Google cleans up Google Play store, removes dozens of Swing Copters clones

When Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen released his latest game Swing Copters on the Google Play store on Thursday, it hit alongside dozens of clones that had already flooded the Android app store. Today, the Google Play store looks vastly different, with nary a Swing Copters clone in sight. Dozens of developers jumped at the opportunity to capitalize on Nguyen's success with Flappy Bird — and the presumed popularity of Swing Copters — by uploading apps with names like Swinging Copter, Swing Copters Game, Swing Copters Free, Copters Swing and Swing Copters 2. Some were released by developers named Dong's Entertainment and Nguyen Ha Dong, an apparent attempt to further confuse Android users looking for Nguyen's app. This is what the Google Play store looked like earlier this week. I...

German and Russian armor clash in Combat Mission: Red Thunder

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

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  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gameplay trailer

  • Diablo 3 - Xbox One vs. PC comparison


That bucket came from the moon: Yep, Destiny took the ice bucket challenge

GameStop, Notch, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson, Bill Gates and just about everbody else have jumped on the Ice Bucket Challenge bandwagon. So, why not the Ghost from Destiny too? And yep, his notorious catch phrase figures in, too. Apparently video game characters can challenge one another to this — in which people dump buckets of water on their head to raise publicity for ALS research (and/or contribute directly to said philanthropy). Warframe's developers took the plunge and nominated Destiny, which now is obligating Kevin Spacey's character from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Joel from The Last of Us and George Lucas, to take a soaking. Additionally, until Destiny's launch on Sept. 9, Bungie is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from sales at the...

Sony closing down PlayStation Home in Japan and Asia

Sony is ending PlayStation Home in Japan and Asia but assures western fans of the virtual world that it will continue in their regions. Beginning Sept. 24, virtual items will no longer be for sale in PlayStation Home in Japan; the service there will end completely in March. A PlayStation representative told Game Informer the termination is only in that region. "PS Home in SCEA [Americas] and SCEE [Europe] operates independently, so this announcement does not apply to the service in those territories." PlayStation Home, an attempt to bring a Second Life-type of virtual lifestyle to the PlayStation 3, began in 2008. As of March 2013, it claimed 31 million users, though an account was free to anyone with a PlayStation 3.

California city repeals longstanding ban on ... playing pinball?

Though the threat of prosecution had been practically nonexistent, pinball had been outlawed in the city of Oakland for the past 80 years. That changed in July when the city amended the ordinance forbidding it. Oakland's strange ban on pinball wasn't so strange when it was enacted, reports the San Jose Mercury News. In the 1930s, pinball machines were more similar to slot machines than what is played today, and it was a form of gambling. Oakland's law was aimed at curbing gambling. In the 1940s, with the introduction of flippers, pinball became more a game a skill and less one of chance, but the game was still, technically, verboten in O-town. The repeal of that ban came in a July 15 amendment to a city anti-gambling ordinance, which the city council took up to address a loophole that...

Ouya strikes a deal to bring games to China

Ouya is teaming up with China's largest seller of smartphones, opening a gateway into Chinese homes for the maker of the Android console. Reuters reported this week that Ouya and Xiaomi reached a partnership that will likely result in a dedicated channel on Xiaomi's home products, which include set-top boxes called MiBox and MiTV. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said details of the arrangement still are pending, but she called the partnership a potential "turning point ... in bringing great content and developers to gamers and into a region that they have never had access to before." She said Xiaomi will probably commit to marketing the games, and revenue from their sales will be shared by Ouya, Xiaomi and developers. Ouya was funded with a very successful Kickstarter in 2012 but its domestic...

Watch the entire first act of the Mario Opera

Jonathan Mann, the musician who created the Mario Opera nearly a decade ago, has put the rock opera's first act on YouTube as part of a retrospective on the show. First performed over four nights in May 2005, the Mario Opera was Mann's tribute to Donkey Kong/Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto, whom Mann calls a creative role model and personal inspiration. Mann performed the musical another 30 times over the next 18 months before ending the show, citing burnout and concerns over licensing. The Mario Opera returned for a single night in August 2013. The video is of that performance. Until now, there hasn't been a way to see more than just excerpts from the show online. The opening number, "The Welcome Song," is above. The remainder of the first act, including his ode to...
Indie studio Question lampoons game development in The Magic Circle.

Development hell: The video game

On his wall at home, Jordan Thomas keeps a piece of artwork showing a feature cut from BioShock Infinite's development. It's a "Shadow Liz" drawn by former Irrational Games concept artist Robb Waters, from back when Thomas and FX artist Stephen Alexander experimented with a way to show that the game's "tears" were connected to the character Elizabeth. Thomas had the idea to make a "ghost" or "shadow" version of her appear next to each tear, but the team wasn't able to make it read clearly. Some who saw it thought it looked like a bug; others thought it looked like a "little glowy peanut," says Alexander. So Thomas hung up a piece of concept art for the idea as a badge of honor. "And in classic Irrational fashion, my mistake has a beautiful sketch surrounded by everybody's signatures,"...

Welcome to Pokégon: our page dedicated to Pokémon

Welcome to Pokémon week at Polygon, or as our talented design team has cutely rebranded us, Pokégon.Visit Pokégon by clicking here! What is Pokémon week? Why is Pokémon week? When is Pokémon week? Let's start with when. Pokémon week is running from August 18th to August 22nd. After Gamescom, new game releases lull before gradually ramping up in September and into fall. A handful of us at Polygon thought we'd use this time to meet one of our most common requests: more Pokémon stuff. This week, we'll be posting Pokémon stories, videos, galleries and GIFs. We'll be talking about Pokémon glitches, Pokémon urban legends and Pokémon's unflagging popularity. We'll have opinion pieces about the cultural impact of one of the best-selling games of all time. And we'll have a debate to choose...

The Long Dark arrives on Early Access next month

Wintry survival walkabout The Long Dark will be available on Steam Early Access on Sept. 22, developer Hinterland Studio announced today. The game's "Sandbox mode" will be offered, in which players are promised "dozens of hours of survival simulation" in the Canadian wilderness. To stay alive, the player must take careful note of vital stats, like calories, temperature, fatigue, hunger and thirst. Wildlife also abounds. "We'll be announcing some exciting new content updates as we get closer to the Early Access launch date," stated the developer. "Players can expect new gameplay systems, new gear, and several new locations to explore, as well as some other fun surprises."
Top Games
  • Watch Dogs
    • Platforms: Win, 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Ubisoft
    • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    • Release Date: 2014-05-27
  • Destiny
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Activision
    • Developer: Bungie
    • Release Date: 2014-09-09
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
    • Platforms: Mac, Win, iOS, Android
    • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, Win
    • Publisher: Namco Bandai
    • Developer: From Software
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
All Games

Disney Infinity is free to download on Wii U

Wii owners looking to upgrade their Disney Infinity experience to the Wii U version can do so on the cheap — the original game is now available to download free of charge from the Nintendo eShop. In order to play Disney Infinity, Disney's entry in the "toys to life" game category, you'll need the game's base and at least one Infinity figure, which are sold separately in the Disney Infinity starter pack. The downloadable version of Disney Infinity for Wii U includes the full game, including multiplayer and Toy Box level design through the Wii U GamePad. Disney Interactive and developer Avalanche Software will release the next entry in the series, Disney Infinity 2.0, which adds Marvel superheroes and villains, on Sept. 23. The new version of the game also introduces some Disney...

Russian and German armor clash in Combat Mission: Red Thunder

Last week saw the release of the version 3.0 upgrade to the current Combat Mission engine, an upgrade that is reflected in the standalone title Combat Mission: Red Thunder, which introduces Russian forces for the first time. Dave Tach joins Charlie Hall in this Overview to take a ride with a German armor group and see first hand the awesome firepower that a 70-ton King Tiger can dish out. Just a little over a year ago Polygon profiled the team at, makers of the Combat Mission series. Now well into its second decade, the series lets players take on the role of World War II commanders and fight out the great infantry battles of that conflict on their PC or Mac. What makes Combat Mission unique is something called a "WeGo" system, wherein each side issues orders to their...

'The Players' Score: A Videogame Music Documentary' is headed to Kickstarter with composers you'll recognize

Next week, the producers of The Players' Score: A Videogame Music Documentary will arrive on Kickstarter hoping to fund a feature-length documentary exploring video game music. Scheduled for release sometime in 2015, the documentary is being produced by independent filmmakers Kory Caldwell and Keaton Slansky. The documentary will contain interviews with composers, including: Danny Barranowsky (The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy) Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear, Bayonetta) Hiroki Kikuta (Koudelka, Secret of Mana, Shining Hearts) Manami Matsumae (Mega Man, Shovel Knight) Austin Wintory (The Banner Saga, Journey) Jake "virt" Kaufman (Double Dragon Neon, DuckTales Remastered, Shovel Knight) will compose the soundtrack. Caldwell and Keaton began filming in July 2014 and are taking...
Pokemon X/Pokemon Y

I've experienced the Pokémon World Championships, and you should too

The 2014 Pokémon World Championships took place last weekend in Washington, D.C., so I decided to tag along with a bunch of friends to check out what exactly happens at one of these events. I love Pokémon, and having grown up with the series I still enjoy playing the various entries released over the last two decades. I was never into the competitive scene, however, as I just prefer to enjoy the story and gameplay at my own pace. Competitive gaming is a huge part of the Pokémon World Championships – it’s in the name – but I'm not going to talk about the actual tournament itself. I want to talk about the excitement surrounding the event and some of the things that went on around the convention center last Saturday. Pokémon is about more than just video games and trading cards. It's...

Dead Rising movie snags 'Leprechaun: Origins' director

Leprechaun: Origins director Zach Lipovsky will direct the movie adaption of zombie survival series Dead Rising, TheWrap reports. Lipovsky's work includes several acting parts in addition to his work as a director on TV film Tasmanian Devils; he also appeared on a reality TV show for filmmaking called On the Lot. Tomas Harlan is producing the film, while Tim Carter penned the script as part of Contradiction Films — known for web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. The first Dead Rising game, set during a zombie apocalypse, was released in 2006. Dead Rising 3 was released last year. Dead Rising was announced as a feature-length film in June. The movie will stream first on Sony's Crackle video service in the U.S., after which it will be available on-demand and on physical media. The Crackle...

FIFA to crack down on Ultimate Team cheating and coin-farming

Despite banning "hundreds of thousands" of accounts in FIFA's Ultimate Team mode since February, EA Sports says cheating, bot use, and coin farming and selling remains such a problem that they have to warn users they face automatic and permanent bans for certain prohibited activities. FIFA 15, according to lead producer Marcel Kuhn, will deploy with automated systems that recognize these abuses, where in the past they were policed manually. A post today on EA Sports' official site prescribes a "straight red" card — that's a total account ban — issued for any discovered instance of coin selling or farming, or for using exploits to record false match results in FIFA Ultimate Team on PC. "In the past, this banning has been manual and labor intensive," Kuhn told Polygon. "That's part of...

You haven't played these Pokémon games, but you should

Not only have you not caught them all — you haven't even played them all.The Pokémon-playing community has proven to be one of the most industrious groups of fans this industry has ever seen. That tenacity is built into the franchise's very nature. To fully complete a PokeDex in Pokémon X and Y, you have to collect over 700 discrete monsters, either through catching, trading, evolving, transferring from previous installments or obtaining from timed Wi-Fi or real-world events. To even attempt high-level competitive play requires hundreds of hours of breeding, battling and pure, dumb luck. Despite the truly gargantuan amount of time demanded by the core series, there are fans who demand more — and fans who create more. Since the early 2000s, fans with the knowhow, software and artistic...

Do low game prices spell a 'mass extinction' for game developers?

This is the golden age of independent game developers, who, by their own ingenuity are able to make the games that they want to make, sell them via outlets like Steam, and promote them cheaply via social media.Many developers have become famous, at least within gaming culture. But according to one developer, the party is over. Earlier this week, Caspian Prince, co-founder of Puppy Games, delivered a provocative and controversial blog post, called 'The Dark Side of Indie PR,' bemoaning the decreasing prices of games sold via online retail portals. He said that a "cataclysmic event" had overtaken indie games, in which bundles and sales events had brought the value of indie games down significantly. "Our games are meant to be $10, but nobody buys them at $10. They buy them when a 90...

How Pokémon has stayed relevant

Pokémon is not a video game franchise known for making huge leaps. For nearly 20 years, the series has used the same catch and battle formula. And it's working — Pokémon is still popular. The launch of Pokémon X and Y, the latest entries in the main series, saw record-breaking success. In the weekend following its launch, both games sold a combined total of more than four million units to become the fastest-selling 3DS titles. In total, both have since sold more than 12 million units in under a year. And the Pokémon franchise as a whole has sold more than 260 million games worldwide since the release of its first games in 1996. On Nov. 21, the next set in the series — remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire — will launch for Nintendo 3DS. What keeps a franchise like Pokémon relevant?...

Eidolon is the most beautiful game I've ever thrown up in

Ice Water Games' Eidolon is a first person exploration/survival game set in a massive, stylized wilderness. In this overview video, I take my first steps into the wild. The pace is meditative, the gameplay is simple, and the narrative is as giant and nuanced as the world itself. While exploring the team's vision of a "post-human Western Washington," you need to take care of yourself, foraging, hunting or fishing for food, staying warm, and taking care of injuries. Failure to do so means getting sick — which usually means throwing up and subsequently starving. It's the most beautiful game that my playable character has ever lost their lunch in. Eidolon is available now on Windows PC and Mac.
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