Facebook Paper rolls out update for iPhone users
Facebook has released an update for its Paper app for iPhone users this week, offering improved photo sharing. Paper is an alternative fullscreen layout for viewing one's Facebook feed, including customization options and gestures. The latest update includes the Camera Roll now organized by the date they were taken, as well as the new ability to quickly share photos from the Favorites album that was introduced in iOS 8. The app is free to download, and requires iOS 7 or later.
Ethereal physics puzzler takes to space
Indie games have seen a lot of success in recent years, and with good reasons. Now that game design has become more accessible due to the wide availability of tools, and publishing has become easier due to things like Steam Greenlight, the gaming community is able to play an ever expanding catalog of strange and wonderful games. One such game is Gravity Ghost, a physics-centric puzzle game by Ivy Games.
Google adds Send Money option to Gmail in United Kingdom
Google is adding the Send Money option to Gmail in the United Kingdom. Originally available to US users since 2013, the option allows users to attach funds to an outbound email by selecting the £ symbol, which can also be used to request money, with funds transferred between users via Google Wallet. The feature is rolling out to all Gmail users in the UK over the age of 18 in the coming weeks.
EVGA launches Torq X5L, X5, X3 gaming mice
EVGA has revealed the Torq X5, X5L, and X3 gaming mice to their range, alongside its existing Torq X10. Featuring customizable RGB LEDs, onboard storage for five profiles, and eight programmable buttons using Omron switches, the mice ship in four different models, with the standard X5 and X3 having 6,400 dpi and 4,000 dpi optical sensors respectively, while the X5L uses 8,200 dpi laser sensor. The new collection starts from $40, rising up to $60.
News from the video game industry for the week of January 18
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN put together an all-in-one article for some of the bigger news from the game industry in the previous week. In this week's edition of the Weekly Game Replay, we look at Guild Wars 2's recently-announced expansion, new details on Electronic Art's Battlefield Hardline, the physical release of Dying Light being delayed outside of North America, The Elder Scrolls Online's name change and new payment structure, Robotoki's shutdown, hiatus for Human Element, and Dontnod's newest game in development.
Header: Adventure Time Fans Rejoice: An iOS game for you.
Adventure Time has been receiving critical acclaim and praise from the masses for years, and with good reason. The cartoon is smart, silly, and surprisingly deep. Fans of Adventure Time can rejoice, as Heavy Boat has brought gaming based off the Cartoon Network show to mobile platforms with Jumping Finn Turbo.
Free games, subscription time, compensation offered to US PlayStation owners
Sony is providing compensation to PlayStation Network users in the United States affected by a major breach in April 2011, half a year after agreeing to a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit. The original attack, resulting in the closure of the online service and Qriocity for close to a month, risked the personal data and payment details of more than 77 million accounts.
Aspyr ships OS X Mac App Store version of Sim City: Complete Edition
Aspire has revealed that the latest installment of Sim City is available to purchase on the Mac App Store. Sim City: Complete Edition contains the expanded core game, Sim City: Cities of Tomorrow, Heroes and Villains, plus the Amusement Park, Airship, Heroes and Villains, French, British and German City sets. Sim City: Complete Edition is an exclusive bundle to the Mac App Store, and is available now for $40. MacNN is working on a review.
Lower power requirements for $200 GTX 960 graphics cards
Nvidia is extending the GTX 900-series of GPUs, with a reduced-power model seemingly aimed at players of League of Legends and DOTA 2. The GTX 960 has the same Maxwell architecture as its stablemates, but hopes to appeal to budget-conscious gamers with a lower price point as well as lower power requirements than the GTX 980 and GTX 970.
Hack and slash through this retro-inspired adventure game
Retro-inspired games are hot on the App Store right now, with retro-chic games like Woah Dave and the BitTrip series making a name for themselves. Because these games feature simple mechanics and nostalgic graphics, they are a perfect addition to a gamer's pocket library of games. We checked out Tom Heinecke's Bit Dungeon II, a terrifying twist on the classics.
Xbox One will stream gameplay to Windows 10 devices
Microsoft's gaming ambitions will involve a new app for Windows 10, among other items, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed. The Xbox app will be available on every PC and tablet running Windows 10, providing not only the usual social features already offered to Xbox One users, but also the Game DVR video creation and sharing function.
Let your child explore their inner chef with Toca Kitchen 2
Not every game needs to have a set objective. The reason games like Minecraft have done so well is because they encourage players to do whatever feels fun for them. Toca Boca is known for creating games for iOS that capitalize on this feature. Like most Toca Boca AB games, Toca Kitchen 2 is objectiveless, and focuses more on role play and silliness than anything else.
Company encouraged by results, expecting lower revenue for FY2015
After eking out a profit in two consecutive quarters, chip manufacturer AMD erased those gains with a massive loss. Despite its GPU processors being used in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and what the company calls a "solid" holiday quarter, AMD announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $1.24 billion, with an operating loss of $330 million and net loss of $364 million, or $0.47 per share. This compares to the year-ago quarter, where the company made $1.59 billion in revenue, with a net income of $89 million.
Focus Eduction forced to drop unproven boast to improve childrens' concentration
A posting by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today describes a settlement between it and Texas software developer, Focus Education. The complaint, filed by the FTC, was over statements made by Focus on its website and infomercials regarding the benefits of playing its iFocus System "brain training" games.
Create your own cards, decks, and playtest your own games
If you've spent any amount of time in the social-gaming circuit, chances are you've bumped into card games. Whether you played poker or Magic the Gathering, you've probably got some fond memories of playing cards with friends. If you spent enough time playing games, there have probably been more than a few times that you've dreamed up your own games. That's the idea behind CardWarden by Michael Azzara: users should be able to create their own digital cards, and play their own digital games.
SNES-style RPG casts players as the Vice President of Earth
There's something cathartic about a good, old-fashioned RPG. Managing stats, completing quests, collecting equipment -- it's often a gamer's bread and butter. Developed by Eden Industries (who also created Waveform) and published by Atlus (responsible for the Megami Tensei series and Trauma Center), we took a look at Citizens of Earth, a quirky little retro-RPG. But how does it stand up to other games in the genre, which are cropping up all over the place?
Google Calendar coming to iOS with Material Design language
Google appears to be preparing to bring its Google Calendar app for iOS as a standalone app in the near future, featuring the Material Design language makeover the Android version got in November. Leaked screenshots (below) show that the app will emphasize shortcuts to Gmail, Maps and Photos, and offer side-by-side monthly and day overviews. In addition to integrated notification settings, the app also offers integrations with other Google services.
News from the video game industry for the week of January 11
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN compile some of the notable pieces of news in the game industry into one article. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we look at the numerous announcements from the January 14 Nintendo Direct event, Sony Online Entertainment's (SOE) launch issues and subsequent refund offers for H1Z1, the sale of the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons to 505 Games, Hotline Miami 2 classification refusal and public declarations from developer, Blizzard hits issues with the name Overwatch, and a launch date is set for Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 16, 2015
[Updated with more great deals!] The second full week of 2015 is almost over, and so it's time for the Friday Deals post, where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the ever-discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, the prices are correct at the time of writing, but the offer may change at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, remember to come back over the weekend, as we will be adding more deals for you to enjoy.
Preschoolers build birdhouses in this fun interactive game
Games for the under-five crew tend to be a mixed bag. Sometimes the games are too hard, requiring difficult-to-grasp concepts like timed tapping or difficult puzzle-solving. Other times the games are often too simple, and are more like movies. One game that has managed to strike a good balance between engaging and simple is Duckie Deck Bird Houses, by Duckie Deck Development.
The board game that teaches sensible finances comes to iOS
The investing game! Did you yawn yet? You might think nobody is going to queue up at midnight to buy a game that sets out to teach you fiscal responsibility - but think of it as Monopoly with high stakes, though, and now we're talking. Cashflow -- the Investing Game begins with you in the rat race, facing monthly outgoings and occasional financial calamities. We went into this thinking it might be boring, but the game is actually quite good!
Take to the skies in this cute arcade game
In the world of casual gaming, things tend to be pretty easy-going. If a player is looking for a challenging game, they're usually tasked with completing lateral thinking puzzles or quick-draw mechanics. Not every challenging game needs to be about speed or puzzle play, though, as demonstrated by Poppets by CakeBytes Creative. If you have a young child in your life, they might like this one very much.
Accused of DDoS against PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, swatting attempts
Another arrest has been made in the United Kingdom, over distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live online services, as well as instances of "swatting." An unidentified 18-year-old man was arrested in Southport this morning, with computers and other electronic devices seized by law enforcement officials for further investigation.
Take off into space with this fun rocket builder
The fun of space travel has long been reserved for astronauts and rocket scientists, which seems a little unfair sometimes. In 1970s television, we were promised routine space travel by the 21st century, which we clearly haven't gotten yet. How many of us have thought about how fun it would be to take off and soar through space, or wanted to design a rocket that could explore the furthest reaches of space? Not everyone is a rocket scientist, but with Simple Rockets by developer Jundroo, everyone gets the chance to design their own rocket.
Library of over 500 tracks available to Twitch game streamers
Twitch is providing music to users of its game-focused video-streaming service, in order to allow its broadcasters to avoid potential copyright problems. The extra help to game streamers comes as the Amazon-owned service attempts to diversify into different areas, by launching an experimental "Music" category for musicians to stream them playing or creating music.
Take a trip back to 1998 (in a good way) with this Retro RPG
In the mid '90s, dungeon-crawler RPGs were pretty standard fare -- nearly all boasted isometric-view fields of play. These types of games have went by the wayside in lieu of flashier graphics and more complicated game mechanics. Spiderweb Software, however, has decided to continue its own ongoing trend, and release a positively retro fantasy RPG called Avernum 2: Crystal Souls.
Sims slips, but will arrive for OS X in February, EA says
Fans of the Sims series of games who were disappointed that the latest entry didn't make a promised 2014 ship date can look forward to next month, when the game The Sims 4 will finally debut on OS X. While developer Electronic Arts doesn't yet have a specific date, the company says it will definitely land as a download only sometime in the month, and be priced similarly to the Windows version (around $50). Current Windows version owners will receive the Mac copy for free, and PC players can transfer their progress to the Mac version (and vice versa).
Challenge yourself with this difficult platformer
Video games can be frustrating in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, it's due to poor translation, bad programming, or lack of direction. Sometimes, however, video games are frustrating by design. Platformers often employ deviously difficult and finicky mechanics, with the intention of making the game more difficult to appeal to certain gamers. One such title is Owen's Odyssey, by Brad Erkkila.
Poster leaked online shows release date of February 13
A member of gaming site Neogaf's community has leaked what appears to be aa poster for the new Nintendo 3DS XL. The poster shows a release date of February 13. More tantalizing, however, is the inclusion of two possible launch titles -- one of which is the highly anticipated remake of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The game had previously been teased with the more vague window of "Q1 2015," but it now appears to be on track to be included with the 3DS XL.
Unsave the day in this quirky platformer
Platformer games on mobile platforms, namely those on tablets and smartphones, tend to feel a little bit stunted in comparison to their console-and-PC brethren. The lack of tactile buttons tends to make the genre feel bland in comparison. Many iOS platformers have decided that instead of trying to emulate a classic platformer style, they can instead innovate and do less with more. One delightfully quirky title that capitalizes on this concept is is Spoiler Alert, by tinyBuild.
Try an interesting twist on the word game genre
Word games are fairly numerous at this point. You've got your Boggle-style games, your Scrabble-style games, your crosswords and word searches. There are a lot of duplicates out there -- so when we find a fresh, new game, we tend to get pretty excited. One such app is Word of the Rings, by James Porter, a game that quite literally puts an interesting twist on the genre.
Parents gain new one-stop category, but in-app purchases still lurk
Over the weekend, Apple launched a new subsection of the App Store called Games for Kids, following the opening of the dedicated Kids category in September 2013. The Games for Kids section breaks out groups of games for various age groups, mirroring the other actions that offer more educational apps for children divided by age. Interestingly, most of the featured games avoid in-app purchases.
News from the video game industry for the week of January 4
Every Sunday at Electronista and MacNN, we offer a one-stop look at a few of the significant events that occurred in the video game industry during the previous week. In this week's look back in the Weekly Game Replay, we discuss a new game in the Baldur's Gate series from Beamdog, the closure of Zombie Studios, Hellblade coming to PC, the lawsuit over EA using retired NFL player likenesses in Madden NFL moving forward, and Sony delaying the release of the PlayStation 4 in China.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 9, 2015
[Updated Saturday with more deals!] As CES winds to a close, the week of non-stop tech news may put you in the mood to acquire some more hardware. Let today's Friday Deals post help you with that. As usual, we trawl through the retailers to find great offers on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Note that prices are correct at the time of writing but can change over time, so check it is still valid before purchasing. Remember to check back over the weekend, as more deals will be added to this post over the next few days.
Satechi announces its Premium Aluminum Monitor Stand product at CES
Accessories producer Satechi has announced the upcoming release of its new Premium Aluminum Monitor Stand product. Introduced this week at CES, the stand is designed to compliment the Mac Pro, iMac and Macbook's aesthetic, raising monitors to prevent eye and neck strain. Aside from providing height, the stand also features four USB 3.0 ports for connecting applicable devices, offering transfer rates of up to 5GB per second. Its aluminum alloy composition supports a range of devices weighing up to 200 pounds. Priced at $70, Satechi's new monitor stand will be available by the end of the month.
Gamevice aims to improve mobile gaming on the iPad
When Apple first announced it would be bringing game controller support to iOS 8, the news was met with much excitement. However, months started to pass and no one seemed to really be interested in creating a quality controller. Wikipad is hoping to change that with Gamevice, designed specifically for the iPad Air and iPad mini. We got a chance to get an early look at the upcoming iPad controller at a private suite during CES and went away with a very positive opinion.
Prince of Persia, Maniac Mansion, Original Sim City, Lemmings among web-adapted games
Last November, the Internet Archive debuted their new service, The Internet Arcade, where over 900 arcade titles from the 1980's and 90's were hosted for free play over a web browser. Today the service topped itself, expanding the the Software Library to include 2,300 MS-DOS-era games, available through the EM-DOSbox in-browser emulator.
Consumer and commercial-grade technologies demonstrated at CES 2015
Yesterday at CES, ViewSonic released its newest line-up of products. On hand for demonstrations at the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas are new 4K displays, "price-competitive" digital projectors, Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) solutions, and commercial-grade digital signage displays. Included in the announcements was a new 3,200-lumen projector; 27- and 28-inch 4K monitors; a curved 34-inch LED and 27-inch gaming monitor, and some large-format signage displays.
Unusual indie game makes smooth transition to touch
Some games are defined by their medium, and Papers, Please ($8) may actually be one of the best examples. It was obviously built with a mouse and keyboard in mind -- and there's no possible way you could port it to consoles (except maybe the Wii U), since playing it with a conventional gamepad would be a nightmarish ordeal. It does, however, turn out to work surprisingly well with the iPad's touchscreen, which could even be the preferable platform, depending on your tastes.
A 5.2mm bezel, a 4K display, up to 6.8 hours of battery life distinguishing features of new models
Today at CES, Dell has unveiled new models in its XPS 13- and 15-inch options, along with its Alienware line. The new XPS 13 is billed as the "smallest" 13-inch laptop, based on an internal analysis from June of last year. The Alienware 15 and 17 are also 20 percent thinner than previous models for gaming on the go. The XPS 13 offers (in addition to a smaller overall size) a reported battery life of up to 15 hours, while the 15-inch model offers an optional 4K display. Likewise, the Alienware models have lost some weight and gained 4K display options.
Totally wireless Xbox One headset caps high-end of offerings from company
Console and PC headset purveyor Turtle Beach today announced new gaming products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company has rolled out new gaming headsets -- including the Elite 800X, XO Seven Pro, and XO Four Stealth. Also, an entirely new line of PC gaming accessories has been shown, including gaming keyboards, mice, and mousepads.
Space sandbox proves problematic for older iPads
Space simulation games are hardly new -- they've been around in a semi-solidified genre since at least the early 90s. Since then, the genre has grown to include all manner of games: some have branched off into being solely flight simulators, others have taken a more RPG approach. Anh Huy Phan has chosen to venture into a more sandbox-esque space simulator with Star Nomad Elite
Razer Forge, add-ons, allows for PC game streaming to the TV
Gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer today announced a product range centered around the Razer Forge TV, a high-performance Android TV micro-console to bring hardcore PC gaming and Android gaming into the living room. This new gaming ecosystem consists of the Razer Forge TV micro-console, Razer Cortex: Stream software and two Bluetooth peripherals, the Razer Serval and the Razer Turret.
Grow your very own adventurer's town to epic proportions
Resource management games are about balance. Balancing spending resources with gaining them, balancing time and effort versus reward -- all these things go into making a challenging, yet rewarding, game. One such offering is Dungeon Village, by Kairosoft, which is a charming little medieval adventure about growing your own village.
Sub-$400 PowerLite Home Cinema 600 is portable and bright
Today, Epson America announced a new compact digital projector in its PowerLite line at CES. The Home Cinema 600 can scale up its display to roughly 25 times larger than a 60-inch television screen. The projector is designed to be plugged into everything from a laptop to a gaming console, and uses Epson three-LCD projection and four pre-set color modes, including a game mode. This allows for watching in even a well-lit environment, from a conference room to a backyard side-of-the-house movie night.
Curved gaming monitor to retail for under $800 this spring
At a pre-CES event in Las Vegas, Westinghouse showed off a widescreen (21:9 aspect ratio) gaming monitor that also happened to be curved, and thereby make for a more immersive gaming experience. The resolution is said to be 3K, so about 3440x1440 pixels, and offering both HDMI and MiniDisplayPort inputs. Also on hand was a 42-inch 4K LCD flatscreen, and the rep on-hand said that it's part of a new range that will include top-tier specs but be aggressively priced, as is the Westinghouse tradition. Smaller and larger models will also be part of the lineup.
Take on hordes of aliens in this high-action shooter
Shoot 'em ups, sometimes called shmups, are action-shooters that pit the player against hoards of oncoming enemies. Players are able to usually control their ships' left and right motion, and only get to rest between levels. These games originated in the 1960s, and have been incredibly popular ever since. It's easy to see why, once you begin playing them. Space Qube, by Owen Wu, is a shoot 'em up for iOS that's worth taking a look at.
PlayStation 4 offering brings 105 PlayStation 3 games to subscribers
Sony's game streaming service for the PlayStation 3 is getting an update for the PlayStation 4. Rather than single rentals, the company is launching the new PlayStation Now as an "all you can play" service for the PlayStation 4 on January 13 in North America for a set monthly or quarterly fee. The service gives subscribers unlimited access to a growing library of PlayStation 3 games from a variety of publishers, streamed from Sony's servers.
High-difficulty tower defense game blends RPG elements, anime style
Tower defense is perhaps one of the most saturated genres of video games, leaving developers to create a new spin if they want to get the attention of potential players. Winged Sakura: Mindy's Arc, available to all three desktop platforms via Steam, takes a lane-based approach that is similar to Popcap's Plants vs. Zombies, but adds additional depth with role-playing game (RPG) elements and an anime sheen. But does Winged Sakura do enough to entice players into picking it up, or are they better off snagging something from the endless list of flash-based tower defense games?
News from the video game industry for the week of December 28
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer a look back at some of the big news from the video game world in the previous week. To roll in the New Year for Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at Steam's new concurrent user record, Xbox Live founder Boyd Multerer's departure from Microsoft, the Planetside 2 beta coming to the PlayStation 4 in January, Croteam's trap for video game pirates in The Talos Principle, and the new free games for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live gold subscribers.