Posted by Alan Buckingham at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2012
Nostalgia is big business these days and perhaps there is no bigger tech nostalgia field than old games and gaming systems. If you were smarter than me and didn’t give away your original Atari and all of the games then you may be able make some money off of these devices. There is no better example than a current Ebay auction.
The auction consists of what the seller calls a “Complete US Super Nintendo (SNES) collection with all boxes and most manuals”. The sale claims that the collection consists of “all 721 games sold at retail in the United States, Canada and Mexico”. The games are mostly in good condition and man even contain the original manuals, inserts and boxes.
Now for the tough part, the price. The auction is set for a “Buy it now” price of a mere $24,999. An entire list of every single game included and even what each contains and the conditions can be found on the auction site. Do you have your wallet out yet?
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 11:25 AM on November 14, 2012
Classic games have been making a comeback lately. Just last week Microsoft announced a partnership with Atari to make eight of their classics available for play in Internet Explorer 9 and 10. Atari also has an app available for Android which brings many of their old games to mobile devices. Now, Activision is getting in on the deal with a new app called “Activision Anthology”
The app comes with KABOOM! for free, but there are 45 other games, including PITFALL!, RIVER RAID, THE ACTIVISION DECATHLON, BARNSTORMING, STAMPEDE, PITFALL II, ENDURO, DEMON ATTACK and others available. They are available in packs of 11 games each for $2.99, or you can get the whole package for $6.99.
Activision Anthology has Game Center and Facebook integration, including leaderboards and achievements, to share and compete with friends. The pack is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2012
Depending on what time zone you live in you may or may not have been ready to grab a copy of Angry Birds Star Wars when it blasted onto mobile platforms and computers at 11pm PST last night, complete with an online launch event. Rovio even held a live-streaming event for those who were awake at that hour, which I suppose was morning in Finland where Rovio is based.
From that Scandinavian country the company has reached out and dominated the mobile markets on Android and iOS devices and even is available now on Windows Phone and OSX and Windows computers.
The last big release from the Finnish game studio, Bad Piggies rocketed to number one on the download charts in under three hours, making it the most successful release in history, surpassing Angry Birds Space. At the same time, the original Angry Birds game remains in the most popular download list in the Google Play Store.
You can grab a copy now. There are both free and paid versions. You will find some very different birds here thanks to the Star Wars branding. The game play, while similar to Angry Birds Space, is also a bit different thanks to the George Lucas (recently purchased by Disney) influence.
There’s a pretty good chance that if you are a 40+ British geek, the mere mention of “Elite” will roll back the years to hours of gameplay in front of a BBC Model B, flying a wireframe starship around an almost limitless universe. Trading, fighting, arms-dealing, slavery, whatever it took to get respect and the coveted Elite status. Even now, I still feel a small hint of pride in my own Elite achievement, over 20 years later.
Created by David Braben and Ian Bell, Elite was the first 3D game and eeked every last ounce of performance from 8 bit processors and 32 KB of RAM, even less once the OS had taken its share. There were tricks such as making all the objects in the universe concave, which significantly reduced several calculations in techniques such as hidden line removal and despite being largely only in monochrome, it was totally amazing for its day.
The successor to Elite, “Frontier”, never gained the same traction as the original Elite. In some ways it was too big and just wasn’t as immediate as the original Elite.
Returning to the original ethos of Elite, David Braben has launched a Kickstarter campaign for “Elite: Dangerous“ to raise £1.25 million ($2 million) for the development of a new game in the canon, aiming for delivery in March 2014. Elite: Dangerous will be a multi-player game in a massive universe and initially the game will be for the PC, but other platforms will be looked at.
As usual, there are various funding levels, but £20 gets you a copy of the game plus the opportunity to reserve your commander’s name. But if you were looking to get lunch with David Braben at £5000, I’m afraid that all five slots have already been taken.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 7:53 PM on November 5, 2012
In just a few days, on November 8th, Rovio will launch what will perhaps be their most ambitious game so far – a mashup of Angry Birds and Star Wars, the Lucas Films franchise recently purchased by Disney. They have been relentlessly teasing the new game over the past month, starting with simple video clips of the original 1977 movie and then moving on to reveal bits and pieces of the gameplay and characters.
Today, the Finnish game maker revealed the most detailed trailer yet, showing more of the actual characters and gameplay. The company also announced a live launch event scheduled for 11pm PST on November 7th, which will be broadcast live at http://rov.io/abswlive. A few lucky fans will even get to join Rovio live on camera for the big launch. The game will be available on iOS and Android, with Windows Phone coming shortly.
“Join Rovio and Lucasfilm executives, game developers and artists for a special Angry Birds Star Wars game-launch Hangout live this Wednesday, November 7, at 11pm PST. Rovio and Lucasfilm teams will take you behind-the-scenes of the new collaboration, including an inside look on how the game was developed.”
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2012
Rovio began talking about their latest Angry Birds game several weeks ago. Since then they have slowly teased the game out, first with a video that provided little clue of what was in store, then with one that finally displayed some game play and featured Luke and Leia. Today the Finnish game studio has pushed out their latest offering and this one shows off more game play, but features C-3PO and R2-D2 birds.
We are exactly one week from launch and we can probably expect a few more trailers to pop up during those coming days. The game, to probably nobody’s surprise, will greatly resemble Angry Birds Space, but only have themed birds and planets. The game will initially launch on iOS and Android, but a version will be coming shortly for Windows Phone and also Windows 8.
The Star Wars franchise is certainly in need of a boost these days, especially when a site like Tech Crunch labels it as “falling apart”. Perhaps it’s recent purchase by Disney and the Angry Birds juggernaut will be able to save it.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 12:54 PM on September 11, 2012
Ouya was the darling of the tech news cycle not long ago as they rocketed up the KickStarter charts to (likely) record donations (no real records seem to exist). If you aren’t familiar, Ouya is a proposed gaming console that will be based on the Android operating system, and is expected to launch in early 2013. The box has been highly anticipated and netted $8.5 million in donations after looking to solicit only $950,000.
After the KickStarter funding round closed, the console became available for pre-order to those who didn’t donate, but wanted to receive an early edition of the product. This is where I bought in. I ordered a device, expected to ship sometime around next April, and threw in a second controller because, after all, what fun would it be if I couldn’t play against my wife, daughter or son? The price was reasonable – only $139. I was also assured that I wouldn’t be charged until the thing actually shipped, which is generally standard practice.
Ouya, as it turns out, claims they were misled by PayPal and customers placing a pre-order were actually charged immediately for the console. While they are issuing apologies, and offers for refunds (which will cancel your order), there really isn’t much else they can do. An inquiry sent to the company was met with following prompt reply:
Unfortunately, we were misled by our PayPal representative (the main reason we’re no longer working with PayPal).
We understand it’s not cool and, believe us, that’s not how we wanted it to go either.
If you’re not comfortable, we can process a cancelation for you. Just let us know.
If you are interested in pre-ordering (even after knowing this) or simply want more information about the new gaming console, then head over to ouya.tv.
Plants vs. Zombies was one of the first Free App of the Day games in the UK’s Amazon Appstore but if I’d known about it beforehand, I would have paid the full price as it’s a lot of fun and simple to play.
Published by PopCap, the premise is simple: stop hordes of marauding zombies from crossing your lawn by using a variety of vicious plants and vegetables. It’s a simplified riff on “Tower Defense” with the zombies and plants only acting in straight lines.
There are 50 levels with over 26 kinds of zombie and 49 killer plants. As you’d expect, the more advanced members of the armies of darkness appear in later level as do more evolved plants with greater killing potential. Triffids have nothing on these botanical beauties. The controls are straightforward with tapping on the screen being the only skill required. That and managing your resources of sunshine to grow your plants.
But enough of the dry features…this game is great fun. There’s absolutely nothing like setting up your garden to hurl flaming peas at the undead. The game’s difficulty progresses at the just the right level to keep the player challenged and the introduction of new zombies and complementary plants keeps the death-dealing interesting. It’s all done with great humour in a cartoon fashion so there’s no blood’n'guts to worry about. And the game’s not complete without the inimicable groaning of “brains”.
According to PopCap’s website, Plants vs. Zombies is available for a multitude of platforms but I was playing on Android tablets. Presumably it was originally designed for smartphones, as some of the graphics aren’t as well-defined as they could be. Looks fine on a 7″ tablet but is more obvious on a 10″.
The game is available from the Amazon Appstore for £2.06 as Plants vs. Zombies doesn’t appear to be sold in Google Play.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 5:23 PM on August 21, 2012
Yesterday Rovio rolled out the new Angry Birds Seasons levels, titled “Back to School”, but many people missed the fact that they quietly released a new set of levels for Angry Birds Facebook, called “Green Day”. Yes, in case you’re wondering, the new levels are named after the popular alternative band.
There was no announcement of the release, so we’re left to wonder why the the rock band association, but Green Day is due to release three new albums before the end of the year, so there is likely some publicity tie-in between the two brands. There are ten new levels included in the update, but no new features or birds included. The levels each feature a background image depicting the three members of Green Day as pigs.
Angry Birds for Facebook is free to play and includes a “weekly tournament” that features four new levels released each week. Green Day is the fifth level of the popular game that has been released for the social network version of Angry Birds.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 12:53 PM on August 13, 2012
It’s one thing to be arrested for trying to rob a convenience store or “knock over” a bank, but Humza Bajwa is facing up to 15 years in prison for trying to steal pretend currency with pretend cash and using a pretend gun. The bizarre crime took place recently at Fordham University in New York.
Allegedly students David Emani and Jonathan Dokler decided to sell their RuneScape coins for the real money sum of $3,300. The buyer, Bajwa, initially tried to pay with counterfeit money, but Emani recognized the fake cash. At that point, Bajwa pulled a fake gun and forced Emani to call Dokler and initiate the transfer. The gun Bajwa pulled on Emani turned out to be a BB gun, which he held to the victim’s head during the phone call. Once the transfer was complete Bajwa left the scene, leaving the counterfeit money behind as evidence.
Bajwa has been charged with second degree robbery and grand larceny with a bail set at $20,000. He faces up to 15 years in jail. For the record, RuneScape doesn’t endorse selling or trading of the coins and may begin enforcing lifetime bans for those caught doing so.