Events

Pixelated Podcast Ep.005 – Fat Mexican Flu

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podcast_ep005

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Just got back from Penny Arcade Expo 2009 and we have some stories to tell ya. We got to meet up with some cool people, party it up, and get sick.  If you haven’t heard yet, PAX was hit with Swine Flu.  But I think it was more like the Fat Mexican Flu because Raul was sick before, during and after the show.  So, I think it was he that spread the disease around.

We also, gave out some prizes. Don’t worry, we’ll be giving out more next podcast live recording. If you want some swag, go to PixelatedLIVE.com this Sunday @ 4:30pm pacific.

tl;dr – Faunasphere

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Faunasphere

tl;wr (too long; won’t read)Very, very, very, very friendly and warm community. They’ll make you feel like you’re family. You can easily become addicted to it. Not recommended for a hardcore audience.

I. Overview

  1. Game title: Faunasphere
  2. Publisher and Developer: Big Fish Games
  3. Release date: March 2009
  4. Category: Casual, social game
  5. Development stage: Available
  6. Platform: PC, browser-based

II. Analysis

  1. Storyline/objective: Build up your Faunasphere (home) and get rid of the pollution.
  2. Target audience: Casual gamers – all ages, male or female

III. Interview/demo

  1. Person: Toby Ragaini
  2. Title: Vice President, Community Games

IV. Thoughts

  1. Self
    i. What I like
    - The players in the game are very friendly! Thanks for the help, BonnieJo!
    - Community is very warm and welcoming.
    - Very cute graphics
    - Game is not too demanding and is meant to be relaxing
    - Did I mention the players are super friendly?
    - The Faunasphere can be used as a way not only to showcase your high level, but also as a way to visually represent yourself
    - It’s free!

    ii. What I didn’t like
    - Gameplay is very simple – not very deep
    - While it might be easy to get addicted to this game, the rewards (bragging rights, getting a cool ending, etc.) aren’t very high

  2. Target audience
    i. Positives
    - Players will really enjoy how friendly the community is. Everyone is very helpful.
    - Lots of options for customizing your own faunasphere, and even breeding your different faunas to create new ones
    - Game is not demanding at all
    - You can play from anywhere!

    ii. Negatives
    - The casual players might be discouraged after seeing other players at much higher levels, but it could alternatively be used as motivation

V. Assets

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Gunnar Optiks at PAX 2009

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gunnar_optiks_logo_250x154Back in November, I saw an ad somewhere on the nets about some eyeglasses that could help your eyesight while staring at computer screens for a long time.  These glasses were called Gunnar’s.  After some thought, I decided to buy a pair.  I mean, whats $76 compared to a huge eye doctor bill in the future?

GunnarCatalystEdgeGlasses

I got a chance to talk with Mike from Gunnar Optiks and learned about the company’s origin and future.  A lot has changed since November with Gunnar.  Check out the video below to soak up some knowledge on why all gamers, designers, techies, and just bascially anyone who stares at screens for a long period of time need Gunnar Optiks.

An Ever-Expanding Audience: Jon Kromrey of Namco Networks on Casual Games

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Casual games aren’t just for the “casual gamer” anymore.

And it’s difficult to ignore when classic titles like Bomberman, Mega Man and Frogger have re-entered the stage with help from the Apple iPhone; they’ve exploded, blasted, and even hopped straight onto the palm of your hand. It’s like your childhood all over again, save for the blowing of the cartridge and angry hurls of the controller. And as this resurgence continues, one can’t help but wonder: why are more and more publishers beginning to create a large presence in the casual games department?

PacmanREMIX_screenshot1_EnglishEnter Jon Kromrey, the General Manager of the Apple division at Namco Networks. Prior to his position at this company, he has worked at Apple, Eidos Interactive, iPlay, Namco Hometek, and several other companies — his roles primarily engaged in productions. Namco Networks has been releasing many of their own arcade games, with Dig Dug, Galaga and even Ms. Pac-Man wakka-wakka-wakkaing onto the touch screen.

“It’s popular and it appeals to carriers,” answers Kromrey. But he doesn’t simply aim to resurrect old favorites in hopes of hitting an established audience. Namco Networks has plans for “brand new things” and games that are “newly licensed.” Many of the employees at Namco Networks have history at Apple and EA, further adding quality to casual games that are sometimes ridiculed by a more core audience. Professionals with experience at console publishers aren’t afraid to get their feet wet in the casual market. Why is this?

Because the casual market is rapidly growing. Because creating an iPhone application is significantly less expensive and is sometimes more effective than creating a full-scale console game. And most importantly — because more than 21 million people own an iPhone.

“It’s like watching the stock market. You move when the market moves,” says Kromrey. He has mentioned once before that Apple’s mobile platform represents a “gold rush” that can’t be missed. Several thousand iPhone apps are submitted every week. The sales channels are open and it’s time to supply the demand, especially when almost everyone is willing to play.

flash-on-iphoneMr. Kromrey was kind enough to reveal a new game being released on the iPhone. Worst Case Scenario is an iPhone game that takes after the book of the same title. Players will be put into a tough situation (for example, being encountered by a mountain lion), and will then be given choices of what action to take. You gain points depending on how rational your choices are. The game is essentially a much more interactive version of the book, and would appeal not only to fans of the already-established brand, but also to those who are fans of Darwinism. Casual? Yes. Exclusively for “casual” gamers? Not at all.

Unfortunately, I had a very limited amount of time with the game (I’m talking about close to 2-3 minutes), and am unable to give you my full-fledged take on it. In fact, I can’t even give you a screen shot. However, if you’d like to learn more about it, it seems that the game is already a part of Namco Networks’ mobile division.

Lastly, to answer a reader’s question — yes, Kromrey is well aware that Soulcalibur > Tekken. This is because Kromrey had actually worked on the game. He provided no official comment on such games appearing on the iPhone, but he did mention that there are many problems that arise when trying to develop those titles. On a flat touch screen, it’s difficult to get the perfect controls, and even more difficult to do a move that requires a quick movement. He was kind enough to throw us a bone, however, claiming, “I think it’s just a matter of time.”

While some gamers are adamant on playing only the action-packed, smoothest-looking, million-dollar budget games with no less than a hundred billion pixels per frame, casual games appear to be taking it back to the basics. And when iPhone apps and PC downloads are available at a fraction of the cost — what’s there to argue?

tl;dr – Fairytale Fights – PAX 2009 Preview

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fairytalefights

tl;wr (too long; won’t read) - Gratuitous violence with cute characters! Great to play when you’re either (1) recovering from a break-up or (2) drunk.

I. Overview

  1. Game title: Fairytale Fights
  2. Publisher and Developer: Playlogic
  3. Release date: October 27, 2009
  4. Category: Platform adventure
  5. Development stage: Beta
  6. Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Read On

tl;dr – Military Madness

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military_madness_nectaris

tl;wr (too long; won’t read) - If your balls are big enough for Military Madness, there’s no need to scream about being in Sparta.

I. Overview

  1. Game title: Military Madness: Nectaris
  2. Publisher and Developer: Hudson Entertainment, Backbone Entertainment
  3. Release date:  Summer 2009
  4. Category: Turn-based strategy
  5. Development stage: Available
  6. Platform: XBLA, PSN, WiiWare

Read On

tl;dr – Dragon Nest Preview

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dragon_nest

tl;wr (too long; won’t read) – It’s still in development, so they have some time to add more cool shit. But for now, (1) Haven’t I played this somewhere before? (2) SICK COMBAT SYSTEM – ALRIGHT! and (3) Back to playing WoW.

I. Overview

  1. Game title: Dragon Nest
  2. Publisher and Developer: Nexon America, Eyedentity Games
  3. Release date: “Sometime in 2010″
  4. Category: Fantasy MMORPG, F2P, dabbles in FPS
  5. Development stage: Open beta in Korea. Not yet started in US.

Read On