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Saturday, February 4, 2012

02/04/2012 - NYC Critics Pick Skyrim as GOTY
Winners: 2011 New York Videogame Critics Circle Awards

The 1st Annual New York Videogame Critics Circle Awards were distributed last night at New York's Cantor Film Center. 

In addition to some terrific music from Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett from Bastion, a brilliant host in Logan Cunningham, a thoughful appearance from Oscar nominee Bill Plympton, an hilarious presentation from The Daily Show’s Daniel Radosh, the Critics Circle presented 11 Awards for the best games of the year.

The night included two panel discussions, one about the Critic Circle's origins, the other, a lively tete a tete about the year's best games.

Frank Lantz, the director of NYU's Game Center, also spoke about the Game Center's new MFA in Game Design.

Later, members, nominees and winners repaired to the East Village's Scratcher Bar for a rousing after party.

Overall, it was a D.I.Y. kind of night in which all of the Circle's members pitched in to help, a fine evening full of wit, heart, soul and charm.

Here are the winners:

Manhattan Award for Most NY Centric Game
Crysis 2

Battery Park Award for Best Handheld Game
Super Mario Land 3D

Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game

A Train Award for Best Mobile Game
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

Herman Melville Award for Best Writing in a Game
Portal 2

Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game

Statue of Liberty Award for Best Open World Game
Saints Row: The Third

Great White Way Award for Best Overall Acting in a Game
Portal 2

Algonquin Roundtable Award for Best Book
All Your Base Are Belong to Us, How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg

Mad Men Award for Best Videogame Commercial
Long Live Play – Michael

Big Apple Award for Best Game
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

For More Information:

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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Friday, February 3, 2012

02/03/2012 - Nintendo Zone Adds TV Episodes and Demos

New Content Will Be Available at More Than 29,000 Locations

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 2, 2012 - 
Nintendo 3DS™ owners are getting access to a wealth of fun entertainment and information that they can access on the go. Starting Feb. 6, Nintendo Zone™ will offer a variety of new content, including playable demos of select Nintendo 3DS video games and a dedicated Pokémon™ section that will feature full-length episodes of the Pokémon TV series. All of this exciting new content is only available when owners are wirelessly connected to a Nintendo Zone location.

"Nintendo 3DS continues to deliver fun and engaging new experiences, especially for users who connect their systems to the Internet," said Zach Fountain, Nintendo of America's director of Strategic Partnerships. "Nintendo 3DS is our most connected system ever, and Nintendo Zone offers a wealth of exclusive content to users who take their systems with them when they are away from home."

Nintendo Zone also includes trivia games featuring the latest Nintendo 3DS software, exclusive coupons available only at Best Buy for discounts on Nintendo 3DS games and a showcase of Nintendo 3DS games that includes videos, screen shots and one-click links to game websites. The Pokémon section will also include information and videos about the newest Pokémon video games, Pokémon Trading Card Game and Pokémon news.

Nintendo Zone content can be accessed at more than 29,000 locations at restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, airports and malls in the United States and Canada. Nintendo 3DS owners can find a Nintendo Zone location by visiting 

Remember that Nintendo 3DS features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii™ home console, Nintendo 3DS™ and Nintendo DS™ family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 3.9 billion video games and more than 620 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™ and Nintendo GameCube™ systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about N ntendo, please visit the company's website at 

About Pokémon
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children’s entertainment properties in the world. For more information, visit 

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

02/02/2012 - New Call of Duty DLC for PS3

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3’s Content Season for Call of Duty® Elite Premium Members on the PlayStation®Network kicks off on 28th February

We’re excited to announce that the Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3’s Content Season for Call of Duty® Elite kicks off for Premium Members on the PlayStation®Network on 28th February with release of the first two content drops of the nine month season, Liberation and Piazza. 

Call of Duty Elite Drop 1: Liberation, a militarised Central Park in the heart of NYC, features a vast landscape ripe for long-range sniper and LMG kills. Mounted turrets on opposing ends of the map offer overwhelming firepower to anyone brave enough to man them. Elite Drop 2: Piazza, set in an idyllic seaside village, Italian getaway gone rogue, where blind corners and a complex network of branching pathways pose danger at every turn. Visceral close-quarters combat dominates in Piazza, and attacks from above and below are an ever-constant threat.

The Modern Warfare 3 Content Season is co-developed by Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software. All content is available first to Premium Members on Xbox 360, but will be available to Premium Members on PS3 before non-premium members on their console.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is PEGI rated 18. For more information on the Call of Duty: MW3 content drops, season of content, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty Elite visit
www.callofduty.com/mw3 and www.callofduty.com/elite.

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

02/01/2012 -
News from the ESA: February Edition



Today's computer and video games provide interactive environments not offered by other forms of entertainment. From game consoles with Internet connectivity to social and multiplayer online games, gamers increasingly engage with each other as they play, and form strong relationships with players around the world.

For some, online games offer the opportunity to connect with others in a way akin to dating websites. Online games enable players to interact with others through chat features from the very beginning, and the central areas of the game environment are often crowded with hundreds of other players. Over time, connections between players blossom into love more than one might expect.

Pete and Hannah Romero, for example, met online playing Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. After spending a great deal of time playing together, Hannah traveled to Los Angeles to meet Pete. A year later, they married. The Romeros are not alone. Stories from others who found love through games show up in chat rooms and forums across the Internet. Psychological studies and investigative news stories about the role of games in the future of online dating are also becoming more common.

Games also provide inspiration for creative marriage proposals. For instance, when Gary Hudston decided it was time to propose to his long-time girlfriend Stephy, he turned to a customized version of Portal 2. Gary shared his idea with Portal creator Valve Software. Valve then helped him get a script recorded by Ellen McLain, the voice of the game's popular villain, GlaDOS. After his collaboration with Valve and two level designers from the Portal 2 community, Gary presented his girlfriend with three levels of the game. After Stephy completed the final level, GLaDOS proposed to her on Gary's behalf.

One gamer known as DimmuJed turned to the in-game design tools of Sony Computer Entertainment's Little Big Planet. Using Little Big Planet's popular Create Mode, DimmuJed developed his own game level featuring a proposal to his girlfriend. Yet another gamer asked developer William Thurston to create a customized version of the iOS game Foozle that included his proposal.

These are just a few of the stories demonstrating the powerful connections video games can create among players. With 72 percent of Americans playing computer and video games, it is likely that stories of gamer romances will become even more common.


As we continue to face difficult economic times, teaching personal finance to Americans has never been more vital. Recognizing the importance of educating consumers on money management techniques, the financial services industry is turning to online games to transform an otherwise dull and complicated subject into an interactive experience. The games not only motivate users to adopt healthy financial habits, but also offer them opportunities to take home real prizes.

One financial website,  SaveUp.com [
https://www.saveup.com/] ,provides consumers with the chance to win personal technology devices, airline tickets, cars, scholarships and even a $2 million annuity. To win prizes, customers sign up to use the site and link their account to any savings or debt-bearing account. Each time consumers pay bills or complete other account transactions on the site, they receive SaveUp credits they can redeem for a chance to win. In addition, each time consumers watch a sponsored educational video, such as "Harnessing the Power of Mutual Funds," they earn extra chances to win. The site's game-like attributes and appealing rewards encourage consumers to reduce debt and make sound financial decisions.

Another new financial firm, Bobber Interactive, offers users the opportunity to play educational Facebook games with several chances to win prizes. Players sign up on the company's website, set personal savings goals and play an assortment of games that test their knowledge of money management. Each time a player achieves a goal or completes a game, they earn in-game points that they can exchange for cash, which they receive in the form of prepaid value cards. In addition, players can choose to share their game achievements with friends on Facebook. Gamers who play enough can graduate to a level that lets them play Credits and Debits, an alternative to the favorite digital game Bejeweled , featuring dollar signs and piggy banks instead of emeralds and diamonds.

Local credit unions around the country are also beginning to develop video games to teach our nation's youth financial skills. Leominster Credit Union in Leominster, Massachusetts, for example, recently released LCU MoneyIsland, a game that propels kids onto a quest to the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis while learning the principles of money management. Children receive a passport, stickers and can even win real prizes as they journey around the game's virtual world.

These and other games represent the growing application of entertainment software to educate the public about timely and important issues, such as financial literacy. By engaging consumers in a favorite American pastime and offering attractive incentives, companies are helping to cultivate more informed and financially responsible citizens.


As video games continue to expand their reach beyond entertainment and improve our daily lives, it is important to understand the history of video games and how they transformed into the complex programs we use today. To this end, universities and libraries across the country, including the Library of Congress, are collecting and archiving video games for future generations to experience and study.

The Library of Congress's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia began archiving and cataloging games in earnest late last year.

"We have a large collection of computer games dating back to the late '80s," Richard Pugh of the Packard Campus told  American Libraries
. The Video Game Collection project acquires every game that comes through the Library of Congress's copyright registration process; an estimated 10 percent of the games published in the U.S. each year, and accepts donations from collectors and game developers alike. The collection also houses packaging materials, documentation and game guides.

The Library of Congress is not the only institution amassing video games in its vaults. With video games in use in classrooms nationwide and more than 300 college programs dedicated to video game design and development, several universities are building their own impressive collections.

Filled with multiple game stations, the University of Michigan Computer & Video Game Archive opened in 2008 in the basement of the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library, and the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater added games to its library collection in 2010. In fall 2011, the State University of New York at Stony Brook opened Game Lab, an interactive game laboratory in the Melville Library where students enrolled in game-related courses can study original games made for early game systems.

In addition, the American Library Association coordinates National Gaming Day @ Your Library, an annual event with more than 1,800 local libraries participating, to promote the educational and social value of games of all types and to help patrons connect with their communities. National Gaming Day includes a national video game tournament that pits players at participating libraries against each other for national bragging rights and partners with donors such as AlphaBound, Hasbro, North Star Games, and Wizards of the Coast to provide free copies of board and tabletop games for patrons to enjoy.

As video games' role in our society continues to grow, these and other efforts ensure that gamers and non-gamers alike understand how entertainment software evolved to have important impacts on education, art and technology, and can provide inspiration to future innovators.

For More Information Please Visit:

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

01/31/2012 - Konami Launches NeverDead In North America

Immortal Action Title Takes Gameplay to a New Level

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – January 31, 2012 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today launched the third-person action title NEVERDEAD in North America for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The brainchild of Shinta Nojiri, who previously directed the Metal Gear Acid series, and co-developed with Rebellion Software, NEVERDEAD offers a radically new gameplay experience, introducing an immortal super action hero through a unique decapitation mechanic.

In NEVERDEAD, players become the immortal Bryce Boltzmann, a tragic hero who has endured a suffering existence due to the murder of his wife at the hands of Astaroth, the Demon King.  Moving through life without aspirations other than where he will find his next drink, he fights alongside his partner Arcadia for the National Anti-Demon Agency (NADA), exterminating modern day demonic forces.

Players make use of the hero's immortality to tackle obstacles featuring the new and often gruesome decapitation and regeneration mechanic. Rip off your arm to explode a detonation device against an enemy, tear off your head to scout the level, shoot electric bullets by getting electrocuted and brutalize your hero in every way to discover what abilities he possesses.

"The release of NEVERDEAD is extremely satisfying and exciting for Konami, taking the third person action genre to a new level of player interactivity" said Tomoyuki Tsuboi, President of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. "In a destructible environment where even the amputated and severed pieces of the hero can be a weapon, anything is possible."

NEVERDEAD also includes online co-operative and competitive "challenges" where teams of up to four players can compete against each other or the enemy. The destruction of entire buildings, pillars, floors and interior wall sections adds elements of strategy and various abilities needed to destroy players' foe. Gamers seeking more NeverDead thrills will be able to expand their online experience with exciting downloadable content, including new characters and additional missions within the multiplayer mode. More information on downloadable content will be announced later.

NEVERDEAD is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and is now available for purchase at retailers nationwide for an SRP of $59.99 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360. For more information please visit www.konami.com.

About Konami Group
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and manufacturer of electronic entertainment properties. Konami's titles include the popular franchises METAL GEAR SOLID, Silent Hill, DanceDanceRevolution and Castlevania, among other top sellers. The latest information about Konami can be found on the Web at
www.konami.com. KONAMI CORPORATION is a publicly traded company based in Tokyo, Japan with subsidiary offices, Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. in the United States and Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany. KONAMI CORPORATION is traded in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol KNM. Details of the products published by Konami can be found at http://www.konami.com.

Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

"PlayStation" is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. 

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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Monday, January 30, 2012

01/30/2012 - Oliver & Spike Dimension Jumpers Coming to PC + MAC

What if there was more than one dimension? What if what you do in one Dimension is influencing what happens in another ?

Tønsberg (Norway) – January 30, 2012 – Since May 2010, Rock Pocket Games has been working on developing Oliver&Spike: Dimension Jumpers, an episodic adventure and problem solving game, which will be available for PC, Mac and Console. Additionally, there will be mini-games available for your android and apple devices.

“We are trying to create a unique experience for the players, which is not only linked to one platform or one media,” says Natascha Röösli from Rock Pocket Games.

 “It’s also important to us, that there is a focus on creative problem solving, thinking outside the box and that there are several different options available to drive the story along.”

The team is currently finishing up work for a limited, playable prototype of a show-case episode, to be shown in San Francisco in March for both GDC and Game Connection.

“The characters and the world are very important. We are spending a lot of time fleshing them out and creating concept art through our talented art team,” says Natascha. “We share our progress and workflow on our
Oliver&Spike Development Blog with everyone who is interested in following”.

Problem solving and storytelling are lifted to a whole new level as you have to think outside of the box and use your unique dimension jumper abilities to advance through the storyline and overcome obstacles. Not only will you have the option to switch to another version (dimension) of the current area you are in, with different physical laws, you also have the power to switch to and explore completely different universes (cluster).

“There is not only one world but several to discover and several of those locations, again, have different layers and alternate dimensions with different rules. Switching from your normal familiar dimension might end up in a Jell-O version of the same environment, enabling you to get around an enemy or obstacle you couldn’t have gotten around in the “normal” location”, says Ivan Moen.

The unique Dimension Jumper backdrop however is not the only interesting detail on your journey to help Oliver discover his past, his future and everything linked to his destiny. Exploring the worlds or meeting the interesting characters inhabiting those worlds is going to be a treat for itself but Rock Pocket Games has additional ideas for the actual gameplay:

“We know that parents like to play with their kids, IF they have time. That’s the reason we are playing with the idea to have the option to play both, Oliver and Spike, alternatively, by switching between the two yourself or to enlist the help of a friend or family member if you do not want to play alone. We have to see if this is something that will work both technically and gameplay wise. Hopefully we will be able to recruit the help of interested testers during further development and get feedback on our ideas,” Natascha explains.

Take these engaging gameplay features and imagine a puzzle and adventure game with unique graphics and quirky characters and you have: Oliver&Spike: Dimension Jumpers.

Last but certainly not least: Rock Pocket Games will release exclusive Comic panels to get you involved and familiar with Oliver and Spike before you meet them in the actual game.  Episode one of the comic will be available on the first of February 2012 on the
Oliver&Spike Development Blog.

Rock Pocket Games is an independent game development studio, which started creating games in 2008 and is situated in Tønsberg, Norway. Not only has the company developed very successful iPhone games such as the App of the Week game “The Package”, their portfolio also includes a wide range of different game genres such as Children Games, Platform Games, Casual Family Games, FPS games, as well as Interactive Songbooks. Rock Pocket Games develops for PC/Mac, iOS, Android, Consoles and browser.  

Submitted By: E. Thomas

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