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Crossy Road has invented the 'endless Frogger,' and it's brilliant

Download Crossy Road if you have an iOS device. It's free. The game has been stuck in my mind like a thorn ever since I downloaded a pre-release version a few days ago.It's an "endless Frogger," where you swipe up, left, right or down to move your character and avoid cars, trains and drowning. If you move too slowly a bird grabs you and eats you, so you must always be moving forward. That's it. The further you get, the higher your score and of course you can share your score on social media. Things become very competitive, very quickly. You can find coins to buy chances at unlocking other characters, and you can also earn coins by watching ads. Or you can skip the ads and just use the stock character. Or you can pay actual money for the characters. It's all up to you. "I've done...

Here are the nominees for The Game Awards 2014

The Game Awards 2014 creator Geoff Keighley announced the nominees for the awards yesterday, and there's an eclectic mix of titles up for the top honor: Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. No game was nominated more than three times, with four titles tied for that number of nods: Dark Souls 2, Hearthstone, Shadow of Mordor and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Nintendo was the most-nominated publisher, with 12 selections. Staff members from a group of 28 publications, including Polygon, voted on the games of 2014 to put together the list. Games had to have a release date of Nov. 25 or earlier in order to be eligible. While Keighley is producing The Game Awards himself, without the involvement of Spike...
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Issue 01

Oct. 27, 2014

The Plan to Reinvent Call of Duty

Go behind the scenes to see how Sledgehammer Games spent the past three years building Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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Soap MacTavish is back from the dead in Call of Duty: Heroes

Classic Call of Duty warriors like Capt. Price, Soap MacTavish and Mike Harper feature in a new touchscreen mobile game, based on the military franchise. The Clash of Clans-style free-to-play game Call of Duty: Heroes is available today for iOS and Windows 8 devices with Android to follow. Players create military bases, production centers, defensive outposts and military units in a race to defeat opponents. Characters like MacTavish are brought in as elite units, creating kill streaks and unlocking extra powers. Soap MacTavish, a British SAS special ops soldier, featured in various Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games, before being killed in action. "Call of Duty: Heroes brings back these iconic characters from across the Call of Duty franchise to play once again in an all-new...

A guide to Hearthstone's newest cards

When Blizzard announced the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion for Hearthstone at this year's BlizzCon, one important fact stood out to hardcore Hearthstone players: NEW CARDS. Lots of them. When Blizzard sent Polygon all the details on the first 28 new cards in Goblins vs. Gnomes (of a promised 120-plus), we wondered if the developer itself might have some interesting thoughts on where these cards came from and how it expects them to affect the game. With that in mind, we now present the first 28 revealed Goblins vs. Gnomes cards with some thoughts on each provided by Hearthstone designers Ben Brode, Max McCall, Dean Ayala and Ryan Masterson. We've also tossed in our own immediate reactions. Warning: The language used in this feature is intended for knowledgeable Hearthstone players and...

Telltale's Game of Thrones will feature some of the show's stars, first trailer here (update)

Telltale Games' take on Game of Thrones will feature some of the main cast members from the HBO television series, the developer announced today while unveiling the first trailer for the episodic game. "Today we can announce that some cast members of the series will reprise their roles in the game," according to the press release. "While players will control five members of House Forrester in their story, the series will have them interacting with fan favorite characters throughout the season, including Tyrion Lannister performed by Peter Dinklage, Cersei Lannister performed by Lena Headey, Margaery Tyrell performed by Natalie Dormer, and Ramsay Snow performed by Iwan Rheon. Additional cast members will appear in later episodes." Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series, which...
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Skylanders Trap Team on iOS is now physically available in Apple stores for the first time ever

The iOS version of Skylanders Trap Team is now available as a physical starter pack in Apple retail stores nationwide for the first time ever, Activision announced today. The Trap Team Starter Pack for iPad includes a free download for the game, a wireless portal, two figures, two traps, a trap collection tray, character poster and five AAA batteries. The pack is also available for purchase on the Apple Online Store for $74.95. The game is compatible with third and fourth generation iPads. Skylanders Trap Team is also available on Android tablets, the Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A different Nintendo 3DS version is also available. For more on the game, check out our review.

Apple no longer labels free-to-play games as 'Free' on the App Store

Apple made a small but important change to its App Store today, dropping the word "FREE" from the installation button of games and other apps that are free-to-play and free-to-download, but might also include in-app purchases. Apple has swapped "FREE" for "Get" for all free iOS apps, though categories in the iOS App Store still use the word — "Top Free iPhone Apps," for example. The "Get" button also features a text label warning of in-app purchases in relevant games and apps. The change to Apple's App Store comes in the wake of pressure from regulators like the Federal Trade Commission, U.K. Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission. Regulators have pushed companies like Apple, Google and Amazon to adopt stricter guidelines in how they promote and display free-to-play games...
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Monument Valley's Forgotten Shores add-on hits Android Nov. 20 in Amazon Appstore

Monument Valley's new expansion, Forgotten Shores, will arrive on Android tomorrow, Nov. 20, developer Ustwo announced today. Forgotten Shores will be available exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for the first four days of release. The wider Google Play launch will occur next Monday, Nov. 24. "Amazon have been really committed to supporting us since the release of [Monument Valley] and sales have been surprisingly high," said Ustwo executive producer Dan Gray in an email to Polygon, when asked about the reasoning behind Forgotten Shores' timed-exclusive release on Amazon. "They've supported us in a number of ways during a crucial release period to make sure our Android version could be available as soon as possible and we're really happy we get to give Android users a version so soon...

How Minecraft looks with realistic graphics

This animation of a realistic version of Minecraft, created in Blender by YouTuber Flashcode, prompted the following responses from my kids, ages 4, 8 and 10. 8yo: "Is this a real game?" 10yo: "No, idiot. But it's nice." 4yo: "Awesome." It's a short film, in which Steve encounters a Skeleton, but Flashcode says it "still took me a long time to make."

Leaked images look like a first glimpse of Telltale's Game of Thrones

What looks like the first images of Telltale Games' take on Game of Thrones have leaked out, showing many of the series' familiar faces even if this game will concern the story of a new character from a minor house. The provenance of the images is not confirmed; this PlayStation 4 website from France posted them earlier today. Kotaku cites this Twitter account as the original source. It's possible these images are fake. It'd take a lot of effort to come up with them, though which look like a reasonable approximation of Telltale's art style. Telltale's Game of Thrones adaptation will be six episodes long and will take place during the events of the third through fifth seasons of the HBO series. The fifth season is expected to premiere in 2015. Late last month, a...

Gear VR is coming "early December," starting at $200

Gear VR is a interesting experiment with virtual reality. It uses the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for its brains and screen, along with software from Oculus, to make the whole thing run. The headset itself includes a number of sensors to give the user a high quality experience. We were blown away when we tried early versions of the hardware at Oculus Connect, and now the hardware has a release date and final price: You'll be able to pick up the Gear VR headset in "early December" for $199 if you're just interested in the headset, or $249.99 if you'd like a bluetooth controller bundled in. "The Innovator Edition, much like the Oculus Rift Development Kit, provides developers and enthusiasts everything they need to build and experiment with the platform before the hardware and software are...

Free-to-play ads are catching up to terrible '90s game marketing

What's the difference between a crappy mid-'90s video game ad, and a crappy 2014 mobile game ad? A supermodel and about $40 million. This short film is the new commercial for mobile game Game of War: Fire Age. It features model-and-actress Kate Upton as Athena, striding a fantasy battlefield, winking knowingly at the audience, and delivering a hoary old double entendre. The ad is due to run during Thursday Night Football, a marketing device for delivering lots of male consumers to the hawkers of thin lager and shiny man-trucks. According to Adweek, Game of War's owner Machine Zone is spending $40 million on marketing the free-to-play MMO. It's a fast-growing and highly profitable sector that's attracting a lot of really bad advertising, most often via online banner ads sold through...

Nvidia Grid streams on-demand PC games to Shield from the cloud, free through June 30

Nvidia's main argument in favor of its Shield Portable and Shield Tablet is that they're the ultimate on-the-go devices for hardcore gamers. The company's next over-the-air update, which arrives Nov. 18 on Shield Tablet and later on the Portable, is the latest step in Nvidia's efforts to deliver on that promise. Nvidia is publicly launching a cloud gaming service called Nvidia Grid alongside the upcoming update. Grid allows owners of either Nvidia Shield device to stream Windows PC games from the cloud, and from now until June 30, 2015, it will be available in a "preview period" for free. "It's launching as a real service, but it's going to be free," said Andrew Fear, senior product manager for Grid, during an interview with Polygon this week. "If you have a Shield product, you'll be...

PlayStation Vue, internet-based cable TV-like service, coming to PS3, PS4 and more

Sony is bringing an internet-based television service, PlayStation Vue, to PlayStation consoles and other devices later this year, the company announced today. "PlayStation Vue reinvents the traditional viewing experience so your programming effortlessly finds you, enabling you to watch much more of what you want and search a lot less," said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, in a press release today. "PlayStation Vue brings the best of live TV and a robust catalog of the latest content, always keeping you connected to what's popular, new and trending. Today's announcement builds on the historic success of PlayStation 4 and demonstrates what our company is capable of when we embrace disruption and stay true to gamers." PlayStation Vue will launch...

Monument Valley is nearly twice as large with a new expansion available now

An expansion for Monument Valley, developer Ustwo's visually stunning puzzle game, is now available as an in-app purchase on iOS for $1.99, the developer announced. Called "Forgotten Shores," the expansion adds eight new chapters to the game's original 10; you can check out the new content in the trailer above or the image below. According to the developer on Twitter, an Android version isn't far behind. We also want to say that our Android version will be available very very soon hopefully. — ustwogames (@ustwogames) November 12, 2014 In Monument Valley, players guide a princess named Ida through a series of colorful M.C. Escher-esque puzzles using touch controls to swipe, spin and manipulate her surroundings. Ustwo promised new levels were on the way in April. For more...

Indonesian police raid mobile game studio, think it's a gambling den

Police raided the Indonesian branch of mobile gaming giant Gameloft yesterday after local law enforcement mistook it for an online gaming den, local news site Tribun Jogja reports. Police reportedly first entered the studio without a warrant and attempted to "force their way past security" before returning with a warrant. Reports also state a policeman punched building security while attempting to enter without a warrant. Employees were then questioned regarding the types of prizes consumers earn for playing their games, the report continues. It is believed the raid was the result of a misunderstanding on the part of authorities regarding what the game developer actually did. Despite the raid, no charges were made on the game studio. Gameloft is best known for publishing numerous...

Telltale's Game of Thrones covers seasons 3-5 of HBO's TV series

The six episodes in Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series will run from late in the third season right up to season 5 of HBO's Game of Thrones television series, Telltale announced today. Season 5 is expected to premiere on HBO in spring 2015. Telltale has said all along that its adventure game series would be based on "the world, characters and events seen in HBO's TV show," which itself is adapted from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. The studio said today that players "will visit familiar locations such as King's Landing and The Wall." However, Telltale confirmed previously that for its game, it will also bring in elements from the books that haven't yet appeared on the HBO series. Case in point: House Forrester, which was mentioned in A Dance with Dragons,...

Average age of mobile gamer drops seven years as kids and teens grab smartphones

New research shows just how prevalent mobile gaming is in modern life, with the average age of mobile gamers coming down markedly in the last year. According to the 2014 Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming Report from EEDAR, there are 142 million mobile gamers in North America, up from 111 million in 2013. These mobile gamers spent an average of $32.65 in the last year, generating $4.6 billion in revenue. The top 6 percent of spenders generate about half of the mobile gaming revenue, while nearly half of all mobile gamers do not pay to play mobile games. The average age of mobile gamers is approximately 27.7 years old, which represents a seven-year decrease on 2013. This is a result of more children and teens owning smart devices as prices come down. EEDAR looked at the games...

Blizzard should be in flames; instead it's having its best year ever

By all normal metrics, this year's BlizzCon should have been a down year for Blizzard.Not only did the huge developer just announce the cancellation of its long-awaited MMO Titan just a couple of months ago, but lot of fans — myself included — assumed that it wouldn't have much to announce in Titan's place. This is a studio that is known for sometimes going five-plus years between major releases. Yet this year alone, Blizzard has released the final version of its digital card game, Hearthstone and an expansion to Diablo 3. That expansion came in a definitive package to consoles as well, a rarity in Blizzard's history that seems to have paid off. Not to mention, next week it will launch its fifth World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor. How could Blizzard possibly have...

Hearthstone's first expansion is Goblins vs. Gnomes, launches in December

As BlizzCon kicks off, Blizzard has revealed its first full expansion pack for Hearthstone, and it may be just a little wackier than you expected.Hearthstone production director Jason Chayes took to the stage during BlizzCon's opening ceremonies today to reveal Goblins vs. Gnomes, the first expansion for Blizzard's popular digital card game. "For our first expansion, we're going back to the beginning of Warcraft," Chayes said, "to the long-time rivalry between two races." Chayes built up the drama of this conflict between two races, one representing the Alliance, one representing the Horde. Then he unveiled a silly trailer with a song revealing those two races to be goblins and gnomes. Chayes stated that the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion will have "over 120 of the most dangerous cards...
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A new Batman game (that's also a Doodle Jump game) hit iOS today

Lima Sky's venerable mobile game Doodle Jump is getting a superpowered sequel with Doodle Jump DC Super Heroes, a new iOS game that gives protagonist Doodle the Doodler the tools to fight crime and strike fear into the hearts of cartoon criminals. Warner Bros. released the DC Comics-flavored endless jumper today, promising that the Batman-inspired powers included in Doodle Jump DC Super Heroes are just the beginning. Doodler will also get skills based on Superman and Wonder Woman's super powers in future updates. Batman's rogues gallery appears in the new iOS game, which is playable on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Players will fight Doodle Jump's versions of The Joker, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin and The Riddler. Players will also have access to Batman-inspired power-ups like the...
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