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Sega launches casual games portal


PlaySega! Online Casual Game Portal Logo

Sega has launched an online, casual game portal web-site called PlaySega, for Internet users in the United States and Europe.

Like other popular casual game portals such as Pogo and Yahoo Games, PlaySega will offer a variety of free to play web-games, including arcade, word, card, puzzle, quiz, Sonic-themed, and sports titles.

Among reasons to choose this casual game site over others, will be a port of Sega’s “Sonic At The Olympic games” mobile title, several titles in Sega’s “Brain Assist” Brain Age-style title for Nintendo DS that you can play online as well as games created exclusively for PlaySega such as Ice Shuffle and Aquatic Word Burst.

Each title will offer leaderboards and achievements for players to earn. Players will also earn PlaySega Rings (their form of PlaySega money) and can also create a profile that they can customize with decorative items and backgrounds, in addition users can invite friends to view their favorite games, their highest scores and any achievements they have earned.

There will eventually be a Paid VIP area of the site and Sega also plans to give users access to more and more exclusive web games such as Sega classics like Columns, Puyo Pop, Chu Chu Rocket, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Monkey Ball Tip N’ Tilt.

“Sega fans and new gamers alike can now come together in one place and enjoy some of our most exciting vintage and new titles,” says Sega of Europe’s network business director Nick Pili.

“There was a story out there recently that we have a locked vault full of retro Sega classics in Japan. Well, it’s true — and we’ve been given full access to a lot of the properties in it.”

Published on December 8th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , ,

Microsoft offers Holiday Deal of the Week prices and free online play for Silver members for select Arcade titles


The original banner advertising the Halo 3 Legendary Map Pack

Microsoft is giving holiday love for Xbox Live Gold members in the form of slashed prices on the Xbox 360 Marketplace from now until the end of December.

Major Nelson's GamerTag on Xbox LiveCalled the “Holiday Deal of the Week” program, there will be a new deal each week that will be available to download at a lower price worldwide from it’s announcement on Monday (which will be revealed on Xbox Live director of programming Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb’s blog) until the following Tuesday. After which it will have expired and a new deal will go up.

The first deal on offer will be the Halo 3 – Legendary Map Pack for 400 Microsoft Points ($5), which is a savings of $2.50. The Halo 3 – Legendary Map Pack adds three new battlegrounds to Bungie’s acclaimed shooter: Ghost Town, Blackout, and Lockout. It normally sells for $7.50.

In addition to this, Microsoft has announced the “Friendship Is Free” program which will allow Xbox Live Silver Members to play certain Xbox Live Arcade games online for free (normally you can only play online with a Gold Membership).

There are eight titles which are part of this program and they include:
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Banner

A Kingdom for Keflings, Aegis Wing, Bomberman Live, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, UNO, Small Arms and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.

Three new Final Fantasy XI Expansion Packs in development at Square Enix


Final Fantasy XI - The Vana'diel Collection 2008 on PCMore Final Fantasy XI is heading our way thanks to Square Enix, who has announced that three upcoming downloadable “scenario expansions” for both the PC and console versions of Final Fantasy XI are in development.

They are being headed up by Masato Kato, who is the original developer behind the story and scenarios of both the base Final Fantasy XI game as well as it’s first expansion pack, Rise of the Zilart.

The expansions will be available exclusively online via the PlayOnline Viewer for all platforms including the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 where it will be downloadable for purchase for all versions worldwide.

The first expansion entitled “A Crystalline Prophecy: Ode of Life Bestowing” will be released in Spring of 2009. It will be followed by “A Moogle Kupo d’Eta: Evil in Small Dose” and “A Shantotto Ascension: The Legend of Torn, Her Empire Born” (. . . . are they going for some kind of long, confusing, weird name award?) have yet to be dated.

Square Enix’s Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) RPG Final Fantasy XI retains a community of 500,000 subscribers (with 1.7 million player characters) split across three platforms — Xbox 360, Playstation 2 and PC — across which players of all formats can interact.

Grand Theft Auto MMO coming up next?


Pre-Order Grand Theft Auto IV on PCCould a Grand Theft Auto MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game be the follow-up to Grand Theft Auto IV?

Well it could be a possibility, as Take-Two Interactive Software’s executive chairman has stated that he thinks the future revenue of the industry will be from downloadable content and microtransactions, which he sees as the “holy grail” of the video game business and their “biggest opportunity” to create that revenue stream.

“The holy grail is taking a business, already a very large and successful business that’s focused on packaged goods…and turning that into a subscription business or a semi subscription business where we have an ongoing relationship with consumers, giving them products that they want,” Strauss Zelnick said Thursday at a BMO Capital Markets’ conference in New York. “Who’s better positioned to do that than the company that has the top franchises?”

Wrath of the Lich King for PCSubscription charges for games are generally frowned upon by a lot of gamers when they first think about it. But in actuality when the price is right, gamers are only too happy to pay up. World of Warcarft is the best example of this, given that there are over 11 million World of Warcraft subscribers.

And of course, downloadable content and microtransactions have been accepted in this day and age and are even wanted. You consider the backlash that a lot of Wii games get when the Wii version lacks the online downloadable content of other versions. I think that players like to have the ability of at least having the choice to purchase new content for their game. They’d rather have it, than not have the choice.

Burnout Paradise on PS3Of course, when it comes to charging for cosmetic upgrades (Dead Space Premium Upgrade Packs) or content that should’ve been unlockable (as in Mega Man 9) gamers call foul. But either way, I think that downloadable content is a good thing for the industry (see Burnout Paradise) and won’t be surprised if we see a Massively Multiplayer Online Grand Theft Auto game as the next game in the series, especially if the upcoming Xbox 360 Grand Theft Auto IV Lost & Damned episode (and future episodes) sell well.

And in other Grand Theft Auto-related news, Bill Cosby said this about GTA: “Cost your mother $250 to buy that for you so you can practice your entrance exam (to prison).” However misguided that statement is, it makes sense in his overall speech, which I encourage you to read.

Tabula Rasa goes offline on February 28, 2009


Tabula Rasa Gameplay Screenshot

NCSoft has pulled the plug on it’s science fiction MMORPG Tabula Rasa, which will go offline on February 28th, 2009. It will be free to play from January 10th, 2009 until the closing date.

In development since 2001 by Ultima creator and long-time series producer, Richard Garriot, Tabula Rasa was released in November of 2007 after a long and tumultuous development cycle as a sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game that blended shooter elements into it’s gameplay for a more action-packed experience.

Tabula Rasa on PCSadly the game didn’t perform well sales-wise and thus NCSoft will no longer be supporting the game, which has come along with massive layoffs from the company as well as Richard Garriot himself stepping down, making for some hard times at the MMO publisher.

Regardless, you may still want to check the game out before it becomes obsolete to check out it’s unique gameplay. The team has also promised that they will be doing some really fun things in the coming months to make it a bitter-sweet end.

Published on November 25th, 2008 under , , , , , , , ,

Spore MashON Comic Book Creator released


A Spore Comic in the MashON Spore Comic Book Creator

Spore Comic Book Creator BoxartMashON has released their Spore Comic Book creator. The online service allows users to create comic books using Spore imagery, sounds, music and videos from the game along with your very own Spore creatures and game play. You can then create your own story, comic book, graphic novel or what-have-you, directly in your browser (at this point it looks to just be online and NOT a retail product, yet there is this boxart).

After you have created your masterpiece, it can be e-mailed, uploaded to the MashON site, or embeded in the social network of your choice, such as myspace or facebook.

Give it a look at the official web-site on the link above. The Spore MashON Comic Book Creator does not require the Spore game to play.

Spore for PCSpore is Will Wright’s latest masterpiece and was released this past September on PC, Mac, DS (as Spore Creatures) and mobile platforms. The game allows you to take a created creature from microscopic organism all the way through the evolutionary chain to a galactic civilization capable of space flight and planet terraforming! The game was a success for EA, as Spore sold over a million copies in it’s first week, although that didn’t come without it’s own Spore DRM controversy.

Here is an interview from earlier in the year about the Spore Comic Book Creator.

Published on November 19th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria expansion pack out now


Mines of Moria Expansion Pack for PCThe Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria is the first expansion pack for The Lord of the Rings Online, the MMORPG game based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien (i.e., NOT based on the flims). Like all expansions packs, the game will add a bunch of new content for players of the subscription based MMO. The game was released today for PC.

The game is available in a normal as well as Collector’s Edition. The Collector’s Edition includes:

Mines of Moria Collector's Edition for PC*Unique premium book packaging
* 3 in-game item tokens
* Exclusive 22” x 22” premium cloth map of the Mines of Moria
* Exclusive special gold plated replica of The One Ring complete with chain and pouch
* Mines of Moria poster
* Middle-Earth map
* Exclusive The Lord of the Rings Online Art and Music Collection with the official Mines of Moria Soundtrack
* Full color Collector’s Edition Starter Guide
* Exclusive Online Community Badge for The Lord of the Rings Online forums

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria expands the online world of Middle-earth to let players explore the ancient underground cities of the dwarves, battle epic characters in the depths, face off with the Watcher, be a part of the fateful release of Durin’s Bane, and more.

Here is a list of features in the expansion:

* Speak Friend, and Enter – Moria, called Khazad-dum by the dwarves, was their capital and the grandest of cities. This enormous underground cavern in north-western Middle-earth, comprises an immense network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls that run beneath and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. For the first time, players of The Lord of the Rings Online will enter this ancient city which has served as the foundation for the modern-day dungeon-crawling adventures to battle the hordes of goblins and the Nameless of the Deep and journey through hundreds of new quests within six new kinds of stunning environments
* The Epic Continues — The Mines of Moria represents the beginning of Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Players can experience six new books as part of this update and participate in the release of Durin’s Bane, battle the Watcher, aid Galadriel and more
* Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 60, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests. The crafting system will also expand, giving players the ability to craft even more powerful items
* Discover Two New Classes — The Rune-keeper and the Warden, the first new classes to be introduced since the launch of the game, allow players to build exciting and powerful new characters in The Lord of the Rings Online in diverse new ways
* Forge Legendary Items – The Mines of Moria will introduce Turbine’s new item advancement system to The Lord of the Rings Online. Players will be able to forge weapons and class-related equipment and evolve them to build a legacy the likes of Bilbo’s Sting and Gandalf’s Glamdring. These legendary weapons will level-up along with the player, allowing customization by advancing the item’s virtues, adding runic legacies, modifying its titles and forming fables

Internet Channel to use tabs, Wii Speak


Nintendo and Opera have chiseled out an updated Internet Channel.

According to GoNintendo, the new browser will utilize tabbed browsing and Wii Speak compatibility.

Users will be able to track up to six tabs with the “tab cube,” a floating on-screen cube showing an open site on each of its sides. The update will also include a new button layout for the navigation bar and a built-in mail client for Wii Mail access.

The updated Internet Channel will be available in December in the Wii Shop Channel and will be a free download for existing users. It will cost 500 Wii Points for new users.

Published on November 12th, 2008 under , ,

Infendo Wifi Thursday – Tonight @ 9PM Eastern


Be sure to stick around this evening for some great community game time with Guitar Hero, Super Smash, Mario Kart, and more. Remember you can exchange your friend codes through the comments, forums, and Infendo IRC.

See you there!

Jake – GHWT: 451136795549

Published on October 30th, 2008 under , , ,

LittleBigPlanet online problems (fixed?)


LittleBigPlanet for PS3Woe is LittleBigPlanet and developer Media Molecule. Although their game is reportedly “amazingly awesome”, the game has been absolutely 100% plagued with issues since it’s release . . . and I use “release” lightly. That’s because the game debuted and hit store shelves, but then LittleBigPlanet was delayed a week and recalled (due to some lines relating to Islam in a song), and finally, it was released again (minus offensive song, of course).

All the while, people who do own a copy of LittleBigPlanet have been having major problems with the online portion of the game, which is really half or more of the fun in the game. Since it’s whole premise is around building and sharing levels.

reported a laundry list of issues that included: people stealing levels (i.e., copying levels already posted by rebuilding them and then claiming them as their own), levels build specifically to earn the maker trophies, people uploading broken or test levels, people asking for the codes for the LittleBigPlanet Kratos and Nariko Sackboy/Sackgirl costumes, and general server craziness. Which includes, but isn’t limited to: improper loads, game freezes and the game hanging up on you when trying to do something online, difficulty with checking your friend’s profiles and extreme difficulty with uploading levels. Not to mention extreme lag that almost made the game unplayable.

Although Joystiq has just reported that the servers may be back online and functioning properly after Media Molecule released a patch that is said to be meant at helping with server issues.

Media Molecule told Eurogamer, “We are aware that the online environment of LittleBigPlanet is having server performance issues, and we are investigating the cause. We’ll have an update to the online gameplay as soon as we possibly can.”

Hopefully the issues will all be resolved soon so everyone can get back to enjoying LittleBigPlanet the way it was meant to be played.

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