Archive for August 18th, 2008

Review: Penguin United Quad Charger for Wii

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Penguin United Quad Charger

•   Recharge 4 Wii Remotes Simultaneously
•   High Capacity Li-Ion Polymer Rechargeable Batteries
•   Li-Ion Battery Provides full 13 Hours of Actual Playtime per Remote
•   Charge Each Remote in Less than 4 Hours
•   LED Light Indicates Charge Status in 25% Increments
•   Up to 1000 Recharge Cycles
•   Includes 4 Free Color Coded Remote Straps  

Having covered the Dual Charger 2nd Gen (http://gamersnewsbits.com/2008/07/03/review-penguin-united-remote-dual-charger-2nd-generation/) from Penguin United, I have decided to take the quad charger for a spin.

After buying 2 more WiiMotes (to my kids’ delight), I tried it out for 2 weeks. This unit requires an actual power outlet, and does not charge via the USB as the Dual Charger unit did. I found the color coded straps handy, as I need a way to tell all the WiiMotes apart, and those plastic covers that I have tried in the past just got in the way of gameplay and fell off after a few weeks. It also solves my previous issue with the Dual Charger, which was the contacts were directly in the middle of the WiiMote’s back, which I thought would lead to sweaty contacts. I never did have an issue thankfully, and still recommend that unit.

The unit is very nice looking, with the Wii White color that all accessories seem to strive for these days. It’s in a circular shape, and all 4 WiiMotes’ status lights are visible at a glance. It’s got that cool blue glow around each wiiMote as well, when the units are in place. It came with 4 batteries, all popping easily into the WiiMote, and charged up in about 3 hours the first time, though I let them go overnight. The base unit has 4 lights per socket, and each indicates 1/4 battery life. I found that this unit gave me the 13 hours advertised, and more. I was able to average 16 hours of play over 4 days, depending on the game and accessories used while playing. One WiiMote was able to pull 20 hours just using the WiiMote with no accessories on Virtual Console games (the kids are addicted to Super Mario 3). I am curious how the Li-Ion batteries will behave later on in life vs. NiMH, as in the Dual Charger.

Now that I have the 4 WiiMotes, I have to say, I love this charger. It’s fast, and since we don’t have 4-person games running all the time means I get to have a freshly charged WiiMote at all times. Even if we did managed to discharge all 4, the charge time is quick, usually 4 1/2 hours or shorter. The Quad Charger does what it should, keeping the game playing to a maximum and the wait to a minimum, and I don’t miss the cries of “I need 2 AA batteries Dad! The WiiMote died!!” I think if you are one of those who has the need for 4 WiiMotes in a large family like mine, or heck, a college dorm or frat, this is going to be the best money spend for a quick way to keep your WiiMotes juiced and ready for action!

The unit has a SRP of 44.99. I know that I used to spend around $10.00 a month in AA batteries for the 2 WiiMotes we had before using the rechargable units. This thing easily pays for itself. A quick look at Amazon shows a Sony Charger with 4 AA batteres at 23.41, which would mean you need 2 of those for a 46.82 grand total. The Sanyo Eneloop unit with 4 AA batteries comes in at 20.35, so you could get away with 40.70 for 8 AAs and 2 chargers, but then you are constantly taking the back off the WiiMotes and charging. Simply putting them in the base to charge is just so much nicer.

Pros: Quick charge time
Long battery play life
Cool Light setup
Colored straps included

Cons: I had no cons using this unit. I’ll let you know if there are any in the future!

Rating: 4.75 of 5

Legacy of Everquest franchise continues with announcement of Everquest and Everquest II expansions at fan faire

Monday, August 18th, 2008

All attendees to Receive Both Expansions for Free as Part of Living Legacy Program!
LAS VEGAS, NEV. – Aug. 15, 2008 – Thousands of video game enthusiasts are in Las Vegas for the annual Sony Online Entertainment Fan Faire where the upcoming expansions for the online role-playing games EverQuest® (EQ) and EverQuest® II (EQII) were just announced. EverQuest® Seeds of Destruction™ is scheduled to be available on Oct.21, and
EverQuest® II The Shadow Odyssey™ is scheduled to be available on Nov.18. As part of SOE’s extensive Living Legacy program designed to entice new and past EQ and EQII players into the games and reward the existing loyal playerbase, all Fan Faire attendees will receive the software for both expansions for free, an unprecedented offering.

“It is such a privilege to announce the upcoming expansions for two of our most popular games, EverQuest and EverQuest II, in a venue like Fan Faire where we are joined by thousands of our loyal fans, and it seems more than appropriate to give those fans access to both of the expansions for free,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “Both of these expansions are rich in content and adventure, and will provide our players with hours of excitement as they explore the online world of Norrath.”

EverQuest II The Shadow Odyssey is the fifth expansion for the critically acclaimed EQII franchise and follows the award-winning and best-selling Rise of KunarkTM expansion. New players and veterans alike will journey through a substantial amount of exquisite content with more than 20 new zones, including the Moors of Ykesha, a massive outdoor zone once known as Innothule Swamp, and the legendary dungeon Guk. Throughout the summer months, players were treated to prelude events, such as the Void Storms, that gave them a glimpse into the expansion lore and content from The Shadow Odyssey, building the anticipation leading up to the launch.

EverQuest is rapidly approaching its 10th anniversary, and Seeds of Destruction is the 15th expansion for the genre-defining online game. For the first time ever, players will have the ability to hire non-player characters (NPCs) to aid them in their heroic endeavors in Seeds of Destruction. These mercenaries will be valuable player assets as they thwart the efforts of Discord’s Dark God. This expansion also includes a level cap increase to 85, new dynamic high-level raid content, new spells and new alternate advancement abilities.

EverQuest II The Shadow Odyssey Feature Set:
• New Zones: Journey through more than 20 new zones, including the new overland zone, Innothule Swamp.
• Dungeon Adventures: Experience nostalgic EverQuest dungeon themes, such as Najena, Mistmoore and The Sebilisian Empire, and adventure through more than 18 goal-based dungeons, such as Ruins of Guk and Befallen.
• Achievement Point: An achievement level cap increase to 200 that offers new achievements for class-specific lines.
• Dungeon Delving: A new mission system for players to replay content with new and different experiences.
• Heritage Quests: Five new quests with unique rewards being added.
• Shard Reward System: A new, mysterious group of erudites with powerful new armor and equipment will barter for void shards earned during players’ encounters
• Epic Tales: Stories told through battles with dozens of new creatures and hundreds of new quests.
• New Deities: Rodcet Nife and Anashti Sul are introduced into Norrath.
• Access to All Previous Content: Includes all previous expansion packs and adventure packs.
• Legends of Norrath: Includes strategic online trading card game, digital starter deck and booster pack.

EverQuest Seeds of Destruction Feature Set:
• Mercenaries: Player-controlled NPCs are now available and will not only scale to the appropriate level, but also think and act for themselves with limited player guidance. Designed for extra support or extra muscle in PvE encounters, mercenary archetypes include a variety of classes from all playable races.
• Level Cap Increase: Players can now achieve level 85 with new high-level item sets, new alternate advancement ability lines and new spells.
• 20 New Zones: Features re-imagined classic content and brand-new realms for adventurers to explore, including the eerie wasteland of the Void, the Battle of Rathe on the Plane of Earth and the ultimate Heart of Darkness in the Plane of Discord.
• Access to All Previous Content – Includes all features and content from the 14 previous expansion packs.
• Legends of Norrath: Includes strategic online trading card game, digital starter deck, booster pack and loot item.

In addition to attending exclusive panels this weekend at Fan Faire, eligible players with active accounts will receive early access to beta for one or both games, depending on their preference. EQ’s public beta is anticipated to begin on Aug. 19, and EQII’s public beta is anticipated to begin on Sept. 2.

For more expansion information from EverQuest Seeds of Destruction and a free trial of EverQuest, visit www.everquest.com.

For expansion information from on EverQuest II The Shadow Odyssey and a free trial of EverQuest II, visit www.everquest2.com.

World premiere: dtp entertainment presents Divinity 2 – Ego Draconis stage presentation at Leipzig Games Convention 2008

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Hamburg/Germany , August 18th, 2008 – This week, at this year’s Leipzig Games Convention 2008, Europe’s biggest show for computer and video games, publisher dtp entertainment is going to present world exclusive news upcoming games highlights:

Leipzig Games Convention-visitors will have the chance to be the first to see the upcoming RPG highlight Divinity 2 – Ego Draconis. dtp entertainment is awaiting Swen Vincke, Creative Director of Divinity 2 and CEO of its development team Larian Studios.

Swen Vincke’s exclusive Divinity 2 presentation is scheduled to take place on Friday, August 22nd, at 12:00 am at dtp entertainment’s booth #J11 in hall 2 at Leipzig Games Convention.

Furthermore, Bernd Beyreuther, Creative Director of Drakensang: The Dark Eye, is going to present his game at dtp entertainment’s booth. He will enter the stage on Friday at 4:00 pm. Afterwards, he will take part in a signing session.

During Leipzig Games Convention, dtp entertainment offers a broad entertainment programme at its booth. Visitors have the chance to win big prizes – such as an Drakensang-themed Ultraforce Gamer PC. This computer is powered by an AMD Phenom™ X4 9650 4x 2,30 GHz processor, 4GB GSkill RAM, a DirectX 10-ready ATI Radeon™ HD3870 graphics card, a 500 GB hard disk drive and a 20x DVD burner.
GC visitors should make sure to visit one of the Summer Athletics contests and enter the prize draw. They also should check out dtp entertainment’s booth to see Mata Hari dance: A Mata-themed dancer will promote the upcoming adventure game on stage.

Here’s the full schedule:

Thursday, August 21st, 2008
11:00 am Summer Athletics Contest
12:00 am Mata Hari Dancing
1:00 pm dtp young entertainment
2:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing
3:00 pm Summer Athletics Contest
4:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing

Friday, August 22nd, 2008
11:00 am Summer Athletics Contest
12:00 am Divinity 2 – Ego Draconis presentation by Swen Vincke, Larian Studios
1:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing
2:00 pm dtp young entertainment – Monrose live act
4:00 pm Drakensang: The Dark Eye presentation by Bernd Beyreuther
5:00 pm Summer Athletics Contest
6:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008
11:00 am Summer Athletics Contest
12:00 am Mata Hari Dancing
1:00 pm dtp young entertainment
3:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing
4:00 pm Summer Athletics Contest
5:00 pm dtp young entertainment
6:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing

Sunday, August 24th, 2008
11:00 am Summer Athletics Contest
12:00 am Mata Hari Dancing
2:00 pm dtp young entertainment
3:00 pm Mata Hari Dancing

At dtp entertainment’s booth #J11 in hall 2, gamers can check out current and upcoming gaming highlights, such as the in Germany, Switzerland and Austria newly released Drakensang: The Dark Eye, Summer Athletics, the upcoming adventure game Memento Mori and Crazy Machines for Nintendo DS.
dtp entertainment also presents new impressions of Venetica, Gray Matter and Black Mirror 2.

NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO.
G.Skill and the G.Skill logo are trademarks of G.Skill International Enterprise.
AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, and combinations thereof, are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
All logos, images, trademarks and product names are property of their respective owners.

Powerbike for DS

Monday, August 18th, 2008
BRISTOL, U.K. August 18, 2008 – It’s time to rev the engine, kick the clutch and gun it to the finish line as Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of video games for the mass market, today announced Powerbike for Nintendo DS™. Developed by Tornado Studios, Powerbike is an intense motorcycle racer that features death-defying stunts, intense police chases and competitive multiplayer modes.

The perilous world of street racing is about to get a whole lot more exciting with the release of Powerbike! When an anonymous sponsor offers the resources to compete with the best street racers in the world, the only thing left to do is jump on your bike and show everyone who is boss. Speed through dangerous streets and jump trains, bridges and traffic congestion while fleeing from the cops on eight challenging courses across the desert, city, shipyard and more. Riders can earn even more cash by performing jumps, burnouts, wheelies and drifts in Stunt Mode. Go head-to-head with friends via local DS multiplayer in both Race and Stunt Mode, and use your hard earned cash to upgrade your bike’s speed, acceleration, traction and stability in three different difficulty modes.

Powerbike for Nintendo DS™ is expected to release in Europe in 2008. For additional information about Majesco’s exciting line of products, please visit: www.majescoentertainment.com and www.majescoeurope.com.

Merscom Releases Time Stands Still, Announces Colour of Murder

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Colour of Murder Extends Popular Franchise

CHAPEL HILL, NC – August 18th, 2008 – Merscom announced today it is the online publisher of Time Stand Still, the popular adventure game developed by MDNA Games, and will also be publishing the fifth Carol Reed adventure title, Colour of Murder, later this year. Released over the weekend on a major casual game portal, Time Stand Still follows on Merscom’s success with Blood Ties, Ghost in the Sheet, East Side Story, Remedy and My Farm, all of which were launched earlier this year and reached the top-10 on major casual game sites. Merscom is also publishing Time Stand Still at retail in Germany and Russia.

Time Stand Still is the third in the popular Carol Reed adventure series. Join Carol, a young English woman in her twenties, who now lives in Sweden . Carole stumbles on a new case while browsing through a local newspaper. A seemingly haunted house leads her to a complicated chain of events, which go all the way back to World War II. The events include an unsolved murder from 60 years ago, secret love and characters long forgotten by history (but not by fate).

Key Features:
• 100% mouse driven point-and-click gameplay
• No violence or foul language
• Rich unfolding story
• A wide variety of luminous environments and unusual characters
• Pick up various items
• Games can be saved and loaded at any time
• Engaging ambient music and sound
• A bypass feature for the more complicated puzzles

Merscom also announced it will be publishing the upcoming Carol Reed adventure, Colour of Murder, later this year. In the Colour of Murder, Carol has plans for her fourth Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden . Little does she realize that during the next few days she will encounter an adventure involving more challenging and intricate puzzles than she has overcome in any of her previous cases. This adventure takes Carol through dark tunnels, abandoned military areas, derelict mines and beautiful historic locations.

“We have been so impressed with our customers’ response to the previous Carol Reed titles that we jumped at the opportunity to work further with MDNA,” explained Lloyd Melnick, Chief Customer Officer at Merscom, “they really understand what the casual adventure gamer wants and create great products.”

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky Goes Gold!

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Highly anticipated prequel will release worldwide on September 5

Hermosa Beach, Calif. – Aug 18, 2008 – GSC Game World, computer games developer, its publishing subdivision GSC World Publishing and Deep Silver, the games label of Koch Media, a leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, today announce that S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky has gone gold. The international release date of the game has been set to September 5th of 2008.

More information about the game is available on the official S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/stalkerofficial
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is a survival FPS game for PC based on a ‘what-if’ scenario of the second Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. The game is created as a warning to mankind against mindless play with technologies. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is the official prequel to the renowned S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game by the Ukraine-based GSC Game World studio. The game is set in 2011and brings forth the events to have preceded the third campaign of Strelok to the Zone center. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky introduces an alternative look onto the events of the original game and offers the player to try himself out as a mercenary s.t.a.l.k.e.r. in search of his own path in the world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Official game site: www.stalker-game.com

Dark Rock Games’ first game launched

Monday, August 18th, 2008
First Computer Game Launched by Newport Graduates’ Company Aims to Put Wales on the Map

A company determined to put Wales on the map in the computer games industry has launched its first game – an action-packed space adventure entitled ‘Cosmic Sunder’. Dark Rock Games was set up by Adam Griffiths, a graduate of the University of Wales, Newport, in an effort to provide employment for Wales’ talented games designers and help the country to profit from this multi-million pound industry.

In partnership with three other graduates of the Games Development and Artificial Intelligence course at Newport Business School, Adam has created the retro game – in which players control a futuristic vessel smashing through the gallery to reclaim stolen Earth elements – and tested the game out on two keen gamers – his young sons, Asher and Eden.

Their verdict is that it’s a winner. “We’ve played the game a lot and think it’s five star! It’s got over 80 levels and the final one is really hard when you have to blow up fireballs that are coming at you,” said eight -year-old Asher.
“We’re all pleased with the game and hoping for a good response now it’s on sale at our website,” said 31-year-old Adam. “We currently have two more games in various stages of production, and hope to start creating more sophisticated 3D games that will put Wales on the map in the computer games industry.”

Adam set up Dark Rock Games with fellow graduates Rob Simmonds, Cameron Coles and Matthew Clark because he wanted to stay in Newport and avoid the stress of relocating his wife, Debbie, and young children to find a job making computer games.

“The computer games industry is one of the biggest in the world yet there are very few companies in Wales making games. As a result, many people like myself who are gaining degrees in computer game design are having to leave the country in order to find jobs.

“Newport’s University has two excellent computer games development courses producing talented students with lots of potential. It seems ludicrous that Wales is losing them to other countries because we have no computer games industry.”

Dr Mike Reddy, Senior Lecturer in Computing at Newport Business School, said, “The release of this game represents a considerable success for Adam and his team at Dark Rock. He was always determined to create job opportunities for games developers in Wales and he has put his money where his mouth is with this game which is an imaginative version of the classic retro Breakout game.

“At Newport, we believe it’s essential to maintain close links with the computer games industry to enable our students to successfully find jobs when they graduate. We already have graduates working for major games companies such as Sega and Blitz, and this year sees the first woman graduate from the course.”

Dark Rock Games was set up with funding from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF) which has provided £20,000 to help the company become established.

“The University has now helped more than 65 graduates set up their own business,” said Emma Williams of the Research and Enterprise (RED) department. “We have many enterprising students who posses a diverse range of talent, and we help them by providing funding and the business skills necessary to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and ensure the future growth and prosperity of Wales.”

The ‘Cosmic Sunder’ game is available from www.darkrockgames.com.

Wintery fourth region of Runes of Magic

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Game Design Doc No. 3 describes Ystra-Highland

Berlin, 2008/08/18: Just before the start of the Games Convention, publisher Frogster reveals details about the fourth region in Runes of Magic. In opposition to the previously presented regions of the fantasy onlineroleplaying game, the Ystra-Highland impresses with a downright wintery scenario.

It received its name “Ystra” from the Minotaurs who live in this area. Besides the bitter cold climate, it is these furious and belligerent creatures and the Ice Fairies with their cruel elegance that impress visitors the most. To defend against both races and to safeguard the free and secure passage on Khazor’s Mountain Road, the Order of the Dark Glory positioned a formidable army here. Even though magical teleportation has dampened the importance of this place for transit, the number of people who travel through here has not diminished. In part this can be explained by the many legends and myths entwined within this region with its enormous skeletons on the Sea of Snow, the ancient texts from the Tower of Wailing Winds, the secret treasures of the Cyclops and many other arcane mysteries. Many more details can be found in the separate game design document No. 3.

At the Games Convention online adventurers can test play the first region of Runes of Magic at the stand A10 of Frogster Interactive in hall 5. Further information, a registration form for beta-signup and a new action-trailer are available on the official website: www.runesofmagic.com.

Runes of Magic – a world full of wizardry and adventure
With an extensive range of features Runes of Magic prepares to redefine the standard of free-to-play MMO games. Right from the launch Runes of Magic will convey its absorbing story in over 600 quests embedded in an atmospheric world. Players can choose from six main classes. Combined with a secondary class they dispose of 36 individual character classes over all. All characters possess unique skills with impressive combo attacks and can use mounts in the later stages of game play. A particularly attractive feature for guilds and players is the possibility to arrange their own virtual homes with individual furnishing. Thanks to an extensive crafting and reputation system, thrilling PVP as well as demanding dungeons and boss-monsters, no wishes remain unsatisfied. The Taiwanese developer Runewaker has developed Runes of Magic according to western MMO standards within a time frame of three years. The studio will provide new challenges for players every three to four months with free add-ons and updates. MMO fans can find first pictures and a registration form for the newsletter on the official teaser site www.runesofmagic.com.

Runes of Magic features
• Free2play, no monthly fees, free download
• Dual class system with switchable primary and secondary classes
• Enthralling background story
• Already over 600 quests and level comprehensive quest series on launch
• Instanced and persistent dungeons
• Individually developed skills and spells
• Armor sets with special bonuses
• Dynamic item system: Upgrades with hundreds of runes
• Activatable PvP system (Player vs. Player duels)
• Epic crafting system with the possibility to improve existing items
• Individual coloring of clothes and armor
• Housing: personalization with individual furniture for players and guilds
• Special zones for guild houses
• Reputation system
• Scalable user interface based on the users preference (development of your own add-ons possible)
• In-game map and radar system to find dealers, resources and quests easily
• Auction house: auction and purchase items
• Teleporting possibilities per runes
• Different and unique mounts
• Controlling with mouse (point & click) and keyboard (WASD or arrow keys) possible

Monster Madness: Grave Danger

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Monster Madness: Grave Danger

In Monster Madness: Grave Danger players can take on the challenge of 25 special mini games designed to test the stamena of expert players. They include: White Water Swanning – race down the river rapids in your swan boat, Zombie Cats – burn zombie cats for fun!, The Crate Escape – survive the trip down giant industrial conveyor belts and traps, UFO Shooter – Destroy the monsters with your UFO; our homage to Space InvadersTM. Monster Madness: Grave Danger will be released on PS3 by SouthPeak Games in Q3. For more information go to: www.monster-madness.com.

Koch Media and arvato systems announce joint cooperation eeis from arvato systems supplies comprehensive MMO solutions

Monday, August 18th, 2008
Koch Media and arvato systems announce joint cooperation eeis from arvato systems supplies comprehensive MMO solutions

arvato systems, the international IT service provider of Bertelsmann AG, and Koch Media, a leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, are announcing the closure of an agreement regarding worldwide deployment of the eeis (Electronic Entertainment Infrastructure Services) service platform.

arvato systems is going to safeguard operation of Koch Media online projects in the development phase. Koch Media utilizes eeis modules to ensure the functionality, marketing, general administration and operation of both current and coming online games. Among others, this refers to the already announced online world 7Million.

At Koch Media, the department New Media Development focuses on building up the online publishing sector. 7Million was announced this year as the first of its own projects which is going to be marketed by Koch Media worldwide. The online title placed in a modern setting enters onto paths apart from the well-trodden within the genre, and is intended to appeal to completely new target groups alongside core gamers. eeis from arvato systems supplies the necessary infrastructure for Koch Media’s online plans.

“The implementation of eeis is an important step in helping our MMO game 7Million to worldwide success. Our ambitious projects call for innovative, well-engineered technologies and services in order to come up to the steadily rising customer expectations being placed on service, stability and security.

eeis from arvato systems unites all the necessary technologies in one full-scale solution. Furthermore, we’re glad to have found a German-German solution in this highly innovative field,” remarks Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, managing director of Koch Media.

CEO and president of arvato systems, Dr. Michael Pesch, adds: “With Koch Media, we’re glad to have won over one more partner who will be utilizing eeis. For us, the cooperation confirms once again that we have recognized the signs of the times on the constantly growing online entertainment market by offering our integrally holistic back-office solution. More and more, user bonding and customer orientation are becoming the focal point while new business models are being sought. eeis is the optimal answer to meet these demands and is going to support Koch Media decisively in penetrating the online market.”

Among other features, the eeis modules used by Koch Media include: Worldwide transparent billing services, an efficient CRM system and customer care back-end solutions.

More details about eeis from arvato systems on www.e-eis.com.