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Botanicula ready for iPad on May 1

Charming point-and-click adventure Botanicula will be available for iPad on May 1, according to its developer Amanite Design. To mark the news, a new trailer was released today, featuring the game's central insect-like characters, which are seeking to rid their garden-home of an unwelcome infestation of spiders and other bugs. Players help the heroes by exploring environments and picking up useful items. Created in the Czech Republic by the makers of Machinarium, the Windows PC original picked up various awards, especially for its audio work, which won an Independent Games Festival Award in 2012.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion Galactic Strongholds delayed

Galactic Strongholds, the upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, has been delayed from its June release for subscribers to August 19, senior producer Bruce Maclean announced via the game's official site. With the delay, BioWare will have time to add more features, including conquest events, expanded functionality for guilds, more strongholds, stronghold storage and decorations. "We have been listening to what you, our players, were hoping to see from the Galactic Strongholds expansion," Maclean wrote. "When playing early builds of Galactic Strongholds it became that clear that our June Early Access date was simply not enough. For this to truly feel like an expansion, it needs to include the full set of features, including those originally coming later in the year." In G...
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 'coming soon' to Android

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games' turned-based strategy game that pits a human resistance against alien invaders, is headed to Android "soon," according to a recent tweet from the series' official Twitter account. The game will be available through Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, according to the tweet. XCOM: Enemy Unknown arrived on iOS for iPad and iPhone last June where it's available for $19.99. You can check out the launch trailer for the game's first mobile incarnation below. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac and Windows PC. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - The Complete Edition, a version that includes its major add-on content, was released last month for Mac and PC for $49.99. For on the game's original incarnation, be sure to read Polygon's X...
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The Dreamcast was the beginning, and the end, of the golden age of peripherals

The gaming industry used to be flooded with interesting peripherals. The era of the music game gave us piles of plastic instruments across two generations of consoles. PC gamers embraced racing wheels and flight sticks. Even NES gamers fell in love with the Advantage. The act of adding accessories to your system for specific games was well understood, and even casual gamers participated in the rush for interesting hardware.Those days are gone, on both the consoles and PC. It’s rare to see even a flight stick these days, and peripheral-based music games have all but disappeared from the discussion. The options for peripherals are slim on all the latest systems: The PlayStation 4 offers a camera no one can find, and the Xbox One forces you to buy a camera that only sort of works for...
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See Skylanders Trap Team's new Trap Masters, villains and portal in action

Skylanders Trap Team features a new gameplay mechanic that lets players trap the action game's villains, thanks to an all-new portal accessory, and recruit them to fight alongside an all-new batch of Skylanders heroes. In Skylanders Trap Team's first trailer, how the new interplay between video game, action figure and accessories function is explained in a most fantastical fashion. The Toys for Bob and Beenox-developed Skylanders sequel is due Oct. 5 on a wide variety of console and handheld platforms. Skylanders Trap Team will support all of the existing Skylanders toys, and will add more than 50 playable heroes. The game will ship with a new base accessory, the Traptanium Portal, which is included in a starter pack that will sell for $74.99 and comes with two traps, a Trap Master and...
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Call of Duty 2014 first look teased by Sledgehammer Games

Developer Sledgehammer Games teased a first look at this year's Call of Duty at last month's Game Developers Conference, offering a split-second peek at the 2014 entry in Activision's popular shooter franchise. Thanks to the GDC Vault, which hosts video recordings of the conference's talks, those not in attendance at Sledgehammer's panel can get a taste of what this year's Call of Duty game will look like. "We can't talk at all about Call of Duty for this year," Sledgehammer's Michael Condrey said at the start of the talk he delivered with fellow studio co-founder Glen Schofield. "[Activision] said you can't show anything from Call of Duty this year, and you certainly can't show in-game rendered characters from this year's game." Condrey then briefly showed an image from the game...
Opinion
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I created my own MMO and lost 100 pounds, interested in signing up?

It had been this way for years. I’d bounced around various MMORPGs since first laying my hands on Everquest as a teenager. In spite of excelling in school and at work, I found myself preferring the hamster wheel of progression and the continuous, incremental and addictive gratification I found online. I’d log on and leave my 300 pound frame back in reality. That’s a story you’ve probably heard a dozen times before. What you likely haven’t heard before is how my seemingly "night-and-day" weight loss that followed came not by quitting an MMO, but rather by losing myself within one. Two years later, I've been able to lose, and keep off, 100 pounds. The Road To Launch I realized that the only way I’d be successful in changing my ways was to take what I knew and loved best, the massively...
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Games for Change Awards go to Papers, Please, Gone Home and The Mission US

Papers, Please and Gone Home took home awards at the 11th Annual Games for Change Festival today. Lucas Pope's Papers, Please, a dystopian simulator, won the Most Innovative category, which honors games that excel in creativity and aspire to bring new ideas to games for change. It was a finalist alongside Robin Arnott's SoundSelf and 12 Hit Combo's Súbete al SITP. The game also won the Best Gameplay category, in which it was a finalist with Fullbright Company's Gone Home and Preloaded's Tyrant. Thirteen, American Social History Project and Electric Funstuff's The Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey, a game where players take on the role of a Cheyenne boy in 1866, won the Most Impactful category. It was a finalist alongside Kognito's Start the Talk and Gigantic Mechanic's The Migrant Trail. ...
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Watch Dogs multiplayer video explores hacking and stalking other players

A video walkthrough of Ubisoft's upcoming action-adventure, open-world game Watch Dogs demonstrates how players can face off against others through hacks and more in multiplayer. The video is narrated by animation director Colin Graham, who explains that Watch Dogs' multiplayer takes place in the same world as its single-player options. Players will be able to connect with others through online hacking, a mobile companion app or through competitive decryption combat. As players explore the game's world, they'll have the opportunity to accept contracts and enter the games of other players. When players themselves are being hacked, they'll be notified that they're currently "being invaded." It's worth noting that when other players enter a world, targets will look like NPCs, rather than...
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Tapping into player psychology for Games for Change

Game developers looking to make games that promote social change should consider looking to psychology, because "we can't fix the social incidences without fixing the underlying causes," according to Dartmouth College professor and director of game research laboratory Tiltfactor, Mary Flanagan. Speaking at the Games for Change Festival in New York today, Flanagan said that many games that have been designed to promote social change are only scratching the tip of the iceberg, and to address the issues that are under the water developers need to look at how our social biases contribute to these issues. Flanagan cited psychology research that supported the notion that teaching people about injustices or discrimination and asking them to be empathetic toward others is ineffective. What is...
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Project Cars trailer touts photorealism and reveals a November release

A trailer released today for Project Cars, the upcoming racing game from Slightly Mad Studios, shows some photorealistic in-game footage. Press play above to see the game, which, according to the final seconds of the YouTube video, is headed for a November 2014 release. Project Cars is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and Windows PC. Its developers announced late last month that it will support Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality headset. You can watch our hands-on impressions of the headset below and read our interview with Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, to learn more about how Sony hopes to court indies with the technology. <img src='/images/manage/video-placeholder.png' width=640 height=360...
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How to achieve long term goals by changing how we think about short ones

Life is always a balancing act: in addition to planning for the future, we need to focus on our immediate environment. Many short term goals — like saving money and dieting — are ultimately beneficial for our personal futures. But in the present we may be too absorbed in the short term, for example not eating food we like or buying things we want, to see the long-reaching benefits of sticking to them. Professor Dan Ariely, who teaches psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, believes that understanding why we focus on our short terms goals and changing how we think about them could ultimately help us achieve our long term ones — and why we sometimes fall short. Speaking at the 2014 Games for Change festival, Ariely said that in principle we know what the right behavior...
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Zynga founder Mark Pincus steps down as chief product officer amid executive shuffle

Mark Pincus, the co-founder and former CEO of social game maker Zynga, is making another transition at the company, leaving his role as chief product officer to focus on serving as chairman of Zynga's board of directors. Pincus' role change is just one of many happening at Zynga, according to a note from current CEO Don Mattrick. In a letter to employees, Mattrick said he and Pincus "will continue to be close partners and work together" to lead Zynga. Pincus stepped down as CEO last year when Zynga brought Mattrick on board. Mattrick also announced a handful of new hires and new appointments, including Alex Garden, former general manager of Xbox Live and Xbox Music at Microsoft. Garden, who was previously CEO at Nexon Publishing North Ameica and founded Relic Entertainment, will serve...
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How commercial games can engage players in social causes

Video games designed for commercial purposes can act as a springboard for engaging players in social causes, according to a panel of developers who recently spoke at the Games for Change Festival in New York. The developers explained that commercial games can benefit social causes through a number of ways, which range from surface-level partnerships with charities, to working with non-profit organizations to design game levels that have social benefits for the players. One example the CEO of Direct Relief Thomas Tighe cited was the charity's partnership with social game developer Zynga. In this partnership, Zynga sold an in-game item in Mafia Wars, the proceeds of which went to Direct Relief's humanitarian medical aid program. The $6 special item sold more than 100,000 units, which...
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Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR approved by FTC

Facebook received U.S. government approval to acquire the virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus VR, according to the Federal Trade Commission's website. The FTC granted a request from the acquiring party, listed as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, on April 22. In late March, Facebook announced its intention to acquire the Kickstarter-funded virtual reality headset creator for $2 billion. According to a statement from the company at the time, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. "The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there's a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook March 25. "We're going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more...
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Goat Simulator video teases four-legged parkour in 1.1 update

A short teaser trailer from Goat Simulator creator Coffee Stain Studios on Facebook offers a look at the game's upcoming features. Update 1.1, which is expected to arrive mid-May, introduces a new playable map, achievements, additional goats and split-screen multiplayer. In the video, which you can watch on the game's Facebook page, Coffee Stain Studios demonstrates goat handstands and goofy parkour. During a previous email interview with Polygon, game designer Armin Ibrisagic said that the update will open "a lot of new doors" for modders. Multiplayer is being added to the game because so many players asked for it, he said. Goat Simulator was released for Windows PC April 1. For more on the game's stupid, ridiculous fun, check out our hands-on impressions from GDC 2014.
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How to make educational games more effective

Changing the world with games is hard. Speaking at the 2014 Games for Change festival, Zoran Popović — University of Washington associate professor of computer science and founder of its Center for Game Science — outlined why drastic transformative change with games is difficult to achieve, and what we can do to come closer to doing so. Popović discussed two "key" world domains that often look to games, scientific discovery and scholastic mastery for a wider range of students, detailing why games haven't revolutionized these areas yet. Popović said transformative change requires a large amount of effort over an extended period of time, in addition to real-world synergy behind it and a design focused on outcome to begin with — including outcomes that are unknown. A game by itself...
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Defense Technica arrives on Xbox 360 today

Defense Technica, developer Kuno Interactive's multiplatform tower defense/strategy game hybrid, arrives on Xbox 360 today. The Xbox 360 incarnation is available now in the Xbox Games Store for $9.99. A free demo of the game that tasks players with defending their core from "an onslaught of unrelenting biomechanical terrors" by using and upgrading tower defense weapons, is also available for download. Defense Technica was released last year for Mac and Windows PC and is available for $14.99 on Steam. You can watch a trailer released last year alongside the PC versions to see the game in action.
Video
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Will Watch Dogs live up to its original hype?

Welcome to Friends List!If this is your first episode, Friends List is a daily web series where we have one-on-one talks about a single question related to video games. The goal is to give both Polygon's many team members across the globe and those involved in covering, designing and releasing games, an opportunity to speak with you. Today on Friends List, News Editor Brian Crecente and Senior Reporter Colin Campbell ask: Will Watch Dogs live up to its original hype? The episode will begin at 2 p.m. ET (or thereabouts!) and will be available via YouTube following the recording. While you wait you can watch the previous episode: How is Game of Thrones free-to-play TV? Enjoy Friends List anywhere, anytime: Bookmark the Friends List video page. Subscribe to the audio-only podcast:...
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