Forbidden Panel

After scoring huge at the box office with its Avengers movie, Marvel is looking to explore the mythology on the small screen too. I’ve learned that Marvel’s TV division is in conversation with ABC and ABC Studios about doing a drama series in the Avengers world. I hear that the connection to the Avengers franchise would be light as the project is expected to be set in the universe and feature some of its themes and feel, but may not include any characters from Joss Whedon’s blockbuster. I hear the project is in a nascent stage, described as “a kernel of an idea,” with a number of scenarios being explored, including a high-concept cop show. Marvel has already given the Avengers the animated treatment with Disney XD’s The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the upcoming Avengers Assemble.

Establishing a primetime foothold has been a priority for Disney-owned Marvel. The company has developed several projects for ABC Studios over the last couple of years, one of which, a Hulk series, is still in the works. Search is under way for a new writer to pen the project.

via Avengers — ABC And Marvel Eye TV Series.

July 28, 2012

By Andrea Emmes

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline











You should know that besides gaming, I am an avid reader and read about 3-5 books a week. I’m always on the hunt for any really good sci-fi, fantasy, game design or crime thrillers, when I was serendipitously introduced to one of the most amazing game fan books I’ve ever read. Actually, I was in a meeting at Pixar a week ago, when one of the head writers out of the blue suggested that I read this book. I was so excited after he gave me the break down of what it was all about and I immediately downloaded it to my Nook.  Now let me break it down for you.

Ready Player One is a fiction thriller set in the year 2044 and focuses on an 18 year old kid named Wade Watts  who lives within a virtually simulated reality called OASIS. This world and way of life was created by the world famous billionaire game designer, James Halliday.  It’s very reminiscent to the premise in the Bruce Willis movie, Surrogates, where everyone works,  goes to school, shops, and escapes from the crap that is their real life within an alternate, virtual reality. Cline’s twist to that idea is that everyone in OASIS can of course quest in the largest MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game) ever created. Think about World of Warcraft on crack with a million buffs and power ups.  James Halliday sadly passes away, but since he doesn’t have an heir, he created the ultimate quest and left instructions in his will. Whosoever can find the Easter Egg* he hid deep inside OASIS will be the recipient of all of his billions and have sole control over his company. By the way, Ready Player One is a million times better than Surrogates and in no way compares, lol. Seriously.

As you can imagine, everyone on the planet is after Halliday’s Easter Egg and it’s a literal battle to the death as the race ensues. I don’t want to give anything away, but the drama and thrilling “what’s going to happen” next factor in this book is unbelievable. I read this book in one sitting because I just could not put it down.

Halliday had a severe obsession with 80’s pop culture–honestly, who doesn’t?–and infused so much of the 80’s  music, literature, movies and tv shows into his game and reminds us of the great classic games like Zork, Pac-Man, Robotron, Burger-time, Galaga, and a million more.  This, to me, makes Ready Player One,  the ultimate history book of all things games and the 1980’s. I was in geek heaven.

In order to collect the keys that open the 3 gates within OASIS, Halliday created exquisitely clever riddles (or shall I say the genius award goes to Cline, our humble author) that forces the players to absorb all there is to know about the 1980’s and play every game ever made. It is honestly, pure genius and I was continuously amazed at how Cline wove these riddles** around pop culture and found obscure references that linked all things together to point the player and the reader in the right direction.

Not only was I highly entertained but was thoroughly educated about game design and how to put the “fun factor” into gameplay. In looking into Ernest Cline’s background, I noticed that besides being the writer of the cult classic, “Fanboy”, he was not a game designer, but just a geek like us. Albeit the ultimate geek and I bow down before his geekness. The amount of research that this man has gone through to provide us with all of these priceless nuggets of game and 80’s trivia is astounding. AND he managed to write an engaging and addictive story. For this, he has now become my favorite author. Sorry Deaver, Brown, Galehorn, Patterson, Salvatore, Dekker. You have been dethroned. Cline is at the top of my leader board.  OH, and I can’t wait to see the movie!!

Thank you Cline for rejuvenating my passion for games and for challenging me in a way that you’ll never fully appreciate. I hope that I can be a better game designer and gamer geek from here on out. I’m also on a mission to relive the glory days and start playing those old school games mentioned in Ready Player One. I found a great website where you can play classic arcade games for free on your computer here.

I rate this book the highest it can possibly be rated and encourage everyone to go out and read it NOW.  And Cline if you are reading this, I would LOVE  to interview you and share more about you and your geekness to our readers.


Read On, Gamers

Game On, Cline—Andrea


*—For those who don’t know what an “Easter Egg” is in the gaming world, it is one of those little gifts that game designers like to hide in their games, like secret rooms, inside jokes, names of designers, programmers, etc. that is so much fun for gamers to hunt for.  It was coined by Warren Robinett, programmer for Atari, who created a secret room in the game Adventure. Robinett for some reason wasn’t credited for his work on this game, so he left his mark by hiding his name as an Easter Egg in this secret room. When players collected this white pixel-like egg, his name would pop up.  It’s actually a practice found everywhere. Disney has “Hidden Mickeys” all over their movies and theme parks.—

**—Speaking of riddles and Easter Eggs, Ernest Cline has actually created an Easter Egg hunt for his readers to partake in and become real life “gunters”, or game hunters–a term coined by Cline. The Easter Egg can only be found in the hard cover and paper back books and sadly for me, NOT in the eBooks.  (Guess I’m going to the store).


July 28, 2012

By Andrea Emmes

Evan Donohue

In my quest to become the best game designer  I possibly can be and as I was finishing my degree, I happened to stumble upon a fellow game designer named Evan Donohue. It seems that Evan and I share similar interests in our career paths and I was able to glean a lot of solid insight and direction after speaking with him.  Currently a producer at Say Designs and here’s what he has to say about the industry.

1. What’s your background and how did you get into the game industry?

EVAN:  My name is Evan Donohue.  I’ve been fascinated by books, movies and video games from a young age. My passion for all of these mediums pushed me into researching the video game industry. I was able to find out how and where to get a higher education for doing something creative as a living.

I choose the video game industry for a few key reasons. I love solid products like a good game or a good board game. You can tell that numerous hours were spent trying to figure out how to deliver a unique experience. I wanted to create special experiences for people’s entertainment. I want to have a positive impact on people’s life and give them something that can entertain them and their family!

2.  Has the illusion of working in gaming burst yet? Are you still enamored or is it just a job now?

EVAN:  The game industry is a job and a passion for me. I’m lucky to love what I’m doing and I plan to work on games for as long as I can. I want to work in every genre and hopefully on projects with 100+ people and projects with 2 people.

3.  What is it about gaming that excites you?

EVAN:  Gaming has been a lifelong endeavor for me. Seeing new games succeed, seeing new gamers get into the world always make me smile. I do enjoy though that games are becoming more involved with other industries, such as virtual surgeries for interim doctors or flight simulators to help train jet fighters. Even hospitals are starting to use games to help kids visualize sickness and help their body accumulate defenses to beat those diseases.

4.  Favorite game and why?

EVAN:  Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game is a favorite for many but this is definitely a special game to me. The story, design and music were all breathtaking for its time. You cannot understand what a game like this does to a young person until you complete the journey for yourself. With the perfect difficulty curve, a great mixture of action and puzzles it’s truly a complete game that has scaled several generations.

5.  Worst game and why?

EVAN:  Tie between cosmic racers and Superman 64. Those games speak for themselves…

6.  I know you work at Say Designs, which is a pretty cool mobile game company. Do you feel that the industry is more trending to casual gaming and moving away from consoles?

EVAN:  The game industry is very fast paced. I believe casual games, cloud gaming (Even hardcore cloud gaming) is the way of the future. There will always be a spot for pc and console gaming but the new genres of gameplay are bringing a larger group of people to the video game industry, and I feel they are here to stay.

7.  You’ve been really great at offering me some solid advice when I was still in school. Would you mind listing off a couple key pointers that you wish someone had told you about before you started?

EVAN:  Don’t expect to be working on Halo 4 right out college. Set your sights on short term, mid-term and long term goals. Do the grind work while you’re in school (Internships, QA jobs etc) I only suggest you take QA job’s that interact or are near the developers so you have a chance to interact with them. Beware of QA farm’s that work you to the bone and don’t let you interact at all with developers.  Doing internships even unpaid can be great resume credits and get you face to face with developers which in turn is way better than a small pay. More than anything find a way to get small finish products in front of as many people as possible.  Even a small flash or HTML 5 game that is polished can impress an employer.

8.  You’ve done many different things in design. What job role in gaming melds the most with you and what you want to do?

EVAN:  I love design and producing. It’s hard to say exactly what I do since I cover a ton of ground but I would say Game Design and Producing are my top two roles. I love making a game interesting, something that hooks a player in and finding something that keeps them coming back for more. I also really enjoy producing.  Leading a team to do incredible tasks is something I find to be really satisfying.

9.  If you could be any game character, who would it be and why?

EVAN:  I would definitely be master chief. Spartans can do extraordinary things and he always has something witty to say.

10.  Have you had any star-struck moments? I did when I met David Jaffee. 

EVAN:   Meeting David Perry was pretty awesome. He has a positive and passionate approach to the game industry.  I hope to have a long career like him in the game industry.

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet Evan, learn more about him at www.

Game On, Evan—Andrea


Eric T. Elder












Eric Elder. Have you heard of him? You haven’t? Well, let me school ya! Actually, that’s how I met Eric, who is now the Creative Director for Diamond Games. I had just started at the Art Institute of California–Hollywood and was the first Game Art & Design student accepted in the new program. Eric was my first mentor in the game industry and have really grown to not only respect him but really like him as a fellow human being.  Now it is my pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite people in the industry:

1. Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into the game industry?

ERIC:  I started out in animation but have always had a passion for games.  While working at the Art Institute in Santa Monica I was the Asst. Dept. Chair for Animation and a newly formed Games program.   I soon after had the choice of becoming Director for either and I chose Games.  It was new and I knew I could mold it from scratch plus at that time around 2003 the games industry was really exploding.

2. What kind of a gamer are you?

I love all kinds of games but my favorites are Euro style resource management, strategy and family board games.

3.  What excites you about games?

ERIC:  I love game mechanics and looking at games from a design point of view.  I am also really excited at the unlimited potential of games as experience.  Alternate Reality Games are very interesting I think.

4.  Now that you are in gaming, have you found that the “OMG, I’m making games!!” factor has waned or is the excitement still there?

Sometimes I’m present to it and sometimes not.  I just got into the casino side of the business which a lot of it is new to me.  I get most excited when I think about the games I could be making 3-5 years from now.  Also I have not yet made a fully immersive virtual world game, I think that could be a “OMG” moment for me.

5.  When we first met, you were my first mentor in the industry and I learned so much from you. How did you get into education and what is the best piece of advice that you could share with any aspiring designers out there?

ERIC:  Thank you.  I got into education by necessity it was the last thing I wanted to do but turned out to be tremendously rewarding and really has given me my career.  In Philadelphia where I’m from when I graduated there were very few if any animation opportunities there.  Teaching animation was the closest thing.  I had some experience as an assistant teacher at my alma mater to stay close to the expensive equipment and hear about job opportunities at studios.  I was then offered an opportunity to teach my own courses at the Ai in Philadelphia.

My best advice is that if you want to be a designer or anything else for that matter do it right away and do it as much as possible.  You cannot beat experience and that is why my training methods have always been simply experiential and I think have been so successful.  If you want to be a game designer start designing games today, right now.  Get some cardboard, dice and pieces from other games and make a game and have people play it.  People get caught up and think they need the experience, or programmers or artists and they don’t.  Nothing is stopping you from being a game designer right now accept excuses!

6.  Tell me about what kind of games Diamond Games are making and how you contribute.

ERIC:  At Diamond Game we make Class II slot machines and Class II is more for the Indian Gaming market and are underneath bingo machines but look just like the Class III game you see in Vegas and Atlantic City.

I’m Creative Director so I manage and build the Creative Team, pitch new titles and themes and steer the creative vision for each title.

7.  What is your favorite game and why?

ERIC:  That’s a tough one!!  I would have to say poker because it is the most accessible.  I can play online for free (Zynga Poker) I can go to the casino and play at various cash levels as well as tournaments.  I love tournament gameplay.

My favorite German board game at the moment is called Ora & Labora by one of the hottest designers in the field at the time Uwe Rosenberg.  The theme is that you are building up a monastery with various buildings and getting and collecting resources to convert into points.  I love that there are many choices and paths to victory and that all the choices are good ones.

8.  What is the worst game and why?

ERIC:  I try to avoid bad games and put them out of my mind if I ever do encounter one.

9.  If you could be any game character, who would you be and why?

I guess “The King of All Cosmos” his title says it all.

It’s pretty obvious that Eric knows his stuff and I hope to continue learning from him now as his peer.


Continue to Game On, Eric—Andrea







July 26, 2012

Andrea Emmes

Turn enemies into fiery scrap heaps using powerful options and weapons

Calif. – (July 26, 2012) – SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION (Corporate HQ: Suita-city, Osaka, Japan, Company President: Ryo Mizufune) is proud to announce the worldwide release of BLAZING STAR on iOS & Android devices.

BLAZING STAR, a NEOGEO fan favorite, and innovative shooting classic with gorgeous graphics lands on iOS and Android devices! Jump into the cockpit of one of several unique spaceships and blaze a trail across space and deep into alien territory. Use your ship’s “RAPID SHOT” attack to increase your ship’s rate of fire by mashing the Shot button, or hold it down and unleash the “CHARGED SHOT BREAK”, a unique special attack for every ship that is almost guaranteed to decimate your enemies. In addition to a wide range of in-game items and power ups to further customize your play style, a scaling score system rewards those with lightning-fast reflexes and impeccable timing! BLAZING STAR is the shoot ’em up that will keep you coming back for more.


◆ More than a perfect port of the original NEOGEO game!

In addition to its classic “ARCADE MODE”, this perfect conversion of BLAZING STAR features a “MISSION MODE”, allowing you to select the stage you want to play!

You can now perfect runthroughs of your favorite stages or practice those which give you a hard time!

◆ Pilot several different spaceships, all with unique characteristics! 

Pilot six different spaceships in BLAZING STAR, all with unique attributes and special “CHARGED SHOT BREAK” attacks!

◆ Intense cooperative gameplay via the Bluetooth function!  

Aside from the “MAIN MISSION” game mode, BLAZING STAR can also be enjoyed by playing in “MULTIPLAYER” via the Bluetooth function as well! Team up with friends and try to 1CC the game together!

◆ Compatible with Network Ranking functions! 

Use the network function of your device and compete for the best scores with players from all over the world! Become a BLAZING STAR ace pilot and obtain the coveted “World’s Number 1” title!

For more information on BLAZING STAR, please visit For information on SNK PLAYMORE USA, please visit the official web site at

Release Date: July 19h, 2012 (iOS & Android)
Genre: Shooting
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (iOS ver. 4.0 and later)
Android 2.3 and later
Rated: Ages 12+
Price: iOS version $2.99 (tax included), Android version $2.99 (tax included)

July 26, 2012

Andrea Emmes

Travel on quest through outer-space creatures, and uncover the secret of evil ruler of the galaxy.

San Francisco, California – July 26, 2012 – Everyone at least once has dreamt of becoming a space traveler. You can realize your dream now, and take on the adventures of a young Susan Blankwall, in a captivating hidden object game from G5 Entertainment and Tiki’s Lab, E.P.I.C.: Wishmaster Adventures, available now for your PC.

In the game you set out on an adventure across the Universe with a dreamy Susan Blankwall. Susan is a common farmer’s niece, who dreams big and wants to meet a charming prince on a shining starship. One day her dream almost comes true. An elegant spaceship arrives at her yard and takes her far away from her uncle “Greedy” Fred. But instead of marriage and coronation ceremony she fancies about, she is taken prisoner. Help Susan survive on unknown hostile planets and escape from malicious monsters. Explore the space, make friends with a robot, cat-man and bird-man, defeat the dreadful ruler of the galaxy and his horror soldiers, and finally find out the truth about your real father.

Your every decision is crucial in this gripping space adventure. You must weigh all the pros and cons, because your choices will change the gameplay and thus the final outcome. The game features various game scenarios, a dynamic storyline with tons of twists and turns that can lead you to a few different endings to the game. E.P.I.C.: Wishmaster Adventures can be played over and over. The future of space travelers is in your hands! Keeping your attention for days, the game is a thrilling escape from your daily routine.

E.P.I.C.: Wishmaster Adventures is developed by Tiki’s Lab and published by G5 Entertainment.








Key Features:

  • 57 Eye-popping, Extraterrestrial locations
  • 20 Unique characters
  • 11 Exciting mini-games
  • 2 Play modes: expert and casual

When: Today, July 26, 2012

Mac App Store
Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents for Mac

July 26, 2012

Andrea Emmes

Enjoy the storyline spiced up by numerous references to pop culture of the 80s and experience the thrill of success more than ever before!


After the successful Fix-it-up: Kate’s Adventure and its sequel Fix-it-up: World Tour releases, it is time for a prequel! A totally tubular time management game from G5 Games & World-Loom, Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents arrived on the Mac App Store today. The game has already charmed both players and critics with its heart-warming retro references, its game play and story line on PC and iOS, now Mac owners can experience this hot adventure in the crazy eighties themselves.
Take a trip back to the 80s in this totally tubular, time management adventure! Find out how the story began for Frank and Mary, who happen to be Kate’s parents. And experience the thrill of success more than ever before.
Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents features 45 levels and seven locations you are going to visit. The game can be played in a free endless mode and a timed mode you can unlock from within this immersive adventure. You’ll enjoy the storyline spiced up by numerous references to pop culture of the 80s, such as The A-Team, Back to the Future, and Scooby-Doo. Like in other Fix-it-up adventures, you are given a workshop where you can build a paint shop, a car wash and tuning stations. The game features a diverse variety of goals, some of which appear half-way through a level, making the game even more challenging and addicting. The gameplay is flawless and you’ll love gorgeous graphics, and the engaging storyline.







Key Features:

45 Levels and 7 Free Play levels
7 Unique locations
10 Types of cars and 6 emergency vehicles to fix
Hire employees and train them
Upgrades, achievements and more!

Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents is available for download to Mac today. Gamers can try the game for free and buy the full version for $4.99 TODAY ONLY (regularly $6.99). Originally the game was developed for PC by World-Loom. The game is also available for iPhone and iPad.

When: Today, July 26, 2012

Mac App Store
Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate’s Parents for Mac

Prototype 2 Logo

July 26, 2012

by Andrea Emmes




Santa Monica, CA – July 24, 2012 – PROTOTYPE® 2 has broken out of the NYZ’s quarantine zone and is available at retailers nationwide with today’s launch of the game for Windows PC.  All boxed launch copies and pre-ordered digital download copies of PROTOTYPE 2 for Windows PC will include free access to the RADNET Edition content – over 55 pieces of additional challenges, events and rewards including the Alex Mercer playable skin.  From Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), fans can pick up PROTOTYPE 2 for Windows PC in-stores and via digital download in North America beginning today, and will be available in Europe on July 27, 2012.  The game will require a computer that meets or exceeds the below specifications:

Minimum  PC Specs Recommended Specs
OS Windows® XP/Vista/7 Windows® 7
Processor        Intel Core 2 Duo 2.6 GHz or AMD Phenom X3 8750 Intel Core 2 Quad 2.7 GHz or better, AMD Phenom II X4 3 GHz or better
Memory        2 GB 4 GB
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT series with 512 MB RAM or ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512 MB RAM NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 (1GB) / ATI Radeon HD 5850 (1GB) or better
DirectX Version 9.0C or later
Disk Space 10 GB
Sound Card     Any DirectX 9 compatible Sound Card
Supported Input Devices Keyboard, Mouse, Xbox 360® Controller

PROTOTYPE 2 was developed by Radical Entertainment for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.  The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system editions of PROTOTYPE 2 are available now for a suggested retail price of $59.99.  The Windows PC version of PROTOTYPE 2 is available at retail for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

PROTOTYPE 2 is rated “M” (Mature – Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language.  Content suitable for persons ages 17 and older) by the ESRB.  For more information on the game, please visit the official Web site at

July 26, 2012

Andrea Emmes

Disney Interactive is happy to unveil an exciting behind the scenes look into the making of the highly anticipated upcoming Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two video game. This new featurette provides an entertaining and informative look at the game’s talented team of creators and writers as they describe the process behind crafting this deep narrative and engaging story.

The Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two video game returns Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Wasteland, an alternate world filled with more than 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions.  But for the first time, Mickey and Oswald will join forces as true partners – Mickey with the magical paint brush that allows him to wield paint and thinner, and Oswald with a powerful remote control that allows him to command electricity.   This new co-op play further enhances the idea that “PlayStyle Matters” – a unique approach to gameplay pioneered by Warren Spector where players tackle challenges the way they want to in order to explore a variety of possibilities and storylines, but always with consequences for their chosen actions.

July 26, 2012

Andrea Emmes

We’re pleased to reveal the full presentation and panel schedule for QuakeCon 2012, the ultimate video game festival. QuakeCon 2012 kicks off on Thursday, August 2nd with the Annual Keynote from John Carmack, id Software’s co-founder and technical director.

Please see below for the full schedule of presentations and panels.

Welcome and Annual Keynote with John Carmack
Thursday, August 2nd at 2:00pm

The Game of Making Games
Friday, August 3rd at 11.30am
Jens Matthies, MachineGames
Raphael Colantonio, Arkane Studios
Ted Price, Insomniac Games
Todd Howard, Bethesda Game Studios
Moderated by Blair Herter, G4TV

Capture the Fan: Making Multiplayer Games That Last
Friday, August 3rd at 1pm
Chet Faliszek, Valve Software
Marty Stratton, id Software
Max Hoberman, Certain Affinity
Moderated by Kevin Kelly, Wizard World

Looking Back at Looking Glass
Friday, August 3rd at 2.30pm
Austin Grossman
Emil Pagliarulo, Bethesda Game Studios
Tom Leonard, Valve Software
Moderated by Harvey Smith, Arkane Studios

Talking Shop: Skyrim, Modding and Steam
Friday, August 3rd at 4pm
Chet Faliszek, Valve Software
Joel Burgess, Bethesda Game Studios
Moderated by Nick Breckon, Bethesda Softworks

Virtual Insanity
Friday, August 3rd at 6pm
John Carmack, id Software
Michael Abrash, Valve Software
Palmer Luckey, ModRetro
Moderated by Todd Hollenshead, id Software

GameTrailers’ Bonus Round
Saturday, August 4th at 11am
Adam Sessler, Industry Veteran
Harvey Smith, Arkane Studios
Michael Pachter, Wedbush Securities
Raphael Colantonio, Arkane Studios
Moderated by Geoff Keighley, GameTrailers TV

Celebrating id Modding
Saturday, August 4th at 12.30pm
Brendon Chung, Blendo Games
Robert Duffy, id Software
JP LeBreton, Double Fine
Moderated by Justin Blankenship, Hit Detection

Idle Thumbs Podcast: Arena
Saturday, August 4th at 1.30pm
Chris Remo, Double Fine
Jake Rodkin, Telltale Games
JP LeBreton, Double Fine
Nick Breckon, Bethesda Softworks
Steve Gaynor, The Fullbright Company

QuakeCon Exhibit Hall Hours are:
Thursday, August 4 | 10am – 6pm
Friday, August 5 | 10am – 6pm
Saturday, August 6 | 10am – 6pm

For more information on QuakeCon visit: