By Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO -- Bespectacled teenager John Chitman and a couple of friends marked Veterans Day by wiping out an elite US Marine unit without so much as straining a thumb. The battleground was an Eastern European front from World War II and the weapons were virtual machine guns, flame throwers, tanks and more wielded by on-screen soldiers in a new "Call of Duty: World at War" videogame. "They weren't so hard at all," Chitman said as he stepped from a GameStop shop in downtown San Francisco that was decked out like an Army field base for the Tuesday launch of the latest installment in the hit COD franchise. Videogame maker Activision teamed with retail chain GameStop to debut "World at War" by letting COD fans using XBox 360 consoles play the new release online against real soldiers. "We totally waxed them," Chitman's 22-year-old teammate, Glen Robinson, said as one of San Francisco's famed cable cars rattled past. "It was awesome. We smoked them." Camouflage netting lined walls inside the crowded railroad car-sized shop. Event workers were dressed in GI garb. Fuel drums and ammunition boxes strewn about the scene were stamped with "Call of Duty." An estimated 1,500 gamers queued to get a shot at the Marines. About a third of the players reportedly showed up for a simultaneous event taking place at a GameStop near the Pentagon in Washington. "This store should be giving the beat-down to the Marines," said David Vonderhaar, head of multi-person play for the latest COD created by Treyarch studio and published by Activision. "But, a lot of people in the military love our game so it could be a challenge." Players were divided into six-person units and got to equip their virtual soldiers with period-appropriate weapons of choice. Vonderhaar recommended Thompson submachine guns for close-quarter fighting. "Sure you can do it in the game," a Marine shouted through a video conferencing link. "We do it for real." "World at War" is the fifth release in the COD franchise and its storyline focuses on key clashes between US, Japanese, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany forces at the close of World War II. Scenes are based on historical battles in places including Berlin, Peleliu, and Makin Island. "I went positive in my kill-to-death ratio; that was pretty slick," Andrew Conley, 21, said in reference to his in-game soldier giving better than he got on the battlefield. "A couple of times I got swarmed. I go off on my own to fight, and those Marines tend to work as a team." Along with new territories to explore, the videogame for the first time lets as many as four people play online in a "co-operative mode" that follows the story line. COD and other shooter games are already popular for online play that lets people join teams and battle against each other from their homes. "There is a lot to love about the new game, of course," Vonderhaar told AFP before dashing off to coach players riveted to screens at the back of the shop. A woman on-screen from a Southern California Marine base yelled "We're going to kick your butt San Francisco." The audience for first-person shooter games such as COD and freshly-released "Gears of War" has been broadening beyond the typical young male demographic, as people from varied walks of life start playing, according to GameStop spokesman Chris Olivera. "I've definitely seen the change," Olivera said. "It used to be mothers would drop their sons off at GameStop and then head over to an Anne Taylor store to shop. Now, mothers and their children are coming in and shopping for games together." Tough financial times offer hope to videogame sales as people forego costly vacations or nights out and instead treat themselves to at-home fun in the form of videogames that typically cost about 60 dollars for new titles. "We are seeing a lot of people not taking those expensive vacations, or even cutting out going to the movies," Olivera said. "Instead of going out, and for the same money, they are buying a videogame and playing it." The war between the geeks and the Marines was fought to a tie, with each side winning eight battles. The Marines claimed victory in a tie-breaking round that sparked shouts of "Hoo-ah" in the camp. "Awesome," said Marine Shane Palmer in an online video connection. "It's great fun."
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By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net THE ASSOCIATION of Southeast Asian Nation Foundation (AF) is set to launch in July a PC game that aims to provide a fun learning activity to the youth and give them useful information on the 10 member countries of the ASEAN. AF executive director Filemon Uriarte Jr. presented the ASEAN Quest game during a memorandum of agreement signing between the AF and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Makati City. Uriarte showed a box version of the game as well as the opening cut scene. Uriarte described ASEAN Quest as primarily a single-player role-playing game where players have to navigate through several, albeit short, levels. There are portions of real-time strategy, trivia, a spy game and even a "build" game. Much of the game focuses on the cultural nuances of the 10 member countries of the ASEAN. Some of the mini-games are patterned after some of the popular PC games such as Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Warcraft and StarCraft. However, the difference is that there is no indication of violence in ASEAN Quest. De La Salle University was tapped to develop the game and was awarded a $90,000 grant in 2007 for the project. The game will be launched during the upcoming ASEAN Youth Science Summit, which will be part of the National Science and Technology Week from July 1 to 11. A gaming competition featuring ASEAN Quest for the participants and delegates will be held during the Youth Science Summit. Uriarte said the commercial price of the game could reach between P300 and P500.
By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net JUST upgraded to the new version of RealArcade. Yup, I also love casual games :) I like the new version, actually, because it's a lot easier to navigate. Of course, it's obvious they also did it in order to better present ads on their site, but as long as the design is uncluttered, I don't mind. In fact, I saw a video ad there from Chili's. All you need to do is watch the short clip to get a free copy of Burger Rush. So, yup, why not? This really will be the trend -- online video ads and free ad-supported games. And as long as the games are good and the ads aren't annoying, I think many of us wouldn't mind. By the way, while you're there, you can also sign up for a free 30-day trial of RealArcade's GamePass service, in case you're interested. How about you, what do you think of the new RealArcade? And what do you think of more free ad-supported games? Heck, maybe in the future free ad-supported versions of even AAA console, PC and massively multiplayer online games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto and World of Warcraft franchises would become the norm.
By Relly Carpio INQUIRER.net TEAM Ninja of Manila won over a field of over 60 local teams, of five members each, to win the Philippine Qualifiers for the Asian DOTA Championships (ADC). The final match between Team Ninja and Team Corporation of Davao was held at Mineski Cyber Cafe along Taft Avenue. The exciting match was a best-of-three competition. One round was won by each team, with the deciding third battle being won by Team Ninja. Team Corporation manager Ria Jose was present at Mineski though her team was assembled at, and was competing from, Davao. Team Ninja's win will now allow them to compete in the ADC Finals Qualifiers for the chance to gain one of two slots available in the final field of ten countries that would compete in the ADC Finals. Incidentally, the venue of the qualifiers was the home of Team Mineski; one of eight teams with an assured slot in the finals. Should Team Ninja win one of the two available slots in the Asian Eliminations, the Philippines will have two teams in the finals. Team Mineski placed fourth in last year's ADC. Team Ninja is composed of Jeffrey "Fox" Fortunato, Tony "Ynot?" Mazinni, Vinni Carlo "ViNi" Caños, Regie "Rejz" Ragel, Joseph "DSR" Marco, Laurence Anthony "LA" Chua, Mark Vincent "Enteng" Co, and Jave Yu. Team Corporation consists of Jay Arabia, Jester Ching, Duke Dalumpines, Chian Coronel, Subang Padilla, Paul Limlao and Maj Geneblazo. They are sponsored by DotAStrategy.com. Defense of the Ancients is a mod of Warcraft III: Frozen Throne, the fantasy real-time strategy game from Blizzard. It involves team battles between five heroes to control a three-lane map.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net SHANGHAI, China--Intel and Epic Games have announced a contest for aspiring gaming developers to create modifications or "mods" for the PC version of Unreal Tournament 3. Developers can create mods in various categories including environments, characters, weapons, vehicles and game play. The "Make Something Unreal" contest carries a $1 million prize, including an Unreal Engine 3 license as grand prize. Other prizes include Intel software development products and Velocity Micro PCs, using Intel's Dual Socket Extreme Desktop platform running on Core 2 Extreme quad-core processors. Judging will begin this June and grand prizes will be awarded next year. Contest mechanics can be found at www.makesomethingunreal.com
By INQUIRER.net FILIPINO player Kevin Patrick Chung will fly to Singapore to compete in EA Play, which will be held on March 15 to 16 at Marina Square's Central Atrium as part of the company's plan to further foster interactive community exchanges in the Asia Pacific. Chung topped the Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars tournament held at the Villman Cyberzone at SM Megamall. "I think successful naman, it being the first competition we've held, and the limited amount of time for the set-up," said Jo Oliver, operations manager of event sponsor DataBlitz. Placing second in the tournament was Ronnie Kern, and in third was Jan Michael Lim. The tournament drew a total of 24 contestants. For photos, check out event organizer eSports' website. DataBlitz is a premier distributor of computer games, and is the exclusive distributor of EA Games in the Philippines. EA Play 08 will showcase the latest games from the company, and both friendly and competitive gameplay will be encouraged between both casual and hardcore gamers for them to experience new games firsthand, according to a press statement. EA Play will see the final playoffs of EA’s Crysis Asia Pacific Tournament powered by Microsoft Games for Windows, as well as the tournament finals for Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Apart from the Philippines and Singapore, the countries sending players to EA Play 08 include Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan and Thailand. For the loyal Command & Conquer fans there will also be a preview of the highly anticipated game Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath as well as other game play-offs where participants can compete to take home a piece of the S$10,000 prize money pool when they play FIFA 08, NBA Street Homecourt, Need for Speed Prostreet and Skate. Entry to EA Play is free for everyone and the event offers three different areas -- EA Gamezone, EA Champs and EA Screen. EA Screen will provide visitors a chance to interact with EA’s game producers hailing from the studios, and unveil the hugely anticipated Spore Creature Creator demo version to gamers for the first time in Asia.“EA has, in the past few years, created a strong bond with our local gamers through community events. To cater to the growing following of our games, this year’s EA play will undoubtedly be the consumer gaming event of the year both in terms of scale and in content,” said Christopher Ng, general manager for Publishing of EA Singapore. With a report from Relly Carpio, INQUIRER.net
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net A GROUP of student entrepreneurs from the University of the Philippines-Diliman is organizing a Metro Manila-wide WarCraft III: Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) tournament that aims to bring together the various groups of DOTA players in an effort to find the best players for a chance to compete in international DOTA events. DOTA is one of the most popular local area network games worldwide and has a wide following in the Philippines. It is played on a five-on-five team-based match wherein the opposing teams' primary objective is to destroy a structure in the middle of a map called "Ancient" while staving off each other. The UP Circle of Entrepreneurs (UPCE) organized the Aenigma 2008 DOTA Tournament as part of their annual business-related project. This is the first time that the group has organized a gaming tournament on a wider scale and the group also hopes that it will be a regular event. The tournament is being marketed across different DOTA forums in the Philippines, as well as through a special UPCE website for the event. In an interview with hackenslash, UPCE president Kevin Velasco said the competition will have three qualifying legs: Makati, Quezon City and Manila, wherein DOTA players nearest these areas will be able to compete for a chance to get into the finals, which will be held on March 1. The grand prize is P30,000 for the winning team and P15,000 for the first runner-up. Velasco said the winning group will get a chance to represent the Philippines as members of the international DOTA community called Razer, which will evaluate if the Philippine team is capable of competing in the international circuit. UPCE chair for Operations Aldrin Macaraig said there are many DOTA teams in Metro Manila alone, some of whom are already very good players as they have beaten teams from different areas. "Unlike online games, DOTA teams have to meet up to play against each other. The Aenigma 2008 tournament hopes to bring them together and find out who really are the best players," Macaraig said. One disadvantage, however, is that some teams have already become so good that other teams do not want to play against them as they know they will be beaten. "This is the perception we're trying to change. These teams must know how they would fare against better teams so they could learn new strategies," Macaraig said.
By Relly Carpio INQUIRER.net ROLL out the MCV! On March 1, from 1 to 8 p.m., EA Games and DataBlitz will hold a Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars tournament at Villman, Cyberzone in SM Megamall. The winner gets to go to (brace yourself) EA Play 08 in Singapore (you can scream now). Contestants must be 18 and above. Simply register at www.DataBlitz.com.ph to be included in the roster. "Being the exclusive distributor of EA Games here in the Philippines, we were contacted to hold this EA-sanctioned tournament," Jo Oliver, operations manager of DataBlitz, told hackenslash. Oliver added that the rules for the tournament came directly from EA. The first prize includes a roundtrip ticket to Singapore with one night hotel accommodation, C&C Kane's Wrath with Limited Edition Razer Death Adder Mouse from EA, P5, 000 in cash, Internet Security 2008 with jacket from Trend Micro, Imation products worth P1, 200, Villman premium items worth P500 and a year's subscription to Playground, the newest gaming magazine in the Philippines.
By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net ONE of the games I'm really looking forward to playing (apart from Halo 3, of course, heh) is Will Wright's upcoming PC title (which will also be available on the Nintendo DS and mobile phones) Spore. I had the pleasure of seeing the Spore presentation of Maxis' Pollinated Content Producer of Spore Caryl Shaw last December in, er, S'pore, and even took a video of the then recently unveiled Creature Editor. To further whet your appetite, here are the latest screenshots from EA, covering different phases in the evolution of your creatures. Here are screens of the cellular phase. Creature phase. Tribal phase. And civilization phase.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net BANGKOK, Thailand--Chipmaker Intel is launching a game that hopes to showcase the power of its vPro processor technology. The game, dubbed Silicon Commander, is set in a sci-fi world called the Domain, where players can command an army of intelligent robots, the game's website said. Given the power and privileges in the Domain, players can command minions of robots, called Clients, to gather Silicon as they do battle, it added. The enemy, the Agents of Chaos, will try to destroy the player's army with viruses, hackers and spyware. "You are an IT manager in this game," said Adesh Gupta, regional platform architecture manager of the Server Platform Group of Intel in Asia Pacific, in a briefing here. In the game, players will need to use their IT skills to manage clients and budget their resources, while making sure they increase the productivity of their army to help gather more Silicon. Intel said players who are IT savvy will have an advantage over other players. The game will go live this month, Gupta said, adding that more details on the game will soon be revealed. The Intel vPro processor technology includes the Intel Core 2 Duo processor that uses the Intel Q35 Express chipset. It also comes with security and management capabilities fit for desktop PCs. This latest processor technology, codenamed Weybridge, has built-in capability to protect PC users from software-based attacks and other similar threats. The Intel vPRO is now being sold by different desktop PC vendors, Intel said.