PlayBoy Game Lets You “Manage” The Bunnies

“Lol what?”

That’s about the only response I can muster. Even faced with overwhelming evidence that this game is going to exist come summer; the official press release, the website complete with beta invites and a chance to win a free lifetime subscription to Playboy magazine, and a Twitter page…I still am having a hard time making my brain grasp the concept of a Playboy MMO.

That’s right. MMO. As in Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Er, my bad…an MCOG (Massively Casual Online Game). WTF is that, you ask? Me too. Let’s read the official announcement shall we? (BOLD is my peanut gallery comments).

“Jolt Online Gaming, the leading browser games publisher, is more than a little excited to announce the launch of Playboy Manager, the Massively Casual Online Game (MCOG) you can play on any Internet browser at any time. (Nekkid girls at work?)

In Playboy Manager, you play a crack talent agent managing the career of some of Playboy’s hottest up-and-coming models. Competing against thousands of other players, you will guide your model’s career toward her ultimate goal: Becoming a world-renowned Playmate with a permanent room in the Playboy Mansion!

“We’ve wanted to do a Playboy game forever,” exclaimed Dylan Collins, CEO of Jolt.“As enormous fans of the articles, (Just the articles too I’m sure)we jumped at the opportunity to bring the game online for a huge audience. Who hasn’t wanted to manage a Playboy model?” (I don’t think the Jolt team realizes that “manage” is supposed to be an euphemism)

“We are delighted to work with Jolt in offering our fans this great new way to experience and enjoy the World of Playboy,” said Scott Stephen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Playboy Digital.

Combining the best elements of trading card and turn-based gaming(Gotta Catch ’em all!), Playboy Manager is the only online game to feature exclusive content from Playboy, including videos and photos of breathtaking Playboy models. The game, to launch in Summer 2009, will be playable for free at www.playboymanager.com

If you pre-register right now at www.playboymanager.com, you could win one of several lifetime subscriptions to Playboy magazine– a prize offered only to pre-registered users!

Playboy Manager is a continuous game designed to be played in short bursts from any Internet browser at any time. Play it during a lecture, on your phone or even in the office (when the boss isn’t looking!) (Encourage insubordination. Rally against the man. Rabble, rabble, rabble!)Bookmark www.playboymanager.com now!

Acquire wealth, fame, and a bevy of beautiful models while you compete with thousands of other players — all of them after exactly the same things. Strive to drive the finest cars, throw the biggest parties, and encounter the world’s sexiest women– the luxurious Playboy lifestyle presented in an online game packed full of wit, style, and pictures which can only be described as titillating.”

Of course they forget to mention if you get to do what everyone reading this is wondering…which is sex up the ladies. No word, but since it’d be bad business practice (though probably really common) I’d guess not. Adding to this theory is the fact that on their website they call the girls “semi-naked”. What, no full frontal? What kind of Playboy game is this?

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New Overlord II Trailer Released

Overlord II

Click Here For Official Site!

As a huge fan of the original game in this franchise, I can’t wait to hop back into my evil shoes and send my minions out to die horrible deaths in my name.  Codemasters decided to release of few more details on their game today, along with a new gameplay trailer. Let’s take a look, eh?

In Overlord II the Minions return stronger, smarter, deadlier (and funnier) and are ready to fight in epic battles that will see them squaring up to the Legions of a new enemy– the Glorious Empire. Their horde mentality is as wild and outrageous as ever and their loyalty to their Overlord has not changed– they’ll do anything and everything that’s commanded of them (and then a bit more) to aid their masters’ quest to destroy or dominate the land.

During the Overlord’s onslaught, the savage pack will gleefully destroy the towns of the Empire and decide the fate of their denizens. Given the right instruction, they’ll even gather voluptuous mistresses for the Overlord and infiltrate the very heart of the Glorious Empire’s army badly (but passably) disguised as diminutive soldiers.

Delivering a whole new level of Minion control, players can equip the Overlord’s devoted brown, green and red Minions with mounts, unique and deadly creatures ready to raise hell. Forming the Minion Cavalry division, brown Minions can ride and control packs of vicious wolves (“Aw, lovelies wolfies”). On wolf-back, the Minions can be swept into attacks and knock enemies off their feet through sheer force and then bite and gore opponents in lupine finishing moves.

Red Minions ride fire salamanders, which become living flamethrowers that shoot fireballs as a primary attack. Green Minions can mount giant spiders, enabling them to climb walls to get to places where no other Minion can get. Meanwhile, the blue Minions, the more ethereal and Zen-like of the tribes, wouldn’t be seen dead on a creature’s back; but they will keep their eyes on their Minion pals and, should they take a tumble or get injured, they’ll dash to the rescue and make use of their unique healing powers.

“The Minions are the stars of the show and we’ve brought them back with bigger personalities and with more abilities than before,” said Lennart Sas, Creative Director, Triumph Studios.“Hilariously supercharged, the Minions can tear down scenery and destroy buildings, ride mounts and operate powerful siege weapons in massive battles with the Empire. They became hugely popular from the first game, so we’re upping their profile, abilities and unique characteristics.”

Spider mounts? Fire breathing salamanders? Wenches? Is there anything this game doesn’t have? Oh yeah, the ability to SHOW us any of that…except the spiders. Oh well, the trailer still looks spot on. They seem to be keeping the formula that worked last time, only upping the graphic content and number of minions you’re allowed to have at once. See?

Still no word on whether they fix players’ biggest gripe; the lack of a map system. Nothing is worse than being all dressed up in intimidating plate armor with a horde of minions and then wandering around in a big circle for twenty minutes.

Overlord II is slated for a Xbox 360, PS3 and PC release on June 26th. For the MASTER!

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Oh, that crazy Stalin!

In reality, Stalin was a brutal man that slaughtered his own people. Nearly indiscriminately, save for the hoops in his mind that the populace had to jump through in order to remain among the living. But that Stalin is boring. So Mezmer games, along with BWF, Dreamlore and N-Game bring you a much happier (and over the top) version of history. Stalin vs. Martians!

Marketing the game as a real-time strategy for “actual people”, Stalin vs. Martians (by the way, the surreality of typing that doesn’t get any less surreal with repetition) is both masterfully trashy and absolutely over-the-top. Fun and accessible, it takes a simple arcade-like approach to the genre of real-time strategy. According to the official website:

— No city-building and technology trees. You can buy reinforcements and offmap special abilities. But no “build the barracks > buy the troops > upgrade the town hall”. The only resources you can find on the map are power-ups. They look like they should: like shiny rotating coins with bright colors.

Power-ups are left after the enemy unit dies. You can collect them. There are five types of coins:
– Money. You can buy reinforcements if you have sufficient funds.
– Armor upgrade. Armor upgrade!
– Attack power improvement. You can kill the bastards more easily.
– Speed up. Your units will move faster. Upgraded infantry can even run with a speed of a tank. Or a member of Kenya Olympic team.
– Meds. The pills make you feel better, even if you are, err, a howitzer. Heals your HP.

— So here’s the picture. Dead martians leave power-ups. Our unit can collect it and either bring us some money to buy reinforcements, or ugrade its stats. You can upgrade your guys several times, so it’s possible to make you tank run 150% faster. There is a limit for upgrades, for the games balance sake, but even 150% turns everything into a complete pandemonium. That’s fun.

As we already mentioned somewhere on this website, you can buy not only the new units, but offmap abilities. Like traditional air raids. And superabilities. You can’t even imagine them. Trust us – they will impress you.

Most of the units can use extra skills. The usually have only one, but you don’t need more. We try to keep everything simple. If you want to play a wargame, there’s plenty of them in the market.

One more thing. The martians leave spots on the map, plagued by the extraterrestial slimelike substance. That goo improves the enemy units’ stats the way power-ups improve ours. We need to clean the land out of this shit.

This means the learning curve for Stalin vs. Martians should be on par with most plebeian genres. Unlike other RTS’ses that force the player to have minor in Advanced Economics and Warfare in order to properly enjoy the experience.

We're being invaded by Toy Story squeaky toys...

We're being invaded by Toy Story squeaky toys...

...and Pikmin! Oh the humanity!

...and Pikmin! Oh the humanity!

And for those of you getting up in arms about turning a mad man from history into a world-saving hero, the creators’ have some words for you as well:

-We can talk for hours about Stalin and all the controversies that surround him. We’re Russians and we possibly know the subject better than you. But all this talk doesn’t make any sense, you know, at all. Accept Stalin vs. Martians as a montypythonesque humor or get out.

Basically, the game is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, B movie grade fun fest. Not to be taken seriously. I mean, the intense “plot” as it stands is, “Year 1942. Summer. The martians suddenly land somewhere in Siberia and attack the glorious people of Holy Mother Russia. It is a hard time for USSR as you might know from the history books if you ever attended school. The situation is really fucked up, so comrade Stalin takes the anti-ET military operation under his personal control. The operation is a top secret and virtually nobody knows about the fact of extraterrestial intervention.”

Besides, if you do well and play your cards right, you get to play as mecha Stalin. And who doesn’t want that?

Stalin mad. Stalin SMASH!

Stalin mad. Stalin SMASH!

Both the website and the press release were vague on whether or not the game will be for sale at local retailers (it can’t hurt to ask if for no other reason than to watch the saleperson’s face contort). But as of April 29th, you will be able to download it from Steam, Direct2Drive, GamersGate, and Impulse.

For a preview of what you’re getting yourself into, check out the official gameplay video; complete with Russian techno music!

Currently, Stalin vs. Martians is RP by the ERSB. I presume because they are mesmerized by the concept of such a heresy actually making it to “Gold” status.


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Avast Ye! Age of Pirates 2 Release Date Announced

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Yarrr, me mateys. Pirates might be losing steam to the upstart zombies, but never fear. Playlogic is here. (Good God, did I just make an Underdog inference? Yes, yes I did….) In a press release out of New York today, Age of Pirates 2 is set to sail on May12, 2009 for the PC market. According to their spokesman:

“This sequel to the popular Age of Pirates franchise reinvents itself with a larger playing field and exciting new content from a new combat system and trading options to numerous quests and character classes,” said Rogier Smit, executive vice president of Playlogic.“The game’s free-roaming options expand the storyline and challenge players with endless hours of adventure.”

Players courageous enough to delve into the dangerous world of Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships will discover treasure and adventure as they choose to go it alone and become the most feared pirate on the seven seas, or prove their loyalty and take the coin of one of four different navies; French, English, Spanish or Dutch. As players navigate their own route through the seas of the Caribbean they can explore strange new countries and undiscovered civilizations, plunder merchant ships and even raid fortified ports and cities– interacting with nearly every character and/or building along the way.

Game features include:

• Ship-to-ship combat and toe-to-toe clashes

• 3 diverse characters and 3 classes: Merchant, Corsair and Adventurer

• 4 main campaigns

• 40+ quests and 40+ quest generators allowing for an infinite amount of quests

• New combat system for faster fights

• 3 weapon classes: light, medium and heavy

• Advanced trading system

• Real-life historical characters such as Jamaican governors Colonel Thomas Lynch and Thomas Modyford

Almost everything can be adjusted to players’ wishes, making customization and resource management a key element to gameplay. Let this serve as a warning; in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships the dead do not sleep easy, and both myth and reality frequently intertwine.

The original Age of Pirates: Carribean Tales, released by Akella is 2006, had a bumpy go. It’s timing coincided with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the game became confused with the Disney property. Playing as one of two characters (the obligatory male and female avatars), players were charged with gallivanting through an open world RPG and becoming the most piratey of all pirates. But neither of those people were Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightly, so many people took a pass for the licensed property. More’s the pity. Gameplay was enjoyable, but the project was overly ambitious for the time, leaving even high end computers struggling to compensate. According to Gamespot’s review:  A countless number of rough edges and some major bugs sap just about all the potential for entertainment from this overambitious, underdeveloped game.

However patch 1.5 when combined with a player created Supermod smoothed out the glitches and slow downs for those heavily infested in the game.

In the interim years, and with a change of developer, hopefully Age of Pirates 2 can sidestep the pitfalls of its predecessor. So far, the trailer and screens look very promising. But I suppose we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to know for sure.

Above is the official trailer for Age of Pirates 2 and below is a gallery of in-game screenshots. Enjoy!

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GoG Gives Middle Finger To DRM

Good Old Games (or GoG) is a website that I stumbled upon today while reading through press releases. Apparently it went live back in October of last year; offering older PC titles for as little as $5.99 with unlimited downloads once you purchase the game. Really, it’s just a big fuck you to games like Spore. Which is awesome.

All users have to do is sign up for a beta account which they access to buy and download games. Creating an account also gets customers’ access to game support, forums where they can rate, review and discuss games, and read the free digital manual included with every game.

And boy, have they got games! From Farcry to Stronghold, Ghost Recon to Fallout there’s a nostalgia game for everyone. Hell, I’m going to download Fallout just for the chance to play it (since ebay and amazon certainly aren’t selling it for $6). GoG’s latest acquisition and the one that led me to discover this great service, is Postal.That’s right, one of the most controversial games of the last few decades is available for non-DRM download. Oh the humanity!

Now all the violence and blood can be yours again!

Now all the violence and blood can be yours again!

According to their spokespeople:

…has shocked the world by signing a deal with Running With Scissors, the developer behind the legendary POSTAL series. The agreement brings the following games to the GOG site: POSTAL Classic and Uncut, including the Special Delivery pack, and POSTAL 2 with expansions. Both games are compatible with Windows Vista and XP and loaded with free bonus stuff. Of course you’ll have to be 18 years-old to buy the games, because violence and profanity are not appropriate for growing minds, mmkay?

POSTAL and its sequels have won over gamers around the world and even spawned an Uwe Boll movie masterpiece, thanks to irreverent, butt-splitting social satire, streams of pee and some inspired weaponry. As Postal Dude, the player’s primary goal is to stay alive and get the hell out of Paradise. That objective, needless to say, is easier said than done. Along the way you’ll meet a fantastic gallery of characters guaranteed to keep you chuckling even as you’re laying the business end of a shovel across their heads. If this all sounds appealing to you… well, you probably need some serious help. But instead of bouncing around a padded room, kick back and go POSTAL. Your government-provided caregivers will no doubt approve.

“Running With Scissors is a group of funny and crazy people, and maybe that’s why everything’s gone so smoothly with the deal,” said Adam Oldakowski, Managing Director of GOG.com.“We know that the series is controversial, but GOG.com is all about bringing back old games that were critical, commercial or cult hits, and POSTAL is at least one of those!

“I’m sure lots of our mature users remember the games but maybe weren’t allowed to play them because of age restrictions or otherwise missed out on the POSTAL experience. So now they have a great chance to make up for that!”

Fire and firearms. What problem CAN'T they solve?

Fire and firearms. What problem CAN'T they solve?

Other than this classic, the number of games offered on their site is immense. I’m far too lazy to count, but if the number of times I hit the “next” button is any indication, GoG already has a collection of well over a hundred games to pick from. So if you’ve got nothing better going on (and if you’re reading this on the Saturday night I posted it….let’s be honest, you don’t) shake a leg over to their About Us and give them a look. The most you have to lose is $6 and several hours of your life to fun and entertainment.

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Extreme Fever! A Peggle Review

Epic win!

Epic win!

In this day and age, where the line in the sand has been drawn, gamers are either hardcore or their not. Either you blow people up with rocket launchers or you look for hidden pictures. You either spend three days zerg rushing the enemy combatant or spend three days perfecting your chocolate empire with mini-games. Well, PopCap Games is here to tear down that wall with their blockbuster hit. Peggle doesn’t care if you like shooters or sims; it just wants to make the world a better place through digitized Plinko.

The idea behind Peggle is ridiculously simple. In each level, you shoot silver balls reminiscent of pinballs from the top of the screen. The ball in turn bounces off of the many blue, orange, green and purple pegs below; each peg lighting up and giving you points as your ball pings off of it. The bottom of each stage is pit for the ball to fall into but if you time your shot right, you may hit the bucket that roams side to side at a steady pace. If you manage this, the game will give you an extra ball; the equivalent of an extra life. Each level gives you a set number of balls and the goal is to clear the board of all the orange pegs. The strategy is involved in finding the quickest way to clear the more plentiful blue pegs to get to the orange ones. All before you run out of balls. In later stages the pegs become animated, rotating or moving on and off the screen, making this simple task more and more challenging.

Those inner tube circles don't stay put.

Those inner tube circles don't stay put.

The other major gameplay element is to build up your score. For each peg hit by a single ball, a multiplier is added. Blue pegs are worth the least, followed by the orange ones, with the elusive purple peg being worth the most. If the player manages to reach a certain threshold of points with one ball, the game will reward your Peggle skills with a free ball. Once you’ve managed to clear all the orange pegs, the camera zooms in on the ball and goes into slow motion while Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from Symphony No. 9 plays in the background. The bottom of the screen, once a cavernous mouth stealing your balls, becomes five separate buckets for you ball to fall into; giving you an extra point boost anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000.

Of course that’s only the basic premise. Once the player has that down, the game adds on a layer of depth and that’s where the mind numbing addiction comes into play. The first time you play Peggle, the game will be in Adventure mode. Set up into groups of stages, each themed chapter has its own avatar. These Peggle Masters, ranging from a jack o lantern to a gopher to a sunflower, will be visible from the top of the screen. The stages for each avatar’s chapter set up the pegs into shapes that accurately depict the current theme or background; such as flowers, a river bank or car.

Vroom Vroom!

Vroom Vroom!

Each avatar also has a special ability. Special abilities are designed to make hitting the pegs easier. Using your ball to hit one of the two green pegs in each stage will trigger the special. For example, the jack o lantern’s ability is called “Spooky Ball”. Triggering this effect causes the ball to return to the top of the screen once it hits the bottom instead of disappearing. The flower will cause twenty-five percent of all orange pegs on the board to light up and so on…

Challenge Mode

Challenge Mode

After completing the 55 modes in Adventure, the rest of the game opens up. The player is now free to go back and play any level with any avatar; not just the ones affiliated with it. Dual mode allows players to go head to head against a friend or computer player and Challenge mode offers 75 new puzzles with varying tasks to complete.

On the version for the Xbox 360 there are the added bragging rights of trying to get the highest score for any individual level which will then be put on Live for the entire world to see your mad Peggle skills.

This is usually the paragraph where I go into detail about the game’s flaws, but I really can’t think of anything to put. Peggle has sold over 10 million downloads on PC and has been in the top ten XBLA games since its launch last week.  It’s spawned versions on the iPhone and DS and already has a sequel. Not bad for a little game from the company that brought us Bejeweled.

So whether your idea of gaming is Halo 3 or Solitaire, do yourself a favor and give Peggle a chance to win you over. Download the trial for free at PopCap games or XBLA on Xbox Live.

Peggle is available for the Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo DS and the iPhone. It is rated E for Everyone.


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Viva El Presidente! Tropico 3 Makes Tyrants Lovable Again


Do you miss the old days of the Cold War? The Iron Curtain? Fidel Castro and Cuba being our biggest problem? Well long no more! Kalypso Media has taken up the reigns of the Tropico series. Crush your citizens under your autocratic rule while convincing the tourists that your tropical county is THE exclusive stop on any vacation.

Ahhhh, paradise. Or is it?

Ahhhh, paradise. Or is it?

The official teaser website went up today and can be found here. Anyone familiar with the first Tropico game (or it’s pirate sequel) knows that it’s a strategy simulation. Build your economy, make money and oppress the little people. Or be a benign and loving…and boring…ruler that makes sure everyone is fed and educated.

Based on a scattering of screenshots, the game appears to be keeping it’s top down view but with far more detail and ability to zoom in. For beta images they look pretty snazzy. Having been to the Caribbean myself I think Kalypso is doing a great job of mixing the modern with the dilapidated.

As far as gameplay goes, the staples of all city simulators remain; building enough housing, education and entertainment to keep the citizenry just this side of rioting. Tropico 3 also adds a little bit of “autocratic” flavoring with:

  • Political speeches, edicts and “other” means of influence.
  • Avatar function: Get down on the ground with your El Presidente, walk amongst the little people and change the course of play.
  • A timeline editor that allows you create your own fictive historical events or enter real ones.

For a comprehensive list of features and abilities, check out their website. It’s pretty sparse for now, but it was only released today. I’m sure more tidbits will be trickling down since the game is slated for release this summer.

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