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AMD providing educational tools to teach kids STEM skills through game design

AMD is helping to educate middle-schoolers in the crucial fields of science, technology, engineering and math by providing tools that will allow students to learn those skills by designing games, the company announced today. The microprocessor manufacturer has partnered with Lambton-Kingsway Junior Middle School in Toronto, and is providing the school with a mobile lab containing HP ProBook laptops. AMD has also teamed up with E-Line Media, a publisher of educational games, to bring E-Line's Gamestar Mechanic to the students. Gamestar Mechanic is educational software that teaches young people how to make video games. E-Line will also provide a professional development workshop for teachers to help them learn how to use the software in classrooms. "We believe that game design is a...

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Consoles may be going on sale in China, but few games likely to pass state censors

Though China recently set regulations for the sale of video game consoles in its Shanghai free trade zone, ending a longstanding ban in that country, games themselves still must pass a long list of restrictions before government censors will allow them for sale. The good news for would-be publishers is that the approval process is said to take no more than 20 days, though companies outside of China must work with a Chinese distributor or partner. The bad news is China's broad list of proscriptions could conceivably find something wrong with most any game published in the west. According to this government release (as translated by Games In Asia), video games that feature any of the following are forbidden: Gambling-related content or game features. Anything that violates China's...
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Fract OSC review: dead or alive

Who knew club music could feel so lonely? Fract OSC, a hybrid of rhythm, puzzle and exploration games, abandons you inside a broken synthesizer. It's a dark and quiet cavern littered with orbs, boxes and planks that occasionally react to your existence. The environment is distant as it is cold. There are no characters, human or otherwise, and the architecture is sharp and alien. If your office copy machine could dream, perhaps this would be its fantasy: a Tron-like wasteland free of pesky humans. Your job — as the only living thing here — is to fix the synthesizer from within. Don't expect any help. There's no explicit instruction. At first, the goal appears to be find the stations plotted around the landscape, which once discovered, act like a web of futuristic monorail...
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Games for Health Conference 2014 features Papo & Yo developer keynote this June

The 10th annual Games for Health conference will be held in Boston June 18-20 and include a keynote from a developer of Papo & Yo, organizers announced today. The conference, which is dedicated to exploring the intersection of games and health, will corral developers and health professionals and offer sessions, keynotes and more than 60 speakers. Vander Caballero, creative director at developer We Are Minority, will present a keynote to discuss creating Papo & Yo, a game about alcoholism and abuse. Caballero will also discuss Silent Enemy, the studio's upcoming iPad game about bullying. Organizers will also hold the fourth annual Games for Health Europe Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, Oct. 27-28. You can learn more about both conferences at the official Games for Health website....
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How Dragon Age: Inquisition's trailer opens up new story

Story has always been a central pillar in the enduring popularity of BioWare's Dragon Age series. A new trailer out today seeks to set the stage for Dragon Age: Inquisition, due to be released Oct. 7, 2014. Dragon Age: Inquisition begins with the events at a peace conference between the warring mages and templars. An explosion wreaks havoc on the tentative plans, while causing the extinction of many members of the world's ruling classes. The Inquisitor emerges from the chaos, ostensibly being blasted from metaphysical realm the Fade. The game's central character is given the power to fill the power vacuum, leading the Inquisition against invading demons, pouring through The Rift. "There's an interesting undertone here of people in the world believing that you have been sent as a...
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Armello: the sneaky, treacherous race to the throne

"What we've always loved in board games is treachery," says Trent Kusters, co-founder of game studio League of Geeks. "Treachery in board games is great. It's like one minute we're buddies, but you know at some point one person is going to stab the other in the back." Kusters is demoing the alpha build of Armello, League of Geeks' debut title for PC and tablets, which is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. It's a digital board game. Players tap on their hero character to move it around as they would on a physical board. They roll virtual dice like they would physical dice. And they commit acts of treachery, they plot and scheme and form alliances just like they would in a traditional board game. "That's what we wanted to set up," Kusters says, "the ability for people to create...
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Check out Minecraft's upcoming terrain creator in action

An update headed to the PC version of Minecraft will allow players to create their own terrain down to the grittiest of details, according to a video recently shared by Team Mojang on YouTube. The video above demonstrates the terrain creation feature, which will hit with Minecraft update 1.8. The feature includes 16 different sliders for players to tinker with when building their environment — including biome depth, height and weight as well as the field's depth of noise. Players can use these sliders to play with these variables or input values directly, giving absolute control to creators in terms of how structures will be generated. According to the YouTube description, Mojang will provide seven pre-set terrain options in the update that they feel players will find "interesting,"...
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TIGA announces Games Tax Relief tour

U.K. trade association TIGA announced today plans for a Games Tax Relief tour to provide game developers with more information on how games industry tax relief will affect them. This follows confirmation that the European Commission has lifted its block on tax incentives for the U.K. games industry earlier this year. The lift on tax incentives results in roughly £188 million in additional investments for U.K. games businesses between now and 2019. "TIGA is focused on helping game developers and digital publishers succeed. So we are organising the TIGA GTR Tour to help developers understand how tax relief can unleash the creative and financial potential of their studios, and drive innovation & experimentation in their business," said TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson. "We want as many game...
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Ace Combat Infinity launching for free to PS3 on May 27

Free-to-play PlayStation 3 release Ace Combat Infinity launches May 27, publisher Bandai Namco confirmed today. The game is currently in development from studio Project Aces, best known for the flight simulation series. Ace Combat Infinity takes place in the near future and includes solo mission as well as up-to four-player multiplayer, pitting two teams of two players against one enemy to inflict the most damage. The game was first announced last year, with a tentative release window of late 2013. "The Ace Combat franchise has evolved dramatically over the years, but never before have we been able to offer its amazing graphics and tactical action for free," the publisher's Europe's senior vice president Olivier Comte said in a prepared statement at the time. "The team at Project...
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ilomilo developers reveal unreleased prototype Brisby & Donnovan

Game designers Simon Glesser and Magnus Gardeback have revealed prototype gameplay for a title the duo worked on at developer Southend Interactive before the studio shuttered. A video uploaded to the official YouTube account for canned project Brisby & Donnovan gives you a glimpse at the co-operative side-scroller that was in the works before the pair launched their own studio, Simogo, in 2010. The game stars Brisby, a small man in a bear suit, and Donnovan, a golem-type character made up of packages who can grow in size. Players control Brisby and toss boxes onto various objects and characters to bait Donnovan into eating them to increase in size and eventually eat larger objects. Southend Interactive shuttered last June, with staff later hired by Ubisoft's Massive game studio to...
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Train Jam 2014 offers up first batch of games

The first batch of games conceived out of Train Jam 2014, a 52-hour game jam held on a train travelling from Chicago to San Francisco, are now available on the event's official website. At the time of writing, the growing list currently offers 18 games available to freely download for Windows PC, Mac, Oculus or Android, or play online in a browser. Games include Android title Disconnect from Rami Ismail, Brice Puls and Benedict Fritz; Off the Grid by Matthew Hudgins; and, Oculus Team by Alicia Avril and Andrew Gleeson. The event, which took place March 13-15, offered a way to rally developers heading to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and create games whilst in transit. Train Jam was organized by Adriel Wallick, an indie game developer based in Boston and sister of...
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Riot Games reveals the next League of Legends Champion: Braum

League of Legends developer Riot Games has revealed the next playable Champion in its roster: Braum, The Heart of Freljord. The character is detailed in a new post on the studio's website, which describes Braum as being designed to fill a specific gap in League of Legends. Braum is the first legitimate tank support in the game, who is playable in the multiplayer online battle arena game's bottom lane. "While other supports focus on buffing, heals or disruption, Braum fills a unique role between the two teams, taking the brunt of the damage for his team and letting his damage dealers do their thing," the post explains. Braum is also capable of creating zones of safety behind him to protect his teammates. Additionally, while the character can only do a limited amount of damage, he can...
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Destiny website revamp offers more on enemies, classes, locations

An updated website for Bungie's upcoming sci-fi shooter Destiny teases more information about its enemies, three character classes and locations. Destiny is set on a future Earth after it experienced a golden age introduced with the arrival of the Traveler who "breathed new life into our system." Its arrival brought rain to Mars and made the atmosphere of Venus habitable. Human colonies on planets within the solar system are now in ruins and colonized by interstellar visitors who are searching the ruined golden age settlements. Players are placed in the role of one of three Guardian types or character classes. New videos of the three character classes, detailed in Polygon's E3 in-depth interview with its developers, are available on the website. The character classes include the...
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Picross e4 hits Nintendo 3DS May 1

Picross e4, the latest iteration of developer Jupiter Corporation's picture crossword puzzle game franchise, will be available for the Nintendo 3DS in North America on May 1. Picross e4 was released in Japan last November in the Nintendo 3DS eShop and was previously reported to head to Europe and North America by the end of April. The fourth game in the Picross e series features new 20x15 puzzles, Micross and Mega Picross modes and more than 150 new puzzles. Picross e beginners have access to tutorials and rule options, while players with save data from previous games can play additional Special Puzzles. Pricing information isn't currently available. Picross e3, the series' previous entry, launched last October in North America for $5.99 through the eShop and Europe last November...
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Developers from CCP Games to wrestle MMA fighter during Eve Fanfest

This year's Eve Fanfest, the annual celebration of all things Eve, will include an event called "Eve of Destruction" in which 10 developers from CCP Games will face off against mixed martial arts fighter Gunnar Nelson, the studio announced today. According to a press release from CCP, the individuals will engage in "actual physical combat" against Nelson (photo above), an Icelandic UFC fighter who is a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. During Eve of Destruction, Nelson will partake in 10 back-to-back bouts of one-on-one wrestling against members of the CCP team. There will be only one win condition: submission. The format is a gauntlet — each match will run for as long as it takes, and the breaks between the fights will last only as long as is required for the next combatant to...
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Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day launches today in Australia and Europe

Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day, a side-scrolling action game tied into manga artist and Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo's four-part animated film Short Peace, is available now for PlayStation 3 in Australia and Europe, Bandai Namco Games Europe announced today. The PlayStation 3-exclusive video game component is directed by Goichi "Suda51" Suda, whose credits include killer7, Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer Is Dead and the No More Heroes franchise, and tells the fifth and final part of Short Peace. Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day follows the titular hero, "an average girl by day and a deadly assassin by night," according to Bandai Namco. "For the first time in video game history, Bandai Namco Games Europe is pleased to bring to players this tremendous cross-media experience," said Herve Hoerdt,...
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Multiplayer coming to Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile

The mobile version of NetherRealm Studios' fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, is set to receive a multiplayer update, according to a teaser posted by DC Entertainment. Injustice: Gods Among Us was released last year. It features villains and heroes facing off against one other, while the mobile editions use collectible card mechanics. The trailer, which you can view in the video above around the 48-second mark, provides a brief look at the update. Players will be able to challenge their friends and participate in leaderboards; no other details were provided. A date for the update was not announced. Console and handheld versions of the game already include ad-hoc multiplayer and traditional multiplayer over wi-fi. The free-to-play mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us is...
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BloodRayne: Crimson Slayer is the Japanese version of BloodRayne: Betrayal

BloodRayne: Betrayal, the sidescrolling action game from WayForward Technologies, has been localized into Japanese and will be released May 1 on PlayStation 3, publisher Arc System Works announced today on the game's website. Last week, Arc System Works posted a teaser site featuring a countdown for the BloodRayne project. BloodRayne: Betrayal was originally published by Majesco Entertainment in September 2011 on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, but never made its way to Japan. Arc System Works, the studio behind the Guilty Gear franchise, is publishing the Japanese localization of BloodRayne: Betrayal, which is known as BloodRayne: Crimson Slayer. You can check out a trailer for Crimson Slayer above.
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Xbox One arrives Sept. 4 in Japan

Microsoft's Xbox One will launch in Japan on Sept. 4, the company announced today, revealing a list of more than 40 games heading to consoles in the region. Pricing information was not revealed. According to the announcement, 48 game developers (listed in full below) in the region have expressed their interest in developing software for the Xbox One, which will add to the titles already available for the console. Games that will be available in the region include Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Sunset Overdrive, "Halo on Xbox One" and Dead Rising 3. A list of titles announced for release in Japan is available on Microsoft's website. According to a Famitsu interview with head of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer, Microsoft is planning special announcements to...
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