Gaming

Bioshock 2 coming in a special edition

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I’m not usually one for special editions and fancy box sets, well not recently anyway. I may have purchased the Gears of War box set and the Forza 2 one and maybe one or two others, but that’s all. Promise.

The Bioshock 2 special edition looks pretty awesome. Probably full of stuff that I will only ever look at once, but how can I resist something that has an LP in it ? I’ll have to go and buy a USB turntable somewhere for the ultimate Bioshock fan (geek) experience.

bioshock2seSo it’s official: there will be a Bioshock 2 special edition. With the upcoming release of Bioshock 2 there’s been much speculation and guesswork about if there would be a special edition, and more importantly, what would be in it. Well, the wait is over.

The official announcement came out today on The Cult of Rapture. The special edition will come in a 13×13″ premium package with special art on the slipcase and the cover of the box. Inside the box, you’ll find three posters featuring vintage ads from Rapture, a LP with the orchestral score from the original Bioshock, a CD with the Bioshock 2 score, an 164 page hardbound artbook, and the Bioshock 2 game.

The special edition will be released on February 9th, 2010 for $99.00 on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC version will be $89.00. All three versions will be limited to a single production run.

(Via CrunchGear.)

Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone

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(7/10)

C64-icon.pngAfter some initial hiccups with getting (and keeping) the application in the iTunes App Store, Manomio are back with C64 (iTunes link) and 8 free games.

At first you may find yourself questioning your sanity, but after dropping £2.99 in the iTunes store and playing one of the old classics, you’ll be pulled right back to you gaming roots.

Now maybe it was just because I was stuck on a two hour flight and had nothing else to do after I had finished reading my Stuff Magazine, but after playing Dragons Den for 10 minutes, I just couldn’t stop. It was clear that my life depended on me getting to the next level. I had my headphones plugged in and turned up loud to allow the 8 bit beeps and boops to be enjoyed at their optimum monaural magnificence. The people on either side of me clearly thinking that there was a crazy man bashing some ancient technology with his thumbs about to go postal on the flight.

The control system allows for a joystick and a single button – that is all we needed back in the day. You can also orientate the the phone in portrait or landscape to either have a view of said button and joystick or not. Playing the game fullscreen in landscape was my choice as the additional screen real estate made everything that much bigger. The only problem is that with this orientation your thumbs can block out some of the graphics. Nothing serious though.

The emulator is responsive and tracks your finger movements for the joystick and copious amounts of button mashing pretty well. I’d give the app a higher rating, but at the moment the games library is a little limited. When they release more content and they say they will, there is a change that this little gem could deserve an 8 or maybe even a nine.

C64-screen.jpgIf you can still remember loading games on that beige C64 tape drive and waiting hours just to get to the good part, you’ll love how your old favourites now load instantly !

Check out the video below to see what you’re missing out on.

Modern Warfare 2: It’s gonna be awesome

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I know there are people complaining about the lack of dedicated servers for the PC version along with other whinging about possibly killing civilians by mistake, but who cares ?!? This is going to be awesome. If you plan on playing online with your buddies over the next few months you will have to own a copy of this, because this is what all the cool kids are going to be playing.



Borderlands – conquer it with your friends

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(7/10)

I’m still not sure about Borderlands. I can’t really fault the game. The graphics are great, it makes me laugh and it’s built from the ground up for online co-op. It walks a fine line between a FPS and RPG, probably my two favorite genres, but there still just seems to be something missing. I’m probably only about 25% of the way through the game, almost all of which has been done with at least one buddy in co-op, but I haven’t had that, “I must lock myself in the house and play this until the neighbors complain about the smell” feeling.

borderlands-box

The story is also pretty cool. You are searching for a mythical vault that is packed with alien technology and secrets. I mean, who wouldn’t want to find that ! As with most RPG’s, you start off with miserable stats, miserable weapons, miserable everything really. You progress through the first 15 levels is pretty quick and if you spend your money wisely you can amass a fairly decent arsenal especially if you get lucky with one of the “daily specials” at the vending machines.

borderlands-crew

If I had my life over, I would probably wait to pick it up second hand, it is however a great way spend all night chatting to your buddies and making alien heads explode with your sniper rifle. Doesn’t really get much better than that.

iWarrior: an African iPhone Game

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I love seeing stuff like this !

East and West Africa collaborating on game and then distributing it via the App Store. More of the same guys. Keep it up.

Maybe for their next project we can temporarily relocate them to the Silicon Cape ?

iWarrior: an African iPhone Game: “

There aren’t a lot of African gamers, as would be expected due to the general lack of access to gaming technology and platforms in Africa, relative to other parts of the world. There are even fewer game developers on the continent. Due to being a gamer myself, I like to keep track of this as much as possible, and it’s always fun to announce a new one.

iWarrior - an African iPhone gameiWarrior is an iPhone game (iTunes link), created by the cross-Afrian team of Kenyan Wesley Kirinya and Ghanaian Eyram Tawia of Leti Games. It’s a unique top-down shooter game that utilizes the iPhone’s inbuilt accelerometer to both move and shoot. Your goal: protect your village, livestock and garden from the incoming marauding animals.

It’s a great first-effort from the team, and I believe it’s the first game created by a team in Africa. This itself is a much more difficult task than what many might expect. Just to get an iTunes account and a way to be be paid for your application is a challenge due to Apple’s inbuilt prejudice against Africa (they’re not alone in this, as many other platforms, like PayPal’s or Google Checkout’s are the same). That seems like a dramatic statement to make, but I ask you to stay your judgment until you’ve walked in the shoes of an African programmer.

Gameplay
I’m not an exceptionally talented twitch gamer, so I found the unique movement plus shooting actions hard to come to terms with. However, as I played it longer, I found myself slowly figuring it out and getting better at it. Thankfully, the team has built in a completely different way to play using your finger to slide and tap, you can move and shoot. So, for the accelerometer-challenged (like me) there’s another option. :)

iWarrior also allows you to play your own music while playing the game. This might seem small, but it’s something a lot of game maker’s overlook, and it’s a lot more fun than listening to the same repetitious in-game music.

The game costs $2.99, which is a little steep for new games on the iPhone. For many reasons the costs of most applications (games or otherwise) on the App Store have been driven to about 99cents. So, it takes either a really big name or an app that has hard to replicate features in order to break past $1.99 and sell a lot. In the team’s defense, it’s difficult for them to download paid games to test and see if they compare to their own prior to putting it on the market (again, due to them being in Africa).

Graphics
The graphics are okay. I’m a stickler on this type of thing though, and I go for either over-the-top quality or simplicity. Examples of this is comparing Fieldrunners to Doodle Jump, both excellent graphically, yet with completely different aesthetics.

iPhone game design - fieldrunners vs doodle jump

So, I’m going to ding the team on this part of the game. This, after a lengthy discussion in Ghana with Eyram over the difficulties of finding quality digital artists. It’s not an easy thing to do, the best designers aren’t digitally literate, with a few exceptions. So, you get great sketching and painting, but few can put that into vector graphics, 3d or even Photoshop.

Though the challenge is high, we live in a digitally connected world where top quality digital artists from Asia and Eastern Europe can be found to do the work at acceptable rates. There are other options, and a game can be made or broken on looks alone.

Summary

iWarrior is an excellent first game on the iPhone platform from two highly talented and creative African game developers. I expect that there will be a lot of good games, and other applications, coming from this team over time – both on the iPhone and other platforms. It’s a game to be proud of and one that I hope a lot of others will buy.

(Via White African.)

Xbox Live finally coming to South Africa ?

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This morning while I was listening to one of my weekly podcasts (ZA Tech Show Episode 80) and yawning through the Halo: ODST review, Simon Dingle makes reference to John at M$ SA about the imminent release of Xbox Live locally.

xbox-live.jpg

Now I know we’ve heard this before, but something about this conversation gives me hope that something really is about to happen.

I hope the guys over at ZA Tech don’t mind but I’ve cropped their audio clip down to the relevant part to make it easy for you to listen to:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Could we finally be done with buying M$ points online from 3rd party sites and from having to set up VPN’s to download 18+ content (thanks for that Germany, by the way)…

Come on M$ ! You can do eeet !

Side scrollers making a comeback ?

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(10/10)

A mate of mine told me how awesome Shadow Complex was one night while we were defending the Earth from a locust horde invasion. I asked him what it was all about and he basically told me that it was based on the idea of the old 2D side scrollers we enjoyed in our youth, but that this was actually pretty awesome. I dismissed his comments and steadied my shotgun for another headshot.

shadow_complex.png

A few days later I thought I’d see what he was on about. Well, let me tell you. It was almost the best 1200 M$ points I’ve ever spent.

The game is almost as addictive as Trials HD.

The game isn’t particularly difficult or particularly long, but while you are playing it you seem to be transported back to a time when you wished you had one more 20c piece to stick in the Elevator Action arcade machine.

Except that this is even better. I really thought that I’d get bored of a side scroller very quickly, but getting XP, collecting power-ups and adding to the most awesome suit of armour ever created results in hours in front of your 360 with little frustration over some lame puzzle or impossible boss that feature in so many games.

Donwload it. Play it. Love it.

What are they scared of ?

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I guess it’s getting close to Xmas and they need to keep buying their kids expensive presents, just like they’ve done for the last decade…

TechCentral ejected from Icasa meeting: “TechCentral was on Tuesday morning asked to leave a meeting in Sandton, called by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to discuss the cost of telecommunications in SA. This followed an objection to the publication’s presence by MTN SA CEO Karel Pienaar.
The meeting had been called by Icasa to ask network operators what they […]”

Nice try Duncan, keep up the good work !!!

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