Monthly Archives: December 2014

Do you want to create a new game in 2 days?

logo_christmas_large-600x600

Gamers head to Birmingham to make computer games in 48 hours

Body:

Gaming industry professionals and students from across the West Midlands will be heading to Birmingham City University on 23 January to make new computer games – in just one weekend.

Hosted by the University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment and co-organised with Birmingham gaming app-makers WewanaPlay, the event forms part of the Global Game Jam™ (GGJ) – the world’s largest game jam event which last year saw almost 3000 games created.

Taking place at Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus, participants from the West Midlands will join more than 7,000 people worldwide as they compete to make the best computer games in 48 hours.

“Computer games are of growing importance to our regional economy and we are very fortunate to have so many great innovative indie game studios so close to our City Centre Campus. Our highly respected computer games technology course is leading the way in providing exceptional young talent to these companies”, said Andrew Wilson, Programme Leader for Computer Games Technology at Birmingham City University.

“This event will emphasize both the regional and global importance that computer games play and it’s an amazing opportunity to network with industry professionals, learn new skills and share best practice.”

On arrival at the event, a secret theme will be announced which must form part of all of the games created. Attendees will be invited to explore new technology tools, take on new roles in games development and test their skills as they design, develop, create and test new games over two days.

Got more info contact:

@Wewana_Play or visit: http://wewanaplay.com

Introducing : 52 Swipe Up

StartMenu 52 Swipe
by David Roberts

I’ve played this game for 10 minutes, if it is true that there is a fine line between insanity and genius this game will make sure to push you in one direction or the other. I personally have destroyed my bathroom and living room in a frustrated rage.

Description

52 Swipe Up is a simple, yet challenging and addictive puzzle game. Swipe cards in the right direction to gain points. Get through all the required cards to move on to the next level before time runs out. Every other level adds more rules that you will need to remember! Race against the clock in a challenging and mind-expanding experience. Are you the competitive type? Stay concentrated, and you might make it to the top of the leaderboards. So give 52 Swipe Up a try, and see if your memory holds up.

History

52 Swipe Up was created during Trollpants’ first in-house game jam, called Trolljam 2014. After the team’s first game idea was killed off, 52 Swipe Up was made in under 12 hours to reach the game jam’s deadline. Trollpants continued developing and polishing the game after the game jam ended.

Features

Over 250 unique rule combinations
52 High quality playing cards
Leaderboard for crushing your friends
Achievements enables your great feats to be on display
Slick and stylish user interface
Unique music and custom made sound effects

Belle – Review

belle_2893807b

belle_2893807b
by David Roberts

Directed by Amma Asante and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson this is a period drama, akin to the girl with a pearl earring in the respect that it’s a semi-accurate biopic based on a real life person from a real life painting. Out now on DVD and blu-ray it’s pretty much everything you want and expect from a film in this vein. It’s the first British film to be shot in true-4k which makes it fortunate that it’s a damn good film. Not for everyone I grant you, you will probably hate it if you dislike period dramas and even more so if you are racist.

Belle begins with the admission by a gentleman that he has a daughter that he loves very dearly, society however deems it negative that he has had this child illegitimately with a black woman and this raises many issues. Unfortunately he has to leave her with her aunt. This raises interesting but heavy subjects early on and it doesn’t take long before subjects such as racism, gender inequality and slavery are introduced. The film is handled so delicately however that the plot is primarily about the usual Austen-esque sexist dreams of English Literature students. Woman jumping with excitement over their possibilities of being married to a man who is essentially buying them as a status symbol and all the other stuff that a lot of people miss and idolise yet would be shameful to admit out of context.

While the delicate back and forth arrangements of trying to find a rich husband for the pretty girls is going on, there is also a darker sub plot that is most real and most unpleasant. The Zong case was an ongoing law battle on wether or not a fraud had been committed with someone disposing of cargo while during a voyage. The cargo in this case was a collection of black slaves that had been thrown overboard, either because the ship was running out of drinking water and therefore the slaves had to be disposed of so the white sailors could survive, or they were thrown over because they were no longer considered to be worth any money.

Attention is drawn to the fact that traditionally black people were always depicted as lower, physically speaking, on portraits often servants and the like. The famous painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle is the first to have a black person seen to be equal to her white counterpart. The film was described by Amma Asante as being a story about race interwoven through a traditional Jane Austen story, and it’s seamlessly done. The film is very beautiful and poignant and yet nonetheless mainstream entertainment.

The struggle of Belle and her friends and families are all very well illustrated, torn between understanding what is right and what is socially acceptable. If only Northern Ireland politicians (not all of them just most of them), would watch this film and realise that trying to enforce a law that allows people to be bigots in the name of their religion so they don’t have to serve gay people is exactly the same thing as the sexual and racial oppression we used to have. Perhaps they would watch this and suggest giving the go ahead to being racist in the name of your personal made up imaginary friend in the sky also.

At best I think this film may iron out a few creases in the mind of an already relatively liberal minded person, but it is a film worth watching and as period dramas go, one of the best.

4/5

Let’s be Cops – Review

secondtier-lets-be-cops-reviewed--large.thumb

secondtier-lets-be-cops-reviewed--large.thumb

by David Roberts

Arresting my attention this month on Blu-Ray and DVD is the new cop-but-not-cop buddy movie ‘Let’s Be Cops’ directed by Luke Greenfield and starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. as two friends who due to a collection of incidents end up unprofessionally pretending to be cops and fighting a Russian mafia syndicate…or something.

Ryan O’Malley (Johnson) is an ex semi-professional Football star, or American Football star as he’d known everywhere else, who injured himself and has since spent the following eight years doing very little work and moping like a boss about his injury. Good moping means living life as fast and as ridiculously as possible, going with the flow, grinding other peoples gears and other things like that.

Justin Miller (Wayans Jr.) is a video game designer with a passion for making good video games but no motivation to assert himself and get anything he’s designed published. Partly because he’s constantly pressured and actively ignored by his boss played by Jon LaJoie off of ‘Show me your genitals’ and ‘E=MC Vagina’ from Youtube.

A slight misunderstanding leads them both to appearing at a party dressed up as cops and as they are leaving they realise that all the girls in the world suddenly want to get their juices flowing all over their cop uniforms and this leaves the guys hungry for more similarly positive attention. Unfortunately a bit of pissing about leads to the bad kind of attention from some dodgy Russian blokes who want to plonk a few bullets into their bodies. So this mixed in with hilarious situations caused by their illegal behaviour leads to what is essentially quite a good film.

I started watching this film expecting it be no better than Observe and Protect featuring the useless and unfunny Seth Rogen but instead it ended up being much more akin to Pineapple Express featuring the fabulously talented and hilarious Seth Rogen. When I first watched it in the cinema I had never seen New Girl, now that I have it’s clear that these two were gonna play the parts perfectly. Johnson and Wayans Jr. have really good on screen chemistry ,I felt they were very convincing and really fun. Something about Jake’s constant smiling in the face of danger was endlessly charming and funny in contrast to the more realistic but put upon grimace of Wayans Jr. The characters were very believable but the script was over the top and ridiculous which I think worked very well, especially since Johnson had taken a small step away from his usual ‘nice charming rom-com guy’ role, into this slightly more mentally unstable version of that.

The only negative things I would say about the film is that the jokes were quite far apart and I felt the film was more amusing that funny most of the time. I can safely say that nothing annoyed me more than Wayans Jr.’s character seemingly not understanding any video game terminology whatsoever. While describing a game he was demonstrating he said something along the lines of ‘this bit would be good if this cop and the other cop had to work together to clear the level’ could’ve been summed up as ‘Co-op…like Kane and Lynch’ or something to that effect. That’s mainly pedantry though.

Buy people who like New Girl this film and a She and Him album and all be well.

3/5

Into The Storm – Review

into-the-storm

by David Roberts

Every winter the news accidentally forgets that it’s the news and not the weather and posts countless photos of weather onto our screens, usually snow. Men in snow. Snow in men. Snowmen in women. Goats eating the carrots from a snowman’s face. It’s stupid, but when there’s a lot of weather it’s very interesting to some people. A lot of snow in London, isn’t the same as a lot of snow to an eskimo. A lot of wind to Winnie The Pooh isn’t the same as a lot of wind in Silverton. Into the storm is the Silverton story and it is a film about wind. (A very blustery day is the Winnie The Pooh one, if you’re interested. It is also a film about wind but with heffalumps and woozles)

Into the storm concerns a small group of people trying to film their last days at school before going off to college, there are lots of emotions running high because the father of the central family is a bit of a bell-end and doesn’t enjoy having children anymore now that he has to do all the work since his wife died. There are also a group of over zealous wind chasers who want nothing more than to make a documentary about wind. They act like they are making a documentary about partying with Mötley Crüe or something because they seem to think that wind is intrinsically both very interesting and their path to riches. So long tedious story short, the wind gets really windy and starts destroying bits and pieces of everywhere in Silverton. There is a guy Jacob, who is nervous about filming wind and he has a pretty girlfriend, and they have a life together and you know from the second that he is reminded of these things that he is definitely going to die. Now if I were to see a pillar of fire tearing a city in half I would run away as fast as I could, but Jacob decided to run at the pillar of fire faster than an Israelite escaping Egypt. (Exodus 13:21-22). He’s really annoying though. And you may say to yourself “Jacob the pleasure in watching you die is what I will get.” (Exodus – Lesson in Violence – From the album Bonded by Blood.) Pretty proud of that joke yes siree bob.

The people in the film are simply a conduit giving the ‘found footage’ element a reason to progress past or towards more wind. While I’m on that note though, is the found footage thing not supposed to imply that this has actually occurred somewhere? I mean we definitely would’ve heard about this if it had, I don’t think they would spend so much time dedicated to the mistakes famous teenagers do with their lives if there had been some actual tragedy going in the world do you?

Is there such a thing as wind porn? If there is this is it. A massive amount of tornados join together like some windy power rangers creating a massive wind tube. It destroys everything in the way but surprisingly kills very few people considering it rips through a school aggressively, at one point it dresses up as an man from the electric board, and robs a pensioner’s house because she didn’t ask for his ID, but really the only thing destroyed by the wind was stupid material possessions like food and shelter.

I don’t think there has ever before been a film about a Twister or a Tornado! Or a ‘Category 7: The End of the world’. I’m not sure what the correct term for a lot of wind is now. I enjoyed it for what it was, which was a film about wind, and lots of it was quite unbelievable but at least it was original. I wouldn’t watch it again and I would be embarrassed if anyone told me it was their favourite film. Unless I had asked them ‘What is your favourite film about wind that came out in 2014’.

3/5

Assassin’s Creed Rogue – PS3 – Review

Assassin's Creed Rogue David Roberts Review

Assassin's Creed Rogue David Roberts Review

by David Roberts

Ubisoft have responded to the accusations of releasing the same game every year in a different package by releasing two of them this year. The first one Assassin’s Creed Unity on the PS4 and Xbox One, the second, and the subject of this review Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which is basically Black Flag in disguise. With the slight twist on a theme, you play as an assassin turned templar with all the majestic moral mind melting that you’d expect. I found myself sneaking up on Templars as the game started being ushered in the direction that my fate decreed by a very unpleasant, controlling and difficult to please mentor/leader.

My character is Irish, is called Shay Patrick Cormac (spelt in the English fashion and not the Irish I noted) and doesn’t like rules and regulations. He upsets his colleagues for being uninterested and lazy, which is fair enough accusations of a man who doesn’t know how to spell his own name. He doesn’t like the assassin’s and the way they do things, constant attempts to reclaim the bits of eden mean that the world is suffering some massive earthquakes. Pause. Check facts. Oh they actually happened that’s awesome. The Piece’s of Eden are important for those who wish to wield tremendous power, but seemingly cause the earth to eat cities when rubbed, a bit like a grumpier version of Aladdin’s Lamp.


Shay’s storyline is based in the midst of the French and Indian war, this amongst various other things means Shay is very rarely in a position to feel safe as he is at war with practically everyone. After a mission goes somewhat wrong Shay ends up running away and jumping into the sea to his death! Except obviously not to his death. He wakes up from a coma in the house of some people ho give him clothes and food. Some men come round to put the shake down on those ol’ folks, but Shay ain’t having none of it and gives them a dose of his assassin skills.

The game, as I’ve mentioned is basically a skinned version of Black Flag but there are some new elements that make it interesting. The puckle gun means you can have puckle fun by shooting ships weak points with ease. There is poison gas, and the further addition of a dart gun which you can use to induce narcolepsy or ADHD. There’s a third dart that causes the enemies to completely lose their shit, meaning that they slice and shoot and rage at anyone or anything near by. For those fans of 2 Kings Chapter 2 verses 23 – 24 from the bible you can also cause bears to slaughter entire villages if you shoot them with this dart. So if anyone laughs at you and calls you bald, you can do the good christian thing and have them killed by bears. That’s what god would do. Because he’s a megalomaniac.

So now the stories within the memories are very indicative that the Templars are the good guys the story in Abstergo seem to imply that the Templars are complete fuckers like you always thought they were. There are little nods to various characters from the other games, as the time gap is closing. Eventually it’ll be possible to play all of history through the assassin’s creed games. You could probably even run around in present day [country] walk into your own room and assassinate yourself. The downside of Assassin’s Creed : Rogue, as with all assassin’s creed games, and apparently Far Cry games, is that the story line takes less time to play than it did to write and the side quests are usually nothing more than :

Quest: Climb that wall, then stab that man, then follow that man then stab him too. Touch that girls bum. Do something charming. Stab that man. Stab girl. Follow man. Open treasure chest. Open man chest. Feel girls chest. Stab man.

If you like Assassin’s Creed games you will enjoy this, if you do not like them you will hate this, it is exactly everything you expect it to be.

The Hobbit – Battle of Five Armies – Review

the_hobbit_the_battle_of_the_five_armies-wide

by David Roberts

The Hobbit : Battle of Five Armies has just fought it’s way onto the screen from the appendices at the back of the book that only the most loyal nerds will have read. Starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen this closing chapter of the film trilogy begins with the climax of the first two films and continues with a Battle of Five (or so) armies.

The whole thing with Smaug losing his temper gets dealt with pretty quickly by all the remaining characters and plot points mentioned in the second film leaving almost two hours to fill with a very small amount of plot, fortunately it does it relatively well. I found to instantly be entertaining and epic in the original sense of the word, with such a massive scope and variety including some light hearted attempts at slapstick comedy, because Orcs and Trolls are the silent movie actors of Middle-Earth. The downside is that there’s a strange feeling, I apologise for the use of this overused glib point, but it’s almost like someone tried to stretch out a relatively small amount of source material across three films.

As the battle kicks in the final film in this trilogy is exactly what you expect from Peter Jackson at this point. A handful of characters all very important to the viewer each get their own time consuming ending. There were a few too many moments that embarrassed me, such as when someone says to Legolas something only slightly less pandering than “Go! Go north! For that is where they are hiring beautiful blonde elf men to star in lord of the rings! ”

Every second Tauriel is on screen you can hear script writers whispering amongst themselves“oh why don’t we have a forbidden love story in this one? There was one in the last trilogy that wasn’t in the book why don’t we put one in this one? “And of course there is also a whole “women can’t be in a plot line of their own without becoming a love story ” issue. That’s what they are for of course, falling in love with or being made to cry, or being made to cry because of falling in love. If there’s anything Lord of The Rings fans expect from the Battle of Five Armies is a substantial amount of screen time dedicated to fly grown adults behaving like children. Taking into account that she is an elf means she is probably hundreds of years old and a lot of her dialogue is variations of ‘you’re not my real dad!’ and storming out of the room. Admittedly somewhat elegantly and with great finesse.

The titular battle of the five armies is a great massive battle that somehow is all that happens and at the same time not focused on enough as it spends too much time as background noise, simply being used as a framing device for the little side stories. It’s like a mixture between an episode of 15 storeys high and 300. There’s a reference most of you won’t get.

I’m trying really hard to explain this without spoilers, but essentially Thorin goes a bit mental and decides to start a war between humans elves and dwarves, at the same time orcs and eagles and skin changers get involved. Is that more than five? It feels like a yes. The necromancer gets revealed, the white Orc goes head to head with Thorin, the elves and dwarves and men of dale fight trolls and orcs and goblins and its very entertaining. It’s also instantly forgettable, maybe it was too good and my brain can’t handle it but it feels like the trilogy could’ve been a two parter and no one would’ve minded.

Despite all that I’m gonna give it 4/5

Jetpack Joyride Deluxe – Press Release

jetpack-joyride-featured-790x493

Jetpack Joyride Deluxe coming in hot on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, already out in America and Canada and coming to see me in the Uk and Europe on the 3rd of December.

Jetpack Joyride is one of my most favourite games, a fantastic way to accidentally fail a university course or forget to go to work. It constantly feels like you should be better at it, causing you to play constantly until the next power cut. The Deluxe version of Jetpack Joyride has just been released on Vita and PS3 and has the following additions to the original one-button side scroller.

Jetpack Joyride Deluxe includes S.A.M. the Strong Arm Machine, a massive robot suit that blocks oncoming rockets, along with a host of exciting new content for high-flyers around the globe.

Players can activate S.A.M. once a day by collecting three flying tokens. Every day the player returns to activate S.A.M. they will receive a new in-game reward, and on the fifth day they are gifted one of 32 brand new costume pieces to style Barry with more bling!

Of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without rocket-powered robotic reindeer! Adrenaline junkies can now take to the skies in the Sleigh of Awesome, another new vehicle created by the young, supple scientists at Legitimate Research. This is a seasonal item only, and players must unlock it exclusively during the holiday period. After that, it’s gone!

S.A.M. and the Sleigh of Awesome emphasise everything that kicks ass about Jetpack Joyride – explosions, sweet new gadgets, new styles for Barry and cool stuff to unlock in The Stash.

The deluxe edition also includes the Wave Rider, a high-octane jet ski, as well as a selection of new vehicle skins and outfits designed to give players an unprecedented amount of customisation.

About Halfbrick
Halfbrick is a professional game development studio based in Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 2001, it has developed many popular games across mobile and digital platforms including Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and Fish Out Of Water. For further information, please visit halfbrick.com and follow on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook!
Privacy Policy

About Big Ant Studios
Big Ant Studios is a Melbourne based Australian game development studio that was founded in 2001. Big Ant Studios develop premium Arcade, Sports and Racing content for platforms that include the Sony PlayStation3, PlayStation4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Xbox360, Microsoft Xbox One and PC. BigAnt.com