Social gaming firm Kabam said today it has signed a multi-year lease on a “spectacular” new office in downtown San Francisco. The move shows that the city is ground zero for the social game industry.
I'm always saddened when I reach the conclusion of an epic trilogy — partly because of all the amazing memories I'm left with, and partly in fear of terrible spinoffs due to overambitious publishers.
Bitmob has a writing challenge this month; the challenge is to revisit some of your worst gaming peripheral purchases and write back with your newfound feelings. Challenge accepted. In the years I've partook in video games as a hobby and source for journalistic inspiration I too have experienced the phenomenon known as "Buyer's Remorse." In most instances the effect wasn't immediate – otherwise I'd have returned the item unless I inadvertently broke it while trying to use it (e.g. the Tiger R-Zone) – but for one reason or another I regret purchasing, fawning over, or being excited about all of the following: 6. Sega 32x & Sega CD (Genesis) It's not very often that you can get burned by the same console's add-ons twice (not unless you bought both the HD-DVD player and Kinect for the Xbox 360) so when the Mega CD was released for the Sega Genesis I happily nabbed myself one of the devices. I then realized the moment I took it home and tried it out that I had made a terrible mistake. Let me just spell it out this way: one of this platform's launch titles was Make My Video: Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Whether or not you subscribe to the belief that "console launch titles have an excuse to be bad" let me remind you that this is a game where your entire directive is to make a music video… …for a Mark Wahlberg rap song. When the 32X showed up I was hesitant to adopt the technology seeing as how the last Genesis "upgrade" was akin to installing Windows 3.1 on an Alienware computer, but I took the bait (and edgy 90's advertising) anyways and took home a device that made my ailing Genesis look like it had some kind of cancerous growth both on its head and coming out the side of its ass. Plus there were wires. Oh god, the wires. There were so many criss-crossing cords and three AC power cables that I couldn't even play the damn thing without either unplugging one of the add-ons or getting one of those 6-way power strips. And for what? A version of Doom that was missing almost a dozen levels in exchange for two extra tracks in Virtua Racing DX? Sounds like a legitimate deal. My dead grandparents have aged better than these things. Revisited in 2012: One of the handful of important cables to my 32X has been lost to the sands of time and thus I cannot actually use it anymore. I do, however, possess a JVC XEye – a Sega Genesis and built-in Mega CD combo console – because apparently being so dissatisfied with the console the first time around led me to eventually buy a second one. Must have been a drunken impulse buy. I decided to confront an old nemesis in the form of Marky Mark himself and booted up his sole venture into the gaming world (ignoring the fact that I had done this a year prior when I was writing my book Nintendon't). Guess what? You'd be surprised to learn that not a whole lot has changed in the two decades it's been since this thing's release. I honestly forgot how poorly the Mega CD handled video compression; it's like I'm staring at an over-compressed GIF image of a shirtless Wahlberg rapping about Sunkist. I have a giant TV now, something I only dreamt of in the nineties, and good lord does this thing look atrocious on my television. It looks like someone added bacon bits to a lentil soup and dumped it on top of a Powerpoint presentation. And honestly? I think that's the first time anybody's ever used that phrase to describe Make My Video. I feel like I've accomplished something here. 5. Keyboard/Web Browser (Dreamcast) There has never been a more star-crossed console than the Dreamcast, or rather, The Legend of The Dreamcast. Its downfall is a mystery to us all, but it's likely because the console was released too far ahead of its time. Legend has it that the Dreamcast was actually created in 2004 but a Sega representative traveled backwards in time to deliver the schematics to 1998 thinking that releasing the console six years before its intended release would equal massive profits. Unfortunately, that plan failed and the time rift left in 2004 ("the future" at the time of the Dreamcast's release) resulted in Ashlee Simpson releasing a debut album. I came into possession of my Dreamcast as a Christmas gift in 1999 and a couple years later, just before the Dreamcast gave its last breath in the United States, I picked up a copy of Typing of the Dead and a Dreamcast keyboard. I'm getting ahead of myself here, though. One thing I loved about the Dreamcast was the fact that it came with a built-in modem, what seemed like an entire spool of telephone cord stolen from an AT&T truck, and a CD curiously titled "Web Browser". See, I was always a big fan of being able to have the World Wide Web on a screen bigger than the crappy CRT that came with my Windows 98 brick but I was never too fond of WebTV (which I am surprised to learn is still around today). The Dreamcast was the perfect bridge between having a proper computer with Internet access but not being forced to use the clunky quasi-broadband crap that was WebTV. Except I could never get the Web Browser to work. So I ended up playing Sega Swirl until I became very, very, good at it. Revisited in 2012: SegaNet has been dead for a whole decade. Typing of the Dead is still a riot, though. 4. Transfer Pak (Nintendo 64) I am notoriously spiteful and hateful toward Pokémon Snap, the North American market's debut Pokémon franchise title on the Nintendo 64; when Snap was released in the United States there was already a Pokémon Stadium available in Japan and that simply didn't sit well with me. When Stadium was finally announced for release in the States I was ecstatic to say the least. When they said you could use this device called a "Transfer Pak" to trade your Pokémon Red and Blue teams into the Nintendo 64 I just about crapped myself. This may or may not be hyperbole. For the first few weeks of having the Transfer Pak I relentlessly used it to upload every single Pokémon I had ever captured into Pokémon Stadium and meticulously stormed through the quest to unlock the fabled Surfing Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow. Non-stop Pokémania 24/7. Then, as quickly as it started, support for the Transfer Pak dropped completely. Outside of Japan the only other games that supported the Transfer Pak were Perfect Dark with its atrocious Game Boy Color port, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and fucking Mickey's Speedway USA. Your options were essentially "Pokémon or that shitty Mickey Mouse rip-off of Mario Kart 64" while over in Japan the Transfer Pak was boasting connectivity between Mario Paint and the Game Boy Camera. No thank you, Nintendo. Revisited in 2012: Every single accessory released for the Nintendo 64 was a load of crap, and I can say that with a clear conscience because there was technically only two of them: the Transfer Pak and the Voice Recognition Unit for Hey You, Pikachu! The Transfer Pak still works fine for the purpose it's intended to serve. I can still use it to trade my decade-old Pokémon into Pokémon Stadium and I can still use it as an awkward middleman to play Pokémon Blue on my television, you know, in case I manage to misplace my Super Game Boy. With the exception of being able to transfer my battle hardened pocket monsters into another game the Transfer Pak is wholly and entirely worthless. Do I look like the kind of jackass that not only owns Mickey's Speedway USA for N64 but also GBC and am dying to do whatever it is that game could do with the Transfer Pak? I've never played that game, and I never intend to, because I don't fit the criteria to be in that game's demographic: I am not a socially challenged 10-year-old, and I am not a child predator. Bitmob issued a writing challenge this month: Revisit some of your worst gaming peripheral purchases and write back with your newfound feelings. I accept. Why, Lord? WHY? In the years I've partaken in video games as a hobby and source for journalistic inspiration, I've experienced a lot of buyer's remorse. In most instances, the effect wasn't immediate…otherwise I'd have returned the item (unless I inadvertently broke it while trying to use it, like the miserable Tiger R-Zone). But for one reason or another, I now completely regret purchasing, fawning over, or being even slightly excited about all of the following. Sega 32X and the Sega CD (Genesis) It's not very often that you get burned by the same console's add-ons twice in a row (unless you bought both the HD-DVD player and Kinect for the Xbox 360). So when the Mega CD released for the Sega Genesis, I happily nabbed myself one. I realized my mistake the moment I got it home. Let me spell it out by singling out one of the launch titles: Make My Video: Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. This is a game where your entire directive is to make a music video for a Mark Wahlberg rap song. When the 32X showed up, I hesitated, seeing how the last Genesis "upgrade" felt akin to installing Windows 3.1 on an Alienware computer. But I took the bait and added something to my ailing Genesis that looked like cancerous growths on both on its head and its ass. And oh god, the wires. I couldn't even play the damn thing without either unplugging another add-on or buying a bigger power strip to accomodate three AC power cable. And for what? A Doom port that sacrificed a dozen levels in exchange for two extra tracks in Virtua Racing DX? A game, I should note, that looks exactly like what you'd see if you inhaled bath salts and stared at an origami book. My dead grandparents have aged better than these things. Revisited in 2012: I lost one of the many mportant 32x cables and cannot actually use it anymore. I do, however, possess a JVC XEye (a Sega Genesis and Mega CD combo console) because my earlier dissatisfaction apparently led to a drunken impulse buy. I decided to confront an old nemesis and booted up Marky Mark two decades past its sell-by date (while writing my book Nintendon't). I'd honestly forgot how poorly the Mega CD handled video compression. Just try staring at an over-compressed GIF of shirtless Wahlberg rapping about Sunkist. On a modern LCD, it looks like someone added bacon bits to lentil soup and dumped it on top of a Powerpoint presentation. I think that's the first time anybody's ever used that phrase to describe Make My Video. I've accomplished something here. Keyboard/web browser (Dreamcast) There has never been a more star-crossed console than the Dreamcast. Its downfall remains a mystery to us all, but it clearly arrived before its time. It came with a built-in modem, what seemed like an entire spool of telephone cord stolen from an AT&T truck, and a CD curiously titled "Web Browser." See, I'm a big fan of having the World Wide Web on a screen bigger than the crappy CRT that came with my Windows 98 brick, but I was never too fond of WebTV (which I am surprised to learn is still around today). The Dreamcast bridged the gap between a proper computer with Internet access and the clunky, quasi-broadband crap that was WebTV. So naturally, I picked up a copy of Typing of the Dead and a Dreamcast keyboard. Only I could never get the Web Browser to work no matter which disc I used. So I ended up playing Sega Swirl until I became very, very good at it. Revisited in 2012: SegaNet has been dead for a whole decade. Typing of the Dead is still a riot, though. 4. Transfer Pak (Nintendo 64) I am notoriously spiteful toward Pokémon Snap, the North American debut Pokémon franchise title on the Nintendo 64. By the time Snap released in the United States, Japan already had Pokémon Stadium, and that simply didn't sit well with me. When Stadium finally arrived in the States, I was ecstatic. When Nintendo announced you could get a Transfer Pak to transfer your Pokémon Red and Blue teams to the Nintendo 64, I just about crapped myself. That may or may not be hyperbole. For the first few weeks, I relentlessly used the Transfer Pak to upload every single Pokémon I'd ever captured into Pokémon Stadium and meticulously stormed through the quests to unlock the fabled Surfing Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow. Then, as quickly as it started, support for the Transfer Pak vanished. Outside of Japan, the only other games that supported the Transfer Pak were Perfect Dark (with its atrocious Game Boy Color port), Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Mickey's Speedway USA. Your options were essentially Pokémon or that shitty Mickey Mouse/Mario Kart 64 rip off. Over in Japan, the Transfer Pak boasted connectivity between Mario Paint and the Game Boy Camera. No thank you, Nintendo. Revisited in 2012: I classify every single accessory released for the Nintendo 64 as a load of crap, and I can say that with a clear conscience because there were technically only two of them: the Transfer Pak and the Voice Recognition Unit for Hey You, Pikachu! The Transfer Pak still works fine for the purpose it intended to serve. I can still use it to trade my decade-old Pokémon into Pokémon Stadium or as an awkward middleman to play Pokémon Blue on my television. You know, in case I manage to misplace my Super Game Boy. With the exception of being able to transfer my battle-hardened pocket monsters into another game, the Transfer Pak is wholly and entirely worthless to me. It's my own fault for not being a socially challenged 10-year-old or a child predator. Game Boy Printer (Game Boy)
I've seen the standard "burning home village" and "chosen one prophecy" reasons for embarking on a grand adventure plenty of times — but "poked in the chest by a giant dragon" is a first for me.
I've always wondered what the hell poffins really were in the Pokémon series. The easy in-game solution is that they are berry-based confections you make and feed to your Pokémon, but that doesn't explain exactly what they are. I understand their basic function but not what foodstuff a poffin should resemble.
Seamus Blackley, the co-creator of the Xbox, passionately believes that gameplay will triumph in the game business. That is why he and his new startup are relying on a team of famous designers from Atari to make a series of games for the Apple iPhone and iPad.
My left thumb takes a serious pounding when I play fighting games (I should get a joystick…I know), so I appreciate breaking up the action with a relaxing bonus stage.
THQ chief executive Brian Farrell ate some major crow on his company’s analyst conference call today.
KISS frontman Gene Simmons has revealed that he’s in talks with Rovio to develop a KISS/Angry Birds game.
Video game publisher Activision has announced that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′s content season for Call of Duty Elite members on the PlayStation Network will kick off on February 28 with the release of two new multiplayer maps, Liberation and Piazza.
THQ‘s net income for the third fiscal quarter fell short of the number expected by analysts. The results show how tough the video game market has become for publishers that aren’t executing with a number of great hits.
Take-Two Interactive Software reported a big drop in earnings due in large part because of the delay of its major video game, Max Payne 3. The earnings decline was in line with the expectations of analysts, who had been forewarned, but revenues fell short of expectations.
Many of Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft’s online services will be offline starting Feb. 7 as it moves its servers from a third-party data center to a new facility. During this time, Ubisoft says the online features of some of its games will be affected by the transition, while some of its games will be completely unplayable, including a number of single-player games that use the publisher’s unpopular “always-on” digital rights management system (DRM).
The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences is an elite professional game group that puts on the annual Dice Summit gaming event in Las Vegas and selects the winners for the equivalent of the game industry’s Oscars. So it’s interesting that the academy is adding two new board members from Nexon and Zynga.
2012 is the Year of the Dragon, which means it’s the perfect time to buy dragon-themed games on the Nintendo 3DS eShop! At least, that’s how the company seems to be pitching Chinese New Year.
Tomorrow is my religion’s holiest celebration. Groundhog Day is the time each year when all Murrayists, those of us who worship the one and true Bill Murray, relive his movies over and over until we learn a lesson. Yes, we even watch Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, or at least the devout do. May the Venkman be with you.
Flaregames has raised 6 million euros, or $7.9 million, in a funding round led by Accel Partners. The money will help beef up the company founded by Klaas Kersting, who also founded Germany’s Gameforge.
Valentine's Day isn't for another couple of weeks, but we here at Bitmob couldn't resist an early attempt at matchmaking with our latest Bitmob Wants You writing challenge. A little while ago, we asked community members to dig up some of their old neglected gaming peripherals and get reacquainted with them to see if the spark was still there. It was kind of like The Parent Trap, but with way more fake mech controls and 100 percent fewer Hayley Millses.
Is it time for Shaq Fu, the mid-'90s 2D fighter featuring the 4x NBA Champion, to make a comeback?
You probably think I gave away what happens in this comic with the title, but I assure you that something much more significant than Squi's reappearance occurs in this week's episode. Seriously, I pinky swear it.
Zynga, the largest app publisher on Facebook, accounted for 12 percent of the social network’s total revenue in 2011, according to Facebook’s inital public offering filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That means that Zynga accounted for $445 million of Facebook’s revenue in 2011.
Electronic Arts saw better-than-expected sales of Star Wars: The Old Republic and Battlefield 3 in the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, according to the company’s comments in its analyst conference call today.
(Photo: Flickr user Mustafa Sayed)
Electronic Arts reported today that its sales and earnings beat analysts’ estimates for the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, but the company offered surprisingly pessimistic guidance for the fourth fiscal quarter ending March 31.
Microsoft today launched the Kinect for Windows commercial program, bringing the Xbox 360 motion-sensing peripheral’s hardware and software to the PC platform. The company hopes businesses around the globe will take advantage of the Kinect to improve internal operations, build new customer experiences, and potentially revolutionize their respective industries.
Video game publisher Trion Worlds is trying to draw new players into its fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game Rift by offering “Rift Lite,” a version of the game that will allow anyone with a Trion account to experience the first 20 levels for free. The move is similar to one Blizzard Entertainment took in June 2011 with its hugely popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.
Gameloft is expecting to report fourth quarter sales of €47.0 million, or $61.9 million, up 18 percent from a year ago, thanks to strong growth of smartphone and tablet games.
A new firm in Zug, Switzerland is launching today to act as a matchmaker for investors and digital interactive entertainment and video game startups.
Sony has officially appointed Kazuo Hirai as its new president and chief executive effective April 1.
Nintendo has certainly broadened the demographic of the gaming community in recent years, as demonstrated by 100 year old gamer Kathleen ‘Kit’ Connell. Kit plays on her Nintendo DS console for two hours every evening, and has been nicknamed the ‘Nintendo Queen’ by UK newspaper The Sun.