Thứ Hai, 30 tháng 1, 2012

Sega making cutesy Yakuza mobile social game in Japan

Yakuza Mobile in actionIf Bangkok in Mafia Wars didn't satisfy your undying love of Far Eastern gangster stories, perhaps a trip to Japan is in order. Sonic the Hedgehog creator Sega is working on a mobile adaptation of their beloved Yakuza franchise. A social game that will only appear on Japan's GREE mobile social network, Yakuza Mobile takes on a visibly more... chibi look, but that's almost expected given the average screen real estate Sega is working with. (So, is this what Sega was referring to a few months ago?)

According to Silicon Era, the fictional Japanese town of "Kamurocho has been overtaken by a powerful foe, and you need to help free it." The game will require cooperation between players to help stop this enemy using the GREE social network. Yakuza Mobile is slated for a winter release in Japan, but no mentions of a U.S. port have been made... yet.

FarmVille Scam Watch: Zynga's not giving free Farm Cash for Christmas

Literal Farm Cash
You have been warned. According to All Facebook, thousands of status updates are popping up all over Facebook reading a little something like this:

    Yiepppppeeeee... Zynga team gave me 300 Farm Cash worth 50$ absolutely free....yes FREE for Christmas celebration..I am sooooo damn happy today..! Take yours also it is limited off for FEW HOURS ONLY...go to their app... ^.^ -> [LINK ERASED]

If you're somehow getting these messages in your News Feed, do not click on them. They are clearly scams, shallow attempts at getting your precious information whether it be your e-mail address, phone number or even credit card number. Just remember that the only ways you can receive Farm Cash are as follows:

    Buying it directly from Zynga using the Farm Cash tab in the game
    Having it gifted to you from a friend
    Buying a Zynga Game Card--physical or virtual
    Participating in an official Zynga FarmVille Contest
    Taking advantage of free Farm Cash offers sponsored by Zynga

And whenever you see one of these dastardly scam artists at work, report it immediately to Facebook so they can take care of the problem. And if one of those shady posts come from a friend, be sure to notify them that their account is at risk or has already been hacked. Have a safe Holiday Season, farmers.

Zynga, Mafia Wars get 'Kush' with Dr. Dre in in-game promotion

`Mafia Wars and Dr. Dre
C'mon, you all knew it was only a matter of time before Zynga tapped yet another wildly successful hip-hop star to pimp their gangster game, Mafia Wars. This time around, Dr. Dre has invaded Mafia Wars with "Hustlin' with Dre," a promotion to spread the word of his new hit single, "Kush." While it seems to be slowly rolling out to us virtual mobsters, players will be able to stream the video for his new jam featuring Zynga's old friend Snoop Dogg and auto tune aficionado Akon right from within the game.

Of course, it doesn't stop there. There are several Dre-inspired items to be purchased like new weapons, a vintage car and headphones, according to Tech Crunch. Collecting all the items will enter you in a contest to win an autographed of Dre's incoming album "Detox" and a set of his new Beats headphones. You can even buy the new single via a handy iTunes link on Dr. Dre's Mafia Wars page. If Snoop Dogg's recent visit to Mafia Wars is any indication--well, aside from nearly blowing it--this will probably make Zynga an approximate bajillion dollars. So, in the words of Zynga: Get to work, homie.

FrontierVille Quilting Bee Timed Mission: Everything you need to know

Quilting Bee Timed Mission
If amassing enough Toys to overload the Salvation Army wasn't enough for you in FrontierVille, how does a new Timed Mission sound? In "Quilting Bee," players will have four days to get all the necessary materials to make the perfect quilt. And you can probably already guess what that means:

    Harvest 25 Cotton
    Have 25 Cloth
    Get 10 Sewing Needles (request from friends)

Harvesting the Cotton, a crop that costs 600 coins and is ready for harvest in three days, will be somewhat of a set-it-and-forget-it ordeal. That is, unless you forget to harvest it in time. If you're low on Cloth, visit as many friends as possible in the next four days to make sure you have enough to complete the mission. All the while keep pinging your friends for Sewing Needles, though they might be a tad too busy gathering those Toys.

Thankfully, you have until Jan. 11 2011 to accept this Timed Mission, so put it off if you feel a bit overwhelmed already. Completing this mission will reward you the fruit of your labor, a Display Quilt, in addition to 250 XP and a Lunch. And if you notice the small roman numeral next to this mission's icon, this could be just the beginning of your quilting adventures.

FarmVille Sneak Peek: Santa Cat, Yakut Horse, Silver Rabbit et al

    Yakut Horse     Silver Rabbit     Yakut Foal     Santa Cat
Just in case you were ever fearful of Zynga being done with the Holidays in FarmVille, stop it. Now. FarmVille Freak has found a slew of unreleased items in the game for us to ogle. This time around, we have the Candy Cane Chicken, a beautifully colored hen with striped tail feathers, and a cute, twitchy Silver Rabbit that looks almost as if its wearing camouflage. Rounding out the list are the Yakut Horse and Foal, the unofficial Fabio of the horse world, and a fittingly festive Santa Cat with red cap and bow. While it's unsure when exactly these items will be released, I imagine they will be released sometime before Christmas considering two of these animals are holiday-themed.

[Image Credit: FarmVille Freak]

Find the rest of our Holiday 2010 coverage right here.

What do you think of the soon-to-be-released animals? Which one will you be going for first when they finally make way into the game?

Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 1, 2012

FarmVille Sneak Peek: CityVille promotion coming to your farm soon?

FarmVille-Cityville item
FarmVille will soon get another taste of the city in one of Zynga's infamous cross promotions. While we covered this still unreleased item a few weeks ago, our friends at FarmVille Freak have found more images confirming that this CityVille promotional item will more than likely hit FarmVille soon. In addition to an image of the item itself, the blog found promotional artwork that will likely be placed in the game as pop ups.

However, we still haven't an idea in the slightest as to when or how this item will be implemented. But if you look closely at the item, it looks as if the Cow and Chicken are plotting a building design. With that said, we can imagine that players will be sent into CityVille on a quest that involves either what FarmVille players know best, farming, or creating a building of some sort. However, this is purely speculation. We'll have to wait and see what Zynga has cooking for another journey into the city.

FarmVille Sneak Peek: Ski Shop, Alaskan Totem Pole, Resort Firepit

    Alaskan Totem Pole     Resort Firepit
Soon, players could be taking the farm to the North, if FarmVille Freak's most recent findings are any indication. The FarmVille fan blog recently found two unreleased decorations and one building that may or may not make their way into the game. But if they do, it appears that FarmVille is headed to Alaska for its next theme update. All three items have a decidedly northern look, but it's the word "Alaskan" in the title for the Alaskan Totem Pole item that's a dead giveaway.

Also included in what FarmVille Freak dug up is a Ski Shop and Resort Fire Pit. We can only hope that the Ski Shop becomes a functional building, if only a place to find new decorations much like the recent Holiday Tree. We'll see what comes of these items soon enough, but for now let's revel in the possibilities.

Wishful Features: FarmVille Horse breeders should keep their foals

Our newest Wishful Feature is one that was brought to our attention via some adamant users on the FarmVille forums. Via a thread entitled "Allow horse breeders to keep the foals?", we learned that there is a very strong contingent of players that would like to receive the Foals that are bred by their horses in the Horse Stable, rather than just being forced to either share them with friends, or lose them entirely.

After reading the post, I thought - "You know, that's right! We should be allowed to keep our foals." My claim comes not just out of my somewhat-selfish collector's gene, that makes me want to have one of every FarmVille item ever created, but also from a very logical point-of-view. After all, if I knew that I would have a chance at receiving foals for the Horses that I specifically purchase on my own account, I would be much more likely to spend Farm Cash on the premium horses that are released in FarmVille, recently on somewhat of a weekly basis.

Why should players have to rely on other FarmVille players to purchase the horses that they'd like to receive foals from? I understand that it's a part of FarmVille's social mechanics - that being to share one's bred horses with friends - but this seems like something that would do equally well as a reward for the user that purchases the horse in the first place. Heck, why not make it a "two for one" situation, like so many other events in FarmVille - breed a foal for yourself, and share one with the first lucky neighbor that clicks on a new wall post? It's a win-win for everyone, and it would surely boost the in-game economy (read: pad Zynga's pocketbook) as players start purchasing more and more premium horses for their own use, rather than solely that of their friends.

With FarmVille undergoing multiple updates every week, and the aforementioned forum thread already drawing in over 50 replies, it will be interesting to see if Zynga takes this thought to heart and implements it in the game. We'll make sure to let you know if they do.

FrontierVille: "Like" the Zynga Fan Page and receive free Energy

If you're a FrontierVille player, you might want to take advantage of Zynga's quick (and free) new offer on the official Zynga, Inc. fan page. Whether you're already a fan of the fan page, or if you've never liked it before (or if you've liked and then unliked the page after a promotion, for instance), you can now head over to the Zynga, Inc. fan page, "Like" the page if you haven't done so already, and then receive a free Energy item in FrontierVille.

This free energy is unfortunately only a Light Snack, worth just three free energy when consumed, but hey, it's free, and for those that have gone through the two land expansions currently available in the game (which spawns mass amounts of trees and debris around the outskirts of your frontier), you'll know that every bit of free energy counts.

To receive this free energy, just click on the "FREE SNACK" tab on the Zynga, Inc. fan page and click on the image that appears (the image will only appear once you've liked the page). Hopefully this will be the first of many such gifts that Zynga gives away via their fan page. We'll be sure to let you know if more arrives.

FarmVille Winter Wonderland Animals: Caribou and Fiordland Penguin

Just today, we brought you a FarmVille Sneak Peek of a series of then unreleased animals, and wouldn't you know it? Tonight's FarmVille update sees two of those four animals being released in the game.

The two animals are the Caribou and the Fiordland Penguin. Both are, unfortunately, premium Winter Wonderland animals that are only available to purchase for Farm Cash. The Caribou costs 20 Farm Cash, while this new variety of Penguin (not to be confused with the "regular" penguin that was released in the game last year, and again this year as a free gift) costs 14 Farm Cash.

Both animals can be harvested from every three days, but the Caribou is worth much more as an investment animal, as you'll receive 125 coins each time you harvest from it, while the Penguin gives off only 45 coins.

As limited edition animals, the Caribou and the Fiordland Penguin will only be available for the next 13 days, so shop fast if you want to make sure you'll have a chance to purchase them both.

FarmVille Winter Wonderland Ski Shop now available

Earlier today, we took a look at a then unreleased item in FarmVille by the name of a Ski Shop. Little did we know then that this item would be released this quickly into the game, but wouldn't you know it? Tonight's FarmVille update has, in fact, seen the release of the Ski Shop as a purchasable item in the game.

Unfortunately, the building doesn't seem to have any sort of function beyond looking pretty (we hoped that it would), and you'll need to bust out both the figurative and the literal pocketbook for this one - the Ski Shop is a premium building that will set you back 25 Farm Cash to add to your farm. Sure, it's not the most expensive building ever released in the game, but it's also not the cheapest.

You'll receive 2,500 bonus experience points for purchasing this lovely building (we love the bright blue roof), and you can sell the building at any time (in case you don't want to store the building, or just don't have the storage space) for a return of 12,500 coins.

As a limited edition item, the Ski Shop will only be available in the game for the next 13 days, while the items that were released earlier this week are down to ten days remaining in the store. Shop fast if you want to purchase them all!

Thứ Ba, 10 tháng 1, 2012

Disney-owned social game studio Three Melons suffers layoffs

Disney has had quite a time getting used to the whole "Facebook" thing. The next of the company's troubles--or rather its employees--is a series of unfortunate layoffs that have struck Three Melons, one of Playdom's social game studios. Gamasutra reports that, according to an anonymous source, "30 people and counting" have been affected in the Buenos Aires, Argentina-based studio.

Playdom, snagged by Disney last year for around $763 million, bought Three Melons just months before being acquired, and conducted the layoffs through Disney's Interactive Media Group. "As part of our ongoing strategy to best position the Disney Interactive Media Group for success in digital media, we continually evaluate and refine our business," Disney told Gamasutra. "As part of this process we've made targeted layoffs within the division."

Three Melons, known best for a Facebook game called Bola! that enjoys 1.9 million monthly players, employed 45 people in March 2010, according to Gamasutra. (We sure hope the studio made quite a bit of hires before today's terrible news.) This news follows analysts recently playing doomsayer over Disney and Playdom's place in the social games business. Disney didn't reveal what will happen to Three Melons after the layoffs were through, though some "good luck" wishes are in order.

EA's Peter Moore: Paying players spend an average of $56 on sports Facebook games

That's a lot of Facebook Credits. In a recent conference call, EA Sports President Peter Moore revealed that interesting tidbit, which gives some indication of just how adamant sports fans are about their games, both on and off of Facebook. To be specific, EA / Playfish's Madden NFL Superstars, FIFA Superstars and World Series Superstars Facebook games pull in an average of $56 per paying user over their lifetime experience(s) with the games.

That's not saying that each and every player shells out money, but of those that are willing to open their wallets, the number adds up to a $56 average - almost the price of a full retail sports game on consoles. What's more, this high of an average means that some players are clearly investing far more money into these games to pull the number up, when there are surely other groups of players that may only invest a few dollars.

Moore confirmed that there are far more people (a "majority") playing these three games for free, which "add[s] to the ecosystem of that type of game." EA CEO John Riccitiello adds that they believe the low number of paying players may be attributable to the previous need to enter a credit card for each purchase. Now, with the widespread adoption of Facebook Credits, allowing users to keep a credit balance on their account at all times, he says that it "is a growth engine for us and, if you will, a playfield leveling program for Electronic Arts and social."

With Facebook Credits being a hot topic amongst most Facebook developers, it will be interesting to see if Riccitiello's prediction comes true, resulting in a higher average from paying players down the line. Only time will tell.

EA's John Riccitiello speaks out on The Sims Social Facebook launch date... or doesn't

In EA's most recent earnings / conference call, CEO John Riccitiello was questioned about the expected popularity of EA's upcoming (and highly anticipated) Facebook game, The Sims Social. While the game's Facebook fan page already has 868,000 Likes, Riccitiello still wouldn't reveal just what percentage of the franchise's user-base are predicted to make the transition to this new social version.

That's not all Riccitiello held back though, as a launch date will likely never be released before the game suddenly appears on the platform. Why? Competitive advertising. As reported by Gamasutra, Riccitiello explained the company's decision, both on the lack of an announced release date, and on withholding any predictions as to traffic:

"We aren't going to put out the stats. They're highly sensitive competitive comparisons, which is one of the reasons we're also not giving you a launch date. It's relatively easy for a competitor to buy all the relevant advertising, say 24, 36, 48 hours prior to a release."

This, says Riccitiello, would greatly impact (and not in a good way) EA's chances of marketing the game itself, as its competitors will have beaten EA to the proverbial punch. Alas, for now, that seems to be all we'll be told about the game's launch date beforehand, but you can be sure that we'll let you know when the Sims Social finally goes live. We can't wait!

DeNA unleashes Mobage social games platform on U.S., China

And so, it begins. The first salvo hath been fired. The shooter: Japanese mobile social games giant DeNA. The ammunition: Mobage, its social games platform for smartphones now run by Ngmoco, creator of iPhone hit Godfinger. Pocket Gamer reports that the first phase of DeNA's conquest for global mobile games domination has begun with Mobage's release in the U.S, China and a list of English-speaking countries.

The platform, first released for Android phones, will expand into other countries "soon," according to Pocket Gamer. Mobage currently hosts 20 free games available to players in the states and China like Pocket God, We Rule and Zombie Farm. Many of which, according to Pocket Gamer, will debut on Android through Mobage.

"Mobage's release outside of Japan marks the next step in our company's global expansion," Neil Young, Ngmoco CEO and DeNA executive officer, said. "The opportunity in front of us is to build Mobage into the definitive destination for games and entertainment across territories and mobile operating systems."

The platform works a lot like Facebook does for web-based social games in that it handles the release and payment for games and virtual goods within the network. However, it's far more focused on those games, with support for chat, meeting friends through games and more. The platform releases just as Zynga ramps up its mobile gaming efforts with two releases, Hanging with Friends and CityVille Hometown, in just two months. (Though, Mobage will have the bloodiest social game ever among others from some legendary Japanese designers.) Mobage is available now for free in the Android Market, though no word on an iOS release ... yet.

Kixeye calls Kabam a copycat; Kabam says, 'Am not!'

Alright, so it's more serious than that, but we just can't help but envision these debates happening in schoolyards rather than public forums. Gamasutra reports that Kixeye has publicly accused Kingdoms of Camelot creator Kabam of copying the hit Kixeye game Backyard Monsters in creating EdgeWorld, Kabam's brand new Facebook strategy game. Of course, Kabam firmly denies the allegations.

"There is no question that the engineers of EdgeWorld had Backyard Monsters open in one window while they coded the copy in another," Kixeye CEO Will Harbin said in a statement. "It's not detrimental to Kixeye in the short term, but this kind of practice is bad for all of us in the gaming industry - it will eventually sour users and it certainly does the opposite of proving that Facebook can be a legitimate gaming platform."

Whoa, those are some pretty harsh--and specific--claims. Kixeye went even further, according to Gamasutra, to compare Kabam's hit Kingdoms of Camelot with fantasy strategy game Evony as evidence that Kabam "is wasting talent and resources on cloning games that already exist."

Kabam CEO Kevin Chou said in response that Edgeworld, which hovers at about 200 thousand monthly players since its launch, draws inspiration from "movies, pop culture, science fiction, literature, history and, most importantly, from our players." That's in addition to borrowing ideas and techniques from its previous four games. (In other words, "Am not!")

Keep in mind that these sort of exchanges aren't uncommon to Facebook games. In fact, Zynga--which has a lawsuit on its plate from SocialApps over allegedly misused source code from its game myFarm that led to FarmVille's inception--knows the feeling very well. We've contacted both developers for comment.

Thứ Hai, 9 tháng 1, 2012

Infinite Realms offers science-fiction real-time strategy gameplay on Facebook

Infinite Realms was launched on Facebook at the beginning of December, and has since climbed to over 42,000 users. The game's real-time-strategy gameplay is served with a science-fiction storyline surrounding you, as a galactic traveler, that must traverse the many galaxies of space on your mission of expanding your own realm, and protecting a group known as the Confederation.

Infinite Realms has some of the best graphics we've seen from a game starting right out of the gate, and also offers real-time chat amongst players. The gameplay here is complex, as is normally the case in a real-time strategy game, where battles take place with, as the genre suggests, strategy, rather than just luck. However, the gameplay seems to be setup in such a way as to be friendly to those who are lacking in experience with the genre.

Meet us behind the break for a complete preview of Infinite Realms on Facebook. Infinite Realms contains a detailed tutorial, which, while containing a few mis-translated portions, serves to show you the basics of gameplay. You'll be able to control outposts or bases, which serve as your overall command centers for a particular planet. Within these outposts, you'll be able to construct buildings like Rations Depots (rations are used to train military units), Refineries (extracts resources like gas), Armories (manufactures heavy-weaponry like tanks), Barracks (trains and outfits new soldiers with equipment) and more.

You'll only be able to construct new buildings where there are free construction plots on your Outpost. As there are a limited number of these construction plots available, you'll need to think ahead so as to give each outpost a variety of buildings, so that they are never lacking in resources or military units.

You'll be helped in your progress by a quest system, that will reward you with rations, reputation points (the game's experience points), and other items. Your available minerals and resources are listed at the top of the screen, and you'll have to build the appropriate buildings to make sure these items are constantly produced, even when you're not playing the game. Think of production as a sort of factory job - you can increase the production rate of your resources by adding workers - in this case boost items - to the production line. Most of these items will only boost production for a limited amount of time, however, so you'll need to make sure to use them when they are needed most.

As for battles themselves, once you feel that you have enough soldiers ready for battle, you can zoom from your outpost to a view of the planet's surface, where you'll see enemy outposts and bases that can be attacked. Each military unit needs to have a Hero, or general of sorts assigned to it. They will lead your army into battle, and will also advise you before you attack as to whether or not victory seems likely. From there, the battle will have an immediate outcome (you either win or lose), but you can watch a detailed view of your battle via an instant replay, showing individual units on the battlefield.

On the planet's surface, you'll be able to spot any surrounding enemy camp, along with resource bases that can be taken for your own use. Your mothership will also come into play (remember, this game is about patrolling the entire galaxy - not just a single planet), and you'll be able to upgrade this ship to add to your total available supplies in the game. That is, you will eventually come to the maximum amount of Rations or Troops that your supplies can sustain for your level. By upgrading the mothership, these caps will increase, allowing you to store more items, and ultimately become stronger.

In terms of social elements, you can head to the Consulate portion of the Mothership in order to see the "Alliance-related affairs" of the game. The higher level you are in the game, the more alliance members you can have in any alliance that you happen to create, but you can also take the time to browse through and apply to join alliances of other real-world game players.

All in all, Infinite Realms offers as much complexity from the game as you'd want. You can use real world currency to purchase items that will speed up your progress or give you access to more complex customization in the game, or you can let the in-game Cooldown Timers determine when you'll come back to the game and make progress. The game's graphics stand out in terms of the entire Facebook platform, and the gameplay is linear enough to start that you shouldn't become lost in simply trying to learn the mechanics of the game.

New Year's Guide: FarmVille, FrontierVille, Cafe World & more

Happy New Year's to all players of FarmVille, CityVille, FrontierVille, Cafe World and other Facebook games! Pat yourselves on the back, you made it through the entire 2010 Holiday Season. You survived Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Holidays. Even more impressive is how you managed the bombardment of new Facebook game updates, features, and items that each holiday brought about. New Year's is no exception, there's new items and features in all of your favorite Facebook games, welcoming in the new year with style. So don't miss these 2011 New Year's Facebook game specials, they only come once a year.

Jump in to the 2011 New Year's Facebook game festivities below.

Jump to: FarmVille | FrontierVille | Cafe World

Note: The newest posts are at the bottom of each list. Posts in BOLD are the biggest New Year's updates.

farmville new years
FarmVille New Year's

    FarmVille Party Barn / New Year's Ball Drop Event: Everything you need to know
    FarmVille New Years Clothing: Tiaras, Top Hats, Party Dresses, and more!
    FarmVille New Years Tree: Confetti Tree
    FarmVille Winter Countdown: Everything you need to know
    FarmVille New Years Items: New Year Horse, Party House, Cider Fountain & More
    FarmVille Winter Countdown items revealed - here's what to expect over the next 11 days
    FarmVille New Year Animal: Disco Ball Sheep
    FarmVille Disco Ball Tree makes an appearance in the market
    FarmVille New Years Items: Fireworks I, II, III, & New Year Gnome
    FarmVille: Get ready for a New Years Double Mastery Weekend!

frontierville new years
FrontierVille New Year's

    FrontierVille New Years Party Goals: Everything you need to know
    FrontierVille Winter Collection: Everything you need to know
    FrontierVille New Years RSVP Prizes: Everything you need to know

Cafe World New Year's

    Cafe World New Years Party Goals: Everything you need to know
    Cafe World Prep for the New Year Mission: Everything you need to know
    Cafe World New Years Party Catering Order: Everything you need to know
    Cafe World: The Saga of the New Years Goals continues, but this time with free iPads!

playfish new years
Playfish New Year's

    Playfish's New Years Event Round-Up: Catch up with Restaurant City, Hotel City, Pet Society & More!

Check out the rest of our Holiday 2010 coverage right here.

Which is your favorite New Year's Facebook Game update?

FrontierVille 12 Days of Christmas Goals: Everything you need to know for Day One

Partridge in a Pear TreeThe day has finally arrived. The final Goal of FrontierVille's 12 Days of Christmas series is here. And it's refreshingly, shockingly simple. "On the First Day O' Christmas," all you lucky pioneers have to do is scare one Bear, plant one Pear Tree and collect 10 Letters to Santa.

Simply chop down fully grown Pine and Oak Trees to make Bears appear and work your magic to scare them off. Pear Trees can be purchased from the Market for 972 coins and all you need to do for the 10 Letters to Santa is ask around. I know, the begging continues, but just think of the 1,000 coins, Fruitcake and Frozen Bear that await you as reward.

And, if you've been keeping up with these Goals, a Partridge in a Pear Tree will serve as your final reward for putting up with nearly two weeks worth of Goals. This tree will soon become your resident Food machine, producing three units of the good stuff and 2 XP every two hours. And, get this, it will never wither! I'd say that's a mighty handsome prize for the work. Now, off to the New Year.

Lunchtime Poll: Are third-party companion apps cheating?

Bonus Checker Cheating
Well, it depends on who you ask, really. Since Facebook games have surged in popularity, small-time developers have created several applications that, when used in conjunction with popular social games like FrontierVille and Mafia Wars, simplify certain aspects of said games. Take the infamous Bonus Checker, for instance. This app (at nearly 180,000 monthly users), which supports dozens of Facebook games but is most commonly known for use with FrontierVille, aggregates all of the bonuses that appear in your News Feed from friends. It then provides a quick link to reap the rewards, which eliminates plenty of time perusing through hours worth of bonus posts. But is that cheating?

One crowd seems to believe that applications like this oversimplify the game and give players who make use of them an unfair advantage over those who don't. Not to mention that many think these apps drain a primary social element from social games. The other group appears to feel that these applications only make the game easier for everyone to enjoy and that, because they're open to everyone, we all should use them liberally. Of course, some players won't care either way and continue their normal modes of play. But we want to hear your thoughts in the issue, which makes this the perfect opportunity for a lunchtime poll:

Are third-party companion apps cheating?
Since when is browsing hours worth of News Feed posts fun? It's not cheating when it lets me focus on the fun.Absolutely! Why should some progress faster than me thanks to some app that kills the "social" in social game?Play the game your way and I'll play it mine. Now, where's that "Free Chicken" post I saw...
VoteView ResultsShare

Push on Facebook: Set (lots of) time aside for this puzzling battle of wits

If you hadn't noticed, Facebook games are steadily becoming more polished, for sure. But they're also growing to be more challenging, deep and visually appealing. Push on Facebook is one of those games, but it's not without a few minor flaws. This competitive puzzle game, developed by Social Spiel is a fresh take on games like Chinese Checkers and Peg Solitaire and takes a great deal of ingenuity to play well in. Push plays almost exactly how it sounds. Players are supplied with Pops, cutesy little balls with eyes that act as the playing pieces on a hexagonal board filled with holes.

To defeat your opponent you must push three of their Pops off the edge of the board using strategic movements and coordination with your team of Pops. If three of your Pops get pushed off the board, it's game over for you and those Pops are toast for good. Trust us, you'll soon enough see that it's not as easy as it might sound.

Join us after the break for more of our impressions of Push.

Push in Action
Throughout the beginning of the game, you'll be guided by Pon Du Bear, a strangely pear-shaped bear that has an affinity for post-modern furniture and high-heel boots. It's this odd creature that will tell you that you can move up to three Pops at a time either sideways or in a straight line by clicking on the Pops and then selecting their destination. It takes one more Pop than the amount of Pops you're trying to push in order to push them back one space in direction you're trying to move them. For instance, if you're trying to move one Pop, you'll need two of your own Pops to push it. If you want to move two of your opponent's Pops, you'll need three in a row to make it happen.

While the gameplay sounds simple enough, it's working against an opponent's wits that makes Push challenging. Opposing players and AI opponents alike are going to catch on to what you're up to rather quickly, forcing you to corner their Pops using feint moves and smart positioning. Unless you have a knack for puzzlers, you're going to use far more than just two Pops to push one enemy Pop off the edge.

Ranked matches, or games of Push with players in real time that contribute to a global leader board, are another beast entirely. This is because, in respect of the opposing player, you only have about 30 seconds to make each move. While you're given two time-outs, meaning you take longer than the 30 seconds to make a move (shifting the turn to your opponent), your third means game over. However, Pops double as the game's currency, which when bought in excess from the Pop Shop using Facebook Credits can be used for special powers in ranked matches.

Push Ranked Match
There are three powers to choose from: Teleport, Double Move, and Revive. Teleport allows you to move a Pop in danger to any location on the board while Double Move allows you to make two moves in one turn. Revive does just as it sounds: brings one pushed Pop back onto the playing field. Each runs on a cooldown, meaning you can't use them every turn, and cost 60 Pops each. While the game supplies players with 15 free Pops daily, big spenders could easily dominate games using these powers, somewhat trivializing the ranked system.

However, if you're just looking to add a few friends to play around with in real time and flex that thinking muscle a bit, this is a fine place to do just that. Just make sure you have a lot of time to put aside for a match as equally matched players could potential duke it out for hours, which isn't exactly what Facebook games are all about. Regardless, it's Facebook games like Push--you know, the ones that require thinking--that do well to give the genre a good name.

Thứ Bảy, 7 tháng 1, 2012

CityVille Quest Manager screen now available

Are you a CityVille player that has more than four open quests on their account? Are you tired of being unable to see the "hidden" quests and their requirements? Well, Zynga is looking out for you, as they have announced the launch of a new Quest Manager feature in the game.

The Quest Manager screen will only appear to those users who have more than four active quests in their game. At that point, you'll be able to click on a CV notepad icon to bring up the Quest Manager screen, which shows you the icons of your hidden quests. Simply hover your mouse over those icons and you'll see the tasks necessary to complete them. If you'd like to move your quests around, prioritizing one of your hidden quests over the visible ones, you can do so by clicking on the icon of the quest you'd like to move out of the "hidden" area.

You don't have to move quests around to be able to complete them, as even hidden quests are still very much active on your account and can be finished. Once you have completed enough quests to have four or less on your account, the Quest Manager will simply disappear as it is no longer needed.

This feature is slowly rolling out to users, and Zynga says that it may disappear for short intervals in the future as they continue to test it out with all users. Still, with the eventual option to see all of your quests at once, I think we can put up with a little bit more waiting. Now, if we could only get a feature like this to launch in Cafe World...

CityVille: Chinese New Year decorations now available

If you're one that likes celebrating all manner of holiday in your Facebook games, you'll be happy to know that Zynga has launched a slew of new Lunar / Chinese New Year themed items in CityVille for your shopping pleasure. There are homes, businesses, and decorations to purchase in the game's store, with these items ranging from premium, City Cash items, to those available for varying amounts of coins.

The only home released in this new theme is the Courtyard House, which is available for 45 City Cash. If you purchase the home, you'll gain 150 citizens in your home, and you can collect rent from the home in the amount of 105 coins every four hours.

This is just the start of the theme in the game, so meet us behind the break for a full look at the rest of the newly available decorations and businesses.

Along with the new home, there is also a single new business that is readily available to purchase in the game's store. The first is the City Dojo, which requires you to have 750 citizens in your town before it can be purchased. From there, you'll be able to add it to your town for 4,250 coins. It requires 110 Goods to operate, and you'll be able to earn 495 coins from the building to start.

As for the new decorative items, you'll have plenty to choose from. Here's the full rundown:

Chinese Theater (Animated) - 21 City Cash - Offers 12% bonus
City Pagoda - 21,000 coins - Offers 16% bonus
Hanging Lanterns - 100 coins - Offers 1% bonus
Gong - 1500 coins - Offers 1% bonus
Lunar Gate - 4,000 coins - Offers 3% bonus
Dragon Statue - 4,000 coins - Offers 2% bonus

It should be noted that while the City Pagoda is a fairly affordable item (especially considering the bonus amount of coins that it offers), it is an incredibly large decorative item, likely standing as tall (or even taller) than some of the Franchise buildings you may have in your town. If you want an item that will make a statement, this is certainly one to consider.

We'll be sure to let you know if more Lunar / Chinese New Year items are added to the game in the future, but for now, we have some shopping to do.

Game of the Day: Liong - The Dragon's Dance

The game of the day goes international. Liong The Dragon's Dance is a gorgeous mahjong game with a twist. Match mahjong tiles before the Liong dragons reach the gates. Play through gorgeous and scenic backgrounds while collecting fortunes and gifts along the way. If you were ever looking for a chance to see the world while relaxing your way through it, Liong The Dragon's Dance is your ticket.
Click here to play Liong - The Dragon's Dance

Important side note: Just by playing The Game of the Day you will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a FlipCam HD. You don't need to do anything else, just play! The more you play, the more chances you have to win. For more information on the Game of Day check out the official Game of the Day hub.

Game of the Day: Cate West The Vanishing Files

The game of the day goes all mysterious on us! Cate West - The Vanishing Files is a baffling hidden object mystery game. As Cate West, you help the police solve the the case dubbed, The Vanishing Files. Help unleash the city from it's paralyzing fear and use your magical visions to find clues, unearth evidence and solve the case.
Click here to play Cate West - The Vanishing Files
Important side note: Just by playing The Game of the Day you will be entered into a monthly drawing to win a FlipCam HD. You don't need to do anything else, just play! The more you play, the more chances you have to win. For more information on the Game of Day check out the official Game of the Day hub.

FarmVille Greenhouse: Everything you need to know

To give us all something to work on over the weekend, Zynga has officially launched the Greenhouse feature in FarmVille. We've known that this feature would be launching in the game for some time now, and we can now finally start to create our own hybrid crops, using seed packets that we can purchase for ourselves.

This is a fairly in-depth feature that is rolling out quite slowly to users, so if you don't have the Greenhouse on your own farm just yet, be patient, as we're sure you'll receive it soon. To start, you'll need to place the frame for your Greenhouse, which is given to you for free the first time you play the game after it updates for you.

Once you place the base on your land, you'll have to begin the construction of the building, which is a three part process requiring Wooden Boards, Bricks, and Nails. The first step to completing your Greenhouse will require four each of these three ingredients. For simply completing the building, you'll be given your first seed tray, allowing you to create a single type of hybrid crop at a time.

Learn more about hybrid crops, and how to further expand your Greenhouse behind the break. After you complete the first phase of construction, you can continue to add building parts to the Greenhouse to earn yourself more seed trays, allowing for more hybrid crops to be created at one time. The second level of construction requires 45 ingredients total: 15 each of Bricks, Wooden Boards, and Nails. This level gives you access to a total of 4 seed trays, and also sees the exterior appearance of the Greenhouse changing to become larger and slightly changed in shape. Finally, the third expansion requires a total of 60 ingredients - you guessed it - 20 each of Wooden Boards, Bricks, and Nails.

As usual, you have quite a few options for how to go about obtaining these items:

Click on the "Ask for More" button to send out individual requests to friends
Find them in wall posts that your friends post to the news feed as they complete the construction of buildings
Purchase them for 1 Farm Cash each
Find them within Special Delivery Boxes

Once you complete the entire expansion process, you'll have access to the full amount of 8 seed trays. Your Greenhouse will become larger still, and you'll finally be able to take full advantage of the space given to you by unlocking new kinds of crops through experimentation (that is, even if you know which two seed types you'll need to combine to create one of the ten new crops, you'll still need to "experiment" to unlock them in full).

Regardless of how many seed trays you own, the process remains the same. You'll see a screen like the one above, where you'll be able to add two individual seed packets to a tray to see if they successfully combine into a new crop (if not, you'll be given an error message). Seeds cost different amounts of money to purchase, ranging from 500 coins for a Strawberry seed packet to 8,500 coins for an Onion seed packet. There are four pages of seeds to choose from, allowing you to mix and match different seed types to create 10 full hybrid varieties.

For an example of how you'll create hybrid seeds, let's take the Lilac Daffy crop. As the name implies, this crop is created using Lilac and Daffodil seeds. Simply add one of each of those crops to a single seed tray and you'll automatically create a hybrid crop. Each created crop takes three days to create, in the "experimentation" process. You can either wait the full three days, or you can send out requests to your friends to speed it up. You'll need three friends total to help, with each friend removing 1 day from the waiting process. Receive all three friends, and your new crop is available to grow instantly. You can also fill each spot for 2 Farm Cash.

No matter which crop you are creating, once you complete this process (either by waiting, asking friends, or unlocking with Farm Cash), you'll receive 50 seeds of this new crop to plant. These seeds will show up in the Market just as any other seed would, and can be purchased, planted, and harvested accordingly. These crops are all masterable, so you'll need to create multiple units of each crop in order to earn these exclusive - definitely show-off worthy - mastery signs.

Keep in mind though, each hybrid crop has its own set of stats, including growth time, harvest price, and XP awarded for planting, so plan ahead to know when you'll need to come back and harvest these new crops. You wouldn't want to spend the time researching them only to let them wither, now would you?

And there you have it - a complete look at crop hybridization in FarmVille - a costly, but arguably worthwhile venture for those crop mastery hounds (like myself), who can't wait to master all of these new crops.

Thứ Sáu, 6 tháng 1, 2012

One in five seniors is a potential Facebook gamer, study shows

Is old pappy sending you new Mystery Gifts every day in FarmVille? According to a study conducted by All Assisted Living Homes, 20 percent of baby boomers--if you born anywhere from the late 70s through the 80s, likely your parents--are on Facebook. While they could be doing anything on Facebook, Deseret News mentions that gaming could be part of those activities. And we're willing to bet on that big time.

This 20 percent of seniors logs into Facebook for at least one hour daily. Since it only takes a few minutes to get the dirty work done in a Facebook game, there is likely a large portion of these old folks playing CityVille or what have you. This trend is growing so much so that at one senior center in Sandy City, Utah holds a course to teach seniors the art of Facebook. It's one of the most popular classes they offer.

It seems that FrontierVille and the lot truly are becoming the universal gaming language for first time gamers. While many are crying foul over social gaming's addictive or exploitative tendencies, there's nothing wrong with more folks getting into games. Sure, the gameplay languages between hardcore and casual slash social games are different dialects, but they both stem from the same root.

[Image Credit: Ryan's Go Blog]

Are you a senior that plays social games? What do you think of the increasingly older, and inversely new, demographic of casual and social gamers?

CityVille Cheats and Tips: Collections are useful beyond the cash in

Collections are awesome
You all likely know that CityVille Collections offer lots of Energy, coins and other rewards when turned in, which is great. However, Collections are far more important than that in this game, as forum contributor mws_1984 says. There are several items in Collections that are needed for Goals to complete them. So, one could just go cold turkey on Collections in fear of sacrificing an important Goal requirement, or they could be smart about it.

For instance, it's easy to take a look at your current Goals and then what completed Collections you currently have to avoid spending that precious item. Furthermore, this is why it's beneficial to vary your businesses and residencies, though it is obviously not 100 percent necessary. New Goals generally involve requirements that call for new Collection items. So, it would be a good idea to avoid turning those Collections in until after a Goal pops up requiring said items.

For new players, there will plenty of the game's core Goals that require Collection items. Here are the Goals and Collection items to watch out for:

Get Charlie Breakfast
- Have 1 Danish Collection Item

Restaurant Food
- Collect 1 Carrot Soup Collectable
- Collect 1 Pie Collectable
- Collect 1 Coffee Collectable
- Build Restaurant

State Fair Snacks
- Have 1 Strawberry Jam
- Have 1 Corn on Cob
- Have 1 Baby Carrots

Feed The Fans
- Collect 2 Hot Dogs
- Collect 2 Sodas

[Sources: CityVille Goals]

What methods do you use to avoid wasting Collection items on cash-ins? Do you care to finish Goals in CityVille at all or are you just focused on big business?

Lunchtime Poll: Does Facebook game elitism exist?

Once upon a time, there was a wee little, Level 21 pioneer in FrontierVille named Pillowzillow who wanted to be friends with a much hardier Level 70 frontiersman. But with a huff and a puff, the mighty Level 70 pioneer deleted the lowly settler from his friends list and said, "The items you are asking for are beneath me."

As the hoity-toity pioneer removed PillowZillow, he let out a booming guffaw to his high-level friends. Alright, so maybe it didn't exactly like that, but its seems that PillowZillow and a few repliers sure feel that way. So, do Facebook game elitists exist in a genre that's supposed to be dominated by casual, friendly players?

Does Facebook game elitism exist?
Why yes, and my friends and I enjoy being better.I've never experienced anything of the sort, though I'm not surprised.Absolutely not! I have friends of all levels and styles.Sure it does, and I've been a victim of it.
VoteView ResultsShare

Serf Wars on Facebook: Tyranny has never been this adorable (or fun)

We all like to think of the Middle Ages as a time when kings oversaw their loyal subjects out of respect for the crown, but fear of persecution, imprisonment or death is more like it. And leave it to a Facebook game to address this fact in the briefest and most cutesy way imaginable: Serf Wars. Developed by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Meteor Games, the folks behind Island Paradise, Serf Wars puts you in the role of a castle estate inherited from your late uncle. Like most royal estates during the time period, your subjects are largely serf, or peasants. And that's about as real as this game gets.

Honestly, Serf Wars is not much different from your standard property management game at its core. Structures to build, statistics based on arbitrary factors to maintain and expansion are all accounted for. Among all of the standard tropes of social games including paid transactions, what stands out most is this studio's ability to address a very real element of the past and turn the cute meter all the way up on it. In fact, the adorable look on those eager peasants' faces as they clean up your kingdom's filth almost causes you to forget that, in reality, you're a demanding aristocrat.

Snake N Bake
It's amazing what some cheeky artwork and a bright color palette can do, huh? But back to the gameplay, which revolves around players placating their peasants to prevent revolt (I'd love to see that happen) by providing them with food and pretty things to look at. When you think about it, that sounds oddly topical. Not to mention the ability to create a force of soldiers to protect your serfs from invaders--or are they to protect yourself in the event of an uprising?

To break the doldrums of keeping indentured servants happy and healthy, there is a slew of mini games to play in Serf Wars that provide players with coins and XP. There are only two available to begin with, though six more will unlock as you level up. The first is Snake N Bake, which is little more than the traditional phone game, Snake. However, replace the snake with a sticky glob of dough in a vat. By using the arrow keys, players will have to eat up more dough and toppings while avoiding walls, bugs and running into themselves. While it's nothing but a port, Facebook games need more skill-based gameplay.

Salaboundin' is the second game immediately available. Thankfully, this appears to be 100 percent original in that players control a strange, bipedal monster that walks as if it has four legs as it jumps over enemies, cliffs and obstacles. Along the way, your mission to gobble up as many strawberries as possible. What this has to do with serfs in a mythical interpretation of the Middle Ages, I have not in the slightest. Though, it is darn fun--purely because it's refreshing amongst the sea of simulator games. If you can ignore what Meteor Games is ignoring through its incredible art style, then Serf Wars will be a treat.

Click here to play Serf Wars on Facebook Now>

Have you tried Serf Wars? What do you think of medieval social games, especially those that address slavery so directly and indirectly simultaneously?

Feeling lucky? We're offering St. Patrick's Day games for $2.99 til March 18

FarmVille has been releasing St. Patrick's Day-themed items for weeks, but if you're looking for something a little different, try this slate of oh-so-green games on Starting now through March 18, we're offering these five downloadable games, including Alice Greenfingers 2 and Lucky Clover, for a discounted price of $2.99. Hey, that's almost as good as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Almost.

Play St. Patrick's Day games on >

Thứ Tư, 4 tháng 1, 2012

Finally, GREE reveals what everyone actually cares about: the games

GREE games
Japan's mobile social gaming network GREE has leaked details regarding its global expansion through OpenFeint ever so slowly. Painfully so, in fact. Now, Andriasang reports that DeNA's archenemy has finally announced a number of big time games that will be right there with GREE's launch on iPhones and Android phones in the US and abroad. How does some DDR sound?

Konami revealed that it's bringing the iconic dance machine arcade-gone-mobile game, DanceDanceRevolution, to GREE. Capcom is in on the global GREE launch, set to happen between April and June 2012, with a mobile version of Resident Evil Mercenaries VS and Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting, which is already available for iPhone. Tecmo Koei is bringing over a version of its hit Dynasty Warriors franchise to GREE as well.

This is all well and good, but we have one concern: All of these games, including those from Japanese game makers we didn't mention, appeal to a very niche, dare we say "hardcore" audience. While part of GREE's global expansion is to merge with OpenFeint (and likely many of games under that Western service's umbrella), the network is going to need games that appeal to a mass audience to live up to its expectations of beating Nintendo.

GREE claims that, after the merge with OpenFeint, its games will be exposed to 150 million players. But 150 million players or not, those players are going to need all types of games to be interested in. Granted, we're still a long ways away from the GREE global launch. Oh ... about that.

[Via Pocket Gamer]

Do you think GREE can compete with DeNA and Zynga in the mobile social games arena with games like these? Do you already use OpenFeint in your mobile games?

Zynga thinks it could double its paying players after going public

How? No clue, but Zynga CEO Mark Pincus seems to think it's possible. That's what the head of the FarmVille maker told 100 investors at a luncheon (with chicken, mashed potatoes and spinach salad) held in a Boston hotel, according to Reuters. "We could see that doubling," Pincus told the room during a presentation likely similar to the one posted online last week ahead of going public.

However, the Zynga chief gave no time line for the lofty claim, nor how the company would make it happen. As it stands, about 7.7 million of the social game giant's 219 million monthly players were payers for 12 months prior to Sept. 30, according to Reuters. However, Zynga did reveal that it now welcomes 13 million daily players across mobile devices, way up from the recently reported 11.1 million

A hefty chunk of those daily players seems to come from Words With Friends. You know, the game so addicting that it supposedly drove Alec Baldwin to throw a fit on an American Airlines plane? That one. "He wanted to play it even if it meant getting off his flight to play it," Pincus said, revealing that the game gained some 8 million players in the past year.

And, when you think about it, mobile could be exactly where Zynga doubles its paying players. Zynga is full steam ahead on both iPhone and Android phones, having released eight games for the platforms in 2011 alone. The battle plan? Zynga could reach audiences outside of its massive network by gaining prominence on various app stores. And that just might work.

What do you think of Zynga's mobile games thus far? Could the company grow its 3 percent of paying players into 6 or even 10 percent through iPhone and Android?

Order & Chaos Online finds that subscriptions don't work on Facebook

And as a result, the game will be no more come Dec. 20. Mobile (and social) game developer Gameloft informed players from within the game. Order & Chaos Online for Facebook is the social version of the online mobile MMO (massively multiplayer online game) available on both iPhones and Android phones. So, if your one of the game's 2,000 daily players out there, bummer.

The message given to players in-game reminds them that they can join their friends on either their iOS or Android device to continue playing Order & Chaos. So, why did the game shut down after launching just in July of this year? While Gameloft hasn't provided an official explanation, we'd guess it's due to three things.
Order & Chaos Online closed
For one, 3D MMOs that require downloads (additional to the ubiquitous Flash), have control legends and list system requirements haven't done well on Facebook historically. Secondly, the game suffered severe security issues earlier this fall that could have very well scared many players away. And finally, when players in the game hit level 10, they were hit with a subscription fee to be paid in Facebook Credits in order to continue playing.

If there's one thing that's known about Facebook games, it's that nearly nobody likes to pay. And as for the 3 to 5 percent that do, they prefer to buy things at leisure, like new barns or an extra boost in energy to keep going. Order & Chaos Online threw the illusion of "free-to-play" out the window completely.

[Via Pocket Gamer]

Were you a fan of Order & Chaos enough to pay, an exception to the rule? What were your experiences in the game like? Could subscription-based social games ever work?

Club Penguin Coins for Change program gives us the warm fuzzies

This one will rate high on your "Aw, shucks" meter. Club Penguin, Disney's popular kid-centric virtual world, has kicked off its fifth annual Coins for Change program, inviting its young players to donate virtual coins for a real-life cause. If the number of coins reaches a certain amount, Club Penguin will donate $2 million to help other children, families and environmental causes.

The program will run December 15-27, and players will be able to vote -- with their coins -- as to how the contribution will be divided among several charities. Previous Coins for Change efforts have helped a million people in 40 countries by funding clean water programs, schools, libraries, health clinics and more.
club penguin coins for change info in game

"The Club Penguin community has already helped more than a million people all over the world through Coins for Change and I hope by doubling the donation, they can help even more," Disney Online Studios EVP and Club Penguin Co-founder Lane Merrifield says. "I am continuously amazed by the commitment and passion our players have for helping improve the lives of others."

And, of course, this is a fantastic way to turn game-playing, often considered a waste of time by the uninitiated, into a valuable lesson in global citizenship. And that, in turn, helps parents feel better about shelling out $5 to $8 for the virtual world's monthly membership fee (not that there's anything wrong with that). For more details on Coins for Change, check out

Mario creator Miyamoto isn't retiring after all, and everything's peachy

That's what the legendary Nintendo game designer told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Thursday. After telling Wired this week that he was retiring from his current position at Nintendo to take on smaller projects (and after Nintendo was quick to deny it entirely), Shigeru Miyamoto told WSJ that he is not retiring from his position. However, he is making preparations for the future.

"We have to construct the structure so that the organization so that it can make it without me," Miyamoto told WSJ. "I should also admit that it might be better without me; I mean that a different approach and different talent might emerge, though I shouldn't dwell on this because then the article might indeed say 'Mr. Miyamoto is thinking about retiring,' because that is not the case."

Wired's Chris Kohler, whom Miyamoto first talked to this week about retirement, stands by his piece and its accuracy. Some chalked the Legend of Zelda maker's words up to an error in translation, but Kohler told G4TV, "Miyamoto's comments as presented in our story are exactly what Miyamoto said, and presented with the full context of his remarks. We are absolutely standing by those statements as reported."

Miyamoto's talk with WSJ appears to be an attempt to clarify his words with Wired. Now, we're left with three different statements (two only slightly different, really) and a Nintendo stock price that's down a bit. So what we do know, with absolute certainty, is that the creator of Mario isn't just important to Nintendo, but all video games.

[Via IndustryGamers]

What do you think Miyamoto's retirement would mean for Nintendo?

CastleVille: Zynga's next 'Ville' is now live on Facebook

FarmVille and CityVille-maker Zynga's next new game, CastleVille, is now live on Facebook. The game is best described as FrontierVille meets Medieval Times, and the goal of the game is to build your kingdom by completing missions, exploring new territories and helping friends do the same. If you've played other Zynga games, this will feel instantly familiar, save for a few new enhanced features. Whether that's enough new stuff to get (and keep) Facebook gamers interested remains to be seen.

Click here to play CastleVille now & stay tuned for our first impressions and getting started guides.

Psst! Want to make new friends to play CastleVille with? Head over to our new CastleVille "Add Me" page for details on how to do just that.