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Monday, February 23, 2009

Quake Live Open Beta Begins Tuesday
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new splash screen on the Quake Live website reveals that the open beta version of the browser based shooter will launch Tuesday. The launch will mean a wipe of statistics gathered for accounts in the closed beta and the termination of closed beta accounts not accessed in the previous 28 days.

Quake Live is adapted from the Quake III engine and will be supported by in game advertising. For more information follow the links below.

Quake Live
id Software

LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Mac Observer has published a new review of LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. Brought to Macs by Feral Interactive, the game follows Indyís escapades through the jungles of South America to the mountaintops of India. The Observer gave LEGO Indy a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

Like the other LEGO movie adaptations, this title manages to recreate its trilogy and actually goes a bit beyond expectations. The models are detailed, the textures reflect the moods that need to be expressed at any given point and the game is as warm and visually appealing as one would expect. Still, itís the audio elements that carry the day with the title. Given that the LEGO movie games are typically non-verbal, language and expression is carried with grunts, sighs, amused or thoughtful sounds as the situation requires them. This is carried out humorously and top-notch voice acting expresses the dialogue and movie events being shown at any given time via the gameís cut scenes. A score of John Williams music rounds out the acoustical element and brings the old-school Spielberg/adventure movie grandeur to the title as expected.

Gameplay in LEGO Indiana Jones brings a console-like simplicity thatís both rewarding yet can also drive the player somewhat insane. Enter a new screen, run around and the initial tasks tend to be the following: defeat whateverís attacking you, break apart every container you can for bonus points, health, weapons and items and begin trying to solve every puzzle at once. Combat is usually fun and easy with a few swift punches or a whip/punch combination from Indy being enough to take down a standard enemy. Snag a weapon such as a gun and an auto-targeting system will place crosshairs on wherever the round will go, a system that works for the most part but has its drawbacks.

Itís the puzzles that make the difference in the game and thereís some interesting concepts here. While the building puzzles are fairly self-explanatory, the larger jumping and platform puzzles challenge the player and make them step back and look over the situation. Ok, youíve broken open every container on the screen, grabbed everything you could, built part ofÖsomethingÖand now you donít know how to activate a switch on a platform you canít reach? This is the part of the game that makes the player try something new and unexpected or even pause the game, walk away for a bit, then come back and try a new idea that seemed unlikely but actually works and advances the game and the puzzle that made you want to scream at your Mac and/or the game is now resolved.
Check out the full review at the link provided below.

The Mac Observer: LEGO Indy Review
Feral Interactive
LEGO Indiana Jones

Click to enlarge
DOFUS 2.0 Screenshots Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Ankama Games has released 20 new screenshots from DOFUS 2.0, the company's flash based MMO. The latest version of the game features a rewritten game client, performance optimizations, and improved graphics for every map, object, character, and monster.

"This update reflects the experience accumulated by Ankama Games during all those years of programming and continually improving DOFUS" says Anthony Roux, Creative Director and co-founder of Ankama.

"DOFUS 2.0 is dedicated to our players, whose continued support has driven us to keep the game evolving and challenging throughout the years." says Cedric Gerard, International Marketing Manager.

DOFUS is a Tactical MMORPG which means players evolve in a real time universe, but when they fight against monsters or against other players, action is turn-based, with specific number of actions each turn.

Treading a lush path between video game and animated cartoon, DOFUS brings a whole new dimension to online Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. With its manga-inspired graphics, gripping tactical game play and wild humor, DOFUS has created a unique style of its own for other MMORPGs to follow

The code of DOFUS has been completely rewritten in Action Script 3 so now the leading Flash MMO will prove even faster and more responsive, while over 2,000 animations and 10,000 maps are being entirely redrawn.

With this complete revision, the game will be much more fluid, attractive and fun while keeping the same minimum system requirements, gameplay and features that have made it a worldwide success through the years.

Communication with the servers has been revised and optimised by the development team to deliver better performance and to allow future expansions to evolve more freely.
Head over to the WorthPlaying site below to view the new screenshots

WorthPlaying: DOFUS 2.0 Screenshots
Ankama Studio

Click to enlarge
Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble Discussed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Gametopius has published a new interview with Mousechief's Keith Nemitz about its casual adventure game, Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble! The interview covers a variety of topics including Nemitz' inspiration for the storyline, the 1920's setting, possible future projects, and the controversy which resulted in the game being pulled from Big Fish Games' lineup.

Thomas Cross: Dangerous High School Girls for me has two really interesting aspects: its atmosphere and detailed world, and its branching dialogue system. Respectively, how did Mousechief decide to set the game in this vibrant 20ís setting, and how and why did you decide to create such a dynamic dialogue system?
Keith Nemitz: The setting was picked indirectly as a result of considering a target audience and a story I wanted to tell. As this was a commercial endeavor for the casual sector, I sought to interest older women gamers. I decided then on the genre, teen romantic comedies. Four years ago, teen stories had been untapped by casual games. They are a big draw for the movies. I hoped the genre would help differentiate my game. The story that appealed to me was of how young women change society. I grew up in the sixties and seventies but was too young to participate in the incredible victory of women's rights of that time. Four years ago, I saw that victory struggling to preserve any of its momentum. To tell a story of modern feminism's lost momentum would be a tough sell in the casual game market full of one dimensional cartoon characters.
It occurred to me, in the 1920s, women encountered the same victory and loss of momentum. It's a setting rich in mythology and romance. And that's I decided to write a satire of life in the 20s as reflection of modern times.

TC: What do you think most differentiates Dangerous High School Girls from other casual games, and were these differences intentional decisions on the part of Mousechief?
KN: Um, I guess that would be the content that caused it to be banned from Big Fish Games, after a week of rising in the top 100. Apparently, several customers bullied Big Fish Games into pulling it. Near the end of Act III, the story turns dark, and the player's band of girls prevent a rape by shooting the rapist. The event is told in text, only. The written word can still offend people, yeah!

TC: Has the success of Dangerous High School Girls (critically and financially) changed the way Mousechief plans on approaching games? Does it give you more leeway and confidence going into your next project?
KN: I'd say is been pretty successful since people are still talking about it, eight months after its release. Metacritic-style of the eight reviews so far it's holding a > 80% average. Only two are recognized as official Metacritic reviews. (both at 80%) More are on the way.
Financially, especially after catching an arrow from BFG, it has yet to recoup its measly $30,000 budget. But it's still being release on new portals. I'll just have to tighten my belt a couple more notches. I'm not yet at the point where I'll have to cut new notches. However, if it doesn't make a profit this year I won't be able to fund a new game.

TC: Speaking of which, what is your next project, and will you be serving as a writer for it as well?
KN: I'm not sure what it will be. I am chasing a few gooses, but most likely I'll be the principle writer again.

TC: Although this might be a bit premature, do you think that you and Mousechief might return to the world youíve created in Dangerous High School Girls? Iím sure there are more high schools to explore, with more dangerous work to be done.
KN: The only idea that has occurred to me is to make a free prequel that does a better job of introducing the game to less sophisticated players. It would be a game about the girls inventing the four games they initially use. It would take place entirely on the school game board. It would be about how they became dangerous.
A while back, I had the idea of making a parody called, 'Crotchety Old F's Won't Die!'ô It'd be a blast to make but wouldn't earn a penny, probably.
Read the full interview at the link listed below.

Gametopius: DHSGiT Interview
Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble!

Mac Games News for Friday, February 20, 2009

Custer Saves The Desktop2:04 PM
Apple Games Feature iPod Cake Mania 36:00 AM
Mac Version Of Braid Puzzle Title Planned6:00 AM
Prince Of Persia & Shaun White Snowboarding Coming To Macs6:00 AM
The Rise Of Indie Gaming6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 20, 2009 on one page

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