E3 2012 – EA Keynote Highlights

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, E3, Featured, Game On, iOS, PC, PS3, Xbox

Graphic courtesy of Electronic Arts Electronic Arts (EA) takes the opportunity at their E3 2012 Keynote to highlight a few of their biggest hits. The publisher also reveals some of their goals for gaming development, including extended the gaming experience through more closely knit social interaction, more intuitive gameplay and digital downloads.

EA and Visceral Entertainment present Dead Space 3. This horror, action-adventure game is back and more thrilling than ever! It features, for the first time in the franchise, co-op gameplay. Rife with new environments, new characters and bigger baddies, Dead Space 3 promises more heart-pounding action, coming in February 2013.

For the sports fans, Madden NFL 13 looks to enhance the franchise with more authentic gameplay. The improved Infinity physics engine creates more realistic play by taking into account physicality, action and balance. The Connected Careers function allows for a more immersive experience with an engaging story mode that creates a whole world, even a virtual Twitter feed to provide fan reactions. Step onto the field August 28, 2012.

Just when your Sim was getting a little bored, EA announces a new Sim City for PC. With even more interactivity and larger global challenges, the world-building game is bigger than ever before. Scheduled for release in 2013.

To date, Battlefield 3 has 50 million players worldwide. EA is out to prove they are a premier digital entertainment company and DICE is on hand to assist in reaching that goal. Battlefield 3 Premium is a new rewards program exclusive to Battlefield 3 players. The program offers new skins, dog tags, weapons, server priority and more! The biggest benefit is access to 5 massive digital expansion packs, each focusing on different warfare tactics. Premier membership is available now $49.99 and members will receive early access to the first DLC pack, “Close Quarters.”

BioWare is celebrating the huge success of Star Wars: The Old Republic. They are not resting on their laurels, though. Adding more PvP action, nightmare difficulty mode, more companion characters, new level caps and abilities, and a new planet with a new storyline, BioWare is serious about expanding the game so many love and bringing in new players. In July 2012, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free-to-play up to level 15 for new players!

Medal of Honor: Warfighter goes global with their story and ties the game to real world events. Now, players will be able to choose to become one of the 12 different Tier 1 operators from 10 different countries. Serve your country October 23, 2012.

Another big focus for EA this year is to connect every game you play across every platform you play it on. Nowhere is the push towards this goal greater than in the EA Sports franchises, with FIFA 13 and Madden NFL 13 offering more interconnectivity than previously seen. I shared a bit about Madden NFL 13 earlier, so let us take a look at FIFA 13.

FIFA’s Football Social Network connects millions of fans to the sport, their friends and their clubs. To date, 11 million people make up the FIFA club. All returning 2012 players will carry their XP to FIFA 13 and will receive a special bonus in club. In 2012, iPAD, iPhone & Android users will be connected to club. The iPhone App will be re-tooled to provide greater functionality. Gameplay innovation unlike previous years. Leonard Messi is the cover player for FIFA 13 and a huge inspiration to gameplay with his dynamic dribble moves and attacking possibilities. Players can expect gameplay innovation unlike previous years, with a smarter AI system, player impact engine and greater control.

It is no doubt EA’s commitment to sports fans that prompted the mult-year partnership with UFC. UFC has a large, rabid fan base. The ink is still wet on this deal, so there is no news about a new game, but UFC fans can rest assured there will be a future for their sports on consoles.

Perhaps you are a racing fan. Not to worry, EA has not forgotten you. 2012 sees the next iteration in the hugely popular Need for Speed franchise, with Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The team at Criterion Games put their heads together to craft a game to allow the player to feel the rush of a driver on the run. This year, Need for Speed gets more competitive by making everything a challenge worth XP. Sexier cars, faster chases and more social connectivity. Get ready to put your skills to the test October 30, 2012.

Bringing back their award-winning development talent, Crytek pushes the boundaries of shooter sandbox gaming with the return of Crysis. Crysis 3 promises new tech, more powerful weapons and engaging story-telling to rival the 2 previous games. Don your nanosuit and prepare to take back the city February 2013.

EA is one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. The games featured at their EA keynote represent only a small number of their blockbuster titles. The publisher has many more upcoming titles, so stay tuned for updates.

Leave us a comment below to tell us what titles you cannot wait to play!

Good To Be A Gamer, Episode 106 – Week of 11/28/2011

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Category : Good To Be A Gamer

David Lucier and Jessa Phillips feed your need to know, bringing you the top stories from the video game industry. This week they’re talking indie games, iOS games, Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii, Zynga going public, plus Skyrim goodness!

Recorded 12/4/2011

Good To Be A Gamer is Available on iTunes!
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-to-be-a-gamer/id476489256

Dreamcast the Movie: Recasting Super Mario Bros.
Andrew Marnik has a feature posted on Good To Be A Geek, Dreamcast the Movie: Recasting Super Mario Bros. It’s a poll and we’re asking for your input. We’re taking the hollywood flop and asking you to re-imagine the film as if it were being produced today. Andrew’s provided several options for actors to play the key characters, as well as a few options for directors. Click the link below to make your voice heard.
http://www.goodtobeageek.com/?p=2218

 

NEWS

5 Indie Games to Watch For [Game Spy]
http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/legend-of-grimrock/1213355p1.html

Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombie App [Game Tyrant]
http://gametyrant.co/news/2011/12/1/call-of-duty-black-ops-zombies-app-released-on-ios.html

Judge Dredd vs. Zombies on iOS [IGN]
http://wireless.ign.com/articles/121/1213693p1.html

Xenoblade Chronicles coming to Wii in the US [IGN]
http://wii.ign.com/articles/121/1213814p1.html?_cmpid=ign1392

Zynga is going public . . . or is it? [Game Spot]
http://www.gamespot.com/news/6347035.html?part=rss&tag=gs_news&subj=6347035

Bethesda Softworks reveals what’s coming for Skyrim and Address the latest Patch Problems [Bethesda Blog]
http://www.bethblog.com/2011/12/01/skyrim-what-were-working-on/

 

ITEMS OF INTEREST

Skyrim Theme “The Dragonborn Comes” Cover by Malukah [YouTube]
http://youtu.be/4z9TdDCWN7g

Time’s Scar Cover from Chrono Cross by Lara [YouTube]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0b8FCxtkik

Able Gamers 2011 Holiday Shopping List
http://www.ablegamers.com/general-game-news/ablegamers-2011-holiday-shopping-list.html

 

EVENTS

TempleCon 2012 – February 3-5, 2011
Warwick, RI
Pre-registration is open!
h
ttp://www.templecon.org

Total Con 2012 – February 23-26,2011
Mansfield, MA
Registration opens in January
http://www.totalcon.com

 

CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Subscribe to the RSS Feed and get Good To Be A Gamer on the go at http://goodtobeagamer.libsyn.com/rss!

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.

Good To Be A Gamer Podcast by Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

Good To Be A Gamer, Episode 105 – Week of 11/20/2011

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Category : Good To Be A Gamer

David Lucier and Jessa Phillips bring you the top stories from the video game industry. This week you can turn your iOS device into a game controller, Square Enix expands Eidos-Montreal and invests in a second studio, EA makes good on Battlefield promises, Dave reports on the beta for Star Wars: The Old Republic, rumors of a Gears of War prequel and Ubisoft says no to a PC version of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Plus, David and Jessa have a frank discussion on the future of video game pricing models. Is $60 too much to pay?

 
Recorded 11/28/2011
 

 
NEWS

Good To Be A Gamer is now available on iTunes!!!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-to-be-a-gamer/id476489256

Dreamcast the Movie: Recasting Super Mario Bros.
Following up on last week’s discussion about video game to movie adaptations, Andrew Marnik has a feature posted on Good To Be A Geek, Dreamcast the Movie: Recasting Super Mario Bros. It’s a poll and we’re asking for your input. We’re taking the hollywood flop and asking you to re-imagine the film as if it were being produced today. Andrew’s provided several options for actors to play the key characters, as well as a few options for directors. Click the link below to make your voice heard.

http://www.goodtobeageek.com/?p=2218

Turn Your iOS Device Into a Game Controller with Brass Monkey [Lockergnome]

http://www.lockergnome.com/ios/2011/11/25/new-app-brass-monkey-turns-your-phone-into-a-cloud-based-game-controller/

Brass Monkey Website – http://www.playbrassmonkey.com

Square Enix expands Eidos-Montreal and opens a second studio [Game Spy]

http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/deus-ex-3-unofficial-title/1213059p1.html

EA Making Good on their promises . . . PS3 owners of Battlefield 3 will receive the free download of Battlefield 1943 [Kotaku]

http://kotaku.com/5862446/ea-smartens-up-giving-away-free-copies-of-battlefield-1943

Star Wars : The Old Republic – Jedi Consular Character Progression Trailer [Star Wars: The Old Republic YouTube channel]

http://youtu.be/bA_9BiyOB1A

Gears of War 3 gets prequel DLC and rumors of a full scale prequel title to be developed [Computer and Video Games]

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/327156/bulletstorm-dev-to-make-gears-of-war-prequel-trilogy/

Ubisoft develops Ghost Recon Online in lieu of a PC release to combat piracy [PC Gamer]

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/11/23/ghost-recon-online-being-free-to-play-is-a-counter-to-piracy-says-ubisoft-producer

 

DISCUSSION

Is the reign of $60 boxed games coming to an end? [Eurogamer]

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-11-25-5th-cell-boss-the-USD60-boxed-game-is-a-broken-model

 

CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Subscribe to the RSS Feed and get Good To Be A Gamer on the go at http://goodtobeagamer.libsyn.com/rss!

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.

 Good To Be A Gamer Podcast by Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

Starbucks Expands Pick of the Week Program To Include E-Books

Category : Bytes, Deals, News, Tech

 

Starbucks has enjoyed a successful partnership with Apple, in the form of their “Pick of the Week” promotion. “Pick of the Week” is an incentive program for Starbucks customers, a way to reward loyal Starbucks customers in the know. At many company-owned or licensed Starbucks locations, you can find small cards near the register or the beverage pick-up station. These cards entitle the bearer to a free “Pick of the Week.” Simply logon to iTunes or the Starbucks landing page and enter the redemption code listed on the card.

 

The program began with a free song download via iTunes. As of August 23rd, the “Pick of the Week” program grew to include apps for iOS devices. Earlier today, Starbucks introduced the next phase . . . with e-Books. September 13th through September 19th, the new “Pick of the Week” card will be available, while supplies last.

 

The newest “Pick of the Week” allows the bearer to download an extended sample of Erin Morgenstern’s digital book, The Night Circus via iBookstore. While the promotion does entitle the bearer to a free download, it is important to note the download is a sample only. Readers who wish to see how the story ends will need to purchase the e-Book to download the complete book.

 

e-Books are not the end of the road for the Starbucks “Pick of the Week” program. In the company blog post dated August 22nd, Starbucks mentioned the expanded “Pick of the Week” program would also include television shows and more. What exactly “more” is remains to be seen.

 

Read the Official Starbucks blog posts:
Our First Digital Book Featured as the “Pick of the Week” – September 13, 2011
Pick of the Week: Apps, Books, TV , Music and More! – August 22, 2011

 

Tell us what you think in the comments below. What do you think of the changes to the “Pick of the Week” promotion? Are you excited about expanding the promotion beyond free song downloads? Do you think the promotion will continue to be successful as they branch out into other mediums of entertainment?

Twitter Mobile Gets A Facelift…Enhanced Functionality for Touchscreen Devices

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Category : Bytes, News, Tech

You use Twitter. You have a smartphone. Chances are you have an app for that . . . but what if you didn’t, or what if you didn’t have access the app? If you are a long time smartphone owner, you have undoubtedly been a casualty of a Twitter-API Developer war. Twitter wants you to know, no matter where you are, they have you covered.

Earlier today, Twitter unveiled their improved, and oh so pretty, mobile web app via their official blog. Starting from scratch, the app is designed specifically with touchscreen smartphones and tablets in mind, capitalizing on their adoption of the latest technology standards, including HTML5. Twitter set out to embrace the functionality of these devices and create a slick, easy to use experience. Packed with all the usual features you would expect, such as @mentions, direct messages, conversation views, lists, search, trending topics, and more promised.

Courtesy of Twitter

Last week we saw Twitter purchase the popular API Developer, TweetDeck. Surely, it is no surprise to see the official mobile site looking a bit similar to the newly aquired app. Coincidence or not, this is a much needed step in the right direction for the mico-blogging site. Twitter has the data, it is good to see them taking steps to make the user experience better.

So far the updated mobile app is only available to a small number of iPhone, iPod Touch and Android users. To access the mobile app, simply point your device’s web browser to www.twitter.com. If you have one of these devices and do not see the updated app, do not fret, Twitter is gradually rolling it out over the next few weeks.

To read the official announcement, visit the official Twitter blog.

App Release – iOS: Today in Movie History

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Category : Bytes, Products, Tech

Jebs Apps, LLC announced the release of their Today in Movie History App for iOS devices in a press release yesterday. In addition to the availability on iOS devices, the Android version also received a major update.

 

Courtesy of Jebs Apps, LLC

 

From the official press release dated April 8, 2011 via PR Log:

“Do you like following the Hollywood scene? Do you like knowing when your favorite actor or actress was born or maybe when your favorite movie was released?”

 

 
The Today in Movie History app brings a bit of fun and trivia to touch devices and allows instant sharing with friends while on the go. While this is the first time, Today in Movie History has been made available for iOS devices, Android users have not been forgotten. To coincide with the iOS release, the Android version also received a major update providing even more interesting facts. The app now boasts more than 3,000 facts and trivia tidbits, including celebrity birthdays, movie release dates and much more. The app also allows you to share the fun with your friends with integrated connectivity via Facebook, Twitter, Email and SMS Messaging (where available on compatible devices). If you would like to submit your own movie history fact, you can . . . all without leaving the app.

Today in Movie History is available in Lite and Full versions for Android. The Lite version is ad-supported and does let you view the facts; however, users of the Lite version will not be able to share facts. The Full version also allows users to search for any date. Android users can purchase the Full version of Today in Movie History for only 99¢. Android users can download Today in Movie History now in the Android Market. Currently, only the Full version is available for iOS devices, also available for 99¢. iOS users can find Today in Movie History in the iTunes App Store.

Today in Movie History is not only great for fans of film, but fun for everyone. The app integrates interesting trivia, seemless connectivity and a slick interface. If you still are not ready to download, check out this video to see it in action.

 

 

Today in Movie History is the third mobile app released by Jebs Apps, LLC., following GoldenPic and Today in Geek History. Jebs Apps, LLC is a mobile development company founded by three friends out to make apps people can enjoy. The company’s primary focus is on iOS and Android devices.

For more information about Jebs Apps, LLC., Today in Movie History or any of their other apps, visit the Jebs Apps, LLC. website.

Read the complete press release on PR Log.

Review – Final Fantasy III on the iPhone

Category : Game On, iOS, Reviews

Square Enix released an iOS port for their franchise game Final Fantasy III last month. Peter Hurstak, Jr. gets his game on to determine if it’s worth the hefty price tag.

 

Courtesy of Square Enix

 

I’m sure by now everybody knows the sordid history of Final Fantasy III as it relates to its multiple US releases. The game game out on the Super Nintendo in 1994, but that wasn’t Final Fantasy III. It was Final Fantasy VI, but it was the third main-series Final Fantasy game released in the US, following Final Fantasy IV (which we called Final Fantasy II). The REAL Final Fantasy III, released in Japan for the Regular Nintendo, never actually made it across the Pacific.

A few years ago, Square Enix remade the game for the Nintendo DS and finally published it outside of Japan. Rather than spiffing up the original NES title’s sprite based graphics as they had with Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II (the REAL Final Fantasy II), however, they remade the game from the ground up with adorably stylized polygons. The remake was well received both critically and comercially. Five years after finally bringing the title to the states, Square Enix has repackaged and released the remake for the iPhone.

If you are unfamiliar with the DS game the iOS release has been ported from, but you are familiar with the other 3D Final Fantasy titles that have graced all forms of Playstation, you should definitely alter your expectations for what the tone and the style of this game are. As I stated above, the polygonal characters are adorably stylized, and I meant that. The characters look somewhat like dolls, which is unsurprising given the typical audience the game would find on the Nintendo handheld it was designed for. That said, the art direction is not out of place given the story it presents.

The game puts you in charge of the fabled four Warriors of Light, all of whom happen to be orphans. It features the classic Final Fantasy plot, where the four elemental crystals which govern the balance of the world are threatened by evil forces, and it is up to the aforementioned four to save the crystals and, ultimately, the world. It’s a old and perhaps kind of boring premise, but it’s not without its charm and it’s certainly bound to illicit warm and nostalgic feelings in those who were raised on the series before the arrival of the Playstation. These feelings will then be nurtured by the game’s excellent score, arranged under the supervision of original series composer Nobuo Uematsu.

The game also features a variant on the very popular job system that American gamers got a taste of in Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics. It does all the things that a remake of an older game should, touching upon and improving many of the aspects of a long-beloved series while also presenting an old story to a new audience. If you’ve ever been eager to relive the experience of playing a new old RPG, this title is certainly one to look at.

 

 

Regrettably, the iOS version of Final Fantasy III has its drawbacks once you get past the nostalgia. For example, I can’t help but wonder now how I ever managed to deal with random battles before. Several times, I found myself on the verge of throwing my phone as I fought imps, bombs and goos at an alarmingly frequent rate. This problem is unfortunately exacerbated by the games touch controls, as the virtual analog stick can often make it difficult to navigate your party through dungeons. It is not uncommon to run over and over again into walls (and, incidentally, into two or three random battles) just trying to go through a narrow doorway or even to stand in front of a treasure chest to open it.

The game also uses common iOS multi-touch controls like pinching and pulling to zoom into maps and reveal secret switches and passageways, but the constant random battles make the idea of exploration much less appealing than it should be. While none of this stuff bothered me when I was a kid, I feel as though I need to accomplish more when I play a game now. This is especially true in this case because a game played on a phone is played mostly in bits and spurts. When I have a free minute, I’d like to clear a floor of a dungeon or maybe locate a hidden treasure. Instead, I find myself fighting the same enemies over and over again. While the twelve year old Pete would love to spend his time grinding out levels and drawing out the dungeons for as long as they can go, I actually have other ways where I could be spending my time and would much prefer a game where the experience was rebalanced and the random encounters far less frequent.

Despite these concerns, I just couldn’t pull myself away from the game. Final Fantasy has always held a large, warm place in my heart, and for all it got wrong, it got so much more right. The price tag seems outrageous for an iOS game ($16?!), but I was able to justify it by telling myself that I was buying a present for a kid. Yes, I am the kid. I bought the game for the kid in me that’s still blown away by the SNES’s mode 7 effects as the whale ship in Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV) took off for the moon. If you’ve got that kid in you, then by all means spend your money on this game. As an entry point to the series, you may end up more frustrated with it than somebody who has already been tempered by the thoroughly ridiculous design conventions of 8 and 16 bit era RPGS. Still, the characters and story are charming enough that you may yet find something to love in this package. There’s worse ways to spend $16 in the app store. Without a doubt, Final Fantasy III is the best repackaged Square Enix property available on the app store, and the price should be the only barrier to entry.

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