Category Archives: Gaming

Fibrum Demonstrates the Next Stage of Virtual Reality at CES 2016



FibrumFibrum an international Virtual Reality company with over 4.3M downloads of its VR apps and games, is presenting its global platform for Virtual Reality where users and developers from all over the world can experience the highest quality of VR content. They will demonstrate the next stage of virtual reality at CES 2016.

Fibrum will showcase its innovative platform, that has the largest number of VR apps available. They have a total of 22 apps in the AppStore, on Google Play and in Windows. These apps allow users to turn their phones into VR devices through Fibrum’s extensive library of mobile VR games and applications that are available for the most popular mobile platforms, and worldwide through the dedicated Fibrum store.

The apps also allow gamers who play PC games to turn any game into an immersive VR experience using Fibrum’s unique streaming capabilities. The apps give global developers the ability to download Fibrums free SDK to create VR games and applications on their own.

Fibrum’s proprietary headset provides exceptional VR content in HD quality and a larger angle of view than its competitors – 110 degrees versus the typical 70 degrees – for superior game play and a truly immersive VR experience. Fibrum’s headsets also have special lenses that allow users with poor eyesight to have a clear picture in virtual reality (from -5 to +5 variance). Users can also play Fibrum’s extensive VR game library with their own headsets as Fibrum’s content is compatible with any other VR headsets.

Visit Fibrum at Booth # 81534 (Eureka Park Marketplace), Sands Hall G at CES 2016.


Unravel is Coming in February of 2016!



Unravel gameRemember the adorable little character named Yarny that was presented onstage at E3 by Martin Sahlin? People fell in love with Yarny and the Unraveled video game that he stars in.

It has been announced that Unravel will be released on February 9, 2016. You can preorder it on PS4 or Xbox One. A new trailer for Unravel has been released to celebrate this announcement.

In this incredibly sweet game players guide Yarny around in order to get him through physics-based puzzles. The story in the game is told without the use of words, which I think is a brilliant idea. That way, the story can be easily grasped no matter what language a person speaks. Yarny is the bond that ties everything together.


MAINGEAR Unveils RUSH – A Grown-Up Gaming Desktop



MAINGEAR RUSHMAINGEAR is an award winning PC system integrator of custom gaming solutions. It has announced the availability of RUSH, an elegantly brutish gaming desktop featuring a tempered glass body, origami wiring, advanced cooling design, and state-of-the-art components.

MAINGEAR’s RUSH showcases the elegant side of gaming desktops through a tempered glass chassis highlighted by ultra-clean lines, expertly crafted wiring, advanced and customizable liquid cooling options, and artistically positioned components. Each RUSH gaming desktop is individually hand assembled.

MAINGEAR RUSH inside

RUSH delivers unmatched performance even under the most stress with EPIC SUPERSTOCK Liquid Cooling. MAINGEAR’s signature cooling system features dual pumps for added reliability, easy to fill extra-large reservoir with a separate backup system reservoir for headache-free maintenance and increased longevity, Rigid PETG Tubing, custom fittings, and premium copper core radiators. To complement the cooling system, RUSH also features Intelligent Airflow Control, which automatically syncs the speed of the fan with the temperature of the motherboard.

RUSH delivers blazing fast speeds with Intel’s Extreme Edition Haswell-E or Skylake processors, pumps out spectacular graphics with up to 3 NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X or AMD Radeon R9 Fury X GPUs, and supercharges the gaming experience with up to 64GBs of memory, 6 hard drive bays, and NVMe SSDs. In addition, gamers craving more can get the most out of their system with MAINGEAR’s REDLINE, a factory tested overclocking service that safely pushes the system to the maximum.


Vuzix Awarded Eight CES 2016 Innovation Awards



Vuzix iWear WirelessVuzix is a leading supplier of video eyeware and smart glasses products in the consumer, enterprise, and entertainment markets. Vuzix is pleased to announce that it has received eight International CES Innovation 2016 awards.

The awards include a Best of Innovation Awards Honoree for the iWear Wireless Video Headphones (which is a new model in in the iWear line) in the Gaming and Virtual Reality category. The Vuxiz iWear Wireless Video Headphones transport the wearer into another dimension through dual HD Displays that allows them to play games, interact with apps, and watch 2D, 3D and 360° VR movies all streaming directly from the internet.

The smart iWear Wireless runs Android 5.0 and will be compatible with thousands of applications. The iWear Wireless line is completely portable and broadly compatible, connecting with most devices that support Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi networks for near limitless access to content, including wireless streaming from popular cellular phones.

The Vuzix Vidwear B300 and M300 Smart Glasses were also each honored with dual CES Innovation Awards for innovative design and engineering. Vuzix Vidwear B3000 will be one of the world’s first sunglasses with integrated video and AR overlays.

The company’s next generation waveguide based wearable eyewear, the Vuzix M3000 Smart Glasses, takes hands free computing to another level. It has significantly improved display resolution, ergonomics, computing power, and sensor technologies. The see-through waveguide based display engine in the M3000 when connected to the cloud can deliver virtually any information directly to the job site and overlaid on the real world.

You can check out Vuzix’s award winning products, including the iWear Wireless Video headphones, the Vidwear B3000 and M3000 Smart Glasses, at CES 2016. They will be at the Central Hall Booth #14048.


Activision Blizzard Launches Activision Blizzard Studios



Skylanders logoActivision Blizzard has announced the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios. It is a new film and television studio that is devoted to creating original content based on some of the company’s extensive library of iconic and globally-recognized intellectual properties.

Some of the intellectual properties mentioned in the press release include Call of Duty, Skylanders, Diablo, Hearthstone, and Starcraft. The very first production from Activision Blizzard’s owned content will be “Skylanders Academy”. It is going to be an animated TV series based on the Skylanders game.

In addition, Activision Blizzard Studios is developing a robust cinematic universe based on the Call of Duty franchise of games. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video game remains the number one selling title on next-generation consoles. The press release, which was posted November 6, 2015, says that today marks the launch of the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III game. Activision Blizzard Studios also envisions a series of Call of Duty feature films, and is considering television adaptations of those films.

Personally, I would love to see an animated series based on some of the lore in the Diablo video games. In 2012, Blizzard released a video on YouTube called “Wrath”. It featured some of the characters from the Diablo series of games, and included fantastic artwork and voice work.

If I was going to speculate, I’d wager that Blizzard could one day put together an animated series based on their Overwatch game. The game has only recently been released in a closed beta, but has generated a whole lot of interest anyway. The style of the art in the game would easily lend itself to an animated series.


Activision Blizzard to Acquire King Digital Entertainment



King logoThe big news everyone was talking about on my Twitter feed today had to do with Activision Blizzard and the announcement that they have agreed to acquire King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion. There is much speculation about what will happen as a result of this acquisition.

Blizzard Entertainment is the creator of World of Warcraft. They merged with Activision, maker of the Call of Duty games, in 2008. Together, they are Activision Blizzard. If you visit the website of the merged companies, you can find out about career openings in Activision, or in Blizzard Entertainment. The two companies are merged, but appear to have some independence.

King Digital Entertainment is a company that makes mobile games. The games themselves can be played for free. However, each game allows for in-game purchases. There has been much discussion about whether or not that mechanism means that the game is truly free to play (or if one must spend some real world currency in order to advance in the game.) To be fair, King is not the only mobile gaming company that uses in-game purchases. It’s fairly common.

You might know King from the Candy Crush Saga game, which is a match-three game that gained some popularity. Which brings me to some of the litigious history surrounding some of King’s games. There was a time when King had a trademark related lawsuit with Albert Ransom, the developer of CandySwipe. In 2014, the two parties each withdrew their lawsuit against the other one.

In addition, King was involved in a lawsuit with Stoic Studio. This was another trademark related lawsuit regarding Stoic Studio’s game The Banner Saga. The two companies came to an agreement that protected their respective trademarks in 2014.

Activision has some mobile games that can be played on iPhone or iPad, and a few that are available on Android. Blizzard Entertainment, however, has just begun entering the mobile gaming arena with Hearthstone. It is a virtual card game that started out as available on PC and Mac, and later became playable on iOS and Android.

It appears that the acquisition of King could be for the purpose of helping Blizzard Entertainment to create more mobile games. There are a lot of people who play Hearthstone on a mobile device. It will be interesting to see what mobile games appear in the future that have something to do with Blizzard Entertainment’s games, characters, and existing content.


Neko Atsume is Now in English



Neko Atsume gameNeko Atsume: Kitty Collector is an adorable game where players collect cats. The incredibly cute artwork caught my attention right away. A recent update allows players to toggle between Japanese and English in the game.

The adorable artwork was what first attracted me to this game. All of the text in the game was written in Japanese, and this left me guessing about how to navigate through the menus and what the different items were called. Although most of the game is fairly intuitive, there were times when I needed to search online for an explanation about things.

Neko Atsume in English

The recent update of Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector allows players who use iOS devices to toggle between Japanese and English. Suddenly, I could read the names of the gifts that some of the cats have given me. I discovered that some of the mats were actually heating pads. Some of the item descriptions are amusing. At this time, the update that enabled English is only available on iOS.

This cute collector game is extremely simple to play. Fill the food dish and put some toys, beds, or other items into the space. Random cats will come and visit (until the food runs out). Check in periodically and you might find a cat taking a nap or playing with a toy that you left out for them. If the food runs out, you won’t get any more cats until you fill the dish again. Unlike other pet related games, the cats don’t die if the food runs out. (They just stop visiting you for a while).

The overall goal seems to be encourage all of the different cats to visit. There is an album that shows players information about the different cats that have appeared, and the kinds of things they like to play with. Some cats will decide to become your friend and bring you a special gift.

Cats that visit will “pay” you in fish. Those that were especially happy will “pay” you with golden sardines. These are the two currencies in the game. Eventually, you will collect enough to buy more stuff for your cats to use. This game is appropriate for kids to play, and they can use the in-game currency to shop in the store for more stuff. Parents should be aware that the purchase of additional golden sardines costs real-world money.


Dragon’s Lair: The Movie is on Kickstarter



Dragons LairDo you remember the Dragon’s Lair video game? It was a unique type of game that attracted a lot of attention back in the day. The game debuted as a LaserDisc format game which was something like an interactive movie. The graphics were vastly different, and better, than every other video game in the arcade.

I can’t tell you how many quarters I spent trying keep Dirk the Daring alive for as long as possible. Truth be told, I was absolutely terrible at the game. What kept me coming back to it was the animation and the desire to learn how the story ended.

The original creators of Dragon’s Lair, Don Bluth and Gary Oldman, have a Kickstarter going right now. The goal is to raise enough money to create “Dragon’s Lair: The Movie”.

They need to raise $550,000. At the time I am writing this blog, the Kickstarter has 28 days to go. There is a whole bunch of interesting rewards for backers that pledge specific amounts of money. Some rewards include: digital downloads, Blu-rays, DVD’s, original signed books and artwork, signed posters, t-shirts, and more.

I have mixed feelings about the potential production of “Dragon’s Lair: The Movie”. On the one hand, it would be awesome to see the entire adventure of Dirk the Daring in a movie format. That’s a huge improvement over gathering around an arcade game and catching bits and pieces of the story (based on how good the current player happened to be). I’ve never seen anyone complete the game – so it would be nice to finally get to the ending in the movie.

On the other hand, I’ve always found Princess Daphne to be problematic. Back in the day, it was difficult enough to be the only girl in the arcade. Everything about Princess Daphne, from her barely dressed glitter covered attire, to her bubble-headed voice, made me uncomfortable. It was as though the game had a “Boys Only” sign slapped on the front of it. Why couldn’t they have given Princess Daphne a princess gown to wear?

The game Dragon’s Lair was released in 1983. Decades later, the game still has plenty of fans and lots of nostalgia attached to it. I’ve no doubt that the adventure of Dirk the Daring would be interesting to watch in a movie format, and I am inclined to go see this movie (if it gets made). At the same time, I don’t think Princess Daphne will be very well received today, in a world where 52% of video game players are women.


Overwatch Beta Launches Today!



OverwatchOverwatch is the newest video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. The game has not yet been released, but the beta launches today, October 27, 2015. It will launch in both the Americas and Europe gameplay regions at the same time.

Overwatch is a highly anticipated team-based shooter game. Those of you who attended Blizzcon 2014 had the opportunity to play it at the conference. There has been a lot of hype about the game, and many of the people I follow on social media are excited about it.

The first phase of the beta that is being launched today is a Closed Beta. It is invite-only. The number of players invited into this beta test will be extremely limited.

The goal for the Closed Beta is “100% gameplay feedback”. Blizzard wants players to discuss and dissect every hero, map, ability, and other aspects of the game.

From time to time, Blizzard will open up the beta test for Beta Test Weekends. The main goal of the Beta Test Weekends will be a stress test. They will “open up the floodgates and call on an army to overwhelm” their hardware. These stress tests will be hardware and tech-focused, and will include a restricted number of heroes, maps, and gameplay modes. Feedback, of course, will be welcome.

Want to get into the beta? Be aware that the Overwatch beta will be Windows-only. If you are like me, and use a Mac, you are out of luck. You also have to have the Battle.Net desktop app installed on your computer. Make sure to log into your Battle.net account and opt-in to the Overwatch beta.

The Overwatch beta will include something new – Battle.Net Voice Chat. The goal seems to be to enable players who got into the beta to test out the Voice Chat. If it works out well, perhaps players will use it instead of Mumble or TeamSpeak while they play Blizzard’s games.


Windows Users, Why Put Up With This?



Bookworm logoMy mom is far from a “power user” when it comes to computers. She’s never sent an e-mail. She’s never browsed the web. She probably isn’t proficient enough with a keyboard to type a simple “hello.” A few years ago, she started playing the addictive word game Bookworm on my sister’s computer, A family friend built her a simple Windows PC out of spare parts he had from other machines. Outside of the operating system, the only thing he installed on that computer was the Bookworm game. It worked fine until about a month ago. After some basic troubleshooting, it was determined that the spare-parts PC had bit the dust, and that it was time for my mom to get a new computer.

Knowing that her needs were pretty basic, I searched Craigslist and found a Dell workstation that would easily meet her needs. The computer was acquired for a princely sum of $20. I went to work installing the Bookworm game. Something I figured could be done in no time.

I did a Google search for where to download the game. This took me to the website for PopCap, the game’s developer. There, I was directed to something called Pogo. Pogo turned out to be a sort of client-based “marketplace” for games; In order to get Bookworm I’d have to get Pogo first. This seemed odd and inefficient.

I kept searching and found another site called Origin that promised I could download the game there. I signed up, paid for the game, and was then directed to download the Origin game client in order to get Bookworm! This seemed even worse than Pogo. At least Pogo was up front about the fact that I’d need their client in order to get the game.

Since I’d already paid for Bookworm thru Origin, I figured I should at least try and run the Origin client. But every time I tried to download it, nothing happened. I couldn’t find any evidence of an Origin installer anywhere on the computer. Now I was getting frustrated!

By this time, my sister had come into the room. She mentioned that she’s got an account with something called BigPond and she knew the Bookworm game was available there. So we logged into her BigPond account, found the game, installed the BigPond client and then finally added Bookworm to the computer. Now, my mom’s computer won’t be connected to the Internet. I did some testing to make sure that Bookworm would run without an Internet connection. And technically speaking, the game did work. But it seemed slower when the machine wasn’t online. Why? The only explanation I can come up with is, the BigPond client needs to phone home to check for licenses. When there’s no Internet connection available, BigPond games still work. But they’re slowed down because the client can’t complete the authentication check.

We’ve got the “new” computer setup at my mom’s place and she said it’s working fine. I’m concerned that at some point, it won’t let her play Bookworm anymore without letting the BigPond client get online to call home. This will effectively break the game for my mom, as her PC has no Internet. This whole ordeal has left me with a few questions:

1.) Why doesn’t PopCap offer a simple .exe download of the Bookworm installer, free of the need to use a third-party client?

2.) On my Mac, I’ve downloaded Bookworm from the Mac App Store. The game runs the same with or without an Internet connection. The download/install process was simple and straightforward. Knowing this, why would Windows users ever stand to put up with this kind of hassle?