Pocket Bracket + NCAA March Madness = Better Bracketology

March Madness is almost upon us in NCAA basketball. With that comes all the guess work for those that play in brackets and pools. Now a new app will make it that much more fun, and easier to get into the madness. Louisville based Pure Concepts, LLC PocketBracket 2012 for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices is here to be a game changer in Bracketology. This is genius and on time. If you are a sports college sports nut, love bracket pools, and ‘friendly’ wagers then PocketBracket app needs to be downloaded on release. The app allows you to create unlimited brackets, organize pools, and follow the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. You can compete against other users on the PocketBracket Network. From your friends, family, and coworkers. PocketBracket is amazing, it is the first, and only March Madness application to features that make Bracketology more sophisticated in one platform. This makes it easier to play, participate, and keep track of how your bracket is going. 

The way the app works is Brackets are automatically scored and ranked. Players will be able to create, and join pools. They can then follow the tournament games and scores up-to-the minute. PocketBracket is pretty intelligent an application. It’s a game within a game. The features in this application has the potential to be applied in other sports, and areas.


PocketBracket comes pre-loaded with 2011 NCAA® Men’s Basketball Tournament data so you can test drive the application before the the 2012 NCAA® tournament. The 2012 data will be available on Selection Sunday, March 11, at 8:15pm ET. At that time PocketBracket will automatically update and remove your sample brackets so you are ready for March Madness®.  PocketBracket 2012 is available for $0.99 (USD) on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices.

PS Move 10.5 Million Shipped: Sony Can Do Better?

10.5 Million motion-sensing Navigation, and Move controllers were shipped. The combination was also aided by titles such as Sports Championship one of the more popular games.  Sony spoke at GDC Earlier this week, revealing in a conversation with veteran gaming site IGN,  sited that although the add-on has been successful for them. More could have been done to make it successful. Mr. Ahn stated “PS Move is part of our DNA”.  

Many gamer’s would agree due to the fact that the peripheral is compatible with many other games, especially core titles. There has been a lack in execution, and focus in how Sony wants the PS Move to play overall on the PS3. At the same time there has to be patience. For companies like Sony there are many moving parts, and they don’t always gel when they should. In the case of the PS Move with it’s progress, the time for a real push is now. With games like BioShock: Infinite, and Ninja Gaiden III down the road there is enough for Sony to capitalize on so that the success of the PS Move can sky rocket. There are number of Accessories that take the motion controlled device down different avenues. We know, because of it’s Wii like functionality there is no learning curve. Sony just needs to make sure they continue to make it front, and center piece of every gaming situation they find themselves. Even if it’s a passing shot in a commercial. The bottom line is make it normal in the lexicon that is all things PS 3. The question is does Sony get it?

Choose Your Death: Darksiders 2 Collector's Edition Box-Art

 

THQ  is offering game’rs the chance to win the Darksiders 2 Collector’s Edition. The package comes with an art book, soundtrack, mask and bonus extras. What’s the big deal then? Well THQ would like us to participate i choosing what Death should look like on the cover. Offering up three tantalizing versions we can pick from. Heading on over to their Facebook page for the game.  You have on offer “Disgruntled Death,” “Angry Death,” or “Hopping Mad Death.” Which ever wins becomes the Death dealer you love to see.  What’s cool is the fact that you get entered into a draw to win all three versions of the game, signed, and all in a nice Collectors Edition. It’ll cost us regular folk $99 US when it ships on June 2012. Don’t you want your Death to win?

Epic Games Industry Push: Why It Matters

While showcasing the Unreal Engine 4 behind closed doors of GDC 2012, Epic Games VP Mark Rein in a conversation with CVG spoke on what he feels Epic Games role is to the gaming industry. Does he have a point? Should a successful industry like Gaming continue, or is there a plateau  that exists for everyone to be comfortable with? Going into detail Reign says; . ”Don’t worry. We are absolutely every day [pushing platform holders],”. “This is why we did Samaritan and why we’re doing a really high-end demo in the room here. We really are pushing these guys, because if they don’t, Apple will go right past them.” It is this type of logic that has made Epic Games one of the quintessential developers of our gaming era. Obviously many loathe for both their success, and ingenuity, but Mark in further details why his companies focus is such, ”Not everybody in the games business is going to use our technology and that’s OK. But if we can help the games business as a whole then we help the people that use our technology, we help ourselves, we help consumers”. While going on to add ”We really like the big screen, home console experience and we really like IPad gaming. We like all these gaming experiences and we don’t think consumers want them to go away”.

Are game system publishers paying attention to Mark Rein? I would venture to say yes. Part of this is common sense, but at the same time paying attention the changing landscape of the gaming business. Going back to 2006 it where not for Epic Games pushing Microsoft to include additional memory in their soon to be released Xbox 360, not only would Gears of War not have looked, and done spectacular. The very success that Microsoft enjoys today with their console platform would not exist. This isn’t some Doomsday theory, or hindsight 20/20 yapping going on. The visceral loathing, competition, and ultimate dominance that Sony had with it’s Playstation line was super formidable with gamer’s. All any gamer has to do is look to the legion of fan boys that populated the internet game forums admonishing Microsoft. From Windows to it’s executives all bullet points where on Microsoft’s back. At the same time the Xbox 360 platform had a lot going for it in terms of features especially it’s expansion of Xbox Live into a central gaming experience. Without the push from Epic games How successful do we think Microsoft’s platform would have been today? Mind you there are many other developers who are pushing in their own way as well. Take the independent game developers out there. You are seeing great games emerging on mobile platforms like the Ipad, and Android devices.  We can even look to even Sony first party David Cage with his GDC 2012 “Kara” demo this week. Push is what the Game industry is about. Being on that edge, and making a home for creativity, and gaming to flourish. We all know that Apple get’s it. They not only get it, they want it all. If gaming publishers are turning a blind eye to their assets, and the industry ecosystem they dwell in then they need to further listen, ”The only way they’re [consoles] going to go away is if they don’t stay true to what they are. The console gaming experience is about delivering something that’s way out past the bleeding edge and subsidising it through the software royalty model - just like Apple does with the phones. It’s not that much different.”  ”That’s the console gaming model, and if you don’t do that - if you don’t stretch just far enough, you don’t just have enough of a difference to make people want to take the leap with you… it all falls down. Mark Rein concludes by stating;  ”That’s the console gaming model, and if you don’t do that - if you don’t stretch just far enough, you don’t just have enough of a difference to make people want to take the leap with you… it all falls down. Steve Jobs would be proud, but pissed…

Unreal Real Engine 3 Tech Demo “Samaritan”

Painting & Illustration is a big part of creating art, and even more so in creative fields. Talent is talent, but opportunity can take a while to come. This is the artwork of a young artist that I believe fans, and appreciators of art will enjoy. His name is Artozi. As you can see in his work there is a vibrancy to it. Displaying emotion, drama, and urgency without an over use of elements. His color, and ink work are really second to none. You can see him working for a game developer like Bioware, Ubisoft, and even Darksider dev Vigil. Immediately on display is Artozi’s imagination. Artistically creating moments within his artwork that are vast. You feel that there is a universe awaiting to emerge in each piece. Really great stuff. 

Here is Artozi’s description of his above work “Squawk of the Shadow”. Below you can find more of his work to gawk over.

This painting was chosen for the print in ImagineFX Rising Stars 2011 magazine, which I am very proud of. My idea was pretty simple - a man approaching an arabic city on speedy camel. It sounds almost enough for a nice painting, but I wanted to show a power stronger than humanity. Capturing the creature in frame would be another one in a row with paintings with big monsters. I had in mind wonderful shadow shapes after walking in nearby forest and it became a perfect fit for this painting. I don’t really know the exact story - but I feel two ambivalent emotions anxiety and calmness at the same time. It is a game of colours, shapes and moods.

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Max Payne 3 Contest: Win A Trip To Brazil

Max Payne 3 on May 15,  and Rockstar Games are giving fans a reason to want this mercenary bodyguard shoot fest.  Gamer’s will have a reason to get giddy as they can play the game before it release in may, and a chance to  fly down to Brazil for the Sonar São Paulo music festival.  You can join Rockstar Social Club or the game’s official Facebook page. Contest entry is open until April 9, and you must be 18 or older to participate. Guess what? The contest is on and popping now! The winner will first fly to New York City, where he or she will play a “pre-release” version of Max Payne 3.  You will wrap up the trip flying back to the states, getting Xbox 360 console, a one-year Xbox Live Gold subscription and 1,600 MS Points. In addition, 10 runners-up will nab themselves a Max Payne 3 prize pack, one year of XBL Gold and 1,600 MS Points. This serves a slow motion diddy bop.

Obsidian Entertainment x InXile Entertainment On Wasteland 2

If “if” was a spliff, we’d all be high. Except With 17 days left to raise a kickstarter goal of $2.1 million dollars it’s nothing to sneeze at that Wasteland 2 may be a game we will be playing soon. Original creator of the Fallout series has closed a big gap by securing $1.6 million. To add even more frosting to the cake, Developer InXile Entertainment said they reached an agreement with Obsidian Entertainment to collaborate on the Wasteland 2 once they have reached their $2.1 million. What makes this significant is that Obsidian is made up of former members from Brian Fargo’s days as a Interplay Black Isle studios. This is where they made the Fallout 1 & 2 titles, which later went onto be properties of Bethesda Entertainment. Which is a long story in and of itself. Apparently Obsidian CCO, Chris Avellone, will work with the design team. Saying,  ”Wasteland is one of my favorite RPGs of all time, and when Brian asked if I wanted to work on the sequel, I jumped at the chance. While I’ve worked on Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, getting the chance to work on the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout franchise is a honor.” What makes this significant is that with the development talent, cash, and no publisher to tax them. We could see a title that is comparable to what we’ve seen, and in many ways better due to the experience on deck. Kickstarter is showing that as a publisher resource for funding it’s the go to spot. What will really make it significant is if all these blockbuster funding cycles yield great results. Then there won’t be no stopping the future.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's Pax East Play Through Experience

The more we get to see Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft. The better understanding of what the title is trying to achieve becomes apparant. Ubisoft has taken a good amount of development years to figure out new ways to bring innovation to the squad-based series. The previous incarnations gave you a minutia of things to focus on, with the idea of enhancing teamwork. For “Future Soldier” they are introducing new mechanics such as Gunsmith mode. What it does is help players go into battle with the right weapons for the situation they will encounter at hand. The new trailer reveals how the mode will give you millions of weapon configurations. The idea is to find a style that best suits you, and the completion of your objective. As demonstrated by Mack Machowicz what, and how you choose matters to your survival in the game.

Pax East is offering up lots of goodies for attendees, by offering up game-play of titles. There is a Horde mode similar to what we saw with Gears of War 3. You’ll be hit with wave upon wave, upon wave of enemies. Apparently according to Ubisoft this particular mode will have player’s engaged for five + hours. There’s meat on this game’s bones. From the grape vine gamers are going to have to work in tandem to make sure that they can get through areas. According to one play through by Gameinformer’s Dan Ryckert, there was nothing quite wrong with the game mode, but he felt uninspired. Here’s an excerpt of his experience:

I found that whenever I pointed out an enemy location, it was a matter of seconds before someone on my team took him down with a few assault rifle rounds. Considering how quickly you can be taken down yourself, it’s to everyone’s benefit if you call out for a revive as soon as you’re injured.

The four waves I played tasked us with protecting a glowing blue HQ, which we defended from cover. On the rare occasion a member of my team did a roadie run through open air, it wasn’t long before he was bleeding out on the ground. Players will have to defend this static primary objective for ten waves at a time before the location moves.

Wave streaks are available as you progress, and the Ubisoft representative hesitantly told me they were similar to Call of Duty’s killstreak rewards. I only saw two during my time with the game, and they were a UAV and optic camouflage. There were still three slots for additional streak rewards, but they weren’t on display at this event.

While nothing about the mode seemed broken, I walked away feeling that Guerrilla seemed very uninspired. It may have only been four waves out of fifty, but nothing felt particularly original or entertaining. It’s just one mode in a bigger game, but it left me hoping for more innovation in the overall package of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

breakdown is Dan’s observation of his play through along with others I’ve spoken with has been interesting. The question emerges is Ubisoft trying to do too much? Are they too ambitious. Hopefully Pax East is serving up as a good feedback wheel for Ubisoft.