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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Zen Stones Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Mac Games has announced the release of Zen Stones, a logic puzzle game for Apple computers. Additionally, a Flash version of Zen Stones is available to play online for free. Zen Stones incorporates match three elements with strategic placement of smooth stones.

Why Zen? With the tagline "Relax, it's just a game," Zen Stones is meant to inspire relaxation and calm while the brain is hard at work solving puzzle levels. The dichotomy of these actions creates an impulse to continue playing, yet the game play is described by players as being tranquilly addictive.

The game goal is simple: pass as many levels as you can by clearing the board. The game board is set up with tiles on the periphery of the square. There are a few scattered tiles on the board, and the goal is to remove all the tiles in the center. In order to accomplish this feat you must click on tiles on the border, they will fly out either across, up or down and when you match three or more like-color tiles, they will disappear.

When there is not a match, that tile will stay on the board with the direction arrow on it to show players which way it will go if and when it is released. In addition, if there is a tile next to an available tile on the outside of the game board, you cannot move it. If you fill the board completely with tiles, the game is over. It's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a little strategy, a little logic and a little luck. The luck comes in the form of bonuses or power-ups and these are numerous.
The downloadable full version of Zen Stones costs $3.99 USD. Follow the links below for more information.

Mac Games
Zen Stones

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Fishdom One Of Greatest Video Games Of 2009
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Fishdom, an aquarium themed puzzle title developed by Playrix Entertainment, has been announced one of the Greatest Video Games 2009 by the iParenting Media Awards. The iParenting Media Awards Program "seeks to provide a credible and objective method of determining outstanding products in the marketplace and then honors them with the consumer award."

“We are very excited to have Fishdom recognized as a great video game by the highly-respected iParenting Media Awards reviewers, and it's a wonderful compliment to the whole Playrix team,” said Igor Bukhman, President, Products, Playrix. “Fishdom proved to be very popular with consumers and we feel that it’s a franchise that has a further potential for extension.”

Fishdom™ rolled out in June 2008, has been a best seller since its launch building an impressive fan base and receiving spectacular user ratings and favorable reviews. The game with conversion rates reaching 14% proved to be #1 hit and one of the top-selling match-3 titles across major casual games portals. It has won numerous critical accolades and "game of the year" awards being called one of the greatest games of 2008 by Casual Games Association and announced among the final nominees for the 2009 Great Game Awards (RealNetworks®, Inc).

Fishdom™, a smooth combination of sim and puzzle, gives players a unique opportunity to build up their own dream aquarium and fill it with lovely fishies and eye-catching ornaments. To do that they need to earn money by progressing through challenging boards and solving immersive puzzles. Once the dream aquarium is ready, it can be set up as a beautifully animated desktop screensaver.
Check out the links below to learn more.

iParenting Media Awards
Buy Fishdom

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The Sims 3 World Adventures HD Trailer Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple has posted a new HD preview video for the recently released The Sims 3: World Adventures. Among other things World Adventures allows players to take their sims to a variety of exotic locales around the world where they can engage in a number of life changing adventures.

The Sims have itchy feet and are looking for adventure far from Sunset Valley. Players travel with their Sims to three real-world inspired locations in Egypt, France, and China. They can search for treasure in ancient tombs in Al Simhara, Egypt, fill the sky with fireworks purchased from locals in Shang Simla, China and master the art of nectar-making in Champs Les Sims, France. Players can accept challenges, chase down new personal opportunities, and meet locals who will share their culture and style. Along the way, they can capture the funny, scary and exciting moments while using the brand new photography skill. Once they have completed their quests, players can bring their treasures home with them to reminisce and share with other Sims. Additionally, players will get exclusive, extra game content when they register their copy of the PC/Mac version of the game online. They will receive the Explorer’s Loot Set which includes exotic Egyptian furniture, Chinese décor, and more as well as 1,000 SimPoints to be used in The Sims 3 Store to customize their game with additional in-game items.

The Sims fans around the world will be rockin’ out to new Simlish music in The Sims 3 World Adventures. Over a dozen artists lent their Simlish voice stylings to the game including GRAMMY Award-winners Nelly Furtado and LeAnn Rimes, plus hot rising stars Matt + Kim, Fefe Dobson, Pixie Lott, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, Katie Melua, Esmee Denters, Young Punx!, Evan Taubenfeld, Madina Lake, and more.
EA is currently working on a patch to fix a problem with the downloadable Mac version of the expansion which rendered it unplayable. Head over to the link below to view the trailer.

Apple Games: Sims 3 World Adventures Trailer
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3: World Adventures
Buy The Sims 3: World Adventures

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Blizzard Developers Discuss Fifteen Years Of Warcraft
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IGN has published a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Shane Dabiri and Cory Stockton about the 15th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise and the 5th anniversary of the MMO juggernaut, World of Warcraft. The developers discussed the history of Warcraft, their proudest moments, and whether or not the game franchise will ever return to its real time strategy roots.

IGN: Fifteen years is a pretty big deal for any franchise, particularly in the video game world. Looking back, what are some of your proudest moments and biggest surprises?
Shane Dabiri: For me, when I got my start it was back in '94 after we shipped Warcraft 1 and the company was probably 25 employees at the time. I went to CES and we had a ten-by-ten booth and there were a few dozen people who came by our booth to take a look at the game and they were all excited. I couldn't have imagined from that day that we'd be at Blizzcon in 2005 and have 10,000 people there just ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all of our Blizzard games. It was surreal for me. Those moments were probably some of the biggest highlights for me as far as my experience here at Blizzard.

I got into games because I wanted to make games, work with people that make games. I never thought it would turn into something that was this huge success with something like World of Warcraft with 11 million subscribers worldwide. It's crazy.

IGN: From an outsider's perspective though it seems that none of those resources are being spent to advance the Warcraft RTS brand. Since the release of World of Warcraft we've seen nothing else. Has Warcraft become an exclusively MMO-focused property or are we possibly going to see a return to a more RTS-oriented format?
Cory Stockton: It's definitely not only limited to the MMO genre. That's the direction we are in right now. I think the way we look at it is that the franchise can go in whatever direction we want to take it. World of Warcraft is the direction we're focusing on with Warcraft right now. It's always open in the future that we could go back and continue the Warcraft series as an RTS.

Shane Dabiri: To add to that, I keep bringing this up and it sounds so clichéd but we're gamers and we like to play lots of different types of games. It's easy to look at the success of World of Warcraft and think 'Why don't you just work on MMOs from now on out?' but we put a lot of love, tears and sweat into our Warcraft universe, or Starcraft or Diablo, and we're first in class in all of those games and it would really be kind of a shame to abandon those. There's no plans to do any of that. We want to persist those properties into the future.
Visit the page below to read the full Q&A.

IGN: Warcraft Anniversary Interview
Blizzard Entertainment

Mac Games News for Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IMG Reviews Machinarium7:37 AM
Diablo III: Farewell To Skill Trees?6:00 AM
Jeff Vogel On Making Games Easier6:00 AM
Planet M.U.L.E. Strategy Title Coming In December6:00 AM
The Sims 3 World Adventures Download Version Not Functional6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, November 25, 2009 on one page

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