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Joystiq Deals: Sensordrone Bluetooth Sensor

For those moments when you need to figure out ambient light and humidity but only have what's available in your pocket, comes today's Joystiq Deal, the Sensordrone Bluetooth Sensor.

This keychain-sized gadget packs 11 diverse sensors (including multiple gas sensors, a lux meter and both infrared and ambient temperature sensors) alongside an expansion slot for gadgets such as external printers and even Electrocardiogram machines. The Sensordrone includes Bluetooth compatibility, allowing it to easily send gathered data directly to your smartphone for dissemination via your favorite social network.

Normally priced at $199, Joystiq Deals is offering the Sensordrone at $149 for the next nine days.
Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Thailand's military junta blocks sales of Tropico 5

Tropico 5 won't appear on store shelves in Thailand thanks to fears that the game's themes of iron-fisted dictatorship might spark unrest in a country that lost its civilian government to military coup less than three months ago.

According to Nonglak Sahavattanapong, marketing manager at Thai publisher New Era Games, censors employed by the country's junta government banned Tropico 5 due to fears that "some part of its content might affect peace and order in the country." Sahavattanapong says the government offered no further explanation for its decision, but New Era Games will not attempt to seek an appeal.

This isn't the first time Thai censors have blocked politically incendiary creative works - a 2012 Thai production of MacBeth was shuttered over similar fears - but it is the first time they've blocked a Tropico entry due to the series' freeform themes of ruling a small banana republic. "[Tropico is] a good game with positive reviews," Sahavattanapong told the Associated Press. "We've had licenses to distribute Tropico 3 and 4 before, but in the fifth installment, the story line has developed further and there might be some part of it that's not appropriate in the current situation."

Tropico 5 made its PC debut on May 23, and is expected to reach consoles and mobile devices later this year.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

Secret of Mana iOS on sale, heading to Android this fall

Square Enix's classic action-RPG Secret of Mana sees a significant price drop on iOS platforms this week ahead of a newly announced Android port.

Originally released for the Super NES in 1993, Secret of Mana hit iOS devices in 2010 with a redesigned interface and a touch-based control scheme. Subsequent updates have introduced gamepad support and optional 360-degree character movement, giving players finer control beyond the original game's 8-direction limit.

Normally priced at $8.99, the iOS version of Secret of Mana is currently available for $3.99 through August 10. Square Enix notes that the Android version of Secret of Mana is due to launch this fall.

[Image: Square Enix]

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Wasteland 2 slips to September, new beta released

InXile Entertainment revealed that its Kickstarter-funded open-world RPG Wasteland 2 is now "likely" due to launch in early September, pushing past a previously announced August release window.

InXile attributes the delay to fulfillment and shipping of backer pledge rewards, including game discs and physical bonuses. Today's announcement accompanies the release of a new beta version that introduces a mini-map feature, new audio cues, and a major gameplay rebalancing across all areas and encounters, among other additions.

Wasteland 2 backers have seen multiple beta releases following the game's Early Access launch late last year. Today's beta marks the team's "last code update before the game is finalized," according to project lead Chris Keenan.

"This has been a labor of love from the entire team and I'm incredibly proud with what they have achieved," Keenan said. "So much of their personalities are found around each corner in the game. We hope you enjoy the attention to detail in the world we all have created."

[Image: InXile Entertainment]

Journey through Viking purgatory with Jotun

We've seen games about Vikings and we've seen games about purgatory – but this is the first time we've seen a game about Viking purgatory. Jotun is a top-down, 2D, action-exploration game with mechanics inspired by classics such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Smash Bros. It's not hack-and-slash, and the game uses minimal numbers and text, meaning there are no experience points and few stats.

Jotun follows Thora, a Norse warrior who dies a dishonorable death and must prove herself in purgatory, facing off against the gods to enter Valhalla, the glorious Viking afterlife.

"Jotun's core loop revolves around collecting Runes to summon and fight the jotun, gigantic Norse elementals," creator William Dube says. "The game focuses on the balance between atmospheric exploration and ferocious combat. Imagine the mysterious romantic mood of Journey mixed with the scale of the boss fights in Shadow of the Colossus in top-down 2D."

Jotun was Greenlit after fewer than six days on Steam's brand of community-driven purgatory, and its Kickstarter is well on its way to a CAD$50,000 goal, with almost CAD$34,000 raised and 16 days to go. Jotun is due out on PC and Mac – via Steam, of course – by September 2015, with alpha and beta launches before then.
[Image: William Dube]

EA and Mythic's Ultima Forever comes to an end

Ultima fans were given a dose of unfortunate irony late last week, when an administrator for the Ultima Forever forums revealed that the game would be shutting down. As of August 29, the only place EA and Mythic's game will last forever will be in the hearts and minds of those who played it.

Players of the free-to-play RPG for iOS devices can enjoy some going-out-of-business style benefits before the end of days, including an increased drop rate of Gold keys, boosts to Virtue and Reputation rewards, and disabled equipment degradation - meaning your weapons and armor won't take damage.

"This was a very difficult decision for us to make," wrote forum administrator "The Gypsy." "We've seen the game through ups and downs, and hope that you've enjoyed playing it every bit as much as we had making it! Through it all, it's been players like you who've made it all worthwhile."

Ultima Forever was announced in July 2012 and was released worldwide just a year ago. Rest easy, Ultima Forever. We hardly knew ye.
[Image: EA]

Fashion thesis dresses you like a thoroughly modern Link

Andrew Shields, a student at Parsons the New School of Design, believes that while it isn't easy being green, Link still looks spectacular decked out in viridian. Hyrule's chosen warrior and his companions in The Legend of Zelda are the inspiration for Shields' BFA thesis, a men's clothing line that will be ready-to-wear provided he acquires the necessary funding to see it complete.

"When I was young I wasn't really allowed to play with Barbies or draw dresses in my notebook, so I stopped and played on the computer, and I learned to play video games," explains Shields, in a brief video on Kickstarter. "My thesis is based on The Legend of Zelda, a game that helped shape my childhood and taught me how to explore and navigate through life."

Navigation Awaits, the name of Shields' line, includes 21 items making up seven different outfits. These range from leafy t-shirt and jeans combos that look like Link's preferred outfit for an Avicii show to more avant garde numbers right out of a Cirque de Soleil adaptation of Twilight Princess.

"The Hyrulian wardrobe is pretty diverse and proportions are pretty well developed so I think most people could pull it off," Shields told Joystiq via email. "If there really was a big difference I would say the addition of synthetics and metal notions like zippers."

"I did think on changing the theme of my collection, by taking inspiration from only Majora's Mask, and doing a really dark, twisted collection. Ultimately, I decided a lighter collection would represent the greater whole and thats more what I wanted to do."

The real question: Will you get to wear these designs?

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Destiny beta: 88.3 million games played

Last week, Bungie revealed that 4.6 million players participated in Destiny's beta phase, a program that pushed the game's servers ahead of its September 9 launch. The developer has since offered more numbers behind the beta in large infographic form, found after the break.

Destiny's beta program saw 88,384,720 games played as well as the creation of 6.5 million guardians. The community's kill-to-death ratio in the cooperative story, strike and exploration missions was 22.53, thanks to a grand total of 3.7 billion kills during those quests. What's more, Bungie's Saturday field trip to the moon resulted in 853,235 concurrent players. Relive the Destiny beta through our archived discussions and livestreams, in which we determined we would appreciate an apartment in the game's tower, but still enjoyed kicking back in the social sections.
[Image: Activision]

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Joystiq Giveaway: Score The Swapper and a free PS Vita

Say you were stranded on a derelict space station like the poor astronaut starring in Facepalm Games' The Swapper. After you wander its crumbling halls, collect as much food, water, and emergency supplies as you can find, and secure life support out in space, you've got a lot of time to kill. That's why a pocket gaming machine is ideal for survival; a little distraction can do wonders for your mental health!

In the spirit of that astronaut's struggle and to mark The Swapper's release on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita this week, we're giving away a brand new PS Vita. One lucky winner will score the handheld, as well as a 16GB memory card and a copy of The Swapper.

All you need to do to win is be a US resident and like Joystiq on Facebook using the Rafflecopter widget below before Friday, August 8. If you follow us on Twitter using the widget, that'll give you an extra chance to win.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
[Images: Facepalm Games]

Official JoySwag Giveaway Rules

Nintendo's indie spokesman leaves company

Nintendo's digital distribution business development manager Dan Adelman, who was the indie outreach specialist for the company, has left the company. Adelman was banned from Twitter by Nintendo last year for showing sympathy for gamers frustrated by region locking, something that didn't fall within the company's strict messaging. Gamasutra detailed it quite well in April, properly pointing out, "It's Nintendo's policy not to privilege the individual. It's Nintendo's policy to keep messaging corporate, not personal."

"I had been strongly encouraged to stay off of Twitter-or at least say only things that were clearly safe-so after the region-locking comment they just said I needed to stop completely," Adelman told Kotaku. "When people started complaining that I wasn't active on Twitter anymore, it was suggested that a PR person could just post in my name. I thought that was about the worst idea I'd ever heard, so I left it as is and let the silence speak for itself."

Adelman will remain in the industry and assist indies in areas of business development and consulting.

The Last of Us: Remastered spores big on UK charts

The Last of Us: Remastered, the PS4 re-release of Joystiq's Game of the Year 2013, did exceptionally well in its debut week on the UK charts. Not only was the tale of what happens when athlete's foot goes unchecked the top selling game of the week, but it was also the fifth biggest launch of the year and fourth largest for the PS4 ever, according to Chart-Track.

Chart-Track also notes now that school break is in full swing, game sales are up across the board. The top ten remains relatively unchanged, but the Lego Movie Videogame and Minecraft for Xbox 360 and PS3 both saw double-digit sales increases. The top ten can be found after the break.

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White Xbox One with Sunset Overdrive spotted, removed

French retailer allegedly posted and then removed a listing for a white Xbox One and Sunset Overdrive bundle. Eurogamer snapped a shot of the bundle, listed for €399.

White Xbox One were previously only available to members of Microsoft's development team and through various charity auctions. Gamescom, the world's largest game convention, is next week and Microsoft will be holding a press conference for the first time. So, you know, stay tuned.

Update: Confirmed.

Gaystation 4 purchased for $4K

A quick update on last week's auction in Sweden by retailer Webhallen for a customized PlayStation 4 to support The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL). The "Gaystation edition" auction concluded with a final bid of 28,300kr, which is roughly $4,105.

RFSL Newcomers received 100% of the proceeds, which works with asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and new LGBTQ arrivals to the country. If you're looking for similar customization for your console, you could negotiate with ColorWare or a student at your local arts university.

BioShock port syncs Rapture to your iPad and iPhone

Get it? PORT?

[Umm, no, the pun is on "sync." But that's still terrible. - Ed.]

Oh. Anyway, Rapture is an ambitious city wrapped in the ocean but undone by the arrogance of its haughty, genetically naughty citizens. The stunning setting of Irrational's 2007 game, BioShock, along with its moody opening, zap-and-whack combat and notorious plot, is being ported to iOS devices by 2K China – the same team that handled the portable version of Firaxis' tense strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

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Stiq Figures, July 21 - 27: Up, up, down, down, B, A, Start edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don't matter.

Earning a sense of accomplishment is great and all, but sometimes ... sometimes you're willing to trade an earned sense of pride for what really matters: victory. Cheats are a shortcut to "I'm a jerk" territory in competitive online games, but when you're stacking the odds unreasaonbly against AI opponents, it can make for a great, guilt-free time. The scope of cheating can result in some pretty interesting gameplay twists too, though the bread and butter "make me god-like" codes can still work magic in the right game.

I'll level with you all: even with StarCraft's currency and supply-related cheats, I've still never cleared the Protoss campaign. That's a pretty bleak level of ineptitude, but at least using "power overwhelming" to turn mineral-gathering Probes into slow-but-steady death machines makes me feel better about it: "Oh, you've surrounded my drone with Zerglings and acid-spewing Hydralisks? That's cute, prepare to kiss your Hive goodbye ... in about 8 minutes."

In terms of cheating purely for entertainment value, I think Grand Theft Auto 4 was the first in the series where I didn't instinctively use weapons cheats. For years, the GTA series was just about finding calm in the utter havoc I caused, and if an ammo shortage was the only thing in the way of my zen, cheats were an immediate solution.

What about you? Have you had to resort to cheats to persevere through a game's toughest challenges, or is there a particular code that's actually made games more enjoyable for you? Tell us all about your favorites, right after you check this week's Japanese hardware sales!

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 006: Gears of War: Judgment, E3 2012 take-aways, '38 Spouse'

Latest episode: Friday, June 15th, 2012

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