This 2004 Tetris documentary is the best thing you’ll watch all day

Mar 20, 2014

Few games have a story behind them quite as riveting as Tetris. I first learned about the strange and storied history of the game when reading Game Over, David Sheff’s insanely detailed book on the history of Nintendo.

The story of Tetris is really the story of the end of the Soviet Era, Cold War Politics, and dirty business. For years I’ve said that it would make a brilliant HBO miniseries, and while we don’t have that, this BBC documentary from 2004 is the next best thing.

Sit back, make some popcorn, and spend the next 59 minutes of your day with Tetris: From Russia With Love.

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Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Games Network. Better late than never.

Mar 19, 2014

When Yahoo! bought Playerscale last year, we were wondering when they were going to do with it (much like we’ve wondered what they plan to do with the other hundred startups they seem to buy every other week).  

Today, Yahoo! launched the Yahoo! Games Network, offering distribution on Yahoo! and back-end infrastructure services to authenticate players, monetize games via in-app purchases and advertising, social sharing, hosting, and analytics across multiple platforms.

Yahoo! also re-launched its Yahoo! Games channel with a responsive design across the Web, iOS, and Android, re-designed Yahoo! Games classic games like Pool and Poker, and third party games including KingsRoad, Ballistic, Rise of Mythos, Bingo Blingo, and Vegas World.

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For its back-end services, Yahoo! Is charging 0% (if less than 5000 daily active users) to 10% of revenues (it’s a pretty darn good deal) and 30% for distribution and sales via its web site.  Yahoo! claims its distribution reaches 800 million users, of which 400 million users are mobile.  But, let’s be honest -- it’s questionable how many of those users are gamers.  If they were all gamers and on mobile, Yahoo! would be making a lot more money from mobile app advertising like Facebook does.

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5 must-play games from #cyberpunkjam

Mar 16, 2014

From March 1st through the 11th, game developers from around the world participated in the Cyberpunk Jam, an event which challenged developers to create a game based in the cyberpunk genre.

The only rules for the Cyberpunk Jam were the game must be cyberpunk-themed, and based on an image provided by the event organizers. 

By the end of the game jam, 256 games had been produced. The following five were some of our favorites.

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The Week In Review: Layoffs, funding, IPOs, oh my!

Mar 14, 2014

We ran a survey recently asking our game developer friends what more they want to see on Gamezebo.  One of the key pieces of feedback we received is that you want to see more industry news.  Who k(new)?  

As long as you read and share this news round-up (hint, hint, you wild and crazy people with tons of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), and there’s enough interesting news to round up, we’ll sum the news up for you every Friday.

This week:  PopCap and Disney layoffs, Large Animal Games is closing, King is still going public, and lot of new studios and businesses forming.

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More layoffs at PopCap

Mar 13, 2014

Earlier today, Gamefront had an anonymous source claiming PopCap Games, maker of the Plants vs. Zombies titles, had suffered a round of layoffs. Parent company Electronic Arts wouldn’t comment on the source’s number of 30 jobs lost, but did provide the site with a statement from PopCap GM and co-founder John Vechey confirming that some people had been let go:

“The changes we made today at PopCap were painful and we’re sorry to lose some of our friends and colleagues. But it was also necessary in order to stay on course with our future plans for mobile games, live services, and new IP. PopCap is a studio that made its name building great games that the world can fall in love with, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

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This isn’t the first time PopCap has suffered a reduction in headcount since it was purchased by EA in July 2011. Fifty employees were laid off from North American locations in August 2012, and the company’s Dublin studio was closed a month later.

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So long, ShiftyLook: Namco shuts down a very cool side project

Mar 12, 2014

Back in 2011, Namco had a very bright idea: create a team to breathe new life into some of their long-forgotten franchises and characters. ShiftyLook was born out of this idea, and through a series of webcomics (and games and other media), they succeeded admirably at their mission.

But now, like the characters they were tasked to resurrect, ShiftyLook is destined to fall into obscurity; a soon to be distant memory.

“Now that we have successfully revived so many franchises,” reads the latest update on the ShiftyLook website, “the heavy lifting is completed – and so is our work. We battled the video games abyss and won, which means it's time for us to move on and let the hit-makers play with some new toys.”

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The early retirement of ShiftyLook spells a similar fate for many of its creations. Namco High, a fantastic dating sim/interactive fiction release that earned a near perfect score in our review last year, will have its servers shut down on Jun 30, 2014. Their mobile game BRAVOMAN: Binja Bash! will be suffering a similar fate, disappearing from iTunes, Google Play and Amazon at the end of this month.

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Browser Pick: Into the Box

Mar 9, 2014

Into The Box is a mouse-only arcade game where players guide themselves through rapidly appearing rectangles.  Passing through the rectangles is the only way to progress into the next area of rectangles, which more rectangles then quickly appear within. As one can imagine, the game is not exactly friendly for players who suffer from motion sickness or have a paralyzing fear of endlessly falling through brightly-colored shapes.

The more rectangles the player passes through, the higher their score will be. Unlockables are attained once the player breaks through an established high-score tier. The unlockables include score multipliers, different soundtracks, and an "auto-pilot" mode which, at a 1500 score requirement, I may never find out what exactly that does (my best high-score is 196).

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Developed by Tarik Kaya, of the Kayabros, Into the Box recently released for free on Google Play. Into the Box is also available to play in-browser on Kongregate, Itch.io, and Newgrounds. As the game continues to grow in popularity, many have questioned Kaya's reasoning for releasing the game for free, without any ads to support him either.

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Browser Pick: Feed The Children

Mar 2, 2014

If you're wondering, no, the game has nothing to do with saving up money to feed starving children. Feed The Children is, in fact, a comedic, top-down racing game where players must out-race impossibly fast runners. A few laps into the race, much like any frustratingly unbalanced situation, a gun is pulled out and now the player can race around the track, attempting to kill the other racers before one can compete all eight laps.

The whole situation is complicated when security guards, police, zombies, falling pianos, and other obstacles show up and get in the way. All throughout the ordeal, the text-based announcer narrates the situation with a good bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. 

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Game of the Month: Threes!

Feb 28, 2014

Even though February is always the shortest month of the year, this one brought us more amazing new games than we could possibly handle. With Valentine’s Day sitting smack-dab in the middle of it all, we have a lot of love to share for some of the best games to capture our attention in all of their shiny new glory. And could that possibly be another early Game of the Year contender I see sitting at the top of the list?

I know it must seem like I say this every time, but I really feel like February had some of the best new game releases that we’ve seen in quite a while. From a hopelessly addicting and charming number-based puzzler, to the most hilarious game you’ll play in ages, to a breathtaking pop-up book world that you can play in real life, our top picks for the month are not only all innovative in their own unique ways, but they’re all just a breath of fresh air for video games everywhere today (and the ongoing sea of Flappy Bird clones).

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So did you happen to fall in love with any of the same games that we did this Valentine’s Day? I know I’ll personally be giving flowers and chocolate to all of our favorites. But be sure to hit the replies and let us know if you agree with our top gaming picks for the month of February, or if there were any other great games that managed to steal your heart away!

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The Last Door: Chapter 3 - The Four Witnesses Walkthrough

Feb 28, 2014

The Last Door: Chapter 3 – The Four Witnesses is a point-and-click horror game developed by The Game Kitchen.  In this game, you take on the role of Jeremiah Devitt as he tries to escape a fog-encased slum.  Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with detailed images, tips, information, and hints on how to play your best game.

The Last Door: Chapter 3 - The Four Witnesses

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