The new Age of Empires is a fast-paced, touch-based game for Windows 8

The next entry in Microsoft's Age of Empires series is a fast-paced, touch-based multiplayer game coming to Windows 8. Called Age of Empires: Castle Siege, the new game will hit Windows PC and Windows Phone 8 in September. Castle Siege lets players choose from several civilizations — including the Britons, Teutons and Kievan Rus — then tasks them with fortifying a castle and surrounding city, training armies and attacking other players' castles. Microsoft says the game is being built with touch devices in mind, meaning players will control their armies with swipes of a touchscreen. The game bears a striking resemblance to Supercell's hit strategy game Clash of Clans, which is available for iOS and Android devices, but Microsoft promises "the strategy and combat Age of Empires is...

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...

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...
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    • Platforms: Win, 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Ubisoft
    • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    • Release Date: 2014-05-27
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    • 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
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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...

Swing Copters is the next game from Flappy Bird's creator

The latest game from Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird, is Swing Copters. Touch Arcade reports that the game will release Aug. 21 as a free download, with the option to pay 99 cents to remove the ads it serves. According to the video above, Swing Copters plays a lot like Flappy Bird; a player flies up on the screen instead of right, and taps to avoid obstacles to the left and right, instead of up or down. Swing Copters' available platforms were not specified. Flappy Bird became a mobile gaming obsession and a tremendous financial success at the beginning of this year until Nguyen removed it from the iOS and Google app stores, saying he was uncomfortable by the amount of time players were putting into the game. Flappy Bird returned with Flappy Birds Family earlier this month on...

Pokemon is coming to the iPad ... as a card game!

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is coming to iPad, according to Josh Wittenkeller on Twitter. The image above shows what looks like a version of The Pokémon Trading Card Game being played on a digital table on a white iPad. On the back of the cards is the familiar Pokéball design. The iPad game appears to be a version of The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, currently playable on Windows PC and Mac. A representative from The Pokémon Company confirmed the game is real, but could not provide a timeline for its release. The Pokémon World Championship takes place this weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C, and features events for The Pokémon Trading Card Game. The iPad game is already being shown to some attendees. While The Pokémon Company has created a...

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...

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.

Making games as a family taught us to ignore work-life balance

I quickly learned that the direct honesty that served me well as Art Director was a poor fit for business meetings. My producer would kick me under the table to get me to stop talking once they finally allowed me into important meetings with publishers."Time and place, Mister Stark," my producer would tell me. "Time and place." The creative process is split up into pieces in big-budget production. Design is separate from production is separate from marketing. Messaging is tightly controlled. Non-disclosure agreements place a sharp limit on what we can talk about. Our opinions are not the opinions of our company. Our company was adamant that we never work on the same team My wife, Nicole and I had spent years absorbing the same AAA philosophy. We worked at the same studio, though our...

Skylanders Trap Team delivers full game, portal, toys and controller to tablet for $75

When Skylanders Trap Team comes to Android, Fire OS and iOS tablets this October, it will bring with it an abundance of innovation, technological firsts and surprises, both good and bad.The game will be the first AAA title to make the leap to tablet with the full experience, on the same day it arrives on every other platform. It will ship with its own, tablet-holding Portal of Power and include a surprisingly well-designed wireless controller. It features special streaming technology that will install and uninstall game levels and characters on the fly while you play. The game, which ships with two Skylanders characters, two traps, the controller and portal, will cost a penny shy of $75 and, fully installed, will suck up a shocking 6 GB of space. "From what we can tell, no one has...

Donut County is like a reverse Katamari inspired by Bruce Springsteen and fake Peter Molyneux

Donut County is a new game by designer Ben "Torahhorse" Esposito that takes the basic concept of Katamari Damacy — moving a ball that gets bigger as it touches more objects — and gives it a negative space flip. Instead of controlling a ball (or a space prince), players control a hole. The more it swallows, the bigger it gets. Esposito describes Donut County as a "whimsical physics toy." It's coming to home computers and touch devices, Esposito says, and will make an appearance at Fantastic Fest's Fantastic Arcade in Austin, Tex. this September. We've played a version of Donut County before, when the game was known as Kachina. The game involved consuming small objects with the hole — rocks, blades of grass, chickens — in order to grow a larger hole that could then swallow increasingly...

What if video games could help us flirt?

Game Oven Studios is here to help me flirt. Not me specifically, but anyone who needs the help. "We have 14 anecdotes from people who used our games to flirt," says Adriaan de Jongh, one of three developers from the Dutch indie studio. "So you're at a bar, you meet someone you like, and maybe you start dancing," he says, pulling up an image of two people playing Game Oven's phone dancing game, Bounden. "Or maybe you start touching each other," he says, pulling up a different image of two people playing Game Oven's intimate finger-touching game, Fingle. Game Oven Studios is best known for its ice-breaking games. By forcing people into awkward, physical situations, games like Bounden, Fingle and Friendstrap (a mobile title where two people hold onto a phone and have a conversation with...

Drake and Lil Wayne kick off Street Fighter-themed tour, launch interactive mobile app

Hip hop artists Drake and Lil Wayne kicked off a two-month tour in New York on Friday, a tour titled "Drake vs. Lil Wayne," that will see the two rappers battle in Street Fighter style on stage.The Capcom-sponsored tour is complemented by a new iOS and Android app — also called Drake vs. Lil Wayne —that determines how the tour plays out. Through the app, which includes sounds and visuals pulled from the Street Fighter series (the two rappers are each rendered Street Fighter 4-style in the app), users can choose a side: Drake or Lil Wayne. They can then "button mash" and send power-ups to the rapper of their choice which, during the show, will fill up an on-stage meter for each rapper. In each city, on each night, one artist will emerge the victor based on audience interaction. Here's...

Phoenix Wright's latest adventure Dual Destinies is coming to iOS

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies, the fifth main title in the Ace Attorney series, is coming to iOS in North America and Europe soon, according to a post on the Capcom Unity blog. Dual Destinies launched for Nintendo 3DS in North America last fall, and is already out on iOS in Japan. The iOS version will include all content from the original 3DS version and will be in HD. In Dual Destinies, Phoenix Wright teams up with fellow defense attorney Apollo Justice and new assistant Athena Cykes to solve a series of interconnected crimes nearly 10 years in the making. Players will utilize a new system, Athena's Mood Matrix, to deduce witnesses' feelings and determine whether or not they are telling the truth. This winter, North America is also slated to get Ace Attorney Trilogy...
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