Articles of Interest

Looks like a major publisher finally took notice of the tremendous popularity of Travian; the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise will be spinning out Kingdoms, a persistent, web-based strategy game. Speaking of Travian, those of you who appreciated my review of that game might enjoy a similar account from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It’s a fun retelling of a long gameplay experience that petered out as abruptly as mine did. I like the clever way that Kieron describes the game, concluding with: “ultimately… I knew there were no Lions in Travian. It’s a game for Jackals.”

Nice post by Chris Anderson about how discount airlines are using alternate revenue mechanisms (the same way free games use alternate revenue mechanisms) to drive ticket costs way down.

Nexon is integrating retail outlets like Best Buy and 7-Eleven into Maplestory. Not just integrating them from a distribution perspective — I mean actually making virtual 7-Eleven stores part of the game, with “appropriately themed quests.” Huh? Allow me to redirect your attention to the Maplestory info page, the first sentence of which reads: “You can explore a totally new and unknown world you have never been to.” Irony is not dead; it’s just depressing. Every time a game company does something like this, it sets the entire industry back because advertisers are learning the wrong lessons about our medium.

Valve recently began selling Weighted Companion Cube plush toys, and they’re already sold out. I want one. :-(

Every once in a while I’m really tickled by an ARG (in this case, one promoting the upcoming movie Dark Knight.) They sent players on a quest to find cakes in bakeries around the country; the cakes had phone numbers written on them in icing. When players called those phone numbers, the cakes themselves rang — cell phones were hidden inside them. :-)

XNA 2.0 has shipped. Biggest improvement: multiplayer matchmaking.

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