites relies on accessibility: they are supposed to make game development easy. But the truth is, simplified creation tools don't necessarily make creativity easier or harder, they just impose different constraints.

Honorarium [Sims Carnival via Ian Bogost]



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Old August 25th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #57
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Joystiq - Joystiq Free Game Club: Epic War

Filed under: PC, Action, Strategy


Video games based on the Lord of the Rings franchise have been a mixed bag at best, but, as you know, there's one sure-fire equalizer when it comes to quality: Freeness (or is it freeosity)? Using that logic, Kongregate and ArtLogicGames' Epic War an LOTR-inspired strategy game may just be the best of the lot.

The premise is simple, you defend your castle with a turret and an army of Tolkien-created creatures, all the while try to get your forces to the enemy castle to demolish it. No, it's not exactly canon, but that's good news, because it means you can inexplicably throw an army of dwarves, elves and hobbits with no worries of watching a favorite character die.

As you progress through the battles on the world map, you'll earn experience you can use to train your units, acquire new types like wizards and dragons and gain new powers for your turret. It's hard to break the addiction cycle when the upgrade or character is just a quick battle away.

Give it a whirl, let us know what you think. And if you know of a free game that you'd like us to feature, let us know in the comments.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 04:11 PM   #58
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Kotaku - Holiday Timewaster: Hexiom Connect [Hot Flashes]



Hexiom Connect is a pretty intuitive browser-based puzzle game; you have to rearrange hexagons on the board so that all the colored lines are connected. There are 40 levels (and even a colorblind option, so if you can't tell the difference between red and green, never fear), so I've spent quite a chunk of time this morning clicking, clicking, clicking the minutes away.

Hexiom Connect [Kongregate via IndieGames]



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Old September 3rd, 2008, 12:10 PM   #59
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Kotaku - Gish Creator Enters The Aether [Hot Flashes]



Edmund McMillen, creator of the amazing indie computer game Gish, is back, and this time around he's exploring the far reaches of space and the inner depths of his soul, all at once. Aether is the story of a lonely boy who befriends a strange monster with a tongue capable of propelling them both into the stars and beyond. The team explores strange new planets, each containing a puzzle to solve while exploring McMillen's own childhood fears.
...its a simple experimental "Art" game about childhood and escapism. Its a very honest and personal project i've been a little worried about making public because its exposes a lot of the fears i had when i was a child and puts me in a vulnerable places. But i feel like there are some out there that can appreciate something honest that has a lot of heart.
It's a simple, yet endearing little game that becomes all the more interesting once you know where it's coming from. You can play the flash version here, or hit the link to download it to your Mac or PC.

Download Aether [Armor Games]


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EDIT: I love-love-LOVE this game. MtP

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Old September 12th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #60
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Kotaku - The First Sarah Palin Game [Hot Flashes]



And it's a flash game. A UK-based dev is behind Polar Palin, which has players take on the role of a polar bear who's out to blow up oil rigs and campaign military tanks. Says the game's site:
The U.S. recently classified the Alaskan polar bear as a threatened species because of the destruction of its natural habitat. It is predicted that the population of bears could be reduced by two-thirds by the year 2050 due to pollution and global warming.

The state of Alaska, led by Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is to sue the U.S. interior secretary to reverse the decision amid fears that it will hinder oil and gas development.

Trying playing through Polar Palin, but my polar bear got lost somewhere in the ocean. The game's embedded after the jump.

Polar Palin [T-Enterprise via GamePolitics]



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Old September 15th, 2008, 07:30 PM   #61
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Joystiq - The Joystiq Free Game Club: Urban Brawl

Filed under: PC, First Person Shooters


We bet when you woke up this morning, "Playing a mod of Doom 2" was probably pretty low on the list of things you thought you'd be doing. But believe us when we tell you that you absolutely shouldn't miss out on Action DooM 2: Urban Brawl. It's free, it doesn't require Doom 2 to run and it's really, really good. We swear.

You play a washed up cop who's forced by tragedy to take to the streets and fight through an army of thugs. The story is related to you through Sin City-inspired cut scenes that have some of the best writing you'll see in a game this year. Yeah, we know, we found it pretty hard to believe too.

As for the actual action, it's a beat 'em up/FPS hybrid, somewhere between Double Dragon and Condemned, with a colorful visual style that really pops despite the graphical limitations.

We should say up front that it's pretty hard and doesn't make a lot of allowances for modern FPS conventions (you will, for example, have to press a button to enable mouse looking) but the whole package is so shockingly good we hope you won't let those hurdles keep you from the goodness within.

[Via IHTP]
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Old September 21st, 2008, 02:40 PM   #62
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Kotaku - Sunday Timewaster: Bounce Shot [Hot Flashes]



IndieGames succinctly describes this as 'a cross between Breakout and Space Invaders,' which is pretty accurate -- but it's a fun game with a retro feel. I was in the mood for some candy-colored, easy to pick up fun this weekend, and this definitely hit the spot. Boss battles every 10 levels, power ups, and trying not to get hit with your own bullets (so watch out for that trigger finger) -- add in some cute alien enemies, and you've got the recipe for how I wasted a good chunk of my Sunday morning.

Bounce Shot [Nigoro via IndieGames]



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Old September 27th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #63
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Kotaku - Saturday Timewaster: Hoshi Saga 3 [Hot Flashes]



Hoshi Saga 3 is a fun little puzzle game — the object is to discover the star(s) in each level through experimentation. The mechanics of each level are different, and while some are familiar, some will require a little more fiddling to get the right answer. Some levels are quite easy, though others may have you scratching your head -- overall, a nice, relaxing little collection to spend some time with.

星探3 [hoshi saga 3] [nekogames via IndieGames]



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Old September 28th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #64
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Kotaku - Sunday Timewaster: Marshmallow [Hot Flashes]



This wonderfully adorable (and kind of weird) game is pretty straight forward — guide the marshmallow around a variety of objects just waiting to take a bite out of your head and send you hurtling towards the ground so you can land with a 'splat.' It's cute. It's not terribly taxing. The soundtrack is ... well, something (soothing? Weird? Vaguely Katamari-esque? All of the above?), but the game is really cute and a nice way to waste a couple of minutes or more ....

Marshmallow [forrent via IndieGames]



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Old September 28th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #65
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Talking Free Games

Collecting threads about free Flash or download games, so you'll always have something to play.


There's always:

http://www.newgrounds.com/

and

http://www.kongregate.com/

and

http://www.nekogames.jp/

and

http://www.artificial.dk/articles/artgamesnetworks.htm

and

http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/

and

http://www.indiegames.com/blog/

and

http://armorgames.com/

and

http://maxgames.com/

and

http://crazymonkeygames.com/

too.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #66
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Joystiq - The Joystiq Free Game Club: I Wish I Were The Moon

Filed under: PC, Retro, Puzzle


We're usually into featuring more fully formed products on the Free Game Club, but they are, after all, free, so we hope you won't be too bothered by the inclusion of I Wish I Were the Moon, a precious little experimental gem by Daniel Benmergui.

In the simplest terms, you're manipulating a short story with the use of a camera frame that can relocate objects from one location to another. With a few clicks, you can alter how the story of a boy, a girl, the moon and a seagull comes to an end.

By Benmergui's own admission there are some failings, but the central idea is really solid. In fact, the designer went on to use a similar mechanic in a more fully-formed concept called Storyteller.

So please, play around with IWIWTM and then come back to let us know what you think. We're curious as to whether you see this as more of a toy or the possible cornerstone of a full, compelling game.

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Old October 10th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #67
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Kotaku - Flash Gear Solid - Think Inside The Box [Hot Flashes]



Fans of Metal Gear Solid (and in particular the VR Missions expansion from the PS1 days) who are sitting around bored at work might like to check out this fan tribute - Flash Gear Solid.

This VR Missions tribute sees the protagonist encased in a cardboard box (don't ask) trying to negotiate a VR environment and take out selected targets.

Complete all the missions and you may discover exactly what is going on with the box.

Flash Gear Solid VR: The NIKITA Missions[MochiAds via Papervision blog]



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Old October 11th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #68
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Kotaku - IBM and the Palace Museum Launch the 'Virtual Forbidden City' [History Is F



In a move that seems designed to provide Chinese historians with even more ways to torture their poor students (I know at least one thing I'm forcing my sections to do next quarter), IBM and the Palace Museum have teamed up to offer a virtual, immersive, and interactive version of the Forbidden Palace of Beijing. In contrast to the more typical 3D 'tours' that abound, the "Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time" is sort of Second Life meets the Qing dynasty and eunuchs (minus advertising, a virtual economy, and sex). It's running like a snail on my computer, but is certainly a very neat idea -- and in the future, we'll perhaps being seeing more creative uses of virtual worlds for 'cultural' purposes?

IBM and Palace Museum Announce Opening of The Forbidden City Virtual World Celebrating 600 Years of Chinese Culture

"The Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time" Recreates Historical Treasure as a Fully Immersive 3D-Internet Experience


BEIJING, Oct 10, 2008 -- Today, some 600 years after construction began on the 178-acre site that would become the center of unrivalled imperial power known as China's Forbidden City, the Palace Museum and IBM will open the walled fortress — and hundreds of years of history and culture — to the world.

Three years in the making, IBM has meticulously built a virtual recreation of the architecture and artifacts of the former palace grounds, enabling online visitors to get a first-hand view into imperial China as embodied in the intricate design, history and storied culture of this newly accessible Forbidden City.

"The Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time" ( www.beyondspaceandtime.org) is a first-of-a-kind, fully immersive, three-dimensional virtual world that recreates a visceral sense of space and time of this Chinese cultural treasure — as it was centuries ago during the height of the Ming and Qing dynasties — for most anyone with access to the Internet.

"The rich cultural heritage of China's imperial past, embodied in the Forbidden City for over five centuries, is now brought to life and accessible to all through a virtual world created by IBM and the Palace Museum," said Henry Chow, Chairman, Greater China Group, IBM. "This initiative takes the online experience to a new level of innovation with rich content, educational storytelling, community and social networking features that represent the next generation of 3D-Internet applications.

"What makes me proud is that IBM now has opened the door to a cultural treasure and rich heritage to everyone, everywhere which in the past was only available to relatively few."
Originally, the Forbidden City was constructed to embody the idea of the emperor as the center of the universe with a series of dramatic courtyards and gates, buildings and landings underscoring a design built to reinforce security and power. This huge palace complex was completed in 1420, about twelve years after construction began, and contains hundreds of exquisite buildings and historic artifacts, and on October 10th, celebrates its 83rd anniversary as a museum and one of China's major cultural attractions.

Now, using virtual world technology, visitors can experience the awe inspired by this vast and amazing space. Rather than experiencing its wonders in isolation, the virtual Forbidden City allows you to see and interact with other users and a range of helpful automated characters. As you explore the virtual Forbidden City, you can choose to simply observe the buzz of activity, or you can take tours and participate in activities that provide insights into important aspects of Qing culture.

Visitors to the virtual Forbidden City will be able to take tours that correspond to major historical topics and stories from the Forbidden City, such as Dragons of the Forbidden City, the Supreme Golden Halls of the Forbidden City, the Imperial Garden, and the Symbolic Animals in the Forbidden City.

"'The Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time' is a program that combines China's world-class cultural heritage with state-of-the-art information technology. Three years in the making, the Palace Museum worked closely with IBM in jointly engineering the program. Both parties have been deeply touched by the profound and dazzling ancient Chinese culture," said Zheng Xinmiao, the Director-General of The Palace Museum. "Meanwhile, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to IBM for its full investment and devotion and its strategy of applying innovative technology to social and cultural promotion. This program is only a start, which, as we believe, will have an unlimited future to explore China's traditional culture."

Visitors to the virtual Forbidden City may also engage in activities in which their avatars take an active role in the culture of the period. For example, avatars can take part in activities such as archery, cricket fighting, and playing the ancient game of Weiqi, the "board game of surrounding" now popularized as GO. Visitors may also view and inspect artifacts and scenes such as "The Emperor Having Dinner" and "Court Painting."

The recreation of the Forbidden City represents how 3D technology can be used to educate and provide cultural experiences on a large scale. At the Forbidden City in Beijing, local visitors can also use a kiosk to interact with the virtual world. It is the first virtual world to be built using SOA architecture and includes open source components such as Linux.

IBM's BladeCenters with Linux Blade Servers are at the heart of this virtual world — supporting robustness with the capability to enable thousands of concurrent users and the scalability comparable to that of massive multiplayer online games. IBM built the application using WebSphere Application Server, Tivoli, ESB (Message Broker), DB2 Viper, and IBM BladeCenters. The virtual world runs on Linux, Windows and Mac operating environments.

IBM has dedicated more than a decade to creating successful cultural heritage projects, including the Vatican Library, the Pieta, Hermitage Museum, Eternal Egypt, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.



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EDIT: Be warned, this can be a real system dragger, but it looks pretty cool.

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Old October 11th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #69
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Kotaku - Saturday Timewaster: Fantastic Contraption [Hot Flashes]



Reader Alex B. sent in this — Fantastic Contraption — a physics flash game where you string together wheels and joints in order to carry an object toward a goal on the screen. It's nice nonviolent trial-and-error fun, indulging both the competitive urge to be as efficient as possible, and the creative impulse to be as outlandish as you can get away with.

The opening tutorial is pretty helpful, and many of the opening levels are easy to beat in minutes or seconds. As for the general appeal of flash games, I think XKCD summed it up best.



Fantastic Contraption [Site, thanks Alex B]



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Old October 12th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #70
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Kotaku - Sunday Timewaster: And We Really Mean It [Hot Flashes]



Insidious Tuna sent this along. I swear I've seen it somewhere before, but apparently not on Kotaku. This game has a very simple premise and a very difficult opponent — your own patience.

This game should be used at business leadership conferences, because it would definitely show who was the hypercompetitive, win-everything-at-all-costs guy in the crowd. I got to level 7 before I just had to fool with it and kill the puppy.

Don't Shoot the Puppy [rrrrthats5rs.com]



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Old October 13th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #71
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Joystiq - The Joystiq Free Game Club: Warfare 1917

Filed under: Features, PC


As you long-time readers know, Joystiq loves the zombie-battling action fromThe Last Stand and The Last Stand 2. Now, developer Con-Artists has moved on to a new project, Warfare 1917, and though it lacks a horde of brain-hungry degenerates, its take on World War I is no less addictive.

You'll lead either the British or German forces as you try to overcome the steadily approaching opposition. It's both a battle for land and morale as you can win by either moving to the far right of the board or just beating up on your foes until they can't take it any more.

You'll decide which unit types you want to send out when, as well as the best time for them to move from trench to trench. Also at your disposal is a wide array of different big weapons like mortars and artillery, which you can rarely deploy without making sure your forces are far, far away from the target area.

We haven't completeld Warfare 1917, so we can't quite put it on the level with Last Stand yet. But if the early bits we've played are any indication, you might want to free up a couple of hours before deciding to give Warfare a try.

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Old October 14th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #72
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Kotaku - Sega Quietly Launches PlaySega.com [Casual Gaming]



Sega has quietly launched the beta version of their online gaming portal / social networking site PlaySega.com. The site features a handful of casual games to poke at, including Sonic at the Olympic Games, which seems to be a port of the mobile phone version of the Official Beijing Olympics tie-in. Visitors to the site will be able to create their own personalized escape using items purchased through the website's ring currency, which you must play games to earn. I've already created my own escape, which is apparently a Swiss Chalet containing a small naked boy. Alrighty.

According to Casualgaming.biz, Sega plans to add over 30 new games to the site, many of which dip into the company's classic IP for inspiration. Hit the link below to check out the site. Registration is completely free, but the naked boy in Swiss Chalet feature will set you back 2,000 rings.


PlaySega.com
[Official Site via Casualgaming.biz]



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Old October 17th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #73
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Kotaku - Learn How To Make Your Own Shmup! [Tutorials]



Kongregate, the online community/portal dedicated to playing and developing games, is furthering the "democratization" of game development with Kongregate Labs. Using the simple-as-its-name-implies side-scrolling shmup Shoot! as a foundation, Labs features an ongoing series of tutorials (or *groan* "shootorials") that help you, the little person, learn how to make your own shooter. You'll get a primer on designing controls, scrolling backdrops, collision detection and so much more.

And if shooter creation fame isn't enough to light a fire under you, Kongregate is handing out cold hard cash to the best shootorials-based user created game. Play Shoot! if you want -- the fun lasts many, many seconds -- but then read on to learn about Flash game development with handy illustrated examples.

Kongregate Labs [Kongregate]


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Old October 17th, 2008, 09:30 PM   #74
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Kotaku - Red Cross Offers Traces Of Hope [ARGs]



The Red Cross has launched a charity Alternate Reality Game called Traces Of Hope. Set in Uganda, the game lets you use real-world internet resources like email, Facebook and search engines to help guide a sixteen year old refugee - Joseph - back to his mother.

“We’ve pulled out all the stops to create an experience where players will feel they are really interacting with Joseph’s world – by communicating directly with Joseph, players find themselves caught up in a hunt across the internet to reunite him with his mother,” said Dorothea Arndt, British Red Cross, New Media Manager.

One slightly unfortunate side-effect of the game's quest realism became apparent when I realised I had missed four of the email messages from Joseph because I wasn't expectng them and they they triggered my mental Spam/Scam filter. Top tip guys, starting a seemingly unsolicited email with either "Hello! It is me Joseph... I am near Hopetown, Uganda!" or "Thanks for your email the other day" is going to set off alarm bells...

My idiocy aside, Traces Of Hope is worth a look. The Red Cross are a great cause and they are genuinely trying something new here.

[Traces Of Hope]



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Old October 18th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #75
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Kotaku - Suicide is Painless, Even Fun [Hot Flashes]



Here's Karoshi Suicide Salaryman, a frighteningly addictive puzzler in which the object is to kill yourself. Of course, only that part of the game's concept is backward, the actual means to kill yourself are obscured or protected from you, as you are (and you have access to firearms). I made it to level 7 (it counts down from 49) in about 20 minutes. For a flash game, that's a pretty good gameplay experience. The game remembers your progress if you want to come back to it later, so don't delete your cookies. I really dig the soundtrack, but there's no explanation of why you're so desperate to end your own life. My guess is the global financial meltdown armageddon panic has something to do with it.

Karoshi Suicide Salaryman [Armor Games]



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