Things I Want: Pebble

It’s 2012 and I’m a bit unemployed. Like a boy unable to devour a chocolate cake due to the empty piggy bank between him and his delectable friend, I want things I can’t afford. Writing about what I want, therefore, will take my mind off of it. Or make me want it more. I don’t know. Pebble watch!

The Pebble is a watch that has an e-paper display and connects via bluetooth to your smartphone. From the watch you can control your music, see whos calling and read messages. When using the GPS on an iPhone or Android it can do other neat things like work as a speedometer. (How do you make something sellable to men? Put bluetooth in it) Did I mention the e-paper display? E-paper is still an amazing thing to me, and it just makes everything that little bit cooler.

The development of the watch is being funded by a Kickstarter project, and as of today, they’re about to reach 2.75 million dollars in backing, a little bit over the $100,000 originally asked for. And you can see why. The watch itself requires a pledge of $115, which is a bit more than my Argos-bought Casio digital, but not incredibly ridiculous.

The only downside, and something I’m still coming to terms with, is that you have to charge it weekly. Who charges a watch? The cool kids, apparently.

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THINGS I WANT: FEZ

It’s 2012 and I’m a little unemployed. Like a girl unable to devour a banoffee pie due to the mysterious security guard between her and her delectable friend, I want things I can’t quite reach to. Writing about what I want, therefore, will take my mind off of it. Or make me want it more. I don’t know. Who cares! Fez!

Back when I was a wee thing, still wrapping up secondary education whilst ignoring my mums attempts to cut my hair (it was pretty metal back then), I decided to learn how to use Photoshop. My hours of self taught work would end up on DeviantArt, where I would listen to the comments I received to make myself better (less awful). Around this time, I also started following the work of Phil Fish, finding his work on his Deviantart profile to be amazing.

Anyway, I grew up, stopped browsing DeviantArt and generally got on with my life, hiding my dark Photoshop past. Then, a couple years ago, a new game called Fez popped up and started winning a stack of indie game awards. Standing behind the awards was one Mr. Phil Fish. A guy I randomly followed on DeviantArt is now also a game developer? Great!

A game described by others more eloquent than I as “something of a full stop to the pixel art homage movement” (source), Fez takes the traditional 2d platformer and gives you the ability to rotate the world to create new paths across the landscape, similar to the 2008 PSP release Echochrome. It looks beautiful, I’ve heard good things about the soundtrack and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

If you’ve played it, let me know what you think! If you haven’t, check out the official site right now, or pick it up on the XBox 360 for a cool 800 Microsoft bucks.

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USAssin's Creed

Nothing is true, everything is permitted, he looks awesome.

Last night, I finally got round to finishing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. As Ezio’s story closed, I opened up Twitter to let the world know that I had no idea what the fuck had just occurred. Much to my delight, Assassin’s Creed III’s announcement had just been leaked. We’re going to America, baby.

Kotaku got wind of the story from a Best Buy employee who sent promotional images of the next game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. The Betsy Ross flag places the game during the American Revolution, and the tomahawk might indicate that future-assassin Desmond is adding Native American to his genealogy. It’ll also be interesting to see how the verticality of the last few games is translated to the new game; what tall buildings were around in early America?

There’s not much more to say than that at the moment. A proper game announcement should be coming soon, and hopefully that’ll reveal a few more details regarding the new game. For now though, just take a moment to appreciate how badass an 18th century assassin looks.

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Game Over?

Even though the world has moved online, I still love going into Game. Sure, it sometimes feels like they’re actively trying to persuade me to leave with their love of pre-orders, but there’s nothing better than taking 15 minutes to look at all the pretty things I want to own and persuade myself I’m overRock Band. Please don’t be in severe financial crisis.

What’s that? You are? Well, the release of Mass Effect 3 should perk things up a bit.

What’s that? You’re not stocking it? Oh.

Game Group had a pretty terrible February. Edge-Online have been covering the events pretty closely, so here’s a tidy little timeline for you:

Feb 1st: Reports emerge that Game Group are in credit trouble.

Feb 2nd: Game Group goes into discussions with banks to sort out the trouble, may sell overseas business.

Feb 7th: 46 jobs gone at head office as restructuring starts.

Feb 21st: Game doesn’t stock Ubisoft Vita titles.

Feb 22nd: Game doesn’t stock The Last Story, cancels all pre-orders.

Feb 23rd: Game confirms plans to shut 35 stores by Christmas 2013.

Feb 29th: Game Group loses EA’s support, won’t stock any EA releases in March including Mass Effect 3. Shares fall 15% in one day.

And I thought my February was pretty rough.

Game Group’s issues all stem from a poor Christmas period, with sales falling by 15%. The credit woes that emerged at the start of the month have led to suppliers asking for payment up front, and this in turn has led to all the games above not being stocked. Game did eventually manage to get Ubisoft Vita stock into the store, including the ever popular Lumines and the massively unappreciated Rayman: Origins, but I doubt that Vita sales are going to be company-saving.

The announcement of EA not supplying the latest titles to Game in March is of particular note as the includes the release-of-the-year-so-far Mass Effect 3. Pre-orders have been cancelled in return for store credit and the advice given is that it may be stocked in later months. If I were HMV, I’d be advertising how many copies they have.

So where does Game go from here? IGN editor Keza MacDonald told the BBC that this could either go two ways. Either the loss of EA’s support is a “hangover” from the credit troubles, or instead a sign of on-going financial woes; either the lasting effects of a poor Christmas or just the beginning of a poor year. I see the latter being the obvious answer.

Which is a shame. For all the reasons that no one wants to go to Game, it’s good to have them there for that day-one purchase I promised myself I wouldn’t make (I’m looking at you Dark Souls). Sure shopping there is a (little bit of a) complete hassle, but I’d miss it. Good luck, Game.

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Play This: Burrito Bison Revenge

What is the Burrito Bison? A half-man, half-bison luchador? A man with a bison mask? A shaved bison with surprisingly articulate hands? Who knows. But he wants he wallet back, and he’ll crush any damn gummy bear that gets in his path.

Burrito Bison Revenge from Adult Swim games is the perfect afternoon timewaster. What first looks like a standard launcher game with a bit more graphical flair quickly became a game that I ended up sinking atleast a good hour into. Simple gummy-crowd surfing starts you off, and as you buy more upgrades you introduce a variety of micro-games into each launch. Ride a rocket Dr-Strangelove-style, cuddle an obese gummy ‘Splosion-Man-style or punch a gummy-chauffeur in the face until explosions occur. I mean, look at the picture for the post. You can even become Nyan Bison. Nyan. Bison.

That’s reason enough to go play it. Go check it out at Adult Swim.

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Double Fine reach Double Million

Tim Schafer founded Double Fine in 2000, and brought with him his legacy of point-and-click adventure knowledge. I mean, this is the man that created Grim Fandango. I love the game. 12 years later, Double fine is returning to it’s point-and-click routes through the unconventional path of a Kickstarter Project. They were hoping to raise $400,000 to fund their new game; not a lot in game money, but just enough to make a small throwback to the old days.

Today they hit $2 million. With 22 days to go.

While $400,000 sounds like a lot to make a game, it’s only pennies compared to big budget games. The Double Fine Adventure would have been a quick return to old styles, a satirical jab at why Full Throttle-esque games aren’t made any more. $2 million places the game in a very different place.

Tim revealed last week on Giantbomb that $2 million was the budget for their recent downloadable titles Costume Quest & Stacking, and that the Kickstarter Project had already raised more than their budgets for old SCUMM adventures. Hopefully what this means is that we can expect this new game to be on a similar length and production value of those games. A four hour, voiced, original music-ed, Tim Schafer written adventure game. I’m very excited.

What’s more, funding the Kickstarter project will also lead to the creation of a documentary by 2 Player Productions, makers of the Minecraft documentary. They’ll be there to follow the progress of the game, and give a rare insight not only into the making of a video game, but what goes on inside Double Fine Towers. I expect green screen shenanigans. I almost demand it.

With the game scheduled for a release later this year, it’s still a long way off, but the production and making-of documentary should start in the next few months. It’s coming on all PC formats and mobile devices too. Until then, enjoy this update on the product from Tim Schafer himself.

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Steam store comes to phones, empties wallets

I used to be able to avoid Steam by just standing up and walking away. Forget about the offers, forget about the games I will never have time to play. Valve obviously didn’t like it this way. Their Steam app for smartphones is out of beta and everyone can download it for free. Bloody Steam.

Steam! I don’t want to own everything or spend my life ignoring my girlfriend for a new game I should play. Why did you make your app so easy to use? I can see which of my friends are online and then chat to them straight away. What if I need to buy a game ready to download when I get home? One tap on the menu and I’m there.

Borrowing from the Facebook app format of information on the right, menu on the left (did Twitter used to use this to? I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere else), everything is easily reachable and straightforward. It’s a bloody good app, but don’t download it. It’s too dangerous.

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Knives Behind A Pay Wall: Hawken

I’m a man. I like machinery. And guns. And walking! Mechanised infantry is, therefore, probably the best thing that could really exist in real life. I’d even settle for a mech that wields a giant knife. Until then, there’s Hawkin; a free-to-play mech FPS that looks like it knows what I like.

The first game from LA based Adhesive Games, Hawken promises to be an “intense and enjoyable battle experience that captures the feeling of piloting a heavy war machine”. From what has been show so far it’s looking pretty solid and it still has a long way to go yet.

They’re taking sign ups for their closed beta now, and if you are lucky enough to have 3 friends, you can enlist them too and secure your nickname for when the game is fully released on 12/12/12 (at 12:12, hopefully).

You can sign up for the beta at https://playhawken.com/ and wait in line for an invite. Until then, sit back, take in some footage from the game in the video below and create a petition for giant knives.

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