EA offers free Pogo app for iPhone

Electronic Arts has released a free Pogo app for Apple iOS devices this morning, featuring five games from its casual online game destination.

The app includes Poppit!, Word Whomp, Turbo 21, Mahjong Safari, and Sweet Tooth 2. All games are full-featured and cost nothing to play. The Pogo Games App promises a "seamless experience" for current Pogo online players, extending such features as rewards, leaderboards, and challenges to iPhone and iPod touch.

EA calls the app a "freemium offering," supported by an advertising-supported business model. Members of Club Pogo need only log-in through the app to enjoy ad-free game play. Others can pay $3 to do away with the ads.

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Borderlands (OnLive version)

What is it about the Old West that so captured the imagination of artists? Was it the perception of unfettered freedom, of untamed nature, or maybe it was the gritty opera of cowboys, outlaws, and lawmen? Whatever the reason, we’ve gotten used to games set in the Old West and then games set in far futures that also resemble the Old West. This is one of those games.

Borderlands is a curious amalgam of narratives, genres, and settings that makes for a unique, if at times, uneven, experience. (I reviewed the OnLive version of Borderlands. A full Mac version of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is available from Feral Interactive.)


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Gameloft announces Winter lineup

Gameloft, a leading game developer for the iOS, unveiled on Friday its 2010 winter lineup. Some long awaited sequels were announced, including racing simulator Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, sci-fi combat title Nova 2, and the latest installment of the popular fantasy role-playing series, Dungeon Hunter 3. But equally appealing were the new titles announced for the platform— including adventure game Shadow Guardian, real-time strategy simulator Star Front Collision, and role-playing game Eternal Legacy.

Gameloft has made a name for itself as one of the premier developers for the iOS. From sports games to puzzle games to first person shooters, Gameloft has competed in a tough mobile market with some very ambitious, graphically intensive games that have been quite successful.

That’s not to say they’re immune to criticism. As console gamers like to point out, Gameloft’s titles are often imitations, parodies, or knock-offs of popular console titles. It’s easy to point out the similarities between Gameloft’s Modern Combat, for example, and its console inspiration, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

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OnLive game service announces flat rate plan

The OnLive game service announced a new $10 flat rate pricing plan that allows people to play all of the more than 40 games offered in the plan, as much as they want, for $10 a month

The PlayPack plan currently gives players access to more than 40 games from major franchises like Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, and 2K's NBA lineup. The service plans to expand the library of games in January and offer the 'Pack for a rate of $10 a month.

PlayPack puts OnLive on equal footing with Netflix streaming in that you don't "buy" the games in the 'Pack so much as "rent" them for a month. OnLive keeps your save data from that time period the same way Netflix remembers how much of what you watched so that if you renew the next month (or even the next year) OnLive keeps your saved games stored so you can pick up where you left off. After 12, though, OnLive will purge dormant save data.

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Zynga acquires Words With Friends developer Newtoy

Zynga—purveyors of Facebook-dominating games like Farmville, FrontierVille, FishVille, and PetVille—announced on Thursday that it had acquired Texas-based mobile gaming company Newtoy. Newtoy, of course, is behind iOS smash hit Words With Friends, along with titles Chess With Friends and We Rule.

Word game fanatics needn’t fear that Zynga’s acquisition of Newtoy spells any sort of doom for the most popular multiplayer iOS word game; Newtoy itself will now become Zynga With Friends and continue to produce its existing titles, in addition to developing new ones for Zynga.

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Majesty 2 arrives on the Mac

Aspiring pages, knights and wizards: rejoice! Majesty 2: Fantasy Kingdom Sim, an epic real-time strategy game set in a high fantasy world, has finally arrived on the Mac. Ported by Virtual Programming, the game takes place in the mythical land of Ardania, set 500 years after the events of the popular original title released in 2000. A newly conjured Demonlord has usurped the throne and unleashed chaos upon the land. Now the player is tasked with uniting the various elves, dwarves, and humans to take back the throne for the true heir.

Build your kingdom and prepare for combat in this real-time strategy sim.

In Majesty 2, players will compete as the last heir in Ardania’s royal bloodline, fighting to create and defend their fantasy kingdoms. Choose from ten classes of heroes (such as wizards and wild barbarians) to defend your kingdom from monsters and complete the sixteen missions in the game.

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Poker Night at the Inventory for Mac

[The following review was reprinted with permission from GamePro.]

Poker Night at the Inventory (available on Steam) is a lot like hanging out with old friends; after a while, you start to pick up on their unique habits amid all the chatter. Strong Bad (of Homestar Runner and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People) always seems to bluff, so it’s never apparent when he’s got a good hand. Max (of the Sam & Max series) plays fast and loose with his chips, so it’s tough to call him on his raises. Team Fortress 2’s Heavy rarely backs out of a hand while Penny Arcade’s Tycho usually folds his cards at the first sign of trouble. But even when their playing styles start to get predictable, it’s the witty banter and idle chit-chat among this motley crew that will keep you coming back.

Although each character’s art style is wildly different, Poker Night at the Inventory makes each individual presence feel natural. It’s especially fun to see how the cast reacts to winning streaks and big losses.

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