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The White House's game jam focused on education

Pizza boxes, crowded computer labs and an overworked coffee maker – these are common sightings at plenty of game jams, but the interior of the White House and Secret Service members are a bit more uncommon. USA Today reports that 100 developers saw both when they gathered in Washington, D.C. for a game jam, an event sponsored by the White House to specifically focus on education.

Science and technology advisers from the Obama administration hosted the weekend-long jam, with attendees including Far Cry 4 contributing developer Red Storm Entertainment, Angry Birds developer Rovio, and GlassLab, a collaborative effort which includes members from the Entertainment Software Association and Electronic Arts.

The 23 participating teams retain all rights to the concepts they cooked up during the jam, and while there doesn't seem to be an official gallery to host the designs, there's plenty of photos and recollections unified by the "WHGameJam" hashtag on Twitter.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Xbook One is Microsoft's console in laptop form

While Nintendo has its 3DS and Sony has its PlayStation Vita to please gamers on the go, Microsoft stands alone as the only major competitor in the modern games industry without a portable device dedicated to gaming. And well, for modder Ed Zarick, that just won't do. Behold: The Xbook One.

Combining the innards of an Xbox One with a 22-inch screen from a Vizio television and custom 3D printed parts, Zarick has turned Microsoft's newest home console into a portable device for mobile gaming. Well ... kind of.

While certainly easier to lug around than a standard Xbox One and 22-inch TV, the Xbook One isn't a device you can use just anywhere; it still requires an outlet for power, and the Kinect is not integrated into the design. Still, the modding on display here is impressive, and we could easily imagine the Xbook One being a hit with LAN parties and the like. Also, it's just fun to say: Xbook. Xbook.

You can check out Zarick's breakdown of the process at his website, and watch a video demonstration of the box after the break. If you want to get your own, you can order one straight from Zarick for the sum of $1,495, plus shipping.

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Distance brings Early Access patrons to the track this fall

After introducing players to its neon-streaked streets at PAX Prime last month and in a private beta, Refract Studios' Distance will turn the corner on Early Access sometime this fall. Although an exact arrival date has not been set, Refract's Kickstarter update explains the Early Access version should help private beta members find a few new multiplayer rivals.

There's more in Distance's bag of tricks than just speeding along raceways – as displayed in the beta trailer, players can twist, flip and spread their wings to navigate between sections of Distance's winding tracks.

Distance is a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush, a similarly-hectic racer that the Refract team contributed to while studying at DigiPen. Since rights for Nitronic Rush were retained by DigiPen, Refract set out to finish their vision with Distance, which is eventually due for release on PC, Mac and Linux.
[Image: Refract Studios]

MMO Week in Review: ArcheAge has arrived

Row row row your boat gently down the stream, if you're incredibly lucky or maybe just invisible, you won't get PKed in the face
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

A huge MMO launched this week! No, not Destiny, although that launched too. I'm talking about ArcheAge, the long-awaited Trion/XL Games sandbox MMORPG that has finally sailed its way across the pond to western shores, probably in an actual boat because, you know, this game has actual boats. Yes, ArcheAge's head start is now live for founders, though it's not been without the usual round of long queues and server instability and DDoS attacks and people waiting in polite and tidy lines for quest mobs. We've been chronicling the head start in a series of launch diaries and streams and will continue doing so this week as we approach the formal launch.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Day-one patch adding Challenge Mode to Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors who are looking for a test of skills that goes beyond the game's Adventure Mode will be glad to hear that, as reported by Nintendo World Report, developer Koei Tecmo will be releasing a day-one patch that adds Challenge Mode to the game when it releases in North America on September 26.

So just what is Challenge Mode? According to members of a Nintendo Treehouse stream made earlier this week, it's basically "Adventure Mode on steroids." So ... it's tougher and angrier, but also has some acne problems and premature balding? Whatever you say, Nintendo.

Obviously that's a joke, but the truth of the matter is we won't know what Challenge Mode has in store for us until later this month. Remember warriors, patience is a virtue.
[Image: Nintendo/Koei Tecmo]

Surgeon Simulator dev expands curriculum in Twelve a Dozen

Would you trust Bossa Studios, developers of the questionably-medically-accurate Surgeon Simulator, to teach basic math skills? Educational organization Amplify did, and the result of their collaboration is Twelve a Dozen, a puzzle-focused platformer that subtly teaches simple calculations and the order of operations.

In Twelve A Dozen, players guide Twelve and her companion Dot in an effort to save Twelve's family as a disaster descends upon Dozenopolis. Twelve's lesson plan spans 30 levels' worth of puzzles, with more coming in an eventual update. The App Store description notes that Twelve A Dozen is meant to support the curriculum of those aged 10 - 14, but all iPad users can brush up on the basics for $4.99 (£2.99).

Just ... don't go thinking you're a few hours away from practicing heart surgery once you can do algebra in your sleep.
[Image: Bossa Studios]

Mobile game HipstaFox is everything its name promises

And now, a scene from the Joystiq documentary, "What Does The Fox Play: Games Starring Foxes":

The red fox (vulpes vulpes) is a solitary creature that cares little for what other creatures in the animal kingdom think about it. In HipstaFox, we see one trouncing through the forest, collecting flowers to the beat of piano music. A ritual for his kind.

He's collected quite a few, but he'll have to add some flair to his run if he hopes to attract a mate before the winter season.

Luckily, our red-furred friend can trade in those flowers to purchase bowler hats, bow ties, thick-rimmed glasses and other fashionable accessories to make himself stand out as the biggest and best hipster fox in the forest. His journey, available on iOS and Android, is far from over.
[Image: Fluffy Wiggle]

Pikmin shorts to debut at Tokyo International Film Festival

Variety reports that Pikmin Short Movies, a collection of animated shorts produced by Pikmin series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, will debut at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Sometime during the festival's run from October 25 - 31, Miyamoto will hold a presentation with Dwango head Nobuo Kawakami, which is the parent company of livestreaming service Nico Nico Douga.

Pikmin Short Movies is comprised of three animated shorts; "The Night Juicer," a scene that plays with the idea of Captain Olimar blending up Pikmin, "Treasures in a Bottle," which involves an odd treasure, and "Occupational Hazards," which plays out at a construction site.

We first learned that Miyamoto was working on Pikmin cartoons a year ago, when they were still planned to be released before Pikmin 3. At the time, Miyamoto mused that they may end up on the 3DS' Nintendo Video service or be sold on the eShop.
[Image: Nintendo]

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father remake lands October 15

Revisiting Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers on modern platforms will become much simpler on October 15, when developers Pinkerton Road Studio and Phoenix Online Studios release a remake celebrating the adventure's 20th anniversary. PC and Mac users can prove their point-and-click prowess by pre-ordering at Steam, Good Old Games and Phoenix's online store in exchange for a soundtrack and a 15 percent discount, leaving their total at $17.

When the Sins of the Fathers remake was initially estimated for a mid-2014 arrival, iOS and Android ports were also mentioned, but release dates for mobile versions were absent from Pinkerton's press release.

Purists may be comforted with a reminder that Pinkerton Road Studio was launched by Gabriel Knight series creator Jane Jensen.
[Image: Pinkerton Road]

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Adventure game Paradigm stars a mutant hero and sloth villain

Paradigm is an in-development point-and-click adventure from Jacob Janerka, an independent game developer from Australia. To call it "surreal" would not encompass the sheer absurdity on display here.

In Paradigm, players control a lab-grown mutant who dreams of becoming the best electronic musician in the world. Along his journey to produce his EP (and save the world), he'll come across a beatboxing eggplant, a pug who is also a professional wrestler, and an evil sloth with Donald Trump hair named Olof.

Janerka is currently seeking $14,000 AUD on Kickstarter to finish his game, and at time of writing, his campaign has amassed just more than $8,000 AUD, with 22 days left for backers to pledge. If you want to get an idea of the game's quality before you fork over your cash though, there's a downloadable alpha available via the Kickstarter page.

Paradigm is slated to be completed and shipped mid-2015 on Windows, Mac and Linux. Paradigm is also on Steam Greenlight, awaiting enough votes so that it may appear on Valve's digital store. You can check out the game's Kickstarter pitch video after the break.

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Mega Man 7 acquires Wii U power, now available on eShop

Mega Man 7, a rare SNES game featuring Capcom's "Blue Bomber," is no longer quite so hard to find; it's waiting patiently in the eShop, so that you and every other Wii U owner can give it a spin.

"Released somewhat late in the SNES cycle, Mega Man 7 somewhat slipped through the cracks during its initial release," Capcom community manager Brett Elston wrote on the company's blog, where he announced the release.

There's more than a handful of Mega Man games available via Wii U now - Mega Man 1-7, Mega Man X and Mega Man: Battle Network to name a few. As for the number of evil robots defeated by the automaton hero, Mega Man 7 brings the number up to ... uh ... a lot.
[Image: Capcom]

Credit-stealing space cows and other Mass Effect series facts

A new video from the folks over at Did You Know Gaming will take you on a space odyssey, as guest host Really Freakin Clever narrates little-known bits of trivia related to the Mass Effect series.

There's a lot of behind-the-scenes information here that explores the series' origins, as well as why the iconic races look the way they do. The Krogan, for example, were created by combining attributes of bugs and bats, while Salarian scientist Mordin's grizzled look was inspired by Clint Eastwood. Oh, and then there's that shifty space cow out to steal your money.

Yes, that is a real thing in the original Mass Effect. Want to see it in action and learn some more interesting facts? Check out the video after the break.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day two - Classes, skills, combat

Welcome to day two of Massively's ArcheAge launch diary. Technically, by the time you read this, it'll be day three, but you know how these things work. And I know, I know, it's not really launch; it's head start. But Trion's not wiping this weekend's progression, so I'm going to keep referring to this as a launch diary!

Thanks to a bunch of virginal script kiddies who thought it would be cool to DDoS the ArcheAge servers on Saturday, I didn't get to play all freakin' afternoon as planned. That's OK, though, because we've got a lot to talk about with regard to the game's basic mechanics.

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Elite: Dangerous' pre-order incentives include a new ride

Prior to the upcoming Elite: Dangerous, the series' last space venture was in 1995. Dusting off the old ships in your hanger is always an option, but what about the wiring? Are you sure that's still up to code? Did you ever clean the remnants of your intergalactic fast food stops out from the cockpit? You could spend a weekend bringing your ship back to speed, or you could just pre-order Elite: Dangerous - Mercenary Edition for $50 and make a new Eagle fighter your primary ride.

Aside from a new ship, pre-ordering grants eager pilots a pack of paint jobs, a "Day One" ship decal, a digital players' guide and concept art book, and "more digital goodies" that will be announced over the coming weeks. Mercenary Edition's listing also notes this content is exclusive to pre-orders, which could keep sightings of your model fairly uncommon in the vastness of space.

Elite: Dangerous is due to make contact with PC and Mac in 2014, though anyone willing to part with $75 can get into the beta today.
[Image: Frontier Developments]

Guide a jellyfish swarm under the sea in Jelly Reef

How do you guide a bloom of jellyfish to the ocean floor if you can't actually speak their language? You inherit the power to guide oceanic currents and push them to safety using the water around them. The thought of a life-defining force bending to the finger swipes of an onmiprescent higher power may terrify some, but that doesn't seem to be the case in Game Oven's Jelly Reef. Look at their peppy little faces – they're just happy to be here!

In Game Oven's stark departure from its ballet-supplementing Bounden, players will dodge hazards, dive into secret paths and gather jelly eggs spread through 26 levels. Their jellyfish swarm will cross paths with non-aggressive forms of sealife as well, with creatures like a crab, starfish and manta ray awaiting help with their own mini-stories.

Jelly Reef is due to take a dip on Windows Phones by the end of 2014, with a release on iOS and Android following sometime next year.
[Image: Game Oven]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 112: Danganronpa 2, Azure Striker Gunvolt, downtime & future games

Latest episode: Friday, September 12th, 2014

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