Originally planned as a bonus level showcasing Sonic's transformation into Super Sonic after collecting the game's seven Chaos Emeralds, the Hidden Palace Zone was scrapped midway through Sonic 2's development. The level's remnants later surfaced in a prototype version distributed as a downloadable ROM file, sparking fan discussion and speculation for years afterward.
The mobile version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is developed by Christian Whitehead, creator of the "Retro Engine" that powered the multiplatform Sonic CD port released for Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, PC and mobile platforms in 2011. Whitehead is known to incorporate cut content in his modern-day Sonic ports; the recent Sonic the Hedgehog remake for iOS and Android featured an expanded debug mode giving access to items scrapped from the original game, and his Sonic CD adaptation hinted at a revival for Sonic 2's lost Dust Hill Zone.
The Hidden Palace Zone is featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 2's upcoming Android release, and is included in a free update replacing Sonic the Hedgehog 2's previous port on iOS. Both the new Android version and the iOS update are launching tomorrow.
Starting this month, Terraria players might pick up a Christmas ornament while chopping down trees. Use this ornament and you'll summon Elfa, a new pet. Afterward, any new world you create will be a winter wonderland filled with more pets to collect, and enemy mobs will have a chance of dropping Christmas presents.
The PC version of Terraria hosts its own unique variation on the holiday, allowing players to meet up with Santa Claus and earn presents during gameplay.
In an excerpt of the English translation of Daniel Goldberg's Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus 'Notch' Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, posted by AllThingsD, Notch explains that at the time Valve was either interested in buying Minecraft or offering Notch a job. It ended up being the latter.
Notch visited Valve that September, took part in a programming exercise and even met Gabe Newell before being officially offered a job, which he ended up turning down. Despite being a dream offer for Notch, he was much more interested in starting his own company than working for Valve. Soon after, Mojang – which he co-founded with Jakob Porser – was formed. "Somehow, I felt that Minecraft was maybe my chance to create a Valve, rather than work at Valve."
You can pick up Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus 'Notch' Persson and the Game that Changed Everything on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
In a bid to prove that it's not just a one-hit wonder, King announced that it will bring its Facebook hit Farm Heroes Saga to iOS and Android devices in 2014. Boasting match-three gameplay in the same vein as King's Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga will sync save data with Facebook, allowing players to resume their progress and unlock new levels on any supported platform.
Rival social game publisher Zynga began public trading on Nasdaq in 2011, but faltered when it failed to follow up on the success of its Farmville games. Rovio faced similar concerns with its Angry Birds series, announcing recently that it has no plans for an initial public offering.
Bloodmasque is set in the nineteenth century, in the vampire-ruled city of Paris. As a champion of justice, you must sweep the streets of bloodsuckers as you recruit other players into your army of would-be stakers. The game, compatible with iPhone 4S, iPad 2 devices and above, features a photo-based character creation system where you can put your face into the game. We wonder what would happen if Wesley Snipes tried to put himself into the game?
"Seeking bloody vengeance against Old Harry, the Horca leader who left you for dead," reads developer Blazing Griffin's plot tease, "You must navigate through a complete singleplayer story – complemented with hand-painted levels – where every step you take is a sheer fight for survival."
"Make use of a wide array of weapons and equipment to hack, slash, maim, and shoot your way through the dilapidated backstreets of San Paro. Battle Horca clan members, bosses, and other characters using one-shot tactical combat to gain the upper hand in tough-to-clear urban locations." Despite its predecessor being strictly multiplayer focused, APB: Retribution is a singleplayer game.
As the MMO fiends at our sister site Massively note, APB: Retribution is something of a test bed for an expansion of the APB: Reloaded universe. Retribution was completed in a mere six months, and Blazing Griffin already has a follow-up in the works, though nothing is known about that as-yet-unnamed game. APB: Retribution currently lacks a specific release date, though it should hit iOS devices later this month.
Spaceteam creator Henry Smith revealed in a recent retrospective piece that he believes his iOS and Android game, which has teams of players coordinating tasks on a spaceship a la Star Trek, would not have been made had making money off the game taken top priority.
Smith discussed his game's success - and the many ways he defines that word - in the retrospective due to a Twitter discussion that arose after he posted the game's sales numbers. Smith wrote that the numbers were not "bad news" as some had claimed, and clarified that his goal was never to make money. He wrote that, "Worrying about how to 'monetize' effectively might have compromised the game design and almost certainly would have hindered ... getting my name out because there would have been much more resistance to sharing and spreading the game."
Smith repeatedly stressed dissatisfaction with current business models and claimed that he wants his future projects to be free, like Spaceteam. However, Smith still needs to earn a living, so he plans on holding a crowdfunding campaign. "This feels more honest and sustainable to me and the pay-what-you-can model seems fair for everyone else," he wrote. Smith closed with the promise he'll be sharing more details about the crowdfunding campaign soon.
Joystiq will also enable its seldom-used second screen experience functionality throughout the show. While tuning into the liveblog here, you can open this link on another device and watch the VGX 2013 show along with us. Let's do this!
Joystiq will also have its second-screen experience enabled throughout the entire broadcast with our liveblog companion post. Join us for all the jokes and resplendent holographic Batvillains.
The Spike VGX 2013 awards will go on for three hours, so check out the schedule for more info.
The New Console Age and Black Friday Age are dead, let the Dragon Age begin; Heroes of Dragon Age, a free-to-play strategy game developed and published by EA, is now available on the Google Play and iTunes stores.
Heroes of Dragon Age combines elements from strategy games, collectible card games and traditional RPGs by having players earn - or purchase - a collection of heroes with varying stats, which they then mix and match before heading into combat with them. The characters are rendered as 3D models arranged in lines across the battlefield, and the fights themselves play out automatically.
The next proper installment in the Dragon Age franchise, Dragon Age: Inquisition, isn't due until fall of 2014, so you've got plenty of time to start collecting. No need to be dragon your feet, huh? Huh?
The first artwork for the game, visible in the gallery below, shows the return of Om Nom, the candy-crazed protagonist of the first game, but he's also brought along some friends. Not much else about the sequel is known, but if you load up the original Cut the Rope right now, you'll notice a suspicious lack of Om Nom, who has been oddly replaced by a pair of spiders.
You can snag BioShock Infinite for $10, Divekick for $5, Rayman Legends for $20 and Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot for $10. On top of that, there's the oddly-priced Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon for $5.09 and Metro: Last Light for $13.59. You can skim through the rest of the deals over on Steam's sale page.
The VGX live show kicks off tomorrow at 6pm ET (3pm PT, 11pm British) on Spike TV and via online streaming. We've already stocked up on Doritos and Mountain Dew in preparation for the show, and will be covering it in full through a live blog and posts surrounding the major announcements. Feel free to join us for the festivities!
Mobile retrogaming specialist DotEmu has released its arcade beat-'em-up compilation Double Dragon Trilogy for iOS and Android devices, following up on its previous mobile ports of R-Type and Out of This World.
The collection includes the original arcade version of Double Dragon, along with its coin-op sequels Double Dragon 2: The Revenge and Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone. All games offer optional remixed soundtracks, Bluetooth-enabled co-op and controller support, and a new "mobile" difficulty mode that tones down the quarter-munching challenge of the arcade originals.
Bear in mind that the arcade version of Double Dragon 3 is completely different from the widely hated NES version, but it's arguably just as bad; among other things, it served as an early progenitor of paid DLC, requiring players to insert additional quarters for weapons and other in-game bonuses. Fortunately, the mobile version lets you feed its virtual arcade machine with as many credits as you want, making the game a breeze.
Assassin's Creed Pirates, a mobile adventure for iOS and select Android devices, is ready to cast off today for $4.99 of your booty. If you thought Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag was channeling the spirit of Sid Meier's Pirates!, this one is straight-up going for it. Also, what are Creed Pirates?
The game has players taking on the role of Alonzo Batilla, focusing on the seafaring elements of Black Flag, as they "manage their crew, upgrade their ship, recruit new crew members" and go plundering other boats that dare cross the path of a pirate.
Namco Bandai announced that the next entry in its long-running Ridge Racer series will premiere for iOS and Android platforms later this month with 20 playable tracks and a wide variety of customization options in tow.
Ridge Racer Slipstream features 12 vehicles that can be outfitted with over 300 customization items unlocked during gameplay. Slipstream follows up on the recent free-to-play Ridge Racer Driftopia on PC, and is the second game in the series to hit iOS since 2009's release of Ridge Racer Accelerated.
Ridge Racer Slipstream will launch on December 19.
Additionally, Wilson said the company has plans to launch FIFA Online World in Brazil and Russia leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup event slated to take place in Brazil. The free-to-play game is built on the same technology as FIFA Online 3, which EA will bring to China after having already launched it in Korea with Nexon as its publishing partner.
"We are absolutely looking at [Brazil] in detail, and we think we have at least two, but likely more products that will have strong appeal there," Wilson said.
In the "Hit List" from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, the video game industry's top talents describe their current gaming addictions, their most anticipated releases and more. This week: Trip Hawkins, Founder of Electronic Arts and CEO of If You Can Company.
For his upcoming 2014 D.I.C.E. Summit session he will speak on "Tipping Points," where he will illustrate how several tipping points are challenging the game industry to change and pointing the way toward a golden age for games.
Telltale's The Wolf Among Us is set to launch today on iOS. The game's first episode, titled "Faith," will cost $4.99, while a pass for the game's entire season will be priced at $14.99, Touch Arcade reported. The latest trailer for the game notes that it will also arrive "soon" on PlayStation Vita.
The Wolf Among Us' first episode launched in mid-October on Xbox 360 and PC. The series is based on Bill Willingham's Fables comic series, guiding the werewolf-like Sheriff Bigby through a section of New York City known as Fabletown. Our review of the episode found the game to be a "perfect beginning" to Telltale's new series, and it made us "invested in protecting these curious creatures from our storybooks."
Franz Kafka's mind is a ripe setting for a video game, full of anxiety, bureaucracy, daddy issues and a little bit of magic. Indie developer Denis Galanin, known as "mif2000," has transformed The Castle, The Metamorphosis, Amerika and a few other works from Kafka into The Franz Kafka Videogame, due out for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android in 2014.
Mif2000 was previously responsible for translating William Shakespeare's Hamlet into a game with a ridiculous name but respectable accolades.
The Franz Kafka Videogame follows the main character, K, after he gets a new job that requires traveling to a distant land. And then things get weird, just as Kafka intended.
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