Thứ Sáu, 30 tháng 12, 2011

Cafe World Aloha Joe and Lisa Goals: Everything you need to know

The romantic saga of Espresso Joe and Lisa Latte, two characters in Cafe World, continues now as Zynga has released a new eight part mission series in the game that sees you preparing your cafe for an Hawaiian Party. Why? Well, it appears as though Joe and Lisa just returned from a great vacation to Hawaii, and they've brought you a gift. However, you won't receive said gift(s) until your cafe is ready to hold a properly themed party.

These goals are called "Aloha, Joe and Lisa," and they start with an incredibly simple set of three tasks [pictured]:

Own a Large Tiki Mask
Own a Surfboard Collection
Have 2 Leis

Both the Tiki Mask and the Surfboard Collection are decorative items, which are available to purchase from the store for 9,250 coins each. Meanwhile, you'll be able to send out individual gift requests for the two Leis. Note that these Leis work as a sort of "RSVP" for the "return from Hawaii" event, so you'll only be able to ask the same friend to send you additional Leis every 46 hours (weird number, I know, but unfortunately that's the way it is). Finishing this first goal gives you 100 Cafe Points and 100 coins as a reward.

Part II of VIII continues to leave your stoves free of food, as you'll be serving drinks instead.

Serve Orange Juice 30 Times
Spice 2 of your Neighbors' Dishes
Have 1 Flowerprint Surfboard

The Flowerprint Surfboard is a fairly large item costing 40,000 coins. Meanwhile, Orange Juice is part of your Drink Bar, and can be served to at least nine guests each time you prepare it (depending on your mastery), with a single preparation costing 43 Energy. For finishing this quest, you'll receive the same bonus as before - 100 coins and 100 Cafe Points.

Part III of VIII is where things become a bit more time consuming, as you'll actually have to ask your friends to send you items in bulk.

Serve Loco Moco 10 Times
Ask for 5 Taro Leaves
Ask for 7 Ti Leaves

Loco Moco can either be served from your Gift Box, or you can cook it and wait 20 hours to serve it. Meanwhile, you'll need to ask your friends to send you the 12 food ingredients necessary to finish this quest. Doing so will reward you with the Lau Lau dish, which is a traditional Hawaiian dish made of pork.

Part IV of VIII marks the halfway point, and it sees you putting your new Lau Lau recipe to good use (as if we could have expected anything less).

Serve Lau Lau 15 Times
Ask for 5 Salmon Filets
Ask for 7 Tomatoes

Yet another recipe is up for grabs at the end of this quest, with this second new recipe being Lomi Lomi Salmon. Of course, this is another traditionally themed dish, and you'll need to cook it for our next step in this quest line.

Part V of VIII rewards you with the third and final recipe of this quest set, although you're still a long way from the finish.

Serve Lomi Lomi 15 Times
Ask for 10 Corn Starch
Ask for 5 Coconut Milks

Yet another set of collection tasks - you know how these work by now. Simply ask your friends for these items via individual gift requests, and hope that it doesn't take too long for them to respond. Finishing this quest gives you the Haupia recipe, which is a Hawaiian dessert, often found at luaus (which makes sense, since we are preparing for a party here).

Part VI of VIII, as you might have guessed, asks you to serve your new dessert dish, and also asks you to restock your Salad Bar, just in case you don't normally do that already.

Serve Haupia 15 Times
Restock your Salad Bar 5 Times
Ask for 5 Projector Bulbs

While you'll likely need to spend some time waiting for the Haupia to cook either way, if you'd still like to knock out the Salad Bar requirement as quickly as possible, just remember to choose the "10 servings" option when restocking it. That way, it will run out of food as quick as possible, allowing you to restock four more times that much faster.

In Part VII of VIII, we're getting closer to the finale, but we're also back to the point where Leis and individual neighbor requests might become a real concern.

Master Lau Lau Recipe to Level 1
Master Lomi Lomi Recipe to Level 1
Have 7 Leis

Remember, you'll only be able to ask the same friend for a Lei once every (almost) two days. For the two mastery tasks, their difficulty really depends on how many stoves you have available to cook dishes at once, and on how diligent you are to always have food cooking.

Finally, Part VIII of VIII has you mastering the third and final dish of this event, along with asking for even more Leis, which could prove (together) to be a very lengthy process, depending on your persistence.

Master Haupia to Level 1
Spice 6 of your Neighbors' Dishes
Have 15 Leis

Remember, your best bet is to prioritize who you're going to ask for Leis each time you do so, as you won't be able to ask them again for almost two days. That is, you'd want to ask those that you know are dependable for your first two leis, so that you can spend the days in between letting them reset. You wouldn't want to ask people that may or may not help you for the first quest, as you'll have wasted those two days waiting for them to respond, to no avail.

When everything is said and done, you will have leaned all about Joe and Lisa's Hawaiian Vacation, and will apparently come out better for it. Even if you only complete these goals for the new recipes, and not for the new decorations, you'll still be able to show off your new prizes with pride to all of your friends, so make sure to start completing these goals while they're still available (no exact time limit was specified).

What do you think of this new goal series in Cafe World? Do you like the love-story that has played out between Joe and Lisa, or would you rather your cooking be left without a story?

FarmVille Sneak Peek: Pig Breeding Coming Soon

Here's something that should make animal-lovers in FarmVille very, very happy. Remember when Community Manager Lexilicious told us that an exciting change would be coming to the Pig Pen feature in the game? Well, it looks like that feature will be Pig Breeding, and it looks to work the same way as Sheep Breeding, in that you'll need bottles to grow the Piglets that are born.

While yes, some of the text on the above window does say "Lamb," this is likely a place-holder issue, as Zynga has been known to use the same formatting for different features after simply changing the text, which clearly hasn't been finished here yet.

Any other details about Pig Breeding are still up in the air, but for now you can always prepare by saving your bottles, so that you can have a bunch of cute little piggies running around your land (ok, maybe not running, but looking just adorable while standing still).

[Image Credit: FV Nation]

FarmVille Rio farm promises two exclusive prizes

If you logged into FarmVille tonight, you were most likely greeted by this new loading screen promising a new Rio farm. Rio is a new Blue Sky Studios/Fox movie from the same folks who made the Ice Age animated films. The movie follows a macaw named Blu as the main character as he journeys to his homeland in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and learns about his ancestry. It's an interesting match-up for FarmVille, a game that doesn't really conjure up images of a tropical location. It seems like Treasure Isle would be a better fit for a Rio promotion.

Nonetheless, this new Rio farm does not seem to be rolling out to players just yet. However, we're promised two exclusive prizes for visiting it, so we're looking forward to it launching.

FrontierVille Ponderosa Lodge Goals: Everything you need to know

That old, warped cabin of yours is in desperate need of a makeover, no? Well, Zynga is going all Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on FrontierVille's default building with the new Ponderosa Lodge Goals. These missions either have yet to be released or are slowly rolling out to players, so details like specific rewards are scarce and this information is subject to change. With that disclaimer behind us, let's move into our southwestern lodge, shall we?
Ponderosa Lodge Goals

Ponderosa Lodge1. Wishes Come True

    Purchase the Ponderosa Lodge
    Tend 20 Oxen
    Craft 4 Sawhorses

It's unknown how much the Lodge will cost exactly in the Market, but we're guessing in the range of 10 thousand plus coins--don't quote us on that one. Tending 20 Oxen will take quite some time if you only own one or two, but considering they cost 990 coins a piece you might be better off exercising some patience. The four Sawhorses are crafted in the Barn and will require 20 Planks and 8 Tools. Complete this Goal for 200 XP and a collectible item.

2. Gussy Up the Place

    Harvest 15 White Roses
    Collect 15 Elegant Paintings
    Tend 12 Peach Trees

Elegant PaintingsHarvesting 15 White Roses will take 10 hours if all of them are planted at once, which shouldn't be difficult, for a total of 3 thousand coins. The 15 Elegant Paintings will likely be requested from the Goal's menu window for your friends to respond to. The 12 Peach Trees would take just three hours to ripen and harvest, but owning 12 Peach Trees would cost a hefty 12,720 coins to manage. Again, the waiting game continues. Finish this quest for an Oak Tree and 500 XP.

3. Packin' Up

    Visit 15 Neighbors
    Harvest 20 Cotton
    Send 5 Neighbor wishlist items

The first requirement to this Goal is something you all should be familiar with, but it can be done while you wait for your Cotton to grow. That second requirement will cost you 12 thousand coins and take at least three days, so hang tight. But don't forget to send your friends some Wish List items. You can do this by clicking on a player portrait on your friends bar and clicking on one of the items that pops up. For completing this Goal, 750 XP and one Rivet are yours.

Box of Kittens4. A Man's Home is His Castle

    Collect 10 Throne Plungers
    Have 500 wood
    Plant 20 Sunflowers

In this fourth and final Goal, the Throne Plungers will be requested from friends through the quest's menu window, while just having 500 Wood at the time shouldn't be difficult--go chop down some trees. Planting 20 Sunflowers will cost you 6,200 coins total and take at least 18 hours to harvest. Finally, this Goal will reward you with the Adobe Bricks needed to complete the Ponderosa Lodge, plus you'll get a Box of Kittens and 1,000 XP. As to why Zynga threw in a Box of Kittens as if they were a magazine subscription we have no idea, but at least they're are cute. Yay, I guess.

[Source and Image Credit: FrontierVille Info]

[Image Credit: FrontierV]

Check out the rest of our FrontierVille Cheats & Tips right here.

Have you seen these Goals in your game yet? What tips might you have for completing this series faser?

Building the FrontierVille Ponderosa Lodge: Everything you need to know

With the dreams of a big new house on the horizon in FrontierVille, it would help to know how to put this thing together. First of all, you need to start the new Ponderosa Lodge Goals that have yet to be released as of this writing. Luckily for you, we have all the details on how to throw together this new castle after the break.

After you take on the first Goal of the series, you will have to purchase the Ponderosa Lodge from the Market, which will cost just 950 coins and 20 Wood in the Buildings section. However, this new building cannot be finished until the Ponderosa Lodge Goals are complete, a first for FrontierVille.

Place the building anyway, just to get it out of the way. Then, give it seven good whacks at 1 Energy and 10 Wood per whack. Once that's through, the familiar building menu will appear with six item requirements:

    20 Elbow Grease
    10 Gas Lamp
    10 Insulation
    15 Rivets
    15 Banister
    15 Adobe Bricks

The first three items can be found by posting request on your Facebook wall through the building menu. The next two, the Rivets and Banisters, can be requested from friends directly. Finally, the Adobe Bricks are part of your reward for completing the final Ponderosa Lodge Goal. It's a strange approach to introducing content in Zynga games, which may turn some heads for gating new features through Goals. We'll see in, oh, about a few hours.

[Source and Image Credit: FrontierVille Info]

Check out the rest of our FrontierVille Cheats & Tips right here.

Have you found and bought the Ponderosa Lodge yet? What's your method of finding these items the fastest?

Thứ Hai, 26 tháng 12, 2011

FrontierVille Kennel Goals: Everything you need to know

Remember how, at the launch of the Pet Store in FrontierVille, we were told that "soon" our new furry little canine friends would be able to help us out around the Homestead? Apparently, that ability will be coming sooner, rather than later, as FrontierVille has received a new set of goals associated with the newly released Kennel and Dog Training.

The first of these four new goals seems to work as more of a status check, to get all users up to the same level before moving on.

Have a Doghouse
Have a Pet Store
Place the Kennel

See? A really simple quest that gives you 250 Food and 4 Crooked Fences for completing it.
From there, you'll move onto Part II of IV, which requires you to actually complete a fair bit of work before moving on.

Chop Trees 30 times
Feed one of your Dogs 7 times
Collect 10 Rolled Up Newspapers

These Rolled Up Newspapers look to be collected via individual gift requests to friends, rather than a general News Feed post, but remember, that's subject to change. When you complete this mission, you'll receive two Apricot Trees and 250 XP.

This brings us to Part III of IV, which includes a completely different set of tasks, all of which are still fairly simple.

Visit 20 Neighbors
Tend 30 Adult Sheep on Your or your Neighbors' Homesteads
Send 1 Wishlist Item to a friend

For finishing this mission, you'll receive the Sudsy Tub decoration and 300 Food.

Finally, Part IV of IV has arrived, asking you to sell many of those Sheep you were just tending.

Harvest 50 Wheat
Sell 25 Adult Sheep
Collect 15 Pet Brushes

For the Pet Brushes, you'll need to post a general News Feed item asking all of your friends to send you the brushes, which gives you some time to go ahead and plant and harvest your Wheat (as News Feed items are notoriously harder to collect than individual gift requested items). For finishing this final mission, you'll receive the Poop Scoop item, which is part of the new Kennel Collection, and you'll also be rewarded with 400 Food.

While these missions don't technically deal with Dog Training, they must be completed all the same. We'll make sure to bring you a detailed guide over building the actual Kennel just as soon as we can, so keep checking back. Check out the details on how to build a Kennel in our new guide.

Check out the rest of our FrontierVille Cheats & Tips right here.

What do you think of the requirements for these Kennel / Dog Training missions?

FrontierVille Building a Kennel: Everything you need to know

The new Dog Kennel has finally started rolling out (slowly rolling out, mind you) to some lucky FrontierVille players, with this Kennel allowing you to "train" your dogs to complete tasks, like hunting varmints, tending to animals, and even digging up "cool stuff." If you don't have the Kennel missions in your game yet, and even if you don't already have the Kennel building available to purchase from the store (yet), you can get a jump start on this feature by taking a look at your already purchased dog(s).

The Dog now has a new command when you click on it, allowing you to "Feed" it. You'll need to Feed the dog 10 Chunky Chows in order for him/her to grow up completely, but at any time, you can also click on "Activate the Dog" to take control over the dog, similar to how you click on your family members to control them while working on the Homestead. If at any time you'd like to stop controlling the dog, and go back to "normal," you can do so by clicking on your furry friend and clicking "Stay."

As for the Kennel itself, you can find all of the details about building the Kennel behind the break.
To build the Kennel, you'll need to go about the same basic tasks as usual - place the frame on your land and then whack it ten times in order to complete the frame. From there, you'll need to collect a whopping 75 building materials in order to finish it off. These are new items, so you've we've all got our work cut out for us.

The Kennel requires 15 each of Scrubbin Tubs, Bandanas and Puppy Kisses, along with 10 each of Stuffed Rabbits, Wags, and Muddy Paws. Once you've collected these items, you'll be able to finally finish your Kennel and start on the process of actually training your dogs.

Since this feature is so new, all of the specific details about dog training aren't yet available, but For a complete look at how to train your dog, check out our guide. We [also] know that a set of new collections is available to complete once you start the training process. Make sure to check out our full look at the Dog Training (and Kennel) collections in our guide.

Check out the rest of our FrontierVille Cheats & Tips right here.

What do you think of the Kennel in FrontierVille? Do you like the idea of training or controlling your Dog on your Homestead, or would you rather stick to your human family?

FrontierVille: Kennel and Dog Training Collections now available

Tonight's a big night in FrontierVille, as not only have we seen the release of the Kennel and accompanying Goals, but with the ability to train our dogs comes a set of new collections (along with a new collection specifically for the Kennel building). To be specific, there are four new collections to complete. Let's start by taking a look at the Kennel Collection.

The Kennel Collection goes along with the Kennel building, rather than any activity that you may do with your dog. You'll be able to earn the required items by either whacking the frame of an unfinished Kennel, or by collecting the Kennel's Daily Bonus afterwards. Here are the items to keep an eye out for:

Pet Door
Mop 'n Bucket
Ear Plugs
Poop Scoop

Once turned in, you'll receive 100 XP and 1 Chunky Chow for finishing. Remember, this Chunky Chow must be used to help grow your puppies into adults, so it's a nice item to receive (especially for free). For the Dog Training collections, meet us behind the break.

There are three Dog Training collections, each one dealing with a different skill you may teach your dog. The three collections are the Herding Dog Collection, the Hunting Dog Collection, and the Digging Dog Collection.

Collectibles for these three sets can be found by performing the appropriate tasks. So, for instance, if you were hoping to find the Rusty Can from the Digging Dog collection, you would be able to do so at random when your dog uses its digging skill.

The rewards for these three collections are also themed appropriately to the collection. For the Digging Dog collection, you'll receive the Hole in the Grass decoration, while Hunting and Herding receive 200 Food and a Barbed Wire Fence as rewards, respectively. You'll earn 100 XP for each collection you turn in, regardless of what it is.

You'll likely need to spend quite a bit of time playing the game "as" your Dog, so make sure to check out our guide to doing so to set yourself on the path to success.

FrontierVille Dog Training: Everything you need to know

Who would have thought just days ago, when we were all busy working on our Pet Shops, that the final product of Dog Training in FrontierVille would turn out to be such a complicated process? Even if you expected that it would be, we're finally be given the details as to what you'll need to do to train your Dogs, but everything starts with the Kennel and completing the Kennel Goals.

Once that's done, you'll be able to actually start training your Dogs in one of three skills - Digging (debris clearing), Hunting (Varmint clobbering) and Herding (animal tending). You'll need to train your Dog in each of these skills individually, with each skill triggering a three-part mission series to help your dog learn that particular skill. For instance, to teach your dog the Varmint Hunting skill, you'll need to complete the following three quests:

Part I:

Clobber Three Groundhogs while your Dog is following you
Clobber Three Snakes with Dog following
Collect 10 Varmint Hunting Permits

Part II:

Clobber Three Foxes with Dog following
Clobber Three Bears with Dog following
Collect 15 Varmint Hunting Certificates

Part III:

Complete Varmint Hunting Training on One Dog

For Part III of any skill teaching series, you'll simply need to head back to the beginning (to the window at the top of this post) and click on "Apply" to apply that particular skill to that specific Dog.

Once you've taught your Dog a skill, you'll be given yet another set of missions, which will see the Dog actually using its new skills (think of it as a sort of "retention" program, to see if your Dog has actually held onto its taught Skill). According to Zynga (as all of this information is incredibly new, and hasn't rolled out to many Homesteads), it looks like each of these final missions will only have three steps. What we do know is that they are repeatable, so that you can train more than one dog in the future. Here are the details for each skill:

A Huntin' Dog

Clobber 5 Bears with your Dog
Clobber 5 Groundhogs with your Dog
Clobber 5 Snakes with your Dog

A Herdin' Dog

Tend 10 Animals with your Dog
Make 10 Unready Animals "Ready" with your Dog (use boosts)
Tend 10 Adult Oxen with your Dog

A Diggin' Dog

Clear 5 Grass with your Dog
Clear 5 Wildflowers with your Dog
Clear 5 Stumps with your Dog

Remember, to activate yourself as your dog, just click on the Dog and follow the directions posted in our guide.

Unfortunately, the details as to training the other two skills (Digging and Herding) haven't been released (other than the final goal carried out by your Dog). We'll make sure to update this space when we know what those two skills entail, but for now, you can start planning ahead for when this feature launches in your game - make sure you have plenty of trees, crops, and Adult Oxen ready on your land - you're going to need them!

Will Doom creator John Romero return to 'full shooter status' on Facebook? [Interview]

What does it feel like to have made arguably the most violent video games of all time, only 20 years later to make arguably the most adorable? For Doom creator John Romero, it feels like the good old days. After two decades of creating games for the trigger-happy hardcore crowd with originally a team of four at id Software (and later the MMO crowd through Slipgate Ironworks), the game design icon made a 180 and leaped into Facebook games with Ravenwood Fair by LOLapps.

Now, Romero has founded yet another studio, Loot Drop, which its first social game, Cloudforest Expedition, is due out this summer through publisher RockYou. We chatted with Romero recently for more details on his upcoming games, insight on the social games design process, and the answer to the ultimate question: Why?

Why did you decide to make such a leap from traditional hardcore games to social games? What's so appealing to you about Facebook games?

If you think of game development as a pyramid, I think the tip of the wedge is on Facebook, as far as design goes. The way you have to design a Facebook game is really different than normal games. It's really more difficult to design for this demographic, and the kinds of games you design are extremely different from other games. Most traditional games have a lot of space in them and places to go, while Facebook games typically have a small area that you expect players to spend a ton of time in.

And while they're in there you're trying to get them to buy stuff. To do that and to keep people excited in that area for months is a pretty big design challenge, and to do innovative things where there are so many people making games on Facebook is even more of a challenge. It's a challenging area that supports small teams, which is always more fun than, say, mammoth MMO teams. It's like making a mini MMO; instead of risking tens of millions of dollars on making an MMO that probably won't launch, you get to risk less money with a smaller and actually do launch it in live mode.

What traditional game design skills have served you well in creating Ravenwood Fair and now Cloudforest Expedition?

First of all, knowing how to ramp players through an initial experience is really important, and paying off players who have played the game for a long time-it's really important to do that. It's interesting, because in this space the design is a lot more shallow than hardcore games, but that shallowness is extremely wide. Basically, bringing the knowledge of developing games, knowing how to ramp games, knowing how to scale for millions of people [are all important skills].

So, having run a MMO [massively multiplayer online game] company before this, that part of it on an MMO was actually more sophisticated with a synchronous MMO game than an asynchronous Facebook game. So, that's actually great preparation for doing this. Pretty much everything I know about making games is applicable, but having to unlearn a lot of those things in design that hardcore players like and these casual players are not interested in.

Was there any specific instance that you felt like you had to let back on a design decision where normally you would have just went with it in a traditional game?

One interesting one on Ravenwood Fair was that we actually had everything in the store was basically priced really low when the game launched. We kind of went in and applied a formal ramping to the prices in the store. So, players would open the store and look at the stuff they wanted to buy and go, 'Oh, well I'm going to have to work to get that.' You know, just kind of ramping the game like normal RPGs [roleplaying games] do. When we put that new ramp in place, monetization just dropped in half immediately.

And we had to revert back to the previous cheap model, and basically we figured out that players want to buy everything in the store. So, you can't make every single thing purchasable, but you have to have a lot of stuff purchasable. [The players] not being able to buy the things in the store was gating monetization, because when they bought something from the store and placed it in the world they needed to finish it, and they could monetize. And the barrier was basically, 'Oh, now I need to work for these things, I can't buy as many.' And-boom-there goes monetization. So, letting them basically walk into Walmart and buy everything was exactly what they wanted to do. New games survive through monetization, so we needed to make sure we could get back to that. But it's not only about monetization, it's about the players having a great time, loving the game, but making things available for them to buy.

Loot DropWhich design attitudes did you have to leave behind or take on to create a successful Facebook game?

As a traditional designer, if you come into the social game space with an attitude like, 'Oh, I'm gonna' bring hardcore games to Facebook gamers,' that's not the right attitude. The right attitude is, 'What do these people like? What games are doing a successful job?' Let's play them and get hooked by them to know what makes them tick, and do that with several games and see what patterns are successful. Then, figure out how to apply those patterns to your own design. Not basically steamrolling in there and going, 'I'm bringing hardcore to the Facebook crowd.' That's not going to work.

Now, what can you say of certain studios that have made that their entire focus?

There are some studios out there focused on those hardcore gamers, because their belief is that the hardcore gamer is going to spend more money. Some studios are being smart about it and making multiple kinds of games. EA does stuff like that, and it's important to spread it around and get all kinds of players.

What are you most excited about when it comes to Cloudforest Expedition and your future RockYou project?

The second game is not like this first game-it's almost, possibly for a different kind of player, but still within the same demographic. So, the thing that you do is different, but it should appeal to a wide range of people. So, it's exciting to take this first game that's got it's own little world, and then start another game that's similar in a lot of ways but still really different.

The people on our team are getting better and better at working together, so at some point we've got to do something unexpected and crazy. Developing games is all about the process of developing games. It's not all about the profits you make; it's about the people you work with and how fun it is to actually do it.

Do you think your hardcore tendencies will ever find their way back into your current projects? Why?

Oh yeah, definitely. I always throw my humor into games, no matter what. There are some games that we're talking about doing that are definitely more on the violent shooterish side. A return to full shooter status is sometime in the future. I got some cool ideas, but I really want to do this first, because I think that the space is just awesome. And, somewhere down the road, I think that the ideas are going to converge.

John Romero, Brenda Brathwaite, Jon Knight
What ultimately do you think is missing from the social game space, and how do you plan to fill that void?

In the social space, we have a long ways to go to be able to play these games with our friends in a more meaningful way. So, in our game design we're trying to evolve the 'friend grind' into something that is not your typical friend grind. We want to explore different ways of like, 'Why do I have this friend? Is it because I just want to go take stuff from his land for free, and the more friends I have I get more free stuff?' Or can I do something more beneficial, helpful or meaningful with this friend than just going there and using him.

I think the evolution of that kind of thinking-what the friend ladder really is for-is something we're trying to work on. Well, obviously it's got to be applicable to the game, but in a wider industry sense we want to work on innovating what that 'thing' is.

I think a lot of people want to see those social connections injected with a little more meaning.

I kind of started playing around with that on Ravenwood with the Heart system, where you could take friends from your friend ladder and have them live in your space. I kind of like that direction.

Is there anything else you'd like to add about Cloudforest Expedition?

There are some really cool things we're doing with this game. When people look at Cloudforest they're not going to think, 'Oh, it's like Ravenwood exactly.' It'll be like, 'Wow, this is a really different game.' We're doing some amazing stuff with music-I'll just say that.

Chủ Nhật, 25 tháng 12, 2011

FrontierVille's First Birthday: Purchase Horseshoes for awesome prizes

To celebrate FrontierVille's first birthday on Facebook, Zynga has launched a Horseshoe promotion that should be available to most players already, and will last until at least June 15. Via this promotion, you can purchase three different values of Horseshoes to receive some special prizes. Of course, the more you spend the more you earn, so let's see what's at stake:

Buy $5 in Horseshoes - two complete Energy Refills
Buy $20 in Horseshoes - a Beef Jerky and six "Any Animal Boosts" (these boosts will boost five animals of the same type, apparently of your choice)
Buy $100 in Horseshoes - a Book of Experience (launches you a full level up instantly) an all Animal Ready Boost, and a Cougar Mystery Animal

While the full, instant level gain is an absolutely fantastic prize (I know I'd love to get my hands on a few of those), I'm not exactly sure many players will be willing to purchase $100 in Horseshoes in order to receive one (them), but I'm ready to be proven wrong if it happens.

What do you think of these Horseshoe packages and prizes? Will you spend $100 on Horseshoes just to earn the Book of Experience? How much would you be willing to pay for one instead?

FrontierVille First Birthday Goals: Everything you need to know

If you're looking for some more goals to complete in FrontierVille, but also don't want to miss out on celebrating the game's first birthday on Facebook then you're in luck as Zynga has released a trio of new goals for you to complete within the birthday celebration event itself (how convenient)!

The first goal is called "Frontier Friends & Family," and as you'll see, is just the start of the series' walk down memory lane, highlighting some of the big events that happened during the game's first year (which included creating a spouse and family for your avatar on the Homestead).

Have your Spouse feed 20 Sheep on your Homestead
Collect 10 Frontier Censuses
Have your Spouse Chop Trees 20 Times

The Sheep for this goal must be outside of the Livestock Pen, so make sure to either purchase some additional sheep or pull some out so your spouse can feed them that way. Meanwhile, your friends will need to give you the Frontier Census papers to complete that task. Your rewards for finishing this first goal are 300 coins, 300 XP and one Care Package.

For the second goal, "You're Saving the Children," our trip down memory lane takes us to the Kobe Cow charity event that took place back in March to support Save the Children's Japanese earthquake relief fund.

Tend 3 Kobe Cows on Your Homestead or a Neighbor's
Hire 5 Neighbors
Tend 50 Cows on your Homestead or a Neighbor's

It's likely that many of your friends won't have the Kobe Cow, so if you can't find any, remember that Frontier Jack has one on his Homestead that you could use day after day if things got desperate. For finishing this second goal, you'll receive 500 coins, 500 XP and a Fast Hand Boost.

Finally, for the third goal, "Celebrating Holiday Together," we're reminded of the Winter Holiday event, as we'll need to tend some Reindeer.

Place 10 Fireworks on your Homestead
Collect 10 1st Anniversary Presents
Tend 12 Reindeer on your Homestead or a Neighbor's

The Fireworks are technically crafted inside either the Ponderosa Cabin or the original Cabin using one Saltpeter and five Fire, but remember to check your inventory first to see how many you need so you don't waste so many of these valuable building materials. Meanwhile, make sure to look everyone on your friends' Homesteads in case they have shoved all of their Reindeer in a corner. If you can finish this final goal in the Birthday series, you'll receive 450 coins, 750 XP and a Birthday Cake! Yay cake!

What do you think of these First Birthday goals? Are they too difficult? Too easy?

Earn 2 free FarmVille Farm Cash in Hellmann's Mayonnaise Promotion

Here's something you don't see everyday - Zynga has partnered with Hellman's Mayonnaise to offer a free Farm Cash promotion for players that live in Canada. While it's great to see something not structured to the US only audience, there's actually another plus to this scenario - the link appears to be universal, whether you actually live in Canada or not. Players on the FarmVille forums have "cracked the code," if you will, and have discovered that this particular link will load the promotion for you in a new window - just make sure that you're logged into Facebook at the time!

Once the promotion loads, you'll just need to answer a couple of questions and then play a short mini-game where you try to figure out the ingredients to Hellman's Mayonnaise. Once that's done, you won't see the typical black writing in the top of the screen saying that you've earned your Farm Cash. If you'd still like some visual confirmation, however, just click on the link to load the advertisement after the promotion. When you return, you'll see the promotion's window update to confirm that you have completed the activity.

It's unknown whether Zynga will change the link so that non-Canadian players can't participate, so make sure to do so fast while you know the two Farm Cash are still available!

Were you able to successfully complete this Hellmann's Mayonaise promotion in FarmVille?

FarmVille Sneak Peek: Next Mystery Game looks to offer wild animals as prizes

While nothing's official, we believe that we have discovered the contents of the upcoming Mystery Game, which will launch tomorrow evening in FarmVille. This Mystery Game looks to contain six new wild, exotic, or at least unique animals. There's a Marmoset, Prairie Dog, Guinea Pig, Koala, Miniature Goat and Meerkat here, and since they all seem to not have any other overarching theme, it would make sense that they would be Mystery Game items, and not those simply released in the store.

While there's no guarantee that this will actually be the lineup, we can make a guess as to how many Farm Cash these items would cost - roughly 16-20 Farm Cash per dart would make the most sense. We'll make sure to let you know if this is the set we eventually see in the game, so keep checking back.

Would you play a Mystery Game in FarmVille that contained these animals?

FarmVille Sneak Peek: Birthday Chicken, Balloon House and other birthday goodies

If anything, we won't be able to say that Zynga let FarmVille's second birthday go on without event, as we've discovered more unreleased images of animals and decorations alike that have been themed to celebrate the big event. First, a new Birthday Chicken comes equipped with a great party hat, and will even lay new Party-themed (Birthday themed?) Mystery Eggs. No news yet as to what those eggs will contain.

Next, we have items like the Balloon House, which floats in the air and instantly reminds us of Pixar's Up! For some of the other items, the balloon motif keeps going, as we see a Birthday Table adorned with balloons on either end, and even a Gnome and a Sheep floating via the help of balloons as well. To round things out, it looks like we'll be able to provide the entertainment for this birthday party by dressing our avatars up as clowns. There are two clown costumes here, and neither appear to have any gender information related to them, so you'll be able to buy both either way if you so choose.

It's likely that these items will launch in FarmVille's marketplace later this weekend (perhaps as early as tomorrow evening), so keep checking back with us as we give you the pricing details and other information on how to add them all to your farm.

Check out the rest of our FarmVille Second Birthday coverage right here. >

What do you think of these new Birthday themed items? Will you buy a clown costume for your avatar, or are you more concerned with snatching as many of those Mystery Eggs as you can?

Thứ Sáu, 23 tháng 12, 2011

Will Facebook revive game discovery through genre suggestions?

We sure as hell hope so. (We need some new blood around here.) Sean Ryan, Director of Games Partnerships at Facebook, announced during the Casual Connect keynote in San Francisco that Facebook will be making some changes to how the platform virally spreads new games, Inside Social Games reports. The changes made to the platform last year, not to mention the recent disappearance of the Facebook app directory, essentially brought game discovery to a screeching halt on the platform.

But Ryan has a plan to alleviate that. In addition to working with developers to find better ways of producing News Feed stories players will want to click on, Ryan looks to sort games by genre so that Facebook can recommend new games to players of a similar genre to what they tend to play.

The idea seems pretty nebulous at this point, but hey, at least they're talking about it. For instance, if you're playing Bejeweled Blitz, Facebook could recommend similar match-three games like Diamond Dash to you. Then, Ryan went on to plea for developers to stop copying one another (finally!), according to ISG, and provided a list of untapped genres:

    Fishing - There's only one actual fishing game on the platform so far.
    Christian - An untapped market, as 42% of the United States is evangelical.
    Urban - By which Ryan means games that speak authentically to that audience.
    Role-Playing Games - Here, Ryan characterizes RPGs as Diablo (not Mafia Wars)
    Fighting - A genre that's just starting to take off.
    Romance - A very big literary category, and yet there are no social games for it (we're not sure if It Girl counts)
    First-Person Shooter - So far, there are only two, but Ryan admits that there are limitations on this genre that come from the browser.

We'd like to see almost all of these genres get more attention on Facebook, especially more RPGs. Ryan went on to say that, despite the big players in the social games space like Zynga and EA having already staked their claim, there is plenty of room left. "There is a massive amount of value creation still going on here," Ryan said. "Social games are driving the revenue on mobile, the revenue on web. If you're not building social games on a platform, you're building for a shrinking market."

Ryan also mentioned the companies that Facebook pays most attention to: Zynga, Playdom, Crowdstar and Playfish, 6waves (now 6waves Lolapps), Kabam, Kixeye, PopCap, GSN, Digital Chocolate, Wooga, Double Down Casino and Playtika. With this many major companies munching on the Facebook pie, I guess there's still some crust left ... somewhere.

Buy City Cash in CityVille, score free items for a limited time

Sometimes it pays to, well, pay. (Just go with us here, okay?) Zynga has launched a limited edition promotion in CityVille that will reward you with exclusive items when you buy bundles of City Cash. The deal is slowly being rolled out to players Level 6 and above, and it will only be around for a limited time. Of course, you'll receive heftier rewards if you buy bigger chunks of City Cash. Here are all three items below with how much City Cash it takes to earn them:

40 City Cash ($5):

    Kitty Play Park -- Decoration

179 City Cash ($20):

    Cove Condo -- Residence

465 City Cash ($50):

    Shoreline Suites -- Residence

City Cash offers
As you can see, most of the items are in line with the recently released Hotels feature and the ability to expand your city to the shoreline across the bridge. While we're not huge fans of City Cash around here, this is a better time than any to pick up some of the digital dollars. But remember, you'll only have a limited time, and this is only through buying City Cash in-game, so get ready to fire up that plastic once more ... or not.

Cafe World Recipe Test Goals: Everything you need to know

If you're looking for a major boost to your CityVille population, without taking up a ton of space with many smaller homes, Zynga has released an (expensive) option that you might consider. A new "Pastel Houses" home has been added to the game's build menu, and in this item actually comes three different homes (one each of blue, pink, and yellow), all for the same price. Not that you're really saving on much here, as this one costs - wait for it - 60 City Cash. No, I'm not joking (but I wish I was).

For those willing to splurge, the Pastel Houses reward you with 700 new citizens to start, which can be upgraded to 1,000 over time. You'll be able to collect rent from the homes once daily to receive 576 coins each time by default (that is, unless you add surrounding decorations to boost the number).

If you're at all interested in purchasing the Pastel Houses, you'll need to do so quickly, as they'll only be available in the game for the next two days. Does this item's short time limit (and therefore rarity) make it worth the high price tag? That will ultimately be up to you. Personally? I think I'll save my City Cash for another day.

Will you make a splurge on the Pastel Houses for your city? How much City Cash is too much to chargeYet again, Zynga has completely disregarded the Cafe World community's plea to slow down goal releases, as they have announced another set of goals that launched in the game today. This goal series looks to be part of a bigger feature (that will be fully released in the future), as Grandma is looking for the best recipes available that she can show off at her bridge club's cook-off. We've been told that we'll receive various rewards (perhaps even free Stoves) when this particular feature launches, but in the meantime, you can spend a few days completing the Recipe Test Goals. There are only five goals here in total, but you're required to ask for so many items to complete them that it just might make them easier said than done. Here's what to expect:

The Recipe Test I

Serve Voodoo Chicken Salad 5 Times
Serve Herbed Halibut 5 Times
Serve Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 5 Times

Remember, the quickest way that you can potentially finish this goal would be to look for any of these servings in your Gift Box and serve them from there to count. Otherwise, Voodoo Chicken Salad takes 12 hours to cook, Herbed Halibut takes a full day, and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail takes 30 minutes. For finishing this first goal, you'll receive a Cookbook Shelf decoration for your cafe.

The Recipe Test II

Master Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail to level 1
Serve Herbed Halibut 20 Times
Serve King Crab Bisque 20 Times

The first level of Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail mastery comes at 18 servings, but of course, you may have already reached this level before the goal. Meanwhile, the King Crab Bisque takes one full day to cook, so feel free to use some spices if you'd rather not wait that long. Finishing this goal rewards you with 1,000 coins and 250 Cafe Points.

The Recipe Test III

Master Chicken Adobo to Level 1
Serve Tostada de Carne Asada 60 Times
Ask for 10 Measuring Spoons

Chicken Adobo takes 14 hours to cook, and the first level of mastery is earned after 30 servings. Tostada de Carne Asada takes eight hours to cook, which isn't bad, but the number of servings required just might slow you down a bit. Finally, ask your friends for the Measuring Spoons and you'll eventually pass this one. Your rewards are 1,000 coins, 250 Cafe Points and a Cookbook Bookshelf.

The Recipe Test IV

Master Tempura Udon to Level 2
Serve Sushi Spread 20 Times
Ask for 19 Notepaper

Unfortunately, Tempura Udon takes 22 hours to cook, so unless you've already been working on this dish in the past, you'll have a bit of a time consuming journey ahead of you to reach Level 2 of mastery. The first level is earned at 26 servings, with Level 2 coming at 30 servings after that (that is, for a total of 56). Sushi Spread takes 20 hours to prepare. Finish this goal and you'll earn the Noteboard wall decoration.

The Recipe Test V

Master Crackling Peking Duck to Level 3
Ask for 9 Portabella Mushrooms
Ask for 15 Corn

Crackling Peking Duck takes 18 hours to prepare, so this would be as good of a time as any to blow through your supply of spices that you might have been holding onto for just such an occasion. Mastering the dish to level three requires a total of 55 servings, which isn't that high of a number, considering that it would be very unlikely that you've never cooked the dish before for other goals / because you wanted to. For pushing through to finish this final goal, you'll receive a new recipe: Vegetarian Chili.

For right now, that's where this goal series end, but if this does end up just being a precursor to Grandma's bridge club cook-off, we can definitely see Zynga adding more goals in the future. Either way, we'll make sure to give you all of the details on how to help Grandma once we know more.
for a single item?

CityVille: New Victorian Pastel Houses don't come cheap, but they will go fast

If you're looking for a major boost to your CityVille population, without taking up a ton of space with many smaller homes, Zynga has released an (expensive) option that you might consider. A new "Pastel Houses" home has been added to the game's build menu, and in this item actually comes three different homes (one each of blue, pink, and yellow), all for the same price. Not that you're really saving on much here, as this one costs - wait for it - 60 City Cash. No, I'm not joking (but I wish I was).

For those willing to splurge, the Pastel Houses reward you with 700 new citizens to start, which can be upgraded to 1,000 over time. You'll be able to collect rent from the homes once daily to receive 576 coins each time by default (that is, unless you add surrounding decorations to boost the number).

If you're at all interested in purchasing the Pastel Houses, you'll need to do so quickly, as they'll only be available in the game for the next two days. Does this item's short time limit (and therefore rarity) make it worth the high price tag? That will ultimately be up to you. Personally? I think I'll save my City Cash for another day.

Will you make a splurge on the Pastel Houses for your city? How much City Cash is too much to charge for a single item?

FrontierVille Animal Hospital: Everything you need to know

Last week, we brought you a brief sneak peek of the upcoming Doctor's Office upgrade in FrontierVille, that we knew would be coming this week. Well, guess what? The feature has started rolling out to pioneers, and it's actually a lot more helpful than we thought! Of course, you'll have to complete a few steps to turn your Doctor's Office into an Animal Hospital, but you can only begin to do so if you are at least level 24.

To start the process of upgrading from a Doctor's Office to an Animal Hospital, you'll need to spend 500 coins to literally purchase the ability to do so. From there, you'll need to collect a new set of building materials: 15 each of Chew Toys, Animal Kennels and Animal Pillows, and 10 each of Stethoscopes, Hypodermic Needles and Medical Scales. The first trio are earned through individual requests, while the latter three are acquired through general wall posts asking all of your friends to help at once.

Once you have completely upgraded to the Animal Hospital, you'll find that you can now store all adult Injured Critters (that is, those that have been completely healed), along with adult Mystery Animals, up to a limit of 1,000. While most of these Mystery Animals aren't marked as their current age state, we've been told to simply feed each animal four of five times until the game registers that it can be stored, because it's an adult. Interestingly, if you're an animal collector or just wish to purchase a Mystery Animal that you've missed in the past, the Animal Hospital's menu will allow you to see shadows of the missing animals in your collection, and will allow you to purchase them for Horseshoes (each costs a lot of Horseshoes, so don't get too excited).

In addition to this, there's a whole new goal series to complete, involving both the Doc and Granny, and we'll make sure to bring you a guide of those goals just as soon as we can you can check out a complete guide to finishing them right here. Keep checking back!

Thứ Ba, 20 tháng 12, 2011

featured game, free games, free online games, game of the day, games,, match 3, online games

Since Adventure World's release last week, many media outlets dubbed it "FarmVille meets Indiana Jones." It seems that Zynga took those allusions to heart, as the company has teamed up with Lucasfilm to make good on those hit-generating remarks. Zynga just announced that Indiana Jones will soon make his way into Adventure World this October.

In fact, it appears that the game will be completely rebranded with the Indiana Jones name, according to the above image. The teaser depicts the familiar Adventure World logo, but now reads, "Adventure World: An Indiana Jones Game." To us at least, this implies that Zynga Boston's debut game will incorporate the Indiana Jones brand throughout (and perhaps permanently). The wording of Zynga's announcement certainly steers us toward this conclusion:

    Zynga is proud to announce that we're teaming up with Lucasfilm to bring Indiana Jones - the KING of lost idol hunting, bull whipping, holy grail-ing and flying (but not landing) - to your favorite adventure game. Adventure World: An Indiana Jones Game will be coming soon to a browser near you.

If this is, in fact, the case, Adventure World would be the first Zynga game built entirely around a single brand, rather than the one-off promotions we see from brands like McDonald's in FarmVille and recently Best Buy in CityVille. Considering the massively ambitious game hasn't been doing so hot its first week out of the gate, this could be second wind it needs.

Is the Indy Jones fan in you excited by this announcement? What do you think of Adventure World so far?

Game of the Day: Pop & Drop

pop and drop game of the dayA herd of colored balls is headed your way, and unless you act quickly, they'll drop right on top of you! Pop all the colored balls before they reach you by creating sets of three or more.

Pop & Drop features two awesome game modes: action mode and the strategy-based perpetual mode. I promise you though, you'll be kept on your toes regardless of what mode you play. Make sure to use the special power pieces to help you rack up the big points.

Click here to play Pop & Drop!
pop and drop game of the day     pop and drop game of the day
Pro Tips:

    Pop & Drop shows you where your next shot is going to land. This is an invaluable tool! With it you can line up insanely tight shots through gaps, enabling you to hit those huge combos.
    Bank balls off the walls. As I said before, Pop & Drop shows you where your next ball will land, even for banked shots. Use it to access those hard to reach places.
    Be precise! When the balls are closing in, don't fire wildly. Calm down and make sure you hit an intelligent shot. For example, don't just shoot the ball onto the first level, or you'll need two more balls of the same color to knock it off. Instead, stack it onto another color so when you knock that set off, both colors will pop.
    When all hope is lost, and the colored ball armada is knocking on your door, don't forget to use your arsenal of destructive grenades.

Diamond Dash maker: Social games 'will evolve again in the next years'

Frankly, they kind of have no choice. That's general idea Wooga studio head Henric Suuronen (pictured) seems to have put forward in an in-depth interview with Gamasutra. And it would be wise to listen--the Berlin, Germany-based Facebook game creator is third behind Zynga and EA (now that PopCap's numbers have been integrated), according to AppData.

During the interview, Suuronen gave Gamasutra a detailed explanation of where Facebook games have been, what it takes to create them from a design perspective and, most importantly, where they're going. Specifically speaking to social mechanics in Facebook games, Suuronen said to Gamasutra:

"Now moving four years forward, you have games like CityVille, Pioneer Trail from Zynga, Kabam games, Digital Chocolate games, and Zombie Lane -- great game -- and now Magic Land," Suuronen told Gamasutra. "So it has really evolved. So why would the progression stop here? So I think it will evolve, as it has done from four years ago with Jetman and Scrabulous and Tower Bloxx. So it will evolve again in the next years."

The hit maker behind Diamond Dash recently released its seventh game on Facebook, Magic Land, which enjoys a healthy 3.4 million monthly players and over 330,000 daily players. According to Suuronen, Wooga's latest game had the most man hours thrown into it, a trend he seems to believe will continue. "The whole myth of the minimum viable product -- it's gone," Suuronen told Gamasutra. "It's something that you say to investors to sound cool."

Sure, Suuronen believes that players will eventually get tired of the standard social gaming mechanics of sharing gifts and helping asynchronously. However, the Wooga studio head also points out that the harsh reality of designing Facebook games to get players to pay up isn't going anywhere, and some traditional designers have trouble coming to grips with that.

Considering social games are expected to make $1 billion this year alone (and cash in even more from there), traditional designers and companies better wise up quick if they want to fit in the next big money machine. Read Suuronen's full interview with Gamasutra here, in which he predicts how you might be enticed to pay up in the future.

Do you agree that Facebook games can only grow into more robust entertainment options from here? Where would you like to see the industry go from today's CityVille's and other life simulators?

FarmVille Pic of the Day: Edrenee's farm has a little bit of everything

Previously this week, you folks had a couple complaints about Hemi 426's featured zoo farm. Though you agreed it was a huge FarmVille achievement, many of you folks thought it was just too cluttered and disorderly. In response, I present to you Edrenee's extremely organized farm.

While Edrenee's farm doesn't do anything incredibly artistic, you can't disagree that the orderly rows of crops and trees create a remarkable effect. It almost looks like a gardening enthusiast's back yard, with all kinds of crops neatly planted in rows. It's certainly a nice break from what we usually see: endless plantation-sized fields of the same crop. So even though it's not as creative as say, the dragon farm we featured a few weeks ago, it is a very nice FarmVille design that is certainly unique in its own right.

Finally, make sure you realize just how difficult it would be to coordinate all the crop grow times to take this photo. Very impressive Edrenee.

What do you think of Edrenee's farm?

If you have an AWESOME FarmVille farm that you want to see featured on, please email a picture to, Include a few words about the inspiration for your design and maybe a few tips for people who need an assist!

Playfish founder: We have redefined social games with The Sims Social

The Sims Social is just an arm's reach from being the number one game on Facebook, so this kind of logic is expected. In an interview with MCV, Playfish founder and co-GM Kristian Segerstrale said, "In bringing one of EA's most popular game franchises to Facebook, Playfish and The Sims team have redefined the meaning of social in video games."

While The Sims Social certainly treads some new ground in how Facebook gamers interact, it's important to remember to chalk up much of the game's runaway success to the brand it's attached to. In just over a month since its release, The Sims Social has skyrocketed to become the second most popular Facebook game to date in both daily and monthly players, AppData reports.

Just last week, EA's (which owns Playfish) proverbial secret weapon ousted Zynga's iconic and ubiquitous FarmVille in daily players, but now the game has even more monthly players than the household name farming simulator with over 43.8 million and counting. The Sims Social has dipped a bit in daily players, but is just about 2.9 million fans away from beating out the might CityVille as the most played Facebook game daily.

"By combining Playfish's expertise and passion for social play with the deep creative heritage of The Sims franchise and the insights of its creators, we feel we've brought something very special to life – and tens of millions of players around the world have responded with extraordinary enthusiasm over the last few weeks," Segerstrale said to MCV.

The founder went on to say that new features to The Sims Social will land in the coming months. And we're sure that if EA wants to host the top Facebook game overall, that those features will have to be even more groundbreaking than before. How's about in-game marriages, eh? (Because we all know how well that's worked elsewhere.)

Have you been a part of The Sims Social craze on Facebook? Do you think it's incredible growth is due to its reportedly groundbreaking social features, or is more thanks to its name (it could always be both)?

Empires & Allies Battle Blitz launches global PvP (and special prizes)

Finally, Zynga's answer to the growing legion of hardcore strategy games on Facebook, Empires & Allies, puts on the brass knuckles, so to speak. The developer has released Battle Blitz to the game, a feature that essentially allows you to invade (or be invaded by) any opposing Empire in the game. In other words, E&A finally has its own global PvP (player vs player) mode.

The feature appears on your tool bar to the bottom right of the screen with an icon that looks like two heads butting each other. Click on it to open the Battle Blitz menu. This replaces your Neighbor Bar for the time being with portraits of players that may or (most likely) may not be your Facebook friends. However, you must fight these players in succession--more on that later.

Once you click on the player, you will be taken to their Empire. Then, it's clobbering time as per usual. Click on a site to invade, and proceed to bring it to the ground. Once you successfully invade an opposing Empire, the Prize Machine will appear. Successfully invading Empires through Battle Blitz earns you Tokens to use in this feature for rewards like resources.
E&A Prize Machine
The reason you must invade Battle Blitz players in succession is that the higher you climb on the Battle Blitz ladder, the better your rewards will be from the Prize Machine. And just like normal invasions between friends, players can easily opt out of Battle Blitz by using your Immunity Tower or click on the white flag icon found to the left of the Battle Blitz bar. But look, this is war--why would you want to do that? What are you ... chicken?

[Source and Image Credit: Zynga]

Check out the rest of our Empires & Allies Cheats and Tips right here.

Have you participated in the Battle Blitz feature yet--what do you think? Is this the feature you've been waiting for in E&A, or what else do you think the game needs?

FarmVille Livestock Pen Animals re-released to fill your habitats

If you're looking for a slew of new (ok, re-released) animals to fill your new Livestock Pen in FarmVille, you'll want to check out the game's store within the next five days, as you can choose from a selection of re-released pigs, sheep and goats for a limited time. Here's the full lineup of re-released animals, along with their prices for your reference.

Black Pied Pig - 18 Farm Cash
Alpine Goat - 14 Farm Cash
Latxa Sheep - 20 Farm Cash
Biker Goat - 14 Farm Cash
Fame Sheep - 20 Farm Cash
Chamois Goat - 14 Farm Cash
Island Pig - 16 Farm Cash
Devon Pig - 16 Farm Cash

Again, these animals have been released previously; for instance, the Black Pied Pig was released previously in the German event in 2010 and then again in the Birthday Classics even earlier this year. You'll want to make sure you don't already have these animals on your farm before shelling out the Farm Cash, so you don't run into unnecessary duplicates. Just make sure you shop fast - these little fellas (and ladies) won't be around forever.

Are you going to purchase any of these animals during their brief re-release in the store, or do you already have the best ones on your farm?

FarmVille Livestock Mystery Crate: What's inside?

As part of Zynga's attempt to make people care about the Livestock Pen in FarmVille, which, admittedly is a little hard (don't we already have dedicated storage buildings for both pigs and sheep?), it has released a Livestock Mystery Crate in the game's store containing six animals that can be stored inside your new pen. Now, the Livestock Pen can also store animals like goats or llamas, but unfortunately, only two items of these six re-released animals isn't some form of Pig or Sheep. Here's a full list so you see what I mean:

Babydoll Sheep
Miniature Goat
Teacup Pig
Welsh Mountain Sheep
White Ram

Each of these crates costs 20 Farm Cash, and they can be purchased from within the Decorations tab of the marketplace, instead of the Animals tab like you might expect. Remember, while you are guaranteed to receive one of these animals when you purchase a crate, you aren't guaranteed that you won't receive duplicates the next time you purchase one. That being the case, you'll want to really make sure you don't already have some of these animals already on your land before making a purchase, to ward off any unneeded extras. If you do want one of these crates, shop fast, as they'll only be around for five days.

Do you already have all of the animals inside the Livestock Mystery Crate, or will you purchase some for your farm this week? Which of these animals are you hoping to find inside?

FarmVille: New Craftshop recipes use Lighthouse Cove crops

If you thought your Lighthouse Cove crops in FarmVille were only going to be good for completing goals or earning new mastery signs, think again. Zynga has released a series of new Craftshop recipes using these new crops which will see you combining "old" crops with these new bushels. Here's a complete rundown of the new crops so you know exactly what to grow (and what to stock up on) should you wish to craft any of these items in bulk.

Bright Yellow Tractor: 4 Clam, 10 Tarragon and 6 Elderberry Bushels

Mechanic Scarecrow: 3 Hay Bushels, 3 Apple Wood Baskets and 4 Wheat Bushels

Sheep Topiary: 4 Tarragon Bushels, 2 Wool Bundles and 5 Green Tea Bushels

Apple Red Seeder: 4 Seafood, 10 Dill and 6 Onion Bushels

Bonsai: 3 Kennebec Potato, 2 Cherry and 4 Basil Bushels

Tree House: 4 Lady Slipper Bushels, 2 Apple Wood Baskets and 4 Chandler Blueberry Bushels

Apple Red Harvester: 4 Lobster, 10 Daylily and 6 Basil Bushels

Post Office: 10 Cove Cranberry Bushels, 4 Poplar Wood Baskets and 6 Cauliflower Bushels

Evergreen Train: 10 Red Clover Bushels, 4 Poplar Wood Baskets and 6 Hay Bushels

Keep in mind, farmers, that if you're new to crafting these items, you won't be able to craft many of them until you earn mastery stars by crafting other things. Luckily, ones like the Bright Yellow Tractor and Sheep Topiary recipes are open by default, so at least you can earn some mastery stars while completing these new recipes. Also, keep track of how long each of these recipes take to complete, as some of them aren't exactly fast (the Harvester, for instance).

We'll make sure to let you know if additional Craftshop recipes are released in the future, along with what you'll take to actually craft them. Keep checking back with us for more.

What do you think of these new Craftshop recipes? Which items would you like to have more of on your farm?

Sims Social survey lets you sound off on item prices, favorite features and more

It's that time folks - time to let your collective voices be heard! EA wants to know how much fun (or not) you're having with the Sims Social on Facebook, and they've released a fairly long survey to help you tell them. This survey contains all sorts of questions, ranging from the basics of how often you play the game, to allowing you to rate your opinion on item pricing (are they too cheap? too expensive?) and what some of your favorite features are in the game.

Of course, the point of all of this is to gather enough opinions to actually sway the way the game develops in the future. Hopefully, with questions dealing with how much we like to "build" items with parts (bookcases, double beds, etc.), and the option to say that you don't like it at all, we may actually see a lessening in those kinds of items, if enough users agree. You can even rank various gameplay features (decorating your house, visiting friends, customizing your Sim, etc.) in the order that you like them. In this way, perhaps we'll see more focus being placed on the most (overall) liked feature, and you'll be able to say you helped to make that happen.

Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of survey that will allow you to give your opinion on future item sets, but there are plenty of blank text boxes for you to say exactly what you want to the developers in a place that you know they'll see it. Again, this survey is prety lengthy (when compared to other Facebook game surveys anyway), so you'll want to make sure you have around 5-10 minutes to set aside to take it.

We've taken this survey as well, and if we start to notice any gameplay changes arising because of options listed here, we'll make sure to let you know. In the meantime, head over to this link right here to take the survey for yourself.

Thứ Tư, 14 tháng 12, 2011

RockYou to lay off 100 staff, will not publish John Romero's CloudForest Expedition on Facebook

Ever since Warstorm was axed earlier this year by Zynga, Facebook has been devoid of the nerdiest of dreams: fantasy card battles. (Well, aside from that Big Bang Theory game, we guess.) French game maker Everdreamsoft has formally announced Moonga for Facebook. The game allows players to compete in high fantasy battles through--what else--tradable cards with cool artwork on them.

Ah, our not-so-closet days of Magic: The Gathering are coming back to us. The game, which was released to the web in January 2010, is in an open beta test on Facebook. (In other words, it's live.) Moonga has existed on iOS for a bit longer, and was reportedly number one in role-playing games on the App Store in the summer of 2010. The gameplay appears to be your standard card battle game, but between friends on Facebook and in much shorter spurts.

Players build hands of five unique cards featuring monsters and weapons that duel in one-on-one combat. The idea behind the game isn't far different from most: Create a winning strategy by combining cards that work well together to reduce your enemy's defenses to zero. The game's iOS version doesn't appear to have any social features.

Regardless, Everdreamsoft CEO Shaban Shaame showed off the game's NFC technology that allows players to buy physical cards and import them into the iOS game. It's clear that Everdreamsoft looks to create the next Magic: The Gathering on Facebook and mobile. If the company can somehow incorporate a similar technology into Moonga's Facebook version, then the game maker might be onto something.

Click here to play Moonga on Facebook Now >

Have you been looking for a card battle game on Facebook? Do you think Moonga looks as if it can fill that void on the platform?aHard times have come to Facebook game developer RockYou, as the company has announced that it will lose 100 of its staff, leaving it with about 90 employees in all. As told to TechCrunch, CEO Lisa Marina says that this move will allow for the company to become profitable. "Last year was about finding a business model. This year, it's about making the company healthy and profitable," Marino says. With that profitability comes sacrifices, one of which will be the Playdemic studio that RockYou acquired back in January.

Playdemic will be sold back to its original owners for an undisclosed amount of money, and the Facebook game Gourmet Ranch, along with around 40 employees will go with it. As for what remains (after RockYou itself loses 56 employees), Marino has stated that RockYou will not be publishing CloudForest Expedition, the John Romero game we brought you a preview of earlier this year.

While Marino didn't give an exact reason for why Cloudforest Expedition is being shuttered (we could assume the worst - that RockYou no longer contains the manpower to develop it), she did state that perhaps RockYou had been a bit too creative in its past endeavors. "We went too far down the creative path and lost our way in terms of being a profitable organization."

Needless to say, it's disappointing that profits have been chosen over creativity in this case; however, it's not impossible that CloudForest Expedition will still see the light of day. A long shot? Sure, but if someone else were to suddenly jump in and take the reigns, we may be able to explore the jungle landscapes of CloudForest after all.

Are you disappointed that RockYou has turned down publishing CloudForest Expedition on Facebook? Do you think the game can find a new owner and actually be released?

Moonga deals in on Facebook with fantasy trading card battles [Video]

Ever since Warstorm was axed earlier this year by Zynga, Facebook has been devoid of the nerdiest of dreams: fantasy card battles. (Well, aside from that Big Bang Theory game, we guess.) French game maker Everdreamsoft has formally announced Moonga for Facebook. The game allows players to compete in high fantasy battles through--what else--tradable cards with cool artwork on them.

Ah, our not-so-closet days of Magic: The Gathering are coming back to us. The game, which was released to the web in January 2010, is in an open beta test on Facebook. (In other words, it's live.) Moonga has existed on iOS for a bit longer, and was reportedly number one in role-playing games on the App Store in the summer of 2010. The gameplay appears to be your standard card battle game, but between friends on Facebook and in much shorter spurts.

Players build hands of five unique cards featuring monsters and weapons that duel in one-on-one combat. The idea behind the game isn't far different from most: Create a winning strategy by combining cards that work well together to reduce your enemy's defenses to zero. The game's iOS version doesn't appear to have any social features.

Regardless, Everdreamsoft CEO Shaban Shaame showed off the game's NFC technology that allows players to buy physical cards and import them into the iOS game. It's clear that Everdreamsoft looks to create the next Magic: The Gathering on Facebook and mobile. If the company can somehow incorporate a similar technology into Moonga's Facebook version, then the game maker might be onto something.

Click here to play Moonga on Facebook Now >

Have you been looking for a card battle game on Facebook? Do you think Moonga looks as if it can fill that void on the platform?

Oregon Trail makers just can't scratch that mobile, social game itch

Blue Fang Games made two critical hits (but commercial flops) on Facebook, The Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego, before it shut down this summer. The Boston, Mass.-based developers known for PC game Zoo Tycoon still can't get enough of social, as former Blue Fang CEO Hank Howie (animatedly pictured) told Gamasutra about his new mobile and social game studio, Beach Cooler Games.

Still based in Boston, Howie is joined by ex-art director and lead designer Lou Catanzaro in heading the new company. While Beach Cooler Games intends to make social games, Howie told Gamasutra that mobile will be its primary focus. And new game projects are already underway. "We think we can make this work, and it should work pretty well, so we'll see if we can get it to work," Howie said to Gamasutra. "And again -- I'm knocking on wood here, as I often do -- so far it's working great. It's pretty eye-opening, I have to admit."

The studio isn't giving any details on its existing products, but said that it isn't set on working with original intellectual property. This means that Beach Cooler Games could be working with another brand, like the team did with The Learning Company as Blue Fang. Howie and Catanzaro are hot off the heels since Blue Fang's shutdown in September, and took a portion of the former studio's team with them. Based on the love Blue Fang Games gave those two childhood classics, it's safe to be excited for what Beach Cooler Games thinks up.

Did you like The Oregon Trail or Carmen Sandiego on Facebook? Do you think it was wise for these Blue Fang veterans to stay in the mobile and social games space?

Now DeNA is ready for global domination; Mobage exits open beta

"Alright, guys, time-in." If the mobile social games space were a game of tag in the schoolyard, that's essentially what Japanese social game maker DeNA just said. The company announced that the ngmoco-powered Mobage platform for Western Android devices is out of open beta. Ngmoco CEO Neil Young said, "Mobage has come out of beta," according to

Certainly an apt description of current events, but we'll take it. Since Mobage launched this July, the service hasn't enjoyed much success. Despite that, a number of games from Zombie Farm to We Rule already hit the top 25 on the Android Market while on Mobage. However, according to Young, that was just a test.

"The beta period allowed us to test, refine and prove the service, assuring a superb user experience with Mobage and our world-class suite of games," Young said. "We now start the process of scaling the service and it is great to already see our games ranking high in the charts."

A wild success or not, DeNA is already ahead of its arch nemesis, Gree. The competing Japanese mobile social game network has yet to release its OpenFeint-backed global games network, though it has said that it's coming ... in 2012. Of course, there's also the mighty Zynga to worry about, which might have a few mobile tricks up its sleeves with Project Z. It looks like we'll have to wait another year to see the mobile social games race pick up the pace.

How do you connect with friends in your mobile games? Which of these three companies do you think will provide the best service?

Zynga really wants to see better HTML5 games, but it's a "pain machine'

Pong pain machine
It's like they say: "No pain, no gain." During the New Game Conference in San Francisco, Zynga Germany HTML5 guru Paul Bakaus urged game creators to work past the glaring shortcomings of HTML5 games, Gamasutra reports. You know, because HTML5 is the future of games, and all that jazz. Despite his love for the emergent platform, Bakaus was brutally honest.

"Audio is still broken -- and we need audio to create rich interactive games," Bakaus said. "In addition, there are all kinds of issues with certain devices,: Bakaus said. "For instance, the iPhone can only play one sound at a time." But that's not all: Game makers aren't exactly in love with WebGL, a 3D graphics creation tool compatible with HTML5.

"I have high hopes for WebGL, but if you look at the demo scene today, it reminds me of the Flash demos in the '90s," Bakaus said. "WebGL has another problem, and that problem applies to web developers, because you have to learn a new language, you can't just work with Javascript."

Bakaus then likened HTML5 game creation to a Pain Machine (pictured), an electrified Pong cabinet that shocks anyone that loses a match. But as much disdain Bakaus seems to have for HTML5 in its current state, he still believes it has potential. "What we need are AAA and social game makers to commit to making full scale and beautiful games in HTML5, and not just porting something over," Bakaus said.

"I think we're really getting closer to making HTML5 gaming a reality. I don't think were completely there yet, but we're really close," the designer concluded. And his parent company seems to agree. Just this month, Zynga released three HTML5 games for mobile browsers. With a guy like Bakaus in Zynga's ranks, there's likely more where that came from.

[Image Credit: Blogoscoped]

What do you think of the HTML5 games Zynga recently released? Is there a future in HTML5 social game creation, and should Zynga continue to pursue it?

Kixeye's War Commander blasts onto Facebook for all to conquer

Hardcore gamers have established a beachhead on Facebook, and now can make their next offensive in War Commander. The next social strategy game by San Francisco-based Kixeye has entered public beta is now live and available for all would-be commanders on Facebook to dominate with. The game isn't a far cry from the studio's previous efforts, except for one thing.

Players can finally control individual units on the battle field in real time as they slaughter enemy units and demolish buildings. Clearly inspired by traditional strategy staples like Command and Conquer on the PC, War Commander continues the developer's tradition of real time gameplay with asynchronous interaction between friends ... or enemies.

Based on our time trying out the game's closed beta test, our very own Brandy Shaul found attacking and defending bases to be a largely passive experience, regardless of whether you can now directly control units. Personally, I find the choice to decide which unit gets fired at first by enemy defense turrets a strategic boost, though a small one.

Regardless, this marks Kixeye's next step in its ultimate goal to bring a true RTS (real time strategy) experience to Facebook, Kixeye CEO Will Harbin told VentureBeat. "It's the most advanced strategy game ever created for Facebook," Harbin said. "We're getting closer and closer to real-time strategy titles that you've seen on the PC."

Gallery: War Commander on Facebook
Based on my brief experience with the game, War Commander suffers from brief lag issues at the moment, with intermittent pauses during gameplay. However, Kixeye appears to be hard at work on optimizing the game already. (It is in "open beta," after all.) "We're learning from the past and optimizing the code base more and more," Harbin told VentureBeat.

While Kixeye mentioned that it's "waiting for an onslaught of competition" that it has yet to see, the company does have one worthy opponent that it has already exchanged stern words with over its most recent release, Kabam and Edgeworld. We're sure this rivalry is far from over, so why not check the latest traded blow right now?

Click here to play War Commander on Facebook Now >

Are you a fan of hardcore strategy games on Facebook? Regardless, what do you think of the growing hardcore scene on the platform traditionally dominated by mothers and other casual players?

Mafia Wars 2, Facebook's fastest growing app, gets some housekeeping

Selling drugs and killing thugs must be in style this week. Mafia Wars 2 isn't just the fastest growing game on Facebook this week, but the fastest growing app, meaning its 3.8 million new players beat all general apps on the platform, All Facebook reports. The sequel to one of Zynga's most popular game can likely chalk its success up to its recent deluge of cross-game promotions.

Well, that and the fact that the game's team of developers won't stop updating the dang thing. A new update was pushed to the game yesterday, which is rather minor. However, a number of new items have been added: New weapons are in the Boneyard Shop, some fresh ground, water, and air vehicles hit the Global Marketplace along with a few more Halloween items.

Probably the biggest change to the game sounds like the least significant. The Arena leaderboard will now reset monthly, rather than weekly. This gives players a lot more time to excel in the Arena maps and an even better chance at coming out on top. But for the top spot holders, it'll become even more challenging to remain king of the hill.

Zynga recently introduced the Armory to the game, which will be required for the upcoming 5-on-5 battles. This news in growth brings Mafia Wars 2 to 13.7 million monthly players, which for being out for nearly a month is rather slow when it comes to Zynga's games. The original game reached more than 25 million players, so MW2 has a ways to go.

Have you been playing Mafia Wars 2 since its release? What do you think so far of the game, and what about Zynga's updates to the game?

MyTown 2 will (finally) get friendly, with new check-in and social features

In our preview of Booyah's brand new MyTown 2, we pointed out that the game lacked the social features of its competitors. Well, apparently Booyah was listening (or already had this stuff planned), as Pocket Gamer reports that changes are incoming. The developer will soon add social features to the game that allow players to interact with their friends to expand their cities.

"We're wrapping up the first update to the game that will add social features," MyTown 2 executive producer Seung Won Park told Pocket Gamer. "We'll be incorporating interacting directly with your friends, which will allow you to purchase and access business that you may not otherwise be able to reach."

This sounds like a much-welcome change considering the new iPhone game is played all by your lonesome at the moment. However, if we're to rely on our friends to access new places to throw into our digital cities, doesn't that undermine the location-based hook of the game even further? We'll see soon enough, but this sounds like an excuse not to see my friends in person.

Park also revealed to Pocket Gamer that tablet, meaning Android and iPad, versions of the game are under consideration. Well, bigger screens are always nice, and it's not like we need the MyTown 2 to be anymore mobile than it already is. (Zing!)

Have you tried MyTown 2 yet on iOS? What do you think Booyah should do to make its game more social, and more reliant on your exact location?

The mad science behind a Facebook game's success

Before making the decision to invest your valuable time and money on a Facebook game, you might want to take a moment to stop and think, "Just how long is this game going to be around?"

If you've played a lot of Facebook games, you can often go with your gut. For instance, if it's made by Zynga, it will most likely have a longer shelf life than a game from a smaller company for several reasons: Zynga spends a buttload of money advertising its games and it has the most powerful weapon of all -- a loyal group of players who are willing, dying really, to try the company's next big game.

Inside Social Games has published an in-depth piece on how to predict a Facebook game's success that essentially boils down to this: If the game is still attracting new players after three months, it has got a chance in hell of sticking around.

Case in point: Kixeye's underrated Backyard Monsters. The tower defense game is not the most well-known game on Facebook, but in the context of the ISG formula, it's one game that might be worth playing if you're looking for something new to add to your social gaming repertoire.

It's the end of the LEGO Universe as we know it, and we don't feel fine

Really, it's a total bummer. The LEGO Universe team announced on the game's message boards that the recently free-to-play MMO (massively multiplayer online game) will close its colorful, plastic doors on Jan. 31, 2012.

The game launched to fanfare just over a year ago, because, you know, it's LEGO. Unfortunately, even going free-to-play this summer couldn't keep the dream alive.

The LEGO Group chalks the game's death sentence up to something terribly simple: a lack of players to support its new found free-to-play model. Even a game that's free to play needs healthy percentage of players to pay up--just look at how Facebook games survive.

As a thank you to its dedicated fans, The LEGO Group will provide players that subscribe as of Dec. 31 the full game's final month for free. Here's the full statement from The LEGO Universe team:

    Hello Adventurer, today we are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on Janurary 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open.

    We are thankful to have had the opportunity to share this adventure wiith an amazing community of players. We hope you will continue to enjoy LEGO Universe for the last few months. As a thank you, if you are a paying subscriber on December 31, 2011, we will provide you the full game for the final month for free.

    Again, we want to thank the fantastic community of players who made LEGO Universe such a vibrant, fun and creative experience.

    The LEGO Universe Team

It's always a shame to see an online game be forced to shut its doors, but especially so in this case. LEGO made for some fond and uniquely elaborate childhood memories. Come one, with what other single brand of toys could you make space rangers storm a medieval castle protected by dinosaurs? Don't you even dare say "Mega Bloks."

[Via Kotaku]

Were you a fan of LEGO Universe? What are your best memories of LEGO as a kid?

Move over Slap Chop: Ninjas slice 250,000 pieces of fruit every 60 seconds

Mobclix rolled out an infographic that shows what happens on mobile devices in every minute, and - surprise, surprise - a big chunk of that time involves playing games.

According to the chart, in 60 seconds: 208,333 minutes of Angry Birds are played; 180 million coins are collected in TinyZoo friends; 80 copies of Fruit Ninja are sold, and 250K pieces of fruit are sliced in the game. Damn, that's a lot of fruit.

fruit ninja, angry birds mobile infographic

Too bad we can't say the same for Fruit Ninja Frenzy on Facebook, which seems to be steadily losing players. The Facebook version is a decent game, but there's just something awesome about using your finger to chop fruit like a highly trained ninja.

Wayne Brady is a serious gamer, but he ain't down with the FarmVille

When Let's Make a Deal host (and hilarious Chappelle Show cameo) Wayne Brady isn't, well, making deals with contestants, he's playing video games. During an interview with USA Today, Brady revealed his intense passion for the pastime, stating that his 30-minute breaks between shows consist of Halo: Reach and Mortal Kombat. But he also name-dropped another game.

"I like to be left alone when I'm not working," Brady told USA Today. "So the last thing I want to do is go to a (game like Zynga's) Farmville and have a community. I want the single player experience. I play a storyline all the way through. The more cinematic the game is, the more can replay it."

Well, Facebook games haven't come terribly far since FarmVille when it comes to cinematic experiences. So, we'll avoid trying to sway Brady just yet. Instead, we'll just remind him of two particularly lovely ladies that he might like to hear are down with digital farming. Both Superbad's Emma Stone and Mila Kunis of That '70s Show fame have admitted to being hooked on FarmVille.

So, you might want to at least give it a shot to up your game. Nah--even we won't recommend Facebook games to boost your appeal with the ladies. Hey, you may as well just wait until those nifty Unreal Engine-powered games hit Facebook.

What do you think of Brady's opinions on Facebook games? Are you looking for more cinematic experiences in your social games? Any luck yet?

Thứ Hai, 12 tháng 12, 2011

Chinese Couple Sells All Three Kids to Play Online Games

A young Chinese couple has sold all three of their children in exchange for money to play online Nick jr games at Internet cafes, reports a southern Chinese newspaper.

According to Sanxiang City News, the couple met in an Internet cafe back in 2007 and bonded over their obsession with online video games.  A year later, the parents — who are both under 21 — welcomed their first child, a son.  Days after his birth, they left him home alone while they went to play online agame at an Internet cafe 30 km away.

In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan welcomed their second child, a baby girl, and came up with the idea to sell her for money to fund their online game obsession.  They did so, receiving RMB 3,000 (less than $500), which they spent entirely shortly after.  The couple then proceeded to sell their first child and got 10 times as much for him — RMB 30,000, or about $4600.

Upon having their third child — another boy — the parents followed in their previous footsteps and also got RMB 30,000 for him.

They were finally turned into authorities when Li Lin’s mother found out what her son and his girlfriend had done.

When asked if they missed their children, the parents answered, “We don’t want to raise them, we just want to sell them for some money.”

Sanxiang City Newsreports the couple didn’t know they were breaking the law.

Official Pokemon Game Coming To Smartphones

The Pokemon Company is set to bring an official Pokemon Online game to smartphone devices, marking the first time that an official Nintendo-copyrighted app will be available on the iOS and Android.

Called Pokemon Iie Tap (rougly Pokemon: Say Tap?), the app appears to be a rhythm game where players “tap on Pokemon indigo trading cards to the beat of a song from the anime,” according to a translation by consumer video game site GamesRadar.

According to the game’s official announcement, it will be available for most iOS devices, as well as Android devices running version 2.1 of the platform.

Though this is the first iOS or Android application to carry an official Nintendo copyright, it is not the first mobile app of any kind: a Pokemon mobile phone game called Pokemate was released in Japan in 2006.

Though it is a rarity, Nintendo does have a history of releasing official games on platforms that are not its own, including a promotional Flash game to promote its Tingle character.

A release outside of Japan has not been announced.

Nick Jr., MTVN expand in Asia

Rugrats and music fans in Singapore and Malaysia will be able to tune in to “Dora the Explorer” and 24-hour music videos, docus and concerts with the launch of Viacom’s Nick Jr. and MTVN HD in the territories in coming weeks.

Nick Jr Games. will bow on Singapore’s Starhub from May 18, while MTVN HD will air on Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s HyppTV in Malaysia from June 1.

Nick Jr. will be available on the StarHub TV’s Kids Basic Upsize Group, while MTVNHD will be available to existing StarHub TV’s Entertainment Basic Group customers who are subscribed to the Basic HD Upsize group.

TM will offer the two channels a la carte to its subscribers on HyppTV, Malaysia’s newest pay TV service.

The services will roll out to the rest of the region at a date to be announced.

Disney XD Games

Disney Friends for Change Games

To support the “Disney Friends for Change Games” on Disney Channel and Disney XD, has launched an online destination at, where kids and families can take part in the Games from home and help the planet — by making personal pledges of their own, playing online versions of the Games, and making art that matters! When kids play online versions of the Games at, they can donate the points they earn to one of the four charities involved. At the end of the Games, the charity with the most points given by the online community will receive $100K.

Friends for Change
Courtesy of Disney

In addition to playing online games for charity, kids can view exclusive video content and participate in a number of funonline activities.  Kids can create online art on the Friends for Change Group Wall at, where they can see the transformative power of friends everywhere pitching in to make a difference. The site will also feature exclusive videos from the “Disney Friends for Change Games,” including a special wrap-up show hosted by Tiffany Thorntonand Jason Earles. Kids can also download the official 2011 Friends for Change anthem “We Can Change the World” featuring Bridgit Mendler on

Friends for Change
Courtesy of Disney

Over 30 Disney Channel Games and Disney XD Games stars from around the globe will compete in “Disney Friends for Change Games.” Four teams will play on behalf of a global charity — Fauna and Flora International, World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy and UNICEF. For five weeks beginning Friday, June 24, Disney Channelwill present “Disney Friends for Change Games” in interstitials during its Friday, Saturday and Sunday primetime original series programming, and Disney XD will present a special episode from the games Monday nights beginning June 27 (9:30 p.m., ET/PT). The Games will culminate with a special half-hour episode Sunday, July 31 on Disney Channel.

Friends for Change
Courtesy of Disney
About Disney’s Friends for Change

Disney’s Friends for Change is a multi-platform initiative that helps inspire kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world (and the people and animals that live there). Through PSAs on-air and online tool-kits, the program aims to provide useful information to help kids make small changes that add up to big differences. As part of the program, Disney donates $1 million dollars annually to fund projects all around the globe and has funded over 41 projects that help the planet ranging from educational & community programs to species & habitat protection. Friends for Change currently has over 4 million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughoutthe United States, Europe, Latin America, Japan, India and China. For more information, please visit

- Disney XD gets its game on

Astral-owned Disney XD Canada is delving deeper into the gaming space in a month-long promotion that will see the multi-platform brand take viewers behind the scenes of June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), offer up two new games on every week and give away five video game consoles to Disney XD viewers.

The Level Up contest runs through the month of September and is set to feature the star of What’s, Up Warthogs!, Eduard Witzke, reporting from this year’s E3 in eight short interstitial reports entitled Ed’s E3. New episodes of Ed’s E3 will premiere every Tuesday and Thursday from September 1 and will air throughout the Disney XD schedule. Additionally, a weekly entry word will appear in each episode, which can be used to enter the Level Up contest online to win one of five game consoles.

On top of entering the Level Up contest on, viewers can explore a dedicated minisite to re-watch episodes of Ed’s E3 as well as test their skills on brand-new Disney XD games. Two new games will be unveiled each week with a bonus game available for those who can work out the special game code.