Part crime novel and part sci-fi romp, The Surrogates is probably one of the better sci-fi books/graphic novels I’ve read in a while. The graphic novel takes place in the near future and mankind have taken to controlling and using robots called Surrogates (or surries for short) as a means of going through day to day life.
Such is the dependance of man on Surrogates that even the entire police force is made up of surrogates controlled by users operating from the relative safety of their homes. People have taken up using surrogates of a different gender, race and even physiology as these robots, like present DELL computers, are pretty customizable.
There are also people who oppose the use of surries, condemning the robots to be an abomination to God’s creation. These militant group of people and their leader become the target of a police detective’s investigation on a perpetrator going about destroying surries.
Ironically, the person operating the surrie that’s been destroying other surries is none other than the person who made surries possible. Wanting nothing more than surries to be extended prosthesis, he goes about his crusade to make surrie users “live” their normal lives again. And somewhat succeeds.
What makes the book such a compelling read is nice meld between police procedural investigation and sci-fi elements. The interplay between characters is top notched, and you can’t help but root for the police detective.
The writer, Robert Venditti, went to great pains to ground the story as plausible future that can happen in our time. The newspaper articles, surrie ads and brochures that you find at the end of each issue serve to flesh out the story even more.
So if you are sci-fi buff and comic book reader, The Surrogates deserves a spot on your shelf.
The folks at Konami are nice enough to occasionally give their titles on Apple’s App Store a nice discount, and the latest one to receive a limited-time bargain bin price would be DanceDanceRevolution S. The game will be priced at a mere 99 cents from the 24th to the 27th of September 2009.
Check out the following press release for details:
DANCEDANCEREVOLUTION S AVAILABLE FOR 99 CENTS ON APP STORE
Grab Your Dancing Shoes and Tap Along With the Beat for Less
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced that DanceDanceRevolution S for the iPhone and iPod touch is now available on the App Store for 99 cents, exclusively from September 24 to September 27.
Based on the hit arcade game, DanceDanceRevolution S is the latest iteration in the popular music rhythm franchise that’s been revamped to take full advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer and multi-touch interface.
In DanceDanceRevolution S, players must tap along with the beat to create dance move combos and clear stages. They can also choose from three gameplay modes that include: Shake Mode, Game Mode and Training Mode. In Shake Mode, players can test their skills by using the accelerometer to shake the device in the direction of the arrows.
While skilled players can move right into the Game Mode, novices can employ the Training Mode to learn basic lessons, such as the tempo of the music using tools like a metronome. Featuring both new music and tracks from pervious DanceDanceRevolution titles, DanceDanceRevolution S delivers a pocket sized dance party.
DanceDanceRevolution S is now available for 99 cents from September 24 to September 27 only on the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch (click here to view the game on App Store)
Kuala Lumpur – September 25, 2009 – Local game developer, Unsound Games today announced Formula 1: Race Engineer for the Sony PlayStation 3. In Race Engineer, players get the chance to be the closest advisor to the race car driver of their choice.
The race tactics formulated by Race Engineers are important in determining the outcome of the race and ultimately a shot at a podium finish for their race car drivers. Players get to determine among other things, the fuel load, the type of tyres used as well as the aerodynamic settings of the Formula 1 race car.
Formula 1: Race Engineer’s innovative simulation mode lets players view the race as well qualifying sessions in real time, and allows players to make decisions on the fly such as when to pit or urge the driver to speed up or go easy on the car.
Max Bosley, chief developer for Unsound Games mentioned that, “We plan to introduce a KARMA system, whereby your actions would determine how much your (A.I) driver would trust in you.”
He adds that, “And at the same time, this allows players to perform questionable decisions, like asking the driver to crash to help another team mate. This has happen before in real life, in Formula 1 and putting this into our premiere Race Engineer simulator is something we had in mind since the get-go.”
Formula 1: Race Engineer will be out for the Sony PS3 in Q4, 2009.
Granny, get your gun! Fancy playing as a shot-gun totting granny with a potty mouth to boot shooting at UFOs? Well, check out ClubRocket Games’ atest release for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Shotgun Granny. It looks like a shmup inspired by Space Invaders.
Anyways, here’s the press release:
ClockRocket Games releases Shotgun Granny for the iPhone.
Roll up your moo moo, and fasten your dentures, ’cause you got some aliens to kill!
Austin, Texas – September 26th, 2009. ClockRocket Games has released their 7th iPhone application in 3 months. The game, called Shotgun Granny, puts you in the shoes of Granny Shotgun, a gun-toting grandmother defending her land from an alien invasion.
The game features hilarious dialog, as Granny alternately curses and ridicules the invaders.
“I am constantly surprised by the things that come out of her mouth.” said Jake Rodgers, Art Director for ClockRocket. “I mean whose grandmother talks like that?”
Set in a pastoral farmland, the game encourages players to conserve ammunition and kill as many aliens as possible with each shot.
“Shotgun Granny has the perfect balance of shotguns and grannies to make it really interesting.” said Cinco Barnes, Creative Director for ClockRocket. “It is a great way to spend 15 minutes alone in a stall.”
Explosive shotgun blasting action!
Get multiple kills per shot for huge points!
Achievements and online leaderboards via Open Feint!
Unlock hilarious Granny dialog with multi-kill combos!
Surprising depth! Easy to play, but difficult to master.
Collect Ammunition, Super-speed and Mega-bomb powerups.
ClockRocket Games, developer of the critically-acclaimed Zombie Weatherman, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spacetime Studios, LLC. The game was built using The Spacetime Engine, a multi-platform game technology that the team has been working with for years.
Spacetime Studios is an independent game development studio located in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 2005 by videogame veterans Cinco Barnes, Gary Gattis, Jake Rodgers and Anthony L. Sommers. For more information see www.clockrocket.com or www.spacetimestudios.com.
Spacetime Studios, the Spacetime Studios logo, ClockRocket Games, and all associated artwork and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of Spacetime Studios, LLC.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Donington Park, according to Wikipedia, has the distinction of being the first permanent park race circuit in England having been built in 1931. The course has undergone some notable changes since then, one being the hairpin turn you see on the circuit map below:
Here’s a bit of trivia: Donington Park would be hosting the British Grand Prix beginning 2010, but this was put in doubt when Bernie Ecclestone announced that Silverstone would be the 2010 venue if Donington Park was not ready to host it (Wikipedia article here)
The race track is also featured in the recently released Need for Speed: Shift. Check out the circuit guide trailer for Donington Park below, courtesy of the people at NFS and hopefully you can pick up some pointers and improve your lap times (and positions..of course):
If there’s one way to describe iPark It! for the iPhone, it would be nerve-wrecking, but in a good way. One of the latest games out from the AddictingGames stable, iPark It! is (you’ve probably guessed this from the title) a car parking simulator.
The game provides players with the means of moving the car forward and in reverse, and also a steering wheel to move left and right. The levels are strewn with obstacles such as other parked cars, curbs, plants, all of which players have to navigate around skilfully to the designated parking lot.
Compounding this is the fact that you are given three tries which persist from level to level (lose one try in Level 1 by knocking into stuff and you are down to two tries in Level 2….and there are 40 levels).With such a low margin for error and a clock to beat in each level; the game is both nerve-wrecking and exciting.
I know some players will definitely take the time to go through the levels over and over again in order to better their times (and scores). As an added benefit, the game also features an online scoreboard.
With over 40 levels, iPark It! is practically a steal. While you may not actually learn how to park a real car from playing this game, the bit-size gameplay is ideal when you are waiting in a parking lot for someone (or any other situation that would require a time waster).
Check out iPark It! over at the App Store, click here for details.
It’s on to the Need for Speed M3 Mission Sweepstates, and we’re up to Mission Two! Now, there are 51 prizes up for grabs today, 50 winners will get a Need for Speed gift bag, and one lucky winner will get two concert tickets to a Need for Speed soundtrack artistes’ concert.
This challenge is more difficult compared to the first one. So listen up: Using Google Maps Street View, find a real-world BMW, take a screenshot, and tweet the pic to @NeedforSpeedincluding the #NFS hashtag.
Here’s a hint: A BMW dealership would be a fine place to start. For rules and regs, check out this page.
Remember last week’s announcement regarding Skee-Ball? The game is now out on App Store (as of September 22) with an introductory price of just USD 0.99. Check out the press release below from the game’s publisher, Freeverse, for further details:
Freeverse Releases Official Skee-Ball Game for iPhone and iPod Touch
Brooklyn, NY – Sept. 22, 2009 – Freeverse today announced the launch of the Skee-Ball App on the App Store, the classic American game that brings the fun of the boardwalk to your fingertips with 3D graphics, great physics, and awesome prizes.
Skee-Ball’s authentic gameplay and irresistible bowling action set it apart from any other game of its kind. Taking advantage of the innovative Multi-Touch user interface of iPhone and iPod touch and featuring bright, colorful graphics, Skee-Ball brings the enjoyment of the great arcade pastime to life.
Roll the ball up the incline with a simple flick of the finger to land in one of the high value holes to rack up points and earn tickets. With over 80 prizes in all, win enough tickets and go on a shopping-spree for fun prizes like a set of vampire teeth, a Peruvian Flute Band CD, or even a custom ball to use in-game.
Worldwide high scores let you see how your hoard of tickets compares to everyone else. Challenge friends with score tracking, achievements and leader-boards.
Mechcommander, in my opinion was one of the more under-rated RTS available on the PC. The game placed the player as the commander over a squad of Mechwarriors piloting humongous machines of war (often bigger than a house), armed to the teeth with high-tech weaponry and/or electronic countermeasures.
The start of each level tested the mettle of the player in choosing and equipping his weapons of mass destruction. Not only that, the player had to take to studying the topology of the map, noting the elevations and probably locations of enemy bases.
The use of higher ground was vital in the game, not only in combat, but also in uncovering larger areas shrouded under the fog-of war.
While the mechs themselves were highly customizable, they were nothing without their pilots. Pilots gained experience in combat, and carried forward their experience to subsequent levels in the form of promotions and stats increases. Losing a veteran or an elite pilot in battle would have been a really careless and stupid thing to do.
Mechcommander wasn’t known for being forgiving. The game was HARD. Players would find themselves restarting levels and trying different things (mech configurations, tactics, etc) in order to past the particular level.Imagine pitting 2 25 tonne mechs against a hardcase like the MadCat.
Salvaging enemy mechs was one way of giving your 0wn motley crew a leg-up on the tech scale (since you are playing as the Inner Sphere vs a technologically superior Clan Smoke Jaguar), provided you only disabled a mech enough for its pilot to eject, and not totally destroy it.
In any case, I just finished the expansion pack to the original game, titled Desperate Measures. The ending was a bit anti-climatic but still has plenty of new mechs to tinker with. Consisting about 9 missions, it didn’t take more then a day to play through, but it was still fun.
The game itself is pretty hard to come by these days, in its original form or even as Mechcommander Gold (where the original game is bundled with Desperate Measures). But thanks to the kind souls at Mechcommander.org released Mechcommander, Mechcommander Gold and even the sequel, Mechcommander 2 for free back in 2008!
So download the games and check them out, though I would recommend Mechcommander Gold over its predecessor, since Gold comes with the ability to change the difficulty level.
Ok people, heads up. The Need for Speed M3 Mission Sweepstakes is ON! For your first mission, be sure to follow @NeedforSpeed (on Twitter) and if you see any tweet about any Need for Speed SHIFT TV spot, simply retweet it!
Do not forget to include the #NFS hashtag in order for your entry to be eligible.
There will be 34 daily winners today, 33 will get a copy of Need for Speed SHIFT, and one lucky fella will walk away with an Xbox 360 console AND a wireless racing wheel. How’s that to kickstart the Sweepstakes?
For eligibility info, and sweepstakes rules, click here.