Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Star Wars games being pulled from the App Store

Josh Shabtai, Falcon Gunner’s creative director and head of Vertigore, recently wrote in a blog post that due to THQ’s deal with Lucasfilm coming to an end, THQ will have to withdraw Star Wars: Falcon Gunner from the App Store.

"In the end, I shouldn't be upset: I'd literally been dreaming about making a Millennium Falcon arcade machine for more than 27 years. THQ and Lucasfilm gave me and Vertigore the chance not only to realize this vision, but also to produce the first augmented reality Star Wars game, um, ever.

"But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad. Especially when I knew what we had planned: An awesome iPad 2 version. An Android version. Visual interaction in AR mode. And last but not least, a Battle of Endor update, complete with an interactive backing track from Nien Numb."

Shabtai speculates that other developers, tied to the THQ deal, may also find their titles disappearing from the App Store in the coming days, suggesting Lucasfilm is planning a franchise-wide reset for Star Wars on iOS. Perhaps EA will handle future tie-in games? The company already works with Star Wars franchisee Hasbro. Or LucasArts may go it alone on the App Store.

Whatever the outcome. You may want to download Star Wars games, published by THQ, before March 31st.

Download Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner (iTunes) before its gone forever...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

3DS breaks Nintendo UK pre-order record

Speaking to trade mag MCV, Nintendo UK sales director, Andy Yates revealed the handheld is fast approaching 100,000 pre-orders in the UK.

"We're very encouraged that it's going to be a big launch," he said. "Our target was to get over 100,000 pre-orders - and we're in line with that. So far, we've already beat our personal best for a console launch. With three weeks to go, we're in a great position, as pre-orders are still building."

He added: "Retailers tell us that things are good, and they're pretty relieved to have a big launch in March; they need something of that magnitude."

Nintendo UK Marketing director Dawn Paine added that Nintendo's gunning for a "Wii-style" launch for 3DS, something the pre-order numbers certainly suggest it will do.

"I don't think you can underestimate peoples' hunger for new technology - the performance we're expecting comes from the quality of the product. The pre-order numbers are a testament to that," she told MCV.

"We are building towards Wii-style launch proportions. That has been our ambition all along: to get the UK into a 'feeding frenzy' situation. We feel we've picked the perfect time to launch the 3DS."

This claim is backed up by's statement which asserts that the 3DS is the highest selling games console pre-order in the company's history.

Earlier this week reports claimed that 185,000 3DS units will be ready for UK launch on March 25. Get your pre-orders in.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition

Is it really 20 years ago that Timothy Zahn's first instalment of his Star Wars trilogy graced the shelves of bookstores around the globe?

I remember buying a copy of Heir to the Empire, from WHSmith, and avidly reading the introduction, whilst listening to John Williams Conducts The Star Wars Trilogy, on my Sony Super Walkman, during a lunch break at College...

This official tie-in, notable for introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade to the Star Wars galaxy, ignited a mainstream renaissance in the franchise: propelled by stellar video games, comics, toys, more toys and culminating in those problematic prequels.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Heir To The Empire isn't released until June 21, 2011. But, you can follow Star Wars Books on Facebook for exclusive previews.

Pre-order Star Wars: Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition now.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's Star Wars

Simon Pegg, self-confessed geek and Star Wars fan, teams up with Nick Frost, during the making of Paul, to re-enact a famous scene from Star Wars.

Watch their hilarious video here.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Alice: Madness Returns

Sarah Michelle Gellar may never get to play Alice in the on-off movie adaptation of American McGee's Alice. However, this summer gamers get a chance to reprise the role, eleven years on, in the first sequel to McGee's macabre masterpiece, which remains one of my all time favourite video games (I still own a copy for Mac OS).

Alice: Madness Returns delves deep into the dark and violent side of the imagination, creating a nightmarish Wonderland where Alice must face the demons that haunt her visions. Visit the grim reality of Victorian London and then travel to the beautiful yet ghastly Wonderland to uncover the root of Alice’s madness and discover the truth behind a deadly secret, kept hidden for years.

Eleven years ago a horrific fire took Alice’s family from her and left her mind horrifically scarred. Afterwards she was confined to Rutledge Asylum, where she struggled to confront her demons by slipping further into her fantasy world of Wonderland. Now, after ten years, she has finally secured her release—yet she still bears the heavy psychological burden of that tragic event.

With her mind in tatters, she is unable to resolve the fear prompted by her strange memories, dreams, and visions. Perhaps she’ll do better in Wonderland. She always has. She travels there, seeking what the “real” world can’t provide: security, knowledge, and the truth about the past. But in her absence, Wonderland too has suffered. Something has gone horribly wrong, and now a great evil is descending upon what once was her beautiful refuge. Can Alice save Wonderland—and herself—from the madness that consumes them both?

Those with an artistic bent should pickup a copy of The Art of Alice: Madness Returns.

Pre-order Alice: Madness Returns for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 now.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Flare for Mac

Flare is a fast, easy, and beautiful darkroom for your Mac OS X desktop.

With Flare, you can apply photographic effects to your photos, then save them to your Mac, upload them to Flickr, or send them in an email. Flare comes with over twenty high-quality presets to easily apply a wide range of different effects. But that’s only the beginning because Flare also gives users the power to edit existing presets or build all new ones completely from scratch.

Here are just some of the notable highlights of Flare for Mac:

*Fine tune effects in real time via live preview
*High quality 12 Megapixel Textures, Borders and Frames
*Temporarily save edits as Snapshots for later use
*Drag and drop images from iPhoto, Aperture, Photoshop & Lightroom
*Export photos in JPEG, PNG and TIFF formats
*Share creations on Flickr or by e-mail
*Unlimited Undos
*Helpful online user guide and video tutorials

Download Flare from the Mac App Store. The regular price is $20, but Flare is on sale right now in the Mac App Store for just $10.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Star Wars in 3D

Following years of speculation, the Star Wars saga is getting a 3D makeover and, alas, the original trilogy is far, far away...

Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox announced today that the 3D theatrical launch of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace now has an official release date — February 10, 2012! Set against the thrilling and exotic backdrop of a “galaxy far, far away,” Star Wars is perfectly suited to the immersive 3D theatrical experience, and Episode I delivers some of the Saga’s most stunning and spectacular sequences — from the Naboo invasion to the Tatooine Podraces to the climactic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi.

I sincerely hope the press release was written with a sense of irony!

Supervised by Industrial Light & Magic, the meticulous conversion is being done with utmost respect for the source material, and with a keen eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.

The Phantom Menace marketing campaign overshadowed the finished film and suggested a much darker narrative as evinced by 'The Omen' teaser poster.

Will you be queuing up to see this or have you had enough of being nickel and dimed by George Lucas?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

iPad 2: the ultimate authoring tool on the move?

Will you be buying an iPad 2 (or 1.5 as I prefer to call it)?

It's slimmer, lighter and faster than its predecessor and runs iMovie and GarageBand. A scaled down version of iMovie (iTunes) is already available on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch (4G).

This marks a departure from the iPad as predominantly a point of consumption and, with the addition of two cameras, repositions it for authoring, too. Such a device would be compelling for on location use.

Although reading digital comics on its larger screen would be preferable to an iPod touch, I'll be skipping iPad 2 and await Retina Display support, which is rumoured in September. Plus, I need to replace my ageing iMac (early 2007) when Mac OS X 10.7 Lion ships!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

X-Men: First Class

Genre film of the year?