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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Sims Franchise Turns Ten
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The EA Play Label of Electronic Arts recently announced the celebration of the ten year anniversary of The Sims, the popular game that allowed players to create and live a virtual, simulated life on a computer. Since the original The Sims debut on February 4, 2000, the franchise has produced three core games – The Sims, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3 – supported by dozens of expansion and stuff packs with lifetime unit sales eclipsing 125 million worldwide.

As part of the celebration EA is offering several free items: Let there be Sims!, The Sims Strike Back and In the Dawn of Sims, as well as a 10% discount on all new items sets until February 14.

“The future of The Sims is going to be a lot of fun; it is rare for an entertainment franchise to be gaining momentum a decade after release, so this is a particularly pleasant moment for everyone who has worked on the games.”

“The success of The Sims is something gamers and the gaming business as a whole can be proud of. With its charming and quirky style, lovely emergent game mechanics and user created creativity that delights every day, The Sims is a game that can be enjoyed by everybody and reflects what you put into it,” explained Rod Humble, Head of the EA Play label. “The future of The Sims is going to be a lot of fun; it is rare for an entertainment franchise to be gaining momentum a decade after release, so this is a particularly pleasant moment for everyone who has worked on the games.”

Just how popular is The Sims?
The franchise has generated more than $2.5B of revenue, putting it in the same class as blockbuster films Avatar, Titanic, and The Matrix Trilogy.

The Sims, available in 60 countries and 22 languages, remains a worldwide cultural touchstone for its enormous and growing fan base by continuing to evolve its content and remain current. Since its June 2009 launch, The Sims 3 has sold more than 4.5 million units worldwide to date and holds the #1 best-selling PC title for 2009 in North America and Europe*. The Sims 3, like its predecessors, allows players to create, download and share player content on its online exchange fueling nearly 110 million downloads for The Sims 3 alone in a matter of months. The Sims 3 community site alone, www.TheSims3.com, welcomes up to six million unique visitors monthly, handles 300 content downloads every minute and more than 1.8 million uploads have been made to date, including 20 movies each hour. The Sims 3 App for iPhone and iPod touch became the top selling game on the App Store for 2009 and reached the #1 position in the top paid Apps in nearly 40 countries worldwide in the same year.
Read more at the pages below.

The Sims Celebration News
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
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Dragon Age: Origins Collectors Edition For Mac Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Macworld has posted a new review of the Mac version of Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition. Bioware's latest fantasy role playing epic challenges players to take on the role of a Grey Warden and defend the land of Fereldin from the monstrous Darkspawn. Macworld gave the game a score of 5 out of 5.

From the review:

On my MacBook Pro 2.66GHz running Mac OS 10.6, Dragon Age was stunning. From the fire effects of enemy spells to the gush of blood from a blade, the details were beautiful and realistic. Unlike some RPGs, there isn’t a major drop off between cut scenes and combat; the shadows and shading were impressive in both. There are some moments of slow-down, particularly in the bigger environments, but on the whole I was impressed with my machine’s ability to handle this high-end game.

While chaotic, battles are easy to manage thanks to the pause button and the ability to instantly order your party to change tactics.
Combat isn’t just about throwing the same spells and swords at your enemies and hoping they win. Strategy is paramount. The combat system provides a potent set of tools for your battle plans, drawing from Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur’s Gate series. Instead of turn-based combat, you can control your party members in real time and pause the game to give individual orders or modify a player’s tactics thanks to a handy “tactics” tab. For example, I played as a mage with some potent healing spells, so I set his tactics tab to heal his allies when they had less than fifty percent health. Meanwhile, I deployed my tank to draw enemies to him by activating an ability. I had my rogue set in a preset “scrapper” arrangement and I personally controlled our witch, Morrigan, because I like to micro-manage her crowd control spells.

You only can have four players in your party at any one time and one of them must be your character. On your first playthrough, one of your major frustrations may be encountering an NPC who wants to join your party but your own character has significant overlap with their abilities. You don’t want to have three mages in your party, so I found it hard to turn away the healer Wynne’s abilities or Sten’s warrior strengths or Leliana’s uh, singing? Actually, Leliana and her strange Eastern European-accented-battle-nun-weirdness were replaced early on by the elven rogue Zevran.
For the full review click over to the link below.

Macworld: Dragon Age Origins Review
Dragon Age: Origins

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City Of Heroes Secret Admirer Contest
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

NCSoft and Paragon Studios have announced a new contest for the super hero themed MMO, City of Heroes. Participants in the City of Heroes Secret Admirer contest will compete to offer the best Valentine's Day card to War Witch. Prizes for winning entrants include a Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset, a Razer Destructor™ Precision Gaming Surface, Hero and Villain Pins, 5 year anniversary T-shirt, and Projector Pens.

At some point, we've all stood outside of War Witch's apartment and played the role of Secret Admirer. After all, who wouldn't be wild over a talented sorceress who possesses brains, beauty and brawn? We sure are big fans...and we're banking on the fact that you are too!

So in honor of Valentine's Day being just around the corner, we've dreamt up a new way for you to express your love and admiration for this spiritual City of Heroes® stunner!

Introducing the City of Heroes® Secret Admirer Contest where between Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM CST (4:00 PM GMT / 17:00 Central European Time) and 11:59 PM CST (5:59 AM GMT; 6:59 Central European Time) on Sunday, February 28, 2010, you have the opportunity to create a unique digital or homemade Valentine's Day card for War Witch herself - and win yourself some great prizes in the process!

If you enter the digital category you will need to send an email to NCSoft with the subject heading "City of Heroes® Secret Admirer Contest" and include 2 images-- one of the front of the valentine and one of the inside. The two images should be uncompressed .jpg's with a total (not individual size) of less than 5 Mb. Be as creative as you can, for the more your Valentine stands out from the others, the better off you'll be! And don't forget to make it City of Heroes centric - from the art to the text, the more you can create a valentine that has to do with War Witch and the game (while still making it very clearly related to the holiday), the more points you'll earn from the judges.

If you choose to enter the homemade category, you have the ability to really go wild! You can use whatever arts and crafts you have at your disposal and make your valentine whatever shape you wish (as long as it still fits into an envelope and can be postal mailed). Again, creativity is a must and you're going to want to make sure that the written 'prose' on your card (regardless of whether it is free verse or rhyming), has relevance to the game. We'd like to remind our European friends that if they enter this category they're going to want to postal mail their entry sooner rather than later to ensure delivery (not a postmark date) by the deadline - 11:59 PM CST (5:59 AM GMT; 6:59 Central European Time) on Sunday, February 28, 2010.

Check out the website linked below for a complete list of rules and conditions.

City Of Heroes Secret Admirer Contest
City of Heroes
Buy City of Heroes

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The Rise And Fall Of The Lich King
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has published an Insider interview with World of Warcraft Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer and Lead Systems Designer Greg Street. The developers discussed the Fall of the Lich King content update released with version 3.3 of World of Warcraft.

Can you give us any teasers about the final Lich King encounter from a gameplay standpoint? How difficult will he be? Any insight into how his skills and powers from Warcraft III will carry over into the final Lich King raid event?
Scott Mercer: We're going to keep those cards close to the vest, as players will be toe-to-toe with the Lich King soon enough, but I can say that he will pose the greatest challenge yet found in World of Warcraft. Beyond that, I can only share a few additional details. The battle against the Lich King takes place at the top of Icecrown Citadel where the Frozen Throne protrudes from the citadel's tallest tower. Throughout the fight, players will have an epic view of Icecrown Glacier, and falling off the tower will be a real danger, especially as the fight progresses. Also, I'll just say that Frostmourne serves as more than just a weapon wielded by the Lich King during the encounter; it will actually provide a core mechanic of the fight itself, a mechanic which we hope will resonate strongly with all players -- especially the lore buffs.
The rest, you'll have to see for yourself.

Let's talk loot: what kinds of rewards await players strong enough to bring down the Lich King?
Greg Street: Well, with great challenge comes great reward. So, in addition to the usual stuff, the Lich King is also going to drop some epic weapons that have a higher item level than any other item in Icecrown Citadel. We're hoping to have something for every character class in this bag, but note that this is just our current goal, not a promise. The main idea is that the Lich King has an inventory of weapons that he has stolen and corrupted throughout his reign. These weapons originally belonged to characters like King Terenas, Antonidas, Sylvanas, and Muradin Bronzebeard. In addition to the corrupted weapons, we're also planning to have Arthas's undead mount, Invincible, drop each time the Lich King is defeated in 25-player Heroic mode. Also, once the Lich King is finally defeated, there will be an in-game cut scene, similar in size and scope to the Wrath Gate cut scene.

The title "Fall of the Lich King" suggests the end of an era. Can you give us any teasers for what next awaits the denizens of Azeroth?
Scott Mercer:: Players have been gearing up to fight the Lich King for a long time and it's definitely the end of an era, but it's by no means the end of World of Warcraft. We've already begun to hint at an in-game event surround the upcoming Cataclysm expansion that will be at least as big as the zombie invasion that kicked off the Wrath of the Lich King. Players already know that the Barrens are getting cut in half by a volcanic chasm, so we'll have to show you how that happens. The Cataclysm in-game event will probably hit in a patch before the actual expansion goes live. We're still figuring out the details, but whatever happens, it will be felt throughout the entire world, and it'll be just the beginning of the reign of Deathwing.
Visit the site below to read more.

WoW: Fall Of The Lich King Q&A
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Friday, February 5, 2010

Civilization IV Digital Download Now Available6:00 AM
Rome: Total War Gold Edition Available Today6:00 AM
Wacky Mini-Golf Update Adds Ghost Ship Theme6:00 AM
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 5, 2010 on one page

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