Is Wall Street wary that King is going to be a one-hit wonder?

Mar 26, 2014

This quote from ever colorful CNBC personality Jim Cramer after King Digital stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange earlier today should give you a hint:

"It's a Stephen King horror story," Cramer said. "It might be Misery, it could be even Cujo."

While there are plenty more (and better) puns that could be made from comparing the King IPO to the works of the master of horror, it’s clearly not been a good first day for the company best known as the developer of Candy Crush Saga. After pricing its stock at $22.50 a share, King Digital has seen its stock price fall to as low as $19.08 in its first morning of public trading. As I write this, it’s currently at $20.06 a share, down 10.8 percent on the day.

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The 10 Best OUYA Games

Mar 26, 2014

It may not have the sales figures or marketing power of the Xbox or PlayStation brands, but we’ll be damned if the OUYA isn’t a fine addition to any living room set up. It’s a TV console at an affordable price with a sharp focus on a single audience: indie gamers.

Every game on the OUYA is free to try, but finding the ones worth trying can be a daunting task. There are more games to choose from than we could bother to count – but the OUYA folks do, and they say there are 727 at the time of this writing. To give you some perspective, there were 709 games on the Nintendo Entertainment System over the course of nine years.

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With so many new games coming out all the time, we’ll be sure to revisit this list fairly regularly to make changes as needed. As of right now, though, here are our picks for the 10 best games on the OUYA.

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Newsgames Hackathon wants to make journalism an interactive experience

Mar 25, 2014

“Gamification” is a dirty word. Most don’t mind seeing RPG elements worm their way into every genre of game, but mention doing it with fitness, learning, or your diet and those same people will likely roll their eyes.

Europe's first-ever Newsgames Hackathon stands a chance of changing that.

A “newsgame” is a gamified method of presenting journalism – be it a feature, opinion piece or a standard new story. The concept was successfully employed by the New York Times’ “How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk,” an interactive quiz that became the site’s most visited “story” of 2013.

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 A hackathon (aka game jam) is when a group of artists, writers and designers gather in one place and build games in a very limited amount of time. It’s a popular concept in independent development, and now The Good Evil and the Cologne Game Lab are teaming up to bring the concept to journalism.

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ZeptoLab tries to crush King’s CANDY trademark

Mar 25, 2014

Let’s face facts: nobody likes King’s attempts to trademark the word CANDY. When the story first broke back in January, it was a public relations nightmare for King. In an attempt to protect their Candy Crush Saga IP, they obtained the trademark for the word CANDY in the EU, and were trying to do the same in the US.

The games community – and indie developers, in particular – were quite vocal in their opposition to King’s tomfoolery. But few have managed to take any sort of meaningful action, and those who’ve tried have been shut down in the most unseemly of ways. Just ask Albert Ransom.

It took a body as big as the IGDA to seemingly pressure King to withdraw its trademark application on the word CANDY in the US.

But what about outside of the US? To really make an impact in the EU, it was going to require a company that could bring out the big guns. Somebody with a game that’s attained the same kind of household name recognition as King’s Candy Crush Saga has. Someone like ZeptoLab, creators of Cut the Rope.

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On March 20th, ZeptoLab filed a claim in London that, if successful, will see King’s EU trademark registration on the word CANDY cancelled. 

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Keiji Inafune on Japan’s struggle to be relevant in games again, and what it has to do with indie

Mar 24, 2014

If anyone remembers the heyday of Japanese gaming’s global domination, it’s Keiji Inafune. The man responsible for Mega Man, Dead Rising and Onimusha has been a champion in the marketplace since the NES days. He recently left Capcom to form his own indie games studio, Comcept, and his first creator-owned project, Mighty No. 9.

It’s a pretty familiar story; we’ve seen plenty of notable developers go this route in the West. But in Japan, Inafune is an anomaly.

And that might just be what’s wrong with Japanese gaming.

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At a GDC panel last week dubbed “Meanwhile, in Japan,” Inafune was joined on stage by Mark MacDonald of Japanese localization company 8-4. The two explored the cultural differences that have limited Japan’s growth in the West, including their indie scene.

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Flappy Bird in a Box is one very cool DIY project

Mar 24, 2014

Cultural phenomenon? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean it’s complex. Flappy Bird is endearing because of its simplicity. And in keeping the game simple, it remains easily adaptable. Take Flappy Bird in a Box for instance – a real-world rendering of the game that’s now available as a DIY kit on Kickstarter.

Created by Fawn Qiu, a Harvard alumni who co-developed teacher curriculum for the kids-can-code program Scratch, Flappy Box is just the latest in her “anyone can make anything” approach to STEM culture. Qiu is also the founder of MakeAnything – a technology kit community that promotes STEM learning through accessible, user-friendly project kits and workshops.

Qiu’s Flappy Bird project really took flight after an appearance on BuzzFeed in February. But while cool, it was also pricey to build. “The motors and Arduino board alone would cost $70!,” reads the project’s Kickstarter page. But with so much interest, Qiu knew there had to be a way to bring the cost down. Her team has sourced raw materials and streamlined the design to help bring the price to a consumer-friendly level. Also, ordering in bulk helps. “We want to raise money in order to put in a large order and to make the Flappy Box Kit more affordable.”

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Smash Hit Review

Mar 24, 2014

The problem with breaking windows is that you can only do it once. The second your projectile hits the pane with its shattering kiss, you have to cheese it or else risk getting caught by cops, guard dogs, or some guy that keeps his gun handy. There's never enough time to admire your handiwork.

Smash Hit by Mediocre is a first-person shooting / throwing game that really lets you absorb the sights, sounds, and sheer pleasure of shattering glass. You can do it over and over - in fact, you must do it over and over if you want to survive - and the sensation never gets old.

Smash Hit

As soon as you hit "Start," you automatically glide down a series of crystalline hallways. You have but one mission: Wreck everything. 

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Smash Hit Walkthrough

Mar 23, 2014

Smash Hit is an arcade shooting game from Mediocre. In this game, you progress through levels by throwing metal balls and smashing everything in sight.  Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with some tips and hints that will help you get a good start on committing soothing acts of vandalism.

Smash Hit

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The #FirstTweet of your favorite game developers

Mar 21, 2014

Every now and then, the internet gets a funky little oddity that provides a surprising amount of amusement for what it is. Today, Twitter rolled out once such oddity. By visiting discover.twitter.com/first-tweet, you can see the very first tweet you posted to your account.

In fact, you can see anyone’s first tweet. (tee-hee)

And so, like any good citizen of the internet, I felt it was my responsibility to comb through the first tweets of every game developer worth following on Twitter to find the ones that really stuck out. As you’d expect, 99% of them are people saying “I’m on Twitter now” or “let’s see what this Twitter thing is about.” In an effort to represent the 99% (Occupy Twitter, people!), here’s what Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid and the upcoming The Witness first tweeted: 

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Now that we have that out of the way, let’s see what those who weren’t ready to just greet their newfound Twitter friends had to say.

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This Week in China: Max Axe Goes East

Mar 21, 2014

After making a big splash earlier this year as Apple’s Free Game of the Week, Max Axe’s creators have entered into a partnership to bring the game to one of the world’s biggest mobile markets: China. Details on that, funding announcements, and what happens when your games violate Chinese regulations below!

Thanks as always to our partners at the Beijing-based Laohu.com for sharing this weekly roundup. For a deeper understanding of the Chinese mobile games market, be sure to bookmark Laohu.com.

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