AOL is promoting its new chat-enhanced toys, which work in tandem with AOL Instant Messenger (AOL IM) to "speak" messages out loud as they're sent from someone else's computer. The toys, which are called Instant Messaging Buddies, also move animatronically in real-time when activated. The first buddies to be introduced are the Looney Tunes' characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Using technology developed by United Internet Technologies (UIT), each IM Buddy has over 150 pre-recorded phrases and speaks in their actual character voices.
Category: Internet and Interactive
Calgary, Alberta-based creative agency Idea Machine has collaborated with the Science Alberta Foundation to launch www.wonderville.ca, an interactive Internet destination designed to teach kids about science. The creative team at Idea Machine, led by animator Brent Lowrie (art and animation) and designer Darren Pearce (interface design and programming), created the concept of a 3D world where an animated cast of characters would lead the audience through a series of science-based activities.
Both Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. and Disney Interactive have released titles centered on Disney's new feature film based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Treasure Island," titled Disney's TREASURE PLANET, which opens in theaters nationwide on November 27. Disney's TREASURE PLANET for PlayStation and PS One game consoles, builds upon the story in the movie, where Jim Hawkins leaves home in search of treasure. Gamers will discover new characters, environments and gameplay elements while viewing cut-scenes that tie in with the feature film narrative.
Game publisher THQ Inc. has released two video games based on DreamWorks' animated feature SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON to coincide with the DVD release of the film, which is scheduled for November 19, 2002. "The movie SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON lends itself to tremendous crossover appeal with our Game Boy Advance and PC audience," stated Germaine Gioia, vice president, licensing, THQ.
Macromedia has announced that Sony's new CLIE NX-series handheld devices are the first to feature Macromedia Flash Player support on Palm OS. The CLIE PEG-NX70V and PEG-NX60 models are the latest Sony Entertainment handhelds powered by a 200MHz ARM-compliant processor and enhanced by the new Palm OS 5 operating system. These new devices enable users to take photos and record video clips, record voice memos and wirelessly browse the Internet on a Wi-Fi (802.11b) network with an optional Sony wireless LAN card, in addition to playing MP3 audio files and video games.
LEGO Interactive and Electronic Arts announced the North American release of two adventure titles based on two successful LEGO product lines. BIONICLE: MATORAN ADVENTURES and GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION are now available for the Game Boy Advance. Drawing from the ABC Family TV series, GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION players take on the role of hero Nick Bluetooth who finds himself in an Outer Dimension on a quest to free friends who have fallen into the clutches of the evil tyrant Gorm.
Just in time for Halloween, TDK Mediactive, Inc. has shipped CASPER SPIRIT DIMENSIONS for the Nintendo GameCube. Gamers will spiral into phantom dimensions to battle for the fate of the spirit world in this new game, where portals transport gamers into mysterious realms that are populated by ghosts of the past, present and future, all possessed by the evil Kibosh. Sixteen levels and four distinct worlds can be fully explored through 360-degree full flight movement in a quest to become the quickest, smartest and most powerful ghost in the Spirit Dimension.
Now you can experience some of the world's greatest roller coasters without ever leaving your home. Global Star Software, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive will soon be releasing a new roller coaster simulator for the PC platform, WORLD'S GREATEST COASTERS. This exciting new 3D simulation will feature five of the greatest roller coasters on the planet, as well as a virtual coaster workshop in which players can build and experience their very own thrill rides and challenge themselves in the scenario-based game mode.
BAM! Entertainment, a publisher and developer of interactive entertainment software, is bringing the man vs. beast action of REIGN OF FIRE to all next-generation game consoles in time for the holiday season. REIGN OF FIRE for PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance will be available at the end of October 2002, while the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions of the game will ship to retail by mid-November 2002.
Viewpoint Corporation, a leading provider of interactive media technologies and services, announced that it has expanded its relationship with America Online, Inc. to cover use of Viewpoint technology for new features in AOL 8.0, Instant Messaging, and within other applications. The new arrangement involves use of Viewpoint interactive graphics within the recently released AOL 8.0 client, including many facets of the AOL desktop.
Wallace & Gromit's CRACKING CONTRAPTIONS, a new series of ten short films from Aardman Animation, premiered online October 15, 2002, on AtomFilms.com. The first episode, titled "Soccamatic," is currently available for free, but on October 22, the entire CRACKING CONTRAPTIONS series will only be available to Atoms online subscribers. CRACKING CONTRAPTIONS marks the first new appearances from Wallace and Gromit in seven years. Each of the ten episodes showcases one of Wallace's ingenious mechanical inventions in storylines that range from one to three minutes apiece.
Educational software company Muzzy Lane has licensed NDL's NetImmerse 3D game engine and development toolkit and Quazal's Eterna game connectivity software to create a series of historical simulation games designed for the classroom. Aimed at high school and college students, Muzzy Lane's network-based strategy games will combine historical accuracy with engaging game play in scenarios that are appropriate as homework or classroom activities. To learn about World War II for example, students can focus not only on military strategies but on diplomacy, geography and economics as well.
THQ Inc. and Nickelodeon have released two new video games based on the popular Nickelodeon property Jimmy Neutron. JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS for PlayStation2 and THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON VS. JIMMY NEGATRON for Game Boy Advance are now available at retail outlets nationwide. The PlayStation 2 version is based on the digitally animated motion picture, JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS, while the Game Boy Advance version is based on the Nickelodeon television series. In JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS for PlayStation 2, players take on the role of Jimmy with his robot dog Goddard at his side.
Click 3xi, the interactive design division of New York-based Click 3x, recently designed a series of interactive television games that teach young children about science. Developed for the Crayola Kids Club, an interactive television service from the Hallmark Channel and Crown Interactive, Click 3xi designed the interface and provided scores of computer-animated elements illustrating the outcomes of all the potential choices that can be made during game play. The studio worked hand in hand with the Hallmark Interactive staff, who designed the game architecture and handled the programming.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original arcade release of the hit video game DRAGON'S LAIR, interactive DVD publisher Digital Leisure is producing a special edition DVD box set of the three arcade classics created by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy. DRAGON'S LAIR, SPACE ACE and DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIME WARP are fully interactive games that include scenes from the original arcade releases. Optionally, players may select new scenes that were animated in 1983 but not included in any previous DRAGON'S LAIR release.
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. has updated its PlayStation.com Website with a new look and feel specifically designed to target loyal PlayStation gamers. The new design has been tailored explicitly to keep gamers up-to-date on the latest PlayStation offerings, allowing fans to find the games that interest them quickly and easily with the game finder search tool. The site also features in-depth hardware and software information, including advance links between titles and hardware that help users easily find peripherals that support games they choose.
Visual communications software provider Eyematic has joined with Verizon Wireless to offer Shout Messenger, the first animated mobile messaging application in the U.S. Shout Messenger allows Verizon Wireless' "Get It Now" subscribers to personalize their mobile messages with Marvel superheroes animated in full color, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and X-Men characters. Shout Messenger subscribers first enter their text, then select a famous hero from the Marvel universe and an animation corresponding to the emotional tone of their message.
Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men and 4,700 other characters from the Marvel universe are part of a 10-year worldwide licensing agreement between Vivendi Universal Publishing (VU Publishing) and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. The arrangement grants VU Publishing's games division (VU Games) the right to develop and publish online massively multi-player (OLMMP) games based on Marvel's superheroes. The first OLMMP title under the new agreement is targeted for release in 2005.
Animator Joe Blackwell is taking animation to the airwaves with the debut of B.R.A.T.S. (Blackwell's Radio Animation Talk Show), a new weekly radio program featuring highlights from the world of animation. The show promises behind the scenes discussions of video games, television commercials, movies and Websites, as well as interviews with members of the animation community. Originating in New York City and also broadcast in New Jersey, B.R.A.T.S airs on WJUX 103.1FM and is simulcast on 94.3FM and 99.7FM in the New York and New Jersey area.
comedycentral.com, MAXIM magazine and Combe Incorporated have joined forces to produce "The Maxim Player Generator Game." MAXIM magazine licensed its name to Combe, makers of the Just For Men brand of hair color, to help promote a new hair color line aimed at young adult men. To market the new brand, the companies turned to comedycentral.com to provide an online animated game. Glenn Ginsburg, vice president, interactive sales for Comedy Central, said, "Combe was looking for innovative ways to market both a new product and product category to a young male demo.
4Kids Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide agent and co-producer of the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES series, has announced that Konami Corporation will be the exclusive worldwide developer and publisher of video games based on the upcoming animated show. The series is currently in production and is scheduled to debut on the FOX BOX in the first quarter of 2003. Konami was the game developer for the original TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES phenomenon, and created games in the late 1980s and early `90s for the property, which grossed nearly half a billion dollars.
CinemaNow, Inc. has signed a licensing agreement with Warner Home Video to deliver selected Warner Bros. films via the CinemaNow Website at www.cinemanow.com. This is the first major studio deal made by CinemaNow, an online video service that has previously offered films from independent companies. The service is majority owned by independent production company Lions Gate Entertainment and counts Microsoft Corp. and the video chain Blockbuster among its minority shareholders. The Warner library will be made available on the Internet in a secure, protected download format.
Video games are fast becoming the nation's number one source of entertainment, but, as with movies, the content of these games is often cited as the cause of violent behavior in young adults. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dismissed all actions against Chicago-based Midway Games Inc., and other entertainment providers in the case arising out of a school shooting that took place at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky on December 1, 1997. High school student Michael Carneal killed three fellow students and wounded several others.
Alias|Wavefront continues its drive to make its Maya software more accessible to non-professional users by providing a copy of its Maya Personal Learning edition with the upcoming PC game release Unreal Tournament 2003 (UT2003). UT2003, which was developed by Digital Extremes in collaboration with Epic Games, Inc. and is distributed by Infogrames, Inc., will come bundled with a copy of Maya Personal Learning Edition and a special plug-in, jointly developed by Epic and San Francisco-based Secret Level, Inc.
The U.S. video game industry grew 43% in 2001, and remains a hotbed of career opportunity in a struggling economy. In response, GAME DEVELOPER magazine has published its first "Game Career Guide." In this special issue of Game Developer, game industry veterans provide valuable information to aspiring developers, including an overview of careers in game development and the skills they require, along with a comprehensive directory of game development schools and programs.