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...

A guided tour of the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

You see a lot of crazy stuff built in Minecraft. With tens of millions of copies sold, the game has spawned a closet industry of builders, hackers and tinkerers. Minecraft communities have reconstructed the mines of Moria. They've placed a steampunk city atop a giant tortoise. Minecraft is even being used to teach. The possibilities inside Minecraft seem endless. One user, Cody Littley, went a step further recently. He made a hard drive inside Minecraft. Without any third-party crafting aides, he built one kilobyte of read-write storage. He joined me for a guided tour.

Legend of Grimrock 2 now in beta, iOS port of first game shown

Almost Human's island-based dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock 2 is now in a closed beta, the developer announced today, and in the hands of a select group of players. Legend of Grimrock 2 is somewhat larger than its predecessor, Almost Human co-founders Juho Salila and Petri Häkkinen said in an update — about 25 percent larger. And although the game has been playable from beginning to end for some time, they say, there's still plenty of work to be done to polish and improve upon the game. The developer didn't provide an updated release window for the game, but did provide the above teaser trailer for Legend of Grimrock 2. Almost Human also showed off a shot of the iOS version of the original Legend of Grimrock running on an iPad. "A friend of us and a coder extraordinaire, Juha...

Assassin's Creed Memories is available for iOS now

Assassin's Creed Memories, a free-to-play mobile spin-off title from Ubisoft's Assassin Creed series focusing on card battles, is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch today via the App Store. Assassin's Creed Memories explores Renaissance Italy and Colonial America and adds new periods such as feudal Japan and imperial Mongolia. Players travel through time and collect cards while engaging in missions to hunt boss targets. Stats are boosted through the use of weapon or armor cards, while ally cards summon special characters to assist in combat. Multiplayer is available in the form of 20 vs. 20 player guild battles; participants build combos and choose their strongest to engage in front-line battles. The game is a collaboration between free-to-play mobile game developer PlayNext...

Swing Copters, clones and the dismal failure of the 'open' app store

This morning I went to install Swing Copters, Dong Nguyen's latest iOS game, and the follow-up to Flappy Bird. I put the words "swing copters" into the search field on my iPhone, and the first hit was Tube Revenge - Swing Copters.This is how quickly individuals and companies now jump on games they want to clone. The idea is to get their version of the game out as soon as possible, and then try to piggyback on the success of the "real" game. They just need to backwards engineer something that looks a tiny bit like it, get the name close, and then release their product. If enough people are confused, the revenue from ads or even in-app purchases apparently makes it worth it. It's worse on other platforms. Hey @GooglePlay, you are a part of the problem. —...

Clementine will make a stand as The Walking Dead Season Two closes next week

The fifth and final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two, No Going Back, will launch next week, developer Telltale Games announced today. No Going Back will be available for Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC on Aug. 26, Xbox 360 on Aug. 27 and for iOS on Aug. 28. The announcement was made alongside the release of the season's final trailer, which chronicles the emotional journey of protagonist Clementine and asks players to reflect on the choices they've made for her character. Be warned, the trailer is packed with spoilers for previous episodes in both seasons of Telltale's episodic drama — so you may want to hold off watching until you're all caught up — and includes an all-new scene created specifically for the trailer. The Walking Dead: Season Two episodes are...

With Han Solo, Leia and Chewie, Star Wars Commander is bringing back the force

On average, a Star Wars video game has been released once every 60 days for the past 30 years.Wikipedia lists about 180 games and full expansions stretching back to the early 1980s, for arcade, console, PC and mobile. That number only covers officially sanctioned titles and doesn't include pinball games or Flash titles. There's a new one out today, called Star Wars Commander. Like many before, its reputation and success will likely be built on its ability to deliver a solid and fun experience while evoking a fictional universe that, for decades, has held a particularly prominent place in popular culture. Although there have been exceptions, Star Wars games are rarely noted for innovation in gameplay. It's been a year since Star Wars' owner Disney shut down LucasArts and began...

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas' Frostwyrm Lair embarrassed us in front of you

Never in my life have I felt more alone than I did facing off against the final two bosses in Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas.Mainly because, well, I was alone. Phil's on vacation, and his timing could not be worse. But there's also something about the nature of those final two bosses that instills a feeling of isolation within you. Like, for instance, boss number one, who only permits you to have two minions on the board at any given time. And then there's Kel'Thuzad, whose infinite supply of ice magic will freeze you until dead, like you're on some sort of solitary Antarctic expedition. There's a lot of failure in the Overview video posted above — but there's a little bit of hope in there, too. And sometimes, a little bit of hope is all you need. Also, a well-timed Divine Spirit draw...

XCOM: The Board Game's companion app is more than just a gimmick

If XCOM: The Board Game were a regular board game, it might be terrible.But it's not a regular board game. It's a board game with a companion app, one that can be run inside a web browser or on a tablet. And the app isn't a gimmick. It's an integral part of how the board game works. It creates a tension that is wholly unique, bringing it closer to something like the Artemis Bridge Simulator or the indie iOS hit Spaceteam. "This wasn't a case where we added [the app] later," said Eric Lang, a veteran board game designer and the man behind titles such as the Warhammer-themed Chaos in the Old World, Quarriors! and Kickstarter hit Kaosball. "We said this is going to be a board game that requires digital integration. We don't want it to be ancillary, and we don't want it to just be an iOS...

Max Gentlemen, a game inspired by penis pill spam emails, arrives this week

Organ Trail creator The Men Who Wear Many Hats will release its free, "old timey arcade action" game called Max Gentlemen on Aug. 21 for mobile devices and PC, the developer recently announced. The game was funded via Kickstarter last year. Although the core experience is free, players can choose to purchase extra characters and levels. It also offers cross-platform local multiplayer to compete against friends. In Max Gentlemen, players will collect and stack hats in a Victorian-era world, mixed with "the over-the-top, pile-drive-your-mom aesthetics of professional wrestling." "When you drink a beer, a hat will fly upon your head, because you deserve it (for being so manly)," the game's description reads. Max Gentlemen was inspired by a spam email for penis pills received by a member...

Disney Infinity 2.0 comes with AI builders, game makers, interiors and more

Disney Infinity 2.0 brings with it a slew of new options for the open-world, build-it-yourself Toy Box mode of the toys-to-life game, the company announced this week. The new Disney Infinity, due out Sept. 23 in North America on PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Windows PC, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, includes a host of new options designed around some of the issues with the original game. Fans, myself included, found it frustrating to unlock the toys, pieces and characters they wanted to use in Toy Box mode. In the original game, things were unlocked randomly. In the new game, players can choose what they unlock. But that's the smallest of the changes coming to Toy Box. This time around players can easily control procedurally generated content on a map by simply choosing a theme they like and...

Activision has 'no plans' to sell Skylanders Trap Team controller separately

Publisher Activision currently has no plans to sell separately the game controller it designed for the Android/Fire/iOS versions of Skylanders Trap Team, a spokesperson told Polygon. The controller, which was designed specifically for the tablet version of the game, connects to tablets via Bluetooth and comes packaged with the portal on which players place their Skylanders figurines. The bundle, which comes with the full game, toys, portal and controller is priced at $75. Both the portal and the mobile version of the game work with most existing game controllers designed for tablets that connect via Bluetooth, like the SteelSeries Gaming Controller. The SteelSeries controller, priced at $79.95, currently cost more than the Skylanders-branded controller, portal and game combined. The...

WWE goes after that Hearthstone money with new digital card game

Blizzard's digital card game Hearthstone exploded in popularity this year, creating a flood of new card game devotees eager to try out a variety of experiences in the genre. With that hungry, growing audience, publishers are going to be looking to fill in any gaps in the market.Enter the latest competitor in the field: WWE Supercard. This 2K-developed collectible card game was revealed on the WWE website today. WWE Supercard is a free-to-play digital card game where players will build a collection of up to 400 current cards based around the various wrestlers, managers and retired legends that make up the WWE Universe. They'll be able to pair cards up into teams and go online for ranked multiplayer against other would-be Superstars. WWE also promises that Supercard will feature...

Watch us take on Hearthstone's toughest single-player boss yet

So far Griffin McElroy and I have been nothing but successful in defeating each wing of Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas expansion. The Arachnid Quarter? Crushed it. The Military Quarter? Brought to heel. And the Plague Quarter? Don't even get me started. This week, we face our biggest challenge in the most unlikely of places. How many tries will I need to take down a single boss? What poorly-constructed deck will finally do the trick? And what awaits us after that long struggle? Tune in to the video above to find out! And be sure to check back next week when we take on the fifth and final wing of Curse of Naxxramas.

Obsidian will create games based on the Pathfinder universe

Obsidian Entertainment has partnered with Paizo Inc. to produce games based in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game universe. The studio behind the classic Dungeons and Dragons adaptation Neverwinter Nights 2 — as well as Fallout: New Vegas and Kickstarter project Pillars of Eternity — has announced that its first project under the new deal will be a tablet game based on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Paizo previously worked as a licensee of Wizards of the Coast to publish Dungeons and Dragons table top game periodicals. When Wizards launched the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons in 2008, Pathfinder published its own source books based on the previous edition, known as 3.5. In doing so, Paizo leveraged the open-source nature of Wizard's previous Dungeons and Dragons iteration to...

The Walking Dead Pinball begins Aug. 26

Zen Studios' pinball tables based on the first season of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead will be released starting Aug. 26, the developer announced today. Release dates on each platform are as follows: Zen Pinball 2 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4  and  PlayStation Vita: Aug. 26 in North America, August 27 in Europe Zen Pinball 2 on Mac, Aug. 27 Pinball FX2 for Windows PC on Steam and Xbox 360, Aug. 27 Zen Pinball 2 for Wii U, Aug. 28 Zen Pinball for Android and iOS Aug. 28 Check out the gallery below and trailer above to see The Walking Dead Pinball tables and familiar locations like Macon and Savannah.
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