Windows Phone 8: The Sims Freeplay – Gameify your bowel movements

The Sims Freeplay on Windows Phone 8

With more and more games going down the ‘free-to-play’ route, particularly on mobile devices, from Fifa 14 to Dungeon Keeper, it’s no surprise that The Sims has ventured into this arena too. Of course, all these games are owned by EA, who are adopting the structure as they seek to increase their digital revenues.

Nonetheless, The Sims feels like a natural fit for a free-to-play game with In-App Purchases (IAP).

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Colin Jones launches ‘Slightly Magic 8bit Legacy Edition’ Kickstarter campaign – yours for a fiver

Colin Jones, the man behind the legendary Rockstar Ate My Hamster and Grange Hill, has launched a Kickstarter to remaster his classic game, Slightly Magic.

I interviewed Colin a while back and he’s a thoroughly nice chap who deserves a five of your hard-earned pounds to make his vision a reality.

Aiming for a release across desktop, mobile and Ouya console, Colin hopes to use the Kickstarter to complete the Slightly trilogy as he original intended twenty years ago.

With a £7,000 target, Colin hopes to qualify for Ouya’s ‘Free The Games Fund’, which would match-fund whatever Colin raises up to $250,000.

slightly_kickstarter

£5 gets you the game across desktop and Ouya, while £7 gets the soundtrack and PC/Mac copy of his recent Microdot Reimagined thrown in too.

A £12k stretch target would see Colin commit to completing the entire trilogy and sending it to Kickstarter backers, meaning you could end up with four games for just £7.

As an interesting aside, Slightly is a very British vision of 8-bit graphics. These days it’s all NES-like graphics, or even superior pixel art style that simply gets referred to as 8-bit despite being obviously superior.

It’s good to see the UK version of 8-bit get some care and attention and is another good reason to support Colin  in his venture.

Check out his interview here, and support his Kickstarter here.

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10 must-play couch multiplayer games for the OUYA @playOUYA #OUYA

Following on from my Top Ten Games for Retro Gamers on the OUYA post, here’s a list, again in no particular order, of the best local – or couch – multiplayer games on the OUYA.

Couch multiplayer has become a real selling point of the OUYA and already it has some fantastic titles to choose from.

Here’s ten you should check out:

Hidden in Plain Sight ($0.99)

Hidden in Plain Sight was an early featured title for the OUYA as it highlights the local multiplayer focus the OUYA is going big on.

Featuring five minigames, conceptually it comes under the ‘simple but genius’ category.

Players are not marked within the game, which means not only do you have to work out which characters are being controlled by your opponents, you also have to work out which is your own character.

Hidden In Plain Sight on the OUYA

It creates an ingenious race against time as players rush to work out who is who while trying to keep track of your objective.

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Theme tunes as the key to your childhood. What’s your favourite?

Is there anything more powerful in taking you back to your childhood than the theme tune? How many shows are first recalled solely due to the theme tune before the content of the show itself?

Theme tunes have a special place in all our hearts. It’s become a symbol of shared memory between those who remember. To this day, mention the old Sunday morning Channel 4 cartoon, Sharky & George to someone and if they know the show they’ll immediately start singing the theme tune to you.

Crimebusters of the sea, image taken from http://sharky-and-george.deviantart.com/gallery/'

Crimebusters of the sea (Image taken from http://sharky-and-george.deviantart.com/gallery/’)

This shared memory of the theme tune was never truer than at the 2012 London Anime Convention where one talent show contestant’s entire routine consisted of singing the theme tunes to as many children’s shows as he could remember. It was bonkers, but also a brilliant symbol of the power that the theme tune has over people of a certain age. When mobile phones became capable of playing custom ringtones, how many people immediately set the theme tune to some 80s cartoon they grew up watching, like Thundercats?

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Microsoft Solitaire Collection combines cards and achievements, but it’s not Magic

Microsoft Solitaire Collection breaks new ground for Xbox LIVE, being, I think, the first game that breaks the existing multiples system of gamerscore. Previously all games had been 50, 200, 400 or 1000G, with DLC providing an extra 250G for AAA releases or 50G for arcade titles. Minesweeper introduces a new 25G boundary, but it seems that Solitaire introduces a new, more random, 40G one.

Solitaire comes with a number of different 'skins' to shake things up a little, but the gameplay remains traditional Solitaire.

Solitaire comes with a number of different ‘skins’ to shake things up a little, but the gameplay remains traditional Solitaire.

I’m sure Microsoft have their reasons for this but I cannot think of any. When releasing free Xbox LIVE games like Minesweeper and Sudoku on Windows Phone they kept to a simple 50G achievement system and it worked well, so it’s odd to see 25G and 40G games introduced even as they follow more or less the exact same system of achievements, medals and daily challenges. If anything, it’s the lack of consistency without apparent reasoning that is maddening.

Nonetheless, as a package this solitaire collection is pretty good, certainly better than previous releases bundled with Windows. You can choose from five different types of solitaire to play. People will probably be most familiar with Freecell, but you can also play Klondike, Pyramid, Tripeaks and Spider.

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If you can think of a pun about Taptiles, put me out of my misery #win8

Although Taptiles is presented in exactly the same manner as Solitaire, Mahjong and Minesweeper, with multiple game modes, theme options, medals, daily challenges and leaderboards, for whatever reason it has 200G of achievements to unlock instead of whatever random number Microsoft decided upon for the other games.

This alone makes it a more substantial offering than the other three games, which offer more in the way of medals but with fewer achievements.

In a way Taptiles is like Mahjong but based around a 3D cuboid made up of individual patterned cubes that you twist and turn to help you match the cubes.

Taptiles is a bit like Mahjong in cuboid form - match the tiles to clear the 'board'.
Taptiles is a bit like Mahjong in cuboid form – match the tiles to clear the ‘board’.

If Mahjong is about thinking ahead and a certain zen-like relaxation, Taptiles is about speed and quick reactions. Even game modes that have no time limit still have points bonuses for quick matches and most of the gameplay is centred around matching cubes as quickly as possible, which creates a slight problem for people not using a touch screen.

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