PopCap launches new small games label, 4th and Battery

PopCap have announced the formation of a new small games label, 4th & Battery. Named after the cross streets of the game maker’s Seattle headquarters, the studio within a studio will act, according to Executive Vice President Ed Allard,  as “a pressure valve intended to keep [their] heads from exploding.”

“The PopCap brand has become closely associated with ultra-high quality, polish and attention to detail – which is a great thing. But our standard game development process is therefore long and involved, and doesn’t really accommodate all of the creativity pumping through our collective veins,” said Allard. “4th & Battery gives us a way to quickly try really strange or marginal ideas, and to give our designers a safe area to hone their chops.”

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Latest Pocket God update chock full of Charlie Sheen-isms

Pocket God gets a transfusion of tiger’s blood in today’s “Two And A Half Pygmies” update, with the addition of a character named Charlie who in turn transform into a tiger and a Vatican assassin warlock.

“A mysterious stranger arrives on Oog Island and he seems a little addled,” says the official description for the iOS title’s thirty-eighth episode. “He speaks in a strange code and keeps babbling about ‘winning’. He also does other weird things like transforming into a tiger that slices other pygmies in half. Gross! What makes this pygmy so crazy? Well…he’s a total freaking rock star from Mars!”

I thought it was the fact that he never sleeps and carries around a briefcase full of coke, but maybe I’m thinking of a different Pygmy.

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Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP soundtrack available in vinyl and digital

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the iPad point and click sensation, wouldn’t be the success it is without the haunting, hypnotic score of Jim Gunthrie, now available as Jim Gunthrie’s Sword & Sworcery LP: The Ballad of the Space Babies. This means I can enjoy the Toronto-based artist’s sonorous stylings without exposing myself to the temptation of tweeting every line of dialogue. Apologies to my Twitter followers.

You can grab a digital copy of the 27-track album at iTunes (currently Canada only) for $8.99 or at Jim Guthrie’s Bandcamp for $7.99. In addition to being a buck cheaper, buying straight from the artist allows you to choose “about any [music] format you could possibly desire.” For $30, you could be the proud owner of a 12″ vinyl copy, which features an embossed jacket by Craig “Superbrothers” Adams, a limited edition art print by Cory Schmitz, and the digital copy.

Meanwhile, the iPhone version of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is still on track for release sometime in late April.

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Hacker group Anonymous sets sights on Sony

Sony’s handling of the case against PS3 hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz has attracted the attention of “hactivist” group Anonymous, who have previously targeted Gawker, Amazon, Mastercard and the whole of Scientology.

“Congratulations, Sony. You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous,” reads the statement on the group’s website. “Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, has not only alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable.”

“You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information on how your products work. You have victimized your customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information. This is the information they were willing to teach to the world for free. The very same information which you wish to suppress for the sake of corporate greed and the complete control of users.”

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F.E.A.R. 3 story trailer, making you feel so much better about Thankgiving with your family

The familial dysfunction in this story trailer for F.E.A.R. 3 makes Oedipus look like the poster-boy for healthy mother-son relationships.

In F.E.A.R. 3, pregnant paranormal powerhouse Alma and her two sons, Point Man and the seemingly resurrected Paxton Fettel, look to be heading toward a horrifying family reunion. The trailer’s pretty light on details. But Warner Bros. Interactive’s frightfully Ring-esque series has always been better at conveying mood than plot, which only makes if you read the Wiki. Still, with 30 Days of Night’s Steve Niles and Halloween’s John Carpenter writing the story for this second sequel, it might dig deeper than “creepy girl with psychic powers.”

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L.A. Noire goes to the Tribeca Film Fest

Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire is the first video game to be named an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. The world-renowned film fest, co-founded in 2002 by Robert DeNiro, will feature a live interactive screening of a case from L.A. Noire, which Tribeca’s Geoff Gilmore describes as “a new realm of storytelling that is part cinema, part gaming, and a whole new realm of narrative expression, interactivity, and immersion.” It will be followed by a Q&A exploring the crossover between filmmaking and interactive…wait, does that say “enteratainment?”

For future reference, Adobe Illustrator’s spell check is tucked away under the edit menu.

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Dead Island’s special zombies, playable characters detailed

While the first batch of screens for Dead Island, Techland’s zombies in paradise project, showed the game would be nothing like “the campy world of Dead Rising,” the second batch showed it would be a lot like Left 4 Dead. Case in point: the straight jacket-sporting behemoth pictured above,  while bearing little resemblance to your typical tropical resort patron, would have no problem passing as a special infected from Left 4 Dead.

The latest issue of Edge Magazine has a one-page preview introducing some of the special zombies our four survivors — hotel staffer Xian Mei, ex-rapper Sam B, surfer Logan and bodyguard Purna — will have to face and fight if they want to live to see another lu’au. Dead Island‘s “charging, straitjacket-wearing” Ram, “explosive, boil-ridden” Suicider and “vomiting” Drowner seem to directly correlate with Left 4 Dead‘s Charger, Boomer and Spitter, respectively. But there are a few surprises, like the Butcher, “which uses exposed arm bones as weapons,” and the promise of non-undead dangers, like the threat of “local gangs and looters.” As for the standard zombies, they’ll come in the standard flavored stumbling and running variety. Can’t beat the classics!

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