Tukko Rating – Little Warrior

September 3, 2010

At first glance, Little Warriors would appear to be a traditional 2-D fighting game, with the unique exception of it being on Facebook. While Street Fighter on Facebook would be extremely cool, the truth Is Little Warriors is not much of a fighting game at all, and is more akin to the hybrid collectable card game / arcade game Mushiking and Dinosaur King from Sega, minus the cards.

Click here for full Report and Rating

Rated and Reviewed by Tukko Labs


Koduco Tries to Create a New Social Paradigm on the iPad

September 3, 2010

By Chris Morrison

The iPad has some pretty obvious use cases when it comes to board or card games, which can be played between two or more people using the same device. But could the iPad also spawn an entirely new form of in-person gaming?

Koduco, one of the latest graduates of Y-Combinator, may be one of the first companies to try. There are two things that allow Koduco to try new ideas with the iPad. First is the capacitive touch screen. Second, it’s light and maneuverable.

The first game from Koduco is PongVaders, a mashup of 80s arcade ideas: as in Pong, a ball travels back and forth between paddles on either side of the screen, and as in Space Invaders, there are aliens to blast.

But those were single-player games. In PongVaders, the game is meant to be played by two people, each operating a paddle on one side of the screen. The accelerometer is also used, so that in some levels the players must take hold of their respective side and collaboratively move the device.

“The iPad is exciting because it’s really one of the first devices where you can get multiple users with a form factor that makes it convenient enough for people to actually use it,” says cofounder Cole Krumbholz, who has an academic background in human-computer interaction. The iPad is “more expressive in the way you can share it — it’s a more social device, probably one of the most social devices that has come out in the consumer computing space ever,” says Krumbholz.

Tablet computing could chip away at the notion that computers are inherently dehumanizing, if more social experiences are created. Koduco’s second title will look less like a game but even more interactive, with two players using the multi-touch capabilities of the screen to jointly control the eight tentacles of an octopus.

There’s the possibility unexpected intimacy in having two players both moving their hands on what is still, ultimately, a pretty small screen. That may evoke images of the iPad being used as a sort of technological pickup line — hey, baby, wanna wiggle my tentacles? — but Krumbholz and cofounder Jonathan Beilen expect a strong family market to emerge for such games, too.

In-person interaction over a game also raises some interesting possibilities for the spread of games, too. If there are millions of devices in the population, all with the potential for interaction through a game, could they birth a new word-of-mouth (or touch-of-finger) virality?

“I hate to say viral, but part of the decision to do things in person was to have a stronger personal experience that will tie between potential new customers in the game itself,” says Beilen.

Neither founder is sure where the company will go, but Krumbholz offers up the Wii as an example of radical growth in the game market. “When you saw the Wii come out, they created this new way that people could interact with a console, which generated a whole new set of in-person cooperative experiences for consoles,” he says. “This kind of device could potentially have a similar effect, where it opens up different ways to play mobile games.”

[Source: Inside Social Games]

Madden Facebook Football has Arrived

September 1, 2010

Electronic Arts launched the Facebook version of its Madden football game franchise today, called NFL Superstars. Madden for Facebook is a social game that users can play for free, but will monetize through sales of virtual goods. Madden for Facebook allows users to create fantasy football teams using any combination of the 1500 players active in the NFL this year. The fantasy teams can compete with each other or teams that simulate this year’s real-world teams.

EA Sports President Peter Moore says the goal of NFL Superstars will be bringing the Madden experience to a broader audience than plays the console versions. Each year’s iteration of Madden can be expected to sell 5 to 6 million copies on consoles, while top social game FarmVille draws 65 million active players every month. NFL Superstars was developed through a joint effort between Madden developer EA Sports and Playfish, the social game developer EA acquired last year.

NFL Superstars is meant as something of a companion to the soccer-themed FIFA Superstars that launched in May, a game that was also co-developed by Playfish and draws about 4 million monthly active users. In all, Playfish’s games draw about 54.9 million monthly active users on Facebook. NFL Superstars uses fonts and an interface designed to resemble the look and feel of the console Madden titles. Where the console titles are action games, NFL Superstars is a simulation that’s mostly passive.

[Source: Virtual Goods News]

A New Generation of Facebook Pokes With InCrowd

September 1, 2010

By Chris Morrison

The first app spawned from the launch of Facebook Places is out today: InCrowd, a location-based iPhone game by MyTown creator Booyah.

InCrowd was created by Booyah in under a month, but that doesn’t mean the new game isn’t interesting. Using art from its Facebook game, Nightclub City, Booyah gives players customizable avatars that they can use to virtually interact with each other in their real-life location.

“We stepped back and said hey, we don’t want to just federate check-ins, we want a brand new experience and brand-new app,” says Booyah CEO Keith Lee. “We’re trying to push the envelope in terms of how we can create new experiences or new gameplay based on location.”

For now, InCrowd is pretty simple; Lee compares it to poke apps in the early days of social networking. Users can interact with other people in their location with actions like hi-fives or dropkicks, which are immediately sent to their friend in the app and on Facebook. “One of the things that has been missing on Facebook is real-time social interaction,” says Lee.

Over time, poke apps evolved point systems and a sort of light gaming element (the Vampire series being perhaps the penultimate example). InCrowd is starting out with a similar system. The hi-five, for example, will add popularity points to the receiving user, while the dropkick will take points away.

InCrowd isn’t just a one-off experiment; Booyah will add to it progressively over time. One upcoming feature is customized virtual spaces for different locations, so that a particular baseball park or store is identifiable as the actual location. The store might even include a non-player character to guide or give information about the store. The virtual item system from Nightclub City might also migrate over in some form.

“What we’re really trying to do is build a hub and platform,” says Lee.  “It’s a lot more elegant than a boring check-in app that just has a pop-up coupon.”

The key to the future is in how players use the new app, though. Lee expects a younger audience for InCrowd. “You’ll start to see some really interesting use-cases. Imagine how people in high school or college would use it,” he says. “You have a sense people are from your dorm but you may not know them, so you have a new way of interacting with them.”

Less trafficked places could experience another kind of interesting user behavior, Lee speculates. Since the app will show the last 30 or so check-ins, a place that isn’t visited much could allow asynchronous interaction and discovery of new people. “Besides checking into your office, maybe you check-in to an antique bookstore… in places that aren’t frequented as much, you want to find people who are similar.”

It also remains to be seen how many new users Places will bring to Booyah, which already has over three million users with MyTown, but Lee expects a significant number to appear due to increased virality in the feed.

[Source: Inside Social Games]

Service in the Age of Social Media: The Next Frontier for Gaming Companies

August 31, 2010

By Duke Chung

You’ve built an amazing game and brought it to market. Reviews are favorable, and player adoption is increasing. It would seem the heavy lifting is done. Rest easy, and watch the revenue pour in, right?

Nope. Not in today’s collaborative world where your target audience has increasing expectations of your business. Get anything wrong, inside the game or otherwise, and thanks to social media, bad news spreads like wildfire. This creates new competitive challenges for you that go beyond the quality of your product. Instead, they speak to a level of service and support, affecting brand perception, fan bases, and even the gaming experience itself.

Gaming companies need to support games with the kind of world-class service that raises customer acquisition rates, builds customer loyalty, enhances game quality and promotes new monetization opportunities. The challenge is doing just that without draining budgets.

Click here for article….

Mayo Clinic Opens Library In Second Life

August 31, 2010

The Mayo Clinic has opened a new bookstore in its Second Life Gonda Building, which opened in December 2009. The bookstore allows Second Life users to read excerpts from a selection of the most popular books published by the Mayo Clinic and order real-world copies.

A poster inside the virtual bookstore displays a discount coupon that lets buyers get 10% off of their book orders. The bookstore is also populated with amusing points of interaction, like virtual rabbits that hop through the store. The Mayo Clinic Book Store is hosted by the Mayo Center for Innovation.

Mayo Clinic maintains a presence in Second Life as part of the Center for Innovation’s mission of using technology to transform health care. Among Mayo’s Second Life holdings is a conference center where users can attend medical presentations and virtual duplicates of Mayo’s real world facilities.

[Source: Virtual Worlds News]

Trapped Chilean Miners get PSPs

August 30, 2010

There are 33 miners stuck 2,300 feet underground. It could be Christmas before the escape shaft is finished. How to pass the time? PlayStation Portables.

Food and toiletries are being funneled to the trapped men. As a diversion, PSPs have been included in the cups each men receive, containing their daily necessities.

Worst case scenario is that the men will be out in four months. Depending on use, the PSP’s battery ballparks at around six hours or more. Power cables to the rescue.

Playing cards and board games might have been better as they don’t run on batteries. But, it’s the thought that counts! And those PSPs will definitely provide a much needed diversion for a couple hours.

The men have already been trapped for two weeks and were discovered after a mine collapsed in Copiapo, Chile on August 5.

[Source: Kotaku]