German developer Crytek, best known for first-person shooters Crysis and Far Cry, is developing a sequel to shooter Homefront, publisher THQ said Tuesday.
Homefront, which THQ released earlier this year to average reviews, sold well, moving 2.6 million units during the two months after it launched. In June, THQ shut the doors on Homefront developer Kaos Studios.
THQ says the next Homefront will be out at some point in the 2014 fiscal year for PC and consoles. Which consoles, you ask? The publisher didn’t say — so I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll be playing Homefront 2 on the Sega Dreamcast.
Rovio is closing in on a deal with Starbucks that will bring the company’s famed franchise, Angry Birds, into the coffee shops.
According to an interview Bloomberg conducted with Rovio senior vice president Wibe Wagemans, the Angry Birds maker could soon bring electronic leader boards to Starbucks stores to promote top-scoring players. In addition, the companies will offer Starbucks customers exclusive in-store promotions, including virtual goods.
“It’s tying in the real world with the virtual world,” Wagemans told Bloomberg. “Retailers get new customers who’ve not been to their stores yet, and repeat customers.”
Although exact details on the deal were not divulged, it seems to play into Rovio’s strategy with Angry Birds. Aside from selling the title on a host of mobile platforms, including iOS and
Android, the company has sold everything from shirts to plush toys to monetize its brand.
But it hasn’t even come close to stopping there. Last month, Reuters reported that Rovio is planning to sell baby merchandise featuring its animations to add to its ruler and notebook school kit, backpacks, and socks. Earlier this year, Rovio also mentioned plans to launch a cookbook and movie.
If Rovio and Starbucks do arrive at a deal, it won’t be the first time the company has partnered with a retailer. Earlier this year, Rovio said that Barnes Noble customers for a limited time could get Angry Birds stickers and temporary tattoos in stores.
Are you a fan of adventure games? Monkeys? Terrible puns? How about pirates? Then today be your lucky day, mateys.
In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day (which is today, scallywags), Telltale Games is offering Monkey Island Tales HD for iPad for just $2.99 per episode. (There are five that make up the complete game.) Normally, each episode would run you $6.99.
That link is to Episode 1. (Never mind that CNET’s download page says “for
iPhone“–this is definitely an
iPad game.) Assuming you’ve tried it and liked it, be sure to grab Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5.
If the name Monkey Island doesn’t ring a bell, you were probably born sometime after 1980, in which case I hate you. These were “graphic adventures” at their finest and funniest, and I was jazzed to see the series revived after all these years.
The game is basically a series of puzzles you solve using exploration, interaction, bad jokes, and the occasional monkey. If you’re tired of killing zombies and want something that tickles both your brain and your funny bone, there’s no better choice.
Although Tales of Monkey Island debuted for Windows a couple years ago, the iPad version is fairly new, having arrived last December. In fact, Episodes 2 through 5 didn’t take
tablet form until late June.
I’d have a hard time spending nearly $35 (in total) for an iPad game, even one as good as this, but $15 is a lot more reasonable. iPad 1 owners, take note: Monkey Island Tales can be a little sluggish and choppy, just like Telltale’s other fab port, Back to the Future.
Don’t own an iPad? Here’s more good news: Tales of Monkey Island for PC and Mac is on sale for $9.99–for the entire five-part series. Both sales are good through the end of the week, Sept. 26.
A bit bulky for a portable, but it works.
The art of console modding may have slowed down a bit these past year or so, but its still there, lurking behind the scene. Case in point, this highly impressive GameCube portable from modder Ashen. Dubbed as Fusion Micro, this one will let you play GameCube titles, through SD card via both WiiKey and SD Gecko slot, using a stock PSP hardware with an extra analog stick. Check out the video down below.
As you might have seen from the demo above, it’s a bit on a chunkier side. This is mainly due to the inclusion of a cut GameCube motherboard, with a “stock GC heatsink trimmed to 1cm with 2x Tchay’s 6mm ebay fans attached on the back running @3.3v” under the hood. Another drawback is the battery life as one charge will only last you two hours of gaming using its 5000mAh battery. But overall, its a pretty impressive mod.
Via [Mod Retro]
These are instructions on how to backup and save your iPhone SHSH Blobs to Cydia using RedSn0w for Windows.
Create a folder on your desktop called Pwnage
Download RedSn0w from 0.9.9b1 here and place it in the Pwnage folder.
Extract the RedSn0w zip file into the same folder.
Launch the redsn0w application from the redsn0w folder we just extracted.
**Windows 7 users should run the redsn0w executable mode as an administrator in Windows Vista compatibility mode. You can do this by right clicking the executable and selecting Properties from the contextual menu.
Once RedSn0w opens click the Extras button
Click the SHSH blobs button from the Extras menu.
Click the Fetch button to fetch the SHSH blobs on your device and send them to the Cydia server for storage.
Please plug your iPhone into the computer and make sure its OFF then click the Next button
RedSn0w will now guide you through the steps to get into DFU mode. You can find more help with DFU mode here
Hold down both the Home button and the Power button for 10 seconds.
Release the Power button and continue holding the Home button until RedSn0w detects the device.
Your iPhone will now reboot
RedSn0w will then begin fetch the SHSH blobs from your device and submit them to Cydia.
Once this is complete you will be notified that your submission was a success. Click the Back button to return to RedSn0w.
Click the SHSH blobs button and then click the Query button to make sure Cydia has your blobs saved.
Enter * into the ECID textfield and click OK to check all your devices.
RedSn0w will now query Cydia and display the list of stored blobs.
RedSn0w also saves your blobs in a plist located within the RedSn0w folder. We would recommend keeping these for added safety.
As the chorus of complaints grows over Apple’s unwillingness to merge Apple IDs, it appears the company might soon change its stance on the matter.
According to MacRumors, two of its readers have contacted Apple CEO Tim Cook to see if Apple will eventually allow users to merge their Apple IDs. Those readers, MacRumors says, received word from an Apple executive relations employee, who said that the company is planning to allow for that functionality.
Apple has long denied customer calls for merging IDs. However, with the launch earlier this year of automatic downloads, complaints about that policy started to grow. The feature allows people to automatically download, to their devices, music, apps, and iBooks that had already been downloaded on other platforms, like their computer. The issue, though, is that in some cases, users had been downloading content to a device from one Apple ID, and have another Apple ID assigned to, say, their iPhones. In those cases, content cannot be synced between the devices.
According to Apple blog TUAW in a report in June, people who tried to switch their Apple IDs to download the content received an error message saying that they could not “auto-download or download past purchases with a different Apple ID for 90 days.”
As MacRumors points out, the inability to merge Apple IDs has also become a problem for iCloud developer testers who want to be able to sync content between products, but are not getting everything properly synced because of their use of multiple IDs.
That said, it’s tough to estimate how many people are affected by the lack of ID merging. In many cases, consumers have a single Apple ID, and thus, the quirk doesn’t affect them. But the problem has apparently become enough of an issue for Apple to move forward on a fix.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.
Have you played Resident Evil 4?
No, 4, the good one. Not the the one with the blatant racism and where Chris’ muscles own a private island in the pacific and starred in the Terminator films. The game came out over half a decade ago and still one of the most satisfying and greatest games ever made, simply due to the gameplay and now you can play it all over again when Capcom releases the game on PSN this year.
I remember back in 07 when I bought the Wii version and that was the first time I played a Resident Evil game properly. Up until that point, I’d watched friends played it and it’d been a heady mix of screaming at the screen to “SHOOT HIM, WHY ARE YOU NOT SHOOTING HIM?!” , “JESUS CHRIST, WHY DO SPIDERS EXIST?”, “WHAT THE HELL IS A HEXAGON?!”, and some pretty terrible voice over that we’d laugh and make up our own storyline, but when number 4 came out, we were stunned. Quite scary, incredibly fun and pretty cool to say the least from Capcom.
A press release from CapCom had these fine words to say: “Now’s your chance to relive one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. Resident Evil 4 HD will be released via PlayStation Network on Tuesday, September 20th. Five years after the Raccoon City outbreak, Leon S. Kennedy is back in action and on a new assignment. The President’s daughter has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult in Europe and it’s your mission to rescue her and make it out alive. The entire Resident Evil 4 experience has been remastered in high definition and will be a treat for both new fans and RE veterans,” From Mike Lunn’s, Product Manager of Capcom, blog, he’s either being sincere or is more than excited to shift a few hundred units.
Those who will grab RE4:HD through PSN on its launch will get some free RE4 avatars, meanwhile the PS1 versions of Resident Evil 1 Director’s Cut, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis would also be doled out at 50 percent less rates on the PS Store. These three titles would however be available for free to Plus subscribers with a 50% discount on RE4:HD.
BONUS: mc chris talks about Resident Evil 4:
There’s a certain rhythm to every action you take in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Whether you’re gliding along a wall to avoid enemy eyes or capturing electronic nodes to hack a security terminal, every step has its own cadence, like the whole game is one big orchestra and you’re conducting the beat. It is an undeniably gratifying experience.
Then there is the narrative, which is the Human Revolution equivalent of a stray drum pounding one split-second slower than every other instrument in the chorus. It comes very close to ruining the whole thing. This is because Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s story — a grandiose tale stuffed to the brim with mythological references, hefty moral questions and dystopian predictions — is not very good at making you care about it.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which publisher Square Enix released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC this August, spends so much time talking about the nature of humankind that it forgets to show us what makes humankind so great: our relationships with one another.
(Spoiler alert: Major spoilers about Deus Ex: Human Revolution follow.)
Human Revolution is set in a world where people can do extraordinary things, like heal mortal wounds and put a stop to global warming, but they just can’t seem to figure out how to be people.
It all starts with Adam Jensen, Human Revolution’s gruff protagonist. Jensen, a security guard for research corporation Sarif Industries, is left half-dead after a team of mercenaries raids the company’s laboratory and nearly cracks his body into pieces. Fortunately, Sarif Industries makes augmentations — cybernetic enhancements designed to improve human functions — that can save Jensen’s life. Which they apply to his body. Gratuitously.
From here on out, interactions between Jensen and the people around him are as hollow as the bullets he uses to rip them apart. He delivers the same monotonous vocals when he yells at strangers as he does when his best friend gets gunned down by mercenaries. Conversations are limited to Matrix-like psychobabble that puts more stock into sounding badass than evoking any sort of emotional reaction.
In many ways, Jensen’s actions are shaped by your own, which might be Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s biggest problem. You can choose who to kill, how to talk and even the game’s entire ending — but your choices never affect Jensen’s personality. The game’s plot points and prerendered cut-scenes do not change based on your decisions. Jensen will still continue to work for David Sarif no matter how many of the CEO’s lies he unravels. Jensen will still fight to save humanity no matter how many civilians he has slaughtered.
Perhaps this was an intentional move by developer Eidos Montreal. One of the game’s underlying themes is the question of whether an augmented human being loses part of his humanity, and at times Jensen seems like nothing more than a sentient robot that the player controls. But why should we care about somebody who seems to care about nothing? Even when Jensen discovers that ex-lover Megan, once thought dead, is alive and working against him, he maintains the emotional range of a toaster oven, grunting out a few platitudes and then ordering her to escape.
He’s like that with everybody. The twisted father-son relationship between Jensen and Sarif is barely explored. The attempted buddy-cop dynamic between Jensen and pilot Faridah Malik is all function, no substance. The only thing anybody ever talks about is what they plan to do next. It’s only fitting that the game ends without resolving any of these relationships.
Screenwriter and teacher Blake Snyder, in his book Save the Cat!, writes about the things that films can do to make us care about our heroes. We can relate to the main protagonist, he writes, if that protagonist shows his humanity by doing something noble, like stopping to save a cat from a tree.
If Adam Jensen saw a cat in a tree, he’d stop and ask it how to get to the next mission.
One of Human Revolution’s biggest strengths is its orange-hued world, which is chock-full of little plot lines and secrets to discover. You can spend hours hacking into peoples’ computers and reading their notes, discovering the tiny messages and subtleties in every e-mail. Like the explorer-driven Fallout series, Human Revolution’s most rewarding bits of narrative are the ones you discover for yourself.
It is perhaps testament to the nature of videogame storytelling that these little slices of life overshadow the main story, showing us more about human nature than any of the game’s drawn-out monologues or image slideshows. Reading about office backstabbing and practical jokes is far more engaging than talking to anybody in Human Revolution, and I often wondered who was writing these e-mails, as nobody in the game ever shows as much personality face-to-face as they do in text.
These e-mails become a problem, however, when you wind up learning things that the game hasn’t yet decided you should learn. For example, you can hack into an office computer in the headquarters of Sarif Industries and learn in an e-mail that Megan might still be alive. Some time later, when Jensen “officially” finds out that Megan might still be alive, he is utterly shocked no matter how many times you’ve read that message.
You, the player, wind up harboring information that your character doesn’t have, which makes no sense, as you are supposedly inhabiting his eyes.
Something similar happens during a section close to the end of the game, when you can listen in on a conversation between two soldiers as they casually mention their boss, Mr. Darrow. This should shock Jensen, as he has no idea that industrialist Hugh Darrow is running the factory, but he hasn’t reached that cut-scene yet. And he is shocked when he reaches it. Maybe he just has selective hearing?
There are two possible solutions to this issue. One is to avoid this kind of storytelling entirely: Keep things linear and don’t open any doors for anachronistic discoveries. The other is to create enough scripted contingencies that the game knows how much information you have and acts accordingly, tempering Jensen’s reactions based on your knowledge. However, this would be a Sisyphean task for even the most adept development team, costing more time and money than is typically allotted to any game.
Or maybe Deus Ex: Human Revolution shouldn’t have had any sort of main storyline at all. I would have been content to spend hours and hours exploring the game’s dystopian landscapes and sneaking through its decayed buildings. Though its themes are certainly interesting to think about, Human Revolution didn’t really need much of a plot. Its strength lies in its world, its mechanics, its little hidden secrets and Easter eggs.
It’s unfair to say that one bad drumbeat ruins the whole orchestra. Human Revolution’s ludic strengths heavily outweigh its narrative failures, and playing the game is never not thrilling. But with fewer instruments, Deus Ex: Human Revolution might have been far more harmonious.
The world of search engine optimization can be incredibly frustrating. There are numerous companies offering SEO services, but it can be difficult to know whether you are receiving a quality service.
It’s often hard to compare competitors, there’s little independent information available to you and prices vary wildly. In many industries, it’s suggested that “you get what you pay for”. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always hold true when it comes to SEO. As a result, the current situation is a real minefield for buyers.
Starting your search
So how can you find a good SEO company? Ideally, you should probably be looking for a personal recommendation or a company who have a positive profile online. This way, at least you stand a good chance of getting a promising service.
The alternative, which might be to simply approach SEO providers that you find online, could leave you bewildered. How will you know what you’re getting for your money.
One of the big problems, of course, is that SEO providers are unable to guarantee you positioning within Google. Only Google are able to influence the search engine results. This means that search engine placement services are aimed at influencing those rankings, but can’t possibly control positioning.
Fortunately, this is useful information for a buyer. If an SEO consultant suggests that they can guarantee you particular positioning, then that’s a good way for you to identify that they may not have the most honest approach to sales!
Clear SEO deliverables
The fact that guarantees can’t be offered in terms of positioning should not detract from the possibilities that exist. It’s clear that intelligent use of search engine placement opportunities can help your business to compete online. This means that there’s plenty to play for.
You should certainly expect any search agency to be clear about what you will be receiving. You should be told exactly what will be delivered and when.
For example, you should expect to be given a detailed report about your existing website and any changes that are necessary. It’s reasonable to expect such a report within the first week of the project.
Without making on-page changes, it’s extremely difficult to improve search engine positioning. If no report or advice is forthcoming, you might want to start worrying!
Do things feel automated?
It’s also important that you feel like a client who is valued. This means that you should expect a personal service, with a core concentration on the needs of your business. Any link building campaign, for example, should reflect your own business aims and ideals.
If an SEO provider starts talking about providing thousands of links, then it may once again be time to worry. Building links on a grand scale may sound impressive, but it does not hint at a high quality approach.
Instead, it suggests that the agency may be seeking to confuse you with numbers. This is unlikely to lead to sustainable results in terms of your search engine positioning.
You should expect your chosen SEO company to give you a quality service, with results at the end of the process.
If you’re simply not receiving this level of service, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Keith Barrett works at Search South, providing Hampshire SEO services to a wide range of clients.