When Microsoft finally discontinued Xbox Live support for Halo 2 on April 15, it was the end of an era. Gamers from around the world who spent inordinate amounts of time fragging each other in Halo 2's many levels were forced to say goodbye.
However, as most left for newer alternatives, some refused to let go just yet.
"Throughout the past week, a small group of dedicated Halo 2 players kept their Xbox's on so that they could enjoy the game for a while longer," Bungie Community member "Joe Campbell" wrote in a forum. He said even though Microsoft has turned off support for Halo 2, the players have been able to keep playing the game because they haven't turned their consoles off and maintained a constant connection to Xbox Live since April 15.
"As long as we don't turn off our Xbox's, or lose connection, we can stay online," Campbell wrote. "Our Xboxes have been on for nearly 12 days straight."
Staying online for 12 days has been difficult.… Read more
Google loves to build platforms on which programs run--Android, App Engine, iGoogle, and in the biggest picture, the Web itself. But platforms are of no use, and aren't much fun, without applications on top, so Google often also kick-starts development with applications of its own.
Now it appears Google is interested in boosting development in a variety of casual gaming and entertainment areas with the acquisition of LabPixies, announced late Monday. The company offers a collection of games and lightweight utilities that run on iGoogle, Google's customizable home page, and on the iPhone and Android phones.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether minors have the right to buy violent video games in a case that tests whether computer software is guaranteed the same free speech protections as books, newspapers, and magazines.
On Monday, the justices agreed to review a California law that a federal appeals court struck down last year on the grounds that even children and teenagers enjoy free speech rights that are protected by the First Amendment. The case will be heard late this year or in early 2011.
Though not quite as bonkers fantastical as tying the knot with a video game girl, it's suddenly fashionable to treat virtual avatars as the real deal. Including, in this case, holding a real birthday party complete with cake and presents that no one will eat or open, for a Nintendo DS dating sim character in Konami's Love Plus called Anegasaki Nene.
Her birth date's listed as April 20, though being just pixels, this senior high school student in her third year remains ageless, of course.
Love Plus, which you probably won't be surprised to hear is … Read more
It's been a good year for PopCap Games. The Seattle-based developer and publisher has found success in its latest title--Plants vs. Zombies, which was recently ported over to the iPad and now sits in the top 10 grossing apps on the platform.
But what might be more impressive than that is the continued growth of the company's now 10-year-old title Bejeweled, an iteration of which is available as an application within Facebook. According to the company, the 11 million or so monthly active users average a staggering 43 minutes per session. All this for a game that only lasts a minute.
PopCap CEO David Roberts and co-founder John Vechey stopped by the CNET offices last week to talk about these two titles, as well as a few other topics, like digital-rights management, 3D gaming, and competing social games like Zynga's Farmville. Here's an edited transcript of our interview.
Q: When the iPhone first came out, you guys had one of the first Web apps. Was that more of just a tech demo? What's the backstory on that? John Vechey: Someone had actually made it. They didn't actually call it Bejeweled, but it was basically Bejeweled. We were like, "this kind of sucks, but it's kind of half-way there, and they used their own operating stuff." So we contacted this guy in Poland, and were like, "Hey, we'll give you some money to fix it up a little bit and respond to our feedback, and we'll buy it from you," and he said, "That would be awesome!" So that's how that happened.
Didn't you do something similar for one that could be played within World of Warcraft? Vechey: Someone did a Bejeweled-type game in WoW that was also kind of neat, but then it was kind of crappy in all these ways, so we said, "Hey this is pretty cool, want to make it Bejeweled?" and it turned into the same sort of deal. That guy now works for us.
David Roberts: John was trying to get him to come work for us before he finished college.
Vechey: He did! My arguments worked! It was like, "What do you want to do after you graduate college?" and he said "make games and work for a games company like you guys." We're like, "All right, so you can spend two years to do the thing that you can do right now, it's your choice."
Roberts: Our anti-education person John Vechey...
How long did it take to port Plants vs. Zombies to the iPad? Vechey: Two months maybe?
Roberts: It actually didn't start until the iPad got announced, so we didn't know about the iPad before it got announced. So it wasn't very long. The team was working a lot of late nights.
In these ports, who decides what features make it and which ones don't? Vechey: There's a producer who's in charge of them, and they're working with the developers and the original game developer to find that balance. And really, the producers have to be experts in the platform and know what should be kept, and what shouldn't be kept, and then know when to include the original game designers.
For example, Xbox is a platform that we go to. And we think of it more of an "adaptation" than a port, so we do end up doing a lot of changes. So Peggle on Xbox, for example, had multiplayer. Every Xbox game we're going to make is going to have multiplayer. For Peggle they spent a lot of time making the multiplayer mode and working with Sukhbir Sidhu, the original game designer, and they have to own that [game] and design it, but really get good feedback from the original game teams.
Speaking of Peggle, you guys promised you'd be bringing the game music to the iPhone version of Peggle in a future update. This was late last year. Is it still coming? Vechey: Is the future gone? No, the future is still coming.
Roberts: I thought we shipped that already. I guess we didn't.
Vechey: I have a feeling that might have been an empty promise. But I'm going to stick with "the future is not passed yet!"… Read more
Matt Casamassina, who has spent the last 13 years covering Nintendo at game publisher IGN, is leaving the company and heading to Apple. According to his personal blog, Casamassina will be in charge of curating the gaming content in the App Store.
What, exactly, that means isn't clear, though Casamassina wrote, "In a nutshell, I will be leading the charge for games on the App Store, so whether you browse through iTunes, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, the games content you see will be handpicked and organized by me and my team."
Netflix's decision to bring its instant-streaming service to all three major video game consoles could be a boon for its business, according to one analyst.
Wedbush's Michael Pachter believes that the film rental company will add 3 million subscribers in 2010, thanks to its streaming service being offered on Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii, according to a story in Gamasutra.
According to the report, Pachter found that "subscriber growth exceeded [his first-quarter] expectations," hitting 1 million subscribers. Based on that information, he revised his estimates up to the 3 … Read more
Editors' note: This post was updated November 6, 2013, with eight new games.
New iPads are here at last. Wondering which games to buy? Well, we've taken our best shot at putting together a list of top titles that we feel meet the criteria for a good iPad game.
And just what does make a good iPad game? We debated it for a while and narrowed it down to these five factors:
It's gotta be fun (obviously). Ergonomics. (Are the gameplay and control scheme well-suited to the iPad?) Uniqueness. (Though many iPad games play well as upconverted, higher-resolution versions of their iPhone predecessors, we respect new, iPad-exclusive games.) Value. (Some of the best iPad games currently carry high price tags, but we also tried to include titles we thought were simply a good value.) Showoff quotient. (Extra points if the game flat-out looks good, or makes efficient use of the Retina Display.)
Having trouble picturing what that Lego monster castle/spaceship/robot will look like when assembled? Lego is rolling out augmented-reality store displays that show shoppers, in 3D animation, what a completed kit will look like. The move follows other toy makers bringing AR to action figures and baseball cards. I'm waiting for cereal boxes in my supermarket to start spewing 3D cornflakes.
If what you've really been missing is a 10-pound, 10-inch statue of the Noble Team, the team of fighters that are the heroes of the hotly-anticipated video game Halo: Reach, then don't fret. Your time is coming soon.
Mere mortals may scoff at the need for such a collectible, but true Halo fans know that those who end up with these icons are going to be the envy of the many who can't get their hands on them. Thankfully, everyone will have the same chances of ending up with one.
On Thursday, Microsoft and Bungie unveiled the details of the Halo: Reach "limited" and "Legendary" editions, both of which are now available for pre-order and will be released sometime this fall. As previously reported, the Halo: Reach beta will begin on May 3. The game will be an Xbox 360 exclusive.
The limited edition, which will cost Halo fans $80, includes the game disc and manual, as well as a game disc "housed in recovered ONI 'black box;'" an Elite armor set that players can use when they're in multiplayer mode; and an artifact bag with the personal journal of Dr. Halsey, as well as "other classified documents and effects that unravel long-held secrets from the Halo universe."… Read more